Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MERITOCRACY


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on August 30, 2010 1:00 PM

*SAYA UCAPKAN SELAMAT MENYAMBUT HARI MERDEKA KE-53 KEPADA SEMUA RAKYAT MALAYSIA KHUSUSNYA KEPADA PEMBACA BLOG INI*

1. I dislike to return to this subject but I need to explain myself.

2. I was prompted to write about the racism in meritocracy because of the reaction to Malay criticisms against the ideas coming out of the Chinese Economic Congress.

3. The leader who made the statement on doing away with quotas etc said that cannot we discuss anything without (the Malays) raising racial issues. He apparently considers his call for meritocracy was not racial.

4. It is racial beause he was advocating taking away the protection afforded by the NEP and quotas from the bumiputras and not from any other race. Obviously he believes that without these protections the bumiputera would lose against the non-bumiputera.

5. As much as giving protection to one race is racial, taking it away from that race so as to benefit another race must also be racial. The suggestion coming as it did from a racially exclusive economic congress must be because it is in the interest of that race. That must be racial even though the demand is for meritocracy.

6. I am not proud of the protection afforded the bumiputera. It implies weakness. I don't think Malays and other bumiputera like to think that they are inferior in any way.

7. But the reality is that in Malaysia the bumiputeras need new skills and a new culture even. These cannot be had by them in a mere 20 years. The original planners of the NEP were too optimistic.

8. I had suggested merit for university entrance in order to shock the bumiputera into getting serious about their education and their own future. However it did not work.

9. In education whereas there is about 60% bumiputera in the Government universities, there are less than 10% in the private universities. And there are more private universities, university colleges and colleges than there are public (Government) universities. Even the 10% bumiputera are there because of scholarships by MARA. Take the scholarships away and there would be practically none.

10. Why is it that the focus is only on what is done by the Government? If the bumiputera in Government universities should be reduced, then the bumiputera in the private universities should be increased. Or else meritocracy would reduce the number of bumiputeras getting university education. Or is it the intention to deny bumiputeras higher education? They are not the best but they are qualified.

11. It is the same with foreign universities. Because they can afford it there are more non-bumiputera than bumiputera in foreign universities. This must increase the disparities in higher education between different races.

12. Lest I be accused of making unfounded assumption, a proper audit should be done by an impartial team.

13. When I was still PM, the Government decided to allow for private colleges and universities to be set up. They can twin with recognised foreign universities and should issue their diplomas and degrees. The reason for allowing private institutions of higher learning is to reduce cost of tertiary education so that the parents who could not afford to send their children abroad can have access to foreign qualification from local private institutions. You can guess who are the beneficiaries of this Government policy.

14. As for contracts even with the 5% advantage given to bumiputera contractors, many of the Government contracts do not go to them because of their lack of capacity. Even if they do get, non-bumiputera contractors get most of the sub-contracts etc.

15. Actually construction by the private sector is bigger than the public sector. In the private sector the bumiputera contractors get next to nothing. I suppose this is because the private contracts are given based on merit. Or maybe it is not. I don't know.

16. Take away the minor protection afforded by the NEP and the bumiputera will lose whatever that they may have. Then racial division will be deepened by wealth division. I don't think this would be good for the country. Remember it was the disparity between rich and poor in Europe which led to the violence of the Communist revolution.

17. I may be labelled a racist but fear of the label will not stop me from working for what I think is the good of the country. Nothing will be gained by dividing the people of Malaysia into poor bumiputera and rich non-bumiputera. The time is not right for disregarding the disparities between the races in the interest of equity and merit.

18. For 46 years this country enjoyed relative stability and consequently good growth. But today the races are more divided than ever. Everyone has become racist, talks about meritocracy notwithstanding. Everyone is thinking about his own race. If I am included it is because I think it is dangerous for the rich to take away what little the poor has.