As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on June 23, 2015
1. “Foreign Affairs” is an American magazine. It is highly respected in America but it is not my favourite magazine.
2. Recently while flying I came across its latest edition. Its theme in the issue is on race and colour and on how they affect relations between people. I became interested because I felt sure the magazine would have nothing good to say about Malaysia.
3. There is an article on colour-blindness in America – meaning to say that all Americans of whatever colour are equal. Apparently the equality between people of different colours has not produced good results. What it really means is that everything, including opportunities must be based on merit.
4. Sure there is a black man sitting in the Presidential chair in the White House. There was once a black general as Chief of the armed forces of America and as Secretary of State. And there has been and there are presently blacks holding high office in Washington.
5. But the fact remains that most of the blacks are poor, are constantly involved in drugs and crimes. Despite the blacks making up just about 10% of the population, the percentage of blacks in prison is nearly 50%. The per capita income of the blacks are well below the national average.
6. Being equal with the whites has not benefitted the blacks much. No mention is made of the deliberate killings of blacks by the police, who then escape indictment.
7. As I expected the magazines included a study of Malaysia’s record on race relations. It admitted that despite the affirmative action under the New Economic Policy, Malaysia’s economy performed better than most other developing countries. The races seem to be living in relative harmony. There were no serious racial clashes.
8. The affirmative action under the NEP seem to have reduced the disparity in wealth distribution between the indigenous Malays and the Chinese. There is mention of the bumiputra’s owning only 2 per cent of the countries wealth before NEP and their wealth has now increased to 19%. The disparity is still there but is much reduced. (In America Joseph Stiglitz writes that the disparity between rich and poor has reached a dangerous level).
9. India and South Africa have also tried affirmative action. But their results are not as good as in Malaysia.
10. It would seem that Malaysia has done a better job of building a more equitable multiracial society than most multiracial countries including the US. The policy of equality of treatment i.e. meritocracy has not yielded tangible results.
11. The magazine Foreign Affairs seems to admit that Malaysia’s affirmative action has merit. Like the reversal of the opinion on Malaysia’s fixed exchange rate policy, there now seem to be a reversal of condemnation of our affirmative action, at least by the Foreign Affairs magazine. Other foreign media simply copy the biased reports made a long time ago without trying to investigate the realities regarding Malaysia’s management of race relations and development of its economy.