Here are four sets of opinions, existing in the public domain, that have a bearing on the subject of national unity and progress in the country. Diverse they may be, they represent the views of Malaysians of different vocations, from different backgrounds and with varying life experiences.
Let’s find out the common grounds and discuss the approach towards togetherness and national unity.
Comments may be both in Bahasa Malaysia as well as in the English language for wider audience coverage.
Sinatra_Z – Discrimination in the Private Sector
MAY 26 — Often we hear complaints regarding smart non-Malay students with many As not getting a place in local universities. Political parties, NGOs and the media often highlight their plight and injustice.
I, for one, agree with the push by the government in solving this problem. Regardless of a student’s racial background, a smart student is an asset to the nation and he or she should be given a chance to get an education and contribute to society.
I fully support the move by the government in abolishing quotas in most of the public universities, promoting merit-based distribution of scholarships and move to incorporate more non-Malays into the government.
Although some may argue the main reason for the lack of non-Malays opting to be a government servant is due to perks and wages rather than discrimination, we should view all these as positive.
A good example would be the recent flood at the Selangor Chinese Assembly hall interviews to fill up the vacancies with the Malaysian-Anti Corruption Commission (MACC). Ironic when one considers the recent political spin that has been put upon the MACC, thanks to the Teoh Beng Hock case.
I guess Er Soon Poi put it quite well when he said, “I am impressed with the salary and allowances offered in the public sector and I am interested to become a government servant although I have little knowledge about the MACC” (The Sun May 23, 2010).
I admit there is the perception that there is an ethnic dominance in the Malaysian civil service. I agree with this view and fully support any move to diversify the Malaysian civil service.
To me this is one of the many polarities that divide the Malaysian society. But I have always reminded myself of the old saying, “It takes two hands to produce a clap”. So I am going to discuss what many politicians and activists are quite reluctant to talk about.
Perhaps it is a bit uncomfortable for some of these politicians to talk about or the fact that it does not serve their political purpose.
It started with complaints by local Malay graduates that they faced difficulty in getting good jobs in big companies, mainly multinational corporations which offer good salaries. Especially big, foreign companies with good perks in sectors like banking, finance, electronics, IT, etc.
I have heard of this way back when my seniors were complaining about it. At first even I shrugged it off.
There is this general perception that Malay graduates are “bad in communication skills, mainly English, and not as competent as the non-Malay graduates.”
Come on, let’s be honest. I have more than once encountered this remark, “Ahh you speak pretty good English for a Malay.” Malaysians are huge hypocrites, I tell you. No wonder our politicians are like that as well.
As much as one would like to put a cast on the stereotyping of lazy, incompetent and spoon-fed Malays, there is something really wrong when say 90 per cent of the executive or high ranking technical staff comes from a single ethnic background. Especially when one consider the fact that the Malays are not the minorities.
Are these Malay graduates so incompetent? Because last I heard back in university, there is quite a healthy number of Malay-Muslim students getting on deans’ lists and receiving medals during convocations.
Their English can’t be that bad and based on my experience, the level of English competency is equally horrible regardless of ethnic background when it comes to local graduates. Chances are, there might be a problem with the Malay graduates in Malaysia generally, but instead maybe there is a problem with the human resource manager in said company, don’t you agree?
It becomes even more apparent when that minority ethnic, be it Malays or whatever, tend to fill positions like receptionists, office boys, dispatchers, etc. It’s like having diversity for the sake of showcase, so what better place to put them if not right in front at the reception desk.
The Mandarin factor
Now, once in a while when I browse through the classifieds, I would see an ad that goes something like this: “Mandarin competence” or “Chinese Speaking”. At first I would assume it to be something harmless. Perhaps that company does a lot of deals with China hence they need Mandarin speakers to help them deal with their foreign clients.
But it gets quite dodgy when the companies that have those kind of job ads don’t really deal with foreign clients, especially China. It gets even dodgier when the advertised vacancy is something like a “Systems Administrator” or “R&D Engineer”.
Last I checked, I have yet to find any datasheet, programming language, operating system or technical textbook that is written in Mandarin. Perhaps there are that one or two technical manuals written in Mandarin because of that Made in China product. But chances are if the Germans and Japanese can include an English technical manual with their product, I am pretty sure a “Made in China” product has it as well (Okay, maybe with bad English).
There’s something really amiss when you have a vacancy ad which lists the Mandarin factor for a Japanese manufacturing plant.
Look, this is Malaysia, the official languages here are Bahasa Malaysia and English. Unless a company deals with China or Taiwan, there is no need for compulsory Mandarin. We all know why you put down that criterion. And if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people pretending to be something else when the real reason is very obvious.
Some of you might say “But hey Zaidel what about that ad that goes ‘Untuk Bumiputera Sahaja’ You bloody Perkasa racist!” I say yes, it is quite racist as well, like I said it takes two hands to clap and having this masked hypocritical Mandarin ad is just as bad as having a openly gung-ho racial ad like the “Bumiputera” criterion as well.
So how do we go about this then?
Some may take the path of hyperventilating rants and dramatic raving, which usually ends with the conclusion that the only way to solve every problem in this nation is by voting anything else other than Barisan Nasional.
I actually prefer something more concrete (and less hyperventilating). In the civil service a minimal quota system can always be implemented. For instance, a minimum of one in every three new staff must be of a different ethnic background. That sort of situation fits for the civil service and is easily monitored by the Parliament, hence a regulatory measure can be implemented.
However, in the private sector having regulations may hamper productivity and meddle in the market forces. If, say, the government suddenly announced a regulatory measure such as a quota, it would affect the general productivity.
Based on previous experience when it comes to regulatory policies in the private sector, we do know that this does not work well, e.g. 30 per cent Bumiputera Equity shares. As much as I want diversity in the workplace, I realise it must be balanced with the current needs, market forces and productivity level, and the fact that private sectors should decide for themselves.
So instead of a regulatory measure, I suggest we do an incentive-based measure. One measure could be a tax cuts for companies that introduce diversity in their workplace.
For instance, if a company has a minimum of 25 per cent Bumiputeras working as executives with them, they are then entitled to a 10 per cent income tax reduction. To make it fair, we do the same for, say, a 100 per cent Bumiputera company that manages to introduce a minimum of 25 per cent non Bumiputeras into their company.
This way the government won’t be meddling into the private nature of the private sector and gives the freedom for these companies to take their time in introducing diversity in the workplace without hampering their productivity.
Diversity incentives are quite common in the rest of the world and we have seen it to be quite effective. It’s a win-win situation. To those which think that they may not be ready yet, no worries, business as usual. Maybe next year.
Now some of you may find it hard to chew on this, but like it or not, it’s there, it exists. There is discrimination in the private sector just as in the civil service.
Though many of us find it convenient to blame the civil service, many seem to shy away when it comes to the private sector. However, rather than leaving this as an article that merely focuses on ranting and raving, I would prefer it to be something that we all can ponder upon and come up with solutions that would benefit everyone in the long run.
Not everything is about voting Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional.
Of Ashaari and Chinese Malaysians — Tay Tian Yan
May 21, 2010
The Chinese population is declining. What can we do?
Several days ago I read of the death of Al-Arqam founder Ashaari Muhammad.
He was a controversial figure in this country, but I have not mentioned his name here because of this.
What interested me were the three wives, 38 children and 200-odd grandchildren he left behind.
There were four in the first generation, expanding to 38 in the second, and their human-making mechanism has so far produced more than 200 lives cumulatively.
In view of their superior productivity, it wouldn’t be a problem for the third generation to create another 500 new lives.
A few more generations down the road, and the family tree will include tens of thousands of names.
Compare that with a typical Chinese family.
A couple gives birth to two children, and these two will bring on four grandchildren, and the number will swell to eight in the third generation.
But, there is also another probability.
Among the four grandchildren, one has migrated to Singapore, one seeking better opportunities in China, one looking for greener pasture Down Under while another in the New World.
And then they bring their parents along with them.
Up till the third generation, there are only one old man and one granny left at home.
And the local family population will be nil as soon as the couple pass away.
Interesting arithmetic, huh!
What can we do? Ask the Almighty or Buddha.
If Mahathir, Utusan Malaysia and Perkasa have been so well versed with mathematics, they wouldn’t have made a big noise at all in the first place.
Perhaps they might even set up a foundation to protect species on the brink of extinction, including Chinese Malaysians! — mysinchew.com
“wants to see the dismantling of barriers to realise the nation’s potential”.
SUNDAY, MAY 23, 2010
Nation needs closure not soothsayer
MAY 16, 2010 — Attempts to blemish the social fabric is threatening to drive a wedge between the different races in the country and is growing at an alarming rate.
The controversial “Melayu Bangkit (Malays Arise)” congregation organised by Gerakan Kebangkitan Rakyat (Gertak) and government agency, Terengganu Integrity Institute on May 13 was called off after the event was widely criticised by the public and opposition due to its divisive nature.
It is not surprising that a national government agency is involved in organising an event that is bent on reliving the darkest period of the nation’s history.
For decades, National Civics Bureau (BTN) has been instilling fear and hatred among the different races blaming the May 13 incident on the non-Malays for being insensitive and greedy.
Umno has conveniently chastised DAP as the perpetrator of the bloody event and the big win scored by the party in the last general election has been deemed as a signal of the deteriorating of the Malays’ political power.
DAP is being used as the bogeyman and Umno’s mouthpiece has called DAP’s rise to a position of power as a threat to the Malays’ way of life — position of the Malay language, Islam, Malay Sultans and the Malays’ special position.
The conditioning of the Malays have been so effective that it has managed to convince the Malays that this land belongs to them with the other races being conveniently labelled as immigrants (pendatang).
This process has been systematically carried out with the assistance of mainstream media dailies and television, namely the right-wing daily Utusan Malaysia and TV3 television station.
What this has evidently produced is an insecure Malay community which faces difficulty accepting that times have changed and the dogmatic ‘Malay Supremacy’ is unable to stand the test of time.
It is worrying that even with the advancement of internet where information is readily available, there are large swathes of urban and educated Malays that still profess to the mantra of ‘Malays First’.
Decades of systemic brainwashing and indoctrination has successfully bred distrust and mistrust between Malays and non-Malays.
Notoriously celebrated figures have also jumped on the bandwagon to drum up the pro-Malay sentiment.
This is typified by none other than the publicity-hungry parochial former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was pencilled in to officiate the congregation.
Mahathir has conveniently slammed his critics citing the old-school nag reminding Malaysians on the history of the May 13 incident and for all to abide by the social contract as a precursor for peace among the races.
He forewarned that the country will repeat the mistakes of the past if it denied history implying that the congregation is meant to educate Malaysians on the history of the country.
“I feel that if we forget our history then we will repeat this history,” said Dr Mahathir.
The congregation like many other right-wing NGOs like Perkasa is focused on putting out the agenda that the non-Malays creeping into the rights of the Malays and that the Malays need to unite politically to protect their rights that are slipping away.
The success of the Malay Agenda has always been linked to the political strength of Umno and as the beacon of the Malays, the myth that a strong Umno will protect the survival of the Malays economically and politically.
Proponents of Malay Agenda has time and again use history, sentiments and emotions to heighten the siege mentality among the Malays.
For Malays to progress with time together with the rest of the country there is no room for this kind of mentality.
While the Malays need to shed their insecurities, the non-Malays need to feel appreciated in a land they call their own.
Doomsayers and soothsayers like Dr Mahathir, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Perkasa President Datuk Ibrahim Ali and many other Hang Tuah-wannabes will not help to achieve these objectives and are threatening the social fabric of the country.
The nation needs closure from the episode of May 13 and does not need to relive the past; lessons have to be learnt but scare-mongers have to be done away.
“May 13 needs to be remembered because racism and unhindered freedom of speech will cause unrest in this multi racial country. That is why we have the Sedition Act. The Act is solely to prevent the people from being too extreme in their views.
Now, in the aftermath of the 1969 incident, what now for the nation? I propose National Harmony Day should be celebrated on May 13 every year to remind ourselves how blessed we are living in a land where moderation and acceptance are the keys to national success in whatever there is to come. We should learn that, when hatred and resentment towards each other is no longer existed, we can now look forward towards building the nation with so much rigour, trust and mountainous sense of pride in our history.
Our founding fathers and leaders of the past had painstakingly upheld their selfless deeds and worked hard in making our Malaysia a successful nation. The greatest achievement we had was to live in harmony in the face of so many malevolent foreign and domestic challenges. We should not dirty this greatest achievement just because of a certain racist and political agenda.
Like the wise words I learned from school – “A society which does not look back with pride upon its past can never look forward towards its future”.