Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

A Never Ending Policy Can Be Ended

Written by johnleemk on 10:28:28 pm Mar 27, 2007.
Categories: ,

Landed Angel comments on equality in Malaysia:

"Malaysian are Equal" will always be merely a THEORY, Not Reality. You and I can see it everywhere. Needless to say..

The laconic nature of this comment makes it difficult to ascertain precisely what Landed Angel is pessimistic about. Is it political equality, economic equality, or both?

Considering the bias of politically-inclined Malaysians online, combined with the fact that the notorious New Economic Policy (NEP) has also been branded as the Never Ending Policy, I think it's apparent that the subject at hand is political equality for Malaysians.

Why the pessimism? It would be difficult for any Malaysian not to understand the skepticism people hold for the chance of true political equality in Malaysia. As one joke I never tire of goes:

If it's a Malay problem, it's a national problem.

If it's a Chinese problem, it's a racial problem.

If it's an Indian problem, it's not a problem.

In theory, every Malaysian is of equal worth to his country and his society. This, after all, is the founding tenet of the New Economic Policy, which sought to end the association between race and economic function, and held back some Malaysians so that other Malaysians could progress.

As time goes by, it becomes more and more difficult to justify the continuance of the Never Ending Policy. It is probably one of most-hated and at the same time most-loved policies in the country, because of the immense benefits it has brought the Malays, and the immense constraints it has placed on the non-Malays.

But even more disturbing is the ideology used by some to defend the Never Ending Policy. These people argue that the government should discriminate against the non-Malays because the Malays have a greater right to call themselves Malaysians than these "pendatang asing" (immigrants — even though most non-Malays are at least two generations removed from any actual migrants).

Landed Angel refers to the "reality" that this ideology and the Never Ending Policy, which has been corrupted by the proponents of Malay supremacy to serve their own ends rather than those of the visionaries who formulated it, can never be eliminated or purged from this country. But I am not so pessimistic about our chances.

After all, how many Malays have actually benefited from the injustices of the status quo? Only government cronies have truly reaped the rewards of the Never Ending Policy, with the scraps being thrown to the rest of the Malay community.

As one Malay anarchist notes, this is a key point to be seized on for expanding the New Economic Policy. By reaching out to all economically disenfranchised Malaysians, regardless of race, we will be able to ameliorate the discontent that plagues our society.

Moreover, I do not think the Malays are happy with the apathy and lack of loyalty they see amongst the non-Malays. Who would be happy with this? But if they want to instill a sense of loyalty in the other Malaysian communities, they have to recognise that these peoples have an equal right to call themselves Malaysian.

They are no longer pendatang asing — they have earned the right to call themselves Malaysian. Countless Chinese and Indians died fighting the communist insurgency, and yet under ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy), they have less right to be called Malaysian than an Indonesian drug addict.

Ending ketuanan Melayu and replacing the Never Ending Policy with a truly new New Economic Policy will be difficult. But it can be done, as it is in the interest of the Malays to change. All we have to do is make them aware of this need.


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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

Infernal Ramblings is run by John Lee. For more, see the About section. If you have any questions or comments, do drop him a line.


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