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Thursday, March 13, 2008

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR ALL...

Malaysian across the country would have been glued to the tele, internet, papers etc to glean as much information on the political developments since the election results last Sunday...

I am really pleased that the opposition did as well as they did. Don't get me wrong I do not fully agree with everything that they say or do, but I do believe that our present government needed a wake up call!!! Mainly because the way the country has been governed over the past years has left much to be desired.

My main personal gripe has always been the NEP (New Economic Policy), where affirmative action in various forms have been handed out to the Malays on a silver platter. While I think the "objectives" of the NEP are noble, I also seriously question the validity of it and the manner in which it has been implemented.

As such I am shocked and disgusted that the ruling Federal Government is condemning the new Alternative Government for abolishing the current NEP and proposing a new affirmative action policy that is not race biased. Aren’t all races citizens of Malaysia? Therefore shouldn’t all races enjoy the same benefits from the country?

Please note that this post is in no way anti-Malay cause some of my best friends are Malays, plus I was brought up and cared for by a Malay nanny. It is just stating how unfair things can be because of a race based policy and that a race based policy can in fact cause unecessary racial tensions.

I personally have been severely marginalised by the NEP. I was not admitted into any of the 5 local universities (back in the 90s) because of the race quota system.

The fact that I obtained 9 distinctions for SPM (equivalent to O levels - and at the time the max no of subjects one could take was 10) was irrelevant while my Malay friends with Grade 2 and some even with a Grade 3 could get in.

The fact that my parents could not even afford to send me to a local private college let alone to a foreign university on their miserable income was also irrelevant; while some of my very rich Malay friends with appaling results not only got admitted to the best local university for the best courses – they were also given handsome government scholarships to boot!!!

As a result I decided to take A Levels much to my parents dismay cause that meant going to a private college which they could not afford. Luckily I managed to win a scholarship from the college, which saved my parents from going into debt. Then when I obtained straight As for the A Level exams, I again applied to the local varsities and local scholarships - and again I failed.

I then decided to take another gamble and I applied to universities in the UK. Lo and behold I was accepted into all 6 universities I applied to, including Cambridge University and the London School of Economics – some of the most prestigious schools in the world…

Now wasn’t that strange??? The best universities in the world thought my grades were good enough, yet my grades weren’t good enough for local universities???

I was pretty downcast at the time cause I knew that there was no way I could go to the UK simply because my parent’s meager earnings could barely make ends meet at home… so how were they going to pay for me to go abroad???

Anyway I once again was really lucky cause I managed to win another scholarship from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust (in collaboration with Sime Darby) to read Land Economy at Cambridge University. (Note that all the local scholarships that I applied for did not come through because once again there was a quota system). And that was how I managed to get my tertiary education. With no help from the government…

So tell me, don’t you think that a policy for affirmative action should be one that is not race biased? Shouldn’t the policy be one that caters to all citizens that are poor? Shouldn’t education be provided for everyone based on merit at the very least???

Other than the education policy, there are many other areas which the NEP provides unfair discrimination. Another prime example would be the fact that the Malays would get a 10% discount when purchasing property. I wouldn’t complain quite so much if the discount was only provided for low cost or even medium cost housing – i.e. for those who really needed the discount because otherwise they would have nowhere to live. But tell me how is a 10% discount for houses costing millions justified???

Therefore I laud the Alternative Government for taking a firm stand in abolishing the current race biased NEP. And I laud the Alternative Government for taking initiatives to ensure that affirmative action is for the poor and the marginalized across the board regardless of race.

For more information on what the Alternative Government has to offer, please visit
http://www.anwaribrahim.com/
http://www.malaysiakini.com/
http://www.suarakeadilan.com/

You can also watch loads of videos on YouTube where Anwar Ibrahim explains what the Alternative Government wants for the betterment of the country.

Some interesting videos from Al Jazeera:

The Inside Story: Chaneg for Malaysia Part 1 - 10 March 2008


The Inside Story: Change for Malaysia Part 2 - 10 March 2008





Plus watch DAP leader Lim Kit Siang and PKR defacto Leader Anwar Ibrahim on Al Jazeera English (CH 513) tonight (13/3) at 6pm

5 comments:

Pippa said...

Natasha
That is such a powerful and passionate post. I think you need your own blog! Your views are so interesting and informative to people like me who know nothing about your country or its systems - well, just anything really.

Katherine

Natasha Fernz said...

hi Kate

Been thinking about starting another blog for non-doggie related things for some time now... but just don't have the time to maintain more than one...

Natasha

Mohan said...

hi Natasha,

BN just doesn't get it right. We are tired off all this racial politics. We just want to be MALAYSIANS, Period.

I agree with you, NEP should benefit the poor and the weak irrespective of race or even gender.

You should start another blog which is non-related. I was having the same thought. My blog was not suppose to be political.

Mohan

Anonymous said...

well, you do have cultural currency. The fact that we can use english well enough puts us at an advantage globally. In this context, it's almost hypocritical to put people like us in the category of being severely 'marginalised'. Let's bear that in mind when we cry victim and leave the term 'severely marginalised' for those working in estates or with little opportunity to get on in life.

Natasha Fernz said...

To Anonymus...

First of all I think you've missed the POINT completely...

What I'm trying to say is that the NEP does not serve it's true purpose as only the rich and connected Malays benefit from the NEP as opposed to the hardcore poor Malays even

And in my case I would probably be working in some small back office as a lowly clerk had I not managed to win a FOREIGN scholarship, since even with my excellent grades I was NOT admitted into local university.

And this is my point exactly, should I have been satisfied to just have a high school education when I sincerely believe that as a Malaysian - born and bred here, I should have a right to tertiary education. Particularly cause my parents would not have been able to afford private education.

I guess I have been BLESSED because my grades were EXCELLENT which therefore lead me to win FOREIGN scholarships. But what if I didn't?

Not sure if I am making my point, but I think everyone else understands...

Hence I laud the Alternative's Governent's efforts to abolish the NEP and their proposal for the new Malaysian Economic Agenda, where affirmative action is for all the needy people regardless of race or religion...

Natasha

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