Thursday, November 30, 2006

Transformation of Malays

I wrote on "Education & the New Economic Policy" in my Education-in-Malaysia blog more than a year ago. That was before the New Economic Policy (NEP) became once again a political hot potato in the current year.

Given the recent brouhaha over the the equity achievement of the respective ethnic communities, I thought it is worthwhile to take a step back and relook at a quote, taken surprisingly from Tun Daim Zainuddin, our former finance minister and the architect of "Malaysia, Inc" when he spoke on "Issues facing the Malays".
The natural second phase to social and economic transformation of the Malays is only through education, not equity participation. You take care of education and they will have enough to participate in the capital market...

The NEP (New Economic Policy) has always concentrated on equity participation of the Malays. The poor Malay's route to success will not be through having shares in the KLSE (Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, now Bursa Malaysia).

(But) it is through education. The obsession with equity figures have eclipsed the true success story of the NEP. The vast numbers of educated Malays produced since the 70s, they have contributed to the expanding middle class.
One may not particularly like Tun Daim for the cronyistic business empires he helped built in the 1980s and 1990s, but certainly, once cannot disagree with Tun Daim's opinion of the NEP above.

It is unfortunate that the governing UMNOputras are only interested in short-term financial gains and unsheathing the keris as can be observed from the recently concluded UMNO General Assembly.

Did anyone even catch anything significant raised on issues relating to the quality of education? Did we hear anybody lamenting on the poor placement of local universities in global rankings? And given the typical over-the-top nature of the delegates speeches, we could have at least heard someone ask "when is Malaysia going to produce the next Nobel laureate?"

No. No UMNOputra worth his membership card discusses issues of real importance at these assemblies. Nothing about corruption. Nothing about education. Not even much about the economy. It's all about quotas, blood, keris and yeah, running 'amok'.
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