There is a time and place for affirmative action

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Pusat Komas applauds Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s recent statement concerning the country’s affirmative action policies.

Indeed, after 60 years of independence and 54 years since the formation of Malaysia, we have become proud and capable citizens who can stand on our own feet and efforts with our heads held high.

Any further continuation of race-based affirmative action policies would not only result in resentment from most communities, it would also be an insult and be dismissive of the progress and achievements already made by those who have outgrown the need for such measures.

The New Economic Policy (NEP) formulated for the purposes of better wealth distribution and correcting socioeconomic [disparities] was intended to only be operational for 20 years. The positive impact that this policy has made resulted in a drastic reduction in poverty rates from more than 40 per cent in the early 1970s to now being less than 4 per cent.

However, because they have now been in place for more than four decades, the race-based policies which were made to correct economic disparities and inequality are arguably now causing the institutionalisation of racial discrimination in our country.

There seem to be no end to the socioeconomic policies which continue to benefit or prefer a particular ethnicity, who are actually the majority of the population. A level playing field is only level when everyone plays and competes in the same arena.

It is time that we put a date to when these policies should end and move towards merit and needs-based decision-making in our national development programmes. When we do so, we will discover that more resources can actually be made available to assist the underdeveloped and disadvantaged communities existing in the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak. The need for assistance in these places is great.

READ MORE:  Malaysia in dire need of 'another system'

Pusat Komas welcomes the openness and honesty of the Youth and Sports Minister to imagine a different kind of Malaysia, when these unfair and discriminatory racial practices are no longer needed. We call on all Malaysians to support this call and to help close this chapter in our nation’s history. Only then can we make Malaysia’s future a better one.

 

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