Doing away with the culture of privilege

Malaysian youths must work hard to build an egalitarian society that values humility, decency and equity in public life

The youth must try to build a more egalitarian society - ERIC THOO

Malaysia is a unique country where a culture of privilege exists.

Race and religion predominate even in a professional endeavour such as budget allocations.

The government tends to cater to the continual needs of privileged corporate and religious elites, with civil servants being pampered with allocations with little consideration for merit.

If we place things in perspective, Malaysia has become a nation where people think they are entitled to privileges just because they come from an ethnic or religious community with little thought for the common good.

The disease of seeking privileges is also obvious in the public-private setting.

Coming from the hospitality industry, I have come across various types of people who seek certain privileges at the expense of others.

For example, is it necessary to block a hotel lift for a cabinet minister to attend a meeting when the lifts are not busy? Why is it difficult for a minister or a government official concerned to mingle with ordinary people in a common hotel lift?

Why is it necessary for the elites to be seated in front rows during a concert or a public function? Does the ability to pay make one entitled to hijack common areas?

Is there a need for an entourage of police personnel to escort a privileged top government servant to a hotel, creating unnecessary noise and distraction on the roads and in front of hotels?

I have also witnessed how a particular business elite jerked his car in front of a Nepali security guard, just because the guard was guiding the person concerned to park the car properly so that others would be able to park their car with ease.

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Looking at Malaysia as a nation of elites seeking privileges, Malaysian youths must work hard to build an egalitarian society that values humility, decency and equity in public life.

The youths of Malaysia should inspire an idealism that does away with elitism and privileges that create and enhance the power distance between ordinary Malaysians and chosen elites.

We have to do away with a government that thrives on ethnic and religious privileges. – Malaysiakini

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