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Affirmative Action in Malaysia
Transcript of Affirmative Action in Malaysia
Facts & Figures
Population: 28, 334, 135
- colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Occupied by
the Japanese during WWII
Race & Politics
& Indigenous - 67.4%
Chinese - 24.6%
Indian - 7.3%
Others - 0.7%
Islam - 61.3%
Buddhism - 19.8%
Christianity - 9.2%
Hinduism - 6.3%
Confucianism & related - 1.3%
Unknown - 1%
No religion - 0.7 %
(source: Population and Housing Census, 2010)
- immigration of Chinese and Indian migrants in 19th century by British colonisers due to discovery of tin and demand for tires from automobile industry
New Economic Policy
Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda
- 31 August 1957 (Independence Day): Federation of Malaya (11 states) obtained independence.
- Federal constitutional monarchy
- 13 states, 3 federal territories
- 16 Sept 1963 (Malaysia Day): Malaysia was formed - comprised of Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak
- 9 August 1965: Singapore became an independent republic.
- colonial policy of division of labour according to ethnic lines, little to no opportunity for interaction between the races to prevent mass uprising:
Malays: agriculture and source of rice
Indians: rubber plantations
Chinese: mining, manufacturing and commercial industries
- Politics in Malaysia is divided along racial lines.
- The United Malays National Organisation and the Malaysian Indian Congress - formed in 1946. The Malaysian Chinese Association - formed in 1949. Together, they formed the Alliance party which won in the first election held in 1955.
- Memorandum by Alliance party for future Constitution - compromise: Non-Malay citizenship in return for
retention of Malay privilege
- commonly called "social contract"
- Racial riots:
1964 racial riots in Singapore in July & Sept - Chinese & Malay - caused increased racial tensions - Federal Govt expelled Singapore which consisted 3/4 Chinese
13 May 1969 in KL - Malay / Chinese - worst racial riot in history - official figures: 196 killed, but disputed - estimated up to 10 times more - 3/4 of casualties were Chinese
8 - 12 March 2001 in Kampung Medan - Malay / Indian - 6 killed,
> 40 injured, > 180 arrested
- introduced 14 Sept 2013 in return for support by
Malays & indigenous people during 13th GE in May 2013 -
"Malay & Bumiputera at the core of National Agenda"
- 5 main focus:
Enable bumiputera human capital
Strengthening bumiputera equity ownership in corporate sector
Strengthening bumiputera non-financial assets
Enhancing bumiputera entrepreneurship and commerce
Strengthening the service delivery ecosystem
- other initiatives:
Increase the intake of students into Universiti Teknologi MARA to
250,000 by 2020 - setting up of several new campuses nationwide;
Establishment of a RM1 billion MARA Education Fund
TERAJU - placed directly under the PM's Department
National Entrepreneurship Institute and the scheme to develop
new Bumiputera entrepreneurs would be placed under TERAJU
Bumiputera Economic Council (MEB) will be set up -
chaired by PM, member including DPM and
- no sunset clause - see quote
- Introduced as a result of 13 May riots - official White
Paper on the riot singled out Malay economic grievances
as one of the key factors
- Malay rights recognised during British rule - enshrined in
Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948 - 4 main areas:
Malay reservation land
quotas in public service
- Incorporated in the Federal Constitution as Article 153 - However, Reid Commission recommended special privileges to be reviewed after 15 years of independence - c/f Govt Working Party's view: reviewed from time to time with no limitation.
- Insignificant impact:
Education - enrolment in the University of Malaya in 1966/1967 of Malays was 30% - mostly Arts faculty - Engineering (2%), Science (7%), Medicine (6%)
Wealth - Malays held only 2.4% of total equity ownership (1970). Chinese & Indians = 32.3%. Foreign interests = 63.6%
quotas for business licences and permits
quotas for public scholarship and educational grant
- Implementation period: 1971 - 1990
- 2 objectives: (1) poverty eradication regardless of race
(2) restructure society to remove identification of race and economic function
- After 1990: National Development Policy (1991-2000);
National Vision Policy ( 2001-2010);
National Transformation Policy (2010 to current)
- Vision: by 1990, 30% of economy owned and managed by bumiputeras; employment to reflect racial composition
- Implementation methods:
(1) equity - 30% quota on new equity for Bumiputeras
(2) restructuring - companies encouraged to restructure ownership and employment
(3) Bumiputera commercial and industrial community - quotas,
price discrimination, loans, subsidised training programmes
(4) privatisation policies - 30% quota implemented
(5) tertiary education - quotas for enrolment in specific
disciplines - 55% reservations for bumiputera
- 1973 - National Front (current ruling party) formed -
been in power since independence
- Bumiputera monthly average household income: increased from RM172 (1970s) to RM4,457 (2012) / almost 2,500%
- Bumiputera poverty rate: 64.8% (1970s) to 2.2% (2012) - note adjustments to poverty line
- Bumiputera corporate company equity rate: 2.4% (1970s) to 23.5% (2011)
- Income disparity - Malay: Chinese - 1:2.29 (1970) - 1:1.38 (2009)
- Rise of Malay middle class: 4% (1970) - 16.7% (2000)
- reverse-reverse discrimination / prejudice in private sector - 2011 study: a Malay fresh graduate was 16.7% less likely to be called up for a job interview in the private sector compared to their Chinese counterparts.
- Domestic private tertiary education boomed - removal of quota in 2002 - introduced Matriculation as alternative pre-U - 10% for non-Malays
- Employment: Dependence on civil service - 2005: Tertiary educated Malays -
58% overall - concentrated in civil service - top management (83.9%); management and professional (81.6%); support staff (75.8%) - ethnic
- brain drain: estimated 5% of skilled locals exiting annually
- Nov 2013: PM defended necessity for AA for stability
- Zaid Ibrahim (former minister and senator) - "Now
preferential policies for the Malays are deemed as a right. It has become a huge political gimmick where the Malays are regularly told that if they want these special rights and privileges to continue, they have to vote for UMNO."
- Chancellor of University Teknologi MARA announced university is not a place for non-Malays.
- Dr Kua Kia Soong (activist & educator) - "[NEP] encouraged disunity among Malaysians who see themselves not as one nation but as members of various ethnic groups that live in Malaysia.
- entrenchment of racial stereotype
- World Bank (2011) report: 20% Malaysian graduates choose to leave country - preferrred destination: Singapore - 60% skilled emigrants cited "social injustice"
- Lee Kuan Yew, in "One Man's View of the World" - "“They are prepared to lose that talent in order to maintain the dominance of one race."
- institutionalised racism? - "Malay first, Malaysian second" - race as scapegoat
- Mahathir (2002) - "bumiputeras treated university places as matter of right" - neglecting studies
- 2008 survey found that 71% of Malaysians agreed that “race-based
affirmative action” was “obsolete” and should be replaced with a “merit-
- Tengku Razaleigh - response to BEEA - the National Stakeholders’ Economic Action Plan - replace NEP with horizontal equity programmes based on productivity, meritocracy and needs.
- HA Lee (2012) - "Needs based AA makes no sense" - objective
of NEP is to eliminate identification of race and economic function - therefore it has to be race-based and temporary
- increase in intra-ethnic inequality
- Govt study: 30% still not achieved - therefore
NEP to continue - c/f private studies