Quota system in education is an old issue, as it become hot issue few months back, however I refrained myself from talking about it especially during Ramadhan, plus I also can’t find time to write about it. However, it is an important issue for me because as you well know I am Bumiputera, Malay some more and even though it not really obvious but my whole life I was ‘helped’ by this system.
Before I went further, let’s take a step back and go through what caused this issue to surface. It all started when our Minister of Education said that government will increase the matriculation’s intake. That is great, but it become an issue when he said that the quota system of 90% for bumiputera and 10% others will remain.
Of course it will not sit well with those ‘others’, and they rightly so, make it worse though, the Minister then went on comparing the quota system with requirement of Mandarin in job market. Which for me fair comparison but a stupid one to use, as it was hardly the same.
So even more objection occurred, both from government side and opposition side. That was the issue, question here, is quota system still needed in this ‘Malaysia Baharu’?
From the title it is pretty obvious what is my answer for that question, however, first let me share my opinion on why this system is a lose-lose system or a no-win one.
For non-bumiputera, it is damn clear why this is a lose situation. It will be harder and more expensive for them to get higher education. Good result, doesn’t guarantee you the place. As long as this remain, they will always feel like the nation treated them unfairly, and some might think that us bumiputera especially Malay be pampered with all the options. Not good for inter-race relation.
For bumiputera, again especially Malay, as long as quota system remain you will never know whatever you get in life is due to your effort or due to the help from this system. I’m myself never really proud of my degree. Even today, I still not sure do I get the place due to my academic performance or just quota system push me through. Plus, this system also encouraging for us, Malay, to think that this nation is OURS. Not good for inter-race relation.
Back to the original question, is it needed? Unfortunately, yes. It all got to do with social hierarchy. Like it or not, hierarchy is inevitable. It could be social status, wealth and especially race, as for this discussion between bumiputera and non-bumiputera. As of 2010, roughly there are 70% bumiputera in peninsular Malaysia, and it could be higher if include Sabah and Sarawak, however since bumiputera is different in borneo and peninsular, I will only focus on peninsular.
As such hierarchy will naturally exist, so if this hierarchy structure are different than other hierarchy for example wealth, it will create unrest, especially among the dominant. I believe, if I’m not mistaken, pardon if I do, this is the main reason why the 13 May tragedy happen and the establishment of New Economic Policy which favoring the Malay.
Same thing will happen when education hierarchy become in balance toward the minority, unrest will happen, and it might be worse than wealth. As such, quota still need to be in place, sure number could be change, and government especially Ministry of Education should get in down to the field and have a discussion how to make it acceptable and not come out with bullshit comparison.
“Quota system been used for long time, why it still hasn’t improve Malay position?”
To be honest, I don’t know the answer, easy thing to say is probably due to failure of previous government to help the Malays better. From now on, government also should seek a new approach, a better one.
“Easy for you to say, you are Malay for goodness sake. So how long do we need to endure this? We are Malaysian too”
I know, and I’m sorry. Yes, we all equally Malaysian, we born and raised here, we all have equal right to get piece of pie from this beloved country. How long will this quote needed, I don’t have exact answer, but what I could say is we are in a path to become better nation.
We have Malay now, willing to vote for DAP, to subdue the corrupt regime, we also have Malay now, admitting that the policy or treating certain race as special is not sustainable. My hope, more and more malay become educated, they will be more willing to open their mind and stop this thinking of Malay own this nation, because we definitely not.
Once that happen, we probably can become a proper Malaysian.
Meantime though, we can’t rush the progress or it will be crumble overnight as it will create a spark that can be use by far-right people to light the fire that will burn all the progress we made thus far.
This however just my opinion with little knowledge on the issue. I definitely can’t said that I know personally the view from other side shoes.
One thing for sure, I trully believe that we are Malaysian and we will equally be, always.