Meritocracy is not mediocrity. Sometimes, Malaysians confuse the two.
A meritocracy is a social system, organisation, or society in which people have power, and can advance, because of their individual ability and achievement, and not because of their social position or wealth.
In a speech, at the 25th annual general assembly of the Indian Progressive Front in Serdang, a few days ago, Najib Abdul Razak claimed that his administration would not allow Indians to become victims in public universities.
He also attacked former PM, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for making the Indian community suffer, when he claimed that Malaysia’s longest serving PM had introduced meritocracy at public universities 15 years ago (2002).
Meritocracy would be political suicide for Umno-Baru
Najib is wrong on both counts. Mahathir did not believe in meritocracy and more importantly, if real meritocracy is introduced, the Malays would suffer most, and not the Indians.
It is not just in education, in which the Indians are victimised. At one time, Indian children excelled in certain sports, but today, racial quotas prevent many from developing their skills and talent, in their chosen sport.
The implementation of true meritocracy has not occurred because it would be political suicide for Umno-Baru.
Najib infers that Indians are intellectually challenged
Najib seemed to suggest that Indians were present in public universities, not because of their abilities, but because of the racial quota system. Why is he inferring that Indians are intellectually challenged? This is wrong.
I know and have met many Indians, both young and old, whose fluency in English is far superior to the Malays. They have an ability to master languages, unlike the Malays. The Malays, because of the Ketuanan Melayu influence, do not think that they need to speak in any other languages, including and especially English, and this is one reason they have been left behind.
Look at our professional class of doctors and lawyers. Many are Indian. My lawyer, family doctor and specialist doctors are all Indian. The last Malay doctor I consulted, on the recommendation of a friend, wanted to date me, so I hurriedly left mid-consultation. None of the non-Malay doctors I saw, would allow their personal interests to conflict with their professional duties.
In the course of my work and travels around Malaysia, I have met many working class Indians, who are keen to advance, not just for themselves, but also so that they can help their families. They are industrious and hard working. Some of them live in squalid conditions. Many cannot obtain government aid, because outside of KL, the Little Napoleons in the government departments are parochial and look down on the Indian community. That is my observation.
When help is denied them, many end up on the wayside, and suffer from mental health issues. Can we blame them? We are at fault for neglecting their well-being.
My experience with Indians from the poorer end of the social scale is that they are very tolerant, humble and will become your friend for life, if you help them.
Najib should stop patronising Malaysians. He could be bold and order all civil service departments, the armed forces, schools and educational institutions to adopt true meritocracy, and abandon the NEP and racial quotas.
Inferior Malays, resentful Indians
Many of today’s Malays think they are superior, and therefore become arrogant. They are aided by a system in which pass marks for public examinations in schools, are lowered for the benefit of Malay students. Many Malays do not realise that their Indian peers are denied scholarships, even if they are bright and enterprising. How fair is that?
Instead of helping them, we only create a breed of Malays which are inferior, and generations of Indians who are resentful.
We also create a system where the non-Malays have to be doubly good at everything they do. Despite the odds being stacked against them, they tend to outperform others.
If meritocracy were to be introduced, about 30% of the students in public universities would probably be Indian, and not about 4%.
No-one should ever doubt the ability and intellect of the Indian. They are good, but they were NOT given a FAIR CHANCE to thrive and contribute to Malaysian society.