PDA

View Full Version : Khoo Kay Kim - on racial unity



idolfan
19-02-2006, 03:56 PM
article in sunday times feb19

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/...icle/index_html

The Professor Emeritus at Universiti Malaya's History Department has just cause to sound depressed after nearly a lifetime of championing racial unity.
He points to lacklustre achievements in racial unity as proof that communal ties are at their most delicate in nearly four decades.

The root of the problem, as he sees it, lies in:

* a national school system that has become more communal despite its supposed non-ethnic and non-religious status;

* the participation of political parties in national unity committees; and,

* Malaysians ignoring the fifth tenet of Rukun Negara: good behaviour and morality.

He blames the education system which has become more communal despite its supposed non-ethnic and non-religious status for the growing division between the races.

Khoo, 69, says politicians planned their strategies according to the actual situation and hence fed on the problem.

"They feel that if they strengthen the position of the Malays, the Malays will think as one, and then they will always get votes from the Malays," he said.

This takes him to the second reason behind the problem: politicians who worsen the situation through their participation in national unity panels.

"Each political representative always feels he must fight for his own party.

"Since we have mostly ethnic parties, they are fighting for their own ethnic groups. It is very difficult to achieve any kind of consensus.

"For ethnic champions to survive, society must always be in a state of flux.

"If you don't do anything positive, things will get worse and worse. You have to address the problem."

Khoo understands that for a politician to get mass support, he must be seen as a champion of his ethnic group.

However, Khoo, who yearns for a day when Malaysians will share a single identity, warns that racial unity would continue to elude the nation if politicians persisted in harping on racial lines.


I wonder if the NST would follow up on this interview with the responses from the PM, DPM, Education Minister, Samy Vellu and Ong Ka Ting.

saml
19-02-2006, 04:04 PM
The reason why politicians and those who are propagating the divide amongst the races is so that they can perpetuate their hold on their own communities from which they derive power and from there, wealth. To these self serving people, everything boils down to how much money they have in the bank (mainly overseas) and how many private jets/helicopters they own and how palatial is their residence. The education system have been hijacked by these people to further tighten their hold on their own community. In a recent gathering of some friends whom I have not met, I learnt that all of them are sending their children to the private schools, all those sri something schools. It is a very telling situation whereby somehow all these people are thinking in the same manner and we were all from the same school twenty over years ago.

USJ27Resident
19-02-2006, 04:15 PM
It is called CAKAP TAK SERUPA BIKIN policies... :p. Only then politicians succeed in their objectives...

Politician that fall on the side lines either are just to darn dumb to follow suit or forget the lines in their common song title... :D

saml
19-02-2006, 04:44 PM
If the national school system is working, no one in their right mind would spend that kind of money to send their children to private schools and here we are talking of normal wage earners, they may earn a little more than the majority of the people but then again money is money.

USJ27Resident
19-02-2006, 11:50 PM
If the national school system is working, no one in their right mind would spend that kind of money to send their children to private schools and here we are talking of normal wage earners, they may earn a little more than the majority of the people but then again money is money.

errrr.... the majority of the people don't hide thousand of ringgit worth of jewellery and cash under the bed, for that matter ~ in the house !!! :rolleyes:

they can afford to send their kids to private schools because they make TONS more money than the normal wage earners...

please tell me ~ in recent memory, if there have been any politician that has declared himself BROKE/BANKRUPT... apart from those getting caught with their grubby fingers in the kitty! Pleaseee la...

Normal wage earners ( and some rich ones that put their faith in SRK/SMK schools... ) send their kids to ordinary public schools [period!] because of obviously financial and pertinent choices...

kwchang
20-02-2006, 01:03 AM
May I add, Prof Khoo had just said the very same things we were agreeing with on this Forum. That is the Malaysian identity that needs to be strengthened rather than ethnic groupings and the folly of politicians in pursueing racial agendas to bring in the votes.

We were right all along....well, except for one thing, some of us also fight tooth and nail for our rights to enrol our kids in vernacular schools and have subjects taught in mother tongues.

As for the vernacular education system, I can bet with you that it will taper off once they bring back the English medium schools like we had back in my time. In those days, vernacular schools were not popular except for those with great academic results. The basis for school selection is still the good academic performance. Believe me, we had much better social integration in my days when there were English medium schools.

Do remember
that we do not want to see a free-for-all on racist remarks. As always, there are more positive ways to skin a cat....or you could be skinning bananas

shali
20-02-2006, 02:07 AM
I can bet with you that it will taper off once they bring back the English medium schools like we had back in my time.... Believe me, we had much better social integration in my days when there were English medium schools.

That's interesting. May I suggest that you spend a little time doing a write up on this? The press, the academia, the elitists would love a good research on this. I know of no one who has argued from this angle before at the MoE.

Teeque
20-02-2006, 03:43 AM
I think it has been argued before but not in the context of bringing back the English medium schools. That is why one bright spark suggested that our Maths and Science to be taught in English. Its to make our education system more relevant in the current globalisation environment which is English dominated.

idolfan
20-02-2006, 09:18 AM
some reactions (http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Monday/Frontpage/20060220074618/Article/index_html)

what stands out clearly is the contrast in reactions from the politician and the academics.

DATUK Khoo Kay Kim, one of the architects of the Rukun Negara, said in an interview with the New Sunday Times yesterday that after 49 years, race relations were still fragile in this country. Among other things, the Professor Emeritus at Universiti Malaya’s History Department said this situation was caused by the national school system, which had become communal, and the participation of political parties in national unity committees. He said one remedy was to teach cultural history. In response, several opinion leaders gave their views to EILEEN NG and R. SONIA.

• Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili:

I disagree with Khoo’s statements. The tolerance level and maturity among Malaysians have increased, although sensitivity about certain issues remains high.

In a multiracial society, what’s required is appreciation of diversity, tolerance of differences and full commitment by all parties to eliminate obstacles to unity.

Any serious discussion on national unity without the input of all sections of society would be grossly deficient. Hence, rather than leaving politicians at the periphery to champion racial issues, it is better to engage them to tap their creative ideas.

Khoo’s suggestion to teach cultural history in schools is not new. In fact, it had already been acted on by the National Unity and Integration Department and other ministries.

Recent efforts to de-communalise and improve standards at national schools are beginning to bear fruit.

• Universiti Utara Malaysia sociologist Associate Professor Dr Teh Yik Khoon:

I agree with Khoo’s statements. As long as there exists positive discrimination, such as good students being unable to enter local universities, race relations will not improve.

Politicians too are aggravating the situation by always harping on racial politics, so how do you expect our society to be united? Politicians should show good examples and not play racial politics.

While Khoo’s suggestion to study cultural history is good, there should be more details on its implementation and contents to ensure that the theories proposed are practised by all.

• Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities president Professor Emeritus Tengku Datuk Shamsul Bahrin:

Regarding the participation of political parties in national unity committees, I think nothing can be achieved if everybody fights for their group. The consensus achieved would be a diluted decision.

If politicians keep on championing their small groups, then we go back to the "majority rules", which can take you backwards.

Decision-makers should be appointed based on their knowledge, experience and capability, not on sectoral considerations.

We don’t need to have all the races represented as long as they are capable. For example, when we go for an operation, we don’t need to have one Malay, one Chinese and one Indian consultant for the operation.

Where the school system is concerned, people just choose to look at the negative aspects. The system is the same as the pre-independence one, not worse or better. It’s just that the issue is talked about more now so it’s just felt more generally.

People will segregate naturally right from the start. We must just respect, accept and understand the differences.

Teaching cultural history to children could be a good start. People should be exposed to what others are doing. To me, if you’re born a Chinese, you are a Chinese. What’s wrong with that? Why should you change that?

What has to be done is to accept and respect the person as such and not interfere or impose your own values upon that person. It’s all a matter of understanding why and how people do things.

• Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam:

Polarisation has increased and the school system has contributed to this. Tamil and Chinese languages should be taught as compulsory subjects to Tamil and Chinese students in national schools.

Then there will be a significant shift of these students to national schools instead of most Chinese sending their children to Chinese schools and half of the Indian pupils going to Tamil schools.

I can’t understand why the Government has been so slow in doing this. Also, the spirit of the New Economic Policy has not been fully realised and implemented. Meritocracy has also largely been abandoned. So how do we get national unity? We should practise what we preach.

Teaching cultural history is not good enough. If we just learn and come out into the world and realise there’s discrimination, it can be an antithesis.

I am a member of the national unity panel and we have some politicians still harping on the old ways and not understanding the Prime Minister’s vision or even his concept of Islam Hadhari.

• Universiti Sains Malaysia Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dzulkifli Abd Razak:

When I was a student, the numbers were smaller and there was room to interact and the curriculum was not as demanding. Now the curriculum has been expanded and with their quest to achieve straight As, students have less time to interact and get their thoughts out.

Plus, with the Universities and University Colleges Act hanging over their heads, students are afraid to articulate their thoughts. And with pupils going to vernacular schools, it seems to add up. It’s the circumstances and the environment that are causing it.

"I came from the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar which was 100 per cent Malay, but my university life in USM was different. I had the opportunity to interact with other races and had a different outlook altogether. The same will be for students who study abroad.

The way to address it is to let go. The Prime Minister’s approach of more openness and transparency is a good one. Now it is possible to say what you think you want to say. But for this, maturity needs to be nurtured in the people.

Now, there’s much attention on science and technology and with it the perception that humanities and social sciences are not important. If you want to learn about interaction and the larger missions of life, then the platform is humanities and the social sciences.

There’s no point in pointing fingers at political parties. They’re not going to change anytime soon. Instead, the intellectual community should play a bigger role. Education must also be made more holistic, taking into account values. The notion of marketable courses and non-marketable courses should be dropped. Education is education and knowledge is knowledge.

idolfan
20-02-2006, 10:06 AM
New Info Minister at least recognizes situation is not all rosy.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/2/20/nation/13446928&sec=nation

Newly-appointed Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin will focus on more programmes to foster racial integration and harmony to ensure minority groups were not marginalised.

He said for a start, RTM will draw up programmes which would focus on racial interaction among the various communities.

He also said the Malays should take proactive steps to foster closer ties and relationships with other communities.

“We (the ministry) want to strengthen racial integration so that it will not be something so fragile that it will snap whenever there is any provocation from any party.

“I’m not saying the current racial integration is not enough to prevent tension from arising in our multi-ethnic community but our level of integration is still rapuh (fragile) and has not reached the level that we are aiming for,” he said.

He said he was concerned that there were times when the issue of racial interaction and harmony was “put to the test”.

Jose Mourinho
20-02-2006, 10:37 AM
May I add, Prof Khoo had just said the very same things we were agreeing with on this Forum. That is the Malaysian identity that needs to be strengthened rather than ethnic groupings and the folly of politicians in pursueing racial agendas to bring in the votes.

We were right all along....well, except for one thing, some of us also fight tooth and nail for our rights to enrol our kids in vernacular schools and have subjects taught in mother tongues.

As for the vernacular education system, I can bet with you that it will taper off once they bring back the English medium schools like we had back in my time. In those days, vernacular schools were not popular except for those with great academic results. The basis for school selection is still the good academic performance. Believe me, we had much better social integration in my days when there were English medium schools.

Do remember
that we do not want to see a free-for-all on racist remarks. As always, there are more positive ways to skin a cat....or you could be skinning bananas

Kwchang. You got it absolutely spot-on. I have a few papers to write this morning and thus my mind is not focused on exploring this topic. However, as I said before - one short sentence in one of the threads - which most people failed to notice. I actually grew up in an environment in Malaysia where there was no polarization and racism. So how did we manage to stoop to this current situation in a matter of just 30 years or so?

mallanhead
20-02-2006, 02:30 PM
I do not know about the current education system in Malaysia. But as a Malaysian I always wonder why our school system does not teach Malaysian language (Mandarin, Tamil and etc) in school as one of the important subject. People in Europe learn French, English, Spanish & etc and why not us. IMOP I think language is one of the best way to intergrate one another. I know several of my ex office mate loves watching those Chinese series and so do I, but unfortunately we have to depend on the subtitle. If only we get to learn it as one of those subject.

joker2107
20-02-2006, 06:09 PM
As for the vernacular education system, I can bet with you that it will taper off once they bring back the English medium schools like we had back in my time. In those days, vernacular schools were not popular except for those with great academic results.
tis stmt i hv 2 contest.

admit it - d vernavular edu system is primarily d chinese sch system.

in d gd old days there was no china in d global economy. d americanas spoke only english. d field is substantially diff 2day. but i bet our kiasu-lang cinapek will sitll talk chinese sch come 20-30 yrs time when india's infrastructure is in place and china is overpriced. they will not go "vernacular" as in tamil sch because they r damned racists.


Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili:

I disagree with Khoo’s statements. The tolerance level and maturity among Malaysians have increased, although sensitivity about certain issues remains high.
sigh ... its gonna b a longer battle than i had hoped 4 - when ministers can suggest that bolehlanders hv matured. dr colin abraham, perhaps u might want 2 do a study on "maturity gap" - d diff btwn small portion of urban ppl who can rationalise independently of colour creed n politics n ppl who remain subservient 2 political racial and religious whips.

i'd be most ashamed if i had 2 say that i m matured bcos i m tolerant. it wud b saying that i am a freak. n that whatever i "tolerate" r not matured. makes me recall d famous "give n take spirit - u give, i take".

AllUrban
20-02-2006, 06:19 PM
I admit from the beginning that I dont know enough about Malaysian history, but that is why I'm here, in Malaysia teaching, as well as on this forum.

Only this morning I was listening to a discussion on the Rukun Negara on the show Info912 on TraxxFM (which I recently found out is an RTM station).

The Rukun Negara is a wonderful idea for a national philosophy and it is very interesting. I think that it was developed in a spirit of optimism and necessity, when Malaysia's goal was to develop as a society, rather than develop for the sake of development.

The guest speaker discussed how the rapid development over the past 20 years had caused major changes in Malaysian society and the understanding of Malaysia as a society.

I think that Malaysia has a wonderful society. If the more pernicious negative things (examples: corruption, lawbreaking, lack of accountability, race politics, increasing gap between rich and poor) are stripped away...well, look at what is left:

a beautiful, multicultural, diverse society with a very interesting history...

Why should Malaysians allow any of that to be forgotten in the mad rush to develop and be "recognized" by the rest of the world?

Malaysians should recognize themselves for who they are and what they want Malaysia to be...then they must go out and improve their society.

Understanding and internalizing the Rukun Negara would be a great start...so why not talk to your children and friends and family about it. Ask shopkeepers if they can sell posters...make your own posters and give to friends..and how about a discussion thread on usj.com.my...

the best revolutions always start from the grassroots up

Cheers, m

kwchang
21-02-2006, 01:07 AM
... i bet our kiasu-lang cinapek will sitll talk chinese sch come 20-30 yrs time ...they will not go "vernacular" as in tamil sch because they r damned racists.

I think you have a big problem my friend. You are making racist remarks.
I know what you said and I know what you intend it to mean
But for those (that identify with the "cinapek" profile) that read this forum are going to feel slighted. No matter if you disagree with their ideology, it is not right to infuse racist comments to make your point.

Enjoy the banana. Next stop is the plantation...

kwchang
21-02-2006, 01:41 AM
Now, back to the rebutal to my suggestion that a change to the English-meduim school will reduce the urge for vernacular schools....

tis stmt i hv 2 contest.

Remember I said ...
"As for the vernacular education system, I can bet with you that it will taper off once they bring back the English medium schools"

I agree that it will not remove the demand for vernacular schools but the important assumption is that the high demand we see now "will taper off".

Now, why did I say that?
The situation is simply that other racial groups would not feel that they are forced to undergo schooling in the dominant racial group's mother-tongue. English, besides being the internationally accepted language of science, trade and more, is also a "neutral" language because, apart from the expatriates, none of the local ethnic groups have English as their natural mother tongue.

In my school days when English medium schools were the default choice of most parents, I remember enjoying school with multi-cultural classmates. We even had a Japanese boy in my class in primary school. His father was a dentist and certainly could have decided to send his son to an International School (we had Garden School and Alice Smith way back then) but he enroled him to a Malaysian school instead. I do not deny that my primary school was a preferred school due to its academic excellance but it was a local school like any other. It was also an English-medium school.

The key to acceptance was still academic excellance but besides that it was also because it was teaching in English. The local teachers were proud graduates of Kirkby and they taught us well.

We were aware of the other races in our class. But we did not exclude them from our games. There was no discrimination as far as I can remember. We were all classmates and friends. My best friend was a Malay boy despite it being an urban school with a dominant Chinese population.

How I wish my children have this opportunity to effortlessly integrate with all ethnic groups today in primary school while they are still colour-blind and grow up as a true citizen of a multi-cultural Malaysia.

Rocky19
21-02-2006, 10:14 AM
Remember I said ...
"As for the vernacular education system, I can bet with you that it will taper off once they bring back the English medium schools"


Now, why did I say that?
The situation is simply that other racial groups would not feel that they are forced to undergo schooling in the dominant racial group's mother-tongue. English, besides being the internationally accepted language of science, trade and more, is also a "neutral" language because, apart from the expatriates, none of the local ethnic groups have English as their natural mother tongue.

Chang the banana farmer, :)

I do agree with you that going back to english medium will reduce in number of students attending vernacular schools. However there are two main issues with that one. One is being a former colony is a disadvantage for us when many countries are doing their best to learn english and encouraging it.the politicians will drop dead before they do this cos of their skewed minds. They will not do what is good for the country but instead will play the racial card to ensure that they get elected and going back to english medium is one of the those things they will not do. Off course there are arguments why Japan can become a developed nation and people are learning their language etc. Well people never want to learn your language unless you are progressive or wealthy. Why did people learn Japanese in 1980s and now learning chinese now? It is economics.

Second is quality. The perceived quality in the school systems by the parents. The quality is bad as far as some parents are concerned. Is this perception true or not, doesn't really matter cos some have made of their mind. what is worrying is even some of who wen to english medium and those like me who went to an 'english' school where Malay was already the medium, are sending our children to vernacular schools or private schools. Bottom line is parents want good quality education. what can the govt do about it when they have overzealous officers, who are more keen about they own pockets or religious and racial issues in school and quality is a low priority.

I agree with Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili that tolerance level has increased. But this is more of a negative than a positive things. If our tolerance level has not increased, this country will be in trouble. Maturity increased, a no no. especially the BN politicians.But the kind Minister is from Sabah, where people are more united and harmonius than peninsular Malaysia, so you need to excuse his findings.

IMHO the so call racial harmony etc now is just superficial. It is unlike in the 50s,60s,70s and maybe the 80s. There is more difference among the people cos by the systems put in place by the govt and especially how this systems is executed by the civil service.

as long as there is racial politics in malaysia, there will not a be Malaysian identity and those who feel Malaysian first will be left in limbo. I LOL when I saw Pak lah saying today, don't play politics based on race. Who is the one playing racial politics? BN?who is the one telling people to leave the country. Sometimes it is best to practise what you preach Pak Lah.Talk to the people in your party first and your component parties. They are the ones making the issue worse.

The govt need to address the issue of the education system, the NEP, the implementation of policies by the civil system, encouraging Meritocracy, addressing the need of the poor regardless of race and respecting the constitution if they want to see a united Malaysia.There is so much potential for a united Malaysia in this world. Otherwise, god help this country!!!

idolfan
21-02-2006, 02:12 PM
for completeness I am posting these articles in full rather than just the links .. after some time they are not accessible online.

PM: Good to discuss national unity (http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Tuesday/National/20060221082046/Article/index_html)

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says national unity is an important topic that requires much discussion by Malaysians.

is an important topic that requires much discussion by Malaysians.

He is pleased that people are taking it up as an issue because if nobody talks about it, no one will pay attention to the matter.

Speaking to reporters after launching a school building fund here, Abdullah said although he disagreed with views that there was now a lack of racial unity in the country, he was pleased the topic had become a point of discussion.

"I am glad that people are taking up national unity as an issue and talking about it.

"It is definitely an important topic that concerns everybody and we want people to talk about it so that they will always think about it.

"If nobody talks about it, no one will pay attention to the matter," he said.
The Prime Minister said unity had improved greatly compared to earlier days. He admitted, however, that there was still room for improvement and the Government would continue to focus on building national unity.

"The unity we experience now is better but it should be improved upon through our interaction and co-operation with one another," he said.

However, he cautioned that results would not be achieved overnight.

"Unity-building is not an easy task and it will take a long time and require concerted efforts from all parties," he said.

The issue of racial unity came up when historian Datuk Khoo Kay Kim, one of the architects of the Rukun Negara, said in an interview with the New Sunday Times yesterday that after 49 years of independence, race relations were still fragile.

Yesterday, several opinion leaders such as Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities president Professor Emeritus Tengku Datuk Shamsul Bahrin and Universiti Sains Malaysia Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dzulkifli Abd Razak concurred with Khoo, adding that local politicians were partly to blame for segregating the people by playing racial politics.

In response, Abdullah admitted that there were indeed some politicians who practised racial politics.

"Sometimes they think it is an easy way to get votes.

"But it is not the right way because playing racial politics will only fire up people’s racial sentiments, which if not controlled, would be detrimental to our country," he said.

He agreed with Khoo’s suggestion that cultural history be taught in schools to strengthen racial understanding and tolerance.

"That is a good idea, because our children should be taught to respect one another during their school years.

"Parents should also play a role in helping to teach their children not to be prejudiced towards other races."


Review of education system can boost unity (http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/2/21/nation/13456723&sec=nation)

Reviewing the national education system is one of the measures that can strengthen national unity and integration, said Public Policy Studies Centre chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam.

He said national unity would gradually strengthen when polarisation among schoolchildren of all races was reduced.

This could be achieved by making Chinese and Tamil languages compulsory subjects in national schools, he said.

“At the same time, more funds could be provided to vernacular schools, so as to not make parents and students feel alienated and marginalised,” he said.

Ramon was one of those who turned up at the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council headquarters here yesterday to meet the Parliamentary Select Committee and to give their views on the National Integrity Plan.

About 30 people, including representatives of non-governmental organisation and opposition parties, presented their views to the committee chaired by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

Malaysian Interfaith Network coordinator John R. Gurusamy said the education system must be modified from being exam-oriented to being values and skills-oriented.

He called for residential schools to be more multi-racial “so that our students appreciate our pluralistic society.”

Bukit Gasing joint action committee chairman Derek Fernandez called for the Local Government Act to be amended to protect the rights of ratepayers.

He called on the public to play their role in helping the Government to enforce laws.

“Specific rights should be given in the legislation so that the public can take effective action against people who infringe these laws, in addition to the Government which enforces the laws.

“There must be substantive changes not only in legislation but in the attitude towards transparency, good governance and accountability,” he said.

The next public hearing is in Penang on Feb 27.

sirgalahad2010
21-02-2006, 04:39 PM
If we continue to have race-based political parties, the dichotomies will continue. The basic fault lines were already in place before Malaysia was formed.

That was one reason why Spore was asked to leave Msia. The PAP's mantra of meritocracy and a multi-racial political party was anathema.

If you look at the big "melting pot" democracies - Britain, the US, Canada and Australia - they all have dominant political parties that encompass all races and religions, with the extreme left, right and religious-based parties on the fringes of the system. And Spore, to some extent, has successfully adapted this to its own unique situation.

And in all these countries, the minorities have a substantial degree of upward mobility based on educational accomplishments or business/entrepreneurial acumen. Not perfect, by any means, but sufficient to keep the middle class of all races and religions growing.

How to apply this in the Msian context? That, people, is the billion-ringgit question!

AllUrban
21-02-2006, 05:12 PM
If we continue to have race-based political parties, the dichotomies will continue. The basic fault lines were already in place before Malaysia was formed.

That was one reason why Spore was asked to leave Msia. The PAP's mantra of meritocracy and a multi-racial political party was anathema.

If you look at the big "melting pot" democracies - Britain, the US, Canada and Australia - they all have dominant political parties that encompass all races and religions, with the extreme left, right and religious-based parties on the fringes of the system. And Spore, to some extent, has successfully adapted this to its own unique situation.

And in all these countries, the minorities have a substantial degree of upward mobility based on educational accomplishments or business/entrepreneurial acumen. Not perfect, by any means, but sufficient to keep the middle class of all races and religions growing.

How to apply this in the Msian context? That, people, is the billion-ringgit question!

I can give a couple of suggestions.

Medium of Instruction

In "officially bilingual" Canada, all students must take 6 years of French (or English/Anglais, if they are in French medium schools), from age 8 or 9 to age 15. They have to have a minimum number of minutes per week. In secondary school, they have to take at least one credit in French (or English/Anglais).

Many Canadian schools also offer French immersion (or English Immersion in French medium schools) and the programs are successful and very competitive.

So, offer english medium national schools...sjk(e) and smk(e), but make students learn Bahasa Malaysia as a required course at the english medium school, for each year of school. Another option is to offer an English immersion or Chinese Immersion or Tamil Immersion program in all national schools. This will increase the value and competitiveness of the national school system since students can learn different languages and maintain cultural heritage within a strong national school environment...truly a chance to create the bangsa Malaysia.

Political
As for the political solution...right now the race based parties are powerful because there is only really one pathway to power. It is clear that the real political races are not the elections where the rakyat gets to vote...they are the party elections.

Currently the Opposition parties (Gerakan and DAP) are not strong enough to compete with BN (which ultimately makes UMNO the arbiter of Malaysia).

A possible solution is to create a "barisan alternatif," that is, an alternative coalition that has a realistic chance of winning the government. When the BN gets some fear of losing their seats, it will be shocking to see how fast they and their ministers will change their politics.

I think that by creating/having that alternative, the politics in Malaysia will eventually settle around political and economic views (e.g. liberal, democrat, conservative) rather than racial identity.

Cheers, m