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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Malays and their ‘educational misery’



A few days ago, I received a WhatsApp with a long heading. It dealt with the education woes of the Malay community and was titled:
HASIL DARI DASAR BANGANG, SIAPA YANG BANGANG KALAU BUKAN KITA YANG MEMILIH MEREKA PEMBUAT DASAR BANGANG? SEORANG RAKAN SEJAWAT DI IPT MENULIS
Loosely translated, this is the equivalent in English.
PRODUCT OF STUPID POLICY, WHO IS IT THAT IS STUPID IF NOT OURSELVES WHO HAVE CHOSEN THOSE POLICY-MAKERS. A FRIEND FROM THE UNIVERSITY WRITES
This post in the social media has gone viral in many Malay chat groups. But I doubt if it will ever appear in the Malay newspapers such as Utusan Malaysia or Berita Harian. Or even be carried or commented on in the English media even though it is worthy of national discussion and analysis.
Here is a quick summary of its contents:
1. Malay younger generation not able to afford higher education even though they may have excellent examination result.
2. Limited places in public universities and prohibitively expensive private higher education.
3. Parents have to dip into their savings to pay for children's higher education.
4. Students not able to choose the more expensive courses such as medicine despite interest and ability.
5. Parents with many children are worst off. In the words of the post:
Ramai ibubapa yang kecawa. Yang ada tiga anak sudah azab, yang ada 5,7, 10 anak bagaimana? Mereka yang sudah “give-up” akan berkata “buat apa suruh anak belajar tinggi-tinggi? Last-last berhutang juga, baik terus kerja, baik kahwin dengan menteri, baik jadi orang biasa-biasa jual goreng pisang”.
6. Meanwhile our political leaders and policy makers are enriching themselves and could not give a damn.
7. We are angry with our stupid but proud ministers. But we are exactly the same in being stupid but proud.
8. We hope God will save our nation by removing the cursed leadership and having in its place a responsible and God-fearing one.
Selamat datang to the Education Misery Club
My response to this post is:
1. Welcome to the Education Misery Club which has for a long time had hundreds of thousands, if not millions of non-Malay parents, as its members during the past 40 plus years of the New Economic Policy (NEP) .
2. To get them through the decades of discrimination and bias, non-Malay parents have followed the following strategies:
a) Save and work hard; and save some more.
b) Practice a policy of self-reliance as little or nothing can be expected from the government except for those well-connected and BN party leaders.
c) Have children enrol in practical and affordable courses. Avoid religious schools and courses except for those that want to enter the priesthood, monastery or nunnery.
d) Push their children to study hard and compete as best they can.
d) Practice family planning and limit the number of children they have. Perhaps two or three at most.Certainly not five or more.
e) Vote for a change of the ‘bangang’ government any time you get the opportunity. Any replacement will do, even PAS candidates previously. But today with PAS under Hadi Awang in cahoots with Umno, avoid PAS as it is part of the bangang mafia..
Let me give some practical advice and end on a personal note.
Don’t be dependent on the government. The Chinese community, and to some extent the Indian, have supported the bright and deserving children from their own community to further their higher education because of the drought in government assistance. The Malay community certainly can do the same.
I myself have supported many, including some Malay, students who were not able to obtain government scholarships. I have also pledged in my will for my executors to use my wealth to help poor students.
If the Malay rich and wealthy, especially those who claim to be religious, do the same, I am sure no deserving Malay young will be left behind in realising their educational ambitions.
Of course, voting out the present leaders and getting rid of the “bangang” mentality is necessary to “selamatkan negara and gantikan pemimpin celaka kepada pemimpin yang berjiwa beragama” as advised by by the post.
NB: Readers commenting on this can help other readers to track down the original Malay post and contribute to the chat groups discussing it.

KOON YEW YIN, a retired chartered engineer, is a philanthropist.- Mkini

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