MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Monday, October 31, 2016

Lighting the way for ethnic Indians in Malaysia

While the bumiputera and the Chinese have become the centre of attention in Malaysia, we have indirectly betrayed our brothers and sisters of Indian descent.
I distinctly remember being brought up in a system which pits the Malays against the Chinese.
"Orang cina mata duitan."
"Orang Melayu pemalas."
"Orang cina tak beradab. Orang Melayu tak biadap."
And many more racial slurs that engulf the relationship among these two races in Malaysia.
While policies are formed and fiery speeches laced with racial undertones made, we forget our Indian brothers and sisters.
I spent a few hours going through the newly published report on Climbing the ladder: Socio-economic Mobility in Malaysia by Khazanah Research Institute.
The findings honestly broke my heart. The Malaysian heart which beats in sync with the tune of diversity and tolerance. The beat which celebrates unity in diversity.
Highlighted points from this book:
1) Only five percent of Indian children born to parents who weren't formally educated will end up in tertiary education. For the bumiputera, it's at 33 percent and the Chinese, at 44 percent.
This means the Malays in this category are six times more likely to get tertiary education while the Chinese at eight times, if compared to our Indian brothers and sisters.
2) For parents with primary education, only 13 percent of Indian children will end up enrolling in tertiary education, a stark difference from the 38 percent for bumiputera participation and 37 percent for Chinese participation.
3) Those of Indian descent are also recorded to be less optimistic of the future: 64 percent for the Indians and 74 percent for the bumiputera and the Chinese.
4) For parents with low skills, only 19 percent of their Indian children will end up in a high skilled career. For the Chinese children, the rate is 39 percent and for bumiputera, 25 percent.
These findings indicate that the ladder of progress isn't equitably accessible to all Malaysians. While the bumiputera and Chinese bicker among one another, we forget that we aren't the only ones tasked to safeguard Malaysia. What about the status of our Indian brothers and sisters?
Even research papers at times miss out the need to gauge the level of discrimination those of Indian descent go through.
One example is the research paper on Discrimination in higher degrees: Race & Graduate hiring in Malaysia, which shows the levels of discrimination faced by Malay and Chinese graduates.
In order for Malaysia to move forward, we should move forward as one collective force. One Malaysian force.
We must not forget that Malaysia is not only inhabited by Malays and Chinese. We are a land of diversity, not exclusivity.
The colourful 'kolam' drawn every Deepavali is a symbol of shared prosperity and unity. It signals the true colours of Malaysia.

This Deepavali, I urge a moment of introspection. A moment of soul-searching. A moment of togetherness to be fortified.
Let the Festival of Lights truly light the hearts of all Malaysians, irrespective of race and creed.
We are Malaysia.

SYED SADDIQ SYED ABDUL RAHMAN is a part-time lecturer at Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) Malaysia and is Asia’s best debater, winning the United Asia Debate Championship in May 2015. He is also one of the founders of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu). - Mkini

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