Monday, July 18, 2005

Meritocracy @ UMNO AGM

Looks like the meritocracy debate will continue unabated during the UMNO annual general assembly season. So there'll be plenty to blog about for this "controversial" issue to all communities for the coming days. Who wins the battle at UMNO will have a significant impact to the direction of our education system, and consequently affect all students in Malaysia.

In all the pre-AGM rhetoric, I'm happy to hear our Prime Minister remain steadfastly progressive, and delivered the strongest statement to date that the "meritocratic" policy to set to stay. Many in the non-bumiputera community will always lament the fact that the existing "meritocratic" policy is not "meritocratic" enough. However, it's probably asking for too much for the ultra-sensitive policy of ethnic-based affirmative to be reversed in the most drastic manner within the shortest period of time. For the moment, I'd be pleased that the direction in which our education system is moving remains in favour of the meritocratic-like policies.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi's statement yesterday is reported in Bernama and The Star, entitled "Meritocracy Not A Victimisation Of The Malays - Abdullah" and "Fear Not Meritocracy, Malays Urged" accordingly. Compared to his more diplomatic response to the meritocracy debate raised by the Johor Umno last week (read about how the Johor Menteri Besar went bonkers here), this latest statement is stronger and more forthcoming. Excerpts of his statement are quoted here:

"We have to use a benchmark, don't be afraid of harder... how else can one succeed if not through hard work. View it as a challenge to be surmounted instead of pushing to back down"

He said it was no longer true that the Malays today depended fully on government aid. "The majority still depends on aid. There are already those who pay for themselves... the Malay agenda is to take care of the needy"
"There is no reason for Malays to fear meritocracy". The Prime Minister said he did not believe
that Malays were so weak that they would not be able to achieve success under such a system.

We will continue with such a policy,” he said.

Responding to a question on some Umno leaders who were against meritocracy, Abdullah, who is also Umno president, said: “I do not agree with the assumption that meritocracy is a betrayal of the Malays.”

If we want success, what other way can we achieve that except to work hard?

For those who has been critical of Malaysia's ethnic-based affirmative action policies, now is the time to come out in support of our Prime Minister to ensure that the "rent-seekers" looking for an easy ride will not win in their battle.

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