There is indeed no doubt that Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures and the international hub of diversity. With advertisements and movies highlighting the beauty of this multicultural country, one can’t really point out some of the ugliest facts that choke its inhabitants every day. These privileged people either fail or choose to ignore some of the worst issues faced by the country’s minorities! With the pandemic taking a toll on our daily lives, the gap between the privileged and underprivileged is of concern.
A few days ago, a tweet made its rounds on social media and sadly, it made everyone realise that our broken system that reeks of systemic racism is going to be the bane of the nation. The tweet, posted by Twitter user, @m4ryyyyyy, stated, “In the nutshell, it’s always the non-bumi university-students yang memekak pasal tak dapat placement. First of all, hak Bumiputera wujud as a win-win situation for the Malays yang sanggup share country with pendatang dari luar negara & ada je Malays yang tak dapat placement FYI.”
This was her response to another Twitter user’s tweet, questioning why a straight-A Indian student can’t manage to get a single UPU placement despite the student’s excellent results.
This tweet has indeed been at the receiving end of continuous backlash and just yesterday, popular YouTuber, Arwind Kumar known famously for his alter ego, Mak Cik Rosmah, posted his response to this viral tweet.
Albeit done in a comical manner with the caption, “Do you want me to? Don’t start this pendatang debate with me, sis. Don’t,” his response was very apt with the situation.
And again, today, Arwind Kumar decided to post a heart-warming video, detailing his thoughts on the “pendatang” debate. That video, spanning across a duration of 1 minute and 50 seconds, reiterated the fact that all Malaysians are “pendatangs” and the only genuine inhabitants of Malaysia are those from the Orang Asli community.
He also talked about how, we, as Malaysians should stop stereotyping other races in order to maintain the unity, peace and harmony of our country.
This controversial tweet was also highlighted by The Loud Asians, a non-partisan awareness platform on Instagram. They have featured this issue in one of their recent posts which also details the quota system existing in the Malaysian education system and it also touches upon, the “Melayu Malas” stereotype commonly used by existing politicians.
Following this, a petition was created on the famed petition website, Change.org. The #PendidikanUntukSemua petition was created by The Loud Asians and as of, 20th July, 5:39pm, it has garnered 40,348 signatories. The accompanying statement of the petition reads, “It is 2021, yet there are reports of non-Bumiputera Malaysians with stellar results who do not get a placement in the public education sector. Even in 2019, 90% of public education seats were reserved for the Bumiputera, whilst only 10% was given to other Malaysian races. It is time for Malaysia to have a fair public education system. The rakyat demands for the attention of the Prime Minister of Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin, Senior Minister of Education Datuk Dr. Radzi Jidin and his deputies* to:
- Increase non-Bumiputera seat placements by revising the 90:10 quota system in public universities to a more proportional number based on each race’s population size.*
- Prioritise B40 & M40 applications irrespective of race. Malaysians of all backgrounds have the right to an education.
- One of the reasons for the National Economic Policy was to eliminate poverty. A similar formula should be applied and enforced for the non-Bumiputera as many are also in poverty.
- Build more public universities to accommodate the increase of students, or for a more cost-effective solution, perform MBO’s* or buy over struggling private universities and reprogram it as another public university branch.
- Provide appropriate support to teachers and lecturers, in terms of funds and training, to ensure their capability in managing an increase in student intakes.
One argument against increasing the 10% quota for non-Bumiputera citizens is that many of them are ‘financially well-off’ and can afford to go to private institutions. This isn’t the case. In 2015, the Indian community had 41.31% of M40 citizens, and 38.71% B40 citizens. The Chinese community on the other hand had 42.32% of M40 citizens and 28.02% of B40 members. It is not a far-off assumption that this number is either the same, or worse ever since the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Nevertheless, we applaud Malaysians for giving their utmost support towards the petition and for listening to the cries of the minorities and the underprivileged. In the midst of the pandemic, it is definitely important for everyone to stay united despite the adversities faced, regardless of gender, race or religious values.