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Appoint talented non-Malays as vice-chancellors

Universities will be a good place to start a race-free policy to ensure capable candidates are appointed.

13/6/2021 7:23:00 AM

Universities will be a good place to start a race-free policy to ensure capable candidates are appointed. FMTNews NonMalay UniversityMalaya UM

Universities will be a good place to start a race-free policy to ensure capable candidates are appointed.

From Kua Kia SoongSo, there are five vice-chancellor posts in public universities that are vacant now and there seems to be a problem trying to find the right candidates. For a country that is hoping to become a high-income society soon, one wonders what the problem is.

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Some have put it down to the question of political appointments, just like finding a CEO for a government-linked company (GLC). We know it is not just an issue of political patronage as we have had ruling coalitions under Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan and now Perikatan Nasional and they all refuse to confront the elephant in the room, namely blatant racial discrimination.

Before May 13, 1969, there were two non-Malay vice-chancellors at Universiti Malaya – Huang Li Song (1965-66) and Chin Fung Kee (1966-67). After the Emergency following the riots and the introduction of the so-called “quota system”, with the amendment (8A) to Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, there was no mention in the amendment nor in the New Economic Policy that the vice-chancellors of public universities must be Malay.

Still, the record speaks for itself – since 1969, every single vice-chancellor or deputy vice-chancellor for that matter, in all our public universities has been Malay.With such a blatant racial bar on promotions and meritocracy, is it surprising that since 1971, many non-Malay academics have left for other countries to find a more level playing field that puts competence first and where their capabilities are acknowledged and celebrated?

Nonetheless, is it really the case that there are no non-Malay academics left in the country today who are qualified to be vice-chancellors in any of the 20 public universities in the country? How long must Malaysian citizens put up with this charade of trumpeting lofty sounding education philosophies while practising such overt and embarrassing racial discrimination?

Live up to the National Education BlueprintThe National Education Blueprint declares that it is “… designed to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable and competent, who possess high moral standards and who are responsible and capable of achieving high levels of personal well-being as well as being able to contribute to the harmony and betterment of the family, the society and the nation at large.”

It also promotes “Equity for All Students” and fosters “Unity among Students”.“Since independence, one of Malaysia’s core aspirations as a uniquely diverse nation has been to foster unity. Highly diverse nations that embrace this diversity and prioritise social and systemic inclusiveness exhibit greater unity.

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International research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicates that such greater unity is associated with healthier populations, safer communities, and higher rates of employment.”How can our society promote high moral standards, foster unity, embrace diversity and prioritise social and systemic inclusiveness if there is blatant racial discrimination in the educational, economic and political spheres?

University leaders are key movers of student outcomesThe National Education Blueprint identifies teachers and school leaders as the most important school-based drivers of student outcomes, pointing out that an outstanding principal, one who is focused on instructional and not simply administrative leadership, can raise student outcomes by as much as 20%. So, in what way could race conceivably play a role in achieving this outcome?

Thus far, Malaysia’s education system has failed to produce the skills and talent required to take the country’s economy to the next level. A key obstacle lies in the government’s failure to promote a fair and open economy.The Bumiputera policy and insufficient checks and balances continue to hamper the country’s economy, leading to poor practices in governance. Reforms are critically needed to rally the nation to achieve its economic objectives, and arguably only feasible if such reforms engage the talents of the whole nation through race-free inclusive policies.

In contrast, the NEP has mainly served to encourage rent-seeking behaviour and patronage politics which have held back national progress.Reform agenda: End race-based policiesIn Malaysia, given that it is now 30 years since the NEP deadline in 1990, it makes developmental sense to implement a new socially just affirmative action policy based on need or class or sector. Only such a race-free policy can convince the people that the government is socially just, fair and democratic.

The cost and consequences of the racially discriminatory policy in Malaysia have been immense, especially since the NEP in 1971. It has caused a crippling polarisation of Malaysian society and a costly brain drain.A good place to start such a race-free policy is to ensure that capable candidates, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, religion or political affiliation are appointed as vice-chancellors of public universities.

A political commitment to equality, democracy and human rights would further involve ratifying the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.Are any of the political coalitions – PN, BN and PH – up to this task?

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 Kua Kia Soong is Suaram adviser and an FMT reader.The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT. Read more: Free Malaysia Today »

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Dont worry!...miracles wont happen in Malaysia!...... Amendment :Entry via meritocracy only ! . . . .Computer says....... no Race-based mentality during pandemic. Shame on you FMT/DAP, students can’t even go back to their normal classes and you are worried about position and power-grab A bit tough when we still have racially segregated universities...

Talk to much,, when it come to your door,, you should know Use English as teaching medium ah? It would turn the fearful $&a%$ into berzerker food panda riders. Can we have the she thing, except in governance? If it does more good to the university to would also do good for the country. But tunm please don't scare people by saying nanti dipijak/tindas/dirampas hak. You're old, not stupid but old. Should be wiser.

I suggest they appoint a Foodpanda rider as Vice Chancellor:) Give non Malay a chance to lead the educational institution for contract base 3 to 5years. If no result they will be fired. Take the challenge. Why not start with wawasan schools? Oh, cannot, against community and heritage interest. Greedy hypocrites.

COMMENT | Vice-chancellors and the elephant in the roomThe lack of non-Malay leaders in public universities since 1971 point to blatant racial discrimination.

The mediocracy quota system in U cannot or would not be abolish, so our talents are always taken by foreign countries. Chancellors and deputies are appointed by 'who they know' rather than merits. Always a political slave. Why so difficult... Just increase the number of non bumi students into Uni and all will be fine.

Close Chinese schools first Start by getting rid of race based politics and policies and dimwits and backdoor ministers and etcetcetc Fear. What will happen if we give them equal opportunities. What happens to us, our positions. They fear so they control. Perhaps you should invent the cure to inferiority complex.

Race free policy: appoint talented non Malay... See the irony? Why cant just appoint 'talented Malaysian' chosen by a multiracial comittee?

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