Racial Quotas In Malaysia: Grim Warning For America
Over the course of several trips to the South East Asian country of Malaysia I have been struck by how similar Malaysia’s race relations are to America’s—despite the obvious enormous differences. The official Malaysian policy of dispensing privileges by race may even be a warning of what the future may hold if our current policies and demographic trends continue.
Malaysia is about 60 percent Malay, 25 percent Chinese, and 8 percent Indian. In the 19th century, the British colonial government found that the native Malays did not want to work in tin mines or on rubber plantations, so they imported people who did: Tamils from India. The British also worried that smart Chinese immigrants would dominate the country. They therefore deliberately steered business to Malays and recruited them for government jobs. They feared—rightly as it turned out—that Malays would turn ugly if they thought Chinese were getting too far ahead. The British wanted Malays to keep getting a leg up even after independence in 1957, so when they drafted a constitution for the new country, they included Article 153 specifically to "safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives" through relatively mild preferences in education, the civil service and business licenses.
The races rubbed along without too much friction until 1969. That year, Chinese political parties nearly upset the ruling Malay coalition and held a victory parade through Malay neighborhoods in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. The Malays didn’t like Chinese flaunting their power, and rioted, killing hundreds of Chinese. [Race War In Malaysia, Time Magazine, May. 23, 1969]
Violence works. The government responded with a new, stronger pro-Malay preferences program called the New Economic Policy (NEP), designed to increase the Malay share of national wealth. It is also known as the Bumiputra Program, from a Malay word that means "son of the soil" or "native."
All Malaysians are officially divided into bumiputras, who get preferences, and non-bumiputras, who don’t. "Bumis" must be Muslim Malay stock, though they need not be from Malaysia. This means an immigrant from Indonesia gets preferences over Indians or Chinese who have been in Malaysia for generations. Some of the specifics of the NEP are that Malays get a 60 percent quota at universities, discounts on real estate, and a guaranteed 30 percent of all new issues on the Malaysian stock market. The civil service became a bumi reserve, companies owned by non-bumis were barred from government contracts, and it became even harder for Indians and Chinese to get business licenses. The NEP set aside millions of dollars to pay for overseas training for Malay students and executives.
The Bumiputra Program does not take class into consideration, so the children of Malay millionaires get the inside track on boardroom posts, overseas scholarships, business licenses and plum government jobs. Minorities don’t like the system, but there is little they can do in a country that is majority Malay.
Read the whole report HERE