Real Cost of NEP – Insights from an Ice Cream Seller

I cant help but put in my two scoops worth over the recent discourse over the cost of the affirmative action policies we have undertaken over the years – which affected the most part of my life.

By Roland K Selvanayagam

Numbers have been tossed in the air but essentially, the real costs cannot be quantified. Its ill implementation has affected our lives in more areas than we can sit up and observe

Lets look at a convenient 10

1) Education

Up to the late 60’s our education was considered top class from primary to tertiary level. Even the diploma awarding colleges had a certain class about them eg the precursor to the now Universit Teknologi Malaysia

Thanks to the politicised implementation by our ‘educators’, our schools are now shunned. Tuition after hours becomes almost a standard. What our ‘teachers’ do not do in schools, the tuition teachers fill in. When the string of distinctions are announced, the schools and their teachers claim the credit.

I need go no further than my own two children.

Universities locally are generally avoided unless one cannot afford the alternative of overseas education or private sector university colleges.

The atmosphere in schools and public universities are so sterile that I wonder if I am sometimes in Brunei.


2) Health

I remember visiting our old GH in KL in the 60’s and 70’s and also the UH in Petaling Jaya.

The doctors and nurses were dedicated, pretty professional and you never really thought of going to a private hospital for better treatment.

Today, one has to ensure private health insurance is in place or ‘endure’ the public healthcare system.Sure there are exceptions out there but then, that should have been the rule. How many lower middle class and upward segments of our society opt to have their babies delivered in the government hospitals? That itself is a gauge of damnation.


3) Brain Drain

Suffice to say that if just half the Malaysian diaspora return to Malaysia and just are left alone to excel, we will be taking on Australia, S’pore, Taiwan etc. Just look at what Malaysians are doing in S’pore, Australia, US, UK, China, Canada etc. It makes we wonder if that was the underlying intention of our implementation in the 1st place!


4) Sports

Just look back at the time when we were powerhouses in football (at least in Asia), hockey and athlectics. Thanks to almost homogenous teams today, we are not worth a 2nd look. Corruption, endemic in our system, has nailed the final coffin to our football dreams. The tentacles of NEP permeated this arena where it was the best sphere to nurture nation building and cohesiveness.

The Nicol Davids, Chong Wei’s and a few INDIVIDUAL cases are a result more of their own sacrificies and that of their parents. Our schools and clubs like TPCA play no part in this process.


5) Inferiority Complex

Like it or not, we have bred a society with an inferiority complex. Sometimes we seem to apologise for just existing!!!! Just study the behaviour of our tourists when they are overseas. Even our students overseas do not seem comfortable engaging with local students or other foreigners. Undeniably, we have our bright stars but we ought to have a multitude of stars given our latent talent as a nation. If anything, the NEP has cemented the JAGUH KAMPUNG mentality in our society


6) Judiciary

In trying to ‘redress’ the racial imbalance in the judiciary, we sidelined eminent judges and elevated Jaguh Kampungs who could read a few pages of English. Of course, our long serving PM destroyed the moral fabric of this institution in addition to other ‘collateral damage’ done

Any foreign investor worth his salt insists in their agreements that disputes are resolved through arbitration but OUTSIDE Malaysia. What deeper insult and perception does one need?


7) Segregation of Society

At pre school, segregation is not uncommon along religious lines – Islamic, Christian etc.

At primary, there is a scramble to register for Chinese medium schools and Tamil schools unlike pre 70’s. The govt schools are sometimes like schools of indoctrination – teachers primarily of one race and religion and now mostly women (not that I have anything against women). At secondary, ‘bumiputera’ students are shunted to residential schools and colleges. Urban secondary schools become the 1st point of contact for Chinese and Tamil medium kids from primary.

After form 5, urban non-Malays will be sent to private colleges, Malays and other Bumis to matriculation courses and bright non-Malays enticed to S’pore.

At university, segregation gets more entrenched with each race clinging to their own kind with the exception of those from urban schools.

Employment time, non-Malays see the civil service as an alien arena. GLCs pick the cream of the Malays and other bumiputera who are not already snatched by the top MNCs. The others take what comes – usually creating a mismatch in what they do and what they studied. The armed forces and police are no attraction for non-Malays. The impression given is that they are tolerated, not welcomed. Ibrahim Ali will not shout that the non-Malays make up less than 33% in these areas.


8) Culture of Corruption and erosion of core values

Corruption has permeated every echelon of society – from the drain sweeper to the top leaders thanks to the NEP. Consequently, core values have eroded as much as our Ringgit. Even a place in the 1st class ward of the hospital can be found with some sumbangan. Even more macabre, a grave site to bury your loved one can suddenly be found.

Blue ICs, passports, parking fines, scholarships, tenders awarded, even sports are all commodities in the currency of corruption. Not to mention the judgements you want in the halls of ‘justice’.


9) Lost generation

Perhaps our biggest loss has been the generation born in the 60’s and later for it is they who now live through the muck and filth of the decay our society has degenerated into. Wonder who the prime culprit is. If we have the political will, it will take at least another generation to come back to where we were – if at all possible. If NEP is akin to cancer, then we are short of oncologists.


10) Rent Seekers

By far, this has been the ‘profession’ that flourished the most from NEP. And the Rent Seekers are worse than parasites but they have multiplied and grown to such an extent that they stare at your faces almost everywhere you go – from Parliament to the Mat Rempits (the cadres for future rent seeking MPs)


The list could go on but how does one encapsulate the blow out of 40 years of NEP in a few sheets other than toilet paper?