Meritocracy the way to go, say politicians

Jennifer Gomez and Elizabeth Zachariah, TMI

The call to abolish meritocracy in the education system for the sake of Malays is a step backward which should not be entertained, say Malaysian politicians “Meritocracy should definitely stay. It is good,” said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching.

She did not want to comment further but opposition politicians took the issue a step further claiming that the call was politically motivated to create racial disharmony.

Malay educationists had backed a call to abolish meritocracy at a forum over the weekend claiming that it had created “Chinese supremacy”.

Malay Consultative Council president Ibrahim Abu Shah, who is also the former Universiti Teknologi Mara deputy chancellor, had  proposed that the Education Ministry restructure the education system to return “justice” to Malay students.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also rejected the idea of doing away with meritocracy, adding that as an educationist, Ibrahim should not have said that.

“For a former deputy chancellor to say that speaks volumes about our education system.”

“If you say we should implement affirmative action to uplift the poor in their academic capabilities, then it is great proposal,” Anwar said.

PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli said that while he acknowledged that there are disparities in terms of education between the Malays and other races, removing meritocracy from the system was not the solution.

“This is not the root cause of the problem. It is not going to change the overall achievement and performance of our schoolchildren, especially the Malays.”

“The real problem is the inability and the subsequent failure of our education system to bring out the best in the Malay students,” Rafizi said.

He added that it was “very backward” to continue to tell the Malay children that they are not good enough.

“What kind of message are we sending to the Malay children if we tell them they cannot compete with other races except among themselves.”

“We send Malay students overseas to compete with the rest of the world, but here, we have a problem.”