The Colour of Scholarships

Considering the function of academic scholarships and thereto just who should be entitled to scholarships.

When Najib proposed to open scholarship opportunities to all top scorers, particularly 9A’s and above, I saluted the move and thought nothing more of the matter. A politician buckling to popular tit-bits is nothing new and at least he’s heading in the right direction. However, it irked me as the usual Malay-rights groups, the Perkasa-led Malay Consultative Council (MPM) responded to it with “constructive” criticisms, claiming that it should reflect 67% composition of the Malay community in Malaysia.


My response to this is this: firstly, Professor Datuk Dr Kamarudin Kachar, not all 67% are Malaysian Malays. Some of them are actually assimilated Indonesians whose parents holds red MyKads. Many Malaysians are denied opportunities on the fallacy that they are of the wrong ethnicity and that they are less likely to be “loyal” to Malaysia. Instead, as long as you are a “Malay,” “imported” or not, you are entitled to a scholarship, and admittance to heavily subsidised boarding schools.

My point is not that Malaysian-born students of Indonesian parentage who are intelligent enough do not deserve scholarships by virtue of their parents being immigrants. On the contrary, hard work and diligence should always be rewarded. I know some of these kids – they’ve studied hard and they should be awarded where deserved. I am simply pointing out how our education system discriminates Malaysians.

It is ridiculous that descendants of immigrants are awarded privileges denied to generations born and raised as Malaysians on the basis of race and religion. The argument that affirmative action policies are meant to help the Malays falls here. Right to education in Malaysia is distributed to her citizens on the basis of race and religion is sanctioned by the State on no moral or ethical grounds, but purely on the “in-group vs. out-group” mentality. Why develop descendants of immigrants while neglecting and disparaging our own purely because they are different from the acceptable “original” settlers of Malaya?

Secondly, for many people tertiary education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty and as a means to social mobility. In short, education is the only way to help provide for your parents and your siblings. It is the only way you can protect the rights of your family and your properties against bad people. It is that golden gateway to a better life. The cycle of poverty is not specifically restricted to the Malays in the rural areas.

There are the rural and urban poor, and despite the differences in skin colour, private religious beliefs, and dietary preferences, they are no less human than your average Muhammad. Everyone is the same; we worry about grades, food, shelter, girlfriend/boyfriend, parents, allowances, and etc. It is our political parties that continuously indoctrinate us into thinking in terms of “Malay” and “non-Malay” as “human” and “less human,” or “us” and “them.” There is no reason whatsoever for racial quotas for scholarships as we are all Homo sapiens – human beings who are essentially the same and deserve the same rights.

Thirdly, I have observed that Malays as a community celebrates mediocrity. The concept of fear, self-guilt, insecurity and excessive emotional response is propagated through the most dangerous of tools – religion. Even places of worship; such as the surau and mosques are not exempt from political intrigue. I am sick and tired of watching and listening to beautiful scriptures of the Holy Quran taken out of context and manipulated to suit the purposes of the elite, wealthy, and privileged to maintain their power base. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, the scripts werre all written and approved by the state’s religious body, but it does make it more questionable, does it not?

It is no secret that as a collective, humans are fairly obtuse. The common sense of the pacifist few often escapes them, and therefore the masterful skill of the other few who promulgates hatred, suspicion, and utter ignorance carries more conviction as truth than the message of universal love and harmony. How Malays love their drama enam petang! The ever present threat of imaginary enemies was created to divert blame and responsibility from themselves.

Fourthly, I do not see this as a point of conflict for anyone affected by the change of policies. The way I see it, the Malay boys and girls will instead be told that they actually deserve the grades that they acquired through their own sweat and midnight oil-burning, to have the self-esteem to do whatever they set their minds to, and that they do not need crutches to achieve their dreams and help their families.

The only people who dramatise an otherwise positive move for all youths in this country, are people who feel threatened by the lack of dependence and growing confidence of the previously trodden majority – those who feel that to keep being relevant, they need to bully and put others down to feel better about themselves.

Finally, I recommend several criteria as a basis of Federal Scholarships. Scholarships should only be awarded to members of the lower-middle to poverty level students who exhibited excellent co-curricular achievements as well as good academic grades. A well-balanced individual is the best product that could be produced by only the best of institutions.

Students from this demographic tend to appreciate their education more, as well as the public knowledge of taxpayer monies well spent. Furthermore, the upper-middle class and above should be completely disqualified from eligibility to these scholarships, and should instead be encouraged to take up PTPTN or consider other financial options.

Most of them can afford private education, anyway. Another favourite suggestion by a friend of mine is to completely do away with overseas scholarships and force everyone to study in local universities. This is due to the fact that once given an opportunity to go abroad, the precious few brainy ones upon considering the socio-political circumstances in Malaysia, choose not to return. Our education coffers shall also be saved, and can be channeled to improve dilapidated Tamil and Orang Asli primary or secondary schools or increase salaries of long-suffering teachers.

For the record, I turned down scholarships because I genuinely believe that it should go to people who really need them. I find it unfair that students who can afford original Guess, DKNY and Chanel were also awarded scholarships when they obviously need it not.

My, what a long rant in reply to one man’s few sentences. Well, I have said my two cents. In conclusion, I truly believe on Federal Scholarships for those who deserve it by merit and based on their family’s financial background. Any thoughts, anyone?

LB: In her own words – Azira Aziz is a mongrel Malaysian who hopes to have “Malay” and “non-Malay” relegated as a relic of the past sometime in the future. A graduate from UiTM, and is currently undergoing training to become a lawyer.

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Posts by Azira Aziz

This young lawyer harbours hope that one day Malaysians irrespective of ethnicity and religion have equal rights under the law, as we all are before the eyes of God. She is moving with UndiMsia! ( and will always be an Anak Bangsa Malaysia. (

Posted on 19 July 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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29 Responses to The Colour of Scholarships

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  3. Emily

    As a tuition agency in education, we did not support racial discrimination at as we believe teachers and students of all races could learn from each other too.

  4. Home Tutor Malaysia

    I personally think that at the base level, we are blending well with all the races. The issue of race is only at the top level where much media has put into spotlight of their words and opinion. We as teachers must educate and share with students that everyone has same value in God and not base on race, culture, skin color etc.

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  8. John

    Thank you Azira for your views on our racist policies.At least we still have rational Malays around. All these racist policies of the country is in actual fact putting a halt on the advancement of the Malay race and indirectly creating a "super" race amongst the Chinese. A chinese child will be reminded and trained by their parents to work hard in order to survive in this harsh country because the government will "press" them until they are dead. It's a classic case of survival of the fittest! The Malay child will have a mentality that everything is there for them. They do not have to worry at all. Just compare the Malays in Singapore and Malaysia, there is a hugh difference. Give them a fishing net and teach them how to fish instead of giving them fishes everyday.

    I would like to share my experience of racism with our readers.

    I had the first taste of racism at a very young age (very innocent) after finishing my Cambridge School Cert. (O level)in 1971. I got an above average result and just because I did not get a credit in the Bahasa Malaysia (as it was called then) I could not go to form six to do the A level. During my time there were only two mission school offering Form Six classes for the whole of my town! My Malay friends having results worst than mine were accepted to the sixth form. I went down to the local education office to ask why they can be accepted and not me? An education officer told me that because they were BUMIPUTRA! During that young age I did not know what Bumiputra meant so I looked up my English-Malaysia dictionary. Guess what was written there? "Son of the soil" I couldn't understand what that meant because I felt that I was also born on this soil. So what does that meant? Princes' of the soil would be more appropriate.

  9. Qama Gill


    you don't have to appologize, you are not at fault here. Newton's Law of Momentum stated that for every action there is reason to it. i do believe you have your own share of reason. practically, Malaysia is the one at loss by not having one good human capital resources. every parent wants the best for their kids, right? clearly, the current Malaysia regime is not able to provide you better opportunity for your kids. if they score flying colour results in exams, still it would not guarantee anything since you are a non-Malay. out of 1500 receipents for overseas scholarships, 1200 is Malay students. how about if we go through each receipents on their financial backgrounds? my chips on the table say that reasonable portion having parent/relatives in government/GLC sectors.

    how about secondary education opportunities? SBP's & MARA schools have cap of 5%~10% of non-Malay students only whereas the figure of non-Malay students that excell in UPSR is huge. this and lot other racial discrimination had cauterized proper development among public itself. if this keep on going, Malaysia will be down the drain soon and the people will be liable for it; for not opting for a better government on the ballot box. how much more pain that we should received in order to see this? i leave the verdict to my countrymen to decide.

  10. ruyom

    Little did I know the life changing experience I was to face when I took up the opportunity to be trained in Germany back in 1972 after my A level.

    On completion, I spent three years working in Singapore saving enough for a one-way ticket to UK for further studies. Graduated in 1979 with a degree in mechanical engineering and employed by ITT (International Telegraph and Telephone) in London, I was sponsored to continue a part-time master degree in computer science.

    By mid-1980s, I was awarded a grant in robotic research at Imperial College. And further studies concluded an MA in e-business.

    Having worked and lived in UK for 25 years, it was time to look back on my root in Malaysia. Initial programme by Malaysia government to lure back expertise did not impress me.

    By this time I was married with two kids studying in better schools in UK than I can imagine possible in Malaysia. Fortunately I had the hindsight not to uproot my family back to Malaysia.

    I understood the affirmative action to uplift the malays during my time. It was understandable and accepted by my generation in return for the right as citizens in Malaysia. In my eyes Umno had breached the contract with the non-malays.

    Being born in Malaysia before 1957 and in the spirit of independence, my returning to help build a better Malaysia has been a mistake. I will not go into details here.

    A short note should suffice for now. My trying to contribute to society by way of investment and helping the local students in predominantly poorer malay district was repeatedly delayed and later rejected for no reason at all or flimsy and it took me three years.

    Contrast this with my experience of setting up and running a company in UK and Singapore in less than a month.

    For those who are thinking of coming back to Malaysia I would advise them to think again. The only thing that attract me back to Malaysia in the first place was my connection to my parents who were in Malaysia and too frail to travel. Once they are gone, I have no more reasons to return.

    For those who think I have sold my heritage by taking up British citizenship should know that there are no official policies to discriminate minorities in UK.

    In fact minorities are often supported, as in the case of my kids Chinese language class, are provided free by the local government. We are judged by my abilities not on color of our skin or our beliefs.

    Meanwhile my entire family has taken up British citizenship. I may have lost my right as Malaysian citizen but not the right to visit or stay in Malaysia (silver hair and second home program). My kids will never miss Malaysia (you can't miss what you did not have) and will look forward for a brighter future.

    For those who are staying back to fight for their birthright as equal citizens in Malaysia, you have my support and admiration. I apologise for not being able to be with you for now and I hope you understand my decision. But I will in my own way contribute from afar to help in other ways.

    To the Malaysia government, I quote, "You cannot build courage and character by taking away a man's initiative and independence." – Lincoln

  11. yuking

    It is blatantly obvious to everybody except Umno gangs. That is because they are corrupted, suffering from denial syndrome, regressive Muslims, low IQ and living in the past. They would rather see and prefer the nation going to the dogs than having meritocracy and doing away with NEP.

    Otherwise, how does one explain the rot and malaise this country is suffering?

  12. kok

    The special position of the malays as prescribed under Article 153 of the Constitution is limited in scope to only the reservation of reasonable quotas in these 3 sectors: public services, educational places and business licenses.

    Hence, the present rampant racial discriminations practiced on almost every facet of our national life are mostly violations of the Constitution. Examples of these violations are:

    (a) Racial discrimination in the appointment and promotion of employees in publicly funded bodies, resulting in these becoming almost mono-raced bodies. These bodies include: the police, civil service, army and various semi and quasi government agencies.

    (b) Imposition of compulsory share quota for malays in non-malay companies.

    (c) Imposition of compulsory price discounts and quotas in favour of malays in housing projects.

    (d) Completely lop-sided allocation of scholarships and seats of learning in clearly unreasonable proportions that reflect racial discriminations.

    (e) Blanket barring of non-malays to publicly funded academic institutions (that should include the Mara).

    (f) Barring of non-malays from tenders and contracts controlled indirectly or directly by the government.

    Our Constitution provides for only one class of citizenship and all citizens are equal before the law.

    The presence of Article 153 does not alter this fact, as it is meant only to protect the malays from being "squeezed" by other races by allowing the reservation of reasonable quotas on certain sectors of national life.

    However, this Constitution has now been hijacked through decades of hegemony of political power by the ruling party to result in the virtual monopoly of the public sector by a single race.

    The ensuing racism, corruption and corrosion of integrity of our democratic institutions have brought serious retrogression to our nation-building process in terms of national unity, morality, discipline and competitiveness of our people.

  13. oversee

    We made a decision to emigrate to Australia 15 years ago deserting my high fly corporate position with our three children.

    If history could turn back, we would still do the same.

    It is a joke when our three children are fully qualified in their respective professions, then our Malaysia leaders only realize that "Actually English is very important in this era of globalization, let us go back to English again in our primary school for science and mathematics subjects".

    It is fortunate that we had our own thinking and were able to jump out from this "black box" of trial and error type of management in practically every aspect of the government administration machinery. As a result, our children do not waste their precious years.

    Our children enjoy the experience of equal opportunity not only in education but also in employment. That has a very strong impact in character development because then they believe in themselves, i.e. their own ability and equal opportunity available for personal development to the fullest extent.

    And they could fight for their own rights too simply because the environment encourages them to do so, i.e. freedom to think, and freedom to express. They enjoy their work in their respective professions and they have both close Australian and Asian friends.

    The Australian authority treats the problem of racial discrimination very seriously and takes action very fast. I still remember those days when my youngest son was teased by certain racial remarks by his schoolmate. My wife reported the case to the school authority and after a proper investigation, the Aussie kid was made to make a public apology to my son and was suspended a week from school attendance.

    Australia herself is a country of migrants from all over the world, the Italians, the British and other Europeans also never give up their citizenships although they may stay for over many many years. If they tell you to go back to China, you have equal rights to tell them to go back to whatever country they come from. "Fight for your rights" is the spirit.

    What we are concerned is actually the management of the country. There is enough wealth to be distributed among all the people who can theoretically enjoy better life, better education and better medical facility. But the poor management and evil corruption have eroded away what the people deserve. If people demand a change, "racialism" is always a powerful tool to protect the regime.

    The Australian government extinguishes any little spark that concerns racial issue. There are strict laws and they are very good in enforcements. The two-party system ensure no one monopolizes the government. If the government is not good, people will vote it out for sure.

    It is a land of plenty, and of equal opportunity for everyone. One will make his way if he is prepared to seize the opportunity and work hard for it. No one believes in “God” will give, and most believes the creation and reward from their own hand and intelligence.

    Though we pay high taxes, the future is more or less ensured as in case we are sick or in difficulty, we have all the assistance from the authority. It is the rights for every kid in Australia to have the opportunity to finish his tertiary education if he could make an attempt and possible financial assistance is always there.

    Australia's economy is very robust now and most universities graduates and school leavers are doing very well. My three kids who are qualified as professionals at a very young age are doing very well. They would not have achieved that type of level if we were to remain in our country of birth. Thank God!

    We face less racial discrimination in workplace and university in Australia than in our country of birth.

    The ironical fact is that we are being treated more a first class citizen in our host country than in our own country.

    Human rights, good administration, equal opportunity and transparency convince us that it is no point wasting our precious time in our own country.

    If you really miss our own country, earn and save more money in the host country and join the shiver hair program later on. If you have the money, any country will welcome you for sure.

    In general, it is an educated society. People talk not shout, and people reason not accuse and moreover, it is a much cleaner and more beautiful place to live. I am pleased with my decision and have no regrets at all.

  14. aston

    Do you think that our politicians actually care whether the universities are good? They want to produce followers, not leaders. They sent their own children overseas so that they come back to lead the followers.

    Our followers think that the politicians are doing a great job by allowing more and more citizens into universities; voting them in office time after time.

    There will come the time when the country is full of unemployed graduates. That is when the followers will hopefully wake up to the reality.

    As for the VCs, head of departments, deans etc, they just follow the instructions and examples of their political masters. Just see all the wastage, injustice, inefficiency, discrimination, cronyism etc, and you will realise that they also have their political agendas just like their masters.

    Bad intentions, bad universities.

  15. Hon

    I am a 10th generation Chinese in Malaysia and my ancestors and I have known only Malaysia as our home.

    And yet everyday, I hear malays calling me 'pendatang' and unpatriotic. I find this totally unacceptable because I am a law-abiding citizen who pays my taxes diligently. Citizens should not be treated differently based on race.

    Similarly, if an ethnic Chinese student has performed well, he should be awarded scholarship just as an ethnic malay student who has performed equally well is awarded one. Is it too difficult to understand that not all Chinese are rich and not all malays are poor?

    If a malay feels that he has the right to call me 'pendatang' and tell me to migrate because he feels his ancestors have been here long enough, by the same logic, I too have the same right to do that to him.

    Orang Asli is the general name given to different groups of indigenous people of this land. Take the Negrito, for instance. They are definitely not the same as the malays. The languages of the Negrito and Senoi are related to the indigenous languages of Burma, Indochina and Thailand.

    The only group of Orang Asli which shares similarities with those whom we know as the malays of today are the Proto-malays, who had arrived at this land much later than the Negrito and Senoi.

    Those whom we know as malays today are Deutro-malays who arrived even later. Thus, malays are also outsiders who migrated to this land just like the non-malays. The only difference is the malays migrated earlier.

    However, this sweeping statement that all malays and Orang Asli are one and the same cannot stand since only a minority of Orang Asli have become Muslims and there are even fewer who have fulfilled all three constitutional requirements.

  16. khoo

    Dear Azira,

    Keep up with your good work. With more people with your kind of thinking, Malaysia still has hope. In 1973, I was offered a place to study in University Malaya, but due to financial constrain and no one to help me with a scholarship, I entered into job market and struggled myself up career path and retired as a manager of a local bank. I can feel how frustrated those who really need help are ! Therefore, I fully agreed with you that scholarships should be given to those middle to lower income gruop even if their results may be slightly inferior to those rich and powerful.My two children studied overseas with FAMA (Father & Mama)scholarship because I had worked hard and saved enough for them to study overseas.I just didnt want to deprive others more deserving and needy candidates a chance to further study !But on this score,I have been disappointed because most of the needy candidates did not get the help, instead a lot of scholarships were given to those rich and well connected…. I hope fairness will dawn on us Malaysian soon !

    We Malaysians must wake up to make this a reality !

  17. Daniel

    Excellent piece. Do keep writing!

  18. Ah Piah

    Dear Writer,

    I salute you. If only some of our ministers could think like you Malaysia would be a better place for ALL Malaysia.

  19. In regards to specifically promoting a Malaysian identity as opposed to racial identity; here's something that all of us can do, making change in our very own small ways:

    1. Refuse to write in the race/religion space in every form. Simply cross it out.

    2. Instead of being reactive, be proactive. Challenge racism and promote Malaysianism (pride of being Malaysians) in a friendly way, when the opportunity provides itself.

    I'm a volunteer at Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia. You are most welcomed to our events and activities! ^_^


  20. M. Goh

    When filling in forms, I am sometimes asked which "bangsa" I belong to. I am still waiting for the day when this question is something of the past. Come on, man, why ask the obvious when you can already tell from one's name?

  21. Qama Gill

    My fellow countrymen,

    i'm sick n tired with all this racial biased politics. our blood is all the same despite different belief or ethnics. most of all, we reside on a same land for the past decades. ask any common joe or jane that passed by, we are born here including our parents/grandparents. we clinged on a same culture, sharing interest on a plate of nasi lemak and a cup of teh tarik. we have festives on Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali etc. we shared anxiety on balik kampung season. what else do we need to define Malaysian? stamp on our forehead?

    to whom that may read my comments over past articles, i've been promoting the importance of racial unity. we are not defined by skin colour. should we be less malaysian just because our name doesn't have bin/binti at the back? notion like PERKASA is one of the culprit that keep on playing with racial prejudice. they even have the guts on parading for "Melayu Bangkit" on 13th May. Although they moved the date, still it signalled wrong messages towards public. if you are coming up with a new policy, in other way you are telling that current policy is not working well. thus, you need to have better policy to make it work. after the launch of 1Malaysia, are they telling us that previous plans to narrow the racial gap is not functioning? or is it jus a tool to show public that they are doing "work"?

    i've been fighting this issue for so long and sometimes i felt tired of it. so many people that constantly strive on "ownership" issues, trumpeting article 153, NEP and list keep on going. will justice prevail in the end? where boogeyman of racial differences will be exorcised? May God bless our souls for that.

  22. kbl

    What is the origin of this word "MELAYU" came from? Whether I'm right that it is a name to inditify the person identity who come from that particular country.Melayu word is from bahasa Malayu and in english languages is call malay and before our country is call MALAYA and is changed by DR Mahatir to Malaysia. So by right the name Melayu should change to Malaysia.You see the word in Bahasa Melayu for Malaya is Melayu, for English Malaya is Malayan, Malaysia is Malaysia and Malaysia is Malaysian. Anybody please explaint this to clear this confussion so that no one can claim as their only race or citizenship.

  23. It is about time for us Malaysians to move away from race classification in everyday life. The best place to start is the education sector.

  24. LEE

    Thank you Azira & Syzwina for saying a few fair words on our behalf – if only our many terms politicians could learn a bit from you 2 young people,the country will not be in such bad shape now.Like many others born very unfortunately non-malays,many of us are trying all means to migrate elsewhere, if not at least get our children to study overseas (financed by selling our only house and the better car) and don't ever come back.Those juara kampung politicians have already spoilt the country for so many years and it's left to only the malays themselves like you can speak up to stop the rot.We non-malays cannot say a word otherwise we could be threatened as pengkhinat,biadap and of course,another May 13 present.Thanks again Azira/Syazwina,God bless our country Malaysia.

  25. Ram

    We are all Malaysian.Why the segregation?Lets vote out those politicians who think they can exploit racial issues for own end.Let teach them a fine lesson. We nolonger live in the mamathir eighties.


  26. Syazwina Saw

    My first exposure to the race politics that take place in Malaysia's education system was when I was 11 and applying to sit for my UPSR. My teacher, a highly experienced yet temperamental woman, filled in my application for me and registered me as being ethnically Chinese. I wasn't the only mixed race kid registered thus, and her reason when we asked was this:

    'You are your father's children, no? And your fathers are Chinese, aren't they?'

    It was as convincing an argument as any, and I didn't think there was anything wrong.

    When I mentioned this to my mother, I was surprised to see how upset she was, and she immediately made arrangements to meet the school principal. And when I asked her why, she said, 'You and your brother are Malay because I am Malay. If you're registered as anything other, it might affect your entire schooling career; it will be harder for you to get into university.'

    I did well in my UPSR. I applied for PMR and SPM as a Malay (because I was constitutionally one, apparently), and I did relatively well in both. And while that incident didn't have any significant impact on how I did in school, it did change the way I saw the Malaysian education system, from being something that should be rightly straightforward to a system entirely undermined by racial bigotry.

    Because how else can I explain having the same SPM results as my Indian best friend, yet I was offered into matriculation, a public university and given a scholarship, while she had to take Form 6 and go into a private college instead? How else can I look my friends in the eye, knowing that getting a degree was that much harder for them than it was for me?

    And how can I blame my non-Malay friends from leaving their country of birth, which has treated them as less than they are?

    In a moment of rebellion while applying for the scholarship form (my parents made me), I chose to apply for MARA. When I told my surprised parents what I'd done, I said it was because 'I'll get in by virtue of being Malay; just wait and see'.

    I got the scholarship. While applying, I had seriously considered rejecting it, but I took the offer when I considered my family finances. I have no illusions about why I took the scholarship, and I have no illusions about how so many of my more worthy classmates were denied scholarships and university placements by the mere basis of not being Malay. It's the reason I've come home, rather than remain overseas – because I'm bound by the opportunities I felt I didn't quite deserve, to return and, as my sponsor says, 'provide for a better Malaysia'.

    The idea of Federal Scholarships is commendable and long overdue, but amidst the blitz of media adulation, I'm going to wait and see if it lives up to its word. Malays do not have more right to a proper education than any other Malaysians, and while it's embarrassing it's taken us this long to do it, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

  27. Thiaga

    After reading Azira Aziz’s article and some of the responds, i do see some light at the end of the road. There is still hope for malaysia!

    Being a malaysian indian (or indian malaysian) who was in the national education system (pri 1 – spm) which plagued with discrimination, i know how it feels like to be sidelined / discriminated just because of my race.
    Even though i did fairly good in my spm, my application to our local polytechnic was rejected not once but twice. After feeling dejected i applied to a polytechnic in singapore and i was offered a place and on top of that was given a tuition grant which pays some of the tuition fees. I had to take up loans to pay the remaining tuition fees and my parents borrowed from our relatives for my expanses.
    I stayed in a kampung / tanah haram house in johor as i cant afford to pay the overzealous rent and expanses in singapore.
    Upon graduating with good results i was told that i had to work in singapore for 3 years as i have taken the tuition grant.
    Once the 3 years bond was over i applied again to our malaysian university to do a degree. As i have guessed it, it was rejected once again even though my results were outstanding.
    Then i applied to some of the universities in australia and not only i was offered a place to study but 2 of the universities even gave a scholarship where i don’t have to pay any tuition fees. But i had to fork out my own money for the expanses there.
    I once again applied for some loan and went to australia.
    Over there i came into contact with some of the malaysians studying there. And it was heart breaking when i came to know that most of the scholarship holders from JPA and Petronas are son of datuk’s who are doing very well back in malaysia. All of them that i met were malays but if all of them are from poor family i would have felt better.
    Most of my friends who have studied with me stayed back and started to work in australia and applied for permanent residence.
    I choose to come back… as malaysia is the only place i call HOME. I still remember the feeling that i had when i was about to land in KLIA. A feeling of coming back HOME. Nothing beats it.

    But the government fails to understand the how we feel, fails to understand the love we have for this land we call malaysia.
    I don’t blame the malays as they are brainwashed and threatened by the mainstream political parties.

    But with the new generation of malaysians i hope things will change … for the better.


    MALAYSIAN who yearns that one day a malaysian will be treated as malaysian and nothing less.

  28. Retired Soldier

    As an Indian, after serving 27 years in the Armed Forces, I found the Malays to be more helpful to me than the Chinese or fellow Indians. I was sidelined by “the pendatang” races but the Malays pulled me up. I am ever so grateful to them for this.

    I always ask Malays whom I converse at public places (to kill time) while waiting for something, “are we enemies?”. ALL of them, the highly educated proffessional and kampong folks know that it is the politics in Malaysia that “divide and rule” for the leaders to stay in power at the top in their respective racial parties.

    The last time I spoke to, was a young Malay lady, a final year medical student, also waiting for the train at KL Sentral. She is totally aware of what is happenning here in Malaysia. She loves and cares for ALL races!!! ALL leaders of racial based parties have one common goal – To stay at the top, forever if possible. Just look at the Indian who lost his seat in Sungai Siput but refuses to step down.

    When ALL Malaysians are aware that the politicians from ALL parties are manupulating us, then we will be a nation of love and care for one another.

    In the “climb up the ladder” of power and position, it is ALWAYS beneficial for the individual to use race and religion as a tool to stir up emotions. We Malaysians of ALL races MUST know this. They condemn the “mat sallehs” for “divide and rule” policy, but they themselves find it as a very useful tool to win.

    Let us unite and caution these politicians that WE cannot be fooled by them any longer whether they are Malays, Indians, Chinese, Natives of Sabah or Sarawak.

  29. It is heartening to read an article by such a considerate and young lady.

    I know of a Chinese couple, both Ph D holders, wife a Professor. When a son with excellent results applied for scholarship to study medicine, was offered but for a different course. He applied to study privately in Ireland or UK and was accepted as a student, and only after this, was offered scholarship by the same department he applied for. Why?

    Another son also had excellent results was offered scholarship too, his not a medical course, but the couple were mindful and thankful of the huge costs to the government for the first scholarship, chose to decline and their son went to UK to study. Based on his results, he was offered a British scholarship by the university and is presently working for them.

    We do have some considerate people who would refuse an offer so that someone else could benefit from it. They live an average middle class lifestyle, without ostentatious mansion nor luxury cars. The one scholarship declined could easily buy a shophouse or luxury car (based on some people’s mentality) which they were prepared to forego, but they were rewarded by that gesture with another scholarship abroad!

    I always feel that scholarships should be given to those who really need them regardless of race. The criteria to me would be the required grades and extra-curricula activities (well balanced personality), the passion to study further, and the financial need which prompted the application.

    Scholarships should be awarded to those who are keen so that they are less likely to waste the opportunities. What we have seen were poor selection of candidates which resulted in high wastage. They should be able to prove it through efficient methods of selection which are standard procedures these days in human resource recruitment. Any provision for scholarships not taken up should be reserved for future cases.

    In the case of those obvious cases of very rich students getting scholarships, perhaps revealing the names of successful candidates might help. But then again, some people are not ashamed by such publicity. In fact, getting scholarships are status symbols signifying excellent results, which even rich kids would like to be associated with.

    As a parent, my feeling of helplessness was when a daughter wished to apply to study for a Master’s at Oxford University. Being a top student in her University in UK, she felt she stands a good chance and this was proven by her fellow top student who got in. But her wish to be financially independent after her first degree made her apply for other European scholarships for which she was successful. She even got one to do her Ph D. If only there was a provision in our schemes of higher education to look after cases like hers, then our government would have many Malaysians who are willing to study post graduate courses and prepared to come back to serve the nation. If there is such a scheme, please make it known and with less red tape and no discrimination!