Meritocracy and Law of The Jungle
1. In my earlier article, Biasiswa National – Adil?, I unambiguously declared that meritocracy and free competition, if crudely implemented on uneven playing field, is in fact a repackaged modern version of Law of the Jungle. The long term net impact is conspicuously obvious – only the fittest will survive and the weakest will die.
2. Sociologically speaking, the socio-economic landscape will be one of pervasive socio-economic injustices – the poor will continue to be trapped in the vicious circle and become more marginalised while income gap will exponentially exacerbated.
3. This disadvantaged group will be further saddled with associated problems such as poor health, illiteracy, unemployment, crime, family instability, drop-outs, etc while the rich laughingly expropriate the state’s treasures. Of course, not all are legitimately theirs.
4. The recipients of the scholarships, as shown by the statistics, glaringly implied economic / income class. It was made worse by the positive correlation with racial stratification (Non Bumi = 68%; Bumi = 32%). Combined with other rich-biased policies , this is a definitive prelude to the aforesaid probable socio-economic landscape that will translate into a socio-economic reality in 20 years time.
13th May & The Great Fire of London
5. In hindsight, the tragic 13th May, 1969 had its blessings in disguise. The blessings were in the form of positive socio-economic impacts which were a thousand times more than that of The Great Fire of London. The 3-day devastating fire, occurred on 2 September 1666, destroyed St. Paul Cathedral, hospitals, churches, schools, bridges and 13,200 houses. Its biggest blessing was, however, it ended the bubonic plague which broke in 1665.
6. 13th May, on the other hand, caused much less damaged to physical properties but, unfortunately, more than 100 lives were lost lost. Nonetheless, its colossal blessings were in the form of intangible socio-economic engineering and greater ethnic cohesiveness through the introduction of The New Economic Policy (NEP).
7. The Policy’s architect was the revered and greatly respected statesman in TUN HJ. ABD RAZAK HUSSEIN, our beloved second Prime Minister.
8. The policy was widely acknowledged as successful though its implementation was heavily criticized. Some of the significant achievements were drastic poverty eradication, improving income levels, bridging income gap, producing more professionals and creating the BCCI. The economy did not suffer and FDI continued to pour in.
9. The bottom line was that ALL races, including foreigners, had benefited from the said Policy. It was not ala-Robin Hood.
10. DS Najib, TS Muhyiddin, DSAI, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim. DS Hadi Awang, Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar, Dr Mujahit, TS Sidek (KSN), TS Ismail Adam (KPPA), DS Ong Tee Kiat, Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Dr Subramanim, Datuk Devamany, Lim Guan Eng, Gobin Singh Deo, myself and my family, to name a few, admittedly, are the products and beneficiaries of the NEP through the mechanics of distribution with growth. Hence, these beneficiaries cannot afford to be NEP- and poor-blind.
11. One thing that must be specifically mentioned in the context of this article, tho‘. It is the NEP that successfully broke the monopoly enjoyed by the products of MCKK, Penang Free School, VI, St. John, KGV and Melaka High Schools since the colonial era. They were the children of the royal and rich families. They monopolised the top posts in the legal, judiciary, police, military and the government service.
12. Thanks to Tun Razak and the NEP. One can find the children of poor farmers and fishermen occupying top positions in those sectors now, including TS Sidek, the KSN and Zaid Ibrahim who won’t become rich if not because of the NEP.
13. Unfortunately, all these socio-economic engineering efforts will probably be destroyed. The socio-economic landscape of pre-NEP period, ipso facto, will then be revisited if the present government under the leadership of DS Najib is pursuing vigorously to liberalise the economy, adopting meritocracy, practicing free competition, abolishing the quota system, prematurely diluting affirmative actions, etc in the name of rejuvenating and resuscitating the economy and globalisation.
14. All these policies are seen to be rich-biased and are definitely construed to be detrimental to the disadvantaged poor. The PM is seen to give in too much to the demands of a minority but powerful group at the expense of a majority but helpless group. It looks that the latter is being squeezed to further enrich the former! Again, unfortunately, it is positively correlated with racial colourings.
13. Hence, DS Najib is perceived to dis-construct the NEP (by default, destroying whatever his father had achieved!). Thank God that he was aware of this destructive but genuine perception.
13. So what should he do?
The British Disease
14. I humbly proposed the following:
* continue with the proven policy vehicle, the NEP but eradicate the short comings in its implementation,
* regarding the economy (GDP), the focus must not be on growth only; as I mentioned in the House on 9 July, the government must simultaneously produce an output mix of improving household income, reducing poverty, narrowing the income gap, generating employment and managing inflation,
* internalise what Tun M wrote in ‘Kaki Dalam Kasut’ ; very clear he and many more are not happy with the present policies,
* digest the report on The Fair Access To Professions released by the British Government on 21 July and take pre-cautionary measures to avoid the deadly disease. Some of the rude findings/symptoms are:
– only children from the richest British families can enjoy careers in top professions like law and medicine because of increasingly impenetrable social barriers,
– there was a “closed shop mentality ” in many professions, which excluded young people from low- and middle-income backgrounds,
– there are too many kids out there from average income families who are bright … and who want to go on to get a top professional career but haven’t got the right connections, haven’t necessarily gone to the right school, maybe haven’t had the chance to go to university,
– “birth not worth” had become a greater factor in deciding someone’s chances in life,
– professions had become increasingly socially exclusive / elitist, open to fewer people,
– it found 75 percent of judges, 70 percent of finance directors, 45 percent of all top civil servants and 32 percent of MPs had been to independent schools [for the rich], although just 7 percent of the population was independently educated, and
– those who get professional jobs grow up in a family richer than seven in 10 of all British families, and
– poor children born in 1958 had better prospects than those born five decades on.
15. If DS Najib chooses to ignore the above-mentioned findings, the Malaysian society, with certainty, will be infected by the debilitating British disease in 20 years time.
16. Concurrently, if he insists to go ahead with his current controversial and courageous decisions / policies without modifications, then he ought to be politely reminded of this line in Episode Six: The Right To Know of satirical Yes Minister… “Controversial” only means “this will lose you votes”; “Courageous” means “this will lose you the election”.
One took this liberty to sincerely remind DS for the sake of our collective / shared future, it’s indeed a very gentle but clear reminder.
Slowly meandering down from the foot of a mountain flows the river, less restrained, the flotsam and jetsam are on the door step for sure.