Un-educating an entire nation founded on race relations.

The epitaph of the late boxer Joe Louis reads “he was a credit to his race, the human race.” Very few in Malaysia’s history, sadly, can live up to that description of the ‘Brown Bomber’ as Louis was known as.

In Malaysia, racism and narrow mindedness are destined to not only to flourish but perpetuate because the education system is focused on segregation and discrimination and not nurturing good human values and humanity. The system now encourages bigotry and biasness to blindly follow orders without questioning why or how.

It is shameful that our country with a multiracial and multi religious demographic for 57 years after independence and peaceful co-existence, has become a haven for a few hardliners and extremist who hold the moderate majority at ransom. The UMNO led government is silent and looks the other way when a small group of hardliners spew racial venom that can cause irreparable damage to the economy and the social fabric of Malaysia.

The incidents, beginning with the cow head protest, pig carcass being thrown in mosques, inciting racial riots, doing the ‘butt dance’ after Bersih 3 protest, confiscating bibles and the recent chicken slaughtering with RM1200 offer to slap a sitting MP for political satire are shameful racist incidents that have tarnished the moderate image of Malaysia.

We have hit rock bottom!

I wonder why UMNO and its supporters are so hyper sensitive to any differences of opinion. They seem to have lost their sense of humor and harmony and are unable to accept differences and diversity. For the slightest slant, these UMNO supporters remind Malaysians of the May 13 tragedy, using it like truncheon to hit anybody on the head who even remotely disagrees with their brand of politics. UMNO Ministers seem to tolerate and accept selective prosecutions and racial discrimination as if it is some warped form of natural justice.

But the root of this problem lies in education —the Malaysian education system. Racism is bound to flourish when you have an education system that doesn’t focus on nurturing exemplary human beings. And the system does not allow any critical thinking or thinking out of the box. Today, it is a well-known fact that Malaysian education system is used as a political tool for social engineering.

Racial profiling starts from day one in schools. For every purpose and form filling two questions will feature prominently i.e what is your race and religion? Racial discrimination and segregation are not just visible but is felt in every facet of the Malaysian education system.

Racism is institutionalized   

National schools cater for the need of one race only. Only 6% of national schools are non-Malay students whereas 12% in Chinese schools are non-Chinese students. It appears that Chinese schools are more multiracial than national schools.

The increasing religious fever and racial institutionalization without any regard to the presence of non-Muslim students in national schools has made vernacular schools the preferred choice for others. Besides, there are exclusive schools and higher learning institutions strictly for the chosen ones from one particular race. Racist bigotry and religious intolerance is spoon fed in religious classes which are compulsory in national schools. And multiculturalism is a byword and only token attention is paid to foster it. Building a harmonious and united nation is never the purpose of our education system. But the highest allocation is made to education ministry in every budget. What a waste it is.

But netizens and the non-Malays are blamed by the UMNO led government for religious and racial bigotry. Those in power can raise any amount of racial provocation but the others or victims should not get offended, otherwise they will be blamed for racial provocation.

The latest in series of protests and calling for racial riots due to the use of the word Allah by non-Muslim can only be found in Malaysia. Looks like Malaysia has overtaken even Saudi Arabia. The continued use of discriminatory policies and practices by the UMNO led government against their own citizens is unparalleled and don’t exist in any other country. Yet Malaysia has the audacity to call and pass judgments on others as inhuman and racist. With 2020 just 6 years away can Malaysia become inclusive to face both external economic challenges and the internal racial and religious divisive discordances? We hope good senses will prevail.

With this kind of path chosen, Malaysia will never produce the likes of Nelson Mendelas or a Martin Luther King.  More likely we have in the making, Mussolinis and Hitlers in the schools already.

Explore posts in the same categories: From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan

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