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Why I am voting against BN March 6, 2008

Posted by Tim in GE12, Malaysia, Thoughts.

I think PKR’s call for a minimum wage of RM 1,500 is ridiculous and unrealistic. Yes, we need minimum wage and perhaps unions even, but considering that a typical worker at McDonald’s earns only RM4/hour right now, their target makes them look silly. I also think that their “promise” to reduce the price of petrol – along with Anwar’s “On March 9, I will reduce the price of petrol” ditty – to be shortsighted. Yes we are an oil exporter and we have Petronas. But our black gold will run out in less than two decades so a little less reliance on it please?

Similarly, I was surprised to read about DAP’s proposed “bonus” – again, by divvying up Petronas’ profits – to middle income families. Surely the solution to Malays relying on government handouts is not give handouts to everyone instead. At the very least credit it into EPF.

Certainly I’m no economist, but the point here is that yes, our Opposition is relatively weak and inexperienced in some areas. I will still cast a vote against BN, and I believe everyone should too. There are many reasons, valid ones, why you would do so: blatant corruption, a shackled media, draconian laws, arrogant leaders, a stronger opposition voice.

Here’s mine:

I finished my secondary education in Penang Free School. I wasn’t an especially enthusiastic student, but did well enough to be in the bottom of the first class. There was a certain amount of prestige attached to being there: to get in, you usually needed straight As in the UPSR ( Primary School Evaluation Test ).

I used to look down a little on the people I knew who went to vernacular schools. They had more homework, they looked like convicts (mandatory crewcuts), they had bad England, and I didn’t like the whole industrious Chinese thing. Besides, I went to a Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan and I quite liked it.

In my final year in school something became noticeable though: after being streamed, most of my class were Chinese students. At the time I don’t think how much we appreciated how “lucky” we were that we could be there purely on merit. (And I want to take time here to state that the few Indians and Malays who were in my class were positively brilliant).

After I left, I heard that changes were being made to the school. Specifically, rumours of a quota for Malay students, and a rapid succession of Malay headmasters that barely spoke English and were more interested in using their position as a stepping stone to “bigger” things. Recently, the unofficial word was that the ratio of Malay:Chinese students should be 2:1. And this is now displayed beside our (once-)beautiful school gate:

Needless to say, you rarely hear about any achievements from PFS any more. It took less than a decade to undo 185 years of excellence.

PFS isn’t alone. Statistics now show that 95% of non-Bumi students go to vernacular schools, a letter to Malaysiakini mentioned. 95%!!

Are students expected to mingle only with the people of the same race for 11 years, and suddenly come out and “integrate”? Or worse still, join the MCA/MIC and continue to fight for more Chinese/Indian schools, and perpetuate the cycle.

Pak Lah himself recognized the deterioration of the national school system back in 2004:

“Surely, this kind of racial exclusiveness will sow the seeds of misunderstanding and mistrust later in life. If this trend continues, we may well drift apart, only to have few superficial commonalities between us, and few genuine ties that bind us together in a common destiny,” he said.

Nothing has actually been done of course, and the mainstream media recently fawned over our Education Minister DS Hishammuddin Tun Hussein for building more Chinese schools to keep the Chinese happy. Taking a look at one of MCA’s campaign videos gives you an idea of how they still think of themselves:

It has of course been pointed out how ironic it is that Hishamuddin is the grandson of Dato’ Onn Ja’afar, one of the first to see what Malaysia should be.

What’s happening in our schools is a microism of what our country is like. The economy is treated like a zero-sum game – too many rich Chinese? They must be taking the Malay share, so slap on bumi quotas. Election seats are strategized based solely on racial composition. We fill in our race on examination forms.

As I penned last May, we MUST stop telling Malaysians to identify themselves by race. That is the only way we will move forward as a country. As Raja Petra so astutely put it: MIC claims to defend the rights of the Indians; MCA, the Chinese; UMNO, the Malays. But from what? The Communists? The British? Surely if UMNO does not defend Indians that is a greater threat to national security than people handing roses to the PM. And in the aftermath of Hindraf why did MIC tell Gerakan not to interfere in the welfare of the Indians?


Race and religion are the two biggest dividers of the human race. But you get to decide your religion (eventually, at least), while racism tells you to identify yourself and others through accidents of birth and geography. UMNO, MCA, and MIC are founded on racism, on the fear that the “other races” will cause “your race” to lose out. It is very effective for vote buying but you just cannot build a nation on racism. It is what holds Malaysia back. I don’t expect Malaysia to change overnight – it took the US more than 200 years to elect its first black President ( going out on a limb here :P ) – but change has to start somewhere.

And that is why I am voting against BN.



1. pinkpau - March 6, 2008

sigh waffle i love this post

the rojak is a nice touch :)

2. johnny ong - March 19, 2008

excellent posting here as its straight from the heart

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