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The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics In Modern Malaysia
by M. Musa
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The Malay Dilemma Revisited is a critical and balanced analysis of MalaysiaÂs preferential race policy and its impact on the nationÂs delicate race dynamics and economy. Unlike AmericaÂs affirmative action, MalaysiaÂs version is far more aggressive and pervasive and has been remarkably successful in creating a sizable and stable Bumiputra (indigenous group) middle class. The price tag is significant: distortion of freemarket dynamics and consequent inefficiency. Perversely, the policy impairs rather than strengthens BumiputrasÂ ability to compete.
In contrast to quotas and other set-aside programs that are the hallmark of the current policy, the writer presents an alternative strategy aimed primarily at enhancing Bumiputra competitiveness. The proposed approach would not negatively impact the economy nor interfere with the freemarket. Equally important, it would not arouse resentment from other Malaysians. The first objective would be to modernize the nationÂs archaic educational system to emphasize English, mathematics, the sciences, and technical training. Secondly, the influences of religious and royal institutions must be curtailed, and the rates of urbanization and population growth reduced.
The primary objective is in enhancing competitiveness, not on meeting arbitrarily picked numerical goals and targets.
About the Author
Bakri Musa's essays, apart from scientific articles in professional journals, have appeared in the New Straits Times, Far Eastern Economic Review, Businessweek, and National Public Radio's Marketplace. His essays examine Malaysia's current socioeconomic and preferential race policies.
A surgeon in private practice, Bakri received his undergraduate, medical, and graduate degrees from the University of Alberta, Canada. He lives in Morgan Hill, California, with his wife Karen, a college instructor, and children Melindah, Zack, and Azlan.
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