Saturday, June 5, 2010

History Repeats Itself

You’ve heard of the expression, ‘history repeats itself.’ Surely you’ve also come across the term ‘déjà vu.’ There are quite a number of things and situations about Malaysian politics where both these expressions would very easily apply. I am sure if we were to compile a list, we would come up with a fascinating stack of examples. But I’m not about to do that. Instead, I am merely going to shed some more light on the absurdity that continues to prevail – and repeat itself - when it comes to our government’s allocation of seats for local universities and PSD scholarships.

Yet again, we have seen the government make a mockery of the issue of merit and achievement by denying highly qualified and otherwise deserving students a place in a local university. Of course, yet again, these are students who happen to be of the “wrong” race.    

Each year, we undergo this same tragic episode of coming to terms with the blatant discrimination that continues to be practiced by the education ministry and each year we get the usual political dance playing itself out. I was stuck by the fact that the MIC vice-president S. Subramaniam had to yet again raise the matter of such blatant and systematic discrimination with the prime minister. And I suppose we are to feel assured and impressed by the fact that, according to Subramaniam, The prime minister has given an undertaking to resolve the matter.

Such is the travesty of our system – and of the ineptness of the MIC – that each year, like a well-timed and choreographed ritual, we have to go through this humiliation. Yes…the humiliation of seeing our (I mean Malaysian) youth having to go claw and scrape for a bit of fair treatment congruous with their merit and achievement. Nothing these students each year ask for happens to be unreasonable or out of line. They make their case because they have been, despite performing extremely well in the SPM exams, denied their just reward in the form of a scholarship or even entrance into a public university, merely because of the accident of race. 

Tell me how this is not, in the most transparent and blatant way, racism. 

Much like Samy Vellu used to do in the past, now we have Subramaniam to supposedly be impressed about. Isn’t it great that the MIC is in the forefront of taking this matter right to the top guy? What would we do without our MIC man at the table to raise this concern with prime minister himself? And surely you must be feeling good knowing that Subramaniam is “confident that an amicable solution could be negotiated with the government.”

This episode is precise the symptom of what is so wrong and so decadent about the MIC and its role as a subservient party to Umno. There may well be numerous more examples of just what the MIC’s stature is in Barisan Nasional, but there is no better illustration and reminder of this each year as we see it have to be humiliated yet again by having to undergo the “bowl in hand” and plead-to-the-master ritual.

Why is it that despite year after year of having heard the cries of parents and students, the MIC and Barisan Nasional cannot come up with a resolution to ensure that highly qualified and deserving students do not get stiffed simply because of who they are? (I’m sure you realise this is a rhetorical question.)

And so the saga continues…until next year – when we’ll be subjected to yet another installment of this episode of discrimination in the allocation of PSD scholarships.

Ironic isn’t it, the MIC has managed to preserve itself despite (or perhaps because of) its failure to bring about long-term solutions for its constituents.

G. Krishnan