Monday, October 16, 2006

Is there marginalisation of the minorities?

Do we need to be marginalized?

The Minister Mentor of Singapore accused the Malaysian government that it has systematically marginalized her citizens of Chinese origin. This was vehemently denied by the Malaysian government including its own Chinese Ministers in the cabinet. Since then there has been considerable debate on this issue of marginalization.

What is marginalization? Is it true that certain communities in the country are being marginalized as claimed? The Oxford Dictionary defines marginalization as 1.relating to or a situation at or in a margin. 2. of minor importance.

Therefore when we say a community is marginalized it means it is pushed to the periphery and given minor importance. In accordance with this definition we can safely say marginalization is a universal practice of the majority against the minority.

Is there marginalization of the minority groups, in Malaysia?

A few simple facts may give us the answer.Firstly,40% of the population is given less than 10% of the jobs in civil service, police and armed forces.Secondly,majority of our children with maximum results in STPM examinations, even those from poor families, are denied places in public universities for critical courses Thirdly, the great difficulty we face in constructing places of worship, let alone getting state funds for the purpose.

If these do not indicate marginalization, then what do they?

Lee Kuan Yew said the Chinese are marginalized in Malaysia and in return the Malaysian government claims that the Malays in Singapore are marginalized. Both these may be true but what is also true is that the other minor groups, the Orang Asli, Indians and indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak, have been pushed out of the margins, a situation similar to, elimination, which is more extreme than marginalization.

Instead of picking a fight with Lee Kuan Yew, our leaders should look at what is happening within our country more rationally and admit that large segments of our own citizens, who have contributed so much to the development of the nation, are marginalized and living in despair of an uncertain future for them and their children.

We claim that Malaysia is a multi-racial and multi-religious country, and truly it is. Our leaders claim we are a model nation for the world to emulate, as far as ethnic relations are concerned, sure enough it should be.

We have all the great religions in our country, Islam, Christianity, Hinduisms and Buddhism. All of them are unanimous in their teachings - to share what you have, however scanty it may be, with those who are less fortunate regardless of race or creed.

Malaysia is blessed with abundant natural resources and there is plenty of wealth sufficient for all its citizens. All we need is to be true followers of our respective religions and share what we have with fellow countrymen, regardless of color or creed.

Until and unless we get rid of our selfish desires for the enrichment of our own communities only, in accordance of our religious teachings, and accept ALL as equal citizens, we will never become a model nation for the world.

Having said that, let us at the same time get rid of this evil of marginalization of certain people, in our own lives – our families, offices, BECs and Church.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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