TABLE OF CONTENT
2.0 HISTORY LEADING TO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
2.1 THE AFTERMATH OF MAY 13 RIOT
2.2 HOW DID THE NEP FARE?
3.0 THE ETHICS OF NEP
3.1 DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE
3.2 COMPENSATORY JUSTICE
3.3 ARGUMENTS AGAINST NEP
3.4 IS THE NEP ISLAMIC?
Compensatory Justice states that people who have been treated unjustly ought to be compensated. Throughout the colonialization of Malaya, Malays have fought the colonial powers of Portuguese, Dutch and British and the colonialization of the then Malaya was part of the Crusade. As such, it was the agenda of the British colonials to leave the Muslim Malays behind economically and socially. By discriminating the Malays from the main economic activity of the day, the Malays were isolated in the own country and continued to be the peasants that they were.
While many of the today’s Malays may not have been victims of discrimination themselves, they have been victimized by its effect. It is typically a vicious cycle of poverty for many families deeply entrenched in poverty. The children of these families were often deprived resources to upgrade themselves in term of education and skills and were relegated to low-paying jobs. The Malays, for example, lacked the confidence and skills to compete on equal term with the Chinese. The so-called level playing field was not level in as far as the Malays were concerned.
We would like to quote President Johnson who gave a very beautiful analogy of this. He said, “Imagine a 100-yard dash in which one of the two runners has his leg shackled together. He has progressed 10 yards, while the unshackled runner has gone 50 yards. How do they rectify the situation? Do they merely remove the shackles and allow the race to proceed? Then they could say equal opportunity now prevailed. But one of the runners would still be 40 yards ahead of the other. Would it not be the better part of justice to allow the previously shackled runner to make up the 40-yard gap or to start the race all over again?’ (Steiner, G.A., et al)
The NEP was not created as a result of contempt for the Chinese or Indians, but merely to redistribute the wealth of the nations.
If one were to argue that the present day Chinese and Indians were not the perpetrators and as such should be asked to hold the burden of the wrongdoings of the British colonials, they (the Chinese and Indians) were the major beneficiaries and have benefited from its effects.
Utilitarian ethic can also be used to justify NEP. NEP brought an overall good the society by bridging the gap between races. Avoiding another May 13th Incident is one of the major achievements of NEP. IN fact, Pueng Vongs in his article The Changing Face of Race: Global Affirmative Actrions says that ‘The Malaysian Prime Minister recently hinted at dumping the bumiputra policy, a move that could ‘plunge the nation into chaos and violence.’