Iye?! UiTM tu untuk orang Melayu aje?

My second sister exclaimed in suprise. She was 17, ‘enjoying life’ after SPM.

I explained to her that Mara was set up to help the bumiputeras. As such, anything Mara related was for bumiputeras, although Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM), the asrama school, actually has a 10% non-bumiputera quota. So too are the various kolej matrikulasi (matriculation collages) dotting the country.


That was my youngest sister. 15 years old, just starting her Form 4 at a private school in Damansara.

Kata Malaysia untuk semua kaum…” she continued.

I looked at them, amazed at what they’re saying. I didn’t expect them to feel so strongly about the issue.

Maybe it’s because they’re exposed to ‘the others’. My youngest sister, as I said, studies in a private school, where non-Malays significantly outnumber the Malays pupils. As for my second sister, being in a public school in Petaling Jaya meant that she has a multi-racial group of friends.

I reckon it would be hard for a group of young people to understand why some of them are given certain preferences whilst others are not. Especially if to them race and religion are immaterial to friendship. All of a sudden when they come to the ‘real’ Malaysia, the system forces upon them divisions that never existed in the first place.

I tried to explain to them that the poor and rural Malays do need our assistance. It is our responsibility to help them. I tried to make them understand the underlying rationale behind the system.

At the same time, I also told them how some Malays themselves are abusing the system. I told them of how rich and connected Malays are using the system towards their advantage, thus denying the assistance that should have been given to other Malays.

I wondered how long will these outrage at what they perceive to be ethnic ‘injustice’ will remain with them. Will they succumb to the indoctrination and propaganda justifying the system? Will they start to think that such preferences are their entitlement? Their God-given right?

Will they one day believe in ketuanan Melayu?