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Monday, April 21, 2008

Chinese in M'sia dissatisfied: study

Electric New Paper

YOUNG ethnic Chinese in Malaysia are dissatisfied with the country's national and economic policies.

All this while youngsters are becoming more racially polarised.

So says a study conducted by the Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute and the National Young Lawyer's Committee (NYLC) of the Bar Council.

Racial and religious tensions, alarm over 'Islamisation' and alienation of the country's minorities were reflected in the ruling coalition government's worst-ever results in 8 Mar polls.

Voters swung in support of the opposition, depriving the ruling coalition of a two-thirds majority in parliament and handing over control of five states to the opposition, in protest against the Muslim Malay-majority government.
The CPPS said Malaysia's Chinese, who dominate the economy, feel that they have been unfairly treated by government policies favouring the Malays, reported the Associated Press.

'The Chinese do feel the most dissatisfied and most unfairly treated. This is something that the government needs to look at urgently,' the centre's managing director, Ms Tricia Yeoh, said.

The survey found 75 per cent of Malays say they have never been treated unfairly due to their race, compared to 45 per cent of Chinese and 49 percent of Indians.

The Chinese also feel that they have significantly less ownership of the country compared to other races and gave 'significantly negative responses' to economic policies,
Ms Yeoh said.

Only 42 per cent of Chinese believed government policies fostered national unity, compared to 85 per cent of Malays, the survey said.
The long-standing dissatisfaction and anger felt by Chinese and Indians culminated in the government's poor electoral results, Ms Yeoh said.

'Now we have the numbers and statistics to confirm the perception that the Chinese and the Indians were feeling unfairly treated in the country,' she said.

The survey interviewed 1,000 youths aged between 18 and 35 from both urban and rural areas across Peninsula Malaysia from July and August 2007.

Youngsters between the age of 18 and 24 in the country were also found to be more racially polarised, preferring to mix within groups of their own race, due to lack of interaction between the races in schools and universities.

Of the 1,000 respondents, most of the 300 rural respondents seemed to be more optimistic about unity in the country and gave higher ratings to issues of harmony and race, while urban respondents showed a greater level of dissatisfaction.

Mr Edmund Bon, from the National Young Lawyer's Committee which co-authored the report, said the government should change its 'superficial' national unity campaigns, which merely scratched the surface.'What we need to look at are the underlying problems... education policies, scholarship issues, quotas, both religious and racial policies, rather than the usual education campaigns and awareness programmes,' Mr Bon said.


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