Sunday, 6 March 2011

Drop "race" in forms, an idea whose time has not yet come

Some group of Malaysians think that we should drop the "race" column in official forms:

Groups back call to omit 'race' in forms

KUALA LUMPUR: The call to eliminate the race column in government and private agencies' forms by the 1Malaysia Foundation received the nod from many quarters.
Malaysian Bar Council president, Ragunath Kesavan, said removal of the race column from forms is a good start for strengthening unity but added that it should not stop there.

He said more should be done to realise the objective of strengthening unity and realising the 1Malaysia concept.

Read more: Groups back call to omit 'race' in forms

Some Malaysians are dead set against it:

Perkasa says no to dropping ‘race’ in forms
March 04, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Right-wing non-governmental organisation Perkasa is opposed to the idea of having the word “bangsa” (race) dropped from forms.

Its president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said claims that having the word was an obstacle to realising the 1 Malaysia concept was something ridiculous and unreasonable.

“The 1 Malaysia concept espoused by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has nothing to do with the use of the word in forms.

Read more in the MI here.

Me, I think the idea is good but is only applicable when:

1. All Malaysians can speak and write in the National Language fluently.

2. There is a time that there is no court translator for those Malaysians who are only fluent in Hokkien, Cantonese or Mandarin or Tamil.

3. There is no more advertisement in the Malaysian papers which say that command of Mandarin or any other vernacular language is required for a job.

Basically this can only happen when Malaysians agree to have a one School System or Satu Sekolah untuk Semua, otherwise we can talk until the cow comes home or try to make superficial changes like omitting "race" from the Government forms which will not contribute anything to unity but would certainly create more division when one groups wants it out and another group say why do you want it out when other fundamental things that divides us are not addressed properly first.

The "race" requirement should be kept for now as it serves to remind us that after 53 years of Merdeka there are still many among us who are still not fluent in our National language, let us not sweep this problem under the carpet.

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