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When a Bumiputera is not a Bumiputera in 1 Malaysia

When a Bumiputera is not a Bumiputera in 1 Malaysia

Marina Undau, I thought you’re…?

Her name is Marina Undau, living in Seri Aman in the interior of Sarawak. Her father is an Iban.

The 17-year-old girl has never had the slightest doubt of her own identity. She is an Iban, who in everyone’s perception is a bumiputra from Sarawak.

She scored 9 A’s and 1 B in her SPM, a performance which could not be claimed as the best by national standards, but in the interior of East Malaysia, where education resources are scarce, such results should be more than enough to make her family proud.

Under the country’s help-the-underprivi leged policy, Marina should be entitled to some special care. She should be more eligible than other bumi students in resource-rich West Malaysia to be sent overseas.
But she has been denied the opportunity.

She is a humble young girl with only a simple wish of getting into Matrikulasi at one of the local universities so that she could proceed to a university one year later.

Given her outstanding academic performances, such a humble wish should easily be fulfilled.
But her application has been rejected.

The reason: She is not a bumiputra!

When the education ministry scanned through her background, it was found that Marina had a Chinese mother, a fact that has resulted in her ineligibility for Matrikulai as a bumi student.

Her father made a few appeals, but they were all turned down.

“We’ve said you are not. So you’re not. We’re just doing things according to rules!”

Marina was utterly dejected. Even as she is an Iban, her blood is not pure enough, and that explains why she gets shut out from Matrikulasi.

She doesn’t understand the country’s racial policy, nor does she have any clue of the bureaucracy in West Malaysia.

She doesn’t even understand why she has been made a victim under the country’s freak racial policy.

Can anyone tell her why a bumiputra policy that is supposed to help the underprivileged is not able to offer a hand to an Iban-Chinese girl living under very tough conditions yet working very hard to change her own destiny?

Isn’t she a member of the underprivileged group who really needs and deserves some assistance from the government?

If this help-the-poor policy fails to offer a hand to someone really in need of it, what is such a policy good for then?

Or perhaps, when the case is eventually brought to the attention of those in power, she may get a little relief from them.

To those politicians, showing a little kindness will not cost them a thing. Instead, they may gain the reputation of being generous and open-minded in turn.

Isn’t it that many disputes get “solved” this way?

That said, the problem lies very much with the existing narrow-minded and corrupt system, which continues to drain the country of its precious resources, smothers its brightest talents, and keeps exhausting its equitable and just value system.

Which perhaps also keeps dividing this beloved nation of ours.

(By TAY TIAN YAN/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)
MySinchew 2009.11.05

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