GEORGE TOWN, May 17 ― P. Ramasamy today described fellow Pakatan Harapan (PH) colleague Maszlee Malik as “no different” from Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians after the education minister’s remarks about the matriculation quota and alleged private sector biases against Bumiputera jobseekers.
The Penang second deputy chief minister said some ministers and gave the example of Maszlee, are no different from those in power they replaced in using race and religion to ensure their political survival.
“It is shocking that Maszlee could link the continuation of the matriculation quota on the existence of unfair employment system for Bumiputera in the private sector,” the DAP lawmaker said in a statement.
Ramasamy was responding to Maszlee’s reported remarks that Bumiputera were denied job opportunities because they were Mandarin illiterate nor could they speak the language in justifying the government’s decision to keep the present matriculation quota system.
“So he says as long as the private sector, in other words, Chinese employers, are only recruiting on the basis of knowledge of Mandarin, then the government will maintain the present matriculation quota.
“But now, there is realisation that some of our ministers like Maszlee are no different from the BN era politicians who used race and religion to ensure their political survival,” Ramasamy said.
He then accused Maszlee of being “entrapped in thinking along racial lines”.
“What is the difference between him and Umno politicians?” he then asked.
Ramasamy said that the employment of Bumiputera in the private sector would have been raised in Cabinet if there was a real problem.
“Why is he raising the matter in the public, does he want to score some political points in a predominantly Malay crowd?” he asked.
He said when PH won the government, some would expect racial policies in education and other areas would be in the past, but added that it was not the case with the matriculation system.
Ramasamy said a recent survey indicated that Indians face the most discrimination in the private sector while the public sector is completely monopolised by the Bumiputera.
“If this is so, what action the government is doing to rectify the situation rather to link it to the matriculation quota system?” he asked.
He pointed out that the employment of the ethnic Chinese and Indians is limited in the public sector.
He asked Maszlee if the ministry would take the initiative to change the quota system since Bumiputera constitute the vast majority of employees in the public sector.
“Maszlee after having said much on the colour of school shoes and the weight of bags seems to have nothing much to add in terms of forward looking policies to propel the education system,” he added.
He accused Maszlee of behaving like Umno politicians who think that race and religion are needed to safeguard his position in the current government.
“Well, with politicians like Maszlee, PH can say goodbye to bring about policies and reforms to move the nation ahead,” he said.
Yesterday, during a forum with university students at USM, Maszlee responded to a question on the matriculation quota by stating that the quota system should not be looked at in isolation as there were Bumiputera being denied jobs because they don’t know Mandarin.
“If we can make do without all that, if we can give equal business opportunities, then we can talk about being fair to all,” he reportedly said.