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COMMENT | Malaysia's political establishment will never accept meritocracy

COMMENT | Zaid Ibrahim’s recent public statements that ignoring meritocracy for decades has led to the dismal response to this pandemic is just another reminder that nothing will ever really change in this country.

Zaid is right, of course, but the reality is that while there are some Malaysians who desire the systemic changes that would actually “save Malaysia”, they are not represented by any political party or sustained mainstream social movement.

If the response to this pandemic is any indication, the political establishment will never embrace any form of egalitarian or meritocratic policies. Race and religion will continue to be the driving force of our country’s destruction and the political elites and their fractured bases will continue playing the same old games.

You can witness the deleterious nature of religious extremism, for instance, by the way the spread of this virus has been enabled by “religious obligations” and a total disregard for shared empathy and responsibility. The fact that a high-ranking cabinet member gets to say that religion trump’s economic interests – which is intricately tied to social cohesion – should remind everyone that...

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