These are excerpts from a talk author Kee Thuan Chye delivered as part of the Swami Satyananda Memorial Lecture on July 14, 2012. The full text is included in his latest book, ‘Ask for No Bullshit, Get Some More!', which is now available in major bookstores.
COMMENT As you know, the rallying cry of the French Revolution was ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity'. This is totally consonant with the values of humanity. For which of us, as human beings, would not want to be free, equal and fraternal with our fellow citizens?
But are we Malaysians free, equal and fraternal with our fellow citizens?
Let's look at equality. The other day, I followed a friend to view a new housing development because he was looking for a house to buy. One of the designs was going for RM3.3 million per unit - and at 7 percent discount for bumiputeras. I was flabbergasted. If someone can afford a RM3.3 million house, why should he get a 7 percent discount all on account of his race? Seven percent of RM3.3 million is RM231,000; many people don't even have RM231,000 to buy a modest house.
I am in total support of helping poor people, be they bumiputeras or otherwise, but I am certainly not in support of helping the rich. Why should the rich bumiputeras deserve affirmative action? Where is the social justice in that? It has been 42 years since the inception of the New Economic Policy; why is this still happening today? In any case, where is the law that decrees that there should be such a discount?
If you think something is wrong and that we should not tolerate it any more, then the first barricade we need to storm is the barricade of prejudice...