The 55-member panel of the National Unity Advisory Panel have proposed the formation of an Institute of Ethnic Relations to manage the issue of national unity and integration. They felt that the time had come for a proper institute to be set up to document success stories in the management of inter and intra-racial unity.
This is the first suggestion coming out from the newly appointed panel. What is new? Nothing. Ethnic relations cannot be enhanced by merely setting up more institutions. More public funds would probably be needed to fund the institute. Who will be its members? Probably those who are already in the National Unity Advisory Panel. This is what we called 'recycling'.
Moreover, is the role of the institute to document only success stories? Is the proposed institute aimed at playing an apologist role for the government by spending public's money?
The first proposal of the advisory panel should be to encourage the government to review its current affirmative policy. It is timely we shift the focus of the policy from being race-based to need-based. If the government's intention is to help the poor bumiputera, a need-based policy will not affect this objective.
In fact, a need-based policy will ensure critical and scarce resources are directed to the needy ones. Why should the middle class and the rich continue to benefit from the NEP?
Second, the advisory panel should propose to the government to take stern action against all government policy makers and civil servants who displayed racist behaviour. Action should be taken against those who stoke up racist sentiment.
I am surprised at how shallow the first proposal was. I am sure the advisory panel can do better than this.