Affirmative Action: Ethical or Purely Discrimination

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Affirmative Action: Ethical or Purely Racial Discrimination?
A comparative Analysis of how Malays are treated in Singapore and Malaysia

“Affirmative action” means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded. Indeed if one were to see affirmative action in the light of John Rawls’ maximin approach to give the greatest benefit to the least advantaged in society, it would seem to be a just and fair way to organise society. Hence it’s no surprise that affirmative action is prevalent in many countries today principally to ameliorate the disenfranchised in the society to become ‘full partners’ in the society.
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The worst was to come when an independent organisation, pointed that the 30% equity target was already reached n 2008 – in fact it was noted that now the figure stood at 45%. This was immediately refuted by the government and immediately official figures were presented showing that it was still hovering around 22%. ‘Then there is the question of so-called Ali Baba companies, so nicknamed because in Malaysia, private enterprises observe a largely unspoken rule that a Muslim – an “Ali” in local parlance will occupy a top position in the company and that Malays will get a certain number of positions while the “Baba” a nickname for the Straits Chinese – will often form the corporate backbones of the companies.’ Multinationals doing business in Malaysia also know they won’t be officially certified in a number of corporate ventures until high-powered Malays are seated on their boards of directors. That has allowed rent-seeking Malays to take directorships and other posts with companies in exchange for equity – which adds to a false picture of how much equity bumputeras really own and clearly lends to the engenderment of unethical business behaviour thanks to the affirmative action.
Critics have pointed out that the NEP has been implemented these 30 years in a racially discriminatory way with little transparency or accountability. However, legal recourse was not available – either because disparity amongst races
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