Inter Ethnic Divisions In Malaysia

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Inter-ethnic Divisions Another issue that reflects the lack of national identity in Malaysia is the inter-ethnic divisions in the country. During the colonial rule, the different ethnic groups were segregated by occupations, with the Malays in agriculture, Chinese in commerce and Indians in plantation (Stockwell, 1982). This colonial arrangement allowed for the formation of strong ethnic communities but at the same time made distinctions between the different ethnic groups. After colonial rule, the Malays with affirmative policy gained many rights and priorities in the country. The Chinese, due to their occupational designations, had some economic power. However the Indians were not so fortunate. As Malaysia continued to progress economically…show more content…
In Malaysia, there are 3 main types of primary schools, namely the National primary schools in Malay medium and national-type primary schools in Chinese or national-type primary schools in Tamil. Amongst the Chinese, the majority send their children to Chinese primary schools (Ting M. H., H, 2013). Similarly, the good performances of students in the Tamil vernacular schools have encouraged much of the Indian population to send their children to Tamil schools (M. Rajantheran, et al., 2012). Although there are no restrictions on the school students can go to, it seems that the majority go to vernacular primary schools of their own ethnicity. These students hence establish bonds and interact in their social circles and have little contact with people of other ethnic groups. Furthermore, these ethnic-based schools will also impart cultures and beliefs of their ethnic group, strengthening the sense of belonging to their own ethnic community (Ting M. H., H., 2013). The strong attachments to racial identity could lead to the creation of different historical accounts and interpretations, although schools have standardised textbooks across the different ethnic groups and languages (Zurairi,…show more content…
However having taken different educational routes since young, these students grow to learn who belongs to their ‘group’ and who doesn’t, whether consciously or unconsciously (Dividio, 2010), possibly creating distinctions between different ethnic groups. Fortunately, it has also been found that an overwhelming majority of vernacular school pupils continue their secondary education in Malay medium although the extent of integration of the different ethnic groups in secondary education still requires further investigation. In recent years, developments to the education system in accordance to the 'One Malaysia' Campaign have brought about the establishments of Vision schools. These are schools where different ethnic groups learn in the same compounds so as to facilitate more social interactions. These schools aim to reduce inter-ethnic divisions in the education system, but surveys have shown varying attitudes of Malaysians towards these vision schools (Ruslan, et al., 2009). The success in blurring these divisions and integrating the national community will depend on the receptiveness of the

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