The Role of MARA (The Council of Trust for Indigenous Peoples) in Enforcing Affirmative Action in Malaysia
AbstractMalaysia is one of a few countries in which a majority and politically dominant ethnic group, the Bumiputera1 were socially excluded and economically in the aftermath of colonial rule. Bumiputera under-representation in tertiary education institutions and upper occupational positions, and in ownership and control over economic activity, were starker in Malaysia than in most nations that implement forms of affirmative action. Post-independence Malaya was characterized by a social structure, aptly described as an ethnic division of labour, in which groups were preponderantly and persistently confined to particular occupations and industries. Through British colonial rule and migration processes, foreign interests came to dominate the ownership of resources and capital, while Malays, Chinese and Indians, lived and worked in separate geographic and economic spheres. Ethnic social stratification was reinforced by disparities in educational and job opportunities. One of the affirmative action been taken by the government is the establishment of MARA (The Council of Trust for Indigenous Peoples) in 1966. Under the tertiary education, MARA (Council of Trust for the Indigenous People) set up junior residential colleges primarily for pupils in rural and unprivileged areas which enjoyed higher standards of teaching and facilities, especially in science classes. Throughout the years, MARA has established many other institutions too in order to increase the social mobility of the Bumiputera. MARA has played the main role as a statutory body in helping Malaysia to perform an affirmative action.
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