The Chinese Dilemma
Ye Lin Sheng
East West Publications
206 pag. paperback 14 x 22 cm
Malaysia is a prosperous, modern Islamic nation in which three main ethnic groups - Malay, Chinese and Indian - coexist peacefully, while maintaining their unique cultural identities. Yet this stable society is founded upon a form of affirmative action that has led to condemnation of Malaysia as an inherently racist society, and to criticisms of the architect of that policy, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who outlined his ideas in his book, The Malay Dilemma, in 1970.
The winners from Mahathir's New Economic Policy have been the indigenous Malays who receive preferential treatment in education and business; the losers are the Chinese who feel they are the victims of inherently undemocratic restrictions. The author argues that whatever the cost, the benefits of the policy are indisputable. He not only queries many of Mahathir's ideas, he also challenges the simplistic views of the leader's Chinese and Western critics. Besides making a major contribution to Malaysian political and social thought, this book raises broader questions about Chinese cultural identity and the role and expectations of the overseas Chinese - a people who have left their mark in almost every corner of the world.