1. A system in which advancement is based on individual ability or achievement.
2. a. A group of leaders or officeholders selected on the basis of individual ability or achievement.
2. b. Leadership by such a group .
*A MERITOCRACY WILL TEST APPLICANTS
When I was 18, a bank advertised a competition for vacancies on it staff. My father registered me for the competition, which was really an examination. For 3 hours, we sat in the cold bank premisses and answered questions on currencies (What is the currency of Australia?), calculated interest on various sums for different time periods (What is the interest on $5,000 over 9 months @ 6% per annum?), converted sterling pounds to Malaysian dollars, etc. The highlight was an essay, “Why do you want to work in a bank?”
The top man and top woman were offered employment.
Is Dr Mahathir referring to himself and his sons?
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed said that the system of meritocracy practiced currently gave more opportunities to those who were more fortunate to be richer while those who were less fortunate could not improve themselves or remained poor.
“I have little faith in meritocracy where all opportunities must be given to only those who are noted for their efficiency. If we practice meritocracy, then those who are not getting the same merit, they will totally not get any opportunity.
“We will see that the rich will get richer and the poor will be poorer. I believe that those with less merit should also be given an opportunity,” he told reporters after the launching of the autobiography ‘Mata-mata Kini Pertama’, in Kuala Lumpur today.
THE MERITOCRACY IN SINGAPORE
Meritocracy is one of its official guiding principles for domestic public policy formulation, placing emphasis on academic credentials as objective measures of merit.
ESM Goh Chok Tong: Improve system of meritocracy – 27Apr2013
Published on Apr 27, 2013
SINGAPORE: Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said Singapore should try to improve its system of meritocracy to ensure that it continues to benefit society, and this means showing compassion, even while meritocracy is at work.
Mr Goh said this is especially since meritocracy seems to have taken on some negative connotations of late.
These include growing income inequality, which Mr Goh noted has created resentment, envy and competition in schools, which has resulted in stress for parents and children.
He said some who have not done as well see meritocracy as a system that benefits those with resources and one which impairs their social mobility.
Mr Goh said he understood why it is difficult for some to be enthusiastic about the system, which they think has not benefited them the same way as others.
He said: “We do not want a society whose citizens seek to advance their own interests without a care for others, or worse, at the expense of others. I call this ‘selfish meritocracy’. It is up to those of us who can, to reach back and help those behind to climb the ladder with us, and not to pull up the ladder behind us. Those who have risen to the top owe the greatest responsibility to help the weaker in society. A ‘compassionate meritocracy’ can help us build a resilient and inclusive society. A ‘selfish meritocracy’ will divide us and ruin our society.”
Mr Goh was speaking at Ain Society’s charity dinner on Saturday evening.
He said the society is an example of “compassionate meritocracy” at work.
Mr Goh stressed Singapore has achieved much because it has practiced a fair and transparent system of meritocracy, rather than relying on connections or wealth.
Investing heavily in education and giving every Singaporean ample opportunity to succeed has also helped to level the playing field, added Mr Goh.
Having invested in realising the potential of Singaporeans, Mr Goh said it is natural for some to do better than others.
He stressed the solution is not to hold people back in the interest of equality of outcomes, or to do away with meritocracy altogether, but for people to help others with compassion.
Subject: Improve system of meritocracy to ensure it continues to benefit society: ESM Goh
*DR MAHATHIR AND MERITOCRACY IN MALAYSIAN HIGHER EDUCATION
The meritocracy system implemented in the intake for public universities was introduced in 2002 by then premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad to replace the racial quota system which had reserved 55 percent of places for bumiputera students.
However the system does not apply to all Mara higher education institutions and matriculation class dominated by bumiputera students.
Malay Consultative Council president Ibrahim Abu Shah, who is also the former Universiti Teknologi Mara deputy chancellor, had proposed that the Education Ministry restructure the education system to return “justice” to Malay students.
Meritocracy the way to go, say politicians
The call to abolish meritocracy in the education system for the sake of Malays is a step backward which should not be entertained, say Malaysian politicians “Meritocracy should definitely stay. It is good,” said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching.
She did not want to comment further but opposition politicians took the issue a step further claiming that the call was politically motivated to create racial disharmony.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also rejected the idea of doing away with meritocracy, adding that as an educationist, Ibrahim should not have said that.
“For a former deputy chancellor to say that speaks volumes about our education system.”
“If you say we should implement affirmative action to uplift the poor in their academic capabilities, then it is great proposal,” Anwar said.
PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli said that while he acknowledged that there are disparities in terms of education between the Malays and other races, removing meritocracy from the system was not the solution.
“This is not the root cause of the problem. It is not going to change the overall achievement and performance of our schoolchildren, especially the Malays.”
“The real problem is the inability and the subsequent failure of our education system to bring out the best in the Malay students,” Rafizi said.
Batu MP Tian Chua’s take on this issue was that it was politically motivated to create racial discourse in the country.
“We are all for affirmative action, and I agree not everything can be on merit, for instance, we should help poor students. However, if there is to be no merit in education, then how will Mara gauge and motivate students who do well.”
“Will they today offer rewards and scholarships to students from Kelantan and tomorrow students from Terengganu, or will they toss a coin?” he questioned. – June 25, 2013.
‘Meritocracy in education only helps Chinese’
Several Malay educationists have backed the proposal by Malay Consultative Council president Ibrahim Abu Shah to abolish the current meritocracy system in education.
Yesterday Utusan Malaysia had reported that Ibrahim, a former Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) deputy chancellor, had urged the Education Ministry to restructure the education system from pre-school to tertiary levels to return ‘justice’ to Malay students.
The restructuring should focus on the interests of Malay students from all aspects, he had said, including teaching methods to the allocation of scholarships.
“Today meritocracy has created Chinese supremacy. There is nothing to benefit Malay students. Imagine Malay students only make up 35 percent of those in higher education institutions and the rest are Chinese,” he reportedly said.
“In term of scholarship, Malay students have failed to dominate the allocation of scholarships. Last year, 80 percent of Chinese students received scholarships as they obtained outstanding results based on the government’s policy of meritocracy.”
Ibrahim’s remarks were made as a panel speaker at the ‘Malay and Bumiputra Education Convention’ organised by Yayasan Pelajaran Mara, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris and Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung on Saturday.
Another speaker, Retired Educators Association president Raof Hussin, echoed Ibrahim’s views, saying the meritocracy system in education has not been studied carefully because it overlooks the impact on Malay students.
In a report published today, Utusan interviewed Malay academics who threw their support behind the call.
Former education department director-general Alimuddin Mohd Dom said many bumiputera students in rural areas are in need of assistance, such as scholarships, to further their studies.
Hence these students should be given benefits, including financial aid from the government, he suggested.
Zainal Kling (right), who heads the history, heritage and socio-culture cluster in the National Professors Council, pointed out that meritocracy should be implemented within each ethnic group, rather than across the board.
“Meritocracy should only be practised (separately) among Chinese students, among Malay students and among Indian students,” he was quoted as saying.