What would you do if some students find it difficult to cope with the learning of math and science in English?
What would you do if some students are unable to compete against their peers?
What would you do if too few students can pass university exams?
Those are important questions the leaders of this country have to deal with quite frequently. The solutions are quite straightforward. For the first question, the answer is to change the medium of instruction to Malay. As for the second and third questions, those are straightforward too—simply bring down the grading system so that more students can pass the exams.
I don't know what is it like in the government offices, but I know a bit about the situation in many private companies, especially the big ones—there are quite often too many bosses but very few leaders. Many of those who occupy the important positions are there either because of the number of years they've been working in that company, or because they're very good in being yes-men, or because of their racial background and who they're related to.
A very common scene in a big private company is that when something goes right, everybody would be fighting to claim credit for it; but when something goes wrong, everybody starts pointing fingers at each other. That is survival in the corporate world, I guess.
Now I happen to know that some women are very, very clever and creative. In fact, I dare say they are brilliant. But I say some—not many. For those few who are really good in their jobs, it makes a lot of sense to let them hold important positions; in fact decision-making positions. If they're really good in what they do, even better than men, I see no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to make use of their knowledge and skills. After all, that can only be good for the company.
But what if they can't perform as good as the men? What is the logical thing to do? Well, I don't know about other companies, but I would choose those who I think can perform the best for the company. If it happens that women can perform the best, then of course they will get the job. If not, then I'm afraid the men will get it. This is purely looking at things from the company's point of view—it has nothing to do with the genders, really. If only 5% or 10% of the women in the company can outperform the men, then those 5% and 10% shall get the job(s), and the rest shall go to the men, and vice versa.
That's why I think the recent announcement by the government of the policy to get women to hold 30% of decision-making posts in the private sector is an ill-perceived idea. I know that announcement had probably a lot to do with the impending general elections in Malaysia. So I can understand the need to lure the women voters. But still, I say it's an ill-perceived idea!
There is just no free ride in business. You either perform to get the job; or if you can't perform, then you won't get the job. Otherwise, we're gonna have too many excess baggage which becomes a burden; people who become liabilities rather than assets to the company.
If I were the policy-maker in the government, I wouldn't formulate a "30% women in decision-making posts". Instead, I would put more emphasis on the survival of the fittest. Which means if 90% of the women can outperform the men, then they should rightfully occupy the important positions. But if the opposite is the case, then 90% of the important positions should be occupied by the men.
I think the kind of "milestone" that Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil is so proud of is nothing to shout about, really. The idea is always to work hard to achieve the 30% if it means that much to you; not have that 30% thrown onto your lap because of some sort of ill-perceived policy by a government bent on winning the general elections.