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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Perdana Discourse Series - Is Affirmative Action Still Relevant in Malaysia?

Affirmative action refers to policies that factors such as race, skin colour, religion, gender, or national origin into consideration in order to benefit disadvantaged or under represnted groups in areas of employment, education, and business. The term was first used in the United States in the Executive Order 10925, signed by President John F. Kennedy on 6 March 1961.

In Malaysia, affirmative actions are directed towards achieving stability in the country by reducing, among others, economics and social gaps. But are these policies still relevant in the very dynamic and competitive 21st century?

That is what the 15th Perdana Discourse Series on the 12th of December 2012 by Perdana Leadership Foundation and Uitm attempted to address. Titled "The Future of Affirmative Action", the Discourse featured Malaysia's fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as its keynote speaker.

A panel discussion was held following the keynote speech, discussing the points raised in the keynote address. Panelists include Dr. Lee Hwok Aun (Head Department of Development Studies, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University Malaya) and Mr. Steven C M Wong (Senior Director, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia) and YB Senator Dato' Dr. Firdaus Abdullah (Specialist, Academy of Malay Studies Director's Office, University Malaya).

The event also witnessed Tan Sri Azman Hashim, Chairman of Board of Trustees, Perdana Leadership Foundatio, launch a Perdana Leadership Foundation publication, the "Perdana Discourse Series Keynote Speeches by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad". The book contains ten keynote speeches by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad throughtout the series and also selected questions and answers from previous Discourses.

Members of the 300-strong audience consisted of students and academics.

The Perdana Discourse Series debuted in August 2004 when Tun Dr. Mahathir discussed the inaugural topic "National Unity". Other Discourses within the series dealt with subjects such as National Sovereignty, Media and National Development, and Political Stability.

The Series aims to foster interaction and dialogue between older and younger Malaysians on issues of national importance, such as unity, social re-construction and education; attraction and stimulating the young Malaysia's interest and increase awareness on the country's leadership path by tracing the policies, strategies and models used during the tenure of the past Prime Ministers. A monograph of the discussions and issues arising from the discourse will be documented later.

The Perdana Discourse Series is sponsored by PROTON Holdings Berhad.

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