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Tales from a Councillor: Barricades and racial quotas

UPHOLDING the law should be what government is all about. But there are times when I find that majority rule throws out all those law books I have been reading.

There are no morals to these stories, save those that readers interpret for themselves.


(Pic by Laura Leavell /
A group of residents who took issue with the illegal barricades that are popping up all over Petaling Jaya met with me to demand that the local council take action and remove those barriers.

After listening to their arguments, I agreed that the barriers were illegal and that the law should be respected. Unfortunately for the irate residents, they were outnumbered by the residents who were in favour of this measure to ensure neighbourhood security.

I also pointed out the fact that the barricades were officiated in a ceremony with the presence of police officers and politicians from across the political divide.

“Are you trying to tell me that you cannot enforce the law?” replied a resident.

Before I could reply, another neighbour immediately called the man selfish, and said that those who opposed the barricades should be more considerate and think of the neighbourhood as a whole.

Racial quotas

It was another one of those meetings that I had to attend. Before long, I found myself listening to a proposal by a local council officer to implement a policy based on racial quota. The officer even provided statistics of Selangor’s racial make-up to justify the proposal.

The paperwork showed that there were roughly 60% Malay Malaysians, 30% Chinese Malaysians and 10% others, and the proposal was to have a 6:3:1 ratio for the different ethnic groups.

Another officer said that the proposal was flawed, because the statistics was for Selangor, and that we should be using statistics for Petaling Jaya instead.

I took that as my cue to speak. “If we are going to make a policy based on racial quotas and base it on statistics for Petaling Jaya, then I believe the ratio is different. PJ has a population that is [about] 53% Chinese, 28% Malay, 15% Indian and 3% other [Malaysians]. And these statistics are from the Petaling Jaya Local Plan 1.”

The proposal was promptly scrapped.

MBPJ councillor KW Mak notes that politicians often pander to the request of the majority because that is where the votes are during an election. Unfortunately, when the majority wants something that violates minority rights, it becomes mob rule.

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4 Responses to “Tales from a Councillor: Barricades and racial quotas

  1. Naoko says:

    I find all these comments about the barricades dumb. It all boils down to this:

    When does the desires of those selfish barricade-loving people override MY RIGHT and ACCESS to my home? If they are really that afraid, then hire security guards for your own home or put in a CCTV. Don’t make a decision to suit your own personal desires to override my right!

  2. Cadraver says:

    To barricade or not to? If the police were doing their job (though they seem to be patrolling more often these days in PJ), there wouldn’t be a need for these barricades.

  3. Andrew I says:

    The idea of erecting barricades is actually not new. They were called moats in medieval times.

    Alternatively, they could put up the signboard seen in the Bond film, Live and Let Die: “Trespassers will be eaten… and we mean it.”

  4. Naoko:

    I lived in one neighbourhood that barricaded the area, so I understand the sentiments of those living there. It’s not like they haven’t done what you suggested. I know some houses already have CCTV. The question of the barricade is to be drawn on whether they are legal or not, not on whether it conveniences one group or the other.

    That said there are a lot of things going on in PJ that were given a green light by one administration (the previous) and became an issue with another. Look at the Paramount View condo issue, for example.

    Interesting reveal on the race quota suggestion.

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