Hon Choon Kim should resign as Deputy Education Minister to protest against the injustice of the education system if he cannot ensure that all the over 500 SPM top scorers are admitted to local universities

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The rejection of over 500 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia  (SPM) top scorers in their application to local universities is an  educational scandal of the first magnitude and an acid test as to whether the Eighth Malaysia Plan and the National Vision Policy to develop a knowledge-based economy with competent, productive and knowledgeable workforce is going to succeed or fail.

There is something very wrong not only with the education system but the nation-building policy as well when the best and brightest of each generation are turned away from the local universities, making them embittered citizens  at such an injustice.

What  Au Yong Hue Chen  from Subang Jaya   wrote in to the New Straits Times yesterday is a typical example of such injustice.  She scored 1As for all  her eight science subjects and 2As for Bahasa Melayu, English and  Chinese. She also has an impressive co-curricular track record, representing her school in Mathematic Quiz, Geography Quiz, Sajak writing competition, Physics Quiz, Kuiz Perdana, Australian National Chemistry Quiz, debates, MPSJ essay writing competition, Chinese interschool essay writing competition and also Formula 1 essay writing competition.

However, her application to pursue either Biomedical Engineering in Universiti Malaya or Chemical Engineering and Industrial Chemistry  in UTM was rejected.

She wrote:

“My mother is dedicated government school teacher for more than 26 years and is near her pensionable age.

“She always advises her students to work very hard in order to secure a place in a local public university and serve our government but now her own daughter with 11As cannot even get a place.  She is extremely depressed.

“When I got my result, I thought it would be the best  Mother’s Day present for her but instead, my failure to gain admission to a local university makes her run up and down to seek help from the Ministry of Education.”

The Higher Education Department director Prof. Dr. Hassan Said has promised to reveal “procedures” and information on how local universities decide on admission of SPM students so that SPM high scorers who were unsuccessful would know why they did not get admitted into the universities.

This is not good enough.  The issue is beyond Dr. Hassan. What is needed is not a statement by Dr. Hassan on why more than 500 SPM high-achievers had been rejected this year, but a  new “brain gain” policy under 8th Malaysia Plan to approve university places for the over 500 SPM high-achievers who have been rejected by local universities.

This year, a total of 38,051 SPM students out of 140,845 applications  have been offered places to pursue matriculation programmes or degree courses for the 2001/2002 academic session - comprising  11,708 for the Ministry’s matriculation centres, 835 at Universiti Malaya’s Pusat Asasi Sains and 25,511 at public higher educational institutions.

If the government could pour billions of ringgit to save a few companies and tycoons, like MAS, Renong, UEM, Time Engineering, Time dotCom,  Star and Putra, it is inexcusable why it could not expand the university intake to accommodate the 500 SPM high-achievers, especially as this will be in the national interest to  create a world-class pool of the best talents to transform Malaysia into a  successful  K-economy which can compete with the rest of the world.

MCA Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Hon Choon Kim had misled the people into believing that such an educational injustice had been resolved last year and would not recur.

He  should resign as Deputy Education Minister to protest against the injustice of the education system if he cannot persuade the Education Ministry to adopt  a new “brain gain” policy under 8th Malaysia Plan to approve university places for all the over 500 SPM high achievers who have been rejected by the  local universities.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman