Call on Musa to release  all science places  from the  7,168 university places not filled by bumiputra science students to eligible Chinese and Indian science students from among the 500 plus SPM top scorers and thousands of STPM holders

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Saturday): Malaysians are still trying to “recover” from the David Copperfield performance of the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad who in five days could find 8,365 students who had  not only occupied but   exceeded the  7,168 unfilled university places in this year’s public universities admission exercise.

Musa took five days to vigorously deny  that there were 7,168 unfilled university places although he was unable to explain the statement by the Education Ministry Higher Education Department director Professor Hassan Said who announced on 3rd May 2001  that there had been a 15 per cent drop in university intake from the originally-targetted 38,000 university places  because of a shortfall of qualified bumiputra science students.

Musa should  explain whether the 7,168 science university places had all been filled by  bumiputra science students and if not to state the number of places filled by bumiputra students in arts and Islamic studies.

It would be most ridiculous and make a mockery of Malaysia’s  ambition to become a hi-tech nation and IT power to fill the shortfall of  bumiputra university places with bumiputra arts and religious students.

While retaining the bumiputra arts and religious students who have been admitted into the universities to fill the 7,168 places, I call on Musa to release all science places  from  the 7,168 university places which were not filled by bumiputra science students to eligible Chinese and Indian science  students from among the 500 plus SPM top scorers and thousands of STPM holders, as otherwise, Malaysia will be going against the Third Outline Perspective Plan, the Eighth Malaysia Plan and the National Vision Policy to forge a united nation consisting of a progressive and dynamic Bangsa Malaysia which  is globally competitive.

It is most regrettable that as an academician and non-politician, Musa should have  given encouragement to the demand for the increase of the bumiputra university quota from 55 per cent to 66 per cent, when he should have spoken out in no uncertain terms that such a proposal is completely unacceptable for two reasons - against the national  interests of Malaysian nation-building as well as against the very spirit in which the quota system was first introduced by  the New Economic Policy as a temporary measure and not a permanent feature of the Malaysian education system.

Berita Harian in its editorial of  Wednesday, 9th May 2001 under the heading “Kuota masuk IPTA harus cerminkan nisbah kaum” was the first time the call for the increase of the bumiputra university quota from 55% to 66% was made.

The editorial argued that according to the 2000 Census, the total Malaysian population of 23.27 million  comprised 14.56 million bumiputras or 66.1%, 5.58 million Chinese or 25.3% and 1.63 million or 7.4 per cent and that the university entry quota should reflect the latest population ethnic ratios, i.e. 66 per cent for bumiputras and 34 per cent for non-bumiputras.

Berita Harian pursued this line in its Thursday edition in a report under the heading “IPTA: Tambah kuota pelajar Bumiputera”, where it elicited the support for the demand to increase the bumiputra quota from 55% to 66%  in public institutions (IPTA) to reflect population changes.

Among those who came to Berita Harian’s support was Datuk Zainal Abidin Wahid, “tokoh pendidik dan pengasas Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia  (UKM)”, who claimed that there are only  15% bumiputra students in the private institutions of higher learning (IPTS)  where non-bumiputras constituted 85%.

This is a most irresponsible statement as it does not accord with the facts. Based on data from the Education Ministry, a total number of 456  IPTS were registered as at 31st December 1999 with a total enrolment of 199,613 students, comprisng 40.6 per cent bumiputras  or 81,043 students and 59.4 per cent non-bumiputras or 118,570 students.  In contrast, out of the total enrolment of 203,675 students at tertiary level in public institutions in 1999,  bumiputras constituted 72.7 per cent or 148,149 students while non-bumiputras constituted 27.3% or 55,526 students.
The total enrolment of students at tertiary level at all local institutions of higher learning, both IPTA and IPTS, in 1999 are as follows:

First degree, diploma and certificate enrolment in all institutions (IPTA and IPTS) for 1999

Enrolment     Bumiputra     Non-Bumiputra     Total

Degree        103,853       67,004            170,857
              60.78%        39.22%            100%
Diploma       94,403        75,805            170,208
              55.46%        44.54%            100%
Certificate   30,936        31,287            62,223
              49.72%        50.28%            100%
Total         229,192       174,096           403,288
              56.83%        43.17%            100%

The data for total enrolment in private institutions of higher learning (IPTS) in 1999 according to racial breakdown is as follows:

First degree, diploma and certificate enrolment in private  institutions (IPTS) according to race  for 1999

Enrolment     Bumiputra     Non-Bumiputra     Total

Degree        6,017         24,920            30,937
              19.4%         80.6%             100%
Diploma       44,815        65,914            110,729
              40.5%         59.5%             100%
Certificate   30,211        27,736            57,947
              52.1%         47.9%             100%
Total         81,043        118,570           199,613
              40.6%         59.4%             100%

After his five-day “David Copperfield” performance, Musa now claims that there are in fact 11,376 qualified bumiputra students who had not been given places in the universities.

There are three questions for Musa:


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman