He “ the Government would do everything possible to look into the plight of these students, including increasing intake or opening new universities”, describing these high-achievers as “very good students”.
As the Education Ministry Higher Education Department director Prof Dr. Hassan Said had announced a week earlier on 2nd May 2001 that an additional 160 SPM students would be offered places in public universities, including those with a minimum of 10As, all the other SPM top scorers who have been rejected by the public universities, their parents and the public at large expected good news at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
However, Liong Sik was completely empty-handed after the Cabinet meeting and all that MCA Ministers could talk about was the 160 additional places for SPM top scorers which had already been announced two weeks ago.
Despite the Cabinet being “very, very sympathetic” with the “very good students”, the Cabinet did not “do everything possible” nor was there any accommodation by the Ministry of Education to increase university enrolment to admit the high-achievers, whether by increasing the intake or opening new universities!
There was not a single additional university place offered by the Cabinet despite Liong Sik’s post-Cabinet statement the previous Wednesday that “the Cabinet had instructed the Education Ministry to offer places in public universities to all SPM high achievers” - Bernama, Radio and Television news.
The failure of the Cabinet to offer a single additional university place to the high SPM and STPM achievers after Liong Sik’s post-Cabinet promise is as great an outrage as the original rejection of SPM top-scorers from entry into universities.
Liong Sik’s failure to get the Cabinet yesterday to offer a single additional university place for the top SPM and STPM achievers is the final proof of the urgent need for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to appoint a special assistant on Chinese community affairs as reported in the media in the past two days.
It is high time that the Prime Minister has someone dependable and trustworthy who could truthfully convey to him the legitimate needs and aspirations of the Malaysian Chinese, as Liong Sik and the other MCA Ministers have repeatedly proved to be poor messengers of the Chinese community.
The special assistant to the Prime Minister for Chinese community affairs must be able to courageously inform the Prime Minister of the fears and hopes of the Malaysian Chinese, and not be another surrogate MCA leader who could only tell the Chinese community what the Prime Minister wants but dare not tell Mahathir the legitimate needs and aspirations of the Chinese community - or the new post would be redundant and irrelevant.
The same applies to the new post of the Prime Minister’s Chinese press secretary - who should keep Mahathir informed of the news and editorial content in the Chinese newspapers and not be an instrument to manipulate and censor the Chinese press, making the post also irrelevant and counter-productive.