DAP calls on  government to ensure that the  11,376 qualified bumiputra students not admitted into IPTA all continue their higher studies in the IPTS with RM182 million allocation from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Datuk Mahadzir Mohd Khir said yesterday that the Education Ministry would endeavour to raise the enrolment of bumiputra students in the private institutions of higher learning (IPTS) through various forms of assistance, including financial aid.

He said that based on 2000 statistics, although the number of bumiputra students in the local public institutions (IPTA) were 55%, their position in the IPTS were  only 10 per cent.

He said that if the enrolment of both local public and private institutions of higher learning were  combined, bumiputra students represented only 30 per cent.
DAP fully  supports government efforts to increase bumiputra student intake in IPTS  and calls on government to fully finance the 11,376  qualified bumiputra students who had not been admitted to IPTA to pursue their higher studies in the IPTS in the country.

However, there are grave doubts as to whether the figures and statistics given by Mahadzir are correct, for instance, when he claimed that bumiputra students in the IPTA represented 55 per cent but only 10 per cent in IPTS or 30 per cent when  IPTA was combined with IPTS.

Barisan Nasional Ministers and Deputy Ministers  should stop juggling with  statistics to serve their particular purposes, but should have a healthy respect for the sanctity of figures by making public all the relevant statistics.

In my various media statements recently, I had used official statistics to point out that for the past two decades, the bumiputra percentage of enrolment in the local public universities were way above 55%. For instance, MAPEN2 figures show that in 1990 and 1999, bumiputra students constituted 65.9% and 69.9% respectively of the total enrolment in the local public universities.

It is also not true that there are only 10% bumiputra students in the IPTS. The MAPEN2 Report  shows that in the IPTS as at the end of 1999, bumiputra students comprised 19.4 per cent of first-degree, 40.45 per cent of diploma and 52.1 per cent of certificate enrolment, or 40.6 per cent of all tertiary students enrolled in the IPTS.

Where did Mahadzir get the 10% enrolment of bumiputra students in the IPTS?

I call on Mahadzir to give all the available statistics to substantiate his statement that there are only 10% bumiputra students in the IPTS, as it would be most irresponsible and dishonest for any political leader, especially a person with his academic background,  to juggle and concoct figures.

After telling the country that there were 7,168 unfilled university places because of the shortfall of qualified bumiputra science students, the Education Ministry had suddenly done an about-turn to claim that these places had not only been filled to excess, there were in fact 11,376 qualified  bumiputra students who had not been given  university places.

I am still awaiting the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad to give answers to my many questions on such dramatic changes in a matter of days, but putting them aside for the moment, DAP calls on the government to ensure that all the 11,376 bumiputra students can pursue their higher studies in the IPTS with full government financial support under the National Higher Education  Corporation  (PTPTN) fund.

This will come to about RM182 million as the PTPTN  gives RM16,000 for each student in the IPTS - a most worthwhile investment for Malaysia’s own brainpower to face the challenges of globalisation, liberalisation and information and technology communications (ICT) in the new century.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman