Cabinet and Parliament should consider the NUTP proposal that educational institutions  specially meant for bumiputras such as UiTM open their doors to all races

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Monday)The reason given by the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Vice Chancellor, Prof Datuk Dr. Ibrahim Abu Shah to reject the proposal by the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) President Tengku Habsah Tengku Petera that educational institutions specially meant for bumiputeras such as UiTM open their doors to all races sounds so illogical that it does not reflect well on his expertise and professionalism. (Berita Harian 3.6.02).  

Tengku Habsah had said in Kuching on Saturday that the  national educational system should move in line with changing times and economic development to ensure that students, particularly bumiputeras, were able to compete.  

Dr. Ibrahim said that UiTM students are not only “competitive” in the university but could successfully compete when they go overseas for further studies.  

If Dr. Ibrahim claims that UiTM students are fully competitive, whether locally or overseas, this should be the strongest reason for opening the doors of UiTM to all races, rather than the reverse, as affirmative actions are meant to be temporary and not permanent features of the national education system.  

The only reason for keeping UiTM closed to all races is that 46 years after its establishment,  bumiputra students are still not ready for the competition which they would have to face when the university is opened up to all races.   

However, as Dr. Ibrahim has claimed that the UiTM students are fully competitive, both locally and overseas, and as UMNO leaders have publicly expressed their satisfaction that bumiputra students could now compete with non-bumiputra students as shown in the results of the   recent public university  intake based on a merit-based selection system and not on a quota system, what other tenable reason could there be for continuing to keep UiTM closed to all Malaysian students regardless of race?  

The concern that the opening up of UiTM to all races could lead to a dimunition of higher education opportunities for bumiputra students could be met by expanding UiTM places so that the intake of non-bumiputra students, say starting with 10 to 20 per cent, would not be at the expense of the annual total  intake of bumiputra students.   

Such opening up of UiTM can only be to the good of the country as the sooner Malaysians realize that the country must compete with the rest of the world, rather than bumiputras competing with non-bumiputras, which will decide our ability to face up to the challenges of globalisation, liberalization and information and communications technology and our national prosperity.  

For this reason, the Cabinet and Parliament should give serious consideration to the NUTP proposal that educational institutions  specially meant for bumiputras such as UiTM open their doors to all races.    


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman