Liong Sik should have met Hishammuddin to explain the real problem about low IPTS bumiputra student intake instead of absconding all the way to Luxembourg for help from  Mahathir

Speech 2
- DAP Kampong Bercham Dinner 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Bercham,  Sunday)The MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik should have met the UMNO Youth leader, Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein Onn to explain the real problem about the low bumiputra student intake in the private institutions of higher learning (IPTS) instead of absconding all the way to Luxembourg for help from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.  

The previous Saturday, after witnessing the Campbell University convocation in Kuala Lumpur, Ling said bumiputra students ”shy away from private institutions because the Government has provided them with other avenues to pursue a tertiary education”,  adding that three categories of bumiputras were entering colleges and universities: 

As Ling had initially said that he was eager to meet Hishammuddin “as soon as possible” to “de-escalate” the spat between him and the UMNO Youth leader, he should have met Hishammuddin immediately “at, during or after” the Cabinet meeting last Wednesday instead of absconding all the way to Luxembourg to seek the help of Mahathir!

Ling should have met Hishammuddin to convince  him that the real  problem is not because of any IPTS student intake policy to discriminate against bumiputras, but because of the difficulty of attracting bumiputra students although some 40% of the students in the private institutions of higher learning are bumiputras and not just 10% or even 5% per cent as irresponsibly claimed by some UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders.

Ling should have told Hishammudin  that all the IPTS  would be very grateful to UMNO Youth if  it could work out a scheme to channel more bumiputra students to them, as the problem about the low number of Malay students in IPTS  is not because of any quota but finance.

Furthermore, Ling should have taken the occasion to advise Hishammuddin that it is time for UMNO Youth to lift its sights to the international competitiveness
challenges faced by Malaysia in the era of globalization, liberalization and ICT and not mired in the Malay versus non-Malay milieu when what really matters is Malaysia vs the world. 

In Malaysia, whenever there is UMNO and UMNO Youth general assemblies, racial temperatures are raised.  Can UMNO and UMNO Youth break from such unhealthy practices of the past and demonstrate in their general assemblies next week that they can address national problems without raising racial temperatures?  

In a Mingguan Malaysia interview today, Mahathir said one of his biggest regrets in his political career was not being able to make Malays change.  

Malays, he said, still did not want to work hard to improve themselves and preferred to continue to depend on the Government.  They wanted to be given subsidies and awarded with special privileges although all kinds of help had been given to them, including in education and business.  

He said that although the Chinese in Malaysia “face discrimination” and do not have special rights, they are more successful than the Malays.  

He said the Malays had actually exceeded 30% control of the national economy, but is now hovering at about 19% only (17% involving bumiputra institutions managed by the Government while the other 2% the actual portion controlled by bumiputra entrepreneurs) as most had been sold back as the Malays want “quick money” and “quick profits”. 

The problems described by Mahathir are not just Malay problems but Malaysian problems, to be addressed not only by Malays but also by Malaysians as they affect Malaysia’s national competitiveness and ability to take our rightful place in the global economy.  

It is therefore all the more a  pity and shame that instead of meeting with Hishammuddin to discuss and address  these Malay problems which are really Malaysian problems,  Ling should take the first plane out of the country last week to avoid meeting the UMNO Youth and to seek Mahathir help in Luxembourg  to resolve the Liong Sik-Hishammuddin spat.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman