(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.
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:
The brightest batch chose to take up foreign-based courses such as
those in Britain and the United States.
The second batch would choose any of the local public universities
such as Universiti Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia or Universiti Sains
The third batch would go to Universiti Teknologi Mara.
(Sunday Star 9.6.02)
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
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.