(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The Education Minister,
Tan Sri Musa Mohamad should practice what he preaches and set an example of not
turning the controversy over the merit-based university selection system into a
racial issue, by alleging that those who question the formula used to match the
matriculation results and the STPM grades are trying to create a racial issue.
reminds me of the early eighties,
when I was accused by a top UMNO Cabinet Minister of wanting to create a racial
issue because I was pressing for greater accountability and transparency in the
first mega-financial scandal in Malaysia, the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra
Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal.
Musa should realize
that in a multi-racial country like Malaysia, there must not only be studious
attempts to avoid raising racial issues, Cabinet Ministers should not create
racial issues by equating demands
for democratic accountability and
transparency with “racial” pressures.
Musa said it
was “certainly a bad and wrong attitude for people to harbour
suspicions against the system and the government … without checking the facts
first” and that they should approach the ministry for clarification if they
are unhappy with the matter.
One wonders whether Musa really knows what he is
talking about or his head is just among the clouds.
How can anyone reach the Education Ministry for clarification about the
merit-based university selection system, especailly on the formula used to match
two completely different examination systems, the matriculation results and the
STPM grades, when access to the
Higher Education Department director, Prof. Dr. Hassan Said was virtually
impossible in the past six days.
When the DAP National Vice Chairman and Member
of Parliament for Kepong, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw could not even reach Hassan after
trying the whole day yesterday to reach him by phone, how could any member of
the public get clarification or “checks the facts first” with the Education
will not be fair just to blame
Hassan for the national uproar over the merit-based selection system, although
he must be reprimanded for at times forgetting that he is a public servant and
his condescending attitude towards university
students, parents, lecturers and
the Malaysian public who want
answers to many queries about the merit-based university entry selection system,
in particular the special formula used to match the matriculation results and
the STPM grades to put them under one main list in order of merit.
claiming that the special formula to match the results of
two completely different examination systems is “very technical”,
“highly academic” and cannot be understood by the “layman”,
Hassan only intensified public
doubts about the merit and integrity of the merit-based selection system.
It is Musa however
as Education Minister who
must bear full responsibility for the furore over the merit-based selection
system because of the complete absence of information or explanation about the system six days after the announcement
of university intake results.
announced that Hassan will come out with a statement on the meritocracy system
and how the matriculation results and STPM grades were matched but he could not
say when it would be made.
Musa had committed a
serious lapse of Ministerial
responsibility in not ensuring that
such a full explanation on the merit-based selection system, and in particular
how the results of two completely different examination systems were matched, were
made at the very same time the university intake results were announced
Can Musa explain why he
had not foreseen the necessity for such an explanation to be made at the same
time as the release of the university intake results, in keeping with the
principles of accountability and transparency.
Secondly, can Musa
explain why for six days, the Education Ministry could not come out straightaway
with a full explanation of its merit-based selection system
when there was a nation-wide furore immediately after the release of the
university intake results – and how many more days
Hassan will need to work on
understand why it is necessary for Hassan to work on the explanation on the
formula to match the two examination systems and other aspects of the
merit-based selection system - when
what the people want are the whole truth and nothing but the truth and not a
varnish of the truth or a P.R.