Call on Musa Mohamad to cancel or delay his three-week overseas trip until the controversy over STPM/matriculation matching for the merit university  selection system has been resolved

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang,  Friday)Acting on the public advice of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad, DAP leaders had spent the past week trying first to meet the director of Higher Education Department, Prof Hassan Said and later Musa himself, when Hassan declined to agree to a meeting, on the controversy over the matching of the matriculation results and the STPM grades for the merit-based university entrance selection system.  

But it is not only Hassan who is not contactable, Musa is also unreachable - and we have been informed by Musa’s office that the Education Minister will not be available until after the first week of June as he would be away overseas for some educational conferences from tomorrow onwards.  

It  is most shocking and mind-boggling as to how top Education Ministry officials can make themselves scarce and become completely inaccessible when there is a public controversy, and how the Education Minister himself  could leave the country when the controversy over the university student intake this year has not been addressed, let alone resolved.  

I call on Musa to  cancel or delay his three-week overseas trip until the controversy over STPM/matriculation matching for the merit university  selection system has been resolved, as 31,572 applicants, comprising 24,321 bumiputras, 4,820 Chinese and 2,431 Indians, who have not been selected for the public universities deserve a second chance for reconsideration and admission  for two reasons: 

Musa should cancel or delay his trip overseas  tomorrow as the public would be greatly disappointed if their expectation that the unresolved  controversy over the university selection system this year would be fully discussed and a new and fair formula decided  at the  Cabinet meeting next Wednesday proves empty because of the absence of the most important Minister in the country - the Education Minister himself.  

The Cabinet meeting last Wednesday  on the so-called “meritocracy” system adopted this year  for the university intake is most disappointing, as Musa said after a post-Cabinet meeting that “the Cabinet was pleased with the outcome of the merit system imposed this year”.  

This is most unbelievable, and  all the Ministers should explain  to the people what basis they regard the formula to  match the matriculation results and the STPM grades as professional, fair  and acceptable. Do they also agree that under the formula used, the STPM holders have even an advantage over the matriculation results?  

If so, did any Minister propose in Cabinet that all the bumiputera students should sit for STPM, so that the advantage allegedly enjoyed by the STPM holders in the matching formula could be extended to bumiputra students?  

Alternative, did any Cabinet Minister, whether UMNO or non-UMNO, suggest the introduction of a common university entrance examination  where university admission would be based on the   race-blind common university entrance examination coupled with “needs” to cater to socio-economically backward students?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman