(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Yesterday,
the 1,500 MIC delegates at the 56th
MIC Annual General Assembly in Shah Alam were
so visibly upset
by the lack of “good news” from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.
Mahathir Mohamad for more places in public universities for the Indian community
that the MIC President, Datuk Seri Samy Vellu had to cut short the debate on the
merit system for university admissions.
is however not only the MIC delegates who are upset, as all
Malaysians concerned about our international reputation as an educational
centre of academic excellence with a meritocracy system of unquestioned
credibility and integrity, the nation’s economic competitiveness in the era of
globalisation and information technology as well as the challenge of Vision 2020
to create a united, resilient and purposeful Bangsa
Malaysia are all disappointed that the Prime Minister had not taken the
opportunity to end this year’s national furore over the university selection
told the MIC General Assembly that
the merit system for admission to local public universities is likely to be
retained next year even though it has been questioned by some quarters within
said the government could not risk losing credibility if it scrapped the system
and explained: “We have made a
promise to use the merit system for admission to local universities. We cannot
possibly change this if we find the system has resulted in more bumiputra
students being qualified and admitted to the universities. If we changed the
system, we will not be credible anymore.”
said the government will study the merit system used for university admissions
so that it will be fairer to all groups in the country.
agree with Mahathir that the government’s credibility will suffer grievously
if it should chop and change, switching from quota to meritocracy and reverting
to quota the following year. However,
it must also be acknowledged that the credibility of the government and the
nation would be seriously impaired if the government is not prepared to urgently
rectify the faults and weaknesses so that Malaysia
would not gain national and international disrepute as having a
merit-based university selection system without merit.
the insinuation by the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad, the DAP and I
have never wavered from our stand and advocacy of university admissions based on
merit coupled with “needs” – a race-blind system founded
on a level academic playing field based purely on examination results to
ensure academic excellence and ameliorated by socio-economic considerations to
take account of the more disadvantaged groups to ensure social justice.
complaint about the university selection system this year is not that it is
merit-based, but that it is not transparent, fair, impartial and professional
enough and should be improved to be the pride of all Malaysians, regardless of
race or party affiliation!
the 40-NGO Group of Concerned Citizens supports a genuine meritocracy system
although it had been wrongly reported by the mainstream media as
opposing the system on the ground that “it would destroy the chance for
minority groups to climb the social ladder”.
have studied and am in full agreement with
the Group’s statement as it advocates
a meritocracy system where there is
“a level playing field that does not discriminate the poor, full transparency
and a common entry examination” without which “the claim of meritocracy is
separate problems have been thrown up by the university intake furore this year:
the immediate problem of
ensuring justice is done to the thousands
of victims of an unfair merit-based selection system and who have been unjustly
deprived of places in the public
universities in the current intake;
Secondly, to ensure
that the merit-based university selection system is fair and professional and
not regarded as so faulty as to become “a merit-based system without merit”.
to now, the Ministerial focus is on
the latter, with hardly any attention to the 31,572 students comprising 24,321
bumiputras, 4,820 Chinese and 2,431 Indians with minimum university entry
qualifications who have been rejected in the selection process. Time is running
out for them if they are to enter the public universities in the current intake,
with universities already starting their academic sessions.
more than ten days of the meritocracy furore, the MCA President and Transport
Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik is still talking about waiting for more
information about the merit system before formulating any position.
least the Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik
and Primary Industries Minister has come out calling for the merging of
the STPM and matriculation courses to have a common university entrance
examination, but this cannot cannot affect the fate of the
present crop of 31,572 “rejects” on which he is conspicuously silent.
the MIC President and Works Minister Datuk Seri Samy Vellu is talking more about
restoring the quota system and not focusing on the present crop of rejected
Cabinet meeting on Wednesday is the last chance for the 31,572 to be given a
second chance for their applications to be reconsidered and be given a second
chance for entry into the public universities, for after Wednesday, their
chances of being given places in the current intake of public universities is
this reason, the Ministers should not disappoint Malaysians and the 31,572
“rejects” in their Cabinet meeting on Wednesday
and they should work out a
formula which is fair and just not only to the 31,572 students but to the
country as well.
formula should rectify the gross injustice of
the arbitrary and summary rejection of the applications from diploma
holders, with Musa claiming that getting a diploma was not the normal way for a
student to continue his or her studies for a degree at the university.
is wrong here, for getting a diploma is one of the three ways for entry into the
public universities in Malaysia, a fact which was confirmed by Musa himself as
recently as early February when he announced that except for Universiti
Teknologi Malaysia, all universities will stop offering post Sijil Pelajaran
Malaysia first degree courses.
pointedly said: “This means universities will only take those who have
completed their Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia examination or its equivalent
for first degree courses.
and diploma courses will not be affected by this move.” (New Straits
Times 7th February 2002).
diploma holders are not to be considered for university intake under the
merit-based system, then adequate notice should be given and the new rule should
not affect students who have joined diploma courses in the expectation that they
could proceed to first-degree courses, as it is
most unfair for goal posts
to be moved midway in area of human
Cabinet on Wednesday should take the fair and just policy decision to rectify
this gross injustice and admit the eligible diploma holders into the public
second consideration for the Cabinet on Wednesday is to expand public university
intake by another 12,000 students in keeping with the government objective to
increase university student enrolment to 30 per cent of the school leavers in
2005 and to 40% in 2010.
total public university intake this year is 32,752, which is 6,445 places or
16.4% fewer than the 39,197 places offered last year, which makes a complete
mockery of the Eighth Malaysia Plan (8MP), which projects a 44% increase of
degree-level enrolment at the tertiary level in the next five years from 201,271
in 2,000 to 289,806 in 2005.