(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): DAP welcomes the increasing
calls by enlightened Malay academicians and intellectuals for
a common university entrance examination in place of the unfair and
unprofessional meritocracy university selection system adopted by the Education
Ministry this year which undermines the two important goals of national
integration and turning Malaysia into an international center of educational
Utusan Malaysia today
reported that the former University Sains Malaysia Vice Chancellor, Datuk Dr.
Ishak Tambi Kechik has called for the abolition of the three pre-university
educational systems of Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), matriculation
programme and the Basic Science Centre (Pusat Asasi Sains) run by the University
of Malaya and their replacement by one new
system to ensure justice in the selection of university students based on a
system of meritocracy.
He said that the existence
of three different systems in a plural society is unsuitable as it would give
rise to racial suspicions as the matriculation and Pusat Asasi Sains systems are
not seen as fair to them as being limited only to bumiputeras.
He said that having only
one pre-university system will encourage healthy competition among the students
as they will know the actual status
of their academic attainments among their mult-racial peers.
Ishak said while
meritocracy must be defended as the best system to select students from all
races for the public universities, there is still need for a minimum quota in
critical courses to ensure that bumiputeras and Indians will be represented in
Last week, the Malaysian
Academic Movement had proposed the introduction of a common university entrance
examination for all pre-university students vying for places in public
Its Chairman, Dr. Wan Manan
Wan Muda, said that through the system, students attending matriculation and
STPM classes could sit for the same
entry examination after their studies and compete on the same level.
This will ensure that the best students, regardless of race, could get a
place in public universities.
The merit-based system, he
said, would also dispel talk of bias in the grading and selection process, as
only one yardstick would be used.
Dr. Wan Manan rightly
pointed out that “arguing on the basis of race and quota is in itself against
the spirit of meritocracy”.
Last Tuesday, DAP had
formally called for a common
university entrance examination for all public universities in Malaysia as
the present merit-based selection system is bad for national integration
and the objective to build a world-class education system to place
Malaysia in an internationally competitive
position in the era of globalisation and information technology.
university entrance examination can be achieved either by having
only STPM or matriculation for all university-bound students, or
establishing a common university entrance examination for all pre-university
students vying for places in the public universities, whether from the STPM or
Unfortunately, except for a
rather vague statement by the Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim
Keng Yaik suggesting the merging of the STPM and the matriculation system, all
the other Cabinet Ministers had kept silence on the issue of a common university
entrance examination although the controversy of the unfair and unprofessional meritocracy university selection
system had been swirling for the past two weeks.
Malaysians are entitled to
ask as to why the Cabinet Ministers, whether from MCA, UMNO, MIC or SUPP, have
continued to kept their their
silence on this important subject of a common university entrance examination,
which will have far-reaching effects on the
future of Malaysia, whether in terms of national unity, our international
competitiveness or Vision 2020 -
when they are normally so trigger-happy to comment on anything, big or
small, under the sun?
It is time for every
Cabinet Minister to individually declare his or her stand on the issue of a
common university entrance examination to replace the multiple pre-university
systems – as this will be a test whether the Cabinet Ministers always put
their self interests above national interests.