(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The refusal by the Cabinet yesterday to rectify
the multiple injustices of the unfair and unprofessional merit-based university
selection system is a bad omen for
the 10-year Education Blueprint 2001-2010 to create a world class education
system to enable Malaysia to meet the challenges of globalisation,
liberalization and the increasing role of Information and Communication
Technology in everyday dealings.
After the Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister
Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that the government will stick with the
meritocracy system, at least for this year.
He said that the Cabinet decided not to retract the decision on the
meritocracy system pertaining to students' entry in public universities.
This is the only good news to emerge from the
yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, which was however
completely lost by the abysmal abdication of responsibility of the
Cabinet Ministers to rectify the multiple injustices of the merit-based
university selection system which
has not only given meritocracy a bad name because of its unfairness and utter
lack of professionalism, but have the far-reaching
and adverse repercussions of notifying the whole world that Malaysia is
not ready to become an international educational centre of academic excellence as well as undermining national
integration by depreciating the sense of self-worth of both the beneficiaries
and victims of an unfair and unprofessional meritocracy system.
It is shocking that the MCA Minister for Housing
and Local Government, Datuk Ong Ka Ting could
describe the Cabinet decision to allocate 10% of the matriculation places to
non-bumiputra students from next year as a “breakthrough” (Sin Chew and
Nanyang) when not one of the four MCA Ministers dared to propose what would be
the real “breakthrough” in the national education system: a common
university entrance examination by building junior colleges to cater for
all pre-university students regardless of race to prepare them for the
common examination under one roof.
Another gross irresponsibility is the refusal of
the Cabinet to intervene to rectify the arbitrary and illegal Education Ministry
decision to refuse to consider the
university application of some 10,000 diploma holders, including those who have
the full or very high CGPA
scores although diplomas
have for many years been officially
recognized as one of the legitimate university entrance qualifications.
DAP has said that we will provide free legal
service to diploma holders to sue the government for its arbitrary and unlawful
exclusion of diploma holders from the university selection system this year and
it is now up to the aggrieved diploma holders to take up
this DAP offer.
As former University Sains Malaysia vice
chancellor, the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad should give serious
thought to the mess in the education system which he had presided since taking
over the Education portfolio in the past 30 months, in particular the considered
views of academicians and educationists that “when quality is absent,
meritocracy matters not”.
quoted academicians, including Prof Khoo Kay Kim and Prof P. Ramasamy,
with the former who have more than
40 years of university teaching experience declaring, "I don't think that I
can teach anymore” after his indictment of the national education system:
"Our students these days are not the same as in the past. Their quality is
way below par."
It is very
sad that at a time when there is an urgent need to re-invent the Malaysian
education system to create a world-class education system to produce quality
students - which is supposed to be
the very objective of the 10-year
Education Development Blueprint 2001-2010 -
the Cabinet has given
endorsement to an university admission meritocracy system which is so unfair and
unprofessional that Malaysians must despair about the equity and quality of the
Malaysian education system, our international competitiveness in the era of
globalisation, liberalization and ICT and its deleterious effect on national
integration and the Vision 2020 goal of a Bangsa Malaysia.
No wonder there was this despairing cry from
Khoo: "The question is, are we producing quality students? If our graduates
are not capable of competing at international level or making themselves
marketable, let's not talk about meritocracy for now."
Shortly before the nation-wide furore over the
unfair and unprofessional merit-based university admission system this year,
Barisan Nasional leaders were lamenting the ills of the present national
education system, as reflected by:
began to hope that the government has reached a maturity to realize the
importance of having a national
education system which can successfully produce graduates who are knowledgeable,
skilled and capable of becoming global players in the era of globalisation,
liberalization and ICT, but all these hopes had been dashed by the unfair and
unprofessional meritocracy system for university selection adopted by the
Education Ministry and the refusal or impotence of the Cabinet to right the
wrongs of the meritocracy system.
unfair and unprofessional merit-based university selection system should be the
first agenda of business in next month’s Parliament for MPs to decide whether
its multiple injustices should be immediately rectified
or whether the 10-year Education Development
Blueprint 2001-2010 should be scrapped.
Prime Minister, in his foreword to the Education Development Blueprint
2001-2010, had said that its
“realistic and futuristic strategies geared towards increasing access,
equity, quality of education and effective education management” was “in
line with the government’s efforts at producing a national education system
that is comparable to other developed nations”.
unfair and unprofessional merit-based university selection system nullifies the
Prime Minister’s claim as it makes a complete mockery of the goals of
“increasing access, equity, quality of education and effective education
management…to produce a national education system that is comparable to other
should demand a full explanation from Musa why the Education Ministry has
adopted such an unfair and unprofessional merit-based
university selection system which goes against the very goals of the Education
Development Blueprint 2001-2010 to create a world class education system which
can only jeopardize Malaysia’s
international competitiveness and prosperity
in the era of globalisation, liberalization and ICT!