(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Malaysians are very disappointed by the lack of political will in the highest echelons of government to rectify the multiple injustices of the unfair and unprofessional merit-based university selection system adopted by the Education Ministry, which is a grave disservice to the goals of national integration as well as to create a competitive generation of Malaysians capable of meeting the challenges of globalization, liberalization and information and communications technology.
The third Cabinet meeting last Wednesday since the eruption
of the nation-wide furore over the merit-based university selection system, whether in the
unprofessional and unfair matching of the STPM and matriculation results or in
the arbitrary and unlawful rejection of all applications for university places
by some 10,000 diploma holders, is a big letdown and a clear message that the
Cabinet as presently constituted is incapable of responding to the hopes and
aspirations of people who want to
see justice and fair play for all
Malaysians and to be put in place an education system which will be
“win-win” not only for all races, but also for the Malaysian nation as well.
Yesterday, in the pre-Budget
2003 dialogue, the Prime Minister cum Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir
Mohamad challenged the private sector to be the engine of growth
although its performance of late had been “less than dynamic”.
He said that the private sector needs to build up their
capabilities and confidence towards being more competitive, creative and
productive; that they must be willing to take risks in the era of globalization
and liberalization; and that small and medium industries needed to expand
partnerships with multi-national companies to fulfil their role as the pulse of
the country’s economy and become world-class companies.
It is time that the Malaysian government and people wake up
to the fact that Malaysia cannot become a world-class economy and have
world-class companies unless we have a world-class education system.
This is why the government’s indifference to the multiple
injustices created by the unfair and unprofessional merit-based university
selection system is so disappointing, not only to the victims of its injustices
but to Malaysians who want to see the national education system transform itself
into a world-class system and universally recognized as an international centre
of academic excellence.
As the Cabinet had failed to rise up to the challenge, it
is now left to Parliament when it meets next month to start the national debate
and process to revamp the
university selection system to produce a competitive, creative and productive generation of Malaysians
to face the challenges of globalization, liberalization and information and
communications technology, while fully mindful
of the need for justice in
Malaysia must take
the courageous decision to end the ”clutches culture” by abolishing the
ethnic quota system for university intake and
to introduce instead a race-blind needs-based merit system with 75% places strictly based on merit and
25% allotted to cater to the socio-economically backward students to
people our institutions of higher learning – based on a common university
Parliament next month should host a wide-ranging debate to initiate the nation-wide debate and process to introduce a race-blind needs-based meritocracy system for university selection to produce a competitive, creative, productive and just Malaysia.