Time has come for genuine
meritocracy in higher education starting with a common university entrance
examination both for justice to students as well in the national interest to
take the bold step into a “First World Infrastructure, First World
Mentality” fully-developed nation status
Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Friday): The time has come for genuine meritocracy in higher education starting with a common university entrance examination both for justice to students as well in the national interest to take the bold step into a “First World Infrastructure, First World Mentality” of a fully-developed nation status.
Malaysia must get out of the “denial syndrome” that we are not practising a true and genuine form of meritocracy, which will not only continue to be a source of national disunity but an impediment to Malaysia from achieving the Vision 2020 objective of being a fully developed nation in all its political, economic, educational, social, spiritual and psychological dimensions.
UMNO leaders know that they are not practising the true and genuine article of meritocracy in the public universities and this is why only yesterday, there is the public defence of what is described as the “Malaysian mould of meritocracy” – which merely means “meritocracy without merit”!
So long as there is the “Malaysian mould of meritocracy”, which is merely a reminder to all and sundry that there is only meritocracy in label but not in substance, the annual intake of students into the public universities will be a source not only of individual disappointments and frustrations, but even more serious, of national disunity.
This year’s release of the intake of 38,892 students into the public universities, comprising 24,837 bumiputra students (63.8%), 11,778 Chinese students (30.3%) and 2,277 Indian students (5.9%) is again no exception because of the differential and discriminatory application of two different examinations for entry into the public universities – the two-year STPM and one-year matriculation examination, when they are completely different and not comparable.
This year, for instance, 1,774 students obtained the maximum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.0, viz:
As only 10 per cent of the MARA matriculation courses are open to non-bumiputeras, this means that non-bumiputra students representing 10% of the matriculation candidates secured 36.73% of the candidates with the top CGPA score of 4.0 as compared to the 63.27% securing the top score by bumiputra students representing 90% of the matriculation candidates.
What would be the position if there is a common university entrance examination, whether with all students being required to take the two-year STPM or the one-year matriculation?
If we are serious and genuine about meritocracy, then we must be prepared to have a common university entrance examination, whether the two-year STPM or one-year matriculation for all students.
No Malaysian will object to a university student intake policy based on “merit coupled with need” to ensure other important considerations of proper ethnic and socio-economic representation are also taken into account in admissions into public universities, but these considerations should be kept completely separate and distinct from the system to establish and determine academic meritocracy in a common university entrance examination.
The Cabinet next Wednesday should set an example of preparedness to have mindset change for Malaysia to become a First World nation in all senses of the word by deciding on a common university entrance examination for admission to the public universities in the country.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman