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Shafie must be Higher Education Minister for all Malaysians and be equally concerned about all outstanding students, whether Malays or non-Malays, who failed to gain admission to IPTAs
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh,Sunday): Datuk Dr Shafie Salleh must be Higher Education Minister for all Malaysians and be equally concerned about all outstanding students, whether Malays or non-Malays, who failed to gain admission to IPTAs this academic year.
Shafie said that the reported figure of 120,000 outstanding Malay students
who failed to gain admission into public institutions of higher learning (IPTA)
was incorrect and too high. He has yet to be informed of the actual correct
figure, which would be known only at the end of next week.
Shouldn’t Shafie and the IPTA Vice Chancellors be concerned about all Malaysian outstanding students who failed to gain admission into IPTAs this year, particularly those who are unable to do so because of poverty, regardless of whether they are Malays or non-Malays?
Malaysia is on the eve of celebrating the 48th National Day, and I call on all Ministers to be particularly mindful that their actions, speeches and statements will not make any Malaysian group or community feel that they are still not regarded as fully Malaysians or undermine the emphasis on national unity, which is the focus of every National Day celebration.
Last week, Johore Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman criticized the university-intake meritocracy system as “a form of discrimination and oppression” resulting in a fall in the number of Malay students in medicine, engineering, pharmacy, dentistry and other competitive fields.
This is another example of statements by leaders which will not contribute to the promotion of national unity among Malaysians of all races, although preparations are afoot to celebrate the 48th National Day in a big way – especially when university-intake system is not genuinely meritocratic.
Suhakam Commissioner, Datuk Asiah Abu Samah,who was former Director-General of Education, was very frank and honest yesterday when she gave the “meritocracy” system as one example of a government policy which is not consistent with its efforts to promote national integration.
Speaking at a forum on “Moral Education and National Integration” in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Asiah said the local university entry qualification was one glaring example of the government giving “mixed signals” on national integration – “on one hand, we have the meritocracy system; on the other, we have the matriculation as well.”
As Higher Education Minister, Shafie must rise above such mixed and contradictory government signals and sent out a clear and unmistakable message that he is the Minister for all Malaysians, regardless of race, and not just of any one community or group.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman