Dr Kua Pissing Into Wind Dr M Blowing With All His Might



KTemoc Konsiders
Education Minister Maszlee Malik has announced that the Bumiputera quota for matriculation programmes will remain at 90% while increasing the intake from 25,000 to 40,000. Non-Malay admission will only receive an increase from 2,500 to 4,000 places despite the hype about constructing a “New Malaysia” after the majority of non-Malay voters contributed to PH’s victory at the 2018 general election.
The perpetuation of this deeply flawed and racially discriminatory policy is cause for a sense of betrayal amongst democratic Malaysians who had been led to expect more inclusivity and meritocracy from the “new” Pakatan Harapan government.
The Pakatan Harapan manifesto promised to reform the education system to make national schools “the school of choice”. The manifesto included commitments to return residential schools to their original focus on low-income students and indigenous peoples without focussing on racial quotas.
The Education Blueprint formulated by the previous BN administration promised:
“By 2025, the Ministry aspires to increase access to and enrolment in higher education. If Malaysia were to successfully improve tertiary enrolment rates from 36% currently to 53% (and higher education enrolment from 48% to 70%), this will bring Malaysia on par with the highest enrolment levels in Asean today. This growth scenario will require an additional 1.1 million places by 2025, mainly through growth in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), private HLIs (higher learning institutions) and online learning.”
Note that through all that grandiose phraseology scripted by international consultants McKinsey, there is no mention that the decades-old racial discriminatory policies regarding enrolment in public institutions such as the matriculation programmes would continue.
Racially discriminatory quota system
The reality is that even within the national education system non-Bumiputeras suffer discrimination such as in access to scholarships, special schools and tertiary institutions. For decades we have witnessed the annual spectacle of non-Bumiputeras with straight As being rejected for entry into the courses of their choice at public sector universities. At the same time, there is extensive provision for Bumiputera education.
There are at least 42 fully residential elite Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) (Mara junior Science College) with 12,440 places also in the fully residential schools. These schools have been almost exclusively reserved for Malay-Muslim students with perhaps a few token non-Bumiputeras who excel in sport to add glory to the schools. Non-Bumiputeras are largely excluded from other elite schools such as the Royal Military College, Aminuddin Baki Institution, matriculation courses and the Malay College Kuala Kangsar despite the fact that these institutions are all funded by Malaysian taxpayers.
There are two streams for entry into the public universities. One is through the matriculation 12-month programme and the other is through the 18-month and much more stringent STPM programme. The matriculation programme is mainly reserved for Malays although the government began offering 10% places for non-Bumiputera students in 2003.
University entrance criteria is not transparent and appears to be based on arbitrary factors. The same lack of transparency applies to the eligibility criteria involved in the selection process for the choice of courses, award of scholarships and loans for study. Preference for admission into public universities is reserved for Bumiputeras. One university with a student population of 170,000 in 2011, namely, UiTM, is open ‘for Bumiputeras only’ while the other 19 public universities have an overwhelming Malay majority in their enrolment. And it cannot be overstated that all of this is funded by ALL Malaysian taxpayers.
There is also discrimination in the allocation of students to competitive courses. Only a handful of seats in medical faculties of the public sector universities are made available to non-Malays. For example, out of the 62,000 diploma places and 60,000 degree places at 27 polytechnics in Malaysia in 2010, only a small number of places were allocated for non-Malay students regardless of their qualifications.
Such blatant racially discriminatory policies are the real reason the BN and PH governments have been reluctant to ratify the International Convention on the Eradication of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world that practices such blatant racial discrimination.
The quota system was not part of the Independence Agreement
The Malay-based parties and their legal advisers arduously try to avoid this inconvenient truth: The quota system that has been practised in the country since 1971 was never part of the 1957 Independence Agreement! It was through the terror unleashed by the May 13 Incident that the country was presented with a fait accompli by the new Umno ruling class who proceeded to amend Article 153 with a new clause (8A):
“…where in any university, college and other educational institution providing education after Malaysian Certificate of Education or its equivalent, the number of places offered by the authority responsible for the management of the university, college or such educational institution to candidates for any course or study is less than the number of candidates qualified for such places, it shall be lawful for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by virtue of this Article to give such directions to the authority as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such places for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the yang di-Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable; and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.”
This is the “quota system” we have lived with for the last 40 years or so and which has created so much acrimony for that length of time. Strictly speaking, if we were to go by Umno’s “social contract” at Independence in 1957, that “social contract” certainly does not include Clause 8A of Article 153 since this clause was introduced 14 years later.
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