KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Equal opportunity to all deserving Malaysians does not mean that the Malays will be robbed, Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud said today after she was criticised by an Umno leader for questioning Universiti Teknologi Mara’s (UiTM) Bumiputera policy.
The DAP candidate for the Teluk Intan by-election said equal opportunity meant that more deserving Malaysians of all races, including many Malays who do not support Umno, will have access to quality higher education.
Yesterday, Umno supreme council member Datuk Razali Ibrahim challenged her to admonish DAP leaders for allegedly questioning Malay rights.
“If she is willing to question the policy of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) which gives priority to the intake of Malay students, why doesn’t she ask for Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, which is monopolised by one race, to be closed down?” said Razali.
Dyana Sofya is a UiTM law graduate and has been attacked by some Umno leaders for being ungrateful to the Umno government.
“When did joining UiTM make us Umno members? It is highly ironic that Umno is claiming that UiTM students should support Umno as this is the same party that discourages students from being active in politics.
“Students are to be free to express their views and thoughts, and be accorded their freedom to pursue their dreams and ambitions. No political party has a right to stand in the way of the dreams and aspirations of young Malaysians,” she said in a statement today.
Dyana Sofya said she had proposed that a similar institution like UiTM, which provides affordable, quality education to the Malays, be established for the non-Malays.
“I believed and I still do, that education should not be race-based. Access to quality higher education should be accorded to all qualified, hardworking and deserving Malaysians, irrespective of race, religion, region, gender and political affiliation.
“While a student in UiTM, I noticed the discrepancy where rich children of Umno leaders were admitted into UiTM while poorer but more qualified non-Umno linked families were shut out.”
She said that a responsible and righteous government would not condone such injustice.
“But instead of being open to constructive proposals, Umno has gone on the defensive by accusing me of wanting to abolish UiTM. This is precisely why many Malaysians feel that Umno has lost its plot.”
In a bid to boost its multiracial credentials, the DAP picked Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud as its candidate for Teluk Intan, a seat last held by the late parliamentarian Seah Leong Peng.
The strategy has not impressed many of Teluk Intan’s Chinese voters, who make up 42 per cent of the electorate. The Malays form 38 per cent, and the Indians 19 per cent of the 60,349-strong electorate.
Last May, Seah defeated BN’s Datuk Mah Siew Keong with a 7,313-vote majority.