KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) is still needed as it serves the constitutional need to provide affirmative action for the Bumiputera, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said today.

In an interview on radio channel BFM’s The Breakfast Grille programme, the minister was asked if Malaysia still needed a university like UiTM that only accepts Bumiputera students.

He referred to Article 153 in the Federal Constitution and asserted that the public university is “serving the constitutional needs of the country”.

“I think we still need to have this Bumiputera affirmative [sic] at the moment, depends on how you look at it, how it’s carried out.

“But still, it’s still there, the Constitution is still there and UiTM serves the Constitution that we have at the moment,” Idris said.

Idris had described Article 153 as “protecting” the Bumiputera community.

Under Article 153, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the responsibility to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions.

Among other things, Article 153 also provides for the reservation for Malays and East Malaysian natives of reasonable quotas of positions in the public services, scholarships, educational or training privileges, as well as special facilities given by the federal government, with such reservations to be subject to constitutional provisions.