KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — Indian Malaysians will get an additional 700 slots in matriculation schools nationwide, interim Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today.
“I want to announce today that the Cabinet has agreed to add 700 more seats for Indian students to enter the matriculation programme,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Amanah Saham 1 Malaysia (AS1M) investment plan for the Indian community’s bottom 40 per cent of wage earners here.
Najib also gave an assurance that his caretaker Barisan Nasional (BN) government will maintain its university racial quota system, saying the policy will enable more Indian Malaysians to further their studies at local public institutes of higher learning compared to meritocracy as advocated by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders.
“The biggest losers of Dr Mahathir’s meritocracy policy are Indians,” he said, referring to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who now chairs the PH Opposition pact.
He said the intake of Indian students dropped from 7 per cent to 4 per cent as a result of meritocracy.
“Before that we had a quota system. If its quota, we can guarantee Indian students intake of around 7.7 per cent, but the impact of a policy of meritocracy, the biggest losers are the Indians,” Najib said.
He said he sought to increase the chances of Indian students in local higher learning institutes and had even approved 1,500 seats for the matriculation programme.
In his speech, Najib added that the turning point for the Indian community came only after he took over as prime minister in 2009.
He said that under his watch, a step by step solution was formulated to address the various issues faced by the Indian community here.
This he said, includes citizenship issues, Tamil school development, entry of Indian students into public institutions of higher learning, issues of business opportunities, jobs in the civil service, as well as social issues.