KUALA TERENGGANU, May 21 — Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin’s (UniSZA) and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) have expressed their support for Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s statement to retain the entry quota of 90 per cent for Bumiputeras for the matriculation programme.
UniSZA vice chancellor Datuk Dr Hassan Basri Awang Mat Dahan said the quota allocation for Malays and Bumiputeras must be maintained and further improved for current needs.
“This is also in line with the socio-economic factor where Bumiputeras and Malays are still far behind in terms of income. The Education Minister is also concerned about the B40 group (low income households), which the majority are Bumiputeras and Malays. So it is not wrong to maintain the quota with some improvements.
“We cannot let the country’s majority ethnic group continue to be left behind in all sectors compared to other races,” he said in a statement today.
UMT’s deputy vice-chancellor (Academic and International) Prof Dr Noor Azuan Abu Osman, who is also carrying out the duties of vice chancellor, said the university was grateful to the government for making a wise decision in increasing the matriculation intake from 25,000 to 40,000 places this year.
“The firm stand on the quota is because what was decided by the Education Minister and government is in line with the federal constitution to make Malaysia an inclusive and fair nation where all citizens have the opportunity to improve their standard of living and their socio-economic status,” he said.
Noor Azuan said student admission into university at the diploma and undergraduate level will depend on merit, and should not be politicised by anyone.
Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Putra Malaysia vice chancellor Prof Datin Paduka Datuk Dr Aini Ideris said the Education Ministry’s matriculation programme should not be associated with racial issues.
She added the quota issue should not be raised because every intake and the ecosystem supporting the matriculation programme, Form Six or foundation programme was inclusive, involving all races, students or educators.
“We can conclude that all students regardless of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds get an opportunity to further their studies at the tertiary level, and at the same time, respect the social contract that was agreed by the nation’s founders since independence,” she told Bernama today.
In the meantime, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa said Maszlee’s statement in regards to the quota was in line with the Cabinet’s decision on the quota intake for students into the college matriculation programme.
At the same time, priority would be given to students from the B40 group, and also non-Bumiputera students.
“Maszlee’s statement on the student matriculation quota issue was only to defend the Cabinet’s decision. The decision to maintain the quota is in line with the original vision of the matriculation programme, which is to encourage Bumiputera students to further their studies in science courses,” he said in a statement here today.
He also hoped that all parties will refrain from issuing statements on the student matriculation quota issue out of respect the Cabinet’s decision.
In Nilai, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysian (USIM) vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Musa Ahmad in a statement echoed the same, saying the matter should not be polemicised.
In Seremban, Malaysian Academic Association Congress president Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Idrus Mohd Masirin said the congress also supported the 90 per cent bumiputera intake for the matriculation programme.
He said it was necessary to address economic imbalances in society.
In Johor Baru, Johor Bersatu media director Mohd Solihan Badri called on Maszlee not to bow to threats from any quarters.
He said the minister’s statement on the matter was very clear and thus need not be politicised. — Bernama