Respect Constitution, social contract, Dr M’s aide tells matriculation quota critics

Bersatu Supreme Council member Abu Bakar Yahya claimed that questioning the Bumiputera quota for matriculation intakes is extreme and can bring about ‘negative perceptions’ and disharmony among the country’s ethnic communities. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Bersatu Supreme Council member Abu Bakar Yahya claimed that questioning the Bumiputera quota for matriculation intakes is extreme and can bring about ‘negative perceptions’ and disharmony among the country’s ethnic communities. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Politicians should respect the Constitution and the so-called social contract that guarantees Bumiputera rights, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s aide has said today amid an ongoing public debate over the matriculation ethnic quota.

Bersatu Supreme Council member Abu Bakar Yahya claimed that questioning the Bumiputera quota for matriculation intakes is extreme and can bring about “negative perceptions” and disharmony among the country’s ethnic communities.

“As of now, the Bumiputera quota for matriculation is at 90 per cent, whereby 10 per cent is accorded to non-Bumiputeras. But if the Bumiputera quota is not filled, the empty slot will be given to non-Bumiputeras,” Sinar Harian quoted the prime minister’s political secretary as saying.

“So what is the problem with the existing quota? Don’t make this an issue to garner political support by flaming racial sentiments.

“Respect the Constitution, social contract and the principle of social justice,” added the former Selangor Perkasa chief.

On May 16, during a forum with university students at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Education Minister Maszlee Malik responded to a question on the 90 per cent Bumiputera quota in matriculation by stating that the quota system should not be looked at in isolation as there were Bumiputera being denied jobs because they did not know how to speak Mandarin.

His response triggered a renewed debate on the issue of matriculation quotas, with DAP Youth suggesting a temporary solution to the matter, such as addressing the significant status quo imbalance in matriculation exams, the review of matriculation and Form Six STPM co-curricular activities, automatic Cumulative Grade Points Average (CGPA) insertion for STPM students, and combining the examination, syllabus and grading systems for STPM and matriculation by 2020.

But others within Pakatan Harapan have defended Maszlee. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa reportedly said that Maszlee was merely defending the Cabinet’s decision to maintain a 90 per cent Bumiputera quota system in the pre-university matriculation programme.

The annual student intake for the matriculation programme is 25,000, of which 2,500 seats are allocated for non-bumiputra students.

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