Why discriminate non-Malays in matriculation programme?

P Ramasamy
31 Jul 2022 11:34am
Matriculation college
Matriculation college
SHAH ALAM - The country’s pre-university matriculation system after lying dormant for two years due to Covid-19 pandemic is back again but it remains a controversial issue.

It is believed more than 200 straight A Indian students were denied entrance and were hardly given the required time to appeal.

The nonsensical racial quota of 90 per cent admission for Bumiputras is still operative.

This means that good and qualified Indian and Chinese students have hardly the opportunity to enter into the matriculation programme this year.

Those students coming from well-to-do families have the chance to go overseas.

But such a luxury is not within the grasp of poor non-Malay students.

Of course, they have the option of pursuing their pre-university two-year Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM), a more difficult programme compared to the pre-university matriculation.

While the STPM examination answers are graded under a centralised regimented system, the students in the matriculation programme are graded or evaluated on the basis of classroom performance.

In fact, there is really no comparison between both the pre-university programmes.
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Academically, STPM is far superior to the matriculation programme.

In fact, very few Malays with good Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) will ever want to enrol themselves in the STPM programme.

Why would they want to when the matriculation programme has been tailored-made for them?

Originally, the matriculation system was meant for Malays.

It was a pure undiluted racist set-up.

It was another institution among others that sought to enforce institutional racism.

However, as a result of demands from the public and parents, non-Malay students were gradually admitted into the matriculation pre-university system with an admission quota of 10 miserable per cent.

This was hardly sufficient to address the demand for more non-Malays to be admitted.

Even though the STPM programme was a solid one, however, its long duration, its inflexibility, the development of other pre-university programmes and others have rendered it less attractive and cumbersome.

Due to the two years of movement control order imposed as a result of the pandemic, there was hardly any direct admission of students.

I am not sure, even if there were, students took online courses to qualify themselves for university entrance.

The controversy of the intake was somewhat kept within control.

Things have now returned to normalcy in the admission of students.

As a result racism has reared its ugly head in excluding non-Malay students on the grounds of a racist, extremist and nonsensical racial quota.

Prime Minister Ismail Saberi Yaacob should stop the gibberish talk of Malaysia as one family because the matriculation programme is tottering on the verge of being defined as an apartheid system.

Given the dateline set for the appeals, the MIC and MCA have been awoken from their slumber to seek personal favours in the admission of students on the basis of their personal and obsequious appeals.

These parties have abandoned the non-Malay function on the basis of favours from Umno leaders.

What a disgrace?

A time has come for the matriculation system to be opened up for all Malaysians.

If the system cannot be abandoned, then a new system should be instituted to cater for all the races in the country.

It is without question that the admission of students must go beyond the narrow and myopic concerns of race and religion.

Education is not about passing examinations, but about opening up the minds of the young to the plural and cosmopolitan nature of the world live in.

It serves no purpose to harp mechanically on the theme of “Keluarga Malaysia” but yet at the same time sow the seeds of racial and religious hatred.

Let not the matriculation system be used to punish and humiliate innocent non-Malay students.

How can a country punish its own citizens by denying entry into a pre-university programme just because they were born Chinese or Indian?

P Ramasamy is Penang deputy chief minister II.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar Daily.