REVEAL.....Sabahans want new Deputy Education Minister Mary Yap to reveal the "true figures" of how many native students have been absorbed into the matriculation programme.
By : LUKE RINTOD
KOTA KINABALU: Sabahans, who have often complained that they are being treated as second class citizens, are alarmed that they are also getting a raw deal in educational aid.
Many here fear that within the “bumiputera” quota there maybe discrimination based on religion.
Days after it emerged that the Indian community are fuming over broken promises by the Barisan Nasional government to increase their intake in matriculation programmes, leaders of the native community in Sabah and Sarawak believe they too are getting the cold shoulder treatment in this regard.
“We too want to know the true figures or if there is any quota for East Malaysian natives in such matriculation programmes all these years,” said Peter Marajin, chairman of Gabungan e-Sumber Malaysia (GEM).
The local lawyer told FMT there had been complaints that too few natives were accorded places in such programmes for bright students to pave the way for their entry into universities.
Marajin said it is only proper for the Education Ministry which has a Sabahan deputy minister – Mary Yap – now to explain the figures to allay fear that the natives from East Malaysians have also been sidelined like the Indian community.
The call comes after leaders in the Indian community cried foul over a BN pledge to allocate 1,500 places for its students in matriculation but did not follow through.
The matriculation intake begins in April for one year while the second intake which is a two year programme, begins in May.
Students are not given an option to choose the type of intake or where they want to study as these factors are determined by the matriculation department in the Ministry of Education.
Another Sabahan leader, Jalibin Paidi, a former secondary school principal, also called on the federal authorities to disclose how many Sabah, Sarawak native students had been co-opted into the matriculation programmes all these years.
“The matriculation programme is run in dozens of colleges and it is time to see how the authority have been treating the bumiputra students from Sabah and Sarawak.
“In my opinion we have been neglected and shortchanged everywhere … students from East Malaysia should be accorded full scholarship and not PTPTN (study loans),” said Jalibin.
Pros and cons
The matriculation programme was introduced in the 1980s as preparatory course for bright science students to study bachelor degree courses in public universities.
Over the years it has evolved into also preparing accounting students. Alongside this a special matriculation was set up in Universiti Malaya for students pursuing studies in Japanese colleges.
It was initially run by local universities and only offered to Bumiputra students. It is now run by the Ministry of Education with 10% of places in the programme offered to non-Bumiputra students.
Meanwhile a local academic, Dr James Alin, said a quota system in the matriculation while a welcome idea comes with dire consequences.
“Definitely there is a quota on matriculation programme like in UiTM and UM’s Asasi Jepun and bio-medic programme. Details of it are being worked out by each institution.
“There is no general census on the percentage except for UiTM and UM,” he said adding that a quota system may harm the excluded minority as well as both the unqualified and competent students,” he said.
An economist, Alin explained that even an advanced country such as the United States had experimented on targeting disadvantaged groups through affirmative action and found that there was both positive and negative effects.
Two US affirmative programmes that failed are its cultural diversity for employment for example providing employment and university admission based on race rather than qualification.
“Now if we look at Peninsula Malaysians, if Malay students were shoved into this situation, a group of proud young people will be placed in an education environment in which they are obviously academically inferior.
“Then we would have the racist and ultra-nationalist Malay as evidence.
“A quota system also pushes competent Malays into unfair prejudice.
“For example, Prof Zaini Ujang, a world leading expert on water management, can be
accused that his success is due to “Dasar Bumiputera” and not because of his hard work and talent.
“It has wrought dire consequences in the long run, and it could harm the excluded minority.
“If a quota is good for Malay and natives from Sabah and Sarawak, then it should be good for the Orang Asli, Indian or Chinese too.
“That logic applies (to all) … it is always true whenever, wherever and whoever is involved,” Alin pointed out.