The Prime Minister said the government would look into the quota system for the Education Ministry’s matriculation programme.
“We will study the problem,” he said when asked on calls for the system to be abolished.
DAP Youth Wing Varsity Affairs Bureau director Leong Yu Sheng reportedly urged the government to end the current practice of prioritising bumiputera students in its pre-university matriculation programme, saying it goes against the Federal Constitution´s guarantee of no discrimination against citizens.
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik is expected to raise the issue in this week’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (April 24).
Currently, 90% of the intake is for bumiputera students while 10% is allocated to non-bumiputras.
The annual student intake for the matriculation programme is 25,000, of which 2,500 seats are allocated for non-bumiputra students.
Maszlee said in a statement last Friday (April 19) that the 2,200 and 1,000 seats allocated respectively for Indian and Chinese students in the programme was a “one-off initiative” only for last year.
It was also based on current needs and involved seats allocated under the bumiputra quota that had not been filled.
Meanwhile, a member of the G25 group of prominent Malays has backed the proposal that more non-Bumiputera students be given places in the government’s pre-university matriculation programme.
Johan Ariffin said the present quota-based system, which allots 10% of places for non-Bumiputera students, is archaic and lopsided and does not encourage meritocracy, FMT reported.
“If there is to be a quota, it is only fair that it be increased to a certain level.
“We can’t continue to spoon-feed one race and make them less competitive as they will eventually have to face the real world,” he was quoted as saying.
He was responding to Leong’s call that Putrajaya should end the practice of prioritising Bumiputera students in the programme.
Leong said every student deserves the right to education regardless of race, adding the current practice goes against the Federal Constitution’s guarantee of no discrimination against citizens.
He also said the current policy of allocating 10% of seats at 15 matriculation centres under the education ministry nationwide is unfair as the centres are paid for by taxpayers.
Human rights activist Patrick Sindu agreed that students of all races and religions should be allowed to enrol in the matriculation programme.
“This should have been done long ago,” he said.
He added that the focus should be on students’ academic qualifications and other related considerations.
“It is high time that the Pakatan Harapan government introduced this new approach,” he said, cautioning however against politicising the issue.