The matriculation system is no longer relevant today, 20 years since it was first introduced, said Daim Zainuddin, as the former finance minister weighed on in the controversial education policy.
Matriculation was originally used to correct an ethnic imbalance which no longer exists, said the former Council of Eminent Person (CEP) chairman.
However, Daim admitted that abolishing the system now would be detrimental to the government’s standing among Malays, as the Malay nationalist opposition parties would use it to label the government as being anti-Bumiputera.
“The Education Ministry has always been biased towards the Bumiputera agenda and you can see it now. They increased matriculation slots to 40,000. (Matriculation) is a short cut,” Daim told The Malaysian Insight in an interview.
“When it started early on, it was a good reason to correct an imbalance. But now it’s no longer relevant, we can do away with it. But if you do it now the opposition will straight away make an issue out it.”
The Pakatan Harapan government has increased the number of seats in the matriculation programme to 40,000 from 25,000 after receiving complaints that non-Malay SPMs graduates were not able to secure places despite scoring high marks.
The increase in matriculation seats is seen as a compromise to demands that the quotas for non-Malays entering matriculation be increased, while not compromising on the intake of Bumiputera students.
Currently, 90% of all matriculation seats are reserved for Bumiputera students while the remaining 10% are allocated to non-Bumis.
Daim said the whole education system needed to be reformed as it is producing graduates that lack the skills to compete in today’s job market.
“Basically, the education system has failed, that is why we have to ensure that there should be no more playing politics in education so that we can compete with the best.”
He said the belief of entitlements in the Bumiputera agenda in education must be changed and that Malay parents have a duty to teach their children good values.
“The Bumiputera agenda must start from home. Parents must give correct moral values. Teach them what is good what is bad, that corruption is bad and hard work is good.
“That there is no such thing as a free lunch and that you have to work.”
– May 12, 2019.