At last, the cat is out of the bag – “meritocracy”student intake system into public universities “more quota than quota”

At last, the cat is out of the bag – that the university “meritocracy” student intake system which replaced the ethnic quota system for entry into the public universities in 2002 is “more quota than quota”.

According to the MCA Youth leader, Datuk Dr. Wee Ka Siong, the intake of Chinese students for eight major courses in public universities – medical, dentistry, pharmacy, electronics and electrical engineering, chemical engineering, law and accounting – has been declining in recent years from 26.2% in 2001 to 25.3% in 2001 and 20.7 per cent this year.

I commend Wee for finally making the public admission that the so-called “merit system” which replaced the quota system in 2002 was an even worse form of quota system in reality, resulting in the dropping of Chinese students to 19 per cent from more than 30 per cent in the early years, and the general drop in non-Malay students in the eight critical courses in public universities.

In May 2002, I had sent an urgent email to all Cabinet Ministers asking them to rectify the injustice of the so-called “merit-based” university selection system, as the formula used to match the matriculation results and STPM grades was “unprofessional, unfair and gives meritocracy a bad name as it is without any professional merit”, like comparing an apple with an orange.

I had argued at the time that it was quite absurd to compare the results of the STPM and matriculation courses as they are completely different systems, with different kind of evaluation procedures.

This is what I said in 2002: “The STPM is a well-tested, open and standardized system with external moderation and affiliated with the Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, while American-based matriculation system is a totally different creature altogether, with evaluations based not just on the final examination but on attendance, assignment, presentation and with lecturers having a greater say in determining the grades in the 22 matriculation centers. Musa Mohamad (the then Education Minister) has himself confirmed that the matriculation marking is based on coursework (30%) and examination (70%).”

I had in my urgent email to Cabinet Ministers eleven years ago urged them “to ensure that the meritocracy system adopted for university selection is transparent and professional – a race-blind system founded on a level academic playing field based purely on examination results to ensure academic excellence and ameliorated by socio-economic considerations to take account of the more disadvantaged groups to ensure social justice”.

After three Prime Ministers, four MCA Presidents, 12 MCA Ministers together with a MCA Deputy Minister in the Higher Education Ministry for five years from 2008 – 2013, Malaysians are now told by the former MCA Deputy Education Minister that the so-called “merit system” for student intake into the public universities introduced in 2002 had in fact wrought greater injustices and is a worse formula than the “628” quota system of 55:45 for bumiputra and non-bumiputra students in force from 1979 to 2002.

The questions that immediately come to mind is why the these facts and figures were denied to the Malaysian public in the past decade despite repeated demands for them, both inside and outside Parliament; why the 12 MCA Ministers and three times the number of MCA Deputy Ministers in the past decade had aided and abetted in their non-disclosure in the past 11 years, and how the UMNO/Barisan Nasional government and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak propose to remedy this gross injustice if they are serious about 1Malaysia policy, raising Malaysia’s educational standards in the international sphere and enhancing Malaysia competitiveness to become a high-income economy.

I had proposed a solution 11 years ago, the reform of pre-university admissions with a race-blind needs-based merit system with 75% places based on merit and 25% allotted to cater to the socio-economically backward students to people our public institutions of higher learning – based on a common university entrance examination.

I again commend this proposal to the Cabinet and the Prime Minister.

  1. #1 by Godfather on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 5:06 pm

    If you don’t like it, leave the country and enrol in a foreign university. Beg, steal or borrow, get your children out. A local university degree is worth zilch for the future. It’s meant for pre-qualification for public service, not for the private sector. Ultimately the private sector knows better.

  2. #2 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 6:00 pm

    Does all the world’s major University ranking firms know that Malaysian universities do not accept the brightest students, does not practice meritocracy but practice favouritism in their student intakes?

    How can our universities ever rise in world rankings?

  3. #3 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 6:25 pm

    MOE is of course a big joke.

    Why would anyone want to enter some of the world’s worst public universities in Malaysia, hah ?

    Never mind, give those places to the banglas and indons. They need them more than Indians or Chnese.

  4. #4 by tuahpekkong on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 8:31 pm

    In 2011, 14%of candidates (3,500 out of 25,000) who took the matriculation exam had a CGPA score of 4.0 while less than 0.6% of candidates (298 out of 53,687) who took the STPM exam had such a score. There could not be such a big difference between the top scorers of the two exam regimes. Something must be seriously wrong. I understand that over 70% of 1st class honours achievers over the past several years (hence exempted from paying back PTPTN loans) were ethnic Chinese and as you know, most of them took the STPM exam. I have also read/heard that those who attended STPM classes just breezed through the University exams but many of those who attended matriculation had to struggle. It is alright to extend some extra help to the socio-economically backward students but not to the extent of depriving others the opportunity to study in public Universities. This is grossly unfair.

  5. #5 by Loh on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 9:06 pm

    Why the government can go against article 153 to leave only 10% of enrollment to non-Malays in the Matriculation classes?

  6. #6 by Di Shi Jiu on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 10:06 pm

    Mr Lim,

    The education system in Malaysia is broken. Go ask any teacher who has a conscience and who is dedicated to teaching – I am pretty sure that both BN or PR supporters will give you the same story.

    We are just simply not producing the talent required through our domestic education system. It’s really not too hard to see, no matter how hard the Minister of Education may wish to deny it.

    The BN education model is not really to educate Malaysians, rather it is simply to further the political aims of UMNO, nothing less.

  7. #7 by Godfather on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 11:23 pm

    Why fight so hard, Kit ? Let them have 100 pct. Raise funds for the underprivileged to go overseas or attend private universities. Then we shall see what happens. No need to argue. They will turn on themselves.

    Same as the economy. It needs to go bankrupt first before they will learn. Any argument in the meantime is futile.

  8. #8 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 11:29 pm

    Yo man

  9. #9 by Cinapek on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 11:49 pm

    Last week the US city of Detroit, fourth largest city in the US, filed for bankruptcy protection. In reading an article by Rupert Cornwell in the SUN today, the following comment is of interest to all Malaysians:

    “………the chronic problems of a mismanaged car industry, and a city leadership that was variously confrontational, undisciplined and inept, on occasion downright corrupt. Then came the 1967 riots and a surge in crime, which led to white flight to the suburbs and the consequent collapse of the city’s tax base…..”

    This statement could well be describing Malaysia . A mismanaged economy with high national debt, and the well known BN leadership with their half past six ministers often with baggage of corruption hanging round their necks, and the flight of bright minds and severe brain drain caused by unfair and indiscriminatory higher education policies which resulted in the loss of economic growth opportunities that these bright minds could have brought to Malaysia, all are signs leading to a bankrupt nation soon. And the surge in violent crimes lately are further manifestations of this inevitable slide towards bankruptcy in the not too distant future.

    • #10 by Bunch of Suckers on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 12:20 am

      Do those suckers really care about Malaysia goes bankruptcy???

      The suckers are all setting up Bank Accounts with heaps of stolen $$$ deposited and purchased numerous properties in overseas!!!! Anything goes wrong; they just fleet overseas with words, “Bye-byes…”

  10. #11 by Cinapek on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 - 11:51 pm

    correction “…unfair and discriminatory higher education…”

  11. #12 by Bunch of Suckers on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 12:00 am

    Do you believe the suckers’ statistics? I don’t!!!!

    They could manipulated in General Elections over decades to hold on powers. Why they can’t do it in University admission statistics????

    Don’t be fools to believe those! Only MCA suckers do believe because they are same thugs and goons.

    Of course, “Blood is thicker than water”, dude!!

  12. #13 by Godfather on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 12:45 am

    Those “suckers” represent less than 5 pct of the Malays. They are all UMNO. More than 95 pct of Malays won’t go anywhere. The Philippines and Indonesia are good examples.

  13. #14 by Mist on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 7:57 am

    The unfortunate truth is that matriculation in our universities were designed to allow malays a backdoor entry into the universities.

    The practice from matriculation right up to university level was to release quite a few of the examination questions in a special tutorial only to the bumiputras. In such special tutorial the non-bumiputras were not included and the bumiputras who attended the special tutorial were told not to share the questions with the others.

    Are we really helping them ?

    Most of the brilliant malay students were already packed up and sent overseas. What was left in our local universities would have been better served if they had been properly evaluated and trained in something that they were happy and comfortable in.

  14. #15 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 9:00 am

    This exercise is part of the political agenda of UMNO. Results are not an issue; only news in Utusan matters.
    When Malaysia was placed in the bottom third of the PISA COMPETITION, they just ignore it by total silence; just like the proverbial saying ” under the coconut shell”. Of course we will continue to see bright Malaysians offering their services to enrich many more countries which open up; especially the little dot down south where Lau Lee is still being sought by the American leaders, both political and business for his visionary forecast of the world. Someone must be mighty GREEN on hearing this! On this side of the Causeway, we keep churning hollow rhetoric to pull wool over the rural folks. Anyway, it is hoped that those brilliant students are smart enough to try their brains on some professional qualifications for a start; though courses like medical and related subjects will not be available. By the way, isn’t the medicine a bit crowded now? A friend lamented that his children are paid only $35/ hour if they squat part-time at private clinics!! An Indian barber gets $4 for his share of a hair cut within 10 mins!

  15. #16 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 11:23 am

    The difference between matriculation and STPM is night and day. The fact of the matter is that all you need is a half-decent memory and you should score straight A with matriculation and so an average STPM student should get straight A in matriculation. Its a wonder any student that qualifies for matriculation would chose to take STPM. Its boggles the mind anyone would protest against the so called “meritocracy” system in the same place.

    This is what happens when you try to have different rules for different people for the same game in any system. All that happens is that the rules get more complicated and the result ends up worst each time. Any freshman game theory student will tell you it ends up this way..

    Its time to have the same standards getting into University..Its OK if you want to have different exams but the accreditation system must be the same – if one is accredited by world class body, the other must be also..One system for everyone – that is meritocracy..

  16. #17 by bush on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 11:39 am

    Well done BN, Keep up to racist system and discriminate the non-bumi.

    The admission of non qualified student to the university will produce useless graduate that not able to get job and the unemployed graduate will vote you out in GE 14.

    During 14th GE, you will beg the non-bumi vote to counter the rise of urban opposition bumip’s vote.

    Keep up the system, Chinese and urban Malay will kick you out.

  17. #18 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 12:20 pm

    Maybe under the prevailing government education policies, the number of ‘good’ bumiputra students have risen and there is a need to give more university places to these bright students. At the expense of the others of course.

    Public universities mean government universities and the government does need to be seen to be catering to the needs of the less privileged and those who need handicaps. It is the politically right thing for the government to do.

  18. #19 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 12:30 pm

    Looking from another angle, if the universities admit all these bright students, especially the non-bumiputras, the professors and lecturers there will feel uncomfortable and inferior as their students will be much smarter than them. This will rock their boats, their comfortable lives, the order of things. So better admit not so good students they can control or boss over.

  19. #20 by john on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 12:37 pm

    Don’t forget those that they sent overseas all paid for and are these the cream ? of these lots. Suppose so, then what left are even down the ladder in standards. One example, the supposed top students in the Asasi-ie. back door to pre-U; were given top choices and allocated for these professional courses first, each year. Has been in practised long before. And when placed with those straight A’s ( non- Umnoputras)- in small numbers; their vast difference in standards stand-out glaringly !. But, come to passing exam these lecturers after a while will lower the passing mark otherwise these lecturers’ performance affected or penalised.
    But when these non-Umnoputas able to make an international achievement/recognition later, the Bumno-idiots will quickly said they are Malaysian first and later to accord Datuk this and all.
    MCA has long been for their own members’ self-interest and ALL.
    Bumno is ALL one FALSEHOOD – to plunder the NATION’s wealth for their own pockets only.

  20. #21 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 2:46 pm

    selamat datang ke malaysia
    negara ajaib lagi pelik
    selamatkanlah malaysia
    bila pelajar cemerlang diberi jurusan pelik

  21. #22 by pulau_sibu on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 4:01 pm

    who have decided that these are the best courses? bright children should go to all different fields. It is a real mistake that bright students should become medical doctors

    “medical, dentistry, pharmacy, electronics and electrical engineering, chemical engineering, law and accounting”

  22. #23 by Loh on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 4:34 pm

    Those with 4A have bright future, if only they can get the money to finance their study. Those Chinese whom Mahathir said had benefited from NEP should cough out their gains to support these students, through loans, and make them purchase life insurance policy so that the loans can be repaid in all eventualities. The billionaires, maybe a dozen of them can easily support 2,000 student loans, of 100,000 RM each. That revolving funds would replace MCA’s role in the Cabinet.

  23. #24 by burself on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 7:16 pm

    Lately, after G13 “they” have piled on the push-factors to ‘encourage’ all those not in their camp to migrate overseas. They would be very glad to have this Nation all to themselves to plunder continuously.

  24. #25 by rjbeee on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - 9:41 pm

    From day one how to trust trust running dogs

  25. #26 by on cheng on Thursday, 25 July 2013 - 10:23 am

    Soon , malaysian public uni, may be outside top 100 universities in ASEAN

  26. #27 by on cheng on Thursday, 25 July 2013 - 10:39 am

    Then , they will claimed, Malaysian pub uni. still rank high if compare with Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Chad, Mauritania etc etc!

  27. #28 by on cheng on Thursday, 25 July 2013 - 10:42 am

    Think Genting group (with other tauke) had organize to give scholarship for those in need

  28. #29 by burself on Thursday, 25 July 2013 - 11:29 am

    Do not for a minute think these CHEATS, CROOKS care foremost on raising the standards that was once where we were before M’thir’s dark days. The G13 results showed they able to fool the naive kampong rural folks only. Hence, is in their interest to ensure they increased these ‘blinded’ supporters in numbers. As long as they in control ALL the monies theirs to pocket and rule of Umno-law to instill, different double-standard law-? .

  29. #30 by Loh on Thursday, 25 July 2013 - 3:50 pm

    ///At a forum on democracy, academics, in dissecting the results of GE13, said Umno’s communal strategy proved highly effective.///–Malaysiakini

    Of course and that is why UMNO leaders can get away brandishing their wealth. FELDA schemes are UMNO’s vote bank, thanks to Tun Razak, the grandfather of racism.

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