Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I urge the Cabinet to immediately look into both the issues of top scorers being denied their preferred courses as well as the unfairness of sudden and drastic decrease in university intake



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on August 20, 2014

I urge the Cabinet to immediately look into both the issues of top scorers being denied their preferred courses as well as the unfairness of sudden and drastic decrease in university intake

After a few top scorers publicly complained of their failures to obtain medicine programmes,  Deputy Education Minister P.Kamalanathan has two days ago explained that the government has offered places to only 418 brilliant students to take up medical studies (first degree) at public institutions of higher learning for this year's intake.

He said the limited number of offers was meant to control the number of new medical graduates and avoid a flood of new doctors in the employment market.

"A total of 1,163 students with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.00 applied to do medicine, but offers were only made to only 418 of them and the selection was also based on interview results. We made this decision following discussions with the Health Ministry and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC)," he told reporters.

Such an explanation will not be satisfactory as he has not addressed two basic issues, the transparency of the selection criteria and the unfairness of sudden, reduced intake. 

The question of top scorers not getting their preferred courses is not a new issue and there have been past allegations of lack of level playing fields for non bumiputra students. 

The government must therefore be totally transparent with intake details to convince the students that they have lost out to those who are better qualified.

While it is necessary for the government to prevent an oversupply of doctors, any sudden or drastic reduction in intake is cruel and unfair to the students who have excelled in their examinations. 

Why has   Kamalanathan kept silent on the overall drastic slash in this year’s university intake? 

According to Sin Chew report dated August 15, a total of 68,702 students had applied for public university spots in the 2013-2014 academic year, 60.5 % of applicants were accepted. 

For the 2014-2015 period, there were 74,071 applications, an increase of 30 % but only 50.5 % were accepted. 

This big decrease in intake has caused many qualified students to be denied places. Is this fair and is it the right policy for Malaysia which aspires to be a developed nation by 2020? 

I urge the Cabinet to immediately look into both the issues of top scorers being denied their preferred courses as well as the unfairness of sudden and drastic decrease in university intake. 

Further, Kamalanathan said that the others who were not offered medical studies were offered other courses, but related to the field.

Some top students have openly claimed that they were offered nursing. Let me ask Kamalanathan to find out from the Cabinet Ministers—firstly, will they be heartbroken if their children were the top scorers who had applied for medicine but were given nursing course and secondly, will they advise their children to accept the nursing programmes offered? 

I have received feedback that a science stream student from Selama with results of  3.5 CGPA was offered an art course to study HR Management. Apparently this form of mismatch is numerous. A science student being given a arts course. Many offered have declined this form of courses..





Sunday, August 17, 2014

DAP flays Liow for top scorers' university plight

3:22PM Aug 17, 2014

Malaysiakini

DAP flays Liow for top scorers' university plight

MCA has been slammed for not directly solving the issue of STPM top scorers who have failed to get their choice of courses in public universities.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, who yesterday complained that top scorers were being denied their desired courses in public universities, cited news reports in the Chinese mainstream media today that highlighted the plight of three state athletes.

Kok (right) noted how Bentong MP and MCA chief Liow Tong Lai held a press conference to highlight the case of one applicant from his constituency.

"When MCA rejoined the cabinet recently, Liow said that MCA did so for the Chinese community.

"I don’t wish to touch on the question of the need for a cabinet minister to highlight a constituent’s plight via a press conference, though I think Liow should just bring the matter up directly with the education minister," Kok said in a statement issued today.

She said it was now "obvious" that the problem of top scorers failing to obtain their favoured university courses was not isolated, but a "perennial problem".

"MCA ministers must raise the matter in the cabinet to bring about a fair and transparent university intake system and policy that will not waste and reject the nation’s talents," she said.

According to the DAP leader, two of the athletes are straight A students from Ipoh, who opted for dentistry and medicine in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, but were offered nursing in Sarawak and veterinary studies in Kelantan respectively.

Another top student in Liow's constituency was reported being offered nursing in Sarawak as well, despite applying for the medicine course at eight public universities.

'Reveal criteria now, Muhyiddin'

Kok also called on Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to come clean on the selection criteria that has resulted in the failure of these top scorers to get their placements.

"As public universities will begin their new semester on Sept 1, Education Minister Muhyiddin must immediately investigate the complaints aired by these top students.

"I wish to remind Muhyiddin that a simple explanation, such as 'there are limited places as the number of qualified applicants outnumbers the number of places' will not suffice to dispel public suspicion that unfair selection does exist," Kok added.

She complained yesterday that top scorers were being denied their desired courses in public universities, and today cited news reports in the Chinese mainstream media today that highlighted the plight of these students.

Kok demanded Muhyiddin, who is also deputy prime minister, "ensure transparency and reveal in detail the selection criteria".

"If indeed these top students have been unsuccessful because of limited places and that others who have succeeded are better qualified than them, there should be no hesitation for the universities to be totally transparent," she added.