On August 30, 2008, the Pakatan Rakyat Perak government announced the approval of 1,000ha of land to the state's nine Chinese independent secondary schools.
The PR Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said that the state's executive council had already approved the allocation in principle but had yet to identify a location.
"We are doing this to show the state's recognition and appreciation of these nine Suwa (independent) schools for we know that they have survived all these years without a single bit of government aid.”
The announcement a few days ago that the present Perak Government has allocated a 1012 ha piece of land to the nine Chinese independent secondary schools to be developed as a palm oil estate is therefore welcomed as it was a PR initiated plan.
If it was not due to the bold and unprecedented decision by the then PR Perak Government, BN government would never have thought of such a plan. And if it was not due to the continued pressure by the Chinese community, such plan will surely have been cancelled by the BN government.
It cannot be denied that the nation’s 60 Chinese independent secondary schools have made immense contribution to the nation in terms of human capital development.
Hence it is time that the Federal Government should accord official recognition to the Independent Secondary Chinese Schools’ Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), not only because of the high academic standard of the examination but also because the government cannot continue to keep a blind eye to the brain drain problem.
According to a recent news report, Singapore has been making concerted efforts to woo Malaysian Chinese independent secondary school leavers in recent years.
The report says that, among others, the Singapore government waives entrance examinations and doles out scholarships, permanent residency or even citizenship to absorb the crème la de crème of the Malaysian Chinese education.
Of the 4,000 to 5,000 students sitting the UEC examination every year, the number of those furthering their education in Singapore has increased from 5.59% in 2006 to 8.40% in 2007 and 9.96% in 2008.
Brain drain is a serious issue that must be solved in the government’s goal to achieve developed nation’s status.
In fact it is unfair that when UEC can be accepted and recognized by world renowned universities, it is not recognized by our own government.
I therefore call on the Cabinet must accord official recognition of UEC examination for entry into public universities as well as for employment in the public service.