Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cabinet must do justice to the nation’s brightest students

Media Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Parliament on Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cabinet must do justice to the nation’s brightest students 

Until two years ago, the month of May has always been described as the JPA scholarship complaints and appeal season.

Despite government assurances that the scholarships would be awarded fairly, there have been allegations of unfair practices by JPA in the past every year, so much so that this annual phenomenon has been described as the complaint and appeal season.

Now the month of July has been described as Public University Intake complaints and appeal season.
Year after year, there will be public cries of injustice by top scorers of not getting courses of their choice or not getting any course at all.

This year is no different except that the situation is the worst ever in the history for Chinese and Indian students.

For the 2013/2014 session, 7,913 Chinese students or 19 per cent from a total of 41,573 applicants were successful.

30,903 Bumiputera, 1,824 Indians and 933 other races made up the total number of successful applicants.

The poor percentage of successful Chinese and Indian students has resulted in even BN component party leaders coming out in the open to describe this year’s situation as the most unfair and biased public university intake in the history of Malaysia. 

The typical explanations given by the Education Ministry are usually two, namely, that there are too many applicants and those who have failed in their applications have lost out to others due to lower marks in extracurricular activities. 

But such answers and explanations are not convincing and are not acceptable, especially when some students with top score of CGPA 4.0 have complained that while they have failed in their applications, others with lower score have succeeded. 

If such allegations are true, then certainly the intake system is most unfair, unjust, unprofessional and scandalous.

The Education Ministry has lost public confidence and credibility and the Cabinet which will meet tomorrow must set up an independent panel to fully investigate the scandal.

When cries of unfair intake happened last year, Cabinet had adopted the ad hoc solution of placing the unsuccessful students at private universities. 

There is a public joke that only in Malaysia where top students will not obtain government scholarships or public university places.

When even CGPA of 4.0 is not good enough to qualify for  a place in the public university, it is no wonder that some parents are now asking this question -- “ apa lagi Kementerian Pendidikan mau?”!

It is time that the Cabinet must also come out with a permanent solution to end the phenomenon of annual complaint and appeal season and do justice to the nation’s brightest students as well as to stop this cause of brain drain.

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