KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim today defended Putrajaya’s decision to maintain the 90% quota for Bumiputera students in the education ministry’s matriculation programme, saying this was to allay the community’s concerns after the government increased the number of students for the course.
The PKR president said he was told that the increase to 40,000 from 25,000 previously had led to worries that it would eat into the quota for the Malay students.
“For now, we have to allay those concerns. We don’t want them to feel like we are taking seats from the Malays.
“This is especially so in faculties where Malay participation is substantially lower,” the former education minister told reporters after being awarded the Global Citizenship Award by Saturna Capital here.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik earlier said the increased intake for matriculation students was based on a Cabinet decision to get more students into tertiary education and to spread the opportunity to all races.
He said the 90:10 quota was maintained in order to get more Bumiputera students to pursue science-related fields in public universities.
The move drew flak, with DAP’s P Ramasamy saying the government had failed to move forward, while Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism northern region coordinator K Sudhagaran Stanley described it as “one of the worst” moves by the Pakatan Harapan administration.
To this, Anwar said Putrajaya was merely acting on the present concerns of the Malays.
However, the Port Dickson MP said it was not a matter of race, but rather of catering to the bottom 40 income group.
“We should not neglect or marginalise them,” he added.