PETALING JAYA: Former higher education minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin has challenged DAP Youth to back its claim that matriculation programmes under the previous government only benefited its cronies, the “elite, rich and those with cabals”.
“Prove it with facts and data. Otherwise, how are they different from those who are paid to take to the streets to protest without any facts?” Khaled said in a statement.
He was responding to DAP Youth chief Howard Lee, who had said earlier this week that when Khaled and BN were in power, they had prioritised the elites and the wealthy.
Lee also said that the B40 Malays and the rakyat did not have the connections to benefit from policies intended for the low-income group.
He had said this in response to Khaled’s criticisms of a recent set of proposals by DAP to revamp the matriculation programme, in which he accused the party of pushing for total equality without understanding the philosophy behind the government’s allocation of quotas for Malay and non-Malay students.
Today, Khaled argued that Umno and BN had been helping those in need for the past 60 years and were never apologetic or embarrassed by the fact that a majority of them were Bumiputeras.
The Umno vice-president said that Bumiputeras were still far left behind and there was a need for the government to intervene for them to be on par with the other races, especially the Chinese community, when it came to education.
“In this context, the total equality and merit DAP Youth is pushing for will continue to isolate those who are left behind, while those ahead will remain so,” he said.
Last month, Education Minister Maszlee Malik said the 90:10 quota favouring Bumiputera students in matriculation programmes would be maintained, following calls to do away with the racial preference.
This sparked a debate over the government’s pre-university course, which it said would allow easier access for Malay and Bumiputera school leavers to public universities.
Putrajaya has since defended the quota system, with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad saying it is to encourage more Bumiputera students to take up science-related degrees.