Have we gone wrong in the matriculation intake?
Why are so many students with excellent SPM results rejected from our matriculation programmes? Is there a racial quota as in the days of Barisan Nasional (BN)? Or is there a new system of intake designed by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government?
Whether there is an ethnic quota or not, it is clear that many non-Malay students have been rejected and told to appeal.
If there is a quota, then the rejection must have been based on this affirmative action plan. Then what is the point of appealing?
If a racial quota is indeed in place, the government should announce the number of places allocated to Chinese and Indian students. At least the affected parents would know and wouldn’t have too many expectations.
I would think that after the PH government took over, the method of admission would have been revamped, with emphasis on merit and without sacrificing opportunities for disadvantaged communities.
However, as in the case of matriculation, nothing has been done. Under BN, concessions were made to MCA and MIC for the admission of Chinese and Indian students.
There is total confusion as to how the government handles admissions without relying on the outmoded methods of the former BN government.
It looks like the non-Malay students are getting a raw deal.
It might even be correct to say that the matriculation system has gone back to the earlier days when it was meant to address the educational woes of one community.
It does not make sense for the system to take in students with lesser qualifications and reject the good ones.
I wonder whether Education Minister Maszlee Malik is even aware of what is happening in the admission imbroglio involving these matriculation students.
I can understand his initial infatuation with the weight of school bags and the colour of shoes. But we also expect him to provide leadership in addressing some of the perplexing problems of education, such as the controversial problem of admission.
To be fair, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching is aware of this problem. She has been quick to respond to my queries on the matter. I hope that she, in consultation with Maszlee, can come up with an acceptable plan for all communities.
Whatever method is adopted, it cannot be worse than what was practised under BN.
This is the major concern of non-Malay parents who voted for PH in the last general election.
More than 30 parents, with their children, have come to see me about the admission fiasco with the matriculation system.
I am sorry that asking the students to appeal might not really address the larger problem of discrimination in education.
P Ramasamy is deputy chief minister II of Penang.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.