From Hafiz Hassan
Muzaffar Syah Mallow, an associate professor at the Faculty of Shariah and Law at the Islamic Science University of Malaysia, finds it perplexing that there is reliance on the quota system after 65 years of independence for a multiracial country like Malaysia.
Muzaffar wonders whether the quota system will be maintained within our education system forever.
The answer to Muzaffar can be found in the Federal Constitution.
Article 153 of the Federal Constitution clearly mandates the reservation of quotas for Malays and natives of any of the states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Article 153(1) obligates the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the states of Sabah and Sarawak, and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article.
In safeguarding the special position, Article 153(2) mandates the Agong to ensure the reservation for Malays and natives of any of the states of Sabah and Sarawak of such proportion as he may deem reasonable of positions in the public service (other than the public service of a state) and of scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or special facilities given or accorded by the federal government.
Added to the above is Clause 8A, which came into force on March 10, 1971. It says as follows:
“Notwithstanding anything in this constitution, where in any university, college and other educational institution providing education after the Malaysian Certificate of Education or its equivalent, the number of places offered by the authority responsible for the management of the university, college or such educational institution to candidates for any course of study is less than the number of candidates qualified for such places, it shall be lawful for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by virtue of this Article to give such directions to the authority as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such places for Malays and natives of any of the Borneo states as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable; and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.”
So, the short answer is this: For as long as Article 153 is not amended, the quota system will remain. One may argue that Article 153 is a basic structure of the Federal Constitution.
Hafiz Hassan is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.