Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Fairytale of Universities in Malaysia

Let me first lay out the universities associated to political parties of Barisan Nasional. First of all, we have Universiti Tun Razak which is largely linked to UMNO, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman by MCA, AIMST by MIC and of course the latest to join the pack is Wawasan Open University that is said to be endorsed by Gerakan.

Of course we have many other public universities such as UiTM, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. There are a lot more universities, university colleges, private colleges and vocational colleges.

The list goes on. The mainstream universities have large influences of politics in them that are linked to BN and Pakatan Rakyat component parties. This is one thing we all cannot deny.

Now, in the eyes of the non Bumiputeras, many parents see that their children do not receive assistance from the Government like how the Government helped the Bumiputeras. The generation before me see the windows and doors to their children's education shut out.

And if their kids do not get a place in any public universities, they blame the Government that their children are out in the streets selling drugs, joining triads, working in pubs, selling mobile phones and DVDs, working in construction sites and many more.

If we take our time to sit down and think properly, the education window for non Bumis are not shut out just like that. If you walk in penniless into UTAR, AIMST or WOU, I am quite sure there will be funds at hand to help you.

I have read that KLK Foundation gives out monthly grants to help students who need them. We have all heard about the PTPTN loans that Government willingly hand out.

In fact, one of the parents I talked to a year ago told me the PTPTN loans seem to come in a generous manner where the loans they give are more than sufficient to cover for University fees, housing fees and there are still some to spare for a laptop. I do not know how the system of PTPTN loans work but that was basically what he told me.

So there is absolutely no excuses for our non Bumiputera parents to slam the Government and the Malays. Yes it is true that the Government assists the Bumiputeras by securing a certain high percentage of entrants to core subjects.

Yes it is true at times top students of non Bumis who applied for core subjects were not given their top choices and they were forced to do other courses or go to a private University.

I strongly urge that parents do not blame the Government for everything because there are still options. Do not let your kids stray out of education at such a age.

Consider the PTPTN loans, the JPA loans, the many grants and scholarships. One need not be bright or genius to get some of these help. Give them the education they deserve. And I believe in the long run, your kids will be marketable.

Yes. The Government might secure places for the Bumiputeras in universities. But how marketable are they? I dare say the best of the Malays are really good and in fact better than the non Bumiputeras. But a majority of them have failed the hopes that the Government placed on them.

Simply because the quality of their education and the students are not up to the standard required in the industry. Also, politics play a big role in those Universities and with that bugging their minds, education will not be the main agenda.

I strongly urge the Bumiputeras to understand the great amount of help the Government is providing them with and the opportunities. Dr Mahathir wept when he publicly declared and criticised the Malays. The "tongkat Melayu" that the Government provided had not been utilised properly and exploited well enough.

We cannot deny the fact that Tongkat Melayu cannot be there forever. Business students will understand the efficiency theory, the losses due to subsidies and the many effects on competitiveness.

The Tongkat Melayu was meant for the Malays to stand back up and be on par with the non Malays after the "pecah dan perintah" rule by the British that strained racial harmony and Economic status of Malaysians.

As such, after 51 years of Independence, the Tongkat Melayu will surely come to an end soon. The Tongkat Melayu must not be misused by the Malays. Also, UiTM's actions and words merely reflect how disgraceful they are and how they have disappointed Dr Mahathir.

Some claim that why can't the Malays be allowed to compete among themselves. Yes of course you can but I believe all the top and competitive Malay students are either overseas or in UM, UKM and USM. And so are the top non Malays. Moreover, making such a sweeping statement can be inverted to a point as saying "Yes I am weak".

If there is nothing to be afraid of, make Dr Mahathir proud and make me proud. Challenge and defeat the non Malays in your homeground, the UiTM. University is not all about going in there and getting a certificate out. We do not build 100 Universities and produce 1 million graduates and we call ourselves educated. That is wrong.

Look at the Oxbridge graduates. There are limited places and they are extremely hard to enter. The graduates that they produce are world class graduates and one of them is a Deputy UMNO Youth leader now, although many attacked him for reasons known to all. But that is not the point.

The point is, our graduates must be as competitive as everyone else. UiTM graduates should not worry about competing with the non Malays too. The world out there even in Malaysia do not segregate people by races, generally speaking. As such, for the benefit of UiTM students, they should not be worrying too much but instead scream aloud, "BRING IT ON!".

I have been into UiTM's Main Campus in Shah Alam. I once asked for directions to go to one of their many libraries. The student did not understand my simple English of directions at all. I am so sorry for her that the education system has failed her.

And there she stood to acquire a University education. In the end, I spoke to her in Bahasa Malaysia and she understood. Perhaps she was shock to see a Chinese in UiTM and it caused her not to be able to reply me in English.

Did I say a Chinese in UiTM? Yes. Me. And Many more. Allow me to share a little about UiTM. There was once I was on a bus from Shah Alam back to Ipoh. Next to me was an old Makcik. She chatted with me and asked me where was I studying. I told her UiTM. She was shocked and asked me "Aren't you Chinese?". Yes, do not be surprised that I was once a UiTM student.

UiTM Kampus Seksyen 17. That is where I did my pre university education. The college there is called International Education Centre, UiTM where Petronas scholars, Mara Scholars, JPA scholars and Bank Negara scholars study for 1-2.5 years before going overseas for University education. The courses there include ADP, Ausmat, A Levels, and others.

When I was about to leave UiTM Kampus Seksyen 17 for Australia, there were talks going on to allow private students to enter the college for Pre University studies. Yes. Indirectly, UiTM is already accepting non Bumiputeras, although not for University education, but at least for Pre University. I wonder if the general public knows about this. For sure, the Makcik sitting next to me didn't.

Yes, I know many will attack me now. I might seem pro Malay being a Chinese myself. Or some might even misinterpret my words and think I am anti Malay. Call me whatever you want.

I have said it countless time already. Malaysia will achieve a Malaysian Malaysia and enter the developed country category with wealth, harmony and growth if and only if the Malays stand up on their own feet. It will be a time where we can dismantle the effects of the "divide and rule" system by the British.

I read Sheih's recent article with great interest. And I hope the non Bumiputeras also understand the many support UTAR, AIMST and WOU have received from Government agencies, Government linked companies, private sector and of course the Government for giving out the licenses to operate the Universities.

But then again, with UTAR, WOU and AIMST where the former two are Chinese based universities and the latter an Indian based university, are the students as good as those in public Universities?

No. I am pretty sure that if I ask for directions in UTAR, there will be students who can hardly answer me in English. Some might not even know the language well and some might not even have the confidence to answer me. I might be better off speaking in Chinese to them.

As such, allow me to come to the main point that I want to say. Where is the unity? Are we not still practising the "divide and rule" system? Yes we are. If the Chinese seek education from WOU and UTAR while the Indians go to AIMST and the Malays go to UiTM, then how then can the 25 million Malaysians unite?

I strongly urge the Parliament of Malaysia to come up with a united Malaysian university where all races can mix and match and compete with each other based on a proper education system. Let this university takeover the "failed" University Malaya and be the best University in Malaysia.

The Government of Malaysia should back this University with all their might, support and finances to fund for researches, education, lecturers and top students from all races and backgrounds just like how the Government of Australia do with ANU. Let us unite and make this university a long term project where it will someday be the top 20 best University in the world.

What about the enrolment? Yes. Let us go by the composition of races in Malaysia where 65% of the students of this University can be Malays, 26% are Chinese, 8% are Indians and we can have 1% of others. Some might disagree and want equal rights. And if equal rights are so important, we can always make a cut for 33% for each of the 3 main races and other Malaysians can take the 1%. Or whatever it is that the Parliament of Malaysia decides.

Make it a University where all the objectives laid out shall not be failed by the students, the lecturers and the administration. A failure will mean that person has to pack up and the next best person for the seat will come in.

And this project which I strongly urge the Government of Malaysia, the Parliament of Malaysia and the people of Malaysia to take up shall be named University Perpaduan Malaysia.

Together we shall bring the creme de la creme of Malaysian students from all races and unite them under one umbrella in this University. With this University, all students shall no longer be taught the racism as I described in my earlier article on why racism is like a dynasty in Malaysia. Students shall be taught that the person sitting next to them is a fellow Malaysian, and whatever their parents tell them about the other races might not be true.

The Chinese and the Malays shall never call each other "pigs" anymore. The Indians shall never be associated with the "snakes". Yes. We shall all live in harmony where hand in hand, we uphold the true strength of unity and we walk forward to take on the world. We formulate a country which we call home where all Malaysians will always dream about and think of when overseas, when in the country and even when they are sleeping.

Someday if I go to Parliament, I shall table the motion for a University Perpaduan Malaysia with the principles of unity and great competitive education that will put us in the roadmap of World's Best Universities. If any MPs feel that this is something good for the long term future of Malaysia, feel free to take it away from me.

We shall not neglect the other public universities but the system attached to them has not shown us results that we desire and that will make us proud. It is only through education that unity, development and prosperity can be achieved. So be it.

I want to see a University Perpaduan Malaysia one day. Let me highlight the working paper tabled by Tun Dr Mahathir when he was Prime Minister on Vision 2020. This part was titled "Malaysia as A Fully Developed Country - One Definition". Read it here. Also, do read Sheih's article here. His article is full of details and analysis.

Good day everyone !

1 comment:

AL said...

This is a very interesting post. And your wish to enter Parliament!

Would like to feature your post in our website and link our readers to your blog.

All the best!