Dr Mohd Kadim

KUCHING: Matriculation quota is relevant and is still needed by Sarawak Bumiputeras, according to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Kadim Suaidi.

“Should the programme be open to all, how would it affect the less fortunate Sarawak children? Would it be fair for them to compete with others who have facilities and better resources in the cities to enter the matriculation programme?” he said in a statement yesterday.

Dr Mohd Kadim

“The allocation of Bumiputera quota is not to undervalue the academic achievements of students from other race groups, but it should be the main responsibility of the government to protect the rights of Bumiputeras who are still left behind.

“With the opportunity afforded to them through the matriculation programme, Sarawak Bumiputeras can change their lives and become professionals in the state,” he argued.

Kadim welcomed the addition of Bumiputera slots while retaining their quota in matriculation.

“This is crucial as even after 56 years after the formation of Malaysia, Sarawak Bumiputeras are still left behind compared to their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia.

“In Sarawak, 1,000 from 1,457 schools in the state are considered as dilapidated according to the state education department. They also lack basic facilities such as electricity supply, clean water, roads and internet coverage.

“This shows the difficulties faced by Sarawak Bumiputeras during their schooling years and because of that, before changes are being made to the matriculation programme, these issues must be addressed first,” he said.

Kadim echoed Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik’s views to defend the programme’s status quo.

He viewed that not only that it is aligned with the main objective of the matriculation programme, but it presents a huge impact in developing human capital among Sarawak Bumiputeras.

“More than two decades ago, the matriculation programme was created under the Education Ministry to increase the number of outstanding Bumiputera students, who in turn would occupy professional and critical roles in science studies at public universities.

“Besides that, the programme also aimed to develop human capital among Bumiputeras to fulfill the aspirations of the nation come 2020,” he added.

“In the early days, the matriculation programme was only open to Bumiputeras, but during the 2003/2004 session, the government open a quota of 10 per cent for non-Bumiputeras to join the programme.

Kadim commended the decision by the Education Minister to announce an addition of 15,000 spots for SPM 2018 students and allocate a total of 36,000 to Bumiputeras and the rest to non-Bumiputeras.

“The addition shows that the Education Ministry is always attentive to providing the best pre-university education for Malaysian children,” he said.