KOTA SAMARAHAN: Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) supports a statement of Education Minister, Dr Maszlee Malik, on maintaining a 90 per cent quota of Bumiputera entries into matriculation.

According to Unimas vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi, matriculation was established to increase the number of outstanding Bumiputera students and fill the vacancies in science, professional and critical areas at local public universities.

“In addition, the programme is aimed at producing excellent human capital, especially among Bumiputeras in order to meet the country’s aspirations by 2020.

Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi

“At the beginning of its establishment, the matriculation programme was only open to Bumiputera students, but in the 2003/2004 session, the government opened a 10 per cent quota for non-Bumiputera students.

“Looking at the high demand for this programme, Maszlee has announced an increase of 15,000 places in the programme of which 36,000 have been allocated to Bumiputera holders of SPM 2018 certificates with the rest for non-Bumiputera students.

“The increase clearly shows that the Ministry of Education (MoE) is always providing the best pre-university education opportunities to Malaysian children,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Adding to Mohamad Kadim, the increase in places and the retention of Bumiputera quota in matriculation colleges in Sarawak is a very welcomed thing.

It is important to note that Bumiputera children in Sarawak are far behind compared to their peers in Malaya.

“In view of this, Maszlee’s actions defending the status quo of this programme not only coincided with its main objectives, but also had a significant impact on the development of Bumiputera human capital in Sarawak.

“If this programme is open to all, what are the fate of Sarawakian children who are still studying in disadvantaged schools? Is it fair for them to compete with other students who have the best facilities and resources in the cities, to enter matriculation? ” he said.

Elaborating further, he said according to data from the state Education Department, it is estimated that 1,000 out of 1,457 schools in the state are identified as obsolete with no electricity, clean water, roads or Internet connection.

“Therefore, before a quota change in the matriculation programme is made, these key points need to be considered and resolved first,” he said.

He explained that the setting up of Bumiputera quota was not intended to deny the outstanding achievement of other races, but this was the main responsibility of the government in safeguarding the rights and interests of the Bumiputeras who were still lagging behind.