Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, when addressing the Penang DAP Socialist Youth meeting in Penang on Sunday, 11th Sept. 1977 at 3 p.m.
DAP attacks UMNO, MCA and Gerakan and MIC leaders for diminishing the higher education opportunities of Malaysians in their own country
One of the most divisive issue in the country today is the diminished higher education opportunities for Malaysian students – especially non-Malays.
The gravity of this problem can be seen from the following student intake figures by Malaysian universities for 1977, as disclosed by the Education Minister, Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamed, in Parliament in July in reply to a question by DAP National Chairman and MP for Seremban, Dr. Chen Man Hin.
For the year 1977, a total of 25,998 students applied for degree and diploma courses in the five Malaysian universities; but only 5,953students were accepted. This means that over 20,000 Malaysian students with the requisite university entrance qualifications were denied entry into universities.
According to Dr. Mahathir, the detailed breakdown of this intake of the five Malaysian universities for 1977 were:
University Bumiputra China India Lain-lain Jumlah
Malaya 1,032 766 146 33 1,977
Malaysia 331 258 50 7 646
Malaysia 1,065 49 21 1 1,136
Malaysia 1,101 62 36 2 1,201
Malaysia 928 52 13 – 993
semua 4,457 1,187 266 43 5,953
For the Politeknik Ungku Omar, Ipoh, there were 5,000 applications of which 597were successful; while for the Politeknik Kuantan, 751 students applied, with 120 students emplaced.
The breakdown of student intake for these two Polytechnics are as follows:
Politeknik Bumiputra China India Lain-lain Jumlah
Ungku Omar 437 142 18 – 597
Kuantan 99 20 1 – 120
Jumlah 536 162 19 – 717
These figures do not include MARA Institute.
These figures tell more than any words could the diminished university and higher educational opportunities for Malaysian students – especially non-Malay students. This is a grave injustice and will become a source a great national disunity.
The DAP and all Malaysians do not begrudge Malay students being give all-possible opportunities and facilities for university and higher educational opportunities so that more Malay professionals and graduates take their place in Malaysian developmental efforts. But non-Malay parents and students have a right to expect that this will be done without depriving them of their higher educational opportunities.
UMNO, MCA, MIC and Gerakan leaders are not bothered or concerned about the adverse consequences their higher education policies have on the people’s hopes for a better life, for education is one of the most important means of upward social mobility.
UMNO, MCA, MIC and Gerakan leaders do not care, because they have the money to send their children overseas for higher educational opportunities. In fact, large numbers of UMNO, MCA, MIC and Gerakan Ministers and leaders send their children overseas not only for university education, but for primary and secondary education.
The Barisan Nasional government’s education policy is suitable for the ordinary Malaysian rakyat, but not for UMNO, MCA, MIC and Gerakan Ministers and leaders. This is downright hypocrisy and irresponsibility.
The injustice in the deprivation of non-Malay students of higher educational opportunities in their homeland must be stopped, and this can only be done, if there is a greater political consciousness among the people that it is only through the exercise of their political rights that this can be done. This is the time for Malaysians to come forwards and to give the DAP their assistance and support, so that we can help to change the Malaysian society to a more just and equal one.