Speech by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at the Bahau DAP 1,000-People Dinner to commemorate the Party’s 15th Anniversary at Bahau, Negeri Sembilan on Saturday, 28th Nov. 1981 at 8pm
DAP calls on the Government to halt the reduction of local medical places for non-Malay students while increasing the number of medical places for Malay Students
Over the years, the number of non-Malay medical places in the local universities had been drastically reduced every year. This could be seen from the following figures for the last four academic years:
TOTAL ENROLMENT OF MEDICAL STUDENTS
Bumiputra Non-Bumi Total Bumiputra Non-Bumi Total
University Malaya 225 391 616 256 343 599
University Kebangsaan 532 45 577 660 54 714
Sains University – – – – – –
Total 757 436 1,193 916 397 1,313
Bumiputra Non-Bumi Total Bumiputra Non-Bumi Total
University Malaya 312 304 616 349 277 626
University Kebangsaan 592 48 640 674 61 735
Sains University – – – 51 13 64
Total 904 352 1,262 1,074 353 1,425
Thus, from the four academic years from 1978 to the current one, the number of non-Malay enrolment in the medical faculties have kept falling from 436 to 397 to 352 until the present figure of 353, as compared to bumiputra medical places which have increased from 757 in 1978 to the present 1,074.
With the establishment of the third medical faculty, and expansion of medical places locally, the DAP calls on the Government to stop reducing the local medical places for non-Malay students, while increasing the medical places for Malay students.
While non-Malay Malaysians understand and support the need for the government to make measures to rectify the historical imbalances where the Malays lag behind professional fields, like medicine, this must not be done by depriving non-Malay students the opportunity to enter the various professional fields on their own merit.
The present enrolment of medical faculties where bumiputra students comprise 75.4% while non-bumiputra students comprise only 24.6% is clearly unfair and inadequate. Without reducing the quantitative numbers of Malay medical students, the number of non-Malay medical students should be increased to reach a fairer overall percentage, more reflective of the country’s population.
If the present process of yearly drastic reduction of non-Malay medical places in the local universities is not arrested, and halted, the percentage of non-Malay medical students in the coming years would fall below 15% by the end of the Fourth Malaysia Plan, as from 1978 to 1982 academic year, the percentage of non-Malay students have fallen by an average of 3% per year, from 36.5% for the 1978/79 academic year to 24.6% for the 1981/82 academic year.
I am of cause not suggesting that we return to the 1960s where Malay students in the University of Malaya Faculty represented 20.4% for the 1970/71 academic year, compared to 79.6% for non-Malay students. The government must be guided by the principle that the correction of an old imbalance and injustice should not be replaced by a new imbalance and injustice.
Recently, the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, criticised certain Malaysian professionals who migrated abroad. It is not good enough just to criticise these Malaysian professionals abroad. The government should make an effort to understand their reasons, and ascertain whether it is not possible for the government to remove the causes for this loss of precious ‘brain drain’ from the country.
These Malaysian professionals, whether doctors, engineers, dentists, or other, migrate not because of look of loyalty to the country, or to seek ‘greener pastures’ abroad to make more money, but solely because they want to assure for their children a educational future, especially with regard to higher education opportunities.
Many Ministers and Deputy Ministers send their children abroad for primary and secondary education, showing their own lack of confidence in the National Education System they had formulated. The actions, motivations and behavior of these Barisan Ministers, Deputy Ministers, and other Barisan National and state leaders are in fact no different from the Malaysian professionals who migrated overseas.
The only difference is that the Malaysian professionals feel that it is too young for the children to be send abroad to be corrupted by Western ways, and their sense of duty to be with their children during their most formative years of childhood.
The Barisan Ministers and Deputy Ministers do not migrate overseas, because they want to hang on to their Ministerial positions. We all know of so many Barisan leaders who migrated after they had lost out in general elections.
Instead of castigating these professionals for migrating overseas, I call on the Prime Minister to review government policies which had caused such a migration.
I have no doubt that if Malaysian parents could be assured that their children, when they grow up, would have fair and equal opportunities for higher education opportunities in their own country, not only would such professional emigration be halted, many professionals who had migrated would like to come back to the country of their first love. Furthermore, all Malaysians would be sending their children to local schools rather than sending their children overseas for education.
The MCA has in fact the most number of its leaders, including top government leaders, who send their children overseas for studies, for they themselves feel that their children cannot be assured of educational justice in the country.
The question the MCA leaders must answer the people is why they continue to demand that the people should give 100% support to the national education system, when they themselves have no confidence in it?
I call on the MCA National President, Datuk Lee San Choon, to issue a list of all the MCA national, state, division and branch leaders who send their children overseas for secondary and primary education.
How can the MCA leaders instill public confidence in the Barisan national education system, when they and their leaders are its worst detractors, in sending their children for education overseas?
Higher educational injustice is the biggest problem facing Malaysian parents today, and unless this higher education injustice is rectified and redressed, so that every Malaysian student can look forward to higher education opportunity based on his academic merit, Malaysian’s nation building efforts would be hampered and retarded.