by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and DAP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 25.6.1986:
Challenge Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, to set up a public inquiry committee, comprising DAP representative, into the complaints of discrimination and injustices over university student admission, selection for the various faculties, examination and marking
The issue over the discrimination and injustice in the admission of local university students, their selection into various faculties, had become a burning issue again in the processing for the new university recruitment for the local Malaysian universities starting their new academic year shortly.
The various explanations and assurances given by the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, has failed to allay public complaints and grievances over discrimination and injustices in the admission of local university students, selection into various faculties, and in fact, also on examination and marking of university grades.
Anwar Ibrahim said that he authorised his Deputy Education Minister, Ng Cheng Kiat, to verify whether the universities have conformed with the 55:45 quota of bumiputra and non-bumiputra university student intake. Such authorisation is meaningless.
The fact is that there is long-standing injustice and discrimination in the field of higher education opportunities which has made a whole generation of Malaysians, denied of their right to higher education opportunities in their own country, highly alienated and polarised.
It is not good enough for Anwar to declare that it is the Barisan’s policy to discriminate in higher education opportunities. It is also not good enough for the Minister to say that individual and specific complaints about discrimination and grievances should be referred to the authorities for investigations.
I challenge Anwar Ibrahim to set up a public inquiry committee, comprising a DAP representative, into all complaints of discrimination and injustices in university recruitment, selection into various faculties, even examination and marking and other related fields, so that there is a full and thorough investigation into this important aspect of education – which undoubtedly is also one of the cause of the grave decline of academic standards and excellence in our universities.
As Education Minister, Anwar should be prepared to come out with bold solutions to the burning issue of frustration of Malaysian students in getting higher education opportunities in their own homeland. This was why the DAP had always pressed for the establishment of more universities in the country, which could have been done easily if the government had not squandered away public funds in scandals like the $2.5 billion BMF scandal, or on white-elephant projects like DAYABUMI. Secondly, another solution is to allow the establishment of private universities to meet the needs for higher education opportunities inside the country. This will also save precious foreign exchange, for it is estimated that over $1 billion is spent overseas annually for higher studies. Is Anwar Ibrahim prepared to take a more liberal and enlightened approach to the question of higher education opportunities locally for Malaysian students?