by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit SIang, in Penang on Thursday, 8th March 1990:
Call on Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim to declare whether he is backing Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas or Marang MP over the issue of appointment of professors in the University of Malaya
The Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, said yesterday that he would meet University Malaya Vice Chancellor Profesor Syed Hussein Alatas and the MP for Marang Abdul Rahman Bakar to “solve” the issue over the appointment of professors.
This is not the question of the Education Minister meeting Professor Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas to resolve the issue, but whether the Education Minister is backing Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas or the Marang MP over the issue.
In his press conference statement yesterday, the UMNO Baru Marang MP, Abdul Rahman Bakar, launched into a very personal and even communal attack on Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas, declaring that he would not have been appointed as Vice Chancellor of the University of Malaya if he was not regarded as a Malay.
This is a most depiorable attack, as Abdul Rahman was suggesting that Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas was not a real Malay, and that on his own academic merits alone, he would not have been appointed as Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya.
This is a great slur on the academic record and reputation of any Vice Chancellor, and I call on the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, to declare whether Abdul Rahman Bakar is right in declaring that Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas would not have been appointed as Vice Chancellor if he was not regarded as a Malay, as it was Anwar who was responsible for making the appointment.
In this connection, the Education Minister should also make clear whether it has become the permanent policy of the Education Ministry and the Barisan Nasional Government that the Vice Chancellors of the local universities must be Malays, and can never be appointed from qualified non-Malay Malaysians.
This is the time when the Ministers of MCA and Gerakan, who are loudly proclaiming that they want a system of ‘merits coupled with needs’ to replace the quota system, to take a firm and common stand in the Cabinet on the University of Malaya appointments issue.
It is no use for small fries from the MCA and Gerakan issuing statements in the press on the issue, when MCA and Gerakan Ministers dare not raise this issue in the Cabinet.