Govt lifting racial barrier for matriculation 'meaningless' - LFL

The government’s removal of the barrier for high-achieving non-Malay students to further their studies in matriculation programmes is “meaningless” as long as the 90 percent quota for bumiputera is still in place, said Lawyers for Liberty.

According to the human rights group’s director Zaid Malek, this is because the quota system disregards the rights of the non-bumiputera to education as guaranteed under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

“Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced (the removal) as if a great concession had been made to non-Malay students. In fact, it is nothing of the sort.

“The big question Anwar did not address is the obvious disproportionate quota for matriculation enrolment, between bumiputera and non-Malay students,” Zaid said in a statement today.

“That disproportion is unconstitutional and contrary to Article 153 of the Constitution as has been repeatedly pointed out by legal experts and ignored by successive governments,” he added.

Zaid was responding to Anwar's announcement on Sunday that students from all races who score 10As and above in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia will be given the opportunity to join matriculation programmes.

“Regardless of whether they are Malay, Chinese, Indian, or others, they must be guaranteed a spot by the government.

“This is a bold decision by the Madani government,” the premier said at the closing of National Training Week 2024 at the Bukit Jalil Stadium.

Review quota system

Yesterday, Anwar stressed that the decision is to ease racial tensions in the country.

Elaborating, Zaid said Anwar’s announcement on Sunday is not “progressive” as is touted to be, and is uncertain how it could ameliorate the unjust quota system that exists.

“It is greatly disappointing that the ‘reformist’ PM has shown no concern for the structural racism embedded into the matriculation programme as a result of the racial quota for the matriculation programme.

“Stating that non-bumiputera who excel are eligible for matriculation is not novel; that is the status quo. Further, saying that only those who achieve 10As and above for SPM will be given the opportunity to join the matriculation programmes ignores the fact that only a handful of students actually take 10 subjects to begin with.

“It merely creates yet another barrier of entry for the non-bumiputera into tertiary education,” said Zaid.

He further alleged that Anwar’s announcement leaves non-bumiputera students who score 7As, 8As, or 9As in their SPM, out in the cold.

“Do they not deserve to get a place in matriculation? Should they be punished and denied places in matriculation because of their skin colour?”

Zaid then accused the Madani government of pandering to Malay conservatives, to the detriment of non-bumiputera in the country, and in violation of Article 153 of the Constitution.

If the government truly strives for fairness in education, it must first acknowledge that the current quota system in matriculation programme enrollment is unreasonable, disproportionate, and unconstitutional, then review it, he said.

“Any government announcements that pledge a fairer share of educational places for non-bumiputera would only have any meaning if the quota is reviewed.

“This must be done by Anwar and his government, as the quota system is unfair, unlawful and will draw comparisons with the apartheid system.” - Mkini

Govt lifting racial barrier for matriculation 'meaningless' - LFL