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The Higher Education Ministry should give full scholarships to top students in the Cambridge A-level examinations to stop the brain drain and fulfill the realization of human development as an integral part of economic growth


Press Statement (2)

by Lim Guan Eng



(Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAP urges the government and the Higher Education Ministry to give full scholarships to top students in the Cambridge A-level examinations to stop the brain drain and fulfill the realization of human development as an integral part of economic growth. Nine Malaysian students were the world's top scorers of eight subjects of further mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, art and design, French and mathematics in the Cambridge A-Level examinations in June.

Joshua Tan Hoong Yu from Taylor's University College had the highest scores in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. Other top scorers were Lim Tim Weng (further mathematics), Bradley Ben (geography), Jean Kee Hooi (art and design), Juginder Luwita Hana Randhawa Mohd (French), Ang Ju Li (mathematics), Lau Lih Kai (mathematics), Vincent Lai Voon Chin (mathematics) and Yeoh Su-Ann (mathematics).

The Cambridge A-level exams are difficult subjects and to be the top student is a remarkable achievement, especially when the medium of instruction is in English. DAP can not understand why the government can award full scholarships to top students of the simple and easy local matriculation exams but not the Cambridge A-level top students.

DAP fears that if the Malaysian government does not appreciate our best and brightest, other countries would benefit from their brain power. Singapore is the biggest beneficiary where Malaysians working in hospitals and industry are one of the real engines of growth powering the Singapore economic miracle.

Malaysia could also have achieved similar economic success if we had not implemented the New Economic Policy (NEP) that institutionalized quotas, preferential policies and mediocrity as well as permitted corruption, inefficiency and waste. In the 1960’s Malaysia economic success was only behind Japan and yet in the 40 years since then, Malaysia has lost out to many countries that were poorer than Malaysia such as Korea and Taiwan. Malaysia just could not exploit our advantages of rich natural resources in oil and tin.

For instance in 1966, South Korea had a GNP per capita of only US$130 as compared to Malaysia’s US$350. In less than 40 years, Korea’s GNP per capita leaped to more than US$16,000 whilst Malaysia recorded only RM US$5,000. The reason why Malaysia fell from being richer than South Korea by 3 times in 1966 to Korea being richer than Malaysia by 3 times now is that Malaysia had the NEP whilst Korea did not, relying instead on merit, competitiveness and performance.

Despite not having abundant natural resources, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan emphasized human development. With the depletion of our natural resources, Malaysia should learn from these countries to fully deploy and employ human development to its optimal capacity. Such failures by Malaysia to maximize our human resources are the principal reasons why we are being laughed at by Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Lee mocked Malaysia by declaring that Singapore would rejoin Malaysia if Malaysia treated its Indian and Chinese citizens fairly, implemented a merit system and its economy perform better than Singapore when Lee knew that this would be impossible.

DAP regrets that MCA leaders such as Ong Ka Ting talks about lifelong learning but yet do not reward those who are top performers. What is the point of encouraging people to learn if they are not rewarded based on performance but on the colour of their skin. The time has come to emphasize character, content and capability rather than colour of our skin if Malaysia is to progress in the 21st century of globalization.


* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP

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