Musa’s ignorance about University of Malaya admitting students from a private college to its medical faculty for three years is another example of the Education Minister stumbling from one blunder to another
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Just a week ago, Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said he was unaware that 70 students from the Perak College of Medicine (PCM) had been admitted into University of Malaya’s medical faculty this year without having to undergo the government’s central processing selection system (UPU) and that his Ministry had not given its approval to any private college to collaborate with public universities in the medical course. He asked for an explanation from the University of Malaya.
This followed complaints by University of Malaya students over such intakes as the private college students generally obtained lower grades during their SPM, STPM to matriculation programmes.
A comparative studies provided by the students showed some of the private college students have grades as low as 3.68 of their cumulative grade point average (CGPA), C4 and C5 in science subjects during their STPM or matriculation, while students admitted through the UPU system are mostly straight As students or having obtained 4.0 CGPA (the highest point).
Malaysiakini reported yesterday that the Universiti Malaya medical faculty had sent a written explanation to the Education Minister about its involvement in a twinning programme with the Perak-based private medical college. An officer from the vice-chancellor’s office said however that the explanation was not meant for the public.
This anti-information attitude from a public university is totally unacceptable in the era of information and communications technology with ever higher citizen expectations of accountability, transparency and good governance from public institutions.
There is no denial that Universiti Malaya accepted 160 students into its medical faculty based on the UPU system this year and another 70 students from the PCM or that such practices of admitting students from the PCM to the UM medical faculty had been going on for the previous two years since 2001.
The question is how the Education Minister could be so ignorant and uninformed of such practices, not just this year but for three years since 2001, and if the Education Ministry had not given any approval to any private college to collaborate with public universities in the medical college, how could the Universiti Malaya medical faculty furnish any satisfactory explanation to the Education Minister?
Is the refusal of Universiti Malaya to make public its explanation to the Education Minister on the matter purely to save the face of Musa, who seems to be stumbling from one blunder to another as Education Minister since his appointment after the 1999 general election?
This is a matter of grave public interest, raising the legitimate question whether the 70 places allocated to the PCM should have been allocated in a more fair and just manner through the UPU system, especially as Universiti Malaya admitted only one Indian student to its medical faculty for this year's intake compared with 16 places previously.
MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had vociferously protested against the unfairness of admitting only one Indian student into the Universiti Malaya medical faculty using a most dubious system of meritocracy characterized by its lack of merit, but his complaint that the Indians in Malaysia had been crying for 140 years against injustices had not led to any additional Indian student intake into the UM medical faculty.
Musa should explain the full circumstances for the intake of PCM students into the Universiti Malaya medical faculty since 2001, as it had further undermined public trust and confidence in the so-called “meritocracy” university admission system and why he had been ignorant about it for the past three years.
Musa had recently been dogged by one blunder after another in the Education Ministry, such as:
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman