DAPSY challenges the Higher Education Department to give the real picture of the actual students’ intake in all public institutions of higher learning for 2003/2004

Press Statement
by Loke Siew Fook

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The recent announcement by Education Ministry’s higher education department that the intake of Bumiputera students in public higher education institutions under the “meritocracy” system has dropped from 68.9 per cent last year to 62.6 per cent this academic session is not accurate and not painted a clear picture of the actual intake of Bumiputera students and non-Bumipuetra students.


The 62.6 per cent of Bumiputera student intake is based on the number of places offered in 17 public institutions of higher learning which totaled 37,034 places. However, the statistics given by the department or the 37,034 places does not take into account another 10,650 places in various universities given exclusively to Bumiputera students. The breakdown of the exclusive intake is as below:


Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)                                -           6,000 places

International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)           -           3,500 places

Universiti Malaya (Islamic courses)                               -              350 places

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (Islamic course)           -              400 places

Kolej Universiti Islam Malaysia (Islamic courses)           -              400 places


While the intake of students for IIUM is open to non-Bumiputera in certain faculties, however UiTM only offer places entirely to Bumiputera students and the Islamic faculties in the 3 different universities are meant for Muslim students.


If the extra 10,650 places which mostly offered to Bumiputera students are taken into consideration, the percentage of intake will be much higher for Bumiputera students and the numbers does not drop as claimed by the Education Ministry. The actual percentage of intake will be as follow:


Students’ intake into public universities for 2003


Exclude 10,650 places

Include 10,650 places

Bumiputera students

23,182 (62.6%)

33,832 (71%)

Chinese students

11,921 (32.2%)

11,921 (25%)

Indian students

1,931 (5.2%)

1,931 (4%)


37,034 (100%)

47,684 (100%)


It is clear that the Education Ministry is not transparent in revealing the information of students’ intake. Based on the assumption that all the 10,650 places goes to Bumiputera students which is quite accurate as only a small number of places out of the 10,650 places are offered to non-Bumiputera students, the percentage of Bumiputera students’ intake rose to 71 per cent out of total intake of all public institutions of higher learning in Malaysia for the academic session 2003/2004 and not drop to 62.6 per cent as announced by the Education Ministry.


The percentage of Chinese students will be reduced to 25 per cent of all intakes, while the intake of Indian students is only 4 per cent out of the total student intake in public universities in the whole country.


This is the best testimony of unfairness in the so-called “meritocracy system” introduced by the Barisan Nasional government in the intake of students for public universities. The non-Bumiputera students have to pass through two very uphill hurdles compared to the Bumiputera students although they supposed to be competing in the same level of playing field in the “meritocracy system”.


Firstly, the non-Bumiputera students who applied to enroll into public universities are mostly from the STPM path which based on external examination, considered as one of the most difficult public examination in the world! However, students from the matriculation path are evaluated through an internal examination system with the combination of course work and written exam. Over 90 per cent of matriculation students are made up of Bumiputera students.


Secondly, non-Bumiputera students are only allowed to apply courses out of the 37,034 places offered and denied opportunities in the 6,000 places in the UiTM. Bumiputera students have the privilege to compete for places out of the 37,034 places offered for all students and also apply for places from the 10,650 places exclusively reserved for them at the same time.


What sort of “meritocracy system” is this? I will conclude that it is a system of “meritocracy” without a same level of playing field. I’m prepared to be proven wrong by the Education Ministry as far as the 10,650 places reserved exclusively for Bumiputera students is concerned. If the Ministry can prove all Malaysians that the extra 10,650 places are not only meant exclusively for Bumiputera students, then they should be prepared to be transparent and announce publicly the full intake based on racial breakdown in each university.


If the government is really serious and sincere in implementing a genuine meritocracy system, then the Education Ministry must abolish the two different systems used to evaluate students for enrollment into public universities and implement a single evaluation system for all students. They should also open up all universities’ intake to all students regardless of race and religion and do away with the current practice of having two lists of intake – one for all students and the other only for Bumiputera students.


* Loke Siew Fook, DAPSY National Secretary