Ong Ka Ting should ask for the removal of Fu Ah Kiow as Deputy Higher Education Minister as the latter had failed to ensure a satisfactory resolution of the problem of  99 “top scorers” offered medical places in private colleges

Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Parliament House, Wednesday): I am very disappointed by the unfounded claim by the Deputy Higher Education Minister  Datuk Fu Ah Kiow that the problem of the 128 “top scorers” who were initially denied their  first choice of medical studies has been resolved when replying to my adjournment speech on the subject in Parliament  yesterday. 

Fu knows that his claim cannot withstand scrutiny or questioning and this was why he stubbornly refused to give way to allow me to seek clarification during his reply, as he knew that his baseless claim would be immediately  torn to pieces and exposed as hollow and meaningless.


In my adjournment speech, I had called on  the government to do better than just coming out with “a formula without a solution” for the 128 “top scorers” to do medicine, where the overwhelming majority of the 99 students offered places in the private medical colleges  have to forego the opportunity to do medicine either because of costs or the quality of the medical course and the subsequent problem of recognition of the medical degrees. 


Giving the latest figures, Fu said 32, and not six, of the 99 students offered places in private universities had accepted the offer.  Even if Fu is right, this only constitutes 32% when the government’s formula should ensure that all 100% of the 99 students would be able to pursue their first choice course of medicine.


Fu’s reason that the remaining students, some of whom had accepted other courses such as dentistry, pharmacy and bio-technology, which “shows that some had only wanted to study medicine due to family pressure but were willing to pursue other programmes even though they had scored a perfect 4.0 CGPA”, must be rejected as  a typical “Ah Q” response, totally unacceptable and ridiculous.


But the question must be asked, whether Fu is right that 32 of the 99 had accepted placement in private medical colleges?  Can Fu give a breakdown of where these 32 students are studying? 


Only on Saturday, it was reported that out of the 34 offered places at the International Medical University, a total of 17 responded and passed the entrance interview but none  had  confirmed acceptance as they are waiting for details on the financing.


There had also been no confirmation of any acceptance for the 10 places at the Kolej Perubatan Di Raja Perak while for the AIMST, two of the five had taken up the offer – with two rejections while it had not heard from the fifth.  This was all just four days ago!


The Star today reported that several affected parents had called up about the plight of the “top scorers” offered medical places in private colleges.  A retiree whose son was offered a place in the International Medical University said he had been given until next Thursday to pay the first semester fee of RM24,420, failing which the offer to do a twinning programme would be revoked.  The retiree said he could’nt afford the fee.  Based on the current exchange rate, the fees for the programme would come to RM540,000.


Another parent, Silvarajoo, said he was waiting for news from the Government about a loan for his son before he could accept the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology offer.  He needs to pay RM3,000 by Monday before the school could register him. The tuition fees to do medicine there is about RM200,000.


Fu knew that I would be seeking clarification on whether his figure of 32 out of 99 students having taken up the offer of medical study in private colleges was really correct, and his refusal to give way for me to seek such clarification has only raised the question of the credibility of his reply.


MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting,  should ask for the removal of Fu Ah Kiow as Deputy Higher Education Minister as the latter had failed to ensure a satisfactory resolution of the problem of  99 “top scorers” offered medical places in private colleges.


Ong said after the MCA Presidential Council meeting yesterday that Fu was handling the problem of the 99 “top scorers” offered private medical places, but Fu had been  “mishandling” the problem – especially in his dishonest reply to my adjournment speech on the issue in Parliament yesterday.


The four MCA Ministers cannot wash their hands of responsibility on this issue, as they should have the courage and conviction to seek Cabinet approval to use the  additional RM10 billion Eight Malaysia Plan allocation to offer full scholarship to all the 99 “top scorers” offered medical places in the private colleges.


There was of course another reason why Fu was afraid to give way to allow me to seek clarification during his reply  in Parliament – his fear that I would ask why the MCA Ministers had allowed the MCA Youth to create a national furore since Monday with screaming headlines and editorials about a syndicate forging STPM certificates to get entry into public universities, including medical schools.


All this furore was caused by a  careless report by MCA Youth to the Ministry for Higher Education giving the Minister for Higher Education, Dr. Shafie Salleh the reason to believe that there is a syndicate to falsify STPM and other certificates to secure entry into universities, when up to now, not a single forged STPM certificate had been uncovered publicly - despite the claim by the Malaysian Examination Board chief executive, Datuk Termuzi Abdul Aziz  of having come across one such forged STPM certificate to back the MCA Youth.


What is most tragic about the baseless media storm about the non-existent  STPM forgery syndicate is that it has created a complete distraction from the real problem about t the proper meritocracy system for placement of university students in IPTAs, and in particular the plight of the 99 of the  128 “top scorers” who were initially denied their first choice of medical study, but given places in private medical colleges where the majority could not take advantage, either because of the heavy financial burden or quality of the course.


Even today, the New Straits Times has an editorial entitled “Forgers galore” widening the fictitious STPM forgery syndicate to include SPM certificate  forgery as well, with the editorial warning:


“It is a scary thought that if undetected, more ‘perfect scores’ may just slip through to the institutions of higher learning, depriving the more deserving but ‘less qualified’ of their rightful places.”


It is sad that as a result of the carelessness and irresponsibility of the MCA and MCA Youth, the credibility of all  the STPM “top scorers”, in particular the 527 STPM candidates who secured a perfect score of 4.0 for CGPA last year, has been thrown into doubt!


The honour, integrity and credibility of the STPM “top scorers” must be cleared!


The MCA and MCA Youth should publicly apologise for their negligence and irresponsibility in creating  a nation-wide furore on  non-existing  syndicates to forge STPM and SPM certificates and  get all the mass media, particularly the Bahasa Malaysia and English-language newspapers, to give prominent coverage to the fact that the whole furore about the alleged STPM and SPM certificate forgery syndicate is a totally synthetic  one!



* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman