Abdullah and his Cabinet must work out a fair and just selection system for all students apart from finding solutions for the “unfortunate 128”

Media Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has sent words from China that he has some ideas on how to help out the 128 top achievers who were not given a seat in any of the six medical faculties in the country. While we welcome his message of hope for the 128 students, we must stress that Abdullah and his Cabinet must work out a long term solution for university student intakes - nothing short of a fair and just selection system with transparency and professionalism.

As a former minister of education, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should not have accused the Opposition and a handful of government leaders who have criticized the system or sympathetic with the unsuccessful students for “playing racial politics”.

Najib should know very well that the present so-called meritocracy system is biased, flawed and rigged with double standards. To begin with, the present selection process accommodates for both Matriculation and STPM candidates. How could we compare apples with oranges in the first place?

Najib should in fact seriously consider terminating the National Service program and put the RM500 million (annual budget for the NS program) in better use- providing better facilities and hiring more qualified lecturers for all the six medical faculties in the country.

Health Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lak has admittedly outlined the acute shortage of doctors and specialists in the public hospitals. He has also spoken publicly that he would raise the plight of the “unfortunate 128” with the Cabinet. We hope he would not back out in the coming Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The students have done their best to produce good results. It’s now the duty of the government to provide places in universities to help them further their studies before serving the society.

We would not accept any excuse from Najib or any other government leaders on this subject. What has happened to the talk of making Malaysia the world class education centre in the region?  How do we explain to the students who have done their best that what they have achieved was still not good enough? And what‘s the point of winning big in general elections but in the end cannot even meet the basic needs of our young generations?


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP national publicity secretary