Urgent letter to Abdullah
on three-point formula for a just and equitable solution to the current
university student intake controversy – medical places for all 128 top
scorers, acceptance of first choice of course for students with minimum of
CGPA of 3.88 and increase of another 4,000 student intake to match last
year’s increase of 16 per cent
Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Tuesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is to be lauded for his sensitive response to the cries of outrage and despair over this year’s student intake into the public universities as announced by the Higher Education Department director, Prof Datuk Dr. Hassan Said last Thursday.
Abdullah gave new hope and faith to the students, parents and the Malaysian public when he said from Shanghai yesterday that he has a solution to the plight of the 128 top-scoring students denied places to study medicine, although the announcement could only be made after the Cabinet meeting tomorrow.
I have sent an urgent letter to the Prime Minister proposing a three-point formula for a just and equitable solution to the current university student intake controversy, which fulfils the government’s 2004 general election pledge of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” and meets the nation’s aspirations to promote “the best and brightest” in the new generation, viz:
In my letter to the Prime Minister, I mentioned three specific cases to illustrate a most unsatisfactory system of higher education planning in the country, viz:
(1) The nation’s best student in the science stream in the STPM examination who cannot get the course of his choice – a medical place in the University of Malaya.
When the results of last year’s STPM examination was announced in February, revealing that 52 candidates scored 5As, which was a marked improvement over the 40 in 2002, Koong Lin Yee, of SMK Tunku Ampuan Durah, Seremban was specially mentioned by the Malaysian Examinations Council chairman, Prof Tan Sri Dr Abu Hassan Othman, as the best student in the Science stream while Nuraidila Abdul Razak, of SM Victoria in Kuala Lumpur, was the top Arts student.
Though the country’s top science student, Koong could not get the course of his choice, a medical place in the University of Malaya and has instead been allocated a medical place in USM. This is not sending the right message that the country cherishes excellence or treasures the “best and brightest” in the new generation.
(2) Murrali Silvarajoo of Bagan Ajam, Butterworth, another one of the 52 top STPM scorers with 5As. Murrali, who scored 5 straight As with a CGPA of 4.0, had his application to do medicine rejected and he has been offered instead a place to study chemical engineering at University of Malaya, his sixth choice.
Murrali had scored 10As for his SPM in 2001, but when he applied for a medical scholarship to the Public Services Department, he was offered instead a scholarship to do engineering. He turned down the offer and decided to do the STPM, as he wanted to study medicine.
(3) The hundreds of cases of students with good results although not with CGPA of 4.0 but who got very odd offers of courses or not offered any course at all. There should be a full review of these cases.
In my letter to the Prime Minister, I asked that the appeal deadline be extended by another week so that justice could be done in all the three categories above.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman