All Cabinet Ministers
commended for their decision yesterday on medical places for 128 top
scorers and call for special Cabinet meeting on Monday to do justice to
hundreds of other top-scoring students who are asking for proper courses
commensurate with their results as well as 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, Thursday): All Cabinet Ministers are to be commended for the decision yesterday to offer medical places for all 128 top scorers with the maximum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.0 but denied their choice of a medical course.
This is however not the end of the public universities student intake controversy this year and I call for a special Cabinet meeting on Monday to do justice to the hundreds of other top-scoring students who are asking for proper courses commensurate with their results as well as increase of another 4,000 student intake to match last year’s increase of 16 per cent.
Before yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, DAP MPs had proposed a three-point formula for a just and equitable solution to the 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:
1. medical places for all 128 top scorers with the maximum CGPA of 4.0 but who have been denied their choice of a medical course;
2. acceptance of first choice of course for students with minimum of CGPA of 3.88, whether medical or other courses. Last year, a minimum of CGPA of 3.88 was needed to study medicine at one of the public universities. In view of the acute current shortage of at least 3,000 doctors in the country, and the shocking announcement by the Health Minister, Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek that the government service is losing one doctor a day, the government should ensure that students in this category whose first choice is to do medicine should be given various forms of government support, whether scholarships or full study loans, to pursue medical studies whether locally or abroad.
3. increase of another 4,000 university student intake to match last year’s increase of 16 per cent for student intake into the public universities, as the increase of intake by only 5% after the general election after a landslide Barisan Nasional election victory and establishment of a Higher Education Ministry is just not right and completely unacceptable.
Now that Point 1 on the national heartache over the plight of the 128 top-scorers who had been denied medical places had been resolved, the nation and the Cabinet should focus attention and energies on Point 2 and Point 3.
After the Cabinet meeting yesterday, MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said that of the 128 students who could now pursue their dream to become doctors, four were Indians including the case of Murali Selvarajoo, a 5A student from Bagan Ajam, Butterworth.
Samy Vellu said that two other Indian high achievers were not given medical seats because their CGPA was below 4.0. They obtained 3.95 and 3.94 points and the cabinet decided that they be allowed to do dentistry. They had applied for medicine earlier but were given some other course.
Samy Vellu said he would meet 19 other Indian students, who obtained CGPA of 3.9, and who have failed to secure medical seats to help find private colleges for them to do medicine, locally or overseas such as Indonesia or Russia.
All Malaysians must wonder why the MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and the Gerakan President, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik cannot be as forthright and forthcoming as Samy Vellu on the number of Chinese and even Malay high-achievers who obtained a minimum of CGPA of 3.88, not given medical or other related courses like dentistry or pharmacy but remote and even unheard-of courses like rehabilitated biology.
As Samy Vellu could give specific details about the number and position of Indian students with a minimum of CGPA of 3.9, is the MCA President able to furnish similar data to the public on the number and position of Chinese students with good CGPA results?
On Tuesday in Parliament, DAP MPs including Fong Po Kuan (Batu Gajah), Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang), Tan Kok Wai (Cheras), Chow Kong Yeow (Tanjong) and I had a brief but intensive discussion with the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Dr. Shafie Salleh, before the latter entered the House to wind up on behalf of his Ministry in the debate on the Royal Address on the university student intake controversy this year.
At the discussion, DAP MPs pledged to give full support to the amendment to the first 2004 Supplementary Estimates of RM3.9 billion to be debated next week to incorporate expenditures to meet an increase of some 4,000 students for the current intake by the public universities in line with the 16% increase of student intake last year and I hope that such an amendment would be introduced before the start of the debate on the supplementary estimates on Wednesday.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman