Hassan Said should explain what sort of a “Third World” system of  university student intake he is administering that the best  science stream student in the STPM exam cannot get the course of his choice – a medical place  in University of Malaya

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): The Higher Education Department director Prof Datuk Dr. Hassan Said should explain what sort of a Third World system of university student intake he is administering that the best student in the science stream in the STPM examination 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. 

It is not only Koong, but all Malaysians, who are shocked that the country’s top STPM science student cannot get the course of his choice, a medical place in the University of Malaya, but has instead been allocated a  medical place in USM. 

This morning, together with the DAP MP for Bagan Lim Hock Seng and DAP MP for Bukit Mertajam, Chong Eng, I visited another one of the 52 top STPM scorers with 5As, Murrali Silvarajoo, at his home at Bagan Ajam, Butterworth. Murrali, who  scored 5 straight As, getting a Cumulative Grade Point Average (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. 

The injustices of the university student intake this year have  again vindicated the “worst fears” of the MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu about the replacement of the quota system with “meritocracy”, on the ground that the Indians would get the worse of the bargain. It would appear that  Samy knew things not known to ordinary Malaysians. 

Samy Vellu said at the time that the Indians in Malaysia had been crying for 140 years against injustices, but  the Indians in Malaysia are still crying after 142 years! 

The glaring cases of injustice of cases such as Koong Lin Yee and Murrali Silvarajoo should be raised and put right on  Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, and I hope that Samy Vellu, as the longest-serving Cabinet Minister in his 25th year, would take it upon himself to see that both these high-achievers of the new generation of Malaysians get their choice of the university course they wish to pursue as a reward for being among – in Koong’s case the No. One – top 52 STPM scorers.

I applaud Samy Vellu, together with the Minister for Health, Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek and the Minister for Higher Education, Datuk Dr. Shafie Mohd Salleh, as they are three Cabinet Ministers who have publicly expressed their concern at the injustices of the university student intake, promising to raise the matter in the Cabinet on Wednesday. 

There are 33 Ministers – as Malaysia has one of the biggest jumbo Cabinets in the world regardless of size of population – and I call on all the Ministers, regardless of race, religion or political party, to take a common stand with all Barisan Nasional and  Opposition MPs as well as  the civil society to immediately rectify the injustices of the current student intake into the public universities for the sake of the young generation of Malaysians as well as for the national interest in the long-term. 

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, should personally intervene, not only in the two cases involving Koong Lin Yee and Murrali Silvarajoo, but to ensure that the Higher Education Department and Ministry fully understand his repeated calls for “mindset change” and elimination of the “First World Infrastructure, Third World Mentality” as well as the Barisan Nasional general election pledge and slogan of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” by increasing the public university student intake by at least 2,000  new places, including at least 128 medical places to cater to the applications of the CGPA 4.0 top scorers.


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