First 2004 Supplementary Estimates of RM3.9 billion should be amended to include costs of increase of  some 2,000 university student  intake this year, including medical places for the 128 top scorers with perfect CGPA score of 4.0

Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang

(Parliament House, Monday): This morning, the government presented its first 2004 Supplementary Estimates of RM3.9 billion, resulting in the three-day extension of the Parliamentary meeting for its debate and passage. 

At present, the burning issue in the country is the injustice of closing the doors of higher education opportunities for the best and brightest of the new generation of Malaysians, and Parliament must address this issue if it is to be a relevant institution. The first 2004 Supplementary Estimates should be further amended before it is presented to the House  for debate in a week’s time to incorporate expenditures to meet an increase of some 2,000 students for the current intake by the public universities.


Last year, before the 11th general election, there was an increase of 16% of the university student intake from 32,752 in 2002  to 37,034 students, while for the  new student intake after the March general election for the next academic year, there is only an inexplicably-small increase of  5% - from 37,034 to 38,892.


This is most unfair and unacceptable for three reasons, as after the landslide Barisan Nasional general election victory, the Barisan Nasional election pledge of “cemerlang, gemilang, terbilang”  and the establishment of a separate  Ministry of Higher Education, there should be an even bigger expansion of university student intake this year as compared to last year, and not a shrinkage from an increase of 16 per cent to only 5 per cent.


DAP is not asking for a full 16% increase, which will mean an intake of another 4,000 students but only an increase of another 2,000 students, including offering medical places for the 128 top scorers who attained the CGPA perfect score of 4.0 and who want to do medicine.


As there are six medical schools in the country, the excuse that they could not cope with the contingency by taking 20 additional medical students each defies logic and common sense. I agree that this is a short-term solution, and fully support the long-term resolution of their  long-standing problems about  inadequate staffing and financial resources to ensure that our medical schools are comparable with the best in the world.


I will speak to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi or the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when they come to Parliament  on this important issue.


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