Call on the government to set up a bi partisan Parliamentary Select Committee on Matriculation and Public University Intake

Qualified students’ failure to gain admission into the Matriculation colleges and top scorers’ failure to secure any place or their preferred courses has become a perennial problem.

This perennial problem is not only causing heartaches to students and parents, it is also a cause of national disunity and brain drain.

The two usual explanations given by the authorities and government are firstly, there are too many applicants for limited places and secondly, some students have lost out due to their lower marks in their extracurricular activities.

However, such explanations are hardly convincing and acceptable as there have been public allegations that students with lower scores in CGPA and extracurricular activities have been offered courses at public universities. For the Matriculation places, there have also been complaints of qualified students not being offered places.

Health Minister Datuk S Subramaniam said yesterday that “in all countries, not everyone who applies gets a place in universities”. His statement is most misleading.

Has he forgotten that in Malaysia, we are talking about top scorers who have scored CGPA of 4.0 and not students who have merely met the minimum academic entrance requirements?

Can the Cabinet tell the public in which nations there exist the unfair situation whereby the top students fail to gain admission into the public universities?

Unfair Matriculation and public university intake has happened too many times and this issue must be effectively resolved.

In fact, even BN coalition leaders have come out to attack on this year’s unfair university intake.

A top MIC leader has even publicly said that this year’s situation is the most unfair and biased public university intake in the history of Malaysia.

I therefore propose that a bi partisan Parliamentary Select Committee on Matriculation and Public University Intake be set up to study and propose a permanent , fair and practical solution to resolve the perennial problem of qualified students failing to gain places at Matriculation Colleges and public universities.

As there have been a lot of criticisms of unfairness about the existence of two pre university examinations, namely the Matriculation and STPM, this is one issue which should be looked at by the Parliamentary Select Committee, whose composition must comprise government and opposition parliamentarians.

It cannot be denied that STPM is a tougher programme compared to the internally examined Matriculation and without the holding of a common university examination; the question of unfairness always exists.

Even the extra curriculum activities which are taken as into consideration for university admission are biased against the STPM students.

It has been reported in the media that for the extracurricular activities, Matriculation students are assessed based on their activities in Matriculation year only while STPM students are assessed based on their entire secondary school life. This has resulted in Matriculation students having an added advantage.

It is therefore no surprise that over the years there has been declining student enrolment in STPM.

In fact, it is a public knowledge that many students who choose to do STPM programme are those who have failed to gain admission into Matriculation Colleges and those who hope to gain admission into public universities due to their parents’ inability to afford the high tuition fees at private universities.

To address this question of unfairness, I propose that the government to either do away with the STPM and only have Matriculation as the pre university examination for all students or carry out a common university entrance examination for all Matriculation and STPM students.

M Kula Segaran DAP National Vice Chairman & MP for Ipoh Barat