Matriculation programme does not reek of racial sentiment, says UPM vice-chancellor

Kenneth Tee
On April 24, Maszlee announced that his ministry will retain the Bumiputera quota for matriculation programmes, while increasing the student intake to 40,000. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) today defended Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s statement on the retention of the 90 per cent Bumiputera quota amid the expansion of matriculation programmes to a 40,000-student intake as non-discriminatory racial sentiment.

UPM vice-chancellor Datin Paduka Aini Ideris said the matriculation programme was not a “back door” but an “affirmative” programme to prepare students to compete among themselves against their peers who took STPM and foundation studies (Asasi).

“The quota issue should not arise because all intake and ecosystems support the matriculation programme, Form Six and even Asasi are inclusive, with quality and involve all races of students and academics.

“The matriculation programme is an alternative to other pre-university programmes and not a programme aimed at discriminating against any race,” she said in a statement here.

On April 24, Maszlee announced that his ministry will retain the Bumiputera quota for matriculation programmes, while increasing the student intake to 40,000.

The matriculation programme was expanded by 60 per cent from 25,000 to 40,000 students, including 4,000 seats for non-Bumiputeras from 2,500.

He said the additional intake will be implemented to ensure the best-performing students have a higher chance of furthering their studies.

Aini added that the selection of candidates from matriculation, STPM, Asasi and Diploma was conducted based on merits achieved in the respective examinations that followed an equity standard set by the Education Ministry.

“For example, more than 90 per cent of matriculation graduates who applied to UPM were from those who obtained more than 3.5 points in their CGPA, whereas more than 90 per cent of those applied to enter UPM’s Centre of Foundation Studies for Agriculture Science (ASPER) annually were students who obtained 4 points in their CGPA,” she said.

Aini said UPM was thus able to ensure all students regardless of their racial and socio-economic backgrounds to further their studies in tertiary institutions, while at the same time, respecting the social contract agreed since the country achieved independence.

“The social contract supports the opportunities for all races in education, economy, politics, culture and religion which requires fair and inclusive reformation by taking into account the history and development of the country after 62 years of independence,” she said.

Meanwhile, in line with the increase in student intake, Aini said the move will help boost the opportunity for excellent students — Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera alike — to be shortlisted for the matriculation programme in preparation for admission to public universities.

“Increasing numbers will also help increase the number of outstanding students in the pure science stream which is still lacking for the purpose of nation building,” she added.

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