27 May, 2009

Entrance to University should follow Federal Constitution

I refer to the statement yesterday by The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, who called on all parties to stop questioning the status and position of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) for “Bumiputera”.

Under Article 153 (8A) of the Federal Constitution:-Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, where in any University, College and other educational institution providing education after Malaysian Certificate of Education or its equivalent, the number of places offered by the authority responsible for the management of the University, College or such educational institution to candidates for any course of study is less than the number of candidates qualified for such places, it shall be lawful for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by virtue of this Article to give such directions to the authority as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such places for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable; and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.

As stated in Article 153(8A), it is only when the number of places offered in the University for any course is less than the number of candidates qualified for such places, then the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can give directions to the authority to make reservation for Malays and natives of Sabah & Sarawak (“Bumiputera”). Save for the amendment of the Federal Constitution in relation to Article 153(8A), this provision should supersede any other laws enacted in Malaysia.

The question of whether the number of qualified candidates exceeds the number of places offered in the University for any course, can only be determined after the “closing of the application to the University”. And not pre-determined at any time before the application.

For example, if there are 1000 Malaysian students (all with 5As’ in STPM, being the assumed required qualification) who applied for a medical course in a local University and there are only 400 places, then it shall be lawful to reserve places for Bumiputera within the 1000 Malaysian students.
The qualification of all Malaysian students applying for University entrance should be the same for the same course.

Thus, I hope that the Ministry of Higher Education would strictly follow and direct all local universities to comply with Article 153(8A) of the Federal Constitution when dealing with the application of Malaysian students for entrance to local universities, such as UM, UUM, USM, UKM, UPM, etc.