‘Matriculation spots for all students with 10As and above in SPM long overdue’

Opening up places in matriculation programmes to students with 10As in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination, regardless of race or background, can help stem the country’s brain drain. The move will also benefit the Bumiputera community.

Those are the opinions of a senior academician who lauded the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday following a Cabinet decision last week. Anwar added that the decision, starting with the 2025 intake, would not affect the Bumiputera quota.

Starting in 2005, the selection process for matriculation programmes was through a race-based quota system, where 90 per cent was for Bumiputera students.

Describing the news as “long overdue”, Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong said that while the move may be unpopular to some, the decision would not affect the quota for Bumiputera students, while benefiting deserving students.

“I laud the announcement by the prime minister as it means deserving students are now guaranteed a place in matriculation programmes. Previously, only a handful of non-Bumiputeras were awarded places, while others had to go through the appeals process and still get rejected due to the lack of places,” said Teo, a senior fellow with the National Council of Professors.

“This new move will help stem the brain drain, as non-Bumiputera students will no longer need to find places in institutions of higher learning overseas, where most of them tend to stay on, after graduating.

“It will also awaken a sense of nationalism and patriotism, as they can see that the government cares for their educational needs.”

Teo also said that by not decreasing the 90 per cent Bumiputera quota for matriculation programmes means that Bumiputeras needn’t worry about losing their places.

“It also means we increase our student pool, as we will get more students qualifying for matriculation programmes,” added Teo, one of the architects of the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said the government does not anticipate problems, as there are enough matriculation and university places for all SPM high-scorers. He added that he would discuss the matter with Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek.

Separately, senior lawyer Datuk Seri Dr Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos, said that Anwar’s announcement was a move towards embracing compassion and a humanistic outlook, rather than following a tribal mindset.

He added that the decision does not ignore Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

Article 153 of the Federal Constitution gives the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak, special rights and privileges. It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak, and the legitimate interests of other communities.

Jahaberdeen, founder of Yayasan Rapera – a non-governmental organisation established to promote community and activities in Malaysia to improve the welfare and the quality of life – said the organisation applauded the government’s move.

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