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Don't politicize education

  • Contention over the matriculation quota issue has now crossed the line and has triggered unnecessary sensitive debates. Photo courtesy: Bernama

Sin Chew Daily

Education minister Maszlee Malik's earlier announcement of the government's decision to maintain the 90:10 quota for matriculation admission has sparked tremendous outcry in the Malaysian society.

In the midst of controversy, the minister subsequently linked the matriculation quota issue to the rejection of job applicants not familiar with the Chinese language, triggering even more powerful backlash.

As political parties on opposite sides of the divide have since waged a war of words over this issue, even a university vice-chancellor has stood up to defend the minister.

And the war has extended beyond political circles to the cyberspace where opposing camps have started their own petition campaigns, one demanding Maszlee's resignation while the other firmly backing the minster.

So far more than 130,000 people have signed the online petition to urge the removal of Maszlee but at the same time some 300,000 people have vowed to support the minister.

Differing voices are also heard from within the ruling coalition. DAPSY chief Howard Lee has urged Maszlee to retract his remarks while PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq comes to Maszlee's defense.

What worries us is that this issue has already been politicized with a number of irrelevant sensitive factors thrown in.

A PPBM Youth exco member even argued that vernacular schools must be abolished first before talking about the matriculation quota.

The matriculation quota issue has not only become more intricate now but also heavily politicized. As a result, debates have deviated further and further away from and significantly obliterated the central issue.

To be fair, it is both unwise and irrational for Maszlee to associate the matriculation quota issue with the rejection of bumi job seekers unfamiliar with Mandarin.

The minister should have deliberated this issue from the education point of view instead of throwing in some irrelevant things to confuse the public.

Anyway, further arguments over this issue should be put to a stop now, and not to make Maszlee the primary target lest the focus be blurred.

Do bear in mind that the main topic is the quota system and fair student intake. This is purely an education issue that should not have any political or racial elements.

It is a norm in a democratic society to have differing views and open arguments, but where this is concerned, we should closely stick to the central issue and explore in depth progressively in a bid to resolve our problem, not to get distracted by some impertinent noises.

Back to the quota issue, all parties should explore ways to construct a more equitable and fair system acceptable by all Malaysians to ensure that eligible students are not denied access into the country's public universities. We must avoid all unnecessary political controversies.

Contention over the matriculation quota issue has now crossed the line and has triggered unnecessary sensitive debates.

All parties must now revert to the root of this whole issue and deliberate rationally within the confines of education with the sole objective of arriving at a solution that will dissolve the controversy.


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