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The significance of Sabah's recognition of UEC

  • After Sabah, the Malaysian Chinese community hopes that it will very soon hear the good news from the federal government.

Sin Chew Daily

Sabah chief minister and Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal announced on Saturday night that the state government had decided to recognize the UEC certificate with the condition of at least a credit in SPM Bahasa Malaysia, and a pass in history and Malaysia University English Test (MUET).

This means that Sabah has become the 5th state in the country to recognize UEC after Sarawak, Penang, Selangor and Melaka. UEC holders meeting the criteria will be able to get admitted into public universities in these states or serve as civil servants with public service department.

Other than Sarawak, the other four states are currently run by PH state governments.

The recognition of UEC by these states, in particular the two states in East Malaysia, holds very special meanings for the country, as it shows that East Malaysia is relatively more open and inclusive when it comes to educational issues.

Shafie said he wanted to be a chief minster for all Sabahans and would take care of all ethnic groups in the state in all issues. Moreover, UEC recognition was part of the PH government's GE14 election pledges, and by recognizing the UEC certificate, talented people will be kept within the state instead of going elsewhere for further studies.

There are currently nine independent Chinese high schools in Sabah, compared to 14 in Sarawak, 5 in Penang, 4 in Selangor and 1 in Melaka. In other words, of the 66 independent countries in the country, the UEC certificates from 33 will be recognized by their respective state governments. The other 28, mainly in Johor, Perak and elsewhere, are still waiting for the good news to arrive.

Another significance of Sabah's UEC recognition is to hasten the PH federal government's move to honor its election manifesto. So long as there is sincerity from the government, there should not be any major resistance to it fulfilling the promises made to the people.

Indeed there are still some rightist groups trying to apply pressure on the government over the UEC recognition issue, arguing that the move is “threatening the national language status of Bahasa Malaysia”.

Because of a promise made to the voters, the various state governments have taken turns to recognize UEC. As for the federal government, having been in power for a year and a half now, it should no longer bother too much about the resistance and pressure from the rightist groups over the issue of UEC recognition. This is because UEC candidates are possessing the same academic standard as SPM candidates and most importantly they are all Malaysian citizens and should be given the fair opportunities of getting admitted into public universities and getting employed as SPM graduates.

Eddin Khoo, who is now the chairman of education ministry's special committee on UEC, said the final revision to the report had been done and would be submitted to the ministry on Monday, adding that it was going to be a “good news”.

After Sabah, the Malaysian Chinese community hopes that it will very soon hear the good news from the federal government.


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