UiTM over-the-topPosted: August 15, 2008
I was refraining from commenting on this. But seems like I can’t. Because the news just won’t go away.
It all started with Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim suggesting that UiTM open their doors to accept 10% non-Bumi enrolments.
The very next day (or thereabouts), UiTM students decided that they’re not going to take such “ridiculous statements” lying down, and came out to protest. 5,000 strong, was what I read somewhere.
Among the placards they held read “Jangan Rampas Hak Kami”, and “UiTM hak Bumiputera”. There was also one that read “Selamatkan UiTM” I believe, although saving UiTM from what, I don’t know.
One would assume that to “save” or selamatkan something, that something would have to be in danger first. Since the issue is with Tan Sri Khalid suggesting that UiTM allow a 10% allocation for non-Bumis, I’m presuming that the UiTM students who carried those “Selamatkan UiTM” placards were either hinting that Tan Sri Khalid is the source of danger, or the suggestion of the 10% allocation is.
Either way, I don’t see the danger. So I don’t see the need to selamatkan UiTM. But then again, I’m no UiTM student, so I wouldn’t know how grave or serious the matter of the suggestion that 10% of their enrolment be opened up to non-Bumis can be.
The day after that initial protest, I remember Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was reported as saying that Khalid Ibrahim doesn’t have the “right to suggest” anything of that sort, because it’s not in his place. Khalid, being the Selangor MB and all, is supposed to keep his mouth shut and his opinions to himself because UiTM enrolment is of federal concern, or totally up to the university, and has nothing to do with the state government of Selangor.
Now, I’ve never heard of anything even remotely similar to what Pak Lah is suggesting here. Because the way I see it (and you may have your own views), Pak Lah is hinting that if something has nothing to do with you, even making a suggestion is not allowed.
Maybe, just maybe, Pak Lah means that if that suggestion is not allowed if it touches on “sensitive issues”, like race and religion, or more precisely, like Bumiputera and Islam. Especially since that spectacular protest against the Bar Council forum. If that was what he meant, he could have said so.
But hey, it was just a “suggestion”. No harm in making suggestions, methinks.
And then today, I read this:
BUKIT MERTAJAM, Aug 15 — About 5,000 students from the Permatang Pauh campus of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) held a peaceful protest against the suggestion by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim that the university open its doors to non-bumiputeras.
The students wore black and gathered at the campus’s field from 9am for an hour and sang the varsity’s official anthem and patriotic songs.
They dispersed after the head of the students’ representative council, Mohd Faizal Zainol, handed over a memorandum to the deputy director of the academic division, Dr Mohd Abdullah Hemdi.
Mohd Abdullah told reporters the memorandum will be handed over to the university’s vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Seri Ibrahim Abu Shah to be handed over to Abdul Khalid.
“If Abdul Khalid does not retract his statement all UiTM students will have a huge gathering in Shah Alam. We hope the issue of a non-bumiputera quota is not discussed again. We regret that Abdul Khalid has not upheld his race’s rights,” Mohd Faizol said.
More from Malaysian Insider HERE.
First off, just to clarify my stand in case some UiTM student comes along and shoots me down about wanting to rampas a place in UiTM, I’m not interested. I don’t want to study there. Not because of anything in particular, it’s just I’m not interested.
I’ve read on other blogs that UiTM students can keep the university to themselves. We don’t need it.
True. Or at least, I don’t need it.
But on the other hand, instead of saying things like “Let them rot in UiTM all by themselves” or something to that extent, I’m rather discouraged by this whole show of emotions and “protectivenesss”.
I appreciate the fact that the Malays, along with the natives of Sabah and Sarawak have a “special position” as enshrined in the Constitution. But one must, MUST, understand that “special position” does NOT translate into special privileges and rights.
I appreciate the fact that MARA, along with some other organisations, were first set up to help the poor Malays. I know that MARA has a fund that distributes scholarships that I can’t even dream of touching. Specially for Malays. Or Bumiputera, I forgot.
I also appreciate the fact that when the NEP was first implemented, it was to help close the social gap between ethnic groups. In fact, I grew up thinking it’s the right thing to do, considering that there are more Malays in rural parts of Malaysia than any other ethnic group.
But when students come out and protest claiming that UiTM is their RIGHT, and that the mere suggestion that they open their doors a wee bit is enough to warrant a placard reading “Selamatkan UiTM”, something must be very wrong.
The “special position” as stated in the Constitution was put there to help with the disparity between ethnic groups. It was to be reviewed at a later date, which I believe was supposed to be 15 years after Merdeka.
That never happened.
The NEP was implemented after the May 13 riots, because the government claimed that the riots occured because the social standing between ethnic groups was too huge a gap. So the NEP was put in place to bridge that gap, to bring the Malays (or Bumiputeras, I keep on forgetting) up to the same level as the other ethnic groups so that all citizens of Malaysia can compete on level playing field.
The NEP was set to achieve its target after 15 years. And it was supposed to have been terminated after that.
That also never happened.
What has happened instead, is that the NEP has suddenly become the Malay (or Bumiputera) right “under the Constitution”, although where exactly it states so still baffles me. If anyone can find it, please tell me which Article it is, because I have the copy of the Federal Constitution right here with me, and I sure would like to read about this Malay (or Bumiputera) right first-hand.
What has happened instead, is that whatever “help” that was initially set up to create a more balanced society has turned into a Malay (or Bumiputera) right.
I quote again what the head of the students’ representative council of UiTM had to say:
We regret that Abdul Khalid has not upheld his race’s rights.
His race’s rights?
Malay rights? Or Bumiputera rights?
And then again, what “rights” exactly are we talking about?
I had hoped that the younger generation, my generation, would be more open-minded. This incident has left a sour taste in my mouth. And I’m rather dejected.
I’m also highly suspicious.
Is it a coincidence that ALL the students of UiTM have the same (closed) mentality? Or is our education system just feeding this kind of mentality into their minds?