Friday, 15 August 2008

Save UiTM?

As an alumnus of ITM (Pusat Pendidikan Persediaan/ITM, 1995-97), I am greatly saddened by the irrational response of UiTM students to the mere suggestion by the current Selangor Chief Minister to open-up a meagre 10 percent of its students admission to non-Bumiputera and foreign students. Below are views which echo exactly my thoughts on the issue.

Har Wai Mun: The MB's reasoning for his suggestion is to allow UiTM students to gain more exposure and be friendlier to people of other races. If anyone thinks his reason is not correct, the logical counter-point would be along the lines of either ‘the suggestion would not allow students to gain more exposure and be friendlier to other races,' or ‘allowing students to gain more exposure and be friendlier to people of other races is not beneficial'. Hopefully, the MB's suggestion will be viewed constructively and is not obscured by communal sentiment. Non-bumis will be an asset to UiTM. Quoting a declaration on various placards on parade at the demonstration, the MB's suggestion might not only ‘Selamatkan UiTM' (Save UiTM), but might propel UiTM to be a world-class university that makes all Malaysians very proud!

Anti Double-Standard: It is unfortunate that the MB of Selangor's view about UiTM made him become a racial and political scapegoat when all he was trying to do was foster greater racial harmony in the country and encourage better quality bumiputeras to go through an open university system. After all, he was only proposing a 10% allocation for non-bumiputeras and foreign students. In fact, allocating a small percentage of places for non-bumiputera students has already been practised by the present BN government in fully residential schools (sekolah berasrama penuh). (may I also add; at the International Islamic University Malaysia where almost 10 percent of its current students are Malaysian non-Muslim students) This has happened even though these schools were originally meant for bumiputera students coming from low-income families. Thus, Khalid Ibrahim's proposal concurs with the present government's line of practice - only that he is trying to extend it into the universities. If UiTM remains die-hard on its decision to keep the university as an all-bumiputera institution of learning, then why does it have a programme of study known as 'UiTM International' and why is it scouting for foreign students from abroad to study there? I know that UiTM has even participated in an international exhibition on higher education in China as late as last year in order to enroll students from China to study at UiTM. What has UiTM to say on this matter? We would like to hear from the vice-chancellor on this question.


A final note, just to add a quick respond to this spectacular statement made by a student who took part in the demonstration: “Mula-mula diminta kemasukan 10 peratus tetapi lama-kelamaan kadar itu dipertingkatkan. Akhirnya golongan bumiputera lenyap dan tertindas di universiti sendiri.” (Initially they will ask for 10 percent of the students intake, and later the rate will be increased. In the end, the bumiputera will disappear and be oppressed in their own university). I have studied and worked in local universities. Empirical evidence will show that students 'disappear' because of their own truancies and when they are dismissed for either extremely poor academic performance or serious behavioural misconduct. Disappearance because of the emergence of minority students? That I need Fox Mulder to explain!


Arafah Zahrah said...

salam sir, i am quite distracted with the issue of Uitm. because recently many agents are provoking racial issues without any reasonable justifications. as for me, people ( include chinese, indians and malays)= need to view themselves as MALAYSIANS. that is important. it may sound difficult to do it but we have practice or train do it. not always identify urself as malays, indians or chinese (racial identification) , because this 3 races are fought for the indepences of malaysia....the first condition of british to give us the indepences was " UNITE THESE PEOPLE" + "MAKE IT ONE"= TO BECOME MALAYSIANS. i always observe that people come forword as MALAYSIANS when there are tsunami attack ( natural disters), indepences day celebrations,to the foreign tourists........but after that, like people are lost their identity as malaysians. let me be as convenient: everyone fights for their rights but not that obvious until that create some dissatisfaction to other minority party....we should fight malaysians sorry, am not condemn malays...but malay citizens are already in safer position and they are always afraid of letting it go... just imagine if in Uitm, there are 10 percent non muslims share some seats, of course, there will be diversity in thinking.... the students will see certain issue from different perspectives. it encourages more co-operation between was difflicut for me to enter UIAM as non-muslims for the first place, but after all, i know how to accomdate uiam, i lernt a lot stuffs that turned my life points. now, i remember what my mother says...WE ALWAYS SAY THAT WE ARE MALAYSIANS BY MOUTH BUT IT IS NOT FROM TRUTH HEART BECAUSE OUR ACTION NEVER JUSTIFY IT. thank you. am sorry for any offending.

Zaki Samsudin said...

Salam Sister Arafah,

Thank you for your most valuable comment. Since you were first admitted to IIUM as a non-Muslim student, I am sure you have some unique experience that I hope you won't mine sharing in class, or perhaps alternatively, in private with me.

As I've said a few weeks back, most Malays in Malaysia do not how it feels like to be a minority in a society. Hence the reason why you see some of these unbelievable show of arrogance in public statements and actions.

Next week when we come to the topic 'Ethnocentrism and Prejudice', I plan to talk and deliberate more on this. Would appreciate if you could offer us your valuable insights and personal experience on the issue.

JazakAllahu khayr.

bubu said...

I've been a minority since secondary school where only 40% of the total students are Malay. The rest are Chinese being the majority. That truly is being in a minority group, feeling inferior because of our small number in that particular community.

I personally think it is very hard to identify ourselves as "Malaysians" (although it does not hurt to train ourselves to do that). This is because when you know you are in a bigger group (i.e. Chinese or Malay, whichever is the majority), you will want to exert some power over the other group. As the bigger the group size, the more powerful(to have influence) it will become.

To me, it is simply an occurrence of nature, to strive to gain power over another. Of course, since it's natural, it should be controlled, guided with purpose and rationale (for Muslims, Shari'ah).

Zaki Samsudin said...

salam brother bubu,

thanks for dropping by.

during my early education years, i was in the minority group too. i agree with you that it is both natural and inevitable that any majority group would want to impose some level of control and authority over the rest. however, the main issue here is whether we translate these prejudicial thinking and sense of superiority into concrete discriminatory behaviours. to this, the malays have arguably been the most guilty party.