Malaysiakini Letter

Education system – moving backwards in New Malaysia

Teoh King Men
Published:

LETTER | Our Education Minister Maszlee Malik responded to a question about possibility of loosening quota for matriculation student by saying that "If we want to change, if we say in 'Malaysia Baru' there is no need for a quota system and so on, then we must also make sure job opportunities are not denied to bumiputera just because they don't know Mandarin.”

Quota system or meritocracy?

Having our education minister to make such a statement, it is indeed saddening and worrying for Malaysians who voted for Pakatan Harapan wherein the direction of our education system is moving backwards and not even one step forward in this New Malaysia.

Why is it so? Our education minister has failed to appreciate the distinction between the quota system for bumiputera and Mandarin requirement for jobs, both could never be at the same equilibrium.

Having a quota system would amount to discrimination. Let’s analyse and examine why is it so. 

Having a quota system for matriculation would actually mean that bumiputera is protected, having the higher number of students being able to enrol in the matriculation program as compared to non-bumiputera students who would have limited space for this pre-university program. 

This would actually mean that the education policy in the country is still mainly based on the colour of your skin rather than on meritocracy.  

Education is important as every child from every family goes to school to learn and develop themselves, from an innocent kid who knows nothing to lead the country one day. 

Education is more than a piece of paper that provides a qualification. It shapes a person’s knowledge and soft skills before they step into the workforce. Hence, by protecting the majority at the expense of the minority, would definitely be a backward policy. 

What is the real difference from a communist country where a certain amount of food will be allocated to each family? What is the point of working hard?

Mandarin requirement would not and could not in any way be discrimination. Why? Mandarin being part of the job requirement is merely for an employer to look for someone who fits in their business model, which works differently as compared to the quota system.

Hiring those who would be able to speak Mandarin is still based on the meritocracy system. This is due to the fact that Mandarin is a language which could be learned by everyone irrespective of your race, religion or nationality.

Why don’t our education minister urge everyone irrespective of their race to learn one extra language?

Quota system being part of the education system should be abolished. It is important to establish a meritocracy system and provide equal opportunity for each and every student irrespective of their race and religion. 

Quality education is crucial for the country to achieve one of the sustainable development goals. 

In this New Malaysia, it is the wish of every Malaysian to see a progressive country wherein race is out of the policy and decision-making process. 


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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