Education Minister Maszlee Malik said today that any decision by the government to formally recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) will only be made after a comprehensive study on the issue has been completed.
Amid criticisms that the government was bowing down to pressure from advocates for the private Chinese school exam, Maszlee said the comprehensive study is still ongoing and no decision has been made on the matter so far.
“On the issue of UEC, I would like to stress here that as per what I have said before, the Education Ministry is carrying out a holistic study before any decision will be made on the recognition of UEC,” he said in a statement.
Maszlee also reassured that while formal recognition for the UEC is listed as one of Pakatan Harapan’s promises in its election manifesto, the government through the study will take into account the status of Bahasa Malaysia as the country’s official language prior to the exam's implementation.
“(The study will look at)…whether there is any impact from the formal recognition of UEC that could potentially compromise unity and harmony among Malaysians.
“Therefore the views from all parties are crucial, and interaction between the Education Ministry and all stakeholders will remain my priority,” said the Simpang Renggam MP.
“Once again I would like to reiterate that whatever decision that we will eventually make with regards to formally recognising the UEC, it will be comprehensive and holistic, without compromising the status of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language,” he stressed.
'Not in 100 days promise'
Bersatu chief strategist Rais Hussin was previously quoted as saying that the government is not obliged to recognise the UEC within its first 100 days in power.
Rais, who chaired Harapan’s election manifesto committee, instead clarified that the coalition’s promise was listed as a part of 60 pledges targeted for implementation in the next five years, reported Free Malaysia Today .
He was also quoted as saying that he agreed with former minister Rais Yatim who argued the need for an in-depth study on the issue, besides considering interests of the country's majority ethnic group.
The former adviser to the BN government said the current administration should also consider the views of the Conference of Rulers on the implication of UEC's recognition on Bahasa Malaysia, Islam, and Malay customs.
De facto Pakatan Harapan leader Anwar Ibrahim had also stated that Harapan government's plan to recognise the UEC would not undermine the importance of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language.
"In my conversations with Chinese education figures, they assured that this was not a problem for them," he reportedly said.