The Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) must be integrated with the SPM and STPM examinations for the sake of national unity, Bersatu member Rais Yatim said today.
“When there are separate national certificates and NGO certificates, national unity will not be achieved through education.
“It is strange why Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka has been silent on this issue,” he tweeted this morning, referring to the agency coordinating the use of Bahasa Malaysia in the country.
The UEC, which is issued to graduates of Chinese independent high schools, is currently recognised by local private higher education institutions and many universities overseas, as well as the Sarawak government.
Officially recognising the UEC for entrance into public universities is one of Pakatan Harapan’s election promises, but only on the condition that candidates also obtain a credit for Bahasa Malaysia in SPM.
Earlier this month, Rais said that the recognition of UEC should not be decided on by cabinet unilaterally without consulting other stakeholders, like scholars and community development experts.
This is because, he stressed, the issue "touches on the core of civilisation, the core of education and the core of our country's values."
The former information minister’s predecessor, Zainuddin Maidin, took a different tack and expressed confidence that racial unity in Malaysia would develop more rapidly through political developments rather than through schooling.
He said this in a blog entry today regarding the live broadcasts of parliamentary debates on RTM, where he commended the DAP leaders and ministers for their command of Bahasa Malaysia.
He said this helps DAP overcome the public perception that it is a Chinese ‘chauvinist party’, and showcases the wider use of Bahasa Malaysia amongst non-Malays.
“This boosts my confidence that racial unity in Malaysia will develop more rapidly through politics rather than through schooling.
“The impact of political unity will spill over to the grassroots, and cause those who believe in isolating themselves from the national education system to feel ashamed and realise their mistake,” he said.
Zainuddin served as information minister from 2006 until 2008, and Rais from 2009 to 2013.