Non-recognition of UEC means  denying other Malaysians their rights
Published on: Sunday, December 15, 2019
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EDUCATION Minister Maszlee Malik (pic) in his parliamentary reply recently said that the taskforce on the UEC recognition had consulted 17 individuals, 27 NGOs, five political parties, 12 government agencies as well as 14 public and private higher education institutions to get their views on the recognition as a prerequisite to enter public universities.

He said that “recognising the UEC is not that easy ... because it has to comply with the Federal Constitution, the Education Act and policy, the national education philosophy, the National Language Act and the social contract”. 

He said recognising the UEC was a sensitive issue because it concerns the history of the nation.

Does the second part of his reply reveal the real reason for the non-recognition of the UEC for 45 years? 

Before GE14 BN and PH had promised to recognise the UEC, without any mention of “sensitivity” being an obstacle. We have since been told that such promises were made because PH did not expect to win.

What concerns taxpayers is that we have had to waste time and money on a farcical taskforce whose remit is questionable. 

We can imagine the usefulness of gathering the facts about the credibility of the UEC graduates in private higher education institutions and the accreditation process from the MQA. 

But why waste time and money on individuals, NGOs, political parties, government agencies and public educational institutions which have no contact with UEC graduates? 

What have individuals, NGOs and political party lobbies got to do with the academic accreditation of the UEC?

Will it be a numbers game when the taskforce report is finished and handed to the Cabinet or does the taskforce itself have a recommendation of its own?

For example, if there are more NGOs asking for the non-recognition of the UEC, what does it mean for the recommendation of the taskforce?

The same goes for political parties – supposing Pribumi, Umno and PAS are for non-recognition with DAP and MCA for recognition, what then? 

If it’s not a numbers game, how will this question of UEC recognition be decided? 

Obviously, the three members of the taskforce will have to have minds of their own.

And assuming the taskforce recommends recognition of the UEC. Can their recommendation be overturned by the Cabinet? 

Will the Cabinet vote on this so-called “sensitive issue”?

The UEC is valued by top universities such as the National University of Singapore. 

The recognition is for the benefit of those students and their parents who cannot afford to go overseas and could go to local public educational institutions or the civil and armed services.

More importantly, this will help to promote greater integration among Malaysians as has been the intended aim of the government. 

By not recognising the UEC, the government is depriving a sector of the population of their right to education and access to state institutions that have been paid for by all Malaysian taxpayers.


Kua Kia Soong

Suaram Adviser

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