Saturday, 1 October 2011

Three brilliant East Malaysian students' plight

"Brilliant students’ application to enroll for matriculation courses at local public universities rejected".
I felt upset after reading the headline of the Chinese Daily and promptly wrote this article in an effort to instill some public awareness with regard to those who suffered the unfortunate fate. 
                     Land of the Hornbills-Such attractive tourism posters          
Get to know these three brilliant young students of East Malaysian origin:
1.      Awang Adrian Awang Kasumar,
2.      Marina Undau
3.      Daniel Ibau
What have they got in common, apart from that fact that they are all East Malaysians? Well, they are all hard working and intelligent students who had sat for SPM in 2008, and who had all scored very good results. What else do they have in common? Well, all of them failed to obtain a place in public university to continue their matriculation studies. Oh yes, I almost forgot to tell you: all of them are of mixed parentage, their mothers are Chinese Malaysians.  Awang obtained 10As in his SPM; his father is Malay, his mother is a Chinese Muslim convert. Marina is a very industrious and ambitious teenager; she had 9As to her credit but was heartbroken when her application for matriculation in any local public university was rejected. Her dad is an Iban, her mum a Chinese lady. Though her father is legally a bumiputra by his status as an Iban, she is not considered being one. Daniel had a distinguished result in his 2008 SPM as he obtained 10As and one B. His father is a Kayan, mum a Chinese housewife. All the same, he was helpless, sad and angry to learn that he failed to gain a place at the Matriculation College at Labuan.

There isn't much difference except some of
the pupils do not possess proper footwear.
The walkway to school is not tarred, making it
hard to get to school during raining season
Penan school pupils have their meals at school
over an occasion.
             You got to do the balancing act everyday to go to school?
The three top performers of SPM 2008 had to go through numerous interviews, and arduous appeals to end their quest for further studies but to no avail. They finally sought help from the press. Their plight was published at the local leading papers and that caught the attention of some politicians of East Malaysia. By their births they should be considered Bumiputras and places for them at tertiary colleges of higher learning should never constitute a problem. In the first place why the young aspiring brilliant students would be divided into bumiputras and non-bumiputras before they were classified acceptable or otherwise, so as to gain places they so deserved in matriculation course in public universities? So long one did well to score top marks, he/she should be admitted readily into any public university in the country. They not only needed places to study desperately, they also needed scholarship urgently. While following up this matter at the newspapers, I read that at least two of them had been accepted into the local East Malaysian matriculation colleges to realize their dream for further education. I believe in no time, all of them will make it to be among the top students at university level.

Penan people protested that their ancestral land was encroached
and blocked, causing hardship to their livelihood

These young Sarawakians put on their tribal costumes
to take part in a Gawai Dayak festival celebration
                         The indigenous Dayak people put up a cultural dance
                      to welcome visitors at their long house's Tanju (veranda)
It is puzzling how the system of selection to deserving students works. On the other hand it is a known fact to all students, parents (The Bumiputras included-Most are very proud and hold steadfast to their privilege status) and all conscientious citizens that the elements of racial preference still exist. The deputy minister of education, a MCA member of the ruling BN coalition, felt helpless, angry and frustrated that there are still recalcitrant ‘little Napoleons’ working defiantly against cabinet rulings. Years after years many brilliant students were denied scholarships, courses, and places at universities of their choices.
                                        Peninsula and East Malaysia at a glance,
                                      separated by South China Sea, there's a vast
                                     difference  as far as development is concerned.
In conclusion, we should realize and reason that race based politic is so irrational and so wrong. Meritocracy is the correct order of the day in determining one’s ability, legibility and entitlement in his/her quest for a tertiary education and hence a bright future ahead. God bless the Nation to rid those nitwits off the political scene.

Alan CY Kok           
4th March 5, 2010
Footnote regarding PTPTN:
Hundreds of thousand of students have benefitted from PTPTN Loan Scheme

One thing I do not deny: The PTPTN loan scheme is helping lots of students of higher learning in the country. They enrolled and got themselves admitted into local universities, either public or private without obtaining scholarship; therefore loans made available from PTPTN came in very handy to solve their financial constraint since its inception in 1997. Hundreds of thousand students had benefited from this financial aid for sure. It ran into billions of Malaysian Ringgits (Approved RM38 Billion till date). Since it is a loan scheme the graduands are expected to pay back once they find employment. Sadly it is reported that 30% of the borrowers do not respond to the call of returning  their dues. I have been advising young friends and folks who have started to work to begin servicing their loans from PTPTN.              
Alan CY Kok
 Oct 1st 2011    

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