End Discriminatory Policies

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By Murugesan Sinnandavar

Many dreams were either made or crushed around noon on Sept 25. It is the time when Public University intakes results was released online. The mood in my house was somber when the results came.
My youngest daughter who scored 4.0 CGPA and 9.2 points on her extra-curricular activities learned that she was only offered her 5th and last choice of university courses, which she had applied for the sake of filling in all the slots.
Mind you, she did not even apply for the top 3 universities of UM, UKM or USM for fear of being rejected.
Now she must decide whether she accepts a course that is not in line with her dreams or pursue a costly private education.
At least she has the luxury of choice because her parents have the means of affording that option.
At least she has the luxury of choice.
Most don’t.
The daughter of my late friend who also had 4.0 CGPA and had an outstanding co- curriculum score was offered ‘international studies’ despite having ‘law’ as her top options.
Now she has to abandon her dream of becoming a lawyer as her single mother can ill afford costly private education.
She has a younger sister waiting in the wings.
There is something terribly wrong with our education system when the dreams of our brightest youths are crushed at the threshold of their adulthood.
I am not writing this for my daughter nor her friends for they would have made their choices, whatever that may be, by the time this article is published.
I am writing this so that the next generation will not suffer the same fate as my daughter and her friends.
Quota system in education has been strangling our nation since the 1970s.
Year in year out, political parties fight for more seat allocation for the race that they represent.
But this is a problematic system to begin with, a quota system crushes our best and brightest students
at their peak.
It is time we face the problem head on and abolish the quota system for higher education.

“No child… should be denied education”

Nelson Mandela

Students of all races study, play and compete with each other without distinction of race or religion.
However, come university intake they are segregated into groups that compete amongst their own races.
How can we ever foster a true national unity when students at their most impressionable age are told that their efforts and scores mean less than their friends?
That some are more privileged than others?
It is like clipping the wings of a hatchling when it is about to take flight, a scenario most non-Malays in Malaysia would have experienced or seen at least once in their lifetime.
The quota system is also unfair on the Malay students, who want to be recognized on their own merits.
But because of the system, no matter how good they are in their own right, they have the nagging feeling that others will look at them as a product of hand-outs.
My own circle of Malay friends have told me how they feel about this invisible banner hanging
over their head.
Quota system in our education has been slowly killing our national spirit and unity. We have
lost our smartest and ablest students to foreign land due to the quota system.
It is time we recognise the policy that has been slowly suffocating our nation and do away with quota system in our education.
Open up our education system.
Let our best and brightest compete for the best results and let them pursue their dreams. It is time to set our education system free.
My generation had suffered this.
Now my daughter’s generation is a victim to it.
The pain is a hundred fold more when you see your daughter suffer the same fate as yours.
And if we don’t do anything about it now, my daughter’s daughter will suffer the same fate too.

About the author: Datuk Murugesan Sinnandavar is a Malaysian advocate and the a former secretary-general of MIC. This is an opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this publication.

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