PETALING JAYA: The Cabinet has allowed the number of students entering the matriculation programme to be increased to 40,000 from the previous 25,000, though the 90% quota for bumiputras will remain.
This means that there can now be 4,000 non-bumiputra students entering the public universities instead of 2,500. As for bumiputra students, there will be 36,000 instead of 22,500.
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the Cabinet made the decision at yesterday’s meeting.
“The quota system is in line with the ministry’s original vision to encourage bumiputra students to pursue their studies in science,” he said, adding that the additional number of seats was necessary to boost the number of students entering the field of science.
“The capacity available in our matriculation programme should be maximised for this purpose,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He said the decision was the best method to ensure that the ministry’s matriculation programme could cater to all races.
He said the ministry would be holding discussions with the Finance Ministry on the cost following the increase in the number of students.
“The Cabinet has also requested (my) ministry to evaluate appropriate strategic approaches, including utilising the expertise and premises of Institutes of Teacher Education
to accommodate the increase in the number of seats,” Maszlee added.
Last Friday, the ministry said in a statement that the 2,200 and 1,000 seats allocated respectively for Indian and Chinese students in the programme was a “one-off initiative” for last year.
It was also based on current needs and involved seats allocated under the bumiputra quota that had not been filled.
Under the 2019 matriculation programme, the ministry said 60% of seats had been allocated to students from the lower income group (B40).
The remaining 40% are for middle income (M40) and high-income (T20) earners.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday that the government would look into the quota system for the matriculation programme, which had caused some concern among certain groups.