PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry has assured that an increase of 15,000 students for the matriculation programme will not affect the selection process for entry into public universities.
It said this is because the entry selection process is based on meritocracy and availability of placement at the universities.
The ministry added that the Higher Education Department is responsible for supervising entry into public higher learning and skills training institutes for those with Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and similar qualifications.
"The ministry practises the principle of meritocracy in the intake of students.
"Based on this, all candidates who qualify with the highest marks – irrespective of race, religion, state, standing in life and abode – is given the chance of studying at public institutions of higher learning," it said in a statement on Monday (May 20).
The ministry said students who meet the criteria for the tertiary programmes they apply for would be successful.
"Success in securing a place at public universities depends fully on merit, availability of space and the candidate's qualifications and not on the category of candidates," the ministry added.
The ministry said between 2017 and 2018, there had been an increase of 4,242 STPM entries into public higher learning institutions while matriculation entries had increased by 1,981 for the 2018/2019 session.
The ministry's clarification comes after Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik's statement that the Cabinet had agreed to increase the matriculation programme student intake from 25,000 to 40,000, but the 90% quota for bumiputra would remain.
Several groups including MCA Youth had raised worries over shortage in student placement in public universities following Dr Maszlee's announcement.
MCA Youth secretary-general Daniel Wa Wai How said the intake capacity of public higher learning institutions must be increased to match the matriculation programme's 15,000 surge in student intake.