PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry has given an assurance that the additional intake of 15,000 for the matriculation programme will not affect the selection process for entry into local universities.
This is because the entry selection process is based on meritocracy and availability of placement in universities, it said.
“Availability of space is based on the facilities and capacity of the public universities,” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.
It said the Higher Education Department is responsible for supervising entry into public institutions of higher learning and skills training institutes of those with Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and similar qualifications.
“The ministry practises meritocracy in student intakes.
“Based on this principle, all candidates who qualify with the highest marks irrespective of race, religion, state, standing in life and abode is given the chance to study at public institutions of higher learning,” it said.
The ministry said applications are successful when students meet the criteria of the tertiary programmes they apply for.
“Success in securing a place in public universities depends fully on merit points, availability of space and candidates’ qualifications and not on the candidates’ category,” it added.
The ministry noted that between 2017 and 2018, there was an increase of 4,242 STPM entries into public institutions of higher learning, while matriculation entries rose by 1,981 for the 2018/19 session.
The ministry’s clarification came in the wake of a recent statement by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik that the Cabinet had agreed to increase the matriculation programme’s student intake from 25,000 to 40,000.
Following that, several groups including MCA Youth raised concerns over a shortage of placement in public universities.
Separately, MCA vice-president Datuk Tan Teik Cheng called on the Cabinet to instruct Maszlee to retract his statement linking the matriculation quota system with unequal job opportunities for bumiputras in the private sector.
“These issues will continue to be a thorn in the flesh, resulting in further misunderstanding and societal mistrust,” Tan said in a statement yesterday.
Maszlee, he added, should apologise and resign “to calm the storm” he had raised by his remarks.
The minister, while addressing a question-and-answer session at Universiti Sains Malaysia last Thursday, had reportedly said that if Malaysians did not want the quota system, then job opportunities should not be denied to bumiputra.
Maszlee had also claimed that some companies required job applicants to have knowledge of Mandarin.