Clearing the air on parallel pathway, UiTM issues

PUTRAJAYA: The confusion over the parallel pathway programme and the proposed admission of non-bumiputra students into Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) has been explained to the Cabinet, says Fahmi Fadzil.

The unity government spokesman said Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir had given clarification on the matter.

“There is a slight misunderstanding among the public on this issue. What we said before about agreeing with the idea is only on housemanship in UiTM Hospital. That’s what the Cabinet meant.

“It was not about opening UiTM to non-bumiputra for education,” he told the media here yesterday.

Fahmi said it was important to clarify the specialist training programme and the intake of non-bumiputra into UiTM as they were two separate issues.

“Several parties, including the former UiTM vice-chancellor, was briefed on the matter. They now understand, which was why this issue has died down. It was made to seem as if these two issues were related when they were not.

“The Higher Education Minister has clarified this. It is not an issue any more,” he added.

When it was proposed that UiTM temporarily open up its cardiothoracic surgery master’s programme, it drew a storm of protest from raced-based groups and conservatives – including those from within the unity government alliance.

Critics of the proposal are adamant that UiTM maintain its bumiputra-only admissions policy despite the university already accepting foreign students.

On another matter, Fahmi said the Attorney General’s Chambers had suggested to the Cabinet that certain amendments be made to the law in relation to the parallel pathway issue.

“The AG’s office has given its views from the legal standpoint and the Cabinet was informed that there needs to be some amendments to the law,” he said.

The Communications Minister, however, did not specify which Acts would need to be amended.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad had recently said that the Medical Act 1971 would be amended to resolve the parallel pathway issue.

The amendment Bill is expected to be tabled at the upcoming meeting of the Dewan Rakyat in June.

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