KUCHING, July 22: It is time Malaysia lives up to its reputation as a successful multiracial country and follow in Sarawak’s footsteps in recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) which is widely accepted by private and international universities around the world.
Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Women chief Kho Teck Wan thus questioned the progress and outcome of a study on the UEC matter by a special taskforce set up under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government from which a final report should have been released in July 2019.
“The PH under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had declared in its manifesto that the coalition would recognise the UEC qualification if they were elected into power.
“However, after the 14th general election (GE14), the promise was never fulfilled and the rakyat was told that UEC recognition is a sensitive issue that needs study and assessment at all levels of society.
“Have we got any conclusion on the study?” she asked in a statement issued yesterday (July 21).
Kho was responding to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) two days ago which denied a claim that the federal government will recognise the UEC.
“It is not a surprise that the Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) of only three months would not make any promise on UEC recognition.
“The UEC recognition issue has been a topic of political debate especially among the Chinese community regardless of which party ruled the federal government,” she added.
Kho also hit back at Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak leaders who were quick to shift the blame on SUPP for Muhyiddin’s decision.
“DAP has forgotten that almost 100 per cent of the urban Chinese voters had voted for them to be their spokespersons in Parliament.
“It is ridiculous for the DAP YBs who own a seat in Parliament to ask SUPP which has zero Chinese representatives in Parliament to fight for UEC recognition,” she stressed.
Kho reminded that Sarawak, under the leadership of the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, had given official recognition to UEC in 2015 which in turn allowed Sarawak public universities and civil service to accept the independent Chinese school graduates.
“Initially some of us expected a significant increase in the applications to enter the state (higher) education institutions and civil service by UEC holders, but that didn’t happen.
“However, the move to recognise UEC became Adenan’s significant legacy and his heroic image stayed with the Chinese community irrespective of political divide to this day,” she highlighted.
More importantly, Kho pointed out, current Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg not only carried on Adenan’s legacy but took it a step further by increasing financial support for the independent Chinese schools.
“His (Abang Johari) action further proved that Sarawak under the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) government is a tolerant and forward-looking state like none other in Malaysia,” she emphasised.
Politics aside, Kho stressed that a more serious issue the Malaysian government should look into is that the independent Chinese schools have produced many excellent students who were scouted by foreign universities as soon as their UEC results were released.
“The students were offered full or partial scholarships to study at international universities, which ended up causing a major brain drain to our country.
“If all politicians put their differences aside, we should know that diversity is strength, not a threat. Our differences are the elements that provide ideas and opportunities this country needs,” she added.
Meanwhile, according to the PMO statement, Muhyiddin had during a meeting with the Hua Zhong leadership said that UEC gained partial recognition when the government previously accepted UEC holders for the PISMP teaching degree programme specialising in the Chinese language at Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia (IPGM).
It read the government had, in 2012, accepted UEC holders for the PISMP programme in Chinese who passed Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), and obtained at least a credit in Bahasa Melayu.
“The prime minister also stressed that the UEC should follow the National Education Policy if it is seeking a resolution with the government on the matter,” the statement added. — DayakDaily