NGO urges Putrajaya not to pussyfoot on recognising UEC

Datuk Lau Pang Heng

KUCHING, Jan 7: Sarawak Patriot Association (SPA) is deeply concerned with the delayed recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) at the federal level.

Its chairman, Datuk Lau Pang Heng, said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government should be more open on what was holding them back in recognising the UEC.

“The government has mentioned about forming a special committee to study this matter. It may be good for the government to inform Malaysians the progress of the committee’s work,” he said in a statement today.

Lau claimed SPA had conducted phone interviews with 1,000 respondents in the state, and 78 per cent of the respondents were disappointed with the federal government’s delay in recognising UEC, 12 per cent had no comment and 10 per cent gave “it’s ok” replies.

He added that in the run-up to the last general elections (GE14) in 2018, PH had vowed to recognise the UEC as soon as PH formed the federal government. But seven months have passed, and everything is still at square one.

“Since UEC has not been recognised by the Malaysian government, some Chinese independent high schools opt to teach the national secondary school curriculum alongside the independent school curriculum (in Chinese) and require their students to sit for the government standardised tests (PMR, SPM or even STPM) as private school candidates, providing their students an opportunity to obtain government-recognised certificates,” he lamented.

Lau said PH’s Buku Harapan promise number 50 paragraph five highlighted that “PH shall undertake to recognise UEC to enter public universities of high learning (IPTA) provided that applicants have a credit in Bahasa Melayu at the SPM level”.

“The UEC started its first public examination in 1975 at a time when the current prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) was the Education Minister. UEC examinations have been conducted for the past 44 years.

“It is recognised as a qualification for entry into many tertiary education institutions around the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Australia and Canada,” he pointed out.

Lau said at the beginning of this year’s school session in Kuching and Samarahan Divisions, out of a total enrolment of 4,239 students in Chinese Primary One classes, 1,126 of them are Bumiputeras and 3,113 are Chinese. Bumiputera students comprised of 26.6 per cent of those enrolling in Chinese Primary One classes, he highlighted. — DayakDaily