Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Najib: Non-Bumis not restricted on higher education


Umno and the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government have never restricted opportunities for non-Bumiputeras to pursue higher education in the country, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak said yesterday. He said various changes have been made by the Government over the last few years to make education in the country more liberal and open. These more liberal and open educational policies benefited the non-Bumiputera communities, he told reporters after a visit to the BN election operations room in Sama Gagah here. He said the picture portrayed by the Opposition on educational opportunities for Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras was incorrect altogether. Najib said the issue of education could not be viewed from one angle but should be seen from the viewpoint of changes to the educational sector and the national education policy initiated by the BN Government. Najib said the Government provided ample opportunities for all communities, including nonBumiputeras, and the issue should not be politicised by the Opposition, especially in the Permatang Pauh by—election, polling for which is on Aug 26. The BN Deputy Chairman was asked to comment on a statement by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Advisor Datuk Sen Anwar Ibrahim in his “ceramah” (talk) that he supported the proposal by Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim for a 10 per cent intake of non-Bumiputeras into Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM). Anwar, 61, is involved in a three- corner contest with Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, 51, of the BN and Hanafi Mamat, 61, of the Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia ‘Akin’ in the by- election. The by-election has been necessitated by the resignation on July31 of the Member of Parliament, PKR President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, to pave the way for her husband, Anwar, to contest and become an MP. Najib said the Government had approved legislation providing for the setting up of private colleges and universities to open up opportunities for non-Bumiputeras to pursue higher education, replaced the quota system with a meritocracy system and extended the National Higher Education Loan Fund Corporation (PTPTN) scheme to all communities. “We have also allowed private colleges, such as Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), to upgrade and recruit more students. Gerakan also has a university and, yesterday, MIC officially opened its Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) university,” he said. As such, he called on the Opposition not to politicize the issue of education in an attempt to garner the votes of the Chinese and Indian communities. He said the issue was used as capital to draw non-Malay support for Anwar as the support of the Malays and Muslims was divided between Umno and PAS. - Bernama

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