Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Press Statement by Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, Wanita MCA Deputy Chief
Chew Mei Fun disappointed with the race-charged remarks by UiTM Vice-Chancellor

Sin Chew Daily had on 27 August 2008 reported that UiTM Vice-Chancellor Datuk Seri Prof. Ibrahim Abu Shah had claimed the private sector refuses to employ UiTM graduates. The article also reported that he said he stands firmly in refusing to open up a 10% quota of UiTM placements to non-Bumiputeras. In response, Wanita MCA Deputy Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun expressed her disappointment against the statements made by the UiTM Vice-Chancellor.

“If there are people trying to instigate employers against hiring UiTM graduates, we should condemn these actions.”

Expressing alarm that educators stir up racial issues, Mei Fun however remarked, “although Datuk Seri Prof. Ibrahim Abu Shah is the Vice-Chancellor of a higher education institution, his education mindset seems to contain racist elements. He appears to turn education into racial issues. He has also stirred up students’ racial sentiment which in turn maligns the country’s harmony. It is without a doubt, his statement has angered many people.” She broached that “more Malaysians are moving away from race-based mindsets and are striving towards greater openness, transparency and democracy being seen to be practised.”

Emphasizing that the government had established a Parliamentary Select Committee on National Unity to promote harmony among all communities, Mei Fun expressed concerned that “we are now facing a situation where a Vice-Chancellor of a university has applied a narrow mindset in managing the university. This contradicts with the government’s move to promote national unity among university students. The Higher Education Ministry and the government should be alarmed with the matter”.

“When entry into a university is denied to other races owing to political expediency and government policy, this results with the enrolment consisting overwhelmingly of a single race. Hence, emphasis on universal values and pluralism maybe lacking. I fear that graduates from such university will want in globalised perspectives and become less competitive. If the Vice-Chancellor holds onto a parochial mindset, and added with the UiTM students’ protest unfortunately have encouraged racial sentiments in the university.” Mei Fun then urged the government to look seriously into this matter.

The Wanita MCA deputy chief then underlined that, “national unity should start with a fair and open education policy. If civil servants possess xenophobic mindsets, this will result in biased execution of government policies.” She added that this type of negative influence should not be tolerated.

Mei Fun suggested that, “when recruiting civil servants especially teachers and principals, the government must be strict in determining the applicants’ view towards national unity. The government should also continue to conduct national unity courses to ensure that educators and civil servants will be balanced in discharging their duties.”

Taking to task racist politicians and individuals who had misinterpreted Article 153 of the Federal Constitution on the reasonable proportion for the special position of the Malays in the civil service, scholarship or education, Mei Fun stressed that “Article 153 must be read in parallel with Article 153(7) which states that ‘nothing in this Article shall operate to deprive or authorize the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege.’”

Chew Mei Fun 28/8/2008

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