Mr Lim Kit Siang’s Political Secretary and the UITM Issue.
Mr Lim Kit Siang’s political secretary, Miss Dyana Sofia Mohd Daud drew the ire of UMNO politicians. The champions of the UMNO Malay cause condemned her for suggesting that a similar institution like UITM be set up to admit non Malay students. That is what you get when you UMNOnise every issue. Or on a larger scale you Malaynise every other issue.
Take the case of the usage of Allah issue. Do you think ordinary Malays in the kampungs care two hoots who use the term Allah? All they care is will their lives get better? Will the BR1M become an entrenched entitlement? As to Islam, as long as they get to pray in suraus and Mosques and no one threatens their religion that should be sufficient. Only those bigots in Putrajaya make the issue into something inflammatory because by championing this issue they get to show they can be uncompromising and drastic. You get these when you meMelayukan Islam.
Except these UMNO heroes got it wrong. The young lady was not suggesting that UITM be opened to non-Malays. She was suggesting that an institution similar to the UITM model be established to admit poorer but qualified non Malay students. Two different things.
She knows UITM is sacred ground. The UMNO Malay supremacists will never allow anyone to touch UITM. Some even said, it can only be done over their dead bodies. Under the present climate where shootings appear to be common place, such a challenge may be a stupid thing to say in public. But then stupid is UMNO’s second name so we shall not even humour the person who said, over his dead body. We hope the person who says that will get elected into UMNO’s MKT- the decision making body. UMNO’s MKT will then become the abode of the mediocre and opportunists.
What is the ITM model- now UITM? It is a learning institution that once gave a second chance to poor Malay students who did not quite make the grade to continue their studies. The idea behind ITM then was not objectionable. Malay students came from poor background and from less competitive and less regimented supporting environment. ITM provided that to Malay students- a chance for poor Malay students and a disciplined, regimented, supporting and competitive environment. Give them structure, and the Malays will strive. But let the structure be led and managed by high calibre people and the people under the structure will prosper. The problem we face in our country, social structures get led by opportunists and mediocre people.
If left to their own devices, in their passive and placid environment, where the achievement motives are low, only the most competitive and driven will thrive. Sadly, among Malays then, there were not many.
That was needed by Malay students- an externally induced environment with discipline and regimentation. . The results? Many excelled after being given a second chance proving that some students developed their mental and academic prowess later under supporting, regimented and competitive environment.
Nowadays, ITM which has now become UITM has become a premier learning institution where admission is highly competitive. Even if you are poor, your academic results must also be of a high standard. In certain courses, admission demands straight A’s. But UITM retained its core feature- a learning institution giving a second chance for qualified but poorer Malay students to get college and university education.
The essence of the UITM model- a learning institution admitting students from financially weak background is the issue here. That part of the UITM model- a learning institution admitting poorer students appear to be the focus of Dyana Sofia’s suggestion.
In an interview, it was reported she felt sad that many of her non Malay fellow students could not continue with their studies due to financial constraints. Many cannot afford the cost of college education. She felt that in order to overcome the educational injustice the government should create an educational institution similar to UITM for non-Malay students.
The merits of Dyana Sofia’s suggestion can be argued in a calm and rational manner. As one commentator said, we don’t want an institution exclusively catering for one particular race- we want an open environment where students from all ethnic backgrounds can study equally. We don’t want a Chinese UITM. And then an Indian UITM.
Unfortunately the responses from UMNO politicians sorely lacked these qualities. Beyond their irrationality and inflamed responses, the issue has revealed the darker side of certain UMNO politicians. I hope these people don’t get elected to office. This is what we get when mediocre people and opportunists are elected. If allowed to continue in office, these people will bring ill to this country.
What kind of dangerous thinking? Among ethnic groups, the group deserving kindness and passion are your own ethnic group. The others are treated dismissively and as digits. (2) Among a particular ethnic grouping the sub group deserving of kindness and passion is your own. Among Malays for example, the group deserving of assistance and privileges and entitlements is UMNO group.
Can we govern this country with this kind of thinking? Do we allow UMNO longevity?