Is it true that highly competent Malays can’t rise to the top at UiTM for promotions favour “less smart” academics?

FORMER Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate for Putrajaya in the 15th General Election (GE15) Dr Noraishah Mydin Abd Aziz has called on Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir “to probe and properly clean-up” Universiti  Teknologi MARA (UiTM) for many capable Malay academicians are sidelined” in favour of those “less intelligent ones”.

“Panic among the upper echelons of UiTM,” the bubbly spina bifida researcher and patient advocate penned in the X platform.

“Lots of smart Malays are finding themselves being undermined at public higher learning institutions. And plenty of less smart ones are being made VCs. Then trees start falling all over the place (probably hinting at deadwood among academic staff),”.

Given the reference to a Harian Metro article entitled “Think Before Speaking; Don’t Ruin UiTM’s Image”, one can easily guess that Dr Noraishah who is currently a Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) board member is targeting UiTM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Shahrin Sahib who is very Malay-centric in his thinking with her criticism.

Refuting the claim levelled at UiTM by Malaysiakini columnist Andrew Sia who touted the biggest Bumiputera tertiary institution as an “apartheid academy’”, Shahrin who was appointed VC on Nov 2 last year is adamant that UiTM should constrain itself to educating the Malays and Bumiputera as enshrined in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

Best remembered as fiercely independent despite her disability, Dr Noraishah had in earlier Tweets stood her grounds that nobody is questioning Article 153. “What all of us are questioning is why the postgraduate Cardiothoracic Programme is parked in UiTM?” she hit out.

“This is the face of a MALAY CHILD suffering from heart defect. Malaysia needs more cardiothoracic surgeons so that this Malay child’s surgery does not keep getting postponed by IJN @ZambryOfficial (Zambry), @Anwar Ibrahim (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), @DrDzul (Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad).”

Article 153 interpreted worngly

Like Dr Noraishah, political critic and veteran journalist Kee Thuan Chye is also flabbergasted that the so-called intelligentsia of academia who should be rational and know better are adamant that UiTM should remain exclusive to Bumiputera.

“They should listen to what Lawyers for Liberty say – that reserving UiTM only for Bumiputera goes against our Federal Constitution,” the biographer of retired DAP supremo Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang’s Malaysian First (Volume 1: None But the Bold and Volume 2: Bold to the Last Battle) told FocusM.

“And it is precisely Article 153 which indicates that, bolstered by Article 12 which clearly states that: ‘Without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in the administration of any educational institution maintained by a public authority, and, in particular, the admission of pupils or students …’”

Kee Thuan Chye

On top of that, Kee reckoned that heads of universities should also consider that UiTM – at least on moral grounds – as being funded by taxpayers who include non-Bumiputera.

“How fair is it that non-Bumiputera have to pay for the upkeep of an institution they are barred from entering?” he wondered.

“To be sure, the act of defending an ethnocentric stand in a multi-racial country is deplorable. That the heads of universities and other institutions of higher learning are doing that makes the act even more deplorable.”

Drawing a comparison, Kee said in a Western country like the US or UK, such people “would be condemned as White Supremacists seeking to shut out other races from a public-funded institution”.

“On that score, what kind of supremacists should we call these Malaysian heads of public universities?” asked the author of Ask for No Bullshit, Get Some More! (sequel to No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians). – May 27, 2024

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