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UiTM Professor Says UEC Gives Unfair Advantage To Non-Malay Students If Given Recognition

UiTM Professor Says UEC Gives Unfair Advantage To Non-Malay Students If Given Recognition

Dong Zong said it understands the concerns of the Malays and is willing to have a dialogue.

Fernando Fong

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The Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) recognition has been a contentious issue in recent years.

It was a hot topic when the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government expressed willingness to fulfil its manifesto by recognizing the UEC in the 14th General Election (GE14) in 2018.

Malaysians, especially Malays, have various views on this issue. 

Most Malays seem to be against the government’s proposal to recognize the UEC, while the Chinese support the government’s commitment.

Education As A Social Ladder

After the nation achieved independence in 1957, the government wanted to unify the education system, which consists of various streams.

The government called for all schools, including religious and Chinese schools to hand over land, assets and all rights to school property to the Malaysian government.

In return, the government will finance the costs of these schools and will control the syllabus.

At that time, a few of the Chinese community felt that their mother tongue, the Chinese language, would be threatened due to surrendering their rights to the Malaysian government. 

A good education has always been highly valued by the Chinese, as the people believe that education ensures not only the future and development of the individual but also the family and the country as a whole.

Hence, this group chose to continue their education system privately and did not participate in the unification efforts of the government education system. 

The total is as many as 60 Chinese schools which are now controlled by an association known as Dong Zong (The United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia)

Dong Zong handles all matters, including the measurements and examinations of these private schools.

READ MORE: What is Dong Zong, anyway?

Non-Malays Would Prefer UEC

The national education system will most likely be affected if the Ministry of Education recognizes the integrated examination certificate (UEC) without comprehensive consideration.

Speaking to Utusan Malaysia, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Tan Sri Prof. Emeritus Dr Ibrahim Abu Shah, explained that the recognition will encourage the majority of non-Malays to take the UEC certificate because the majority of subjects use Mandarin and English.

He said it would cause the national education system to be completely ignored by non-Malays in the future.

If UEC is recognized, our national language will end because it will no longer be fully used in schools.

UiTM’s Tan Sri Prof. Emeritus Dr Ibrahim Abu Shah on the danger posed by UEC.

He said this is unfair as other people struggle to study in the national school, but when they want to enter a public university, they have to compete with other streams that do not use the national language. 

He said that’s why people oppose UEC recognition, as they are worried about what the government will do.

Ibrahim added that recognising UEC will also impact racial unity and cause the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) and Malaysian Higher Secondary Certificate (STPM) to be marginalized.

UEC A Threat To National Education

He warned it would further strengthen racial polarization, not only for the Malays but also for the non-Malays, citing the existence of national-type schools (SJK) as evident.

This UEC is also equivalent to STPM, so its graduates will easily be able to enter a public university and get a government job without having to go through national education and use the national language.

UiTM’s Tan Sri Prof. Emeritus Dr Ibrahim Abu Shah on UEC being unfair to others.

Therefore, he asked the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to persuade the UEC fighters to forget their wishes and support the national education system instead.

Other academicians have also echoed his sentiment.

Recently, Dong Zong asked the government to consider the recognition of UEC rationally, not scrutinising it in a political framework.

Dong Zong said that they understood the concerns of the Malay community and were willing to engage in dialogues and talks with various levels of society to increase understanding of the UEC.


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