Are matriculation colleges ready for 40,000 students?

MoE increase number of students up to 40,000

By Huzraifah Atikah

It is almost two weeks since the matriculation placement results were announced and it still remains a heated issue.

Despite the uproar, the Education Ministry still decided to maintain the quota system for the pre-university matriculation programme intake. 

It means the 90% quota for Bumiputera students and 10% for non-Bumiputera students remains.

However, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the Cabinet had agreed to increase the number of matriculation students from 25,000 to 40,000 for the 2019 intake. 

The Ministry said the decision was to ensure excellent students continue to have the best opportunity to pursue higher education.

Maszlee said the decision was also in line with the original vision of the matriculation programme, which was to encourage Bumiputera students to pursue studies in science.

However, there are still so many questions that are not fully answered yet, such as where will the extra students placed and whether the existing infrastructure can accommodate it?

Are there enough lecturers to teach all the 40,000 students?

Yesterday, the Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching told Youth Connect that no answers on this issue could be provided at the moment.

“The Ministry had only decided on the matter recently and announced it yesterday (April 24), so any further information will be announced soon,” Teo said at the National Education and Learning Summit 2019.

In the meantime, Penang Deputy Chief Minister Dr P. Ramasamy said the increased quota for Bumiputeras was due to fear of a backlash from sections of the Malay-Muslim community.

The increment for the number of students, the Bumiputera allocation will increase from 22,500 to 36,000 students.

In comparison, the number of non-Malays will only increase by 1,500 students, on top of the current 2,500 students.

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism northern region coordinator K. Sudhagaran Stanley said the move was “one of the worst” by the Pakatan Harapan government.

He said the quota system ought to be done away with and replaced with a merit-based entrance system.

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also waded into the issue saying he believed that the government's decision to increase the overall intake was just a temporary measure.

“We don't want the people to think we are taking it away from the Malays. So we made the cake bigger (increase the number of students).”