Wednesday 1 June 2011

Students of mixed parentage denied varsity admission

PKR Wanita national vice-head Voon Shiak Nie has accused the Education Ministry of continuing to discriminate against children of mixed marriages in Sarawak, in relation to admission to local universities.

In two cases, she said, the ministry's Unit Pusat Universiti (UPU) had rejected applications from Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) high achievers. They have since lodged an appeal.

NONE“One student from Saratok scored 8As and 2Bs. The other, from Kuching, obtained 10As. The rejection has nothing to do with their results,” Voon said yesterday.

“It is because they are children of Ibans married to non-bumiputeras. The mother of the first student is a Filipina, while the mother of the second is a Chinese.”

She said the UPU had phoned the parents concerned, explaining that their children are not considered bumiputeras because of this.

Voon said the rejection of applications based on race and segregation is unwarranted in a multi-racial country, especially one that purports to uphold human rights and justice.

“These students are Sarawakians and Malaysians, and they are entitled to benefits as citizens. Education should be for all, and no one should (be made to) feel second class in this day and age.

“It is not fair to any child to be deprived of higher education just because one parent is not a bumiputera. Admission to universities should be on merit.”

Directive forgotten?

Voon said the UPU officials may have forgotten about the administrative directive issued after a case involving Marina Undau, also a child of a mixed marriage, was brought up in 2009.

Marina, who has an Iban father and a Chinese mother, was unable to further her studies because she was classified by UPU as a non-bumiputera. She had scored 9As in the 2009 SPM examination.

university students multiracial“Following Marina's case, which was highlighted in the media, the Education Ministry issued an administrative directive that all children of mixed marriages in Sarawak are deemed to be bumiputeras, regardless of the race of either parent,” said Voon, who is a lawyer.

“But it looks like that the officials have forgotten about the directive. Or are they ignoring (it)?”

She called for amendment of Article 161A(6)(b) of the federal constitution - which states that children of mixed marriages in Sarawak are classified as non-bumiputeras - saying they should be classified as bumiputeras.

Voon added that all Malaysians who have the ability and merit to further their studies should be given the opportunity to complete their first degree, without experiencing the hassle of fighting for places and scholarships.

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