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updated 9:32 AM EEST, Oct 22, 2014

Malaysia: Christian name reason to reject top student?

  • Written by B Nantha Kumar

The father was sad and shocked to know that his daughter had failed to get into “not only UM but also other public universities as well.”

Group of graduatesPETALING JAYA: A Sabahan whose daughter secured a 3.8 CGPA in her foundation year in University Malaya has taken the Education Ministry to task for rejecting her application to pursue a medical course.

According to the father, his daughter’s application was rejected because her name sounded “foreign and Christian”.

The father, who declined to be named for fear of retribution, said he was sad and shocked to know that his daughter had failed to get into “not only UM but also other public universities as well.”

Explaining further, the father said that he is a Sabah bumiputera native and is married to a Chinese from Peninsula Malaysia. The couple have two children. The family has since settled in Petaling Jaya.

Speaking to FMT, the father said: “My daughter’s done her foundation course in UM where her CGPA points is 3.8 which good enough for a medical course.

“But the Education Ministry officer in Putrajaya told us last week that she is not qualified. We were shocked to hear the Education Ministry officer saying that she failed to get a seat since her name sounded like an English name.

“This is really ridiculous. I’m a Christian thus, my daughter’s name reflected that…,” said the father.

He further claimed that the Education Ministry officer also told them that being a Christian-bumi could be another reason for her not being selected.

The ministry official had also indicated that the fact that his daughter was born in Petaling Jaya and not in Sabah was also a reason she was rejected from getting medical course.

“All the reasons given by the officer are really strange and cannot be acceptable.

“I’m here not to hammer the Education Ministry. But I hope someone can help my daughter to get her education rights,” he said.

FMT’s attempt to talk to the ministry official has been unsuccessful.

Political backlash

Responding to the issue, A Thiruvengadam, the president of Malaysian Indian Education Awareness and Welfare Association (PKP-KIM), slammed the ministry for the absurd reasons given in not selecting the top student to pursue the medical course.

“This is really a serious issue and the Education Ministry must be brought to justice.

“I have never heard that a student was rejected just because her name sounded foreign,” he added.

He wanted a proper explanation from the ministry and urged the government to look into the racist policy taking root in educational system.

Education is every child’s right regardless of race and religious background and excellent students must be acknowledged, he said, alluding to increasing reports of manipulations in the matriculation and other educational seat quotas.

Earlier this month a Chinese student from Perak who scored 10A+ in her SPM failed to secure a seat in matriculation.

No reason was given but it is commonly believed that she along with the above Sabahan student are victims of a political backlash following the May 5 general election where the Chinese community overwhelmingly supported Pakatan Rakyat.

The Chinese community has since been blamed and accused of being ungrateful to the Umno-led Barisan Nasional administration.

Last month a report stemming from Sabah also insinuated that Christian bumiputeras were being shortchanged in the matriculation programme.

The report called on the Education Ministry to disclose the exact numbers of Muslim and Christian bumiputeras from Sabah who were absorbed into the matriculation programme. There has been no response todate.

BN lost an unprecedented 13 seats in the Sabah state assembly to the opposition. Majority of the opposition seats were won by Chinese Sabahans and bumiputera Christian natives.

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