The generous allocation of space in yesterday's papers was probably due to the fact that the Malaysia Chinese Association (MCA) owns or is closely linked to both the newspaper and the university. In an earlier post, I have discussed the issues relating to universities sponsored by political parties and its negative implications. Here, the impact can be seen.
One particular article stood out on the Star's front page - out of a total of 2,083 graduates, there was only ONE Malay student. In fact, if I understand correctly from the article, she is the ONLY Malay in the student body comprising of some estimated 6000 students.
Haslina Mohd Hassan, who graduated with a degree in business administration said that she not only obtained a degree from Utar but also learned more about Chinese culture. She admitted that she had little support in her choice of university:
“When I made up my mind to do my degree here [in UTAR], my parents and friends were not supportive. But after I got here, I realised that the Chinese were not anything like what they had been perceived as. They are friendly and helpful.”While her willingness to test a challenging environment in UTAR is something to be applauded (loudly), the fact that she is recognised as a very rare exception does not bode well for our higher education system in Malaysia. From race-based political parties, we now have race-based universities.
Newly elected MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting proudly proclaims that UTAR strive to make itself "The People's University".
“Utar is, after all, a university built and supported by the people for the people. It moves my heart every time I see the man in the street – the ordinary wage earners, hawkers, small traders, taxi drivers – bring in their contributions simply because they trust MCA to deliver a valuable commodity to the people.”How is it that UTAR will become "The People's University", when in fact it is the MCA University, or in more blunt terms, the University for Malaysian Chinese? The bumiputeras will have Universiti Teknologi Mara, which the government has placed a maximum quota of 10% of non-bumiputera enrolment. There are now even calls for an UMNO University.
It is extremely disappointing to see that while many of our leaders preach national unity and integration, the policies which they advocate are instead entrenching the racial separation and segregation in the country.