Saturday, May 18, 2024

LFL: Nothing in law prohibits non-bumi admission into UiTM

LFL: Nothing in law prohibits non-bumi admission into UiTM

Published: May 18, 2024 1:29 PM

There is no provision in the law that prohibits the admission of non-bumiputera students into Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), said Lawyers for Liberty.

The human rights group's director Zaid Malek said this in a statement today, particularly referring to Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

"The multitude of statements that have come up from various quarters on this issue has misunderstood and twisted the meaning of Article 153 of the Constitution and its relation to UiTM.

"This is hardly surprising as successive governments and political leaders since the early 70s have consistently misinterpreted and abused the application of Art 153 for political gain at the expense of national unity. This has led to disadvantages for non-bumiputera which is not envisaged by article 153," he said.

This was in response to Bersatu Youth's support of UiTM students protesting against a proposal to allow non-bumiputera to enrol in its cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme.

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Zaid explained that Article 153 (2) of the Constitution allows the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to determine a reasonable proportion of educational privileges for the Malays and the natives and Sabah and Sarawak.

"[However] Article 153(1) states clearly that the legitimate interests of other communities must be safeguarded when utilising said provision.

"As such, there is certainly nothing within article 153 that would make it unconstitutional to allow non-bumiputera to enrol in any of UiTM courses," said Zaid.

"The usage of the term ‘reasonable proportion’ would mean that if the king were to determine that it is necessary to apportion a certain quota of non-Malays to enrol into any of UiTM’s programme, then it would be entirely in compliance with article 153 of the Constitution," he added.

Power lies with the govt

Elaborating, Zaid noted that the determination of the reasonable proportion of quota for educational purposes under Article 153 (2) is subject to the provisions of Article 40, which means the king is bound by the advice of the cabinet on the matter.

"The power ultimately lies with the government to decide. I say this clearly, because of the recent trend of government leaders attempting to shift responsibility for their acts to the constitutional monarch.

"The proposal to open up UiTM’s cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme comes from an acute shortage of the requisite number of cardiothoracic surgeons to serve the Malaysian public. This consideration is not in violation of article 153 and it is an affront of the Constitution to suggest otherwise."

Zaid then urged the government not to accede to calls by "overzealous ethnonationalists" who ignore the dire state of our healthcare system.

UiTm is funded by taxpayers' money and should therefore be utilised to ensure the country's healthcare system does not deteriorate further, he said.

"The availability of surgeons could mean the difference between life and death to the public, whether they are non-bumiputera or bumiputera.

"The political system makes differences between bumiputera and non-bumiputera, but the disease does not," said Zaid.

1 comment:

  1. Much of the "Special Rights" that the Type -M enjoys through the Never Ending Policy is really not mandated either through the Constitution or any legislation.

    They are just major overstretches of Article 153 light-years beyond the original understanding or intent of the Constitution.