Perkasa recently announced that if the Government recognized UEC, it would sue the Government on the basis that UEC is against the Federal Constitution and Rukunegara.
At this moment, Sarawak is the only state which recognizes UEC. When he was the Chief Minister, the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem had repeatedly asked the central government to follow Sarawak’s steps and recognize UEC. He said it was stupid when public universities accept foreign candidates but reject UEC candidates who have been accepted even by Oxford University.
As a matter of fact, many local private university colleges have already recognized UEC and the central government has since 2011 partially recognized UEC by allowing those with credits in SPM Bahasa to apply for teachers training colleges.
Chinese independent high schools are an extension of mother-tongue education at secondary level held dear by the Chinese community. They still stand strong today due to the dedication of the Chinese community and Dong Zong. With the rise of China it is normal that student recruits of these independent high schools have seen explosive increases.
Chinese parents take education very seriously no matter how poor they are. They trust Chinese independent high schools and they hold fast to mother-tongue education. Equally important is the fact that UEC matches the standard of A level and is recognized by overseas universities, including outstanding ones in UK, US, Singapore and Hong Kong and this is an indisputable fact.
To be fair, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib is open-minded towards Chinese independent high schools. Otherwise, the Government would not have decided on the partial recognition of UEC. As to whether the Government would grant total recognition of UEC and help the Chinese community to realize its long standing aspiration in the near future would depend much on the positive actions and coordination between Dong Zong and the Barisan Nasional Chinese-based component parties.
Two months ago, UMNO publicity Chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa visited Dong Zong and became the first UMNO top leader entering Dong Zong’s conference hall since Dong Zong was set up 63 years ago.
Whether this so-called “ice-breaking journey” would lead to the recognition of UEC by the government in the near future is too early to say. However, it is not a bad thing when Dong Zong and the Government take steps to strengthen their communications. And it would be unfair to claim that this is a pro-government or pro-Barisan move.
Dong Zong and the Chinese community have shown perseverance in their struggle for government recognition of UEC. But there is one important fact that cannot be neglected is the lack of knowledge about UEC by non-Chinese senior government officials. As such, UEC can only stand a chance to be included in the national education mainstream through intensive mutual interactions and communications.
At this point in time, MCA and Gerakan as the Chinese-based parties in Barisan have a duty to play an active bridging role between Dong Zong and the higher education ministry. They should try their best in helping higher education ministry officials to have a better understanding of Chinese independent high schools and UEC. Dong Zong on its part must explain to the authorities calmly and patiently that these private schools, besides protecting mother-tongue education, are also making great efforts to nurture talents. And they have nothing malicious against the national education or the Government.
The partial recognition of UEC reflects the fact that the government has not rejected it totally. It is unknown to outsiders whether Perkasa has a hidden agenda when it openly voiced its opposition against the recognition of UEC. But it would be a real tragedy if “our own people” are creating such trouble at this point in time.