On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Give brilliant students their due

Among the appeals were for 25 students  who obtained 10A's, 58 with 9A's, 80
with  8A's, 79 with 7A's, 87 with 6A's
and 60 with  5A's.

Malaysians are fully aware that competition is stiff for the limited places in
local  universities, particular for
science courses.  The situation is
aggravated by the quota system to help bumiputra students, especially  those from the rural areas.

However, it is difficult for anyone to explain how top students can't get a
place in  university.

It is unlikely to be government policy to 
reject these brilliant students; possibly, it is  more the actions of over-zealous

Such actions, however, put the Government in bad light as it would be seen as

We do not want opposition-minded academicians to sabotage government efforts
to  educate our young.

Last week, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim said that all the
10A's  students who have appealed to UTM
would  be favourably considered and
“most likely''  be accepted because of
their good grades.

He correctly pointed out that these students could still enter Lower Six as an
option  if they failed to secure places
in these two  universities. And they
would have another  chance of getting
into university.

But why should the cream of the crop be 
subjected to this discrimination?

The Government has emphasised much on 
excellence in education. Our academicians  should uphold this directive strictly.

Surely they must realise that Malaysia 
could lose these top students to foreign universities. It is well known
that Singapore offers scholarships and places to such applicants.

In many cases, these students remained 
overseas upon completing their studies. Ultimately, this would be a loss
to our country.

It is sad that our university administrators 
are insensitive to the implications of their  actions.

By all means reject applicants with average results to maintain standards, but
no one  can disregard the best of the

The MCA should be commended for trying 
to ensure that these deserving students get  into university.

The UTM and UPM officials have no cause 
for concern in taking in these top students.  No one in his right mind can possibly
argue  against their acceptance.

And if accepted, steps must be taken to ensure that they are not enrolled in
obscure  courses.

Recently, concern over the standards of 
some of our institutions of higher learning  was raised, even by Prime Minister Datuk  Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The pursuit of academic excellence must 
be sole responsibility of our academicians.  Malaysians will judge them for their
scholarly work, particularly their research and 

It's time they spend less time on politics 
and devote their attention to providing the  best for our young minds.