Chai Yee Lin, a straight-A scorer in the STPM, had been hoping to further her studies in medicine or dentistry in a local public university of her choice.The teenager was sorely disappointed when she found out that she was only offered a place in Universiti Malaysia Kelantan to do veterinary science.
"Yes, I did state veterinary science as one of the secondary courses in the admission form, but I was confident that with my good results, I could get medicine or dentistry," she said.
Adding salt to the wound, Chai, who was hoping to support her family, later learnt that a friend with lower scores was offered dentistry at Universiti Sains Malaysia.
The MCA and MIC have voiced out the grievances of students, claiming that fewer Chinese and Indian students had secured places in universities this year.
The Straits TImes reported that university entry has been a long-standing issue in the country, where racial quotas, favouring Malays and other bumiputeras, were used to determine entry into public higher-learning institutions.
The quotas were removed in 2002, and entry is now up to the discretion of higher education authorities.
It was reported that MCA education bureau chairman Wee Ka Siong has refused to accept the explanation from the Education Ministry that the candidates were denied entry into universities due to a technical glitch.
"I cannot accept this silly explanation. It is grossly unfair to the students," he said in Wisma MCA after meeting 22 students and their families on Tuesday.
MIC national youth council member G Kalaicelvan said the party had also received several complaints from top Indian students who had failed to gain admission to the course of their choice.
"Most want to do medicine and their STPM results meet the requirement but somehow they do not get a place in the public universities," The Straits Times quoted him as saying.
More than 18,000 students had failed to get places in public institutions of higher learning although they had met the requirements, said Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan, urging them to appeal.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in acknowledging the issue, had tweeted, urging the disappointed students not to give up.
"I know some were disappointed to not get a place at uni, but don't give up. Will discuss at Cabinet this week how to best help these students," he said. - AFP, July 18, 2013.