When Abdullah Badawi assumed the mantle of Prime Minister he vowed he would be a leader for all Malaysians.However his statement on 13th August, 2008 where he vetoed Pakatan Rakyat Selangor Menteri Besar’s call for UITM to be opened to non-bumiputra clearly showed that what he espoused was not what he had meant.
His veto of Tan Sri Abdul Khalid proposal of admitting non- Malays in this tertiary institution is clear proof that the P.M is a leader of only one race. No leader of a country that is diverse and multi-ethnic can ever perpetuate a policy that favors one race and yet claim magnanimously that he is a leader for all.
The myopic policy of enrolling one exclusive race in an institution of Higher learning will result in a generation of malays growing up without any contact with another race. Such a policy will have adverse implication on future race relations where religion has already created a wide chasm between the three major ethnic populace.
Tan Sri Abdul Khalid proposal for an initial 10% entry of non-malay is a legitimate plea to open up UITM so that some form of competition could be given to the otherwise exclusive malay students.This in turn would also allow some form of integration among the races and augurs well for a multi racial identity.
It is rather unfortunate that the University’ Vice Chancellor Prof Datuk Seri Ibrahim Abu Shah should even oppose such a plan when you would expect an academic to be supportive of attaining academic excellent by opening its institution based on merit.It is ironical that an academic who choose mediocrity in its enrollment policy should be even appointed to be the Vice Chancellor of an institution that profess to be churning out students who ‘now hold top positions in both the public and private sector