KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) should allow non-Bumiputera students to enrol in postgraduate courses, said its former pro-chancellor Tan Sri Dr Arshad Ayub.
He said such a move, if implemented, would ensure a competitive balance among the various races in the country.
Arshad, 90, said Malaysia had reached a stage in its history when it was now appropriate for UiTM to accept students of all races.
“If you ask me whether non-Malays should be able to go to UiTM, my own view is that at the master’s degree level, the graduates should be able to compete with other races,” said Arshad as reported by Free Malaysia Today.
He said this to reporters during an event for underprivileged schoolchildren in Segambut yesterday (Jan 9).
Arshad, who was Institut Teknologi Mara's first director in 1965, said at the undergraduate level, Malays and other Bumiputeras were not ready for such competition.
He said this was also true for professional training in fields such as accountancy and engineering at UiTM.
“All the handicaps are at those levels.
“That’s where we should still have opportunities for them to address their deprivation so that they’ll be ready to compete after three or five years of education and training.”
Arshad said during his tenure, he was committed to helping deprived youths, who made up of Bumiputeras mostly from the rural areas.
UiTM, he said, has so far produced 750,000 graduates, who included professionals and doctoral graduates.
Today's UiTM students, he added, lacked exposure to ways of thinking in other cultures other than their own.
“To me, our wealth in this life is our exposure.
“Back when I was director of ITM, only 5 per cent of the lecturers were Malays. The others were Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, English, Japanese, Belgians, Americans, Germans, Australians, Canadians, even Russians.”
This, he said, exposed his students to a wide range of cultures and perspectives.
“I can say that the students now have less exposure.
“If the students are 100% Bumiputeras and lecturers are 95% Bumiputeras, how will they get exposure to other cultures and ways of thinking apart from watching TV and reading books?” he asked.