Pemuda to lodge police report on Mkini columnist

UMNO Youth is planning to lodge multiple police reports against Malaysiakini and its columnist, Andrew Sia, over an opinion piece on Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

In his piece published this morning, Sia had criticised the protest by UiTM’s student council against calls to admit non-Bumiputera students to its cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme, and labelled the varsity an “apartheid academy”.

He also questioned the basis for barring non-Bumiputera Malaysians from entering the varsity but allowing foreigners to enrol.

Umno Youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh said Sia’s writings were baseless and depicted UiTM as a “legacy of hateful and cruel Malay racism”.

Akmal said UiTM was established to boost the education level of the Malays and Bumiputeras, whom he described as having been “left behind in their own country”, not to discriminate against other ethnicities.

“The apartheid was a cruel racial segregation policy in South Africa that glorified those who were white-skinned over the dark-skinned. It was a cruel policy hated by all, including Umno and the Malays.

“When such a cruel accusation is made against our educational institution, how can we not be incensed? Is UiTM a symbol of discrimination against other races? Definitely not.

“Other public varsities are open to all. We’ve achieved independence for years but the fact is that the Bumiputeras are still lagging behind, and UiTM is the only place for Bumiputeras to change their destiny,” he said in a Facebook post.

The Melaka executive councillor also defended UiTM by pointing out how Putrajaya supported vernacular schools financially and allowed them to operate.

He added that describing UiTM as an “apartheid academy” was inexcusable, saying “a lesson must be taught”.

Akmal, the Merlimau assemblyman, demanded that Malaysiakini take down the article and Sia issue an apology for his column.

He said Umno Youth leaders across the nation would file police reports against Malaysiakini and the columnist.

UiTM became the centre of attention after the Malaysian Medical Association urged it to prioritise public health by temporarily opening its cardiothoracic surgery programme to non-Bumiputeras amid a shortage of specialists.

In response, UiTM’s student council urged all students to wear black for several days last week in protest against the calls. It said it was intent on firmly defending the university’s founding objectives as an institution for Bumiputeras.

The students came under fire from UCSI University’s professor Tajuddin Rasdi for having an outdated mindset while Johan Ariffin Samad, a member of the G25 group, described the students’ action as “premature” since the proposal was only for one course.

Calls to open up UiTM to non-Bumiputeras have been made for more than a decade.

In 2008, then menteri besar of Selangor, the late Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, proposed that UiTM open up 10% of its enrolment to non-Bumiputera and foreign students.