Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 1st June 2009:
Higher Education Minister should ensure that new university intake by UPU to be announced on June 19 provide places for the 4,574 student-victims of the USM Apex University fiasco
The fiasco of 4,574 students being wrongly informed that they had obtained places at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) cannot be a worse start for USM as the Apex University – a bungle and blunder which should not have happened at all and completely inexcusable.
In keeping with its status as an Apex University, USM was for the first time exercising the freedom to choose the best students before the University Admission Unit’s (UPU) selection of students for the other public universities.
But the USM chancellory yesterday was the venue for emotional havoc for hundreds of students and their parents when they found that they had been wrongly informed about being accepted as students in USM, with lost tempers and heart-rending scenes of tears and frustration.
Acting USM Vice Chancellor Prof Ahmad Shukri Mustapha Kamal explained to DAP Penang State Assemblyman for Komtar and Political Secretary to Penang Chief Minister, Ng Wei Aik and me at the USM Chancellory yesterday how the error where 4,574 students were wrongly informed that they had been offered places in USM came about.
Apologising profusely, Ahmad Shukri said out of over 22,000 who applied for places in USM, 8,173 were pre-qualified, out of which 3,599 were offered places.
The mistake occurred as USM was working under time pressure to submit the list of successful applicants to UPU for it to start the process of selecting students for the other universities.
The 3,599 successful students were informed by SMS, web, phone and letter. There was no problem with the 3,599 SMS but the USM wrongly uploaded the names of all the 8,173 pre-qualified students on its website as successful students.
I promised when I met the disappointed students and their parents at the USM Chancellery yesterday that I will contact the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamad Khaled Nordin and Higher Education Department director-general Datuk Prof Radin Umar Radin Sohadi in Kuala Lumpur today.
I could not contact Khaled Nordin as the Minister is overseas. I spoke to Prof Radin and conveyed to him the scene of emotional havoc at the USM chancellory yesterday.
I told him that Ahmad Shukri has agreed to send to UPU the list of the 4,574 students who had been victimized by the USM blunder and bungle and urged on him to give particular attention to the list of 4,574 pre-qualified by USM to ensure that they will not be victimized a second time by the university selection system.
Prof Radin said the results of the UPU selection of students for all the other public universities would be announced on June 19, where some 40,000 would be selected for places out of some 60,000 pre-qualified students.
I call on Khaled Nordin as Higher Education Minister and all the other Cabinet Ministers to ensure that new university intake by UPU to be announced on June 19 provide places for the 4,574 student-victims of the USM Apex University fiasco.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor