In Jawi, VC Says UiTM Formed Under Article 153 Of Federal Constitution

In Jawi, UiTM VC Shahrin Sahib cites the UiTM Act that says UiTM was formed under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution. “It will continue to be defended for religion, race and country”, he says, amid backlash to opening UiTM-IJN CT postgrad to non-Bumi.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) appears to have poured cold water on its professor’s proposal to open admissions to the university’s cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme to non-Bumiputera.

This followed vociferous opposition from Malay nationalist groups against the proposal – even though the cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme by a collaboration between UiTM and the National Heart Institute (IJN) is the only such local programme in the country.

The only alternative training is the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) parallel pathway with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) that the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) has refused to recognise for specialist registration on the National Specialist Register (NSR).

“Act 173 – this sacred university was formed pursuant to Article 153. Insya Allah, it will continue to be defended for religion, race, and country,” UiTM vice-chancellor Prof Shahrin Sahib said in Jawi on the UiTM’s vice chancellor’s Facebook page.

He appended a copy of the Universiti Teknologi MARA Act 1976 (Act 173), in which Section 1A states that UiTM was established in pursuant to and in accordance with provisions of Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

Article 153(1) of the Federal Constitution states: “It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities”.

UiTM’s official TikTok channel, which uploaded the VC’s statement, included a screenshot of CodeBlue’s report headlined: “UiTM Willing To ‘Temporarily’ Open Up Cardiothoracic Surgery Postgrad Programme To Non-Bumi Parallel Pathway Trainees, Graduates: Professor”.

Prof Dr Raja Amin Raja Mokhtar – who is on the Board of Studies of the UiTM-IJN cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme – told CodeBlue in an interview that UiTM’s top leadership, including the VC and chairman of the UiTM board, had agreed to open admissions to non-Bumiputera or non-Malays for a limited period, until the opening of a similar programme at Universiti Malaya.

This was touted as a solution for cardiothoracic surgery parallel pathway trainees and graduates to transfer to UiTM, after the MMC rejected NSR specialist registration applications by four pioneer graduates of the parallel pathway on the basis of not recognising their Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCS Ed) in Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Dr Raja Amin also said he did not believe legislative amendments were needed to admit non-Bumiputera students into UiTM’s postgraduate programme, citing existing alternative pathways like the university’s private wing or the postgraduate programme for international students.

UiTM’s official TikTok channel on its VC’s statement also included a screenshot of a news report on Dr Raja Amin’s daughter Alicia Amin, who is a model and actress, expressing support for her father’s proposal due to the shortage of doctors in the country.

Higher Education Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir, who is also an Umno supreme council member, denied there were any official discussions on opening admissions to the UiTM-IJN cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme to non-Bumiputera, saying a few “fundamental issues” must be resolved first.

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim criticised Zambry’s stance, saying: “There are no outstanding issues except for the perennial fear of opening the UITM to non-Bumiputras. This is Umno’s problem”.

It wasn’t only Malay nationalist groups who condemned Dr Raja Amin’s proposal to “temporarily” open up the UiTM-IJN cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme to non-Bumiputera.

Senator Dr RA Lingeshwaran – who is from the DAP that touts itself as a multiracial party – told CodeBlue in an interview that UiTM was “treading a dangerous slope”, saying that UiTM should remain a Bumiputera-exclusive university, while non-Bumiputera could take the parallel pathway training.

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