UiTM Student Union Protests Opening Admissions To Non-Bumi

UiTM’s student union urges students to wear black tomorrow in a campaign against opening up the university to non-Bumiputera, triggering backlash from critics who note that the proposed opening only involves the cardiothoracic surgery postgrad programme.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — Universiti Teknologi MARA’s (UiTM) student union has launched a campaign to protest against opening admissions to non-Bumiputera, even though the proposed opening only involves the cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme.

The UiTM Student Representative Council (MPP) urged students to wear black tomorrow in its #MahasiswaUiTMBantah campaign and to use the hashtag on social media platforms.

“The objective of the formation of Universiti Teknologi MARA was to protect the special position of the Malays, Orang Asli, and natives of Sabah and Sarawak to ensure that lower-income Bumiputera students have access to higher education,” the UiTM MPP said in a statement yesterday, citing Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

“UiTM MPP believes that this sacred university is the one Bumiputera education institution protected till now. Therefore, we as one voice call for UiTM to preserve the original objective of its foundation, which is to protect and develop Bumiputera students as the fortress of the privilege and development of our race.”

UiTM MPP’s statement completely omitted mention of the cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme by a collaboration between UiTM and the National Heart Institute (IJN) at UiTM’s Faculty of Medicine.

The campaign by UiTM’s student union marks heightened opposition to the proposal by Prof Dr Raja Amin Raja Mokhtar – who is on the Board of Studies of the UiTM-IJN cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme – to “temporarily” open up the programme to non-Bumiputera as a solution to the Malaysian Medical Council’s (MMC) non-recognition of Malaysia’s cardiothoracic surgery parallel pathway with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd).

Dr Raja Amin explained that opening up the cardiothoracic surgery programme to non-Bumiputera was only for a limited period, pending the formation of a similar programme by Universiti Malaya.

PKR’s student wing vice chairman Yap Xiang slammed UiTM MPP’s “misleading” statement, pointing out that the issue at hand only involved one postgraduate programme.

The country’s sole local cardiothoracic surgery postgraduate programme is the one offered by UiTM-IJN that has received provisional accreditation – different from the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) parallel pathway programme with the RCSEd that has sparked a parallel war on medical specialty training in Malaysia.

UiTM MPP’s campaign received massive backlash on the X (formerly known as Twitter) platform, as many Malaysians highlighted the shortage of cardiothoracic surgeons in the country.

“Some patients wait six months to a year for a heart bypass surgery in our public health care system. Some have died while awaiting their turn,” said one person.

“Please don’t confuse students and the public as if the rights and special position of the Bumiputera are being threatened.”

Another person urged students of UiTM and other universities to post pictures of themselves wearing white tomorrow instead in solidarity with health care workers.

The increased pressure on UiTM comes even as proponents of the MOH-RCSEd cardiothoracic surgery parallel pathway lost the cornerstone of their argument for recognition, after the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council (GMC) said in a recent statement to CodeBlue that it did not recognise the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCS) in Cardiothoracic Surgery for specialist registration in the UK.

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