Sarawak recognises UEC!


Holders of the certificate can now apply for state govt jobs, apply to Yayasan Sarawak for loans or scholarships and may be able to study in Unimas

KUCHING: Finally, after decades of fruitlessly knocking on doors, the incessant push to get the government to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) made a landmark breakthrough yesterday – but only in Sarawak.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem created history of sorts when he gave the long-awaited nod that enables UEC holders to apply to join the state’s civil service.

Adenan, who is also Yayasan Sarawak chairman, went a step further when he gave Yayasan Sarawak the go ahead to provide education loans or scholarships to UEC holders. Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) may also join the bandwagon and open its doors to UEC holders, but its senate had not made any decision yet.

However, SUPP president Senator Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, who broke the slew of good news yesterday, told reporters that Unimas had taken the lead in accepting UEC holders. In any case, a decision may be made soon as the Chief Minister’s Office, when contacted, stated it was working on getting Unimas to open its doors to UEC holders.

Present at the press conference were United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) chief Temenggong Dato Vincent Lau and Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Management Board vice-chairman Richard Wee.

On the state government’s decision, Dr Sim said, “We briefed the chief minister on this issue during a meeting this morning (yesterday), and he told us that since the federal government was so slow (in making a decision), the state government will recognise UEC first.”

On joining the state civil service, he said applicants needed to have a credit in Bahasa Melayu in their UEC results and be employed under the Employees Provident Fund Scheme (EPF).

“They cannot opt for the pension scheme because this is under the purview of the federal government. If we were to wait for federal approval, it may take many years.”

On Unimas, Dr Sim said the university’s senate had agreed to allocate a quota for Sarawakians who are UEC holders.

“Though it is a national university, the Unimas Senate has certain amount of authority. After a discussion with them, they agreed to recognise the certificate (UEC).

“Unimas is the first public university to recognise UEC. No other public universities in the country recognise UEC, yet.”

He added that all state government-owned private higher institutions of learning in the state, such as Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak, Curtin University Sarawak, and University College Technology Sarawak (UCTS) had long recognised UEC, unlike their peers in Peninsular Malaysia.

UEC, Dr Sim said, had long been recognised by many universities in the world, including Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, and Singapore’s National University.

With the recognition granted by the state, it was now up to Dong Zong’s technical team to work on the technicalities on how to evaluate a student’s UEC result for entry into Unimas.

“They (Dong Zong) will work out the details to ensure the results comply with the university’s entry requirements. Hopefully, they are able to complete this as soon as possible, so that UEC holders can apply to study in Unimas from next year onwards.

“Hopefully, this is the beginning of autonomy on Sarawak education,” said Dr Sim.

Meanwhile, when contacted by The Borneo Post, Unimas vice chancellor, Prof Dato Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi, agreed that Dr Sim had forwarded a request for Unimas to accept UEC students, but a decision had not been made yet.

“There are things to look at, for instance the issue of SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia). It’s not as simple as allowing those with UEC to be admitted (into Unimas).

“We need to study the whole thing first and bring the matter to the senate (for which Kadim is its chief). After consulting the senate, we also need to consult the Ministry of Higher Education.”

Meanwhile, Lau hoped the state government’s recognition of UEC would spur the federal government to follow likewise.

“We are very happy that the chief minister has decided to recognise the UEC. This is another very positive response from him (Adenan) towards Chinese education.

“With this decision by the state government, we hope the federal government will also look into this positively and recognise UEC,” he told The Borneo Post.

Lau, who is also Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Management Board chairman, believed if the federal government were to recognise UEC, it would not only benefit Chinese independent school students but also the nation.

“Chinese independent schools have been producing a lot of excellent and quality students. With the recognition of UEC, I think this will definitely help to produce more talents in the country, which is much needed as Malaysia is a developing country.”