Pakatan Harapan said it will recognise the United Examination Certificate (UEC) if it comes to power following the next general election.
The opposition coalition’s chief secretary Saifuddin Abdullah said this is consistent with its predecessor Pakatan Rakyat’s stand on the matter.
“That was why Universiti Selangor (Unisel), which is owned by the Selangor government and led by a PKR menteri besar, has already recognised UEC,” Saifuddin said at a DAP event in Bentong.
This comes after MCA Youth urged Selangor to withdraw Unisel’s recognition of the UEC amid claims that Harapan ally Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Muhyiddin Yassin said UEC should not be recognised.
Several English language dailies had reported that Muhyiddin warned that UEC will not be recognised if Pakatan Harapan takes over, citing an interview with the former Education Minister by Sin Chew Jit Poh.
Muhyiddin has since denied the claim, which he said was a misinterpretation of what he said.
Saifuddin said Harapan sees the UEC issue as important as it involves 61 private Chinese high schools.
More than 500,000 students have sat for the exams, which were introduced in 1975.
Today, 7,000 students sit for the senior level exams which can be used for university admissions internationally.
“But because the BN government does not recognise UEC, they have to either study in local private universities or go overseas,” said Saifuddin, who is former deputy education minister.
“Studying overseas or in local private universities is costly. As Malaysians, they should be given a more fair deal by allowing them to study in our local universities.”
He said not recognising the UEC could also exacerbate the issue of brain drain where top students are forced to study overseas and opt to stay abroad after that.
Despite non-recognition of the UEC at public varsities, government agency-owned UniKL is among private universities which recognise the qualification.
UniKL is owned by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara).
Recently deceased Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem endeared himself to the state’s Chinese community by among others pledging to recognise the UEC at Sarawak public universities
However, the Ministry of Education only allowed this if UEC holders can only be admitted in public varsities there if they also pass the Bahasa Malaysia subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).