By BERNAMA / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak said yesterday the government will continue to safeguard the interests and status of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) as an educational institution that creates many Bumiputera intellectuals and professionals.
The caretaker prime minister said this is different from the stand of the Opposition which he claimed does not have an agenda to safeguard the institution that was established in 1967, to enhance the socio-economic standard of the Bumiputeras in the country.
“I want to be frank. It has never crossed the mind of the other (Opposition) side to ensure the interests and status of UiTM. Who do you want to trust, (DAP leaders) Nga Kor Ming, Lim Kit Siang? Neither can you trust any other person,” he said at the opening of the UiTM Raub campus.
Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and UiTM vice-chancellor Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Hassan Said were also present at the event.
Najib said the setting up of the university has enabled many Bumiputeras to hold important positions in the public and private sectors, and has helped social mobility regardless of background.
“Today, people in the most remote of villages also have the opportunity to study at UiTM, and a special programme of going down to the ground to the villages conducted by this institution has changed the destiny of many Bumiputera children.
“We seek out students who are unable to excel in their studies due to poverty, and expose them to the importance of getting a good education for their future,” he said.
In this regard, he said, the people must choose the government wisely on the polling day on May 9 to ensure the continuation of the benefits of education and educational opportunities.
“We must favour those who provide us with the benefits. What’s the point of winning battles, but losing the war? We can elect anyone, but the most important consideration is whether the chosen ones can provide us with a better life.
“Which side can make a difference for us? Is it DAP, Pakatan Harapan? Who looked after us over the past 60 years, who brought development? Was it not the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, from the time we were small until we grew into adults? And, UiTM. Who looked after UiTM? Who are the leaders who brought UiTM to this level, were they not the BN leaders?”
Najib said UiTM had surged 23 positions to be the 158th among the outstanding universities in Asia, according to the Quacquarelli Symonds Asia University Rankings 2018.
The report lists the institution among the 1.3% of the top universities in Asia. UiTM has 170,000 students throughout the country and 700,000 alumni. Najib, meanwhile, urged Malay voters in Raub to support BN candidate Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun to ensure victory for the coalition in the election.