Mr Soh and Ms Hanie both applied to government-funded medical universities
(BBC) - "The system should nurture talent," Mr Chong of MCA said. "Instead, we are creating generations of people who think that this country is unfair."
Soh Boon Khang scored a perfect mark of 4.0 in his high-school exams.
He was confident that this grade would allow him to become the first doctor in his Chinese family. Mr Soh wanted to become a surgeon, specialising in oncology.
He applied to medical school but did not get a single offer from a government-funded university.
"I feel very frustrated and very sad. I cried three times because I used to believe that a diligent student who excelled at academics stood to get a chance," he said.
Hanie Farhana, meanwhile, who achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 out of 4, was recently accepted into medical school.
She comes from the country's Malay majority, also known as Bumiputera. Some of her non-Bumiputera friends who scored higher marks did not get into government-funded universities, she said.
Ms Hanie felt she was given advantages over other races, such as access to certain scholarships not available to non-Bumiputeras.
"It is stated in the social contract back to independence [from the British] that Malays get special privileges and rights, whereas the non-Malays have their citizenship," she said, but added that she still worked hard and deserved her place.
Malaysia is made up of 60% Bumiputeras, 23% ethnic Chinese and 7% ethnic Indians, with the remainder made up of other races.
Since Bumiputeras traditionally lag behind in education and business, under national policies, they get cheaper housing, priority in government jobs and business licenses.
Malaysia also used to set ethnic quotas in government-funded universities to ensure that more Bumiputeras had access to higher education, but that system was abolished in 2002. Since then, Malaysia's education ministry has said the system is based on merit.
Ethnic minorities dispute this. The academic year begins this month, and of the 41,573 places in government-funded universities available, 19% were awarded to ethnic Chinese and 4% to ethnic Indians. The rest of the seats were mainly allocated to Bumiputeras.
Senator Jaspal Singh, with the Malaysian Indian Congress, which is part of the governing Barisan Nasional coalition, described it as the most unfair and biased university intake for ethnic minorities in decades.
Mr Jaspal said records showed that the number of Indians who applied to government-funded universities had remained steady, but those who were offered a place had dropped by more than half compared to a decade ago under the racial quota system, where at least 8% of the public university intake were Indian.
Ethnic Chinese representatives report that their student intake went down by a third in the same period.
"This year's intake resulted in many students with [perfect scores] of 4.0 cumulative grade point averages not getting courses of their choice, or worse, not being given places at all," said Mr Jaspal. Something was broken in the system, he said.
Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan was unable to confirm or deny whether the number of Chinese and Indian students accepted into public university had gone down since 2002. But he told the BBC that this year's figures alone showed that the system was based on merit.
"The success rate of the Chinese community in university is the highest in this country," he said.
Mr Kamalanathan said of all Malaysians who applied to universities in the 2013-14 academic year, 76% of ethnic Chinese were successful compared to 72% of Bumiputeras. The success rate for ethnic Indians was 69%.
Read more at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23841888