Archive for category university

After ‘attack’ on academic freedom, UM students to rally forth

The Malay Mail Online
By Ida Lim
September 3, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — Angered by the sedition prosecution of their vocal law lecturer Dr Azmi Sharom, a group of University of Malaya (UM) scholars will lead a rally here next Wednesday to reclaim fully their academic freedom.

Student leader Vince Tan said the charge against Azmi over the latter’s comments on the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis, is an “attack” on institutions of higher learning, and voiced concern at the growing repression of intellectual thinking.

“We feel there is an attack on academic freedom. We have come to a level that is beyond acceptable, because academic freedom in UM and Malaysia has gone so low. (An) academic can be charged for just stating an opinion in the field of his study.

“So we are coming out with a protest together with academics in UM, September 10, 1pm to 2pm,” the secretary-general of student rights group Progressive University of Malaya told Malay Mail Online when met at the court complex here yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cabinet meeting tomorrow must let Malaysians know whether the Barisan Nasional Malaysian government has gone bonkers

The top agenda for the Cabinet meeting tomorrow should be to answer the question right-thinking Malaysians have been asking the past week whether the Malaysian government has gone bonkers.

The week leading to the 57th Merdeka Anniversary gives new cause for concern as to the direction and future of Malaysia under the premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Of special concern are the speeches delivered at UMNO divisional meetings. I need refer only to three of them.

The first was the reckless and irresponsible speech by the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan at the Rembau UMNO division meeting, concocting the lie that “three days after the opposition (Pakatan Rakyat) forms the Federal Government, it will have its first cabinet meeting, where the main agenda will be the reunion of Singapore with Malaysia” coupled with the preposterous and utterly baseless allegation that this could be done (allegedly involving an increase of 89 non-Malay parliamentary seats) without having to amend the Federal Constitution in Parliament.

This was followed by the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob whose speech to the Gopeng UMNO delegates meeting on Merdeka eve indulged in fear-mongering alleging that the Malays were “under attack” in Malaysia.

Ismail lamented that the Malay race is divided into ‘Umno Malays’, ‘PAS Malays’, ‘PKR Malays’ and ‘DAP Malays’ when it is imperative that the Malay race should stand united as they were when the country achieved independence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our medical colleges – for better or for worse?

By Dr. Ng Swee Choon
Aug 27, 2014

COMMENT Medical colleges in the country have been hogging the headlines of late. Certain medical colleges have shamed us publicly and internationally for allegedly not paying staff salaries and not settling their contractual dues.

If the medical colleges involved do not feel ashamed, we Malaysians and Malaysian doctors feel the shame. It is certainly not our Malaysian culture to be known across the world for this.

Recently, there was also the irresponsible statement by Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan to cut down on places in public medical colleges when the problem is with private medical colleges. Private medical education is now big business.

I am writing to highlight this very important issue that medical education has now become a business, important only for the bottom line of the company owning the licence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muhyiddin should present to October Parliament a Higher Education Masterplan to produce at least two world-class universities by 2020 instead of allowing Malaysian universities to become recruiting grounds for terrorists for Islamic State (IS) war in Syria and Iraq

The admission by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi that local tertiary institutions have become recruiting grounds for militants and that Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, senior lecturer with University of Malaya (UM)’s Department of Akidah and Islamic Thought, the Academy of Islamic Studies, was among five individuals wanted by the police for militant activities have catapulted Malaysian universities to unwanted national and international attention and publicity.

Instead of producing world-class universities in keeping with the Vision 2020 objective to achieve developed nation status, Malaysian universities have for the past decade been a national embarrassment, annually confirming the absence of world-class universities in Malaysia.

Malaysia was completely absent from the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2013-2014 for the world’s top 400 University.

For the second year running, Malaysia failed to get on the list of the 2014 Times Higher Education (THE) Top 100 Universities under 50 years old – although four Asian universities are ranked among the top 10 of the world’s young universities, two from South Korea, one from Hong Kong and one from Singapore. In Malaysia, all the public universities except for University of Malaya, are under 50 years old.

Malaysia was also excluded from the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014 for the Top 100 Universities, although 14 universities from Asia were included – five from Japan, two from Singapore, three from South Korea, one from China, two from Hong Kong and one from Taiwan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Our varsities neutered and muted, say academics

by Sheridan Mahavera
The Malaysian Insider
4 July 2014

A culture of fear and pressure to follow the dictates of political masters built over three decades has made public universities anti-intellectual and mediocre, say academics.

They told The Malaysian Insider that while universities were supposed to be the conscience of society, they, however, have been neutered and muted.

They said political pressure to “toe the line” is a daily reality in universities, and those who are critical are harassed while those who kowtow are rewarded with plum posts.

At the same time, cronyism and racism have led to genuinely hardworking researchers being passed over for salary raises and promotions, while others less qualified, but on good terms with the top administrators, are easily elevated.

If the culture continues, the academics warn, standards in these varsities could plunge, making their degrees virtually worthless and their graduates almost unemployable. Read the rest of this entry »

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Subsidies for the poor or Umno-Putras, part 2

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
1 July 2014

In the first part of my article on subsidies for the poor or the rich such as Umno-Putras, I drew attention to the subsidy cut on gas that has come into effect and analysed its impact on poor- and middle-class households.

In this second part, I shall look at the area of subsidies for the cronies of the political elite which run the country – subsidies which are beneath the radar, unaccountable, undeserved and which have been partly responsible for the financial mess that the country is now facing.

What should be in front line of subsidy cuts

What should comprise the first, second or third rung of subsidy cuts to balance the national budget should be open to national debate. Read the rest of this entry »

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It is Muhyiddin who should resign as Education Minister and not the forced resignations of Prof Redzuan and Saifuddin from University of Malaya

The person who should resign for the plight of higher education in Malaysia today is not Professor Datuk Dr. Mohamad Redzuan Othman as head of University of Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel) and his removal as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in the university, or former deputy Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah as senior research fellow from University of Malaya, but Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Education Minister.

What has Muhyiddin to show in more than a year as the powerful Education Minister gobbling up the former Ministry of Higher Education, in the field of tertiary education apart from the latest disgraceful episode of interference with and violation of academic freedom resulting in the resignations of Redzuan and Saifuddin from the University of Malaya?

It has become a heart-rending occasion for Malaysians whenever there is a publication of world university rankings, for it is not to find out how well Malaysian universities compare with the best in the world but how badly Malaysian universities fared in international university comparisons and benchmarkings. Read the rest of this entry »

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When principled men like UM’s Redzuan lose a battle, but win the war

30 June 2014

This is a good day for Malaysia.

Yes, most of us will be sorry that Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Redzuan Othman is being forced out of his job at Universiti Malaya.

But this is also a good day for Malaysia. Because the principled stand taken by this gentleman is another sign that there are individuals in Malaysia who will not be cowered or silenced or threatened by insecure Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians aided by supine and morally-bankrupt government officials.

Only a few days ago, Tan Sri Shamsul Abbas, the chief executive officer of Petronas, spoke with unusual candour about the pressure being exerted on the national oil company by rent-seekers. He championed meritocracy, knowing full well the attacks he would invite from those who believe it is their birthright to plunder Malaysia’s resources.

He knows that powerful forces want him out of Petronas. The easier option would have been to say that the national oil company’s resources do not belong to him and look the other way as the plundering continued.

Similarly, it would have been so easy for Redzuan to sacrifice his beliefs for personal advancement and pecuniary interests. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nilai memperkasa mahasiswa Melayu: Apresiasi budaya orang lain

– Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
3 June 2014

Dalam keghairahan umat Melayu daripada Perkasa dan umat Islam daripada Isma menghina masyarakat Cina dan Kristian di Malaysia dengan memberi mesej bahawa umat Melayu terbantut perkembangan ekonomi, spiritual dan intelek kerana kehadiran kedua-dua jenis manusia sebegini, saya ingin memberi sedikit refleksi daripada buku yang sedang saya usahakan bertajuk “Memperkasa Mahasiswa Melayu dalam Industri”.

Dalam buku ini saya memperincikan 7 nilai penting yang perlu ada pada mahasiswa Melayu jika mereka ingin diangkat sebagai pemimpin Industri dan masyarakat yang terbaik di antara semua kaum dalam dunia.

Nilai pertama adalah Apresiasi Budaya Orang Lain, kedua adalah Berjuang untuk Semua, ketiga adalah Membina Jaringan Manusia, keempat adalah Membina Minda Kritis, kelima adalah Membangun Diri Sendiri, keenam Menyalahkan Diri Sendiri dan ketujuh, Merebut Inisiatif. Semua nilai ini adalah hasil refleksi pengalaman saya sendiri sebagai seorang ahli akademik dan daripada pembacaan peribadi terhadap buku-buku tulisan pakar motivasi, spiritualis Barat, koleksi hadis daripada 4 kitab utama, buku sufisme dan banyak lagi.

Mesejnya adalah jika kita orang Melayu sanggup melihat ke dalam diri sendiri dan jangan mudah terpedaya dengan dakyah-dakyah parti politik, NGO atau individu yang menghasut serta meracuni fikiran kita, dengan bantuan Alllah Yang Maha Megetahui, kita akan menjadi orang yang berjaya dan dihormati serta disayangi oleh semua golongan manusia yang mempunyai keikhlasan jiwa.

Mahasiswa Melayu perlu mempunyai nilai apresiasi budaya lain jika mereka hendak menjadi seorang pemimpin cemerlang dalam masyarakat dan industri. Sesebuah syarikat akan pasti mengambil individu yang yakin dapat bekerja dengan budaya lain dengan mudah supaya syarikat tersebut dapat melantik mahasiswa itu menjadi pengurus cawangan di mana-mana tempat dalam dunia atau menghantar mahasiswa tersebut untuk bertemu klien-klien besar kerana mahasiswa ini berupaya mengendalikan mesyuarat untuk mendapat projek atau menjelaskan perjalanan projek sedia ada. Read the rest of this entry »

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UiTM, antara tanggungjawab sosial dan kecemerlangan

Shahrulazwad Ismail
The Malay Mail Online
May 27, 2014

26 MEI — Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) sering diperdebatkan baru-baru ini semenjak pencalonan calon parti politik DAP, Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud untuk kerusi Parlimen Teluk Intan. Pada tahun lepas, Dyana yang merupakan seorang graduan Fakulti Undang-Undang UiTM telah mencadangkan agar sebuah institusi seperti UiTM dibuka kepada golongan bukan bumiputera yang berpendapatan rendah.

Sesetengah pihak menganggap Dyana mahu UiTM dimansuhkan ataupun paling tidak dibuka kepada semua kaum. Dyana turut juga membangkitkan kepincangan dalam pengambilan pelajar apabila golongan Bumiputera yang kaya diterimamasuk sebagai pelajar lantas telah mengambil hak golongan bumiputera yang miskin untuk belajar di situ.

Sekurang-kurangnya satu kesan positif yang timbul daripada isu panas ini ialah timbul kesedaran tentang peranan UiTM dikalangan rakyat walaupun diiringi dengan pelbagai kritikan, prasangka dan juga hinaan dan cacian secara terbuka di media-media. Saya yakin ramai sudah maklum serba sedikit tentang sejarah dan matlamat penubuhan institusi ini dan tidak kurang juga tentang Artikel 153 Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Pelbagai hujahan telah ditulis oleh pelbagai pihak baik dari pihak UiTM, para graduan UiTM (selain Dyana), para majikan dan tidak kurang juga golongan awam. Eloklah kita ambil kesempatan ini untuk menilai tahap kejayaan UiTM ketika ini dan mengenalpasti halatuju selanjutnya.

[Harap maklum bahawa penulis juga merupakan graduan Fakulti Undang-Undang UiTM sejak sepuluh tahun yang lepas.] Read the rest of this entry »

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How to ensure poor get their share of scholarships

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
May 11, 2014

Since my retirement, I have been concerned with how we can solve the problem of the poor through educational mobility.

This has involved putting my money where my mouth is in a programme which helps needy families send their children to university through financing their first year.

Although Forbes, the media organisation has given recognition to me in its annual selection of Asian philanthropic heroes in 2011, I am the first to realise that my efforts at providing scholarships to the needy are modest and a drop in the ocean of need.

After much reflection, I would like to provide a practical and easy solution to the problem of too many deserving poor children having to chase and compete for too few scholarships.

My solution is a two-pronged one. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alumni: Seminar soiled alma mater’s reputation

May 8, 2014

The organisers of a controversial seminar at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) have discredited the institution which is dedicated to educating underprivileged Malays since 1956.

Dyana Yusoff (left), an UiTM alumni, said the seminar which allowed Indonesian Muslim scholars to demonise Christianity before students was not only anti-unity but also alienated UiTM’s Christian staff and students.

“This incident discredits my alma mater and I, along with many of my UiTM brothers and sisters, are definitely not happy with it.

“UiTM should have organised an inter-faith seminar highlighting shared basic principles across religions to show how our differences are superficial and our similarities are deep, encouraging understanding among different religions and strengthen unity and togetherness,” she added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian universities not among world’s top ‘young’ institutions, global survey shows

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 01, 2014

Malaysian public universities have once again failed to measure up to higher learning institutions around the world, this time being left out of the latest ranking of the annual Times Higher Education (THE) Top 100 Universities under 50 years old.

Four Asian universities are ranked among the top 10 of the world’s young universities, including South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology which took the top spot, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (3), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (4) and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (5).

Malaysia, however, failed to get on the list for the second year running. In the first rankings list in 2012, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) was ranked 98th.

This is despite Putrajaya’s claim that Malaysia has one of the best education systems in the world – better than United States, Britain and Germany. Read the rest of this entry »

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Melbourne’s MAP 2010: A response to the withdrawal of speaking invite to YB Tony Pua in Melbourne

― Zairee Othman
The Malay Mail Online
April 19, 2014

APRIL 19 ― I feel compelled to share my stories in light of the recent withdrawal of speaking invitation from MASCA to Tony Pua, a Member of Parliament from DAP. Although this came not as a total surprise, I have been constantly disappointed with the endless attempts by government officials who try to control Malaysian student-movements, overseas or locally.

I was asked by a good friend of mine to give my take on this issue in my capacity as a project manager of a previous conference in Melbourne in 2010, which also involved politicians.

In 2010, we held our first ever public debate and conference in Australia called Malaysian Aspiration Program (MAP). The conference was fully organised by students and we had the privilege to host 4 speakers as our guest panellists ― i.e. a Malaysian university professor, the then President of Australia-Malaysia Business Council (AMBC), President of IDEAS (Tunku Zain al-‘Abidin), and YB Tony Pua. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dare Muhyiddin make a Ministerial statement in Parliament next week to explain why Singapore can get two universities for four consecutive years into the THE Top 100 Universities World Reputation Rankings and THE World University Rankings for Top 400 but not a single one from Malaysia?

For many years, it is a heart-breaking event for Malaysians whenever there is a publication of world university rankings, for it is not to find out how well Malaysian universities compare with the best in the world but how badly Malaysian universities fared in international university comparisons and benchmarkings.

The release today of the 2014 Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings for the Top 100 Universities is no different. In fact, it is worse.

For four consecutive years, Malaysia has been excluded from both the THE World Reputation Rankings and the THE World University Rankings for Top 400, with not a single Malaysian university able to make the grade in both rankings.

Singapore National University (SNU) achieved the best World Reputation Rankings in the four-year THE series, ranked No. 34 in 2011, 40 in 2012, 29 in 2013 and 21 in 2014. SNU is only behind two other Asian universities the 2014 World Reputation Rankings – University of Tokyo and Kyoto University in 11th and 19th ranking respectively.

Other Asian universities following closely behind SNU in the THE World Reputation Rankings 2014 are Seoul National University (No. 26), Tsinghua University (No. 36), Peking University (No. 41), University of Hong Kong (No. 43), Osaka University (No. 50), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), National Taiwan University and Tokyo Institute of Technology (No. 51-60), Tohoku University (No. 61-70), Chinese University of Hong Kong, Yonsei University (No.81-90) and Nanyang Technological University (No. 91-100).

What must be very mortifying to Malaysians who in the past had prided in having University of Malaya in the fifties and sixties as one of the world-ranking universities comparable in academic excellence with universities like the Universities of Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney now finding Malaysian universities not only trailing far behind their previous peers, including Universities of Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney, but being overtaken by universities which Malaysians had never heard before. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muhyiddin perlu membentuk rancangan padu untuk membuktikan Pelan Pembangunan Pendidikan Malaysia untuk meletakkan pelajar berusia 15 tahun Malaysia dalam kelompok sepertiga teratas dalam PISA 2021 bukan janji kosong

Malaysia mempunyai dua Menteri Pendidikan, namun hal ini tidak menghalang mutu pendidikan dalam negara daripada terus merosot di bawah piawaian antarabangsa, mengubah status kita yang dikenali di tahun-tahun awal Merdeka dulu sebagai sebuah negara cemerlang mutu pendidikan rendah, menengah, dan universitinya, menjadi sebuah negara yang pencapaiannya serba biasa sahaja.

Kita diperingatkan tentang hakikat ini menerusi dua peristiwa pada minggu lalu, iaitu pengumuman PISA 2012 (Programme for International Student Assessment) Selasa lalu dan Times Higher Education BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2014 pada hari Rabu lalu.

PISA 2012, ujian global melibatkan 510,000 pelajar berusia 15 tahun dari 65 buah negara untuk subjek sains, matematik, dan bacaan, mendapati pencapaian pelajar berusia 15 tahun di Malaysia dalam ketiga-tiga subjek itu bukan saja di bawah tahap purata antarabangsa, malah mereka ketinggalan empat atau lima tahun di belakang rakan-rakan mereka yang seusia dari negara-negara berprestasi tinggi seperti Shanghai, Singapura, Korea Selatan, Hong Kong dan Taiwan.
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Muhyiddin should outline concrete plans to prove that the Malaysia Education Blueprint for Malaysia’s 15-year-olds to be in top third of countries in 2021 PISA is no “pie in the sky”

Malaysia has two Education Ministers but this has not stopped the country from continuing to slide down international educational standards, transforming our previous status in the early Merdeka years as a nation of excellence for primary, secondary and university education into a nation of mediocrity.

This was painfully highlighted by two events last week, the release of the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) last Tuesday and the inaugural Times Higher Education BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2014 last Wednesday.

The 2012 PISA, a global test of 510,000 15-year-old students in 65 countries in reading, science and maths, found Malaysia’s 15-year-olds not only below the international average in the three critical subjects but four or even five years behind their peers in the top-performing PISA countries/regions in Shanghai, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The inaugural Times Higher Education BRICS and Emerging Economies Rankings 2014 has finally confirmed Malaysia’s removal from the pedestal of the world’s top ranking universities – as not a single Malaysian university succeeded for the third year running to be ranked in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for top 400 universities for 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14. Read the rest of this entry »

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Plagiarism: Much more than storm in Tee cup

By Dr. Lim Teck Ghee | Monday, 25 November 2013 00:43

The case of prominent Utusan Malaysia columnist, Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, who has been accused of plagiarism should be of public concern for several reasons.

Firstly, within academia, there are few worst sins than plagiarism. The term “sin” may appear to be too strong but Ridhuan Tee who, regularly from his Utusan Malaysia pulpit, dishes out his pseudo-intellectual views on developments in the country from a supposedly Islamic perspective probably will understand better the use of this term in the context of the wrongdoing he is alleged to have committed. Or then again, perhaps he does not.

Generally, university students enrolled in any university in the world – whether reputable or not – are taught right from the start that they cannot simply lift or copy the work of others without acknowledging and citing the source. This is cardinal rule number 1 – the need to differentiate between one’s own work and that of others.

The rule is rigorously enforced not only to encourage the student to engage in fresh and original work that stems from his own thought processes but also to protect the intellectual property rights of others whose works, ideas or words have been borrowed.

In the case of the allegation made against Ridhuan, apparently he has copied not only entire paragraphs but also the grammatical errors which appeared in the original blog article.
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Tiga soalan “ketamadunan” untuk Naib Canselor dan Menteri

- Prof Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
October 19, 2013

Saya ingin berkongsi suatu perkara yang penting yang telah berlaku sejurus selepas kuliah saya di UTM baru-baru ini.

Dua orang mahasiswa Melayu datang ke pejabat saya untuk bertanyakan beberapa isu. Pada kebiasaannya mahasiswa atau mahasiswi yang datang ke pejabat saya akan bertanyakan tentang soalan berkaitan senibina dan juga tugasan yang diberikan.

Tetapi, pada hari itu, kedua-dua mahasiwa ini telah bertanyakan tiga soalan yang kini seluruh negara kita sedang berhadapan tetapi tidak terjawab. Saya perturunkan tiga soalan ini dengan jawapan saya tetapi sebahagian jawapan saya adalah soalan kepada pucuk pimpinan universiti awam dan pimpinan negara. Ketiga-tiga soalan itu berkisar terhadap isu ketamadunan, perkauman dan kemanusiaan.

Soalan pertama yang telah diajukan kepada saya oleh salah seorang dari dua orang mahasiswa yang hadir ke pejabat saya di UTM adalah:

“Dewasa ini kita sering dengar banyak sekali yang diperkatakan tentang Islam oleh ustaz-ustaz dan tokoh-tokoh ugama. Tetapi yang saya pelik adalah dalam melaut perbincangan tentang ugama Islam, kenapa tahap kemanusiaan kita makin hari makin rendah?” Read the rest of this entry »

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While Putrajaya spends, now Malaysian universities not even in Times rankings

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
October 03, 2013

Although Putrajaya continues to spend billions on education, Malaysian universities are not benefitting from it. If it’s any indication, for the third year running Malaysian universities have failed to feature in the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Meanwhile, universities in Thailand and Singapore continue to track higher as shown in the 2013-14 Times survey.

Last year alone Putrajaya allocated RM38.7 billion in its budget for education, with emphasis on improving quality and standards.

One of Putrajaya’s goals is also to make Malaysia an education hub for the region and attract some 200,000 students to local universities by 2020.

But these latest rankings show that for all the money spent and all of Putrajaya’s efforts, Malaysia’s institutions of higher learning are falling behind. Read the rest of this entry »

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