Archive for category university

Call on newly-appointed Minister for Higher Education Idris Jusoh to advise university administrators to respect the intellectual freedom of students and stop treating them as children as Malaysia aspires to university academic excellence

I call on the newly-appointed Minister for Higher Education, Datuk Idris Jusoh to advise university administrators in the country to respect the intellectual freedom of students and to stop treating them as children if Malaysia truly aspires to achieve university academic excellence in the world.

Idris should advise Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) to withdraw the suspension of two students, Hanif Mahpa and Afiqah Zulkifli for organising a forum on the goods and services tax (GST) and inviting a Member of Parliament and PKR vice president Rafizi Ramli to the forum last May. Read the rest of this entry »

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Academic freedom, critical thinking tools to fighting extremism, forum told

by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
17 June 2015

Universities have a role to play in preventing fanaticism and extremism from festering in society, academic Professor Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid said, warning that Malaysia was at a turning point.

Ibrahim, the deputy vice-chancellor of INTI-Laureate International University said extremism was taking hold and urged intellectuals to reclaim their fundamental rights.

He also said the Malays were “cultural prisoners” in Malaysia and that in many ways, the non-Malays were freer than the Malays in this country.

“When university people surrender and are not courageous and allow lesser thinkers take over because of their articulation and their loudness and their mechanism of power, they can actually oppress the masses.

“It is tragic when they oppress the intellectuals and the intellectuals accept the oppression,” he said.
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Is criticising Putrajaya more serious crime than kiddie porn, ask student activists

by Diyana Ibrahim
The Malaysian Insider
6 May 2015

Majlis Amanah Rakyat’s (Mara) decision to give a “second chance” to child porn convict Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin gives the impression that sexual crimes are less serious than criticising Putrajaya, said two student activists.

The duo, who had disciplinary action taken against them by their respective universities, said students who disagreed with the government faced suspension or expulsion from their institutions of higher learning.

Adam Adli Abdul Halim said Mara’s proposal was unfair because the same opportunity was not given to undergraduates fighting for their rights and vocal in defending democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t rely on our university rankings alone, QS tells Putrajaya

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
2 May 2015

Despite Malaysian universities’ continued strong showing in QS Quacquarelli Symonds’s world rankings, the London-based firm has cautioned Malaysia not to solely rely on its results to gauge the performance of the nation’s varsities.

While Putrajaya often cites QS’s rankings as proof Malaysian universities are world class, QS head of research Ben Sowter agreed with Times Higher Education (THE) that Malaysia must refer to multiple sources to get an accurate picture of how local varsities fare compared with the rest of the world.

“Ours is only one of range of publicly available measures. Universities and policy-makers should combine data from multiple sources to form an accurate diagnosis of their strengths and weaknesses,” Rowter told The Malaysian Insider in an email interview.

“We strongly discourage anyone from making important choices on the basis of only one input.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia needs not only a new Finance Minister, but also new world-class Education Minister

Calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to stand down as Finance Minister led by DAP MP for Kluang and DAP National Political Education Director, Liew Chin Tong have reached a new crescendo with last Friday’s statement by the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin withdrawing blind and total support to Najib’s handling of the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, with the triple position:

1. That the Auditor-General should audit freely and independently, and tracing back to the accounts in 2009 when 1MDB first started, not just the accounts of 2013, as well as a forensic audit to ensure “there is no corruption in 1MDB transactions.

2. That the Public Accounts Committee begin investigating 1MDB without having to wait for the outcome of the Auditor-General’s findings.

3. No bail-out of 1MDB whether in the proposed disposals of lands in Tun Razak Exchange and Bandar Malaysia which were “obtained from the government on the cheap”.

However, the nation needs not only a new Finance Minister, but also a new Education, a need driven home after Muhyiddin’s speech today admitting his shock with the poor performance of Malaysian students in international assessments, despite the millions of ringgit being spent to improve the education system.

What is most shocking about Muhyiddin’s “shock” is that it has to take him 15 months for the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Education Minister to be shocked by the dismal performance of Malaysia’s 15-year-olds in the three subjects of mathematics, science and reading in the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), when the results were released 15 months ago in early December 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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Yet again, Malaysian varsities not among world’s top

BY ANISAH SHUKRY
The Malaysian Insider
12 March 2015

Malaysian universities have once again failed to make the cut in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings 2015, with too few scholars citing the country’s tertiary institutions as being among the best in the world.

The list of the world’s 100 most prestigious universities released today includes two Singapore varsities, and is based on the largest survey of leading academics across the world, said THE rankings editor, Phil Baty.

“As long as academics cite them as being among the very best universities in the world, they will appear in the rankings,” Baty told The Malaysian Insider in an email.

“Unfortunately, not enough scholars around the world named any Malaysian university in sufficient numbers for them to make the top 100. Singapore had two top entries – NUS (National University of Singapore) in 24th place and NTU (Nanyang Technological University) in the 91-100 band.”

Malaysia has never been featured on the list, which is in its fifth year, despite Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh’s recent statement that the country’s universities are world class and on par with varsities in Britain, Germany and Australia.

But unlike Malaysia, those three countries were singled out by THE as having among the highest number of institutions in the World Reputation Rankings 2015.

The US had the most number of institutions at 43, followed by the United Kingdom (12), Germany (six) and Australia (five). Read the rest of this entry »

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Idris Jusoh’s statement: refreshing and disappointing

— Lee Hwok Aun
The Malay Mail Online
FEBRUARY 28, 2015

FEBRUARY 28 — Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh’s opinion piece, defending his description of Malaysian universities as world class, is refreshing – and disappointing. Kudos to him for responding to criticisms in this manner, instead of deriding detractors or going into “I was misquoted” hiding.

However, his article merely inflates his original contentious remarks: Malaysian universities are world class because they are a popular destination for international students and Universiti Malaya has a decent spot on the QS university rankings. He hardly brings anything new to the public arena. In fact, some of the evidence he presents refutes his own position. He also tries to portray critics as having their hearts in the wrong place, instead of fixing his head on confronting their arguments directly.

Idris draws on a UNESCO report which appraised Malaysia’s relative popularity as a tertiary education destination. Unsurprisingly, cultural compatibility, low cost and good value feature prominently. Malaysia is considered good for the price, and the price is relatively cheap. This is not indicating that our tertiary education is bad, but it is far from a vindication of high quality and world class.

Idris adopts a simple definition of world class: among the best in the world. It must be noted that we are speaking of universities and education systems, not individuals. This is an important distinction, because Idris lists out a number of personal academic achievements – award winning professors, inventors, and student debaters – as evidence of our institutions’ world class status. I am not devaluing these achievements, but pointing out an inconsistency in his argument. Read the rest of this entry »

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With UMNO’s Kangkong Professors running riot with their illiterate interpretation of national developments, Malaysia’s university ranking can only plunge further south without hope of restoring our former world-class university status

UMNO’s Kangkong Professors have been running riot with their illiterate interpretation of national developments, and the most recent example is the Bernama report yesterday entitled “Local Council Elections Contravene Constitution, An Attempt To Create Autonomy: Analysts – by Erda Khursyiah Basir”.

It quoted Kankong Professor (1), Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Dean of the College of Legal, Government and International Studies, Asso Prof Dr. Ahmad Martadha Mohamad and Kangkong Professor (2), Universiti Utara Malaysia senior lecturer in Political and International Studies, Md Shukri Shuib, to ground the allegations that the “DAP’s endeavour to hold local elections in Penang” is seen as “an attempt to challenge the Federal Constitution” and “turn the Pearl of the Orient into an autonomous states” which “only serve to shatter racial unity and adversely impact nation-building efforts”.

It is sad and tragic that the Dean of the College of Legal, Government and International Studies of a local public university does not understand the Federal Constitution or he would not say such a nonsense about the DAP challenging the Federal Constitution for holding the view that local government elections should be restored 50 years after suspension in 1965, at the time on the ground of threat of Indonesian Confrontation.

Can the Kankong Professor who holds the exalted position of Dean of College of Legal, Government and International Studies explain how the DAP’s position that local government elections should be restored, which the then Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman had promised would be done once Indonesian Confrontation ended? Read the rest of this entry »

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Stop making the Deputy VCs as sacrificial victims when the people who should resign are the DPM and Education Minister Muhyiddin and the VC Amin Jalaludin for continued political interference against academic freedom and excellence

The Deputy Vice Chancellors, Professor Dr. Mohd Hamid Abd Shukor (academic and international) and Professor Datuk Dr. Rohana Yusof (student affairs) should not be made sacrificial victims in the continued political interference with the once leading university in the country.

If any body should quit their posts, it is the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for continued political interference against academic freedom and excellence in University of Malaya and the Vice Chancellor, Professor Datuk Dr. Mohd Amin Jalaludin who had dismally failed to stand up for the academic staff and the university students in University of Malaya against such political interference by the politicians from Putrajaya.

The greatest tragedy of University of Malaya is that it has fallen off from the pedestal as one of the leading world universities even in the sixties and seventies, left far behind by its earlier peers and even equals among the leading national universities in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia and there are no signs that University of Malaya is on the bend to restore her prestigious world top positions for academic freedom and excellence some forty years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

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Epitomising Dr M’s criticisms of the gov’t

By Ganeshwaran Kana
Malaysiakini
6:43PM Dec 29, 2014

COMMENT Dear Dr Mahathir Mohamad. I would consider “vociferous” as the best and most suitable word to epitomise your criticisms against Malaysia’s government of the day in recent times. As a citizen of Malaysia, one has the right to speak of and criticise his or her government.

Although some of your arguments have gained public support, the current generation of Malaysia has all the rights to question policies and actions of your governance in the past.

To set the record straight right at the start, I am neither a supporter of Umno nor of “the other side”.

Nevertheless, being a civic-minded citizen of Malaysia, I would like to request your explanations pertaining to various issues spanning throughout your 22 years in your journey as the prime minister of Malaysia.

Although I duly recognise your contributions to Malaysia, any flaw and mistakes that took place under your long premiership should be taken as your mishandling. This is what real leaders do.

And, hopefully, this commentary of mine is not to be seen as seditious. Read the rest of this entry »

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Would Najib ask all the 34 UMNO/BN Ministers who send their children to private or international schools, whether local or foreign, to resign for their lack of confidence in the Umno/BN national education policy and system?

Malaysians must thank the former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad for highlighting the scandal of more and more Umno/BN Ministers and leaders sending their children to private or international schools, whether local or foreign, as it has been a standing example in the past decades of the hypocrisy of UMNO/BN leaders who preach one thing for ordinary Malaysians but do the exact opposite for themselves and their family.

Would the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak ask all the 34 Umno/BN Ministers who send their children to private or international schools, whether local or foreign, to resign for their lack of confidence in the Umno/BN national education policy and system?

I have been informed that one of the first things a Minister of the Najib Cabinet did on his appointment was to transfer one of his children to an international school.

Why?

Is this because Malaysia’s education system sucks, stuck in the bottom third of the countries surveyed in international assessments and not making any significant moves towards the upper tier of the top one-third of the countries with 15-year-olds in Shanghai, Singapore and South Korea performing as though they had four or even five more years of schooling than 15-years-olds in Malaysia in mathematics, science and reading? Read the rest of this entry »

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In solidarity with UM8 – UM alumni, academics and concerned individuals

The Malaysian Insider
6 November 2014

We, the undersigned individuals, call on University Malaya (UM) to drop the charges against student leader Fahmi Zainol and all other students pertaining to the forum entitled “Empat PuluhTahun Dari UM ke Penjara” which took place on campus on 27 October 2014.

We support the right of Persatuan Mahasiswa University Malaya(PMUM), as an elected bodyrepresenting UM students, to organise events on campus. Their choice of topic for the lecture is reflective of the currently debated issue within academia and society.

We laud the students’initiative in seeking knowledge and critical views in understanding this issue further. The choice of inviting a politician as a guest speaker is not extraordinary as the university regularly haspolitical leaders coming to speak on its campus.

We wish to also record our serious concern and raise objection to the series of actions taken byUM in the handling of this event. The university’s response raises serious concerns regarding the professionalism of its administrators and the institution’s commitment to academic integrity and intellectual freedom. Read the rest of this entry »

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Time to rally against ‘oppressive regime’, says convicted youth activist

The Malaysian Insider
6 November 2014

Youth activist Safwan Anang, who was sentenced to 10 months in jail for sedition in September,‎ said the recent outcry among student activists against the “oppressive regime” was no ordinary protest and could usher in a greater movement at the societal level.

“It is time for the students to unite all Malaysians from among the youths, workers, social activists, NGOs, party activists and ordinary citizens who are fighting against endless issues such as the rise in fuel price and living costs, the goods and services tax, the use of the Sedition Act and the oppression of people’s rights.

“The students should be the pioneers in mobilising a huge ‎movement to shake the regime from its comfortable position,” said Safwan in a statement.

The ‎Lensa Anak Muda (Lensa) executive director praised his juniors for initiating the student movement on October 27, when they invited Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim into the Universiti Malaya (UM) campus despite the university’s ban on the event. Read the rest of this entry »

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University of Malaya guilty of global educational scandal of first magnitude when it is completely indifferent to its omission in the 2,100 slots for 100 Best Global Universities for 21 subjects but totally paranoid about penalizing Fahmi and UM8 for student awakening and activism

The country’s premier university, University of Malaya, is guilty of global educational scandal of the first magnitude when it is completely indifferent to its omission in the 2,100 slots for 100 Best Global Universities for 21 subjects but totally paranoid about penalizing student leader Fahmi Zainol and the UM8 for student awakening and activism.

So far, the only person in authority who had deigned to pay notice to the new world university ranking series, the Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 released by the US News and World Report, is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself – as even the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister, has kept silent on the new global university rankings in the past 10 days as he seems to be leading a national campaign to “dumb down” Malaysians on what they should expect of academic excellence and standards in Malaysian universities.

But the Prime Minister was badly advised, as he only congratulated the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) for being placed in the 54th rank in the 100 Best Global Universities for agricultural science, but failed to congratulate the University Sains Malaysia (USM) for being ranked No. 87 in the 100 Best Global Universities for engineering.

Malaysians must be very concerned that in the 2,100 slots for 100 Best Global Universities for 21 subjects, Malaysia’s 21 public universities which have a total of over 200 schools for different disciplines, could only manage to be placed in the 100 Best Global University for two subjects – agricultural science for UPM and engineering for USM.

In failing to get ranked in any one of 100 Best Global Universities for 21 subjects, UM’s lowly listing of No. 423 in the 500 Best Global Universities Rankings 2015 is further diminished – as reflected by the Prime Minister’s congratulations to UPM for being ranked No 58 for the 100 Best Global Universities for agricultural science but not to the UM for the lowly 423rd position for overall university ranking among the 500 Best Global Universities. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should also congratulate USM for being ranked No. 87 in the 100 Best Global Universities for Engineering and direct full inquiry why Malaysian universities could only get two out of 2,100 slots for the 21 subject areas for 100 Best Global Universities

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should also congratulate the University Sains Malaysia (USM) for being ranked No. 87 in the 100 Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 for Engineering, as he seems to have overlooked USM’s listing when congratulating Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) for being placed in the 54th rank for agricultural science.

While congratulations to UPM and USM are in order, for being ranked in the 100 Best Global Universities in the field of agricultural science for UPM and in engineering for USM, the Prime Minister should be very worried and concerned about the overall failure and inability of Malaysian universities to compete with universities not only in Asia but also at the global level.

The Prime Minister cannot make a worse mistake or be more wrongly advised if he regards the Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 released by the US News and World Report on Oct. 27 as a cause for celebration, when it is in fact a terrible indictment of the lowly standards of public university education and excellence in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muhyiddin not proud that UM is ranked No. 423 in latest US News 500 Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 although it is only Malaysian university ranked, because it confirms lowly international position of UM and Malaysian universities

The Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is not proud that University of Malaya is ranked No. 423 in the latest US News 500 Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 although it is the only Malaysian university ranked, because it confirms the lowly international academic position and repute not only of Malaysia’s premier university but also of other public universities in the country.

This is the reason for the “conspiracy of silence” in all the mainstream media in the past week since the publication of the new ranking for universities in the world last Tuesday, as if the new world universities ranking does not exist.

This is totally unlike countries which have received recognition for producing world-class universities as to be ranked in the Top 500 in the new ranking series by U.S. News & World Report, which published its first Global Universities Rankings online after producing the Best College in United States rankings for 30 years.

The new rankings of the top 500 global universities, based on their academic research performance and their global and regional reputations, come from 49 countries with 134 from United States, 42 from Germany, 38 from United Kingdom, with 90 from Asian countries, led by China with 27 universities, 17 from Japan, 11 from South Korea, 7 from Turkey, 5 each from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Israel, 4 from India, 3 from Iran, 2 from Singapore and one each from Malaysia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for return of student activism on national issues in universities and abandonment of all pending plans to penalise Fahmi and university students for Anwar programme in University of Malaya on Oct. 27

The nine charges slapped on University Malaya student leader Fahmi Zainol by the University of Malaya in connection with Anwar Ibrahim’s return to his alma mater university on Oct. 27 and the show-cause letters to eight other University of Malaya students as well as pending disciplinary actions against other university students from other pubic universities must deplored in the strongest possible terms.

They must be dropped completely as they reflect a Barisan Nasional government and university administrators who can only think of how to control and brainwash students, instead of cultivating and grooming a new generation of thinking and critical citizens, which is essential if Malaysia is to stand tall in the world in competition with other countries in this age of science and technology.

Malaysian education, whether primary, secondary or university, are facing a prolonged crisis, which is translated into lesser competitiveness for Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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The war to restore student autonomy in UM

By Chow Yu Hui
Malaysiakini
Oct 29, 2014

ADUN SPEAKS The night before PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s final appeal against his sodomy charge, the nation was moved by the brave act of the Universiti Malaysia Students Union (PMUM) who invited Anwar to return to his alma mater to give his final speech.

The venue for his speech was UM’s most historical structure, the Dewan Tunku Canselor (DTC). It is a symbolic structure which witnesses the start and end of a UM student’s academic life.

The student movement which once threatened political power of Umno and BN was first gagged by the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) in 1971.

After various amendments to the Act, Umno/BN succeeded in controlling all universities through oppressing the student leaders, academic staffs and the core value of a university, which is the academic freedom.

And after all these years, we were left asking: ‘Will the UM administration allow a programe involving the Opposition Leader?’ Read the rest of this entry »

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UM should withdraw its police report, admit it has made a colossal blunder in the campus lockdown and power black-out and enlist student/alumni/academician support to restore academic freedom to regain international repute for academic excellence

The University of Malaya should withdraw its police report allegedly over “trespass” on its grounds when students and supporters defied a lockdown and blackout of the university campus on Monday night to attend Anwar Ibrahim’s talk on “40 years: From UM to prison” at Dataran Dewan Tunku Canselor.

The University of Malaya administration should take an enlightened attitude to what happened on Monday, admit it had made a colossal blunder in the lockdown and power black-out of University of Malaya and enlist the support of university students, alumni, academicians and the Malaysian public to restore academic freedom to regain the university’s international repute for academic excellence in its early decades.

Of course, the university administration can go on a witch-hunt and vengeful campaign to penalise students and even academicians for what happened on Monday night, but this would be an even greater disservice to its national and international reputation and would do nothing to restore its repute as the country’s premier university. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anwar brought out the worst in UM

– Thulsi Manogaran
The Malaysian Insider
28 October 2014

It has been long written by William O. Douglas that the most important aspect of freedom of speech is the freedom to learn. All education is a continuous dialogue comprising of questions and answers that pursue every problem on the horizon. That is the essence of academic freedom.

I am not a big fan of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim but I stand for academic freedom and freedom of speech. Anything that curtails the intellectual growth of my fellow Malaysians is a barrier to the nation’s growth.

I stand against suppression and indoctrination especially in the field of education. By now, we all know the reaction from Universiti Malaya’s administration on the close down of the entire university. UM staff were sent home early and classes cancelled. All entrances were locked.

However, what happened thereafter in UM is proof that no amount of suppression can work to curtail progress and change. Malaysia’s social landscape is changing and it is time those in power remember and accept the fact that you are in control because we, the rakyat, gave you control. Read the rest of this entry »

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