Malaysia omitted fifth year in succession – Shanghai Jiao Tong U’s World Top 500 Universities Ranking 2007

Malaysia has been left out of the World’s Top 500 Universities ranking for the fifth year in succession in the “Academic Ranking of World Universities ARWU 2007” just released by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Singapore has two, Australia 17 and New Zealand five universities in the latest world university ranking, which is dominated by US universities with Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley and Cambridge occupying the top four places.

It would have been good news for Malaysia’s 50th Merdeka anniversary to demonstrate the success of the country’s universities to get out of the rut of mediocrity and return to the path of excellence and quality if Malaysia had managed to get listed among the World Top 500 Universities in the ARWU 2007 — but it is clear that all the talk of higher education reform has not borne fruit with the lack of political will to give top priority to meritocracy and academic excellence to scale the ranks of world-class universities.

The Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad should explain why no Malaysian university has been able to get ranked in the ARWU in the past five years and when he expects Malaysian universities to achieve such international recognition.

The statistics by country for the World Top 500 universities in the ARWU 2007 are:

USA 166
UK 42
Germany 41
Japan 32
China 25
Canada 22
France 22
Italy 20
Australia 17
Netherlands 12
Sweden 11
Spain 9
South Korea 8
Switzerland 8
Belgium 7
Austria 7
Israel 7
Finland 5
Brazil 5
New Zealand 5
South Africa 4
Ireland 3
Singapore 2
Greece 2
Hungary 2
Poland 2
India 2
Chile 2
Portugal 2
Argentina 1
Slovenia 1
Turkey 1
Egypt 1
Mexico 1

Total 508

  1. #1 by ccjett on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 4:23 pm

    when the country got into any merit ranking, newspapers make it the biggest ever proud.. when out of the ranking, the minister concerned will just say ‘malaysia won’t mind about ranking’

    that’s the only answer we have been hearing..

    i’d advice the minister concerned to make a formal request to the ARWU that it should allocate 30% or more quota for bumi-school in the ranking.

  2. #2 by devilmaster on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 4:34 pm

    And when we have so many people in the govt making policies with the denial mentality same as RealWorld, who could not admit his own mistakes and tender his apology to me; don’t ever expect this country to progress. It will only get backwards and eventually will become like another African regime.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 5:01 pm

    The Higher Education Minister will reply that this is obviously a conspiracy of the West and China (and Confucius-based system) to deny and discredit Malaysia of its academic achievement. Nothing to worry. Malaysia is convinced and confident of its world-class achievement based on meritocracy. Anyone making too much out of this will be charged under ISA.

  4. #4 by bystander on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 5:13 pm

    The explanation why we are not in the top 500 is simply because our education system is in total failure. But BN Govt will not admit that. So we heading for the abyss with no light in the abyss.

  5. #5 by sybreon on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 5:29 pm

    I would like to draw attention to the fact that it’s research that is the main criteria that determines a university’s ranking (in this or other league tables). However, most of our local universities are teaching universities. So, it isn’t surprising that we are not listed.

    Granted, it would be very nice to be listed, but just because we aren’t doesn’t mean that our local universities are bad. It just means that they do not do enough research. But, research can only thrive if there is enough research funding made available.

    Therefore, I think that LKS is calling for an explanation from the wrong minister. Research funding is controlled by the Sci & Tech Ministry, not the Higher Education Ministry. The proper question that needs asking is how our R&D funding is being disbursed.

    Furthermore, instead of just asking for an answer from the wrong man, a good thing to do would be to suggest better controls for R&D measurables. All publicly funded R&D should be answerable to the public. Therefore, the correct Ministry should publish performance results.

  6. #6 by AsIseeit on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 5:50 pm

    Giving excuses is the easiest way out of the problem. But is it?
    1. If our local graduates are so good, why is there a glut of graduate unemployment? The figure was something like 39,000 last year or two ago. Of course to cut this down, the govt will offer to absorb them into the civil service. So the civil service is what it is today – with a very poor delivery system!

    2. The way out of the rut – face the problem eye-to-eye and be man enough to tackle the issue even though it means drastic steps. If a person has serious gangrene in his leg, the answer is to amputate the part so that it will not affect the whole person.
    If we do not address this issue, then the whole nation will become infected.

    The govt need to do something before it is too late. We may be on the threshold point if nothing concrete is done to the roots of the problem.

  7. #7 by cool man on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 5:52 pm

    As a post-independence-born Malaysian, I would like to offer my thoughts on Article 153 of the federal constitution which mentions the special position of the malays. Please note that there is no mention of the words ‘special privileges’ or ‘special rights’ in the constitution.

    For too long, there has been a lack of understanding of what our forefathers had in mind when they included this clause in our much talked about social contract. To gain a better understanding, let us take a trip back in time to 1957 to actually visualise the scene then.

    In a scenario where the immigrant Chinese and Indians were seeking citizenship rights in Malaysia, it is reasonable to presume that they would have had to understand and acknowledge the difficulties faced by the majority malays.

    And this is where the meaning of the words ‘special position’ comes into focus. What did our forefathers mean by the special position of the malays? Did they mean that the malays would enjoy a higher status than all the other races? Did they mean that the malays would have special rights and privileges in perpetuity?

    If this is what our forefathers had intended, then our constitution would have mentioned this specifically. However, the constitution or social contract does not say so.

    What then, could the words ‘special position’ mean? It is reasonable to infer that our forefathers were concerned first by the fact that the malays were left behind economically despite being the indigenous majority in the country.

    Secondly, they were concerned by the fact that, despite being immigrants, the Chinese and a small segment of the Indian community were relatively much better off.

    The clause was therefore more so of an acknowledgment by the non-malays of the disadvantageous economic situation of the malays. The consideration given by the former to the latter when entering into the social contract for citizenship rights was agree to provide some measure of support for the malays to improve their economic standing.

    If our forefathers had meant for these preferences to last in perpetuity, then there would not have been a request for a review in 15 years.

    When I see the compulsory requirement for non-malay companies to hand over a certain portion of their equity to the malays for no input at all, I am tempted to ask: Is this what our forefathers had in mind? I can go on listing the abuses forever because there are plenty of them.

    It is intriguing to hear senior BN and Umno leaders repeatedly asking the people to adhere to the social contract. What contract they are referring to? It cannot be the federal constitution. It is most probably some contract that they have entered into unilaterally without the agreement of the non-malays.

    So it seems to be incorrect to firstly equate the words ‘special position’ with ‘special rights and privileges’. Secondly, it also seems incorrect to suggest that the malays have special rights and privileges in perpetuity and therefore, that they have a higher status than everyone else.

    The non-malays only agreed to allow them preferences over the others for a finite period of time. It has now been almost 50 years since independent but has such a meaningful review of those preferences taken place at all? Absolutely not.

    In fact what has happened is that successive BN governments, dominated by Umno, and especially after the 1969 tragedy, have taken the liberty to very liberally interpret Article 153. This has led to the wholesale abuse of the consideration provided by the non-malays in 1957 for their citizenship rights.

    It seems to me that the real social contract of 1957 was torn up long ago by the BN government with the way in which the NEP was implemented from the 1970s onwards.

    To me, the real social contract of 1957 has long been dead. I hope the day will come when the people of Malaysia in the true independent spirit will make it live again.

    Then perhaps, we would not have to spend hundreds of millions ringgit on nonsensical projects like the National Service to inculcate unity amongst the races.

  8. #8 by raven77 on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 5:57 pm

    Indonesia is not in and we are sending thousands of our students there for medicine…….

  9. #9 by robtang on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 6:08 pm

    As for what sybreon said, I would like to point out that it is not the lack of research funding that explains the lack of research in Malaysian universities. The money is there, but it is mainly the failure to recognise and reward talents that gives rise to an inactive research environment and culture. Even for teaching, it would be interesting to assess as a whole how well it is carried out in Malaysian universities. In a good university, teaching and research go hand in hand. A good university not only imparts existing knowledge to a new generation of student, but it is also involved in generating new knowledge (that is, the process of moving the frontier of knowledge).

  10. #10 by bystander on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 6:12 pm

    Thats why our doctors amputated the wrong limb and left operating instruments and foreign objects in the bodies after surgeries. Thats scary isnt it? Who are these doctors and where did they qualified from -Indonesia or UTM or MU ?

  11. #11 by k1980 on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 6:16 pm

    The bums in control of the higher education ministry may decide to establish their own “World Top 500 islamic universities lallang league” ranking whereby malaysian unis will be compared with those in Afghanistan, Somalia, Chad and so on. Only in this way can local unis make the grade.

  12. #12 by bolehlandor on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 6:23 pm

    Ya lah. ccjett is right. The BN govt must protest against the ARWU. How can they NOT recognise bolehland’s NEP. This is most uncalled for. Bolehland is a sovereign nation & we are entitled to the world acknowledging & recognising our limitations.

    Afterall we are independent ONLY 50 years against them which have hundreds of years tp develop. That is NO FAIR!!!

  13. #13 by ccy on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 6:51 pm

    Malaysia is no longer interested to compete in THES and Jaiotong University ranking.

    Malaysia will compete in OIC ranking – maybe top 10?

    By 2057, Malaysia will only be able to compete with those 4th world countries…

  14. #14 by sybreon on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:08 pm

    robtang: I agree with what u say. That’s why I’m asking LKS to investigate the correct disbursement of R&D funding that will help boost our rankings. If the funding is enough, we need to make sure it’s correctly spread out. If it’s not enough, we need to raise it.

    I agree that a good university needs both. However, I think that it’s difficult for a university to be good at both because research and teaching are two different directions that require a different skill sets. In fact, many universities in this world specialise in something.

  15. #15 by digard on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:08 pm

    Considering the “500-list” somewhat doubtful, I still don’t find a single Malaysian in the list of frequently cited researchers:

    Maybe the gomen can write in and ask for the allocation of a proper percentage of Malay(sian) researchers?
    Israel, for example, with a population at one third of the Malaysian population, counts 47 such researchers. We ought to have about 150 in the list; consequently. But we don’t have a single one. And we all know, that the government has absolutely nothing to do with this. On the contrary: Malaysia spends a larger amount for R&D than Israel’s MOST (yes, that’s the name – they miss the ‘Innovation’ part).

    For you to figure, whose weakness our lack of cited researchers is produced of.

  16. #16 by ccy on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:22 pm

    Shall we ask Jiaotong university to extend a more comprehensive list of universities to cover, say, top 1000 universities to see where’s our exact position?

  17. #17 by requiem87 on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:30 pm

    Lolz… ccy i’m scared that we wont be there as well
    just look at the local uni la…the lecturers can’t even speak proper english ~ ? and alot of students got below band 3 for their MUET…what do you expect from them ? The poor command of english is the main problem la….seriously….try and attend a lecture in local uni…then you’ll know

  18. #18 by mata_kucing on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:39 pm

    So what do we expect when 70% of our university students are admitted not because of their acedemic performance but their race?

  19. #19 by ccy on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:39 pm

    Let’s see how our Ministry of Higher Education respond to this ranking. I think the usual response will be: “The ranking is only based on perception, and perception does not always reflect reality…”

  20. #20 by ccy on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 7:47 pm

    I am sure that if there is a ranking of world universities that adopt NEP race-based quota system, Malaysian universities will fill up all the top 10!

    So, Malaysians should not be too upset that none of the Malaysian universities appear in that top 500 ranking list. Because we are living in a different world of our own.

  21. #21 by cg on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 8:45 pm

    I can helped out to ask SH Jiao Tong Uni since I’m staying just opposite of SJTU.
    I’ve got students interns from SJTU too, they are all top students from all around China that entered SJTU with excellent grades or academic awards. It really amazed me to find how creative, innovative, and excellent they are. Their English are not bad at all. Really can’t imagine how can the spoon fed students from local Us can be compared to them.
    Luckily we have our very own Malay Language which they never learnt. So far I only found that some of them learnt up French, Japs, Korean and etc as their third language, not Malay. So we still have our competitiveness in the language.

  22. #22 by cg on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 8:48 pm

    Interested to know where local U ranked among all the world’s Unis

  23. #23 by bystander on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:00 pm

    As a matter of curiosity, pl cg find out.

  24. #24 by bystander on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:04 pm

    Maybe UMNO can bride JiaoTong U to get into the top 500. That would solve all their problems by sweeping under carpet.

  25. #25 by bystander on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:05 pm

    Sorry should be bribe.

  26. #26 by cg on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:52 pm

    Is there any money to bribe? 2nd Penang Bridge fund also loan from China…

  27. #27 by Godfather on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 9:56 pm

    No, there’s no money left to bribe since all of it has gone to UMNO’s pockets. And it’s far cheaper for them to maintain a stony silence on this matter since they control the mainstream press.

  28. #28 by cg on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:09 pm

    Check out more details about how the ranking is (It’s in English)

  29. #29 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:14 pm

    Home timely you blog on this today.

    For your info, Hilmi Yahya said today, Pak Lah has approved to build yet another university, a Tourism University, in Balik Pulau as part of the NCER project.

    Not to be outdone, our Agriculture Minister, Muhuddin Yassin said in Jeli today, a new Agriculture University, will help boost the sector’s needs.

    Wow, two new Universities just like that. As if we don’t have enough.

    Maybe tomorrow Samy Vellu will propose a Works and Repairs University, followed by the Transport Minister for a Transportation University and then Housing University, a Arts, Culture and Heritage University, a Health University, ad infinitum.

    Don’t forget we already have Universities by Petronas, Tenaga National, a Multimedia one, an Infrastructural one.

    Very soon, every town and district will have one e.g. University of Pekan or Kota Tinggi or Kinabatangan or Cheras.

    Heck, we have this fetish for universities that make us look cheap. Very soon every one can have a degree, its soooooo cheap.

    Oh, by the way, the little red dot down south has seen very strong demand for places in its three world class universities. Many strong applicants had to be turned away because of limited places. And just yesterday their Senior Minister, Goh Chok Tong, said the government is seriously considering a FOURTH university, perhaps a liberal arts one.

    Why is it that some people can build world class institutes while others can just build buildings?

    By the way, Singapore already has three other good universities – SIM University, Universitas 21 and the Open University each with its own niche.

  30. #30 by devilmaster on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:16 pm

    Uncle Kit,

    i have received your replied e-mail. I shall heed your advice of totally ignoring the trouble-maker RealWorld in your blog from now on. I understand your plight of wanting an UMNO’s voice in your blog. So others cannot make baseless claim that LKS blog is for anti-UMNo only.

    Uncle Kit’s email to me can be viewed in my blog.

    To RealWorld,

    You dont have the chance to beat me in LKS blog anymore. Your only chance to get your revenge at me for pawning you in the last few topics lie in Malaysia-Today website now. That’s your only option of revenge if you want to get even with me. You should thank Uncle Kit for saving your arse from further bashing by me. Hopefully this painful lesson will remind you, you are not the best chider in Bolehland.

  31. #31 by shaolin on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:20 pm

    This is the very obvious RESULT of Racial QUOTA SYSTEM practised
    by the Government, The New NEP and Race Protectionist with its
    Protected Species RACE and The Apartheid Policy!!!

    We should clap our hands loud and clear for that ‘achievements’!!

  32. #32 by UFOne on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 10:36 pm

    It is very sad indeed and for sure you cannot call this cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang. Even politicians’ sons and daughters are studying outside Malaysia. You cannot call that patriotism either. But I suppose you can sugar coat the situation. Have these graduates clothe themselves professionally, teach them to act and talk professionally, send them to English classes, put the more verbal empty tins in the front line so that people think they are so clever and then you get yourself a real smart country. People are admiring all the tall buildings we have in the country. That is an addition. We still have got many natives out there in the jungles. How long do they need to conform themselves to the modern society and what do they have to do to show that they are equally smart. No, not a piece of academic paper but when they speak, they speak with sense. When they question, they question with sense. They thoughts can go deeper than any ocean surface. Their vision go further than deep space. They are bold to question, to challenge and to say that is wrong when that is wrong. They want to do what is right. They are not contended with just following the leader. Education is not just a piece of paper. We cannot depend on just a handful of people and say this is a smart country. Many people have to be smart. Malaysians themselves don’t even know where is West Malaysia and where is East Malaysia. How can we expect them to be smart ? If they are so smart, should they be forming smart partnership with corrupted countries ? Why don’t Malaysia’s universities form smart partnership with smart universities in U.S., U.K., Japan, China or Singapore ? Have a students’ exchange programme. Have a lecturers’ exchange programme. Before we can become smart, we have to admit that we are not that smart first because if we are so smart, the whole world should look to us. But the whole world has yet to recognize Malaysia as being one of the smart countries. So much for cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang. It remains just a nice catchy song.

  33. #33 by cg on Sunday, 12 August 2007 - 11:07 pm

    Why don’t Malaysia’s universities form smart partnership with smart universities in U.S., U.K., Japan, China or Singapore ? Have a students’ exchange programme. Have a lecturers’ exchange programme. Before we can become smart, we have to admit that we are not that smart first because if we are so smart, the whole world should look to us. But the whole world has yet to recognize Malaysia as being one of the smart countries. So much for cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang. It remains just a nice catchy song.
    China had a great exchange programme with plenty of Uni around the world.
    So, we loan money from China, we’re much behind China in Academic (It was just 30 years ago when China’ Academic stopped and even go backwards due to Culture Revolution, and now they’re ahead of us)……What else next? Oversea Chinese start to migrate to China? I’ve saw quite a number of them already.

  34. #34 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 3:27 am

    Malaysia omitted fifth year in succession – Shanghai Jiao Tong U’s World Top 500 Universities Ranking 2007

    Too bad. Try again in 2057!

  35. #35 by Bigjoe on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 8:15 am

    The harping on ranking in the end is not going to make much difference politically. With the best students in this country not even thinking of local universities, does it matter to them? Every middle class parents, bumi or non-bumi, who can afford it are thinking of sending their children overseas. Most who go to local universities are those who are just glad they have an affordable education so they don’t expect to have a quality education. As far as they are concern, get a piece of paper and then work it out from there.

    I spoke to a number of local non-bumi undergraduates and they know their education is not great. They know they have to do more to develop their skills on their own. The plan is to do it while they have a job or go for graduate work overseas.

    This is not an incendiary issue UNTIL we huge unemployment in high cost economy like in Europe. For now, its just another of those you-know, I know issue that is famously Malaysian.

  36. #36 by Daniel Quah on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 8:25 am

    one thing i learn from Umno politician…they NEVER admit their wrong doing…that the problem facing by Malaysia…tak tahu , jangan pandai pandai pulak…org yg berlagak, tu org bodoh…

    I not against any of our local U, but the way our education system..really make me laugh… based on race but not qualification….pls WAKE UP!! we are lagging behind..someday we may in a situation we cannot revive again… I not hoping any much from Malaysia in future, i should get our the country myself just like what the MP say…tak suka, keluar dr Malaysia !!

  37. #37 by sotong on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 8:35 am

    With the quality of our Education leaders at all levels and the decades of damaging politics of education, enormous damage had been done and the road to recovery is difficult and long.

  38. #38 by Libra2 on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 8:52 am

    I know of two Malaysian surgeons, presently working in the UK, who had applied to UKM and UM for a lecturing job and were turned down on grounds that the posts were reserved for Bumiputras.
    I can tell you these two guys are real real geniuses.
    Their applications for a job in the medical service were also turned down on the same grounds.
    How do I know? Well one of them is my nephew.
    So, this talk about attracting back brains is one big bull.

  39. #39 by iStupid on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:08 am

    I posted the following in an earlier blog – Najib Says It’s a Success. I think it is also relevant here. The deteriorating standards of our universities are partly due to the ‘pulling wool’ over the eyes of the public (parents in particular) and even VIPs like Najib. People are not allowed to see the rot in the education system because the rot is sugar-coated by the high pass percentages and the ridiculously high number of straight As in the SPM and STPM.

    One reason Najib says the education system is a success is the ’smokescreens’ that block his view, so that he cannot see, is not allowed to see, the rot inside. Let me give you an example of the smokescreens, that of manipulating the exam results to give a high passing percentage.

    Let us say 10 students, A, B, C, … and so on sat for an English test, and their results are: Student A – 90 marks, Student B – 85 marks, C – 60 marks, D – 45 marks, E – 40 marks, F – 30 marks, G – 28 marks, H – 20 marks, I – 16 marks, J – 13 marks.

    If the passing mark is set at 50 marks, then only three students, A, B and C, pass. The percentage of students who pass is 30%. Too low? You want the pass percentage to be 60%? No problem. Just ‘promote’ three students by enhancing their marks. Give E 20 marks so that he now has 60 marks, give G 25 marks so that he now has 53 marks and give H 30 marks so now he has 50 marks. There you have it, the pass percentage is now 60%. So easy, like eating tofu.

    Notice that you only‘promote’selectively. This is very unfair to Student D and in time he surely will notice such ‘promotions’ are being practiced by the examiner. May be even Student F will notice such unfair practice because normally his mark is higher than H but now H passes and F himself fails the test.

    Herein lies the difficulty of the selective promotions method. So it was abandoned in favour of our present method — that of lowering the passing mark. In our example if we set the passing mark at 29 marks, then four students will fail. We again will have a 60% pass percentage.

    If you think a passing mark of 29 is ridiculous, then you ain-t seen nothing yet. There is not a mark they would not stoop to. If some ‘higher authority’ demands a 80% pass percentage, the passing mark has to go down to 19 marks and so there it will go down to. The defence of the official who fixes the passing mark is that he is merely following an instruction from the ‘higher authority’.

  40. #40 by Toyol on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:17 am

    What to do when we have mediocre leaders? Everything that we have been doing is mediocre…thats why we have been left behind. Not just in education, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The fact that Malaysia borrows from China should tell us a lot of things that are going wrong with this country. The country is left to rot while our leaders enrich themselves…that’s the malaysian way. What’s going to happen to our children, I can only imagine.

  41. #41 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:57 am

    Libra2 Says:

    August 13th, 2007 at 08: 52.54
    “I know of two Malaysian surgeons, presently working in the UK, who had applied to UKM and UM for a lecturing job and were turned down on grounds that the posts were reserved for Bumiputras.
    I can tell you these two guys are real real geniuses.
    Their applications for a job in the medical service were also turned down on the same grounds.
    How do I know? Well one of them is my nephew.
    So, this talk about attracting back brains is one big bull.”

    Wow! This piece of information is really NEWS!
    And to think that we have so many Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indonesian etc. etc. doctors from none of the top 500 universities working or teaching in our hospitals!

    Libra2, by the way, why would your nephew & his friend want to come back to Malaysia and be subject to such a dismal and depressing system here? Is it because of the new EU ruling in UK or perhaps, family links in Malaysia? We have always been hearing of doctors, even scholarship-holders, who are reluctant to return. Your nephew’s case seems interesting.

  42. #42 by Jeffrey on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:59 am

    “…What’s going to happen to our children, I can only imagine” – Toyol

    Well, let’s try to imagine……….

    What Big Joe earlier said is quite true that this is no big issue to Non Malay Upper and Middle Class (except that they’re paying taxes without equitable returns on educational benefits for children) but it may be an issue to the Lower economic/socio class depending on local education.

    But really how bad it is – from primary to secondary level? (Try sending your children to go through the whole primary and secondary school system in these Western Countries and see how to turn out and what values they learn?)

    The weakness of English in our system is, sure, one weighty consideration. But don’t forget the marguinalisation of Non Malay children has the compensating factor that many of our children become trilingual, learning Chinese in primary school (which gives an edge as China emerges economic power), Malay in secondary schools because it’s a necessity (which gives also an edge if you’re doing business here with UMNOputras and Indonesia) and English (supplemented by TVs and Internet and other sources freely available) making them extremely marketable in the globalised world – not to mention an exposure to confluence of diverse cultural influences.

    Much also depends on how looks at what is prerequisites of education. In terms of acquiring knowledge especially the scientific and technical kind, you certainly can’t read Automotive Engineering or Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering and get a job here!

    But if one looks at education in wider context of learning how to think in preparation of a successful life in all senses of the word?

    The greater acquisition of technical facts and information available elsewhere does not necessarily translate to converting them to wisdom to be marshalled for life’s challenges.

    You just have to look around you – does having a string of degrees from overseas necessarily make a person an “educated” person in thinking and wise terms? Even while the number of people waving advanced graduate degrees expands, we witness less and less ability to think rationally and logically…….

    It is the University of Life that counts more and exposure it provides you and how you use this knowledge to effective advantage to make whatever you do a success.

    It may not be the typical case but if you take YB Kit here who did not studying any institutions occupying Shanghai Jiao Tong’s top universities as compared to Son-in-Law (and some of the UMNO leaders who did), who do you think is a more educated and better man?

    Even in this times of many people have access to education, most can’t think or won’t think, the small fraction who do try to think but mostly can’t do it very well. It is extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion — in the long run, these are the only people who count. And the fact that we lack the last category of people is why abusive and corrupt governments keep being returned to power decades after decades.

    And if you want to select a good university of life ( not in Shanghai Jiao Tong’s list) in which to learn how to think and be streetwise and capable (from which you graduate only when you die), how does Malaysia offer one’s less?

    Here you learn how to be marginalized for having wrong skin creed or political beliefs and how to fight every inch of the way to benefit from the very system that oppresses you [true, minorities are discriminated world over – the fact that the laws are made to protect against discrimination does not mean that it is not there in subtler form circumventing the law – but here it is better learning centre because it is legally sanctioned and institutionalized !) ; you can learn about corruption first hand and how to prevail in spite of it; you can learn about the hypocrisies of politicians and yet benefit from them and from their contracts that you could execute; here is a vortex of all kinds of experiences and funny going ons (eg murders with political undertones etc which will take pages to elaborate).There’s quite alot of knowledge and experience here too.
    Is not such an environment also conducive for one’s intellectual, spiritual, physical and emotional development with the right approach?

    Think about it. Things are not that bad – nevermind whether any of our universities is in the upper echelons of the 500 list. You need to have the right attitude and approach.

  43. #43 by cg on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 10:52 am

    I had my primary edu in 3 SRJK(C) from north to south of M’sia, my secondary edu in 3 secondary schools a private school, SMK, SMJK(C) from south to north M’sia.

    Yes, my experience is rather unique, but it makes me see all the difference and our SMK or SMJK syllabus are much lower standard than the private school, I relearnt what I’ve learned during junior senior school in private school in another language (The history topics covered is also quite different, this is another topics which I don’t want to cover here, probably we learnt quite well from the Japs indeed). Even with the same syllabus, I see how SMJK and SMK student’s different in studying attitude, then I decided not to waste my time for STPM since there were so many cases which proven that strait A’s in STPM doesn’t equal to enable you to get what you deserve to in local Us, and if you can survive through STPM and get in local U, then you can guaranteed that you’ll graduate without any study. Why? Lack of competition…

    Still I decided to stay in the country and fight in a half gov subsidized college (No Uni at that time), so I compete towards graduate with somewhat excellent result (a lot of my peers got retained or failed to graduate) and now get a quite decent job through my own hard work.

    So what I found later? My certificate worth more than someone with a Uni certificate but can’t speak or understand simple English.

    And Jeffrey is absolutely right in saying that “marginalisation of Non Malay children has the compensating factor that many of our children become trilingual (or even more with dialects) making them extremely marketable in the globalised world – not to mention an exposure to confluence of diverse cultural influences.” So everywhere I go to, I can meet up with such people from M’sia. And I’m one of them myself. I even meet up with some colleagues who moved out the country for too disappointed with the gov.

    I have siblings who are now studying in NUS (Ranked among the top 150 Uni in the World). Would they want to come back after graduation? To go through another round of marginalisation in job searching or to have the next generation that need to go through all these marginalisation? I doubted it…

    For myself, if the education system doesn’t change, I really doubt if my heart is strong enough to have my next generation to go through such a shitty educational system.

  44. #44 by raven77 on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 10:58 am

    We are now so short of qualified doctors….that we now have to engage DR TEH KIM POO of the MCA to see if he can save the kids arm at Klang…..This consultant DR TEH KIM POO who is of course a buddy of the FAILED MEDICAL DR , DR CHUA SOI LEK……will eventually come out with the statement that there is nothing much our western trained doctors can do…….both DR TEH KIM POO and DR CHUA SOI LEK…will now confer that the best hope for this child would be the traditional medicine specialist at Kepala Batas or Putrajaya. DR. CHUA SOI LEK has further reassured the public that the sinsehs treating this little girl will be from the top apothecary colleges in China which are listed in the 500 universities….Thank God…..GOD BLESS this little girl, DR TEH KIM POO, DR CHUA SOI LEK and GOD BLESS MALAYSIA……..for having such enlightened gurus to save us from ourselves…..aummmm

  45. #45 by Jeffrey on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 12:21 pm

    “…//….To go through another round of marginalisation in job searching…//….” – cg

    This is something I’ve got to learn from your experiences because it is not my experience in private sector.

    For nearly whole life of being an employer spanning decades, I don’t recall Chinese Malaysians as a ethnic group being marginalised. In fact it is favoured because it is hard to get Chinese staff. Even now. The ethnic groups marginalised in private sector are, in my field, at least , the Malays and Indians. Every time one puts an advertisement, throngs of these 2 groups form the majority seeking jobs. It is almost as if the Chinese are full employment at all times. I wonder why your other experiences are.

  46. #46 by Jeffrey on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 12:28 pm

    “To go through another round of marginalisation in job searching” – cg

    Is that really true for Malaysian Chinese?

    In my decades as an employer (private sector), the experience is that it is constant problem to get chinese staff and everytime one places an advertisement for staff at different levels we get lots of Malays and Indians unemployed looking for jobs, and when we get a Chinese it is so easy for other companies to take them away with better offers! They appear to be in demand in job market. I wonder who is marginalised.

  47. #47 by Jeffrey on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 12:35 pm

    Maybe my experience is limited but I really don’t perceive the Malaysian Chinese with some qualifications and experience being “marginalised” in real terms in the private sector whether locally or elsewhere, and I suspect they are favoured. This is not so in the government and civil service but in these sectors even if (as in some exceptional instances where they need some representation from other races) they are offered incentives and more than favourable terms, the likelihood is they are not interested! I wonder what your experiences are, in real terms.

  48. #48 by cg on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 1:54 pm

    Jeffrey, it’s true in private sectors, Chinese probably are more welcomed due to they competency and hardworking. I apologize here as I probably should be more specific in mentioning that “if they want to go to public sector”, I would certainly not recommending them to go to nor would they want to go into public sector themselves.

    For myself, I never even think of applying any government job, why wasting the effort?

    Libra2 had already mentioned her nephew experience in medical sector and for medical I heard there’s rules that all doctors must serve government hospital for a period of time before they’re licensed to go to the private sector, so what does this means if there’s no place for them to come back?

    I’ve been seeing responsible teachers never get promoted during their teaching life. I have my college friend who can’t even be a permanent primary school teacher because she didn’t obtain a certificate for teaching from the gov (I’ve forgotten what the cert names are). This means she’s no different from any secondary school graduates who want to be a primary school teacher. For primary school teachers, to get promotions to teach secondary schools, they need to further their studies and certifications, and you don’t need me to tell you whether there’s any quota for it or not.

    So, for Malaysian Chinese who had worked hard all the while to fight for any chance they can get, of course they’d seek for opportunity which can in return give them a higher compensation for their efforts. As for those who went to Singapore who study, they’ll have to work in a Singapore registered company for for at least 3 years as the S’pore government agreed to subsidize them in their tuition fees in return, they’re treated equally as any Singporean as long as they agree to work for 3 years. And I doubted many of them will want to come back again after that.

    And more important, would anyone who went through our education system want their children to go through the pain again?

  49. #49 by pulau_sibu on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 1:55 pm

    Now Chinese are running UTAR. Do we expect it to get into the top 500 list one day soon?

  50. #50 by cg on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 2:02 pm

    pulau_sibu Says:

    August 13th, 2007 at 13: 55.52
    Now Chinese are running UTAR. Do we expect it to get into the top 500 list one day soon?
    Probably we can hope that if a more safe study+living environment is provided to the students. Otherwise we might need to worry the possibility of our kid be gone forever due to the poor performance of PDRM who failed to subside rapes, murderers and robbers. Then after thinking twice, better send them out of the country.

  51. #51 by k1980 on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 3:17 pm

    The Higher Education Minister is holding a kenduri hajat to celebrate the happy occasion that several malaysian universities are among the top 50,000 in the world

  52. #52 by Toyol on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 4:09 pm

    Is it a curse to be able and wiling to work hard for what we want? Is it a curse to sacrifice to be able to provide the best for our families? Are the Chinese cursed because they have the mentality to be prepared to face hardships so their families could have a better life?

    The reasons why private sector companies prefer to have Chinese staff is obvious. It is really secondary which university they come from. Of course, some jobs require candidates from top universities…granted. But the majority of employers would take Chinese staff from basically any university/college. Is it their fault that due to their willingness to learn and work hard that other races are marginalised. Is that why the NEP is for? No wonder we breed mediocre people!

  53. #53 by requiem87 on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 4:26 pm

    There are two ways to enter university form 6 and Matriculation…the question papers of the matric students are set by their lecturers unlike the form6 students who study like hell to sit for a paper set by the exam board….i feel like this is injustice done to the form6 students ~! why the double standards ?

  54. #54 by Godfather on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:16 pm

    If there are no double standards, how could they have manouvred the entrance exams ? How could they have continued to occupy the majority of the places in medicine, engineering, dentistry and law ? How could they have lied with the statistics ?

  55. #55 by requiem87 on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 9:43 pm

    Can someone explain to me why students with band 1 in MUET can enter university ?? My cousin complained to me that his teacher said that only band 4 and above can enter ? If band 1 can enter university then why bother taking the MUET test which costs RM60 ??

  56. #56 by k1980 on Monday, 13 August 2007 - 10:13 pm

    If band 1 can enter university then why bother taking the MUET test?
    It goes without saying that only a certain race is given this exemption of not having Band 4 and above. These Band 1 students will be automatically inducted by the govt as religious officers (which require zero knowledge of the English language) as soon as they graduate.

  57. #57 by tunglang on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 2:03 am

    It takes no MORON to figure out who were admitted to our local universities (preferentially at ??? standard), later to graduate ??? and took over the running & teaching & reseaching at the same local unis, and the same ??? standard of admission and MINDSET continues to produce ??? graduates… to figure out how our unis compare vis a vis foreign ones.

  58. #58 by pulau_sibu on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 7:12 am

    Why can’t we buy Oxford and make it a malaysian university (but in UK)?

  59. #59 by grace on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 11:20 am

    I think that the ranking is “biased “against us!!!
    Look at what HRH Sultan of Selangor say.
    HRH had said that a lecturer rejected by our local U was readily welcomed by Singpore U and msde the head of the department.
    By extension, we must be of very high standard. Our ‘discards’ are readily accepted by others as the elites!!!
    Damn high standard we must have. Must be a ‘mistake’ la to rank our Uni so low!!!!

    I think we are at ‘par’ with MIT and some say even better!!!

  60. #60 by shortie kiasu on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 12:41 pm

    Public universities only accept mediocre students as shown by all the bright students were rejected entry year in and year out, it has everything to with the racial quotas under New Economic Policy, and if the policy makers realize, the NEP is pulling them and the designated race backwards, not propelling them forward, and if they so continue choose to do so that will be bitter fruit they have to devour continuously, so is the same scenario in the academia in the local public universities, put the academia and the students together, they should know where they heading: dead end. Is that what they want, if so, so be it.

    The education minister always said rating as such does not matter to them, they can face up to the globalization, so the grape is sour.

  61. #61 by Orangutan on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 2:29 pm


    I share the same experience with you as an employer. Not only have I observed similar trend, I have also noticed that Chinese candidates going for the same job, generally will command about 30-50% higher pay than their counterparts of other races. And frankly they don’t loose an edge in doing so because of the trust of their quality and performance from the employers and they still end up being the preferred ones.

    Non-bumi graduates may be discriminated in their pursuit for higher education in Malaysia, but those who work hard will be rewarded fairly when they are in a free market domain, which all of us will eventually be. Many of NEP’s by-products are now finding themselves going against the free market forces and not marketable.

  62. #62 by requiem87 on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 3:31 pm

    Thanks k1980 for your explanations :)

  63. #63 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 4:17 pm

    Thanks Orangutan for the response. I point it out because our young esp of Chinese descent complained about being marginalized and wanting to migrate though many here become trilingual, very marketable in employment here and abroad.

    But even in terms of the entrepreneurial and employment class, you will find that nearly all non Malays would denigrate the NEP though many of them are not admitting that they are making money together with Malay partners or business associates under the auspices of the NEP just as those who condemn corruption and cronyism are themselves partners or friends of such politicians and cronies and are making money in concert…

    I don’t want to be construed as if I were defending the NEP or its unintended consequence, patronage slipping over to corruption. Overall, it is no good for the country. It is a communal policy by which UMNO has long relied to sustain its five-decade grip on power, and by itself is no good for even the Malays as well in terms of institutionalizing their reliance on crutches and making them susceptible to reverse discrimination in the market place.

    But still many of those supposedly marginalized by such policies have turned out better in spite and sometimes because of such discriminatory policies.

    The market is the great arbiter and leveler. And I don’t mean just our local market or our property bubble.

    Outside, there are so many bubbles – commodity bubble, derivative bubble, liquidity bubble from the massive growth of debt derivative products and the bursting of the US sub-prime mortgage market may well spread to other markets and bring down the house of cards in the credit market.

    It will be interesting to see when the crunch (induced from external conditions) hit us how much of the bumiputra wealth created via NEP will be preserved or transferred by sheer market forces to the non bumiputra entrepreneurs not geared and with savings. :)

  64. #64 by digard on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 7:14 pm

    Though I can understand some frustration around, I still sense some racial undertones in some of the comments.
    China is heavily polluted by corruption, probably not less than Malaysia. Why, pulau_sibu, would “Chinese are running UTAR.” be any guarantee for a place among the first 500 universities? There are so many Chinese universities in and out of PRC who are not among the first 500.
    Think about it, we are so desperate and so sick of all that racial nonsense; and through the backdoor it creeps in again.
    We are so sick and tired of the ‘ketuanan’ of one race, and nevertheless some contributors project another race as ‘better’, at least implicitly.

    Sorry, but Chinese racism is just as stupid as Malay racism.
    It would increase the quality of this blog very much, if it went without playing any racial card.

  65. #65 by cg on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 9:38 pm

    digard: Just want to comment about “China is heavily polluted by corruption, probably not less than Malaysia.”

    I think at least China gov is doing what they should to make the country moving forward, unlike the coalition who are leading our very beloved motherland towards backward. Really make me sad.

    With my stay of nearly 2 years working in China and my knowledge of what is happening back at home. I’d say I feel guilty when I heard some Malaysian criticize the Chinese for not being civilise, while Malaysia aren’t doing any better to improve, at leave I’m seeing improvement in the Chinese on striving to improve themselves.

  66. #66 by tunglang on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 - 11:39 pm

    dear digard, we all happen to sail in the same Malaysia Boat, which is sinking by the day. Some of us still have the ‘ostrich’ mentality to bury our heads when things are not going well. Or we still seem to go on the perpetual honey moon trip to Laguna Bay, singing the ‘Malaysia Boleh’ song knowing fully well we may not survive the next global challenges ahead if nothing is done about ‘it’.

    ‘Rights’ is one thing, survival for every Malaysian is another more crucial factor. (How to row together if some are not fed well while others are over-fed? How to row in 2nd class? To row for another 13 years towards 2020? No brainer!)

    Now, no one being ‘handicapped’ by discrimination would like to sail any further, much less on a journey that took 50 long years that has yet to reach the promised land of Malaysia for all Malaysians.

    That’s why we see some jumped ship much earlier!

  67. #67 by digard on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 - 7:10 am

    cg and tunglang: Appreciate your dialogues! – Much more interesting to exchange views than simply giving out statements.

    I do share your concerns about Malaysia; and still, I am afraid that countering ‘Malay’ with ‘Chinese’ does not serve the purpose. That only puts the well-meaning Malays off; those that DAP has lost years ago. There are plenty who dispise the current gomen just as much. Why should they subscribe to implied Chinese superiority? I personally know some, who could and would contribute a lot to increase the quality of a Malaysian university to attain a high ranking. Why annihilate them with our perceived ‘superiority’ at running a place?

  68. #68 by palmdoc on Thursday, 16 August 2007 - 7:52 am

    No problem. We have “University Colleges” here which “twin” courses with other ranked Universities, so we are still messing about with the best.
    Malaysia boleh!

  69. #69 by xtracts on Sunday, 7 October 2007 - 12:21 am

    Education in Malaysia wont progress and it’s getting from bad to worst…Even Mat Rempit are qualified to enter University….Just imagine our contry’s education level….Ministers are hoping that Malaysia will produce a good students…Hope without doing their job will not bring Education in Malaysia a success….The intake for universities should not based on race and the government should do it in a fair way….There’s no point having so many graduates in Malaysia but none of them have the quality….Quality is better than quantity…The ministers are not paying good attention about it…When they are interviewed they are able to give all sorts of visions but none of it was a success…

    Malaysia Boleh 2020…

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