Ong Tee Keat has disgraced and insulted his own Minister, Mustapha

Deputy Higher Education Minister, Datuk Ong Tee Keat has disgraced his own Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad in admitting that promoting Malaysian university places to foreign students in overseas trips like a salesman is demeaning and insulting.

During my supplementary question in Parliament yesterday, I had criticized the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad for a misplaced sense of priorities in going on a China tour to promote Malaysian university places to Chinese students at a time when his greatest challenge is to ensure that Malaysian universities win international recognition for academic excellence and quality as world-class institutions.

This is particularly pertinent at a time of Malaysian higher education crisis when the latest world’s Top 200 Universities Rankings released by Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) a fortnight ago showed a continuing “free fall” of Malaysian universities, with not a single Malaysian university in the Top 200 Universities.

University of Malaya, the nation’s premier university only two years ago, had been falling in the THES ranking from 89th in 2004 to 169th in 2005, 192 in 2006 and 246 in 2007 — or a fall of 157 placings in three years! When will this plunge in the rankings for the University of Malaya stop?

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia has plunged from No. 185 in 2006 to 309. The plunge of Universiti Sains Malaysia in the past three years is even worse than University of Malaya — a plunge of 196 places from 111 in 2004, 326 in 2005, 277 in 2006 and 307 in 2007.

More worrying, Malaysia is also losing out not only to universities of developed countries but to more and more developing countries such as Thailand, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa.

I never said that it was wrong for Mustapha as Higher Education Minister to be salesman in foreign countries to attract more foreign students to study in Malaysian universities and colleges, but that his priority particularly at present is to restore Malaysia’s international reputation for university quality and excellence.

Furthermore, the best advertisement and magnet for foreign students to Malaysia is the international reputation of Malaysian universities for academic excellence and quality, and not through any salesmanship even if the salesman is the Higher Education Minister.

In his reply, Tee Kiat accused me of insulting Mustapha in describing him as a “salesman” in overseas trips to promote Malaysian university places for foreign students, and in the process, it was the Deputy Minister who had disgraced and insulted Mustapha — as I had never said it was demeaning or insulting to be salesman except he must have the right order of priorities.

  1. #1 by mendela on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 1:40 pm

    Tee Kiat should quit MCA and join oppositions immediately.

    Tee Kiat is the ONLY person among BN many ministers and deputy ministers that is non-corrupt and has pride in things he does.

  2. #2 by sj on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 2:02 pm

    I am interested to see what is Mustapha’s reply. His reply will tell you a lot on his working attitude.

  3. #3 by kanthanboy on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 2:32 pm

    “…Tee Kiat is the ONLY person among BN many ministers and deputy ministers that is non-corrupt and has pride in things he does.” Mendela
    Excuse me mendela, if this is your first time reading this blog please to a minute to read an ealier posting from Godfather:

    Godfather Says:
    November 18th, 2007 at 21: 11.30
    When the Lingam videoclip was first exposed, where was MCA ? They were totally mute, as usual. When the 3-member panel was constituted, we complained that it wasn’t enough, but there was no even a squeak from MCA. Now that AAB has announced that the government will set up a Royal Commission, the shameless OKT finally crawled out of his shell and proudly proclaimed that the RCI was the right thing to do.
    We don’t vote for people like OKT who have by their words and deeds become totally subservient to UMNO. They can clean longkangs for all I care. Their principles, or lack thereof, will never be able to right the injustice faced by the people that they purport to lead.

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 2:37 pm

    YB, when it comes to “disgrace”, “insult” and dishonour, nothing can can be more serious than if a COUNTRY does it as it reflects poorly and impacts adversely on its reputation and standing in the international community. What am I talking about?

    In the past few days, the proceedings in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague regarding Pedra Banca (Pulau Batu Putih) sovereignty dispute between Malaysia and Singapore, was widely reported in the International media including in Singapore (where the ASEAN Summit was concurrently held, where Pak Lah was) and to some extend, in Malaysia. It was also widely reported on the Internet and in many blogs.

    Earlier this week, Singapore produced details of Malaysia’s possible tampering of evidence in the form of a photograph that showed the disputed island very near Malaysia’s coast when in fact it was much, much further away (7 times). Was this an attempt to deceive the ICJ judges? If so, then it does not augur well for the country’s reputation and integrity. Fuller details can be found in the following blogs and links:

    Malaysians should feel ashamed about this if it is true. And if true, then the PM has got alot of explaining to do; so will the Foreign Minister, Minister in charge of law, the Attorney General etc etc.

    It will be a national dishonour. Not to mention how it will affect relations with friendly countries and neighbours. Heads must roll.

  5. #5 by mendela on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 2:53 pm

    KT is not TK. TK is from team B. KT is just sh*t!

  6. #6 by kanthanboy on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 3:05 pm

    sorry, your idol is TK. I am with you that KT is just sh*t. There is not much different between these two MCA leaders anyway. Both of them know only how to echo the sound of UMNO.

  7. #7 by k1980 on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 3:21 pm

    team a and team b– no difference lah. Chan Kong Choy oso from team b and look at his disappearing act with the RM4.6billion PKFZ scam. Now in London enjoying his loot

  8. #8 by mendela on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 3:28 pm

    I think CKC was totally neutralized for unknown reasons. CKC was used and manipulated by the UMO and its many cronies.

    CKC issue is a sad story and a big disaster!

  9. #9 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 3:32 pm

    Singapore Malays Boleh!!!!!!!!

    Nov 22, 2007
    PSLE top student sets new record with score of 294
    By Sandra Davie, Education Correspondent

    Natasha, 12, (centre) whose father is a technician and mum, a housewife, is from the gifted education stream. — ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

    ST HILDA’S Primary pupil Natasha Nabila binte Muhamad Nasif is the top scorer in the Primary School Leaving Examination results that were released in schools at noon on Thursday.

    Her aggregate score of 294 set a new record for the examinations, beating the last highest score of 292 set in 1993 by Nanyang Primary boy Justin Lau Yang Zheng.

    Natasha, 12, whose father is a technician and mum, a housewife, is from the gifted education stream.

    The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board described her results as ‘outstanding’, as she was ahead by six points from the next two highest scorers, Zou Yuhan of Geylang Methodist Primary and Rebecca Teng of Tao Nan School, who both scored 288.

    The Education Ministry said in a release on Thursday that of the 49,817 Primary 6 pupils who sat for the exams, 97.7 per cent did well enough to proceed to secondary schools.

    Of these pupils, 63.5 per cent are eligible for the Express stream, where students complete their secondary course in four years.

    Some 22.2 per cent qualified for the Normal (Academic) stream, while 12 per cent made it to the Normal (Technical) course.

    The normal stream students take five years to sit for their O-levels.

    The Ministry added that of the 1,152 pupils who will not proceed to secondary school, 1,122 will be given another year in Primary 6 to consolidate their basic language and mathematics skills.

    The remaining 30, who are either over-aged or have attempted PSLE thrice, will be enrolled in basic vocational training courses.

    Pupils who have attempted PSLE once, or twice, may apply to enrol in Northlight School (NLS).

    The applications of those who have attempted PSLE once will be considered by NLS based on the recommendations of their primary school principals.

    The Straits Times

  10. #10 by on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 7:42 pm

    The analogy for Malay in Singapore and Malaysia is like a tiger in the cage with free food and another wild tiger in the jungle with freedom to roar.

  11. #11 by on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 7:43 pm

    Repost: The analogy for Malay in Malaysia and Singapore is like a tiger in the cage with free food and another wild tiger in the jungle with freedom to roar.

  12. #12 by sec on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 9:58 pm

    The Higher Education Minister Mustafa is not qualify to be call saleman to promote chinese students to study in malaysia U. The China businessman would not deal with you if you can not speak mandarin. Ask OTK to teach his boss mandarin before he go to China

  13. #13 by Jackychin on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 10:23 pm

    I now understand why they try to keep Chinese students off the local universities, it is acutally for our own good…(^_^)

  14. #14 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 10:28 pm

    Good Lord!! What’s wrong with being a salesman?? Are not our Tourism, our Youth and Sports Ministers etc selling something every time they open their mouths?

  15. #15 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 10:30 pm

    Let’s not confuse the profession from the product that is being sold.

  16. #16 by budak on Thursday, 22 November 2007 - 11:49 pm


  17. #17 by Filibuster on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 12:52 am


    What matters in their eyes is that the salesman term is deemed derogatory by the public. In that case they will use it to discredit you, and possibly pull a blinder by stating that your ideas are “not realistic”, “give us more time” etc. A forewarning though: this is issue is a dangerous one to tread on, despite the amount of hard evidence put out – that includes the THES rating drops, among others.

  18. #18 by sj on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 3:35 am

    I now understand why they try to keep Chinese students off the local universities, it is acutally for our own good…(^_^)


    Yes, but many people are still not so fortunate to be able to study oversea. Therefore they have not much option but to choose for local universities. From my point of view, the influx of good quality students will inherently boost the standard of a university. During Mahathir’s time, the Ketuanan policy started and the standard starts going down because of quota system. The famous excuse Mahathir use is, MAJU, WAWASAN, KITA MAHU ORANG MELAYU MAJU. So periodically, you get more cases of standards being lowered, entrance criteria changed from quality base to race base.

    How many cases have you seen in newspaper that top students failed to enter local you, but a Tom, Dick or Hairy of certain race got even with a less than mediocre results?

  19. #19 by firstMalaysian on Friday, 23 November 2007 - 7:54 am

    The bottom line is Malaysia has fallen in academic standards and the rot continues. Our degrees are slowly becoming a ‘banana republic’ paper.
    Sad, because the bright students who cannot afford overseas academic exposures have to remain behind and cannot have the cross cultural’ exposure and have the opportunity to compete with students from other countries.

    Sad again, when our bright students who left our shores to the best universities overseas and never come back because of mediocracy in Malaysia.

    Do you think the chinese in China are stupid? Their universities, relatively unknown have now won the top 100 spot in the world. Malaysia used to look down on chinese universities. You do not need to be a ‘ rocket scientist’ to learn from them. It is based on meritocracy.

    As long as the HP6 academics who have no research brains, otak kosong with no credible publications, cannot speak english well, enjoying paid holidays overseas with no academic value and yet, take on as deans, deputy deans, heads and no heads etc….our universities will continue to rot.

    Good Luck Malaysian Universities! We need REFORMs in higher education. It is BUSINESS UNUSUAL for Malaysian universities to succeed, moving forward. The bottom line is POLITICAL WILL to REFORM. It has to be taken NOW. Otherwise, it is impossible to reverse the ROT.

  20. #20 by echv188 on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 6:04 am

    Has any one heard Harvard or Yale’s VC acting as salesman to market their universities? No, they don’t need to. A REAL TOP university saves cost on marketing for people will compete for a place to study at the university; whereas self-recoginsed top university doe not even know to market its university – that’s why the minister has got a part-time job ie salesman in China.

  21. #21 by on Saturday, 24 November 2007 - 3:27 pm

    Althoguh I was UTM graduate in 80s, but have to share with you all on how ridiculous UTM used how many gold awards in commercial exhibitions to justify how good their deadwoods and lack of citations.

    UTM is the most raciest local public universitiy with 99% teaching staff are bumi. UTM has unspoken policy of 100% teaching staff must be bumis.

    Johor Sultan was so frustrated with UTM performance in every aspect and relinquished his Chancellor post in early 90s as a sign of strong protest.


    UTM highly regarded

    I REFER to “Deadwood dons in UTM” (The Star, Nov 17) and would like to point out that being a premier university in engineering and technology in Malaysia, UTM does not equate scholarship with just achievements in publication and citation.

    Scholarly recognition should be seen as evolving, in line with the way in which the academy has changed over the years.

    With top universities as the benchmark, UTM requires all academics of the university to engage not only in scholarly endeavours like getting work published and aiming high in citation ratings, but also to perform assigned duties in an array of scholarly and social/service-oriented engagements, such as in teaching and learning activities, research and consultation work, administration, management and academic leadership, student advisory and facilitation and, not to mention, service to the community and contribution to the nation as a whole.

    Tenure and promotion decisions are therefore based on evidence of significant scholarly contributions and effective as well as efficient performance of assigned duties of which citation rates are not the sole or main criteria.

    We should not merely be harping on the issue of citation as a measure of one’s credibility.

    What academics should aim for towards academic professionalism in the 21st century is to achieve the right balance and cultivate a multidimensional sense of the professional self to become the ‘complete scholar’ (McMillin, Liberal Education, Spring 2004).

    The writer has also belittled the various accolades received by the university professors in terms of medals and awards for their winning inventions and innovations at national and international levels.

    The fact that UTM is the first university in Malaysia to be awarded the National Intellectual Property Award shows how little the writer knows of the outstanding inventions and innovations of commercial value produced by the professors of the university.

    The fact remains that we have continuously achieved recognition at the international level based on our remarkable scholarly work, with many outstanding accomplishments by our professors at International Invention and Innovation Awards in London, Geneva, Pittsburg, Nuremberg, Seoul, to name a few.

    Not only is the culture of excellence prevalent among the academic staff of the university, but quality academic scholarship has also been instilled and inculcated among students of the university.

    This is apparent when UTM students stand tall in many international competitions by winning awards and becoming champions in the Robocon competition, The Philips Young Inventors Award, The Ranko Radovic Student Competition organised by the International Federation for Housing and Planning, to name a few.

    We have been consistent in producing outstanding graduates in engineering and technology to meet the industrial and national needs and we have been ranked highly not only by local companies but also by multinational organisations.

    This is proven in the Times Higher Education Supplement, which ranks UTM at 161th position in the Recruiter Review Index, which shows that employers have high regard for UTM graduates.

    Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.…63628&sec=focus

  22. #22 by LadyinBlack on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 11:01 am

    Instead of worrying about how many foreign students we can get to enrol in local universities, why not focus on the number of students locally who can’t even get a seat in one of our many local universities? I’d say..forget about the focus on world rankings, foreign enrollments…

    Deal with what’s important first!

  23. #23 by verbal-lash on Friday, 30 November 2007 - 8:11 pm

    We don’t vote for people like OKT who have by their words and deeds become totally subservient to UMNO.

    Totally subservient? But do you know that the man is high and mighty and so are his administrative staff. Our company wanted to invite him to attend a function sometime ago – mind you, a function which showcases our Chinese culture. A letter was written to him a good 3 months before the event – no reply. Several calls were made. 2 months before the event – still no reply. Calls again and the staff still could not get back. One month before the event – still no reply. Called the staff and she said “Our …. is a very busy man, you know. He is a minister”. Too busy to help promote a Chinese event? Instead attended some Malay opening event. Worse still, don’t even bother to reply so that the organiser can arrange for a VIP to preside over the event. The Chinese “drop glasses” for having elected him to head MCA. I hope his staff reads this … “Sweetie, he is only a minister because we put him there!” And what is he so busy about, when he cannot even speak up for our cause when we desperately need him to.

  24. #24 by Maddresearch on Wednesday, 19 December 2007 - 8:29 am

    Please help those helpless lecturers in the private education institutions who are bullied by the private education operators in term of working environment, for example lecturers are forced to guarantee 90% or more of the passing rate in subjects they taught and this is also part of their yearly performance measurement (A lecturer is considered performing well if more students passed under him or her) ! If lecturers dont have the free academic judgement to assessment their students, it will be very soon for those graduates from the private education institutions unwanted by the market! I believe that if this situation continues, we would have the same number of unemployed graduates from the private education institutions as compared to those public universities unemployed graduates! Please dont allow these private education operators turning education instittions into factory with zero defect production output.

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