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

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

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

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

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

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

Last month, in the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2014, Malaysia was again conspicuously omitted among the top 100 Asian universities.

Five countries were represented in the top 10 of the Asian university rankings – Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and China.
University Of Tokyo emerged top among Asian universities followed by the National University of Singapore.

University of Hong Kong, Seoul National University and China’s Peking University clinched the third, fourth and fifth spots respectively.

Singapore has two highly placed universities in the ranking, NUS at second spot and Nanyang Technological University at 11th position.

Hong Kong was named the star performer by THE, given its size, and the fact that it had six universities the top 50 of the ranking.

Even India made outstanding progress with 10 institutions in the top 100, compared with only three last year.

Thailand was in the top 100 list with two universities, King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi, which rose five places to joint 50th and Mahidol University (No.82).

The Middle East was also well represented, with universities from Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Turkey making the list.

But there was not a single university from Malaysia in the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2014, which is most shameful and mortifying for Malaysians as in the fifties and sixties, University of Malaya was one of the world-class universities comparable in academic excellence with universities like Universities of Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney.

Now, after 57 years of Merdeka and 51 years of Malaysia, University of Malaya has not only been left behind by its previous peers, including Universities of Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney, all our universities are regarded as far inferior to foreign tertiary institutions which had not been highly regarded by Malaysians in the past.

Instead of producing world-class universities, Malaysian universities are hitting the international headline for the wrong reasons such as becoming recruiting grounds of terrorists for IS (Islamic State) in their current “war” in Syria and Iraq.

Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, whose Education Ministry has swallowed up the separate Higher Education Ministry after the general election last year, should present a Higher Education Masterplan for October Parliament to produce at least two world-class Malaysians universities by 2020 instead of allowing Malaysian universities to become recruiting ground for terrorists for Islamic State (IS) war in Syria and Iraq.

If Najib and Muhyiddin are serious in wanting to achieve the objective of Malaysia becoming a developed nation by 2020, then it is all the more urgent and imperative that they ensure that Malaysia can produce two world-class universities by 2020, for there is no country in the world that has achieved developed status without first producing world-class universities.

  1. #1 by Godfather on Sunday, 13 July 2014 - 8:47 pm

    ….and you really believe that these people COULD be embarrassed by failure ? Years of feeding on handouts mean that they no longer have the ability to fish – and they are not ashamed of such failure.

  2. #2 by digard on Sunday, 13 July 2014 - 9:59 pm

    Dear Kit Siang,

    totally correct; and yet flogging a dead horse. We’ve had that (and I was part of it) since 2003, when UM was [erroneously] ranked 89; to the utter surprise of the ministry. After that, each and any university was flying ever more aspiring banners about where we’d be in 2015, respectively in 2020. In 2008, ‘my’ university had given out the word, and placated, that we’d be ranked among the top 50 universities globally by 2015. In 2007 the then DVC of UiTM had declared in a staff meeting to ‘advance in front of Harvard’. [I am too lazy to pull out the perspective numbers and statements of UPM, UKM, UTM at this moment – they are so flexible, amendable and volatile.]
    Now it is 2014, and despite of ‘my’ [now previous] place still having the same VC, all those posters and banners have been trashed since long, and nobody ever dares to say a single word about this aspiration.
    Ghauth Jasmon had the ranking in his KPI; and where is UM? Ghauth is gone; sacrificed on the altar of Ketuanan Melayu (and the impossibility of coming down hard on certain people).

    Dear Kit Siang, usually I agree with you; in this case I can’t. Because we’ve gone all through this stuff; from Wawasan 2020 to the high-flying university rankings. Now, to have yet another ‘Master Plan’, with yet more unfulfillable and ludicrous empty promises, only plays into the hands of the currently misguided policies. Because there won’t be *any* consequences for lack of fulfillment.
    Like KJ’s likewise (malafide?) assertion that Malaysia can participate, if not win, in the world soccer championship in 2034. He can’t seriously believe that regression, if only continued for long enough, will catapult you in front!?

    The beautiful part is, by the way, that ‘we’ had been told all those years, that it was ‘sooo unfair to compete with the old and established universities’. Right! And now, with the new category of universities 50 years and younger, my former place doesn’t pop up. Not even there. Despite of ‘us’ being promised, and lead the way, to be among the global top 50 in 2015 (that is, as of today, 1 year from now). Now all the excuses dished out are invalidated. ‘We’ are simply not up to par. Over. And – should the policies not change significantly – will not be in 200 years to come.

    I call myself a lucky person, because today I have the honour to belong to a university that *is* ranked among the top 100 universities of below 50 years of age – , a place that is exactly 11 years of age. Which is precisely the time when UM was ranked among the top 100.

  3. #3 by Di Shi Jiu on Monday, 14 July 2014 - 12:14 am

    Mr Lim,

    “…it is all the more urgent and imperative that {Najib and Muhyiddin} ensure that Malaysia can produce two world-class universities by 2020…”

    It is unlikely UMNO/BN could know where to start in devising a plan to produce two world-class universities in Malaysia by 2020,


    I do know how UMNO/BN can get 2 Malaysian universities ranked in whatever ranking system there is :)


    By using the time-honoured UMNO/BN tradition of buying off those who do the rankings :)

    Of cos, some ranking systems could be difficult to buy off, so ….

    Alternatively, UMNO/BN could set up it’s own ranking system – perhaps with universities from Somali, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Yemen, etc.

  4. #4 by Justice Ipsofacto on Monday, 14 July 2014 - 8:59 am

    From hero to zero.

    Endless Possibilities.
    Unlimited Stupidity.
    Kangkung Mentality.

    kok kok kok kok kok. … justice ipsofacto went alooking for ayam rm1, also (only) in malaysia.

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Monday, 14 July 2014 - 9:11 am

    What is really disturbing is that, so far, the reason given by the recruits – they want to particpate in Islamic struggle, Malaysia is still a secular state (when secularist quite sure it isn’t anymore.) are NOT critical reasons for them risking their lives..

    The reason for these students to be recruited is that they can’t find better meaning to do with their lifes despite all the privilleges and advantage supposedly given to them and they are hallucinated by fantasy spun from their religion of which there are plenty.

    In other words, it no different than the reason of poor bumiputeras and the income gap between them or the drug addiction and social problems of bumiputeras. Its an utter condemnation of UMNO/BN core policies and agenda that is failing..

  6. #6 by Cinapek on Monday, 14 July 2014 - 4:16 pm

    “….Muhyiddin should present to October Parliament a Higher Education Masterplan……”

    YB Kit, wishful thinking. You can produce all the plans in the world and it will come to nought when you have a DPM who insist that he is “Malay first, Malaysian second “. Him and his ilk will have their own agenda to produce or encourage the types that are ripe for recruitment for terrorists. Improvement of higher education is furthest from their minds.

  7. #7 by Justice Ipsofacto on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 - 11:02 am

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
    All wrong.
    Everyone. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
    Uitm is better than oxford and havard combined. Hence the ranking fellas are unable and do not know how to rank Uitm.

    Look. Can anyone in cambridge derive great economic principles out of rambutans? No. But umno can. Ask cintanegara. Go. Check out his big book on Prinsip2 Ekonomi Pokok Rambutan. And yes. Flip patties in space. That’s right. Who could do that.

    The point is this. We have them all. All the super mega talents which no universities outside malaysia could ever produce. Not in another thousand years.

  8. #8 by good coolie on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 - 7:11 pm

    Our rankings will go up sooner or later. That’s because once you are rock-bottom, the only way is up. It is darkest before dawn.

  9. #9 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 - 7:08 am

    YB, I think we can accept the principle that it takes a thief to know and then catch another thief provided the thief is a THINKING and BRAINY ONE! Notwithstanding the fact that we all read about the 2012 PISA result based on overall performances. If one cares to go a little deeper, then we realize that the shit has really hit the ceiling! The greater majority of our students, less than 10% had actually reached the standard deemed as on par with the 9 years of schooling! The majority of them were indeed 2 years behind! When I recently had a look in the Youtube on the late TBH Coroner’s inquest, the quality of the Malaysian Prosecutor summed up the sum total of our product in education which obviously the Gomen was so happy to show it to the world! I believe Cintanegara supports me on this count! Give another decade or so, we have indeed marched into the abyss of no return! You know we have been so dependent on Petronas for our revenue to plough along towards the higher income index. The question is how long will this last? The little Dot seems unable to match our natural gift! Hurrah! But I just realized that they have created an extra 100 sq km of land which based even on today’s price will provide them an annual return better than Petronas’ ! Just consider the fact: 25,000 acres = 15,000 acres of salable land at s$1200 per sq ft! At S$ 60 million per acre! or S$900 billion worth of land! selling it over 20 years, average revenue to their Gomen s$45 billion! At rm$2.60 to their dollar; it is equivalent to rm$117 billion! annually!
    [ though many are speculating the exchange rate at 3 to 1!!!] Hey Lau Lee indeed outsmarted Lau Beh! That is long range class one ICBM planning!

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