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A RM10-cut motion for Higher Education Minister will be moved when Parliament resumes on Nov. 14 if Shafie Salleh proves as unfit and incompetent for his job as Hashim Yaacob as University of Malaya Vice Chancellor
Media Conference Statement (1)
If a RM10-cut motion is moved against Shafie, he will set the notorious record of being the first Cabinet Minister in the nation’s history to have a RM10-cut motion, which tantamounts to a motion of censure, moved against him in two consecutive years, as in the 2005 Budget debate last year I had moved a RM10-cut motion against Shafie.
I am very disappointed with Shafie’s response to the damning Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) World University Ranking 2005 which saw UM plunging 80 places from 89th to 169th position while Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) fell more than 89 places and was knocked out of the Top 200 Universities Ranking altogether.
According to a Bernama report yesterday, Shafie said Universiti Malaya has launched efforts to improve its international standing following a slide in its world university ranking from 89th to 169th among the world’s Top 200 universities.
Speaking at the Hari Raya Aidilfitri “open house” of the Prime Minister and Muslim Cabinet Ministers at the Putra World Trade Centre, Shafie said greater focus would be given to internationalisation of the university. One of the strategies was to encourage more foreign students to take up the post-graduate programmes offered by the university.
Shafie said that in terms of
points, the results achieved by UM in the THES World University Ranking
were still good but owing to the introduction of the positions and the
inclusion of more universities in the ranking, its position slid.
Shafie also said that he would visit Australia and New Zealand to coax these governments to help encourage their students to participate in credit transfer programmes with Malaysian universities such as UM. Furthermore, PhD joint programmes between five local universities and the Imperial College in London was expected to help enhance the status of UM next year.
If the Bernama report had quoted Shafie correctly, then we have a Higher Education Minister who is not very different from the UM Vice Chancellor who does not have much clue how to restore the excellence, quality and standards of University of Malaya in the sixties when it was ranked in the forefront of world-class universities.
What Shafie had said are either irrelevant or marginal issues, failing to focus on the primary causes of the crisis of quality and excellence afflicting UM and all other public universities in the country.
In fact, what Shafie failed to mention is even more disturbing that what he had said.
For instance, Shafie made no reference whatsoever to USM falling by more than 89 places as to disappear altogether from the Top 200 Universities Ranking this year when it was ranked No. 111 last year. Was Shafie’s silence an admission by the Higher Education Ministry that USM was never quailed and could have no claim to be considered among the world’s Top 200 Universities?
Shafie said Universiti Malaya has launched efforts to improve its international standing following a slide in its world university ranking from 89th to 169th among the world’s Top 200 universities.
What are these “efforts”, when was the decision taken, who took the decision, and who is responsible for it? Is it all just a telephone conversation between Shafie and Hashim as to handle the adverse P.R. fallout from the THES Ranking 2005?
How can there be any credible UM efforts to improve its international standing when the UM Vice Chancellor has publicly gone on record to say that he was “not worried” by UM’s 80-place fall as it is still within the top 200 universities and that, in fact, he felt “great happiness” at the THES World University Ranking 2005 for UM?
What are these “efforts” which UM had launched to improve its international standing”? Is Shafie referring to Hashim’s extraordinary efforts and single-minded obsession in putting up seven giant billboards in the university campus glorifying the UM’s “fall from grace”?
When on Wednesday I first received through email photographs of these seven giant billboards, one new and six modified from UM Centennial Celebrations billboards, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I was reminded of what
Confucius was supposed to have said 2,500 years ago that
“A Picture is worth a Thousand Words”. I saw such a picture, which tells
why a great misfortune has befallen the nation’s premier university, which
earned international acclaim in the sixties as a world-class university.
Although I had put up three photographs of Hashim’s billboard folly on my blog, I confess to a nagging doubt whether a Vice Chancellor could be so foolish and I even received email from concerned well-wishers warning whether the photographs could have been super-imposed.
This was why enroute to the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri “Open House” at Istana Negara yesterday morning, I made a special point to visit University of Malaya and I can confirm with my own eyes the seven giant billboards which stand as the most shameful symbol of the intellectual dishonesty of the UM VC and towering proof why Hashim is totally unfit and unqualified to be the VC of the nation’s premier university!
But what has shocked me even more is Shafie’s response yesterday.
Shafie said greater focus would given to encourage more foreign students in the public universities.
Is Shafie aware that although “international students score” is one of the criteria used in the THES World University Ranking, it only rates five per cent of the overall score. With a maximum score of 100 for “international students”, Malaysia scored 7 in 2005 and 68 in 2004
There are two lessons to be drawn from the “international students score”:
Firstly, both UM and USM had inflated “international student score” for last year’s ranking, with UM getting 68 and USM 78 marks, ranking them as the world’s fourth and sixth most “international” university, which is most ridiculous. Some ignoramus at THES must have thought Chinese and Indian students are “international students” in Malaysia. Without the “international student score” error, UM could have fallen to No. 189 position while USM would have fallen out of the 200 Top Universities bracket altogether, instead of No. 89 and 111 respectively in last year’s ranking.
Secondly, the “international student score” of Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University is even lower than that of UM, scoring only one point as compared to UM’s seven points. Yet Chulalongkorn University, which was not placed in the Top 200 Universities last year, had come from behind to overtake UM, being placed No. 121 as compared to UM’s 169 in the 2005 list.
This is because UM lost out to Chulalongkorn University and the other over 160 universities in the world in the other five criteria which total 95% of the overall score, namely Peer Review Score (40%), Recruiter Review (10%), International Faculty Score (5%), International Student Score (5%), Faculty/Student Score (20%), Citations/Faculty Score (20%).
If Shafie is serious about improving UM’s international standing, he should give even more attention to these other five criteria which total 95% than just the “international student score” which stands for 5%, but there is not a word from Shafie on these other five criteria. This raises the question whether Shafie understands the THES World University Ranking criteria in the first place.
Another point made by Shafie was that he would visit Australia and New Zealand to coax these governments to help encourage their students to participate in credit transfer programmes with Malaysian universities such as UM.
Shafie does not seem to understand how foreign universities function, as he seems to think that they operate as the departments of their respective governments like in Malaysia – when this is not the case.
Even more serious, why would foreign universities, whether in Australia or New Zealand, such as Melbourne University (No. 19), Australian National University (No. 23), Monash University (No. 33), Sydney University (No. 38), University of New South Wales (No. 40), Queensland University (No. No. 47) or Auckland University (No. 52) want to participate in credit transfer programme with an university which is ranked No. 169?
Furthermore, there is something most repugnant and humiliating when the strategy to raise the excellence, quality and standards of Malaysian universities seems to be dependent on latching onto the achievements of foreign universities, instead of by our own efforts!
Shafie should stop wasting public funds globe-trotting to visit foreign universities. His first priority must be to stay put to raise the standards, quality and excellence of local universities to world class standards, so that he could go abroad with head high as representative of a country with quality universities instead of with the new form of begging bowl seeking help and support from universities of other countries which had until recently been internationally regarded as behind UM in world-class academic attainments.
If a RM10-cut motion is moved against Shafie, one of the primary counts would be his support and condonation of Hashim Yaacob as VC of UM.
However, before a final decision is made on whether to submit a RM10-cut motion against Shafie by November 14, I will seek a meeting with Shafie to gauge his full responses to the damning THES World University Ranking 2005 for UM, USM and other public universities in the country.
If Shafie is too busy to meet me, as had been the case with all my previous requests to fix appointments with him, then the RM10-cut motion against him will proceed without the benefit of any discussion with the Minister.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman