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As UM is the second worst Asia-Pacific university performer after USM in last year’s Top 200, Cabinet should direct the removal of three UM billboards insinuating the support of the PM, DPM and Higher Education Minister for the 80-point plunge of UM in THES Top 200 Universities ranking
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
This does not mean one has to agree with the USM decision to engage a London-based consultant to report on the reasons for USM being dropped from the THES list of the world’s Top 200 universities, especially as the consultant seemed to be actively involved in the preparation of the THES World University Ranking.
In contrast to the USM, the nation’s premier university, University of Malaya (UM), is still in deep denial, with its Vice Chancellor Prof. Datuk Dr. Hashim Yaacob committing the faux pas of putting up seven billboards on the university campus to boast about the university’s world achievements - despite plunging 80 places from 89th ranking last year to 169th ranking.
The Cabinet tomorrow should direct the removal of three UM billboards with the pictures of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Higher Education Minister as they insinuated that UM and its Vice Chancellor have the support of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Higher Education Minister for the 80-point plunge of UM in THES Top 200 Universities ranking.
Or did Hashim secure the specific approval of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Higher Education Minister in his game-plan to hoodwink Malaysians about the international standing of the university?
The putting up of seven billboards in the university campus is not only in terrible taste, devaluing the ambience of academia with cheap and loud stunts as if it is a weekend carnival, it is also a symbol of the denial complex of the UM VC who is not prepared to admit the fact and implications of the 80-point drop of UM’s ranking in the Top 200 Universities list.
Prof Dr. Mohammad Rom Tamis, the Dean of Engineering Faculty, Universiti Malaya, is the only academic in UM who has come forward to champion Hashim and praise UM’s “achievements” in the THES Top 200 Universities ranking.
In his letter to Sunday Star for instance, Prof Dr. Mohammad Rom Tamis defended UM’s 80-place plunge from 89th to 169th ranking on the ground that a “more encompassing and comprehensive” evaluation criteria had been used.
He said: “As a result, many other universities’ positions have also been affected.”
What are these universities? Is he referring to the National University of Singapore, which fell four places from 18th to 22nd ranking? In this connection, it is worth noting that the second Singapore university within the Top 50 Universities, Nanyang Technological University, improved its ranking from 50th last year to 48th.
Or is the UM Engineering Dean referring to Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University which came from behind UM, as it was not even ranked within the Top 200 Universities last year, to be placed No. 121, i.e. 68 places better than UM?
In actual fact, University of Malaya and USM are the two universities in Asia-Pacific which had suffered the worst fall of 80 and more than 89 places respectively in the THES World University Ranking 2005. Instead of feeling proud, Professor Dr. Mohammad Rom Tamis should be raising the alarm!
In the 2005 Top 200 Universities Ranking, 11 universities in Asia-Pacific won ranking when they were “outsiders” last year, namely: Indian Institutes of Management (84), Queensland University of Technology (118), Chulalongkorn University (121), Hiroshima University (147), University of South Australia (154), Hokkaido University (157), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (169), Kobe University (172), Korea University (184), Jawaharlal Nehru University (192) and Showa University (198).
Why couldn’t more Malaysian universities get ranked in the Top 200, instead of being knocked out altogether like USM, with UM struggling to stay inside the list in the coming years after plunging 80 places this year?
Prof Dr. Mohammad Rom Tamis seems to belong to one of those Malaysians who always want to compare Malaysia with the worst nations rather than with the best.
As UM is the second worst Asia-Pacific university performer after USM in last year’s Top 200, the Cabinet should direct the removal of three UM billboards insinuating the support of the PM, DPM and Higher Education Minister for the 80-point plunge of UM in THES Top 200 Universities ranking, which will only bring dishonour and discredit to the Prime Minister’s leadership and administration.
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