Ong Tee Kiat 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
Media Conference (3)
by Lim Kit Siang
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
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
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 placing 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 if 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
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman