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Another blank for Malaysia – again omitted fourth year in succession in Shanghai Jiao Tong 500 World Universities Ranking 2006 although 92 universities named in Asia-Pacific
(Parliament, Friday) The quest for academic excellence and university quality in Malaysia has again drawn a blank – with Malaysia omitted for the fourth year in succession in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Top 500 Universities.
Not a single Malaysian university was listed in the Jiao Tong University’s latest Top 500 Universities Ranking, although five more universities from the Asia-Pacific region made into the list was compared to e last year. The 92 universities in the Asia-Pacific listed come from the following countries:
Japan 32 33
Australia 16 13
China 9 8
South Korea 9 8
Israel 7 6
New Zealand 5 5
China – Twn 5 5
China - HK 5 4
India 2 3
Singaporee 2 2
Total 92 87
The top ten universities in the Jiao Tung University’s World Top 500 Universities Ranking 2006 are Harvard, Cambridge, Stanford, University of California – Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT), California Institute of Technology, Columbia, Princeton, Chicago and Oxford.
The top 19 Universities from Asia-:Pacific which made into the Top 500 World Universities Ranking 2006 are:
National University of Singapore
Technion Israel Institute of Technology
Tel Aviv University
University of Queensland
University of Western Australia
Weizmann Institute of Science
It must be regarded as a national shame that not a single of the 18 universities in Malaysia is regarded internationally as coming near 32 universities in Japan, 16 universities in Australia, five universities in Taiwan, five universities in Hong Kong and two universities in Singapore – not to mention seven universities in Israel.
In the fifties and sixties, the best students in the country opt for the University of Malaya and the universities in Australia were second choices – and at that time, only the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne were regarded as on par with the University of Malaya.
Now, what were regarded as “country” or lower-division universities in Australia three or four decades ago have achieved international acclaim, with 16 universities making into the Jiao Tong University’s World Top 500 Universities 2006, while the standards and quality of Malaysian universities continue the downward decline.
So long as meritocracy and academic excellence are not restored to the highest pedestal in Malaysian academia, Malaysian universities will never be able to compete with the best in the world – and we can forget about our Vision 2020 aspirations of becoming a “First World” nation.
I understand that in the 2006 University of Malaya medical faculty intake, out of a total of 215 students, 131 are Malays, 72 Chinese, 10 Indians and 2 bumiputras from Sabah/Sarawak. Of the total 215 students, only 13 (or 6%) are from the STPM background, and all the 13 are Chinese students.
With the “best of the best” students denied their first-choice in the universities because of the continued subordination of meritocracy to non-academic considerations, there is still no light at the end of the tunnel that Malaysian universities can turn the corner to attain academic excellence and university quality to stand tall with the best universities in other countries.
Is the Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapha Mohamad bold enough to take the first essential step to restore meritocracy, university excellence and quality by introducing a common entrance examination for university student intake, and end the farce of the fraudulent meritocracy by using two completely different examinations of matriculation and STPM?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman