Malaysian government should
promptly and forthwith recognize all the degrees of Chinese universities
which are internationally-recognized as among the world's top universities,
and not just the Chinese Language Studies of four Chinese universities
before we can righteously ask China for more recognition of Malaysian
universities by Chinese government
Media Conference (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
The request by the Higher
Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamed, currently on a seven-day visit
to China to promote Malaysia as an educational hub and to strengthen ties
with some of the top Chinese universities, makes for strange reading.
Mustapha wants the Chinese government to recognize more Malaysian
universities and colleges.
At present, China only recognizes 50 institutions in the public and
private sector in Malaysia when their total numbers more than 500.
Mustapha wants more of our educational institutions to be recognized by
the Chinese government for obvious reasons. Students from China form the
second largest number of foreign students in the country after Indonesia
and the Higher Education Ministry is marketing Malaysia aggressively to
lure more Chinese students to Malaysia.
There is nothing wrong with such objective or marketing but Mustapha's
request is nonetheless very strange and extraordinary.
Firstly, it has come as news as well as shocker too to Malaysians that the
Chinese government has recognized 7 IPTAs (public institutions of higher
learning) and 43 IPTSs (private institutions) for two reasons:
• The Chinese government
recognizing more Malaysian universities and colleges than the Chinese
universities and colleges recognized by the Malaysian government, although
many Chinese universities are internationally recognized for their
academic merit and excellence while Malaysian universities have
disappeared from the international radar of academic excellence as well as
the vast difference in numbers of educational institutions between the two
• When China recognizes 43 IPTSs and only 7 IPTAs, it is a clear and
indisputable sign that the IPTAs, despite their head-starts and public
funding, have been overtaken by IPTSs in terms of international
recognition of academic excellence and repute.
In the recently-released
World's 2007 Times Higher Education Supplement (THES)-Quacquarelli Symonds
(QS) World Top 200 University Rankings, six Chinese universities made into
the Top 200 list while Malaysian universities had been suffering free fall
in international rankings in recent years, with not a single one making
into the prestigious 200 Top ranking.
The six Chinese universities are:
36. Peking University
40. Tsinghua University
85. Fudan University
125. Nanjing University
155. University of Science and Technology of China
163. Shanghai Jiao Tong University
The THES-QS survey also ranked
the Top 100 Universities for five subject areas - Natural Sciences, Social
Sciences, Arts and Humanities; Life Sciences and Biomedicine; and
Engineering and Information Technology.
China has two universities, Peking University and Tsinghua University,
which are ranked as among the Top 100 Universities in all the five
categories. Malaysia is not only excluded from the overall list of the
World Top 200 Universities, but completely excluded in all the five
categories for Top 100 Universities – when Chulalongkorn University of
Thailand made into the Top 100 Universities for Engineering and IT.
Yet Malaysia refuses to accord recognition to the degrees of Peking
University and Tsinghua University, ready only to recognize its degrees
for Chinese language studies. Isn't this the height of the ludicrous?
In fact, China has six universities in the Top 100 Life Sciences &
Biomedicine (Peking 18, Tsinghua 51, Fudan 52, Nanjing 78, Science and
Technology of China 84 and Shanghai Jiao Tong 92); four in the Top 100
Engineering & IT (Tsinghua 16, Peking 36, Science and Technology of China
49 55); and five in the Top 100 Natural Sciences Peking 15, Tsinghua 34,
Science and Technology of China 40, Nanjing 76 and Fudan 80).
Why has the Malaysian government not recognized these
internationally-acclaimed Chinese universities for their world-class
studies and degrees, when Malaysia does not have any equivalent
Isn't it most strange that a country which has dropped out of world-class
university rankings is asking for more recognition for its universities
from another country with universities of international repute but which
it has refused to recognize?
The Malaysian government should promptly and forthwith recognize all the
degrees of Chinese universities which are internationally-recognized as
among the world's top universities, and not just the Chinese Language
Studies of four Chinese universities before we can righteously ask China
for more recognition of Malaysian universities by Chinese government.
The Malaysian government can impose a condition that such recognition is
subject to fluency in English language or Bahasa Malaysia, but it is the
height of the ridiculous for the Malaysian government to continue to
refuse to accord recognition to the internationally-recognized degrees of
Chinese universities – which is a joke in the era of globalization but
also self-defeating in losing out in the long run to lure Chinese students
to come to Malaysia to further their tertiary studies.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman