Mustapha seems to have lost
proper sense of priorities as Higher Education Minister, regarding his job
more as international marketing officer for Malaysian universities instead
of ensuring that Malaysian universities win international recognition as
by Lim Kit Siang
Higher Education Minister,
Datuk Mustapha Mohamad seems to have lost his proper focus and
responsibility, regarding his job more as international marketing officer
for Malaysian universities instead of ensuring that Malaysian universities
win international recognition as world-class institutions.
Mustapha, on a week-long visit to China to market Malaysian universities,
said in Shanghai yesterday that he wants to see at least 15,000 Chinese
students coming to Malaysia in three years’ time – more than double the
He said the trend now was for more Chinese students to enroll in the
Malaysian public and private universities for post-graduate programmes.
He also announced that his Ministry “will be going around China to market
Malaysia as an education hub”.
The Higher Education Ministry has set up an education office in Beijing to
promote Malaysia as a market for foreign students. A fifth overseas office
besides Jakarta, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City and Beijing would be set up in
Africa “due to the promising market in the continent”.
There is something very wrong with the spectacle of the Higher Education
Minister leading a delegation to China to market Malaysian universities to
Chinese students at a time when the latest world’s Top 200 Universities
Rankings released ten days ago showed a continuing “free fall” of
For the first time, there is not a single university in the 2007 Times
Higher Education Supplement (THES)-Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World
University Rankings for Top 200 Universities.
Both Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Malaya (UM) fell
out of the Top 200 Universities ranking, with UKM plunging from 185th slot
last year to 309th while University of Malaya plunged from 89th in 2004 to
169th in 2005, 192nd in 2006 to 246th in 2007. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM),
which was ranked as the only “outstanding” five-star university in a
recent government survey, fell to 307th spot from 277 last year.
The latest release of the THES-QS 2007 Top University Rankings from No.
201-400 available on the Net has also confirmed that Malaysia has lost out
to Thailand for better university rankings for three consecutive years, as
Chulalongkorn University of Thailand is ranked No. 233 in 2007, 161 in
2006 and 121 in 2005 (compared to University of Malaya’s No. 246 in 2007,
192 in 2006 and 169 in 2005).
The second Thai Top University, Mahidol University which is ranked No.
284, is also better placed than Malaysia’s second Top University – USM
which is ranked No. 307.
Are these rankings for the past three years proof of permanent inferiority
of Malaysian universities to Thai universities, particularly for the Top
This however is not the only dismal result for Malaysian universities in
the THES-QS 2007 ranking. Also for the first time, there is not a single
Malaysian university in the separate listing of Top 100 Universities for
five subject areas – Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts and
Humanities; Life Sciences and Biomedicine; and Engineering and Information
Last year Malaysia was placed in four of the 500 slots in the five Top 100
Universities for the five subjects - University of Malaya ranked 49 in
Social Sciences and 95 in Natural Sciences, UKM No. 62 in Natural Sciences
and USM at No. 96 for Life Sciences and Biomedicine.
This year, Malaysia was completely excluded in all the five listings of
Top 100 Universities for the five categories.
The Higher Education Ministry has planned some 60 promotion programmes
overseas this year to attract international students.
Should Mustapha be spearheading the campaign to market universities to the
international market or should he be giving top priority to ensure
Malaysian universities establish themselves as educational centre of
excellence recognized in World’s Top Universities rankings?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman