by Lim Kit Siang at the Tawau DAP
Thousand-People “Towards A New Era” dinner at Lau Gek Poh Memorial Hall,
Tawau on Saturday, 15th
November 2008 at 9 pm:
Malaysian universities losing out to
Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines in in international ranking for
quality education and academic excellence
Malaysia is losing out in the unrelenting
battle for international competitiveness among nations, with Malaysian
universities even losing out to universities in Thailand, Indonesia and
Philippines – something completely unthinkable in the first three
decades of our nationhood.
For the second consecutive year, Malaysia had fallen completely out of
the list of the world’s Top 200 Universities this year in the 2008 Times
Higher Education Supplement (THES) - Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World
The national shame of Malaysia falling completely out of the list of the
world’s Top 200 Universities this year in the 2008 Times Higher
Education Supplement (THES) - Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University
Rankings is being compounded by the ignominy of Malaysian universities
losing out not only to top universities in Singapore, China, Japan, Hong
Kong, Taiwan and South Korea but also to other South East Asian nations
like Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines.
The 2008 THES-QS rankings should be a “wake-up” call to the Higher
Education Minister and the Cabinet of the advanced crisis of higher
education in Malaysia, but I have given up hope that the Barisan
Nasional government is capable of “waking up”!
For the second consecutive year, there is not only not a single
university in the 2008 THES-QS Top 200 Universities list, there is also
not a single university in the separate ranking of Top 100 Universities
for five subject areas – Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts and
Humanities; Life Sciences and Biomedicine; and Technology.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Malaya (UM) were in
the 2006 Ranking, placed No. 185 and 192 respectively. UKM plunged to
309 last year and improved to 250 this year while UM fell to 246 last
year improving slightly to 230 this year – but both remain outside the
Top 200 Universities ranking.
The government named Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) as the Apex
University but it has a dismal international rankings after being
included once in the Top 200 Universities list – No. 111 in 2004, No.
326 in 2005, 277 in 2006, No. 307 in 2007 and No. 313 in 2008.
It is both sad and pathetic that our Apex University, the USM, at No.
313 ranking, is not only left far behind in South East Asia by Singapore
(National University of Singapore No. 30 and Nanyang Technological
University No. 77) but also by Thailand (Chulalongkorn University No.
166), Indonesia (University of Indonesia No. 287) and the Philippines (Ateneo
de Manila University No. 254 and University of the Philippines No. 276).
Until last year, Malaysian universities were all ranked well ahead of
the Indonesian universities, but in the 2008 THES-QS World Top
Universities ranking, Indonesian universities are catching up with
Malaysian universities in leaps and bounds.
Last year for instance, the three top
Indonesian universities were all ranked behind the Malaysian
universities – University of Indonesia (UI) No. 395, Bandung Institute
of Technology (ITB) No. 369 and Gajah Mada University (UGM) No. 360, as
compared to the three top Malaysian universities University of Malaya
(UM) No. 246, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) No. 307 and Universiti
Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) No. 309.
In this year’s ranking, University of
Indonesia has improved by 108 placings to be ranked as No. 287, Bandung
Institute of Technology No. 315 and Gajah Mada University No. 316.
This means that in the 2008 THES-QS Ranking,
University of Indonesia (No. 287) has narrowed the gap with University
of Malaya (No. 230) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (No. 250), while
ahead of Malaysia’s apex university, Universiti Sains Malaysia (No.
313), University Putra Malaysia (No. 320) and Universiti Teknologi
Malaysia (No. 356).
The performance of Malaysian universities in
the 2008 THES-QS Top 100 lists for the five subject areas are even more
dismal, with not a single university making into the five lists for two
years consecutively although Malaysia secured four of these 500
prestigious slots in 2006 - University of Malaya was ranked 49 in Social
Sciences and 95 in Natural Sciences, UKM was placed No. 62 in Natural
Sciences, and University Sains Malaysia placed No. 96 for Life Sciences
For the 2008 THES-QS ranking, National University of Singapore (NUS)
(No. 30) is ranked among the Top 100 Universities for all the five
categories while Nanyang Technological University (NTU) (No. 77) is
ranked among the Top 100 universities for three categories, viz:
Technology (No. 26); Life Sciences & Biomedicine (No. 78) and Social
NUS is ranked No. 11 for Technology; No. 17 for Life Sciences and
Biomedicine, No. 31 for Natural Sciences; No. 18 for Social Sciences and
No. 30 for Arts & Humanities.
NTU is ranked No. 25 for Engineering & IT; No. 99 for Natural Sciences
and No. 88 for Social Sciences.
Even Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University is rated among the Top 100
Universities for two categories – Technology (No. 86) and Social
Sciences (No. 72); Indonesia’s Bandung Institute of Technology rated as
among the Top 100 universities for Technology (No. 90) and two
universities in Philippines ranked among the Top 100 Universities for
Arts and Humanities - Ateneo de Manila University (No. 79) and
University of the Philippines (No. 82).
After being placed in four of the 500 slots in the five Top 100
Universities for the five subjects in 2006, Malaysian universities has
been conspicuously missing from
all the five listings of Top 100 Universities for the five categories
for the past two years.
There are over 30 “elite of elite” universities, which are not only
ranked in the Top 200 Universities list, but also ranked in every one of
the five Top 100 subject list.
Universities in the Asia-Pacific region which are in this exclusive
“elite of elites” list are:
(Ranking in Top 200 Universities in bracket)
Sydney U (37)
Melbourne U (38)
Queensland U (43)
New South Wales U (45)
Monash U (47)
Tokyo U (19)
Hong Kong U (26)
National University of Singapore (30)
Peking U (50)
Tsinghua U (56)
Seoul National U (50)
Why is Malaysia not in this “elite of elites”
listing and when will Malaysia have a university which will have
all-round excellence as to be included in this list?
Kit Siang, DAP
Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor