Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 8th October 2009:
Malaysia’s loss of face past two years in being totally excluded from Top World 200 Universities retrieved somewhat with University of Malaya ranked No. 180 but still a long way to go for Malaysian universities to establish their excellence and international competitiveness
Congrats to University of Malaya (UM) for making a come-back in the THES-QS World Universities Rankings 2009 to be among the world’s top 200 universities – climbing 50 places from last year (No. 230) to rank No. 180 this year.
Malaysia’s loss of face in the past two years in being totally excluded from the Top World 200 Universities ranking has been retrieved somewhat with UM’s return to the Top World 200 Universities bracket but there is still a long way to go for Malaysian universities to establish their excellence and international competitiveness for at least six reasons:
If Malaysia is serious in wanting to create a world-class university system to transform the country into a knowledge-based innovative economy, it must end the New Economic Policy (NEP) in the universities and fully restore the policy of meritocracy and academic excellence coupled with social need to provide university education opportunities to economically-backward Malaysians regardless of race.
The government must recognize that so long as the NEP is kept in place in the universities, there would be no way for any Malaysian public university to compete with other universities from other countries.
If Malaysia is to get back to the trail of world-class academic excellence, all universities should be allowed to enroll the most qualified students, employ the most competent professors and researchers with competitive remunerations and restore a culture of academic excellence and freedom.
Furthermore, the Higher Education Minister must ask the Cabinet to end the present fraudulent meritocracy using both STPM and matriculation by having a common university entrance examination.
This is the recommendation of the World Bank study on “Malaysia and the Knowledge Economy: Building a World-Class Higher Education System” submitted to the government in 2007.
Otherwise, the Higher Education Ministry is only continuing to pay lip service to university excellence and quality without the political will to bring about the institutional changes without which there is no way for UM to meet the challenge to be among the World Top 50 universities and for other Malaysian universities to be in the World Top 100 or 200 universities.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor