Muhyiddin not proud that UM is ranked No. 423 in latest US News 500 Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 although it is only Malaysian university ranked, because it confirms lowly international position of UM and Malaysian universities

The Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is not proud that University of Malaya is ranked No. 423 in the latest US News 500 Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 although it is the only Malaysian university ranked, because it confirms the lowly international academic position and repute not only of Malaysia’s premier university but also of other public universities in the country.

This is the reason for the “conspiracy of silence” in all the mainstream media in the past week since the publication of the new ranking for universities in the world last Tuesday, as if the new world universities ranking does not exist.

This is totally unlike countries which have received recognition for producing world-class universities as to be ranked in the Top 500 in the new ranking series by U.S. News & World Report, which published its first Global Universities Rankings online after producing the Best College in United States rankings for 30 years.

The new rankings of the top 500 global universities, based on their academic research performance and their global and regional reputations, come from 49 countries with 134 from United States, 42 from Germany, 38 from United Kingdom, with 90 from Asian countries, led by China with 27 universities, 17 from Japan, 11 from South Korea, 7 from Turkey, 5 each from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Israel, 4 from India, 3 from Iran, 2 from Singapore and one each from Malaysia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan.

Considering that University of Malaya has a common beginning with National University of Singapore some half a century ago, Malaysia should be among the Top 5 Best Global Universities in Asia, which now go to:

Top 5 Best Global Universities in Asia

  1. University of Tokyo (Japan) – ranked No. 24
  2. Peking University (China) – ranked No. 39
  3. University of Hong Kong – ranked No. 42
  4. National University of Singapore – ranked No.55
  5. Kyoto University (Japan) – ranked No. 60

Imagine the radio/tv headlines and the print media front-page headlines that will be blared in the country if the University of Malaya had been ranked among the top 5 Best Universities in Asia or among the Top 100 Best Global Universities!

It is common place for Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, Hong Kong and even Singapore universities to dominate world university rankings, but it must have come as a surprise to many Malaysians to find Malaysian universities trailing behind universities in Turkey, Israel, South Africa and Iran, and the following headlines which appear in the Iranian, Israeli and South African media: “Iran among 500 Best Global Universities” with four Iranian universities featured in the Top 500 Best Global Universities; “UCT rated best university in South Africa” with University of Cape Town leading four South African universities in the Top 500 ranking and “Five Israeli universities among best global universities ranking”.

In Malaysia, there is total silence and a sense of shame about only one Malaysian university making into the new Top 500 global universities ranking and with such a lowly position, as well as being overtaken by more and more countries in terms of academic excellence and prestige.

It is tragic that Muhyiddin, the University of Malaya, university administrators and educationists are not challenged by these global educational developments but seems to be obsessed only by how to penalize University Malaya student leader Fahmi Zainol and other university students for last Monday’s programme on Oct. 27 in connection with Anwar Ibrahim’s return to his alma mater university, when all disciplinary action against Fahmi and other university students should be dropped completely.

Instead, the university administrators should use the “awakening” of the university students as a result of the Anwar Ibrahim’s return to alma mater to restore student activism so that the country will produce a new generation of critical-minded leaders to strengthen and sharpen Malaysia’s international competitiveness in the new era of science and technology.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah