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UM VC doing a triple in blitzkrieg of self-glorification campaign over THES  World University Ranking 2005 despite falling 80 places from 89th to 169th position


Media Conference Statement

by Lim Kit Siang  

, Tuesday): I welcome the statement by the Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow to Parliament reporters yesterday that the Higher Education Ministry has asked  the University of Malaya (UM)  to take down what I had described as the Seven Billboards of Shame and Dishonour, as UM’s 80-point fall from 89th to 169th position in the Top 200 Universities Ranking is  “nothing to celebrate or happy  about”.

This is the right and proper attitude to adopt whether by educationists or the ordinary lay-persons. Unfortunately, the Higher Education Ministry seems to be unable to convey its message to the University of Malaya, whose  Vice  Chancellor, Prof Datuk Dr. Hashim Yaacob, has launched the third phase of his campaign of self-glorification over  UM’s placing in the THES World University Ranking 2005.

The first phase was the Seven Billboards of Shame and Dishonour put up in the campus on Oct. 31, where the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Higher Education Minister were drafted in the campaign of self-glorification, giving the university lecturers, students and visitors the impression that the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Higher Education Minister were mightily pleased with UM’s 80-point fall from 89th to 169th position  in  the Top 200 Universities Ranking.

The second phase were the 150 banners/buntings hung on lamp-posts in the campus on Saturday celebrating UM’s “achievements” in the THES World University Ranking 2005 and turning UM into a short of Disneyland.l.

The third phase was launched yesterday when  thousands or even tens of thousands of leaflets, 37 cm by 37 cm, flooded the campus, whether  residential colleges or  faculties, reproducing an article by Hashim in the local media  extolling UM’s “achievements” in the THES World University Ranking 2005.

The Cabinet tomorrow should put a stop to this binge  of self-glorification and splurge of scarce resources  in the UM and restore some sanity of academic aplomb, culture and tradition – as it is most shocking and unbecoming for the nation’s premier university being converted into a Disneyland or a pasar malam as if to shout out  the wares or games offered up for sale!

Enough money have been squandered in the misguided three-point blitzekrieg campaign of self-glorification by Hashim. If he had shown the same passion and obsession to raise the academic excellence, quality and standards of University of Malaya, UM would probably already be ranked within the World’s Top 50 Universities – something which should not be regarded as impossible for Malaysia when Singapore could have two universities in the Top 50 Universities.

UM has been placed among the top 100 universities in three out of five categories – Arts and Humanities (45th), Biomedicine (82nd) and Social Science (83rd).  This  should not be unalloyed joys for the following reasons:

  • UM is omitted in the two categories of Science and Technology, which should be among the most important faculties if Malaysia is serious in wanting to be internationally competitive in the era of science and technology.

  • While it is commendable  to see UM in the Top 100 universities in the biomedicine category, being placed No.  82, has Hashim or anyone in UM asked why UM has fallen so far behind National Unity of Singapore, which is placed No. 15 in this category – or 67 places behind, when both universities had started on the same footing some half a century ago?

  • The same question applies with regard to UM’s ranking of No. 83 for social science among the Top 100 Universities. Why has UM lost out to NUS, which is placed No. 13 and even Chulalongkorn University of Thailand, which is ranked No. 46.

For Arts and Humanities, UM is ranked No. 45 among the Top 100, and is ahead of  the two Singapore universities in this grouping, National University of Singapore (No.  56) and  Nanyang Technological University (No. 89).



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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