Friday, September 30, 2005

Oops... Universiti Malaya Has Done It Again

I think I must have sighed a thousand times when I turned to page 11 of the New Straits Times yesterday to find University Malaya (UM) putting up a full page advertisement commemorating its centennial celebrations.


In a poorly worded statement littered with 'suspect' English - UM showcased its 'Alumni of Great Fame'. On the advertisement, you'll find pictures of almost half the cabinet ministers and 4 menteri besars. Interestingly, next to the larger picture of our Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Abdullah Badawi, you'll find a large mugshot of our Minister of Higher Education, Dato' Dr Haji Shafie Mohd Salleh. Whoever did the Photoshop editing for the composite image should probably be shot.

The fact that the advertisement is an absolute waste of university funds should be bad enough. (See also earlier post on "Thick-Skinned Academics"). But you should read the statement and decide if UM have done itself justice.
For a century, University of Malaya has practised and will continue to practise a code of excellence in the pursuit of knowledge. It has contributed immensely to the building of this nation like no other. UM has produced more than one hundred thousand graduates in various fields, who have gone to serve the nation with outstanding achievements and dedications. The Prime Minister of Malaysia YAB Dato' Seri Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi tops the list. Almost half of the Cabinet Members and four Menteri Besar are UM Alumni.

Truly, the University of Malaya has and will continue to serve the country with excellence.
Then at the bottom of the advertisement, it was added that:
In 2004, UM was placed 89th in the 'University World Ranking' by The TIMES of LONDON. YAB Deputy Prime Minister earlier this year has challenged UM to be among the 50 best universities by 2020. To achieve this target, UM has to improve its position by 2.6 places each year. What is UM's position for 2005? Wait and see in November this year!!!
Either the university has received some inside information that its placement will improve in this year's university rankings table by the Times Higher Education Supplement (not “The TIMES of LONDON”) or its really setting itself up for a major Humpty Dumpty moment.

It’s just amazing how we have a culture of celebrating mediocrity by proclaiming it to be monumental achievements. Being placed 89th is a commendable achievement, but it’s definitely not something to shout out loud about. And that’s actually before, we analysed the “real reasons” why the university was placed in such “lofty heights”. The university officials should just cross their fingers that the ranking compilers at the Times Higher Education Supplement do not figure out the potential errors in the ranking of Malaysian universities to save themselves from some major embarrassment in just 2 months time.

Even if UM wants to scream at the top of its lungs the achievements of the university over the past 100 years, it should focus on its academic and education achievements. For example, what are the prestigious international awards it has received? What are the breakthrough scientific research produced by the UM academic and research community? What are the percentage of graduates gaining employment within a period of 6 months? Those will be regarded as the real achievements of a top university – and not whether the Federal Territories Minister, Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is an alumni of the university.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for highlighting the idiocy and utter wastage of taxpayers' money by the megalomaniacs of the "89th best university in the world". A cursory glance of the write up shows an extremely poor command of the English language. Not only the guy who was responsible for the photoshop editing should be shot but also those who were responsible the write up of the article. Surely an university yang "sudah bertaraf dunia" can call upon the services of its English professors to help out with the blurb. It has become commonplace for the UM Vice Chancellor (whose term of appointment is coming to an end) and his cronies to squander away the taxpayer's money on such useless propaganda exercises. I am surprised that neither the PM or the Ministry of Higher Education have done anything to investigate into the excesses and misuse of funds at UM. UM VC is considered to be an excellent VC by the politicians because he has managed to convert UM into a proUMNO institution by fixing the student elections and staff unions. Only God can save UM now.

Anonymous said...

The method of the ranking is probably flawed. At the same time the UM students should ask, does UM even deserve such credit. Are the students feeling good about themselves about it? Maybe, if they are ignorant enough. Maybe some people had questioned it but being silenced or what not.
If this is the case, which I believe is the more plausible scenario, then people in the academia should really do an independent investigation. One can also publish books about how rotten Malaysian's education standard has become.
About VC changing UM to into a proUMNO institution by fixing the student elections and staff unions, again if UM itself is garbage + with garbage staff + with garbage students = garbage administration => u should know how to solve this equation by now.

Anonymous said...

You have no rights to talk about UM.. jgn pandai pandai nak kutuk lah... i guess u dun hv a better work to do... see ur own weakness b4 u insult others!!!!

gim said...

"You have no rights to talk about UM.. jgn pandai pandai nak kutuk lah... i guess u dun hv a better work to do... see ur own weakness b4 u insult others!!!!" - Are you a UM student? And please brush up your English grammar before graduating.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Universiti Malaya is a sinking ship. The moment the present VC "wayang kulit" took over, all the outstanding academic staff resigned and went to other universities (Prof. John Philip went to OUM, Prof. Khairul to UiTM, Prof Mashkuri to Mimos, Prof Jomo and Gomez to UN, Prof Shahril etc). Many others are only bidding their time to leave the university. According to many of them, they are fed up with the autocratic and unjust manner the present VC is running the university. He and his sycophant "yes man" Deans headed by the Engineering Dean are left with staff who have no other place to go. The VC is destroying the University by appointing half witted UMNO supporters who have no academic credibilty. Examples of his latest appointments are: Wirakarnain Sani who has not been able to complete his PhD even after 9 years; is appointed a PERMANENT lecturer without having to go through normal procedure. Bazrul, another PhD candidate who has been at it for many years. He is trying to appoint Kamariah Haron who has given up PhD after 10 years. How about the suspect appointments of Kalam Azad Abu Bakar, Eduardo Marusin
Mohd Hairolnezam Khamis, Mahaganapathy Dass @ Paskaradass, Halmi Rajin, Mahadzir Mat Isa and
Hirman Awang? There are numerous other examples of appointments of people not qualified to get the job. I hope the new Chairman of the Board of Directors will look into the excesses and misuse of power before UM is totally detroyed.

syia said...

i am totally impressed with your entries in this blog..awosome job!

Anonymous said...

the comments people leave and even reply...

as a UM student, i see many flaws and i wonder when will the admin themselves wake up to see what is really going on in campus.

i don't know when will that happen considering that the campus student election has just proved that threats and brainwashing is the way to win votes from students.

i don't think a world class university practices unfair election tactics. unless that is the way we are supposed to bring up our new generation.

don't know if our other alumnus/alumnae will be happy to know about this.

Tony P said...

Some of the remarks above have been deleted for use of offensive words.

Bigjoe99 said...

The advertisement show one thing: The best UM people need government handout. NOT a single one is NOT linked to the government.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

UM should be renamed UK - Universiti Kroni - seems to be very good at it.

Asian Students Association said...

Dear Tony,

Just wonder whether we can file the complains to those international university ranking institutions. I agree with you that UM and the Ministry have to give a lesson about what they did in the past. From Prof. Terrence Gomez to the latest campus election, it can be the case for us to request those institution to reveal the "real face" of our "lovely" UM and other universities.

Is time for the blogger to play the role to check and balance the malpratice of the ministry and university administration. Is time for us to show our power to let the Minister and VC know about how many people watched their irresponsible and unaccountable to the public.

Sometime, I think the international pressures may effective enough to teach them a lesson.

Looking for your response soon.

Anonymous said...

Tony,

Talk about UM and you will be the most famous talk in town -:)

--Old Man

Anonymous said...

"You have no rights to talk about UM.. jgn pandai pandai nak kutuk lah... i guess u dun hv a better work to do... see ur own weakness b4 u insult others!!!!"

I have all the rights to criticise UM. It is all about the freedom of speech. Within the university without freedom of speech that means the quality of the university should go down. To respond like this in the blog reflects the level of maturity you have and you are not only ignorant but quasar ignorant about the surroundings around you. I do hope you would read more regarding what is going on too.

Anonymous said...

Tony,

Actually if you didnt remove those vulgular comments, it might be more interesting. Reason being, it reflects how delusional people are in UM and they are still living in the little corner of their universe without knowing what is going on. Or is it because they themselves are frustrated since they know it for a fact that UM is bad, and no way for them to get out. Just my piece of mind.

Oh and by the way, I saw one of the comment saying about no rights to talk. Dont say that, you are just making more mockery out of yourself and the school. Which I myself find it is ridiculous.

S-Kay said...

That comment obviously came from a student or an alumni who's contented with everything in UM. I actually laughed at the comment.

That aside, I was wondering, it is possible that a university can buy its ranking to boost its image up? And if lets say they did not buy the ranking, can they be sued for not providing the students with quality education that lets say an 89th ranker should?

Dangerous Variable said...

Taxpayers monies being wasted over an advertisement. This calls for accountability in book keeping and reasons why should the university spend so money on advertising rather than using the money to send their students or academicians for training or seminars.

This is sad and I have every right to know where, how, the reasons my money is being spent.

dreamstate said...

"You have no rights to talk about UM.. jgn pandai pandai nak kutuk lah... i guess u dun hv a better work to do... see ur own weakness b4 u insult others!!!!"

When I read this comment I laugh so hard that I woke up my wife. I subsequently got a beatings from her. Tony, I'm going to hold it against you! :P

Lrong said...

Tony & Kian Ming, excellent blog... superb stuff...
But unfortunately, we live in a separate universe from those so-called policy makers who believe they can do no wrong...

Dreamstate... you had me roaring and rolling on the floor, but luckily, I didn't wkae up my wife...

Anonymous said...

I'm an allumni of UM.
I really feel terribly sorry and ashame of the current VC and all his cronies who are involved. No right words can describe my pity for UM, its truthful lecturers and current students.
Why can't the PM and Minister of Education seriously act on this deteriorating state of affair with urgency before the rot gets further?

Anonymous said...

The University of Malaya is not a sinking boat, it is a wooden building eaten to the end by an army of worms.
These worms are very easy to recognise: they are short sized (with poor academic background, the best worms are coming from administrative and ministries),they walk with slippers in corridors, they always laugh (hee, hee, hee) and always show a pretty smiling face (but the heart is full of s...), they are performing mobbing to all productive academicians (who finaly suicide or leaves humiliated and miserable), they spend 95% of their work time gossyping with clercks eating noodles (this is a part of mobbing), they get lots of cash from suppliers, they make sure that productive researchers will never have a laboratory while they keep theirs unused, they have the supports DVC, and deans who bless their abuse of power and always laugh "hee hee hee" when crucial problems are explained to them and finally they will make sure that all the evidences will be kept under the carpet.
The university of malaya is about to collapse, the truth even might be seen here. It is already known internationally.

I hope that one day someone will save UM from its worms, it needs a good treatment

Littlebaba

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

My comment on Friday has been removed by the administrator....censured because little baba was speaking the truth, Mr administrator has no enough balls to send my message.
Will you dare to censure it again?? are you a Master UM...
or a little baba?