Saturday, March 18, 2006

New UM Vice-Chancellor Soon?

Hey hey hey, guess what's one of the best news I've read today?

I found out from Sdr Lim Kit Siang's blog that the contract for Kapten Datuk Professor Dr Hashim Yaacob as the vice-chancellor of Universiti Malaya will be ending by the end of this month. That's just less than 2 weeks away.

Obviously that doesn't mean that his contract will not be renewed. However, given the penchance of the current vice-chancellor to make himself heard in the press, and the fact that it has been all silent on that front makes the possibility of a replacement being seeked a real one. After all, it is well known in the university circles that the renewal of the contract of an incumbent vice-chancellor is typically done 2 months or so prior to the end of the contract.

Kapten Datuk Professor Dr Hashim Yaacob will be disappointed that the former Minister of Higher Education with whom he has clearly established a "close" working relationship came to an end just before his contract is up for renewal. After all, the vice-chancellor has done his very best to publish the former Minister's mug prominently on practically anything from billboards to press adverstisements.

To quote Sdr Lim:
This provides [the new Minister of Higher Education] Mustapha the opportunity to demonstrate that he is serious about his ambitious target to ensure that at least two Malaysian universities are in the world’s top 50 by 2010, impressing both the local and international academic community with the appointment of a Vice Chancellor who is internationally- recognized for his or her scholarship, or as Dr. Azmi Sharom, Associate professor of Law Faculty, University of Malaya, said in his Open Letter to the Higher Education Minister, the Vice Chancellor must have “the qualities of an outstanding intellectual, manager and diplomat, who can ensure that academic principles are paramount, not political expediency”.
In anticipation of Kapten Datuk Professor Dr Hashim Yaacob departure from his current position, let us now count the ways why we "love" him so in events over the past 12 months:
  1. The honourable vice-chancellor argued that Dr Terence Gomez was irresponsible and unpatriotic for "any individual should consider the interests of their 'students, country and the nation' before deciding to resign". Thankfully, he was given an immediate virtual slap in the face when the Prime Minister approved Dr Terence Gomez's application for 2 years unpaid leave to take up his post at the United Nations. The honourable vice-chancellor also rejected the leave application by the wife of Dr Terence Gomez which he subsequently claimed to be a "procedural error" for she applied to the vice-chancellor via email.

  2. The honourable vice-chancellor was a busy busy man, for even the UM academic staff union (PKAUM) was having difficulties in setting up appointments with him. The latter's grouses on promotion irregularities, grades tampering and possible misappropriation of funds fell on deaf ears. Instead, Professor Rosli Mahat, spokesperson for PKAUM got a show-cause letter for his efforts.

  3. The honourable vice-chancellor, who was also affectionately known globally as the "billboard vice-chancellor" started the ball rolling by putting up billboards proclaiming UM's "world class" status when ranked 89th globally by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) in 2004.

  4. The honourable vice-chancellor, who had a 'zero' in the THES report card for research publications ingeniusly decided that the best way to remedy the issue was to take part in dog and pony trade shows and collect "gold medals" for his effort. For those who are unaware, almost all dogs and ponies return home with a medal in such trade shows, afterall, the participants paid for it.

  5. The honourable vice-chancellor, like the emperor without clothes, was so impressed with the "accolade" given by THES, that he proudly did the catwalk by putting up full-page colour advertisements teasing readers in anticipation of the new rankings in 2005. This was despite the fact that any half-decent statistician can work out that there were blinding errors in the THES 2004 tables. I suppose the emperor was so impressed with his new clothes that nobody, even those closest to him in the university dared say anything else.

  6. The honourable vice-chancellor, upon finding out that he was actually without clothes, did the honourable thing by denying that he was ever naked.

  7. The honourable vice-chancellor, upon finding out the real reasons for the "world-class" performance in 2004 declared, in partnership with the former Minister of Higher Education, that UM will allocated 5% of places in the university to foreign students, in a poorly disguised attempt to improve its world rankings.

  8. The honourable vice-chancellor, when faced with mounting public criticism, used university funds to once again, take up full-page advertisements to defend UM's "world class" status by using further misleading statistical arguments, for UM is after all, "worthy of our pride".

  9. The honourable vice-chancellor, allegedly had his wife transferred from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, where she was languishing as an associate professor for many years to Universiti Malaya 3 years ago. And within the short period of time, she has now received her promotion to be a full-professor at the university.

  10. The honourable vice-chancellor, is probably the only vice-chancellor in town who have received thinly-disguised public rebuke in the media, not once, but twice by one of his very own faculty members.
I'm sure many of you will have many other memorable moments to cherish, but 10 is enough for me. Let us now shed a little tear for the dearest honourable vice-chancellor, Kapten Datuk Professor Dr Hashim Yaacob, for we'll miss him so. (Or so we hope. ;-p)


Anonymous said...

Are you people seriously think Mustapha will terminate Hashim's term? No way! This is Umnoland

Anonymous said...

let's pray hard

Anonymous said...

He'll have another year of probation...

Anonymous said...

We will find out soon enough. That guy is totally impressionable for screwing up time and again in the education history.


Anonymous said...

This is the litmus test for YB Mustapa Mohamad. Whether the present megalomaniac VC of UM is given the boot or not will determine once and for all his reputation as a decisive minister who means business. Unfortunately in present day Malaysia, political expediency often takes precedence over academic eminence. Supporters of the present VC will say he is a true patriot, who read patriotic poems and performed patriotic shadow plays (where most of his time, energy and university money went anyway) and ensured that the student elections were fixed to ensure that the university financed zombie students group 'Aspirasi' went on to sweep the elections. However, sober minds at the nation's premier university are weeping at the destruction brought by this unscrupulous person in the form of promoting to professors candidates who did not have the minimum qualifications (the Ministry should look into the CVs of the present engineering Dean, his poet friend Rahman Shaari, his wife etc. to discover how the exercise was manipulated), appointments of his goons in the Students Affairs Department, the appointment of 'Raputin' Wirakarnain (trying to do his PhD for 10 years but no light at the end of the tunnel) etc. Which other Vice Chancellor insists that his portrait in the Navy uniform is put up in every nook and corner of the university (at the expense of the university). We do need to say more about the billboards. The way he humiliates his Deans and professors in public gatherings are legendary. Those who openly speak up aginst him are denied promotion and worse, disciplinary action is taken. What we really need is a new VC who is not after self glorification, someone with Integrity, just, treats his colleagues with respect, allows free discussion and academics are free to speak without fear of being spied upon and does not treat the university money as his private coffer.

Dato' Mustapa, Are you listening?

Anonymous said...

Whoever is going to take over the UM VC post will not change the situation. History tells, anyway. I bet everyone knows the real root cause of this substandard education quality that is forced down our throat. It is the 'N' word that lands us to the state we are in right now. Forget about crossing your fingers years after years hoping for the miracle, this country is destined to doom. I'm telling the truth here, lets face it.

Anonymous said...

susah sangat nak carik one juz get azmi sharom as vc.he sure do good to the uni.i dare to put my money on him.first term as vc um will change drastically: academically, physically, and policy.

Anonymous said...


"...Did anyone realise the irony when our P.M went to Australian University to get honoured with some honarary degree during a convocation he was bestowed that honour from a malaysian chinese vice Chancellor of the Australian University.In our boleh land they dont even have a chinese as Vice chancellor but in Australia they appoint a chinese Malaysian as Vice Chancellor. What does it say about our system? Go overseas if you want to get recognition and promotion...." Unquote

I have checked this info out. It is not Vice Chancellor. But Chancellor.


Check this out:


Profile of Dr Eric Tan

Could we say something for the 128 students whom were denied of their first choice to our local IPTAs despite having full A's in STPM?

These 128 people could be tomorrow's Dr Eric Tan..

Let's ponder..

We have excellent people, but were ignored, times and again, by our BN govt...

Which agenda comes first?

(a) national competitiveness in
globalsation age

(b) NEP or NDP

(c) THES ranking

(d) none of the above answer

(e) pls specify

Msian Taxpayer

Anonymous said...

I think you leave out something.

(f) Own pocket

Anonymous said...

For those in UM, this is a time of nervous anticipation. Numerous potential candidates have been mentioned as potential VCs. Let me discuss their merits and demerits. 1. Prof Mashkuri Yaacob: former Deputy VC and Dean of Computer Science Faculty. A brash upstart, not very friendly but very bright academically. Lacks the ability to handle people diplomatically. UMNO supporters are suspicious of his affiliations. A poor choice. 2. Prof Jamil Maah: Former Head of Chemistry Dept, Deputy Dean, Head of Pusat Asasi, presently head of Consultancy unit. Upright, has integrity, strict, concerned about performance of Malay students. Close to PM and supporters. good choice. 3. Prof Rasat: Former Dean and present Deputy VC. Meticulous, upright, has integrity, good academic record, diplomatic, rather on the quiet side. hampered by weak command of English but makes up by othe positive factors. Good choice. 4. Prof Amin: Dean of Medicine and workoholic.; typical day ends at 10.00 pm. Extremely friendly, selfless, diplomatic and good academic record as an ENT surgeon. Slightly hampered by ability to communicate fluently in English. By far the best choice.
5. Prof Roziah Omar: former dean of Postgrad. studies and Head of a Family/Gender studies unit under Sharizat now. Hopeless as an administrator, knows nothing about research/postgraduate affairs. More known for lobbying for favors with Minister (brother in law) and ambitious to be first woman VC. A total disaster! 6. Dr. Mahani zainal abidin. Formerly in Econs Fac., then MTEN and now in Higher Education Ministry. absolutely hopeless as an administrator, brash, loud mouthed, does not know the meaning of diplomacy. Absolute disaster! 7. Dr Sulaiman Mahbob. National Integrity Plan boss. UM academics will resent outsiders. May not work 8. Prof. Razali Agus: Present Deputy VC in charge of Student affairs. Probably most hated academic staff among students. Lacks integrity; caused a financial disaster when he was Head of the Consultancy unit. Best way to destroy UM will be to appoint him as VC.

weiaik said...

I heard that Dr. Hashim Yaacob was trying appeal to guys of Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam (which always described by him as anti-establishment student group) to support him in seeking renewal to his contract.

Anonymous said...

I think his term will be renewed...have a strong feeling!

Anonymous said...

dear zuekn,

luckily your 'strong feeling' is wrong.

still, nothing much to cheer about. one Malay is replaced by another Malay, experiment for 3 years, no good, change again after 3 years, and meanwhile, UM goes down the drain and becomes the personal playground of whoever is its VC, like wife or husband and cronies get appointed and promotoed.

meanwhile, UM becomes a research UM by name only, while UM burns!

Anonymous said...

Dear All,
Mai I give a suggestion? Let us not discuss anymore who the new VC is?
Let us discuss how come the standards of UM graduates are so low now.
Why are the faculties, deans and heads of depts being aware of this problem but do not ' move' a finger to point to the sorce of problems and take steps to improve the quality of graduates?
I do believe they are not that 'dumb' not to be aware of declining standards?
It is sad, that Um graduates now is no longer respectable and no longer seeked as the the employers first choice.
during the good old days before these mess came about, we can see students and lecturers doing the extra achieve the quality of teaching and research.
As faras I can see, the watershed of UM started with the appointment of Abdullah Sanusi...
Nowadays lecturers are too buzy politicking than developing their own wonder the standads fell...

Anonymous said...
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