Monday, May 29, 2006

UTAR: Too Fast, Too Soon?

I've written quite a few times on University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) – here and here, and I've been rebuked quite a few times for some of my opinions as well :) So obviously, I'm risking more rebukes with a few comments here on the growth and development of UTAR, this time, on the back of an article published in the New Straits Times on the 17th May - “New college ponders old tests of survival”.

Chow Kum Hor, who was taking stock of the progress of the University after some 4 years after enrolling is first set of students.
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar), the MCA-run university, is now coming to terms with trying to realise an ambitious project in the cutthroat sector of private education. It is now operating from campuses in Petaling Jaya, Setapak and Bandar Sungai Long pending the completion of its main campus in Kampar, Perak.

From its modest beginnings with only eight Bachelor’s programmes and an initial intake of just over 400 students, it now boasts an enrolment of over 12,000 with more than 30 courses.

But just how sustainable is Utar in the face of increasingly stiff competition?
It appears that UTAR is facing quite a few difficult challenges – some of which are related to earlier criticisms which I've made.

1. The Politics of Raising Funds

Apparently, many donors who were probably more interested in hobnobbing with the MCA politicians, after handing over "giant mock cheques in front of flashing Press camera bulbs, are taking their time to come up with the cash". Since the University is privately funded with the exception of an initial RM50 million grant from the Government, income from fees and donations are critical in ensuring continued viability of the university.

2. The Politics of Attracting Academics

It appears that being a “political university” creates discomfort among some academics, and correspondingly attracts academics of a certain profile.

Kampar-born historian Prof Datuk Dr Khoo Kay Kim says "some good scholars may also be put off by the idea of working for an institution linked to a political party."
The first two principals of TAR College, he says, were distinguished physics professors from Universiti Malaya. But their stints did not last long after falling out with their political masters.
3. Competition

With the New Era College and the Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TARC) competing for almost the same pool of students and public funds, plus the fact that the latter is 50% subsidised by the Government, UTAR faces the challenge of keeping its fees low and yet pay the bills.

At the same time, students today are almost spoilt for choice in pursuing private tertiary education in Malaysia. With the liberalisation of private tertiary education in the late 1980s and 1990s in the country, many students who were previously unable to pursue expensive tertiary education overseas after being denied places at the local public universities have countless options today.

My Humble Thoughts

Without the benefit of hindsight, the future of UTAR is obviously going to be difficult to predict. When I spoke to some lecturers of UTAR some time back, I detected a sense of pride and achievement from them, particularly in their believe that UTAR is setting new standards and that they are ensuring real quality in the recruitment of both academics and students.

However, with the exponential growth which UTAR has experienced from 400 to 12,000 students (and more in the near future) all within a short period of 4 years, my fear is that something has to give, and that's the qualitative aspects of the university. This is not surprising given the experiences of other private educational institutions in the country.

For comparative purposes, there was a time whereby, UTAR's sister college, TARC produced graduates who were in high demand and were highly regarded by employers. However, with the liberalisation and commercialisation of the tertiary education sector as well as possible politicisation of the college, student enrollment was increased exponentially with the opening of quite a few branch campuses around the country in the late 1990s. Today, given all things equal, I'll hire a computer science graduate from Universiti Malaya over TARC with the same CGPA of say, 3.3 any time. As mentioned in some of my earlier posts, barring exceptions (and there are exceptions), I'll rarely shortlist TARC candidates for interviews.

I've not received sufficient quantity of resumes from UTAR graduates to be able to give a more informed judgement on their quality and standards, especially since their pioneering batch of students have only graduated last year. However, from the few (less than 10) which I have received, I have not been particularly impressed, especially in terms of the entry criteria into the university.

All top universities anywhere in the world is defined by strict and high entry criteria for students based on their secondary education or pre-university academic achievements. The levels at which some of the students were accepted into UTAR indicates to me that standards have been set a tad too low, possibly due to commercial and political pressures to accept a greater number of students.

I think it might have been a better strategy for UTAR to have focus on being first and foremost, a top quality institution and a strict recruitment criteria for both academics and students, instead of attempting to meet MCA's political needs in growing into a sizeable institution within such a short period of time. Let TARC, its sister college bear the brunt of providing degree education for the masses (since it's subsidized by the Government) and UTAR focus on the top quality students - why should they compete in the same space? UTAR seems to have fallen into the perpetual trap faced by Malaysian institutions and politicians who have no patience plucking fruits only after they have properly ripen.


«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 236 of 236
Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"UTAR no quality "

for prospective comments, please write "UTAR HAS no quality"

seriously I found it appallingly hard to read what some of you were trying to convey.


Cibaikia said...

I hate Chelsea,lets talk liga malaysia(cough blood kao kao)..
Im none of any IPTA IPTS in malaysia,im sumatera utara student,soon be goin..
I dont care if UTAR is suckx or what,but my dear frends all love that crap school so much..
Build on political aim,such university shldnt even existed..but what to do,malaysia boleh..

Anonymous said...

if Utar is not enough for you.Then why still study in UTAR!NONSENSE..

Anonymous said...

local U?for malay?even a noob malay get 4As in spm also can in local u.How about Chinese or Indian?Get 10As also cant in local u?What the reason that Chinese and Indian so hard to in local U.Because local U only for Malay P*G...

Anonymous said...

i am UTARIAN, i dont know how bad or how good is UTAR, but i never regret to be graduated from UTAR because i get my first job basic salary S$ 2800 per month, if add up all the allowance, my salary go more S$ 3200 (RM7300)per month. as a new university, UTAR need some times to improve, it will be hard to satisfy each person, each student, but I am still proud of graduated from UTAR.

Anonymous said...

it's time for UTAR to increase the diversity, it's crucial for the future development. homogeneity does not do any good only promote the constrained environment to learning. diversity can be achieved in many ways. from different nationalities, different races, different gender, different sexual orientation, different age etc.

Still even it has been years since I last stepped my foot at UTAR. I suppose the command of English is no way improved, correct me if I were wrong. that's the harbinger I would expect that entails the progress of UTAR as a more successful institution too. no way in the world we could encourage the dominant force to change, however only external factors that would likely to veer the sociability of the students. It must be pressed that NO LECTURERS are allowed to speak to any students in any language except English to students on campus, not even the students have trouble understanding it. the best advise is to rephrase to speak slowly. Another solution is to have Special English Center for students to seek help or lecturers to send students who have problems with their command of English, Have that being said, lecturers do not need to deal with the situation and have more time for themselves. And command of English among students can somehow be 'enforced'

btw, as soon as UTAR is fully established, then it's time for MCA to exit as a proxy stakeholder for the Chinese community. should the MCA exit, it would benefit swing up the quality and redirect UTAR future in a more successful path. trying to keep with what's happening around UTAR, especially the progress of establishing itself.


Anonymous said...

no one needs to claim the prize which is the best university of Malaysia.

NO ONE... let the best claims itself. hope some people know what I meant. Let me further explain, do good my getting more researches and more publications and more outstanding individuals. go to get some Nobel Prizes. goto get some Pulitzer prizes. then the claim or title will fall on your feet begging you to take it.

I find it very pathetic to have such callow squabble about the claim being the best. please give everyone a break not to mention in this thread anymore, shall we?

if someone wanna claim UM or Usomething the best, let it be. UTAR doesn't claim for it, but it was claimed for UTAR.


Anonymous said...

Please check who was the Principal of TARC for the past 10 years. No international experience at all. The same person then promoted to be in-charge of UTAR as BIG FATTY (Fishhead) can easily control. Both TARC & UTAR are not the good choice for brilliant Chinese.

Anonymous said...

I'm also from foundation student..
We as a student should bring up the quality of utar...
Why there are no students obtain full mark 4 the examination in engineering fondation...dont blame the system and if u are gquality student ...anywhere u go....u vil be the same..dont loose to system easily..

Anonymous said...

I am currently a UTAR student. Being though it is, MCA's project, I don't feel that in Uni. UTAR is just UTAR. I don't associate it with being any political's party tool. To me, it's just a place where I can get further my studies.

Every Uni has its pros and cons. Please... I don't think any uni is perfect. Nothing can ever be suited to everyone's whims and fancies. No doubt there are some aspects in the Uni which some of us students are not happy with (like the super small library), but then again that hasn't really stopped us from making the best of it. (go for other resources)

Group study? Form your own with your friends. That has nothing to do with the Uni.

To all current UTAR students, are you making the best of it? IF you regret, why? Any unsatisfactory aspect, send an email to the administration. Student's affair department. At least you know the kind of thinking they have, judging on the replies or actions taken. I have done it before.n :)

When you make a choice to go to UTAR, last choice or not, there must have been something to make you put UTAR down in your list. (You could just stop studying and work)Whatever the reason maybe (good or bad), UTAR popped up. Hahaha.

Once you're in, make the best of it. And you'll find that it's quite alright after all.

Have a nice day! :D

Anonymous said...

To 'UTARian' above:

Yeah "right"!. Tell me what kind of the system they use that is very bad in your opinion. Then i might believe you.

Please keep in mind all bloggers, I can say i'm from anywhere, from uitm, utm, usm, or whatever and say their system is bad.
It is up to you to believe or not.

Anonymous said...

UTARian said...
I'm from foundation student...
I'm so regret enter UTAR to doing my engineering foundation...The system in UTAR is very bad.I wanted to witdraw from UTAR and move to other private University such as UNITEN...

Dear (shame) of UTAR, Your "england" is so "good", maybe you should enroll in english classes before considering into Uni. While you judge the institution, don't forget your place when you are doing it. You are in no excellent position to be complaining. I normally don't bet, but from your statement I assume that your Bahasa Kebangsaan is just as "excellent". Feel heated? Go apply for local uni.

Anonymous said...

Utar is a piece of shit...especially the managment people...

Utar also is talking crap to helping chinese to futher study...

racis,discriminate towads...banana
and putting big words...UTAR is better than KTAR.please prove it!!!

I personally think...UTAR is talking bullshit all the way together MCA people...

prove it your geek level to the world...

Anonymous said...

I'm UTAR dissapointed student.
I plan to witdraw from UTAR.
In the end,by several factor..I stay at UTAR.
for those who are new intake student...
please avoide yourself study in UTAR.
cuz,all is about your futhers..

Anonymous said...

I just completed my first semester at UTAR. The biggest problem faced by UTAR is its students mentality. From what I observed, most UTARians;

1) afraid or not interested to ask question during tutorial/lecture/presentation

2) ask silly question during others presentation

3) Too dependent on tips/notes compiled by lecturer (spoon feeding culture)

4) Did not prepare for lectures and tutorial classes

5) Not serious/playful

6) Finishing assingment/presentation at the 11th hour

7) weak in English

8) lack of critical thinking

and much more.

Anonymous said...

refer to your comments,
thanks for all of your critism to UTAR,
i am accidentally doing search online to find out the disadvangate of utar and i see this blog,
to blogger:
thanks for your concern to our university,i cannot say you are wrong ,but may i know more why you are willing to employer a graduate from UM but not from utar ?
for your information,
i am an engineering student from utar,
your critism is very apperciate,
you can send me in email,,
i am going to improve myself according to your critism,
i know we cannot stand in the original point ,
and should grow without the protection of universtiy,
kindly offer more your critism for me .thank you.

Anonymous said...

i just hope that political competition between lecturers in UTAR will end because the party ending up as victims are always the students..We are just student, not pawns. I really have enough of all the stupid KPI all these lecturers are after...

Anonymous said...

A blog comment started (politically) almost 3-years ago (with no full facts but conjectures and assumptions) and still attracting "interesting" discussion, both from supporters and detractors.

There are now almost 18,000 students in UTAR campuses supported by 1,000+ staff (of which >60% are academics).

I'm sure not all 18,000 students will say UTAR is a "good" university (especially the 10-20% that failed).

And I'm sure that not all the 600+ academics are equally excellent.

UTAR is not perfect, ... Harvard is not perfect.

Heck, even in Havard/Stanford/Cambridge, etc. not ALL that are accepted will graduate. (Hmm, does that means the students are no good or lecturers no good??? But...but.. to go to Harvard means you must be good....paradox???)

So, it would seem that most points put forward here are from a "limited" perspective. NONE of you can really claim that you actually know 100% how UTAR operates. Your views are not in the proper context (because you simply do not have the information. Even lecturers/ administrators of UTAR do not have ALL the information).

For example, the very first comment:
mba prospect says..

funny why pre-requisites for U TAR
MBA programmes require first degree with Hons...Australian 3 year degrees & some other Degrees may not come with Hons.
What is more important for the MBA entry is Degree plus some years work experience i should think..

That requirement of a Hons Degree was actually set by LAN, not UTAR. But because UTAR wanted to be accredited, they have no choice but to follow the letter of the law (i.e LAN, and now MQA).

Those that had a "negative" experience in UTAR only have themselves to blame because they refused to learn (i.e. to see things in a different light). They only chose to dwell on the "inconveniences" that came their way instead of reflecting on the lessons learned.
Proverd: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear...

Example, One irate parent berated UTAR as "No Good" because UTAR does not send the exam results to the parent. The result are only given to students. This student refused to reveal his bad grade to the father (well, make your own conclusions..).
For more than 30-minutes, the father condemned UTAR as not caring enough, policy no good, wasting the parents' money, etc., and threatened to take his child somewhere else.

The real problem he could not face was there is a breakdown in family relationship. Was it reasonable to blame UTAR for his own son not wanting to show the exam results to him (the father)?

By May/June 2009 UTAR will probably have more than 18,000 students. Do you think all/most/some (take your pick) of these students are "stupid" to have picked UTAR? "It" must be doing something right (not perfect, but.....).

May I humbly suggest that we put the matter to rest. UTAR is now in its 6th year of operation and still growing.....

Anonymous said...

I have enrolled into utar under 1 year foundation and 3 years bachelor honours degree program. I felt so regret for my choice, and I blamed myself for making this unwise decision, partially due to my inability to do some survey beforehand.

The major drawbacks IMO, is the low entry requirements, poor culture and study environment, poor feedback for the student academic performances and the inconsistent quality of lecturer and tutor. Another issue is the insufficient tutorial classes for the graded core subjects, and teaching relied heavily on lectures.

Wish they will take particular notice on these issues.

Unknown said...

Indeed, I agree with some of you.
Well, currently I am Utar student from Setapak. Yes, actually some friends of mine told me that lecturers for other courses aren't good in teachings. Some with Dr. in his name, isn't sure what are they teaching.

In fact, you can say the standard is low. What's more? They enroll to UTAR with the reason, Cheap, which means that it's said that half public half private University. And apparently, most of them are Chinese, I would say 99% and they speak mandarin all the time. It's like they attempt to change this private university into a chinese one. Because of that, even a banana-chinese tend to speak mandarin and even excel in mandarin already. I wouldn't say you are wrong or what, you can freely voice out your opinion BUT DO NOT criticize. Some of you are like asking a baby to walk on his own without any assistance. UTAR is just established, just around 5 to 6 years time, and now you are comparing it with the advanced oversea university??? It's like asking a newbie to challenge an experienced badminton player!!! Nonsense man!!! If you want to excel in your studies, well don't depend on UTAR, as you all know, oversea University don't spoon feed. So do it on your own.

Same goes to other private U. You were saying UTAR has no standard at all. Yeah right, in what sense, what field you would say? Which Uni you would like to compare with? State one please.

And to Mr. UTAR no quality, I sincerely, would like to know that, which secondary school were you from? Please, 'repair' your english before spamming your comments here. After seeing your words, my eyes feel irritated.

Quoted by you

'2rd are you from STPM
if yes,why u so stupid go UTAR?just go overseas..
cuz,I got many sponsor after my STPM.

3th are you from UEC/A-Level/SAM/'

what's up with '2rd' and '3th'?
you were saying that they don't count Add math in their system, while you yourself have failed to pass. 2rd and 3th... yeah right...
buzz off, loser

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


or else...??

please dun joke...


u are such losser,
we are educated people.We should control our temper like a quality student.

Are albert einstein complaining after the E=MC^2 are not accepted by public?

Are Isaac Newtons Complaining the apple hit his head?

I'm Undergraduate at University Malaya and Postgraduate in UTAR.

So,behave my junior.

Anonymous said...

And this~ frm UTARian
I join Utar because UM reject me,
I thought Utar would be a good uni,
but end up wanna lompat from KLCC...

Utar exist thanks to MCA,
Dr Ling always said Utar bagus;
as he employed all MCA members,
so you can see cina, cina and cina...

Admin people not helpful,
always ask us to tunggu, tunggu, tunggu;
do things slow like siput,
remind again kena marah like gila...

Big white shark always tipu us,
said we could form any clubs;
when we want snooker club,
she said snookers only for smookers...

Utar treat us like donkey,
each seminar put us different places;
from block PA move to block PD,
distance PA to PD is 2km ...

FICT is getting crazy,
keep changing subjects for different intakes;
make us cannot get notes from seniors,
pity us have to study the whole text book...

Utar is University Tak Ada Ruang,
everything in Utar is limited;
based on first-come-first-serve basis,
if you are slow then is too bad ...

Classrooms in Utar are 'cheap sikit',
aircon not cold, we pening kepala,
tables, chairs, white boards all too small,
I wonder who could take the toll...

I drive CLK to Utar everyday,
kesian my Cute Little Kelisa got no place to park,
so I always block people's car,
leave message to remove car,
but end up polis give me summons...

PA canteen uncle very gemuk one,
I think he wear 65 inches pants,
always scold his worker malas tak kerja,
and the food always sejuk tak sedap ...

Library in Utar really kecil,
no books, no seats, no tables;
students there are very noisy,
sometimes I feel like bunuh them...

Utar computer lab tiada standard,
lab assistant always naik angin,
because we always ask him to change ribbon,
and Utar server always go mati ...

Utar got no place for revision,
every corner I go always see people,
break time I always get crazy,
because there is no place to study...

95 percent Utar student are Chinese,
only talk Mandarin, Hokkien and Hakka,
cannot speak a word in English,
so they always carry a electronic dictionary...

No doubts Utar got leng lui,
very pretty, very cute, and sexy,
make sure you got money before asking them out,
if not later she lari...

Utar always claim itself ada standard,
but you will vomit when u know the truth,
paying RM4,000-plus every semester,
but you'll never get the value of 4k ...

Maybe you don't believe that Utar is so lousy,
you may ask your friends from Utar,
to see whether I'm telling the truth,
I'm here to let u know how bad it is ...

So please study hard in STPM,
so that you can go local U,
if not you'll be like me,
paying so much but still empty!

Anonymous said...

I took degree in UTAR, one i can regret was i never study well last time. But, i am going to take mba in USA, i transfered all my credit via a USA association, my grade is higher than in Malaysia level, that's mean UTAR standard is not that bad as you think. I have transfered all the credit without taking any leveling subject, and now i only take 3 semester to complete my MBA in USA. UTAR can be said grow to fast, but they showed their initiative and improving, I am proud to be UTARian.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous. you better keep ur mouth shut..dun bull shiting anymore!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

if u dont like utar dont study there ok~~~

Anonymous said...

wakaka.......UTAR sucks....

Anonymous said...

I'm a Mechanical Engineering Y3S1 student in Setapak campus, before this I studied in UTAR (Foundation in Science), PJ.

I have to admit that my first impression of UTAR is quite bad mainly because of it's infrastructure in PJ (previously a STAR factory being converted into a uni) and those students that I know in my tutorial class speaks mainly in Chinese. At first I regret for choosing UTAR and thought of changing to other Uni. In the end, I persevered and all these mind perceptions changed when I moved to Setapak campus.
Moving to here is a whole new experience. I can feel the quality of education here. When I looked back, I thought of how foolish i was when I was studying in foundation with all those bad first impression that affects how I'll look at things.

It takes a lot of argument to prove whether UTAR is good or not, but I only can say that it's growing and improving, and I believe in 10 years time it'll be a leading university in Malaysia ( in terms of its Science and Engeering courses). For other courses, I can't say the same as I believe that UTAR is best in its Science and Engineering courses.

Maybe you can check UTAR ( website to see its development and research on the home page, and you'll be surprised. The lecturers and tutors qualification is also there for you to see... Enjoy!!!

For those who are going to study in UTAR Kampar campus, you're so lucky... I wished I had studied there and not in UTAR PJ campus...

Anonymous said...

to nicholaslee

UTAR makan duit punya la...why you talk so much for UTAR.
UTAR still need improvement.

to Mr. UTAR no quality

you super ego lor... UTAR is baby university in malaysia.Why u expect so high?

to all spammers

Stop spamming here!!!!

to Mechanical Engineering Y3S1 student

make sure you get 2:1 or higher before you graduate.

Anonymous said...

pigs are talking

Anonymous said...

"UTAR: Too Fast, Too Soon?" will not be an issue anymore if Malaysia citizens are able to choose and shape the government to act on our benefits.

It is impossible for us to train a grown-up tiger but we can choose to train 3 young little tigers.

We are what we are today because of our choice. Don't blame anyone except yourself.

Lau Chih Yung said...

I am Year 3 Semester 1 student in UTAR FES campus...

What comment i can give is ....
I am sure UTAR now prefer in Quality but not quantity....

UTAR termination rate up to 70%

My course just left 2 or 3 students...

Terminated students which move to other University or college.. they able get a least second upper and above...

Life in UTAR really difficult...

Unknown said...

UTARian here

Currently Year 3 Sem 3 (FAS)
All i could say to those who do not know anything bout UTAR, I had never seen anything political in my 3.5 years of study in UTAR. So no point pulling MCA into this. The lecturers and tutors are working their heart out over here.

The atmosphere here had been great. Although this is not a perfect university, the students here are quite active. Many of the students enjoy participating in events and study hard as well. We've seen many artist who came to the campus as well. Things is really happening here.

As for the quality part, myself, my friends, their friends, all of us studied like crazy just to pass the exam. Main reason is the competition here is too strong. There isn't really many lousy students who would dwell below of the bell and push us up. Probation and termination is so normal. Every semester many students jail as well. And I'm not saying those students who play and enjoy life in UTAR, but even those who studied their heart out and still will fail their exam. Many students who came here from TARC endured a really difficult start compared to those who are from foundation. Not that I'm trying to be proud of UTAR being more difficult, but its what they (pre-TARC students)told me themselves.

Plus, who cares bout your degree after you started working, it's your performance that your boss admire. That's the main reason why many UTAR students are getting employed. Because they are more resilient when facing HUGE pressure and could go through it due to the difficult period in UTAR.

In my second semester in degree, many students had been terminated despite its just the second semester. I agree with Zhi Yong above who is also in his final year. Because we had made it to third year. For those foundation and year 1 students who are complaining bout no quality, wait till you go through your year 3 then you will know foundation and degree year 1 is much easier compared to year 2 and year 3.

Things i learn in UTAR is priceless. Not only gaining knowledge on academic level, but also i became a man during my 3.5 years here. The more i study, the more i know how less i know (if you understand what i mean). Being chairperson while participating in events made me a leader, able to understand what is organizing people, working with people, and understanding their needs. UTAR also made me humble, because I've realize how small I am. The bottom line is, everyone came to UTAR after SPM and STPM as a kid, but graduated as an adult.

For those who don't want your kids in UTAR, think again :D

For those who do not know what the hell is happening in UTAR and keep prejudicing UTAR, why not ask those who graduated from UTAR before having any opinions? No harm to know more right? :)

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 236 of 236   Newer› Newest»