Friday, September 22, 2006

UTAR: Qualitative Insights

My previous post on Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) almost 4 months ago appears to have struck a chord amongst many, both positively and negatively. It is read by students, academics in and out of UTAR as well as the public. It remained one of the most popular recent posts and is probably second only to the other "controversial" (judging by the record number of comments, mostly emotional ones) post on Universiti Teknologi Mara.

Reader WK wrote to provide some further insights to UTAR, in particular on my comments below:
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.
Excerpts from his email, which I thought might be somewhat useful for some of you out there is published below:
Well, based on what you typed in that paragraph, then I guess you'd be interested to hear from me. To cut things short, I'm a product of both TAR College and UTAR, having taken my Diploma studies in the former and my BSc. in the latter. What's interesting is that I actually turned down an offer to take the same course (Computer Science) at UTM. I know it's crazy but I wasn't in full control over my faculties at that moment.

I can't speak for all UTAR graduates, but I haven't been facing much difficulty in getting a job. I did a 4-month stint in Intel for my industrial training (developing mfg automation software solutions) and was immediately re-hired by Intel (into another department) upon my graduation. As far as I know, there are several other UTAR alumni who are software engineers in Intel as well. Apart from Intel, I also know of alumni who have been working in companies such as Dell (mostly as technical support specialists), Altera and Agilent. Most of the people I know of who had difficulties in finding a job were those that specifically wanted non-programming IT jobs. Specifically, they were looking for jobs that didn't involve any sort of coding, because either they lacked self-confidence or were genuinely deficient in programming skills. Safe to say, there is no reason that any reasonably competent graduate from UTAR should worry about their career prospects.

Perhaps you would be even more interested to know of UTAR's academic standards. Upon graduation, one of our top students was awarded a scholarship to pursue his PhD studies in ANU (Australian National University). As for me, I will be commencing my graduate studies in the University of Cambridge on a full Cambridge Commonwealth Trusts scholarship next month. As much as I would like to say that the admissions and selection process focuses on individual qualities, I still believe that the insitutions we come from DO play a role (albeit not a major one).

I'd like to send you my resume (since you mentioned that you haven't been receiving many), but seeing that I'll be off to UK in a couple of weeks, I'm not really in the market for a job right now. But I'll make it a point to send you one when I'm ready. :)

Oh... and what entry criteria? UTAR takes in virtually EVERYONE that applies. :)
Hence students of UTAR may be rest assured that "any reasonably competent graduate from UTAR should worry about their career prospects", but I suppose that would apply to most leading local universities as well :).

Just to provide a further update, I have since the previous post, hired 2 top graduates from UTAR and the young ladies, based on the feedback from the managers, are performing extremely well as application developers in the company.

Hence it may be alluded that the academic gap between the good students at the weaker ones in UTAR may be very large, such that the good may be very good, while the weak ones will find major problems in employment. This also appears symtomatic of other more reputable private universities such as Multimedia University (MMU). In this universities, I'll usually seek candidates who have achieved cumulative grade point average above 3.5, just ignore the rest. (Here waiting for another deluge of critical comments for employing such a recruitment policy)

A simple cause of this phenomenon is likely to be the fact which was pointed out by WK - that UTAR, and for that matter, most local private universities and colleges, "takes in virtually EVERYONE who applies", which in my guess, is due to commercial reasons. I've spoken to an academic in the Computer Science faculty in UTAR discussing this issue of not setting higher minimum entry criteria and he admitted that it was an issue which has been raised with the management, but clearly as discussed before, commercial reasons appear to have over-ridden the need to maintain higher standards.

Emily Tan, a journalism graduate from UTAR, who won herself a Erasmus Mundus scholarship to pursue a Masters in Journalism had this to say with regards to her alma mater on one of my earlier posts:
For the price, UTAR is adequate but NOT among the best. Its poor library resources alone limits its use as an academic institution and the few truly excellent lecturers I had who were of international standard, have since left. For students who can afford no better, UTAR is indeed the best place you can be. You get a down-to-earth practical university education with a nod to theoritical academia, but they won't really teach you to write well (never had a red mark on any of my pieces, therefore I learnt nothing), and education is definitely not of international standing. (I'm very nervous about the masters programme).
And this brings us back to the remark which Kian Ming pointed out to me earlier, when I said sometime ago that the local universities might not be that bad because I do get some very good employees when I recruit some of the top students from some 6-7 local universities. He said that these students have performed very well "not because of the system, but inspite of it". Hence, for candidates such as WK and Emily above who did very well for themselves, it may be argued that they will have achieved what they did anyway in other universities and not necessarily because of UTAR.

Irrespective, congratulations is due to WK for doing extremely well for himself and good luck in Cambridge. I'm certain that you will absolutely enjoy your time there! And of course, I look forward to your resume upon your return, although you may be priced out of my reach by then :).


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Anonymous said...

It seems that we need to recognise that sometimes what is more important is "who you are" rather than where did you get your degree from. Congratulations to WK.


Anonymous said...

Is there a similar academic gap in public universities between good students and weaker ones?

Chen Chow said...

Tony, thanks for the great insights. I am sure it gives us much better understanding of the situation at UTAR. Being one of the newest IPTS, it is more like a black box to most of us, and hence, this sharing lets us have a better glimpse at it.

I would say that the institution one is in, does provide up to a certain extent of influence on one's eventually marketability. How much it influences an individual, I would argue that it really depends on the individual. With borderless learning, one could be at UTAR, but still browses through lecture notes at various institutions like MIT or Stanford (which is available online for most of the courses for free of charge). This definitely broadens the opportunities for everyone.

One question I have would be whether the IPTS in our country should be more selective in their admission process, or should it be even more slacking in admission. Should we have one or two IPTS which is really selective in selection of students, especially in selecting all-rounder top students there. Would this be a reality some time in the near future? How about some IPTS which focus on providing education for everyone, irrespective of academic achievements. While it is true that academic achievements shouldn't be the only yardstick, it should be factored in together with other achievements to select the students.

Personally, I would hope that more students at IPTA and IPTS would make use of their time better, especially beyond reading what is going to be tested in exams or doing what is needed to be done for assignments or projects. Education is a more wholesome process than just exams and assignments. There are a lot of other learning opportunities, be it online or through public lectures, conferences, activities, competitions, exhibitions etc. We should find a way to stimulate our students to make better use of their time in universities. With this, we could eventually build up better quality graduates, which is good both "hard" and "soft'.

Anonymous said...

Tony (or Kian Ming) said: “Hence, for candidates such as WK and Emily above who did very well for themselves, it may be argued that they will have achieved what they did anyway in other universities and not necessarily because of UTAR.”

I presume only WK and Emily (“the few truly excellent lecturers I had who were of international standard”) can answer this question. Was there not one lecturer during their 3 years in UTAR that had inspired them in their studies? If the answer is yes, then we should give credit where it is due

UTAR is only 4 years old and still evolving. Like what someone had said earlier in a previous thread “Rome was not built in a day”.

Initially, all who qualified were admitted. Although in many courses, it is still quite easy to get yourself admitted, in a number of popular courses, you are no more guaranteed of a place even with good results. This also applies for employment of lecturers. It is becoming common knowledge that although there are vacancies, it is quite difficult to get an academic position in certain departments.

There is no doubt that all these discussions are having some positive effect on the development of UTAR. We should all thank Tony for hosting these discussions.

Richard G

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

Hey! Is this the official advertising site for Institute Putra? If so, dont forget to pay TP or KM advertising money...:)

p/s TP you can blanja me at Starbucks...with all the money you get

Anonymous said...

Institute Putra got no local PhDs in the faculty....maaa
Very dissapointing! Not good to bluff laaa

Golf Afflicted said...

Will the idiot "lina" from Institut Putra stop spamming this blog?

I'm flattered that you'd think that this blog deserves your cheapskate advertising stunt, yes, including creating a "malaysiaeducation" blog, but no thank you.

Tony P

Anonymous said...

institut what? never heard of it. curious what cheapskate ad stunt was that? so desperate one these small time colleges. gov should push them to merge or just shut down. waste time and space only.

Anonymous said...

"UTAR takes in virtually EVERYONE that applies..."

That's not a problem as long as they do not PASS and allow any kind of rubbish to graduate to fill some quota and "fulfil our national manpower needs"...just like some of our IPTAs and 'special' colleges.

Anonymous said...

Totally agreed with Daniel.


Anonymous said...

As an undergrad in UTAR as well as a counterpart to joyce but in different faculty(FICT), I strongly believe that UTAR doesn't just PASS any student and let them graduate easily. Even if they graduate, it's very hard for them to graduate with good honours(2nd Upper or above). Some of my coursemates who have failed their subjects in previous semesters actually have to retake and relearn the subject again in the next semester and thus wasted several hundred ringgit more in order to get a passing grade. And the supplementary paper which costs RM100 per paper can only render a maximum pass of C grade(2.00 out of 4) even when you score full marks in that paper.

Anonymous said...

In an earlier thread Tony said: “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.”

Now that Tony has had some experience of the better UTAR graduates, I hope your view has changed (not withstanding what we may discover later that those you have selected actually had very good entry qualifications!).

The latest few postings especially by Daniel, UTAR graduates and students strike a very important point. Are UTAR degrees equivalent to those of comparable institutions? Are the CGPA 3.3 of UTAR comparable to those 3.3 from UM. Perhaps Tony can tells us now that he has employed both categories. If there are deficiencies in UTAR graduates, UTAR should be told so, that corrective action can be taken.

Richard G

Anonymous said...

Dont worry UM computer science graduates much worst than UTAR.If you dont believe read in LimKitSiangs Blog letters commenting on UM computer science by UM computer science students So be happy UTAR

Anonymous said...

UTAR should recruit international staff, like this job post I've just seen at

Tenure-track Positions
Mechanical Engineering
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

Lecturers, Associate Professors, Professors

In its commitment to develop and enhance various academic programs in the area of science and technology in Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), a world-class university strategically located at the country's southern gateway, Johor Bahru in the state of Johor now extends an open invitation for tenure-track positions at the rank of lecturers, associate or full professors in the following area:

Mechanical Engineering, including applied mechanics, design, marine technology, material engineering, manufacturing and industry and thermo-fluids.

The applicants should have either a Master or PhD degree in the above mentioned areas, strong commitment to teaching excellence at the undergraduate and postgraduate level and experience in curriculum development. Effective communication in English and collaborative skills are essentials.

Applicants should submit a letter of application, resume, a statement of teaching and research interests and the names of at least three references. They should be mailed, faxed or emailed to :

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
Tel : 607-5530328 Fax : 607-5547371
Email : /

Or, if you prefer a one-one session, our European Road Show will be coming your way in NOVEMBER 2006. We look forward to welcome you to our campus as a prospective member of our university. To find our more about us, visit

Funny I thought we know a good lab when we see one, let alone a world-class institution. Also may as well not mention about its equality and diversity policies, which other good universities have and boldly state.

Anyway what chance that UTAR does not end up into an institution that is heavily politicised, overexaggeration of self-glorification with a lack of commitment to frontier-breaking research? How experienced is the top management in creating a respectable university?

Golf Afflicted said...

Hey Richard G,

Quick reply to your comments - the recruits I took from UTAR had indeed very good in both SPM and STPM, and performed equally well in UTAR. Hence the argument that possibly these candidates did well "inspite" of the university.

As for whether 3.3 in UM is equal/better/worse than those in UTAR, it's actually quite difficult to tell, and would require me going deeper into their transcripts and educational back ground.

However, if I'm "had" to pick blindly without interview and details, I'll still pick the one from UM, as it has higher entry requirements.

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

UTM... a world class university? Since when? Apparently they are still thick-skinned as ever... and you dare talk about overexaggeration of self-glorification...

Anonymous said...

hi all. Please don't confuse Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) with Universti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). They are different.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

Thank you very much for your very prompt response.

“However, if I'm "had" to pick blindly without interview and details, I'll still pick the one from UM, as it has higher entry requirements.”

You will be surprised that quite often you will find UTAR students having very good entry qualifications like your 2 recruits. In my previous post, I had anticipated that “barring exceptions”. There are many strange reasons why students choose to go to UTAR.

What I want to suggest is that at this level (employment of graduates), we should not generalize but look at every candidate individually strictly on the merits of the case. Try to find the time to give everybody (CGPA>3.5 if you like) a chance of an interview - especially an unknown quantity like a UTAR graduate.

Thank you for doing a fantastic job here.

Richard G.

Anonymous said...

My personal views on this, is that employers still do look at the name of the uni/college before hiring (at my ex company, which was a Fortune 100 company in KL, all the fresh graduates that were hired were from foreign unis). While this policy does differs among each and every employer, the managers at my ex-company were of the mindset that graduates from local unis (such as UM, UKM and yes, even UTAR) were of "inferior" quality. Also, I have heard complaints from the managers that those people they hired from local unis were so slow in learning new things, and were so bad in English, that they had to proof-read the emails of these local grads before sending them out to external clients. However, again, this is a generalising view, I mean no offense to any graduates of local unis/colleges out there.

Anonymous said...

The impression that the local unis graduates were of "inferior" quality is mainly attributed to the generally bad command of English amongst them. I don't believe in anyway that a non-bumi 1st class degree graduate from UM (or even USM) is weaker than one from the foreign unis. Local grads'command of English could be the reason why they have the aforementioned problems of slower learning pace and need their superior to proof read their emails.


Anonymous said...

A first class degree in early 70's is perhaps ONE in a hundred in a faculty. Today the first class is perhaps 20 to 30 in a hundred in a faculty. Just see how many made it to the Deans list!!!

It has nothing to do with language!
Lots of First class now are due to combination of various factors:

RELYING ON CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT ( where the friends, brothers, sisters, father, wives, husbands etc can help with the project)

Anonymous said...

Almost everyone here wants UTAR to do well but by reading some of the posts from students, graduates and the well-meaning public, I get the uncomfortable feeling that all is not well in UTAR.

There are certain essential ingredients that make a quality university. There are many but I would like to look at just a few:

1. Able to attract good students.
2. Able to attract and retain outstanding lecturers and other staff.
3. Excellent teaching and research facilities.
4. A vibrant campus community.

I am sure others can add on to the list. No. 3 will take a little time and for no. 4, the students will probably have to wait until the Kampar campus is ready.

All the 4 contribute to one another and we are often faced with a “chicken & egg” situation. Tony has already suggested right at the very beginning “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” (No. 1 & 2).

UTAR can probably do that now. It would have been difficult to do so at the beginning because there could have been “supply and demand” complications. It is good to know that many academic staff joined UTAR not for mercenary reasons. (See JA posts).

What is worrying is that some of excellent ones are leaving (Emily said: “and the few truly excellent lecturers I had who were of international standard, have since left”). We do not know how serious this is.

Then we have postings by JA: “and another so wrong, they are running utar the way they are running ktar……If thing goes as it is now, the current advantages like having a number of good scholars and high achiever students and giving-up-great-opportunity-cost renowned professors will sooner or later be withered away.”

A UTAR Supporter

Anonymous said...

Good points in the previous comments. It is one thing that staff join UTAR not for mercenary reasons, but a good renumeration package is an indication of the appreciation of the management of the qualities of the academics. Does the current management from KTAR know how to run a rocket science university rather than turning UTAR into merely another teaching mass-producing institution? In good universities, the selection committee is populated by the academics, but who sits in the committee for UTAR? Which high profile professor has joined UTAR? Is it not strange that one cannot browse through the staff credentials on the webpage?
What UTAR has at the moment are the cheap fees and numbers, and when you have quantity, it is easier to strike lottery that some students would be very good. This is by no means a good indication of how good the university is. If all factors are the same, would a student go to UTAR instead of UM or Nottingham?

Anonymous said...

For the above anon(Wed Sep 27 2:20:49 AM), if you want to search for UTAR academics credentials, here are some of them:

The abovementioned links are just parts of the information about academics in UTAR (without including academics from Fac. Engineering and Sciences) I have found out in the website.

Anonymous said...

Hi nerd,

Thank you for pointing out the website providing the details of staff that offer postgraduate projects. We can see that UTAR actually have some excellent staff and it is to the advantage of UTAR to make the academic achievements of all staff more easily available to the public in the UTAR website. The CV’s of deans and those who sit in Senate – the highest authority on academic matters should also be made available. This should give confidence to the general public about the quality of the top management in UTAR.

Anonymous said...

google: utar senate
no hit of information on utar

google: utar dean
3 names come up, mr lai fatt sian, dr tham choy yoong, dr chik heok tan

google each one: no cv from "lai fatt sian" and "chik heok tan", 78 hits on "tham choy yoong", see this

this is what he want for utar

Anonymous said...

1. UTAR take in everyone that applies, because UTAR is like a private busness organization. It had to survived on tution fees and it maximized profit. The more students the richer is UTAR.
2. UTAR offered an alternative option for the chinese student to have university education. Enterance in public univeristy can be tough even with CGPA 3.98 in STPM.
3. Enterance to matriculation is restricted to 10% for non bumi. So no much alternative to enter public U.
4. UTAR fees are very much cheaper than Multimedia U, Tenaga National U and other private colleges.

But well done UTAR....u provide a window of opportunity for non bumi student a chance to further their education especially the poor and middle income group.

Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let us give a chance to UTAR, the university that the Malaysian Chinese will be proud of in future.

UTAR is the hope of poor and middle income group of Malaysia Chinese. Please help the poor Malaysian Chinese.

UTAR. Keep it up !

Kahani said...

As UTAR is my alma mater I'd be an idiot to undermine its reputation.

However, I have to say that until UTAR puts academia above money, PR, and inane adminstrative buracracies, it'll remain an adequate but not first class institution.

As far as I know, the "excellent lecturers of international standard" left due to their frustration with UTAR administration policies. There were many other contributing factors, but as they had joined more out of idealism than mercenary gain, the administration's attitude was the main factor. For example, one of the lecturers, a PhD graduate from the US, was actually made to take a humiliatingly easy English exam, when other lecturers (some of whom had agonizingly atrocious English) were excused because they had previously worked at KTAR.

During my first year at UTAR the course tutor for Online Journalism and I had to fight the administration every step of the way for student access to the computer labs outside of the 2 hours scheduled for class use. The labs were there for our benefit, but we weren't allowed to use them because of a petty bureaucratic rule that defied all academic logic. We won in the end, and could access the labs to work on assignments, but it annoys me that something as basic as that had to be accomplished at all.

I applaud UTAR for providing the chance for an affordable education in Malaysia. I just wish they'd take a peak at the academic institutions in Europe and learn from the attitude towards academia here. Petty rules like "no lending students stationary in the library - no, not even the stapler" really don't exist here. Instead the entire system exists to facilitate the acquisition and distribution of knowledge... which is how it should be.

Students should not have to fight the university administration for a good education and the lecturers should not be made to do battle for everything from photocopies to teaching methods.

-Emily of UTAR now in Denmark

Anonymous said...

You mentioned a few salient points and that is the result of the lack of vision and understanding of how to set up a 'university that the Malaysian Chinese will be proud of in future' which is a great deal more than some politician's buzzwords. I think it is just sad MCA ran such a widescale propaganda about the idea that UTAR is a 'university that the Malaysian Chinese will be proud of in future', particularly to naive housewives, when they could have spent the effort in actually developing a good university in the first place.

I am sure that there are many other administrative issues that deter "excellent lecturers of international standard" from joining UTAR. Even the application form itself, a benign introduction to the university, would have left many scratching their heads, as it did mine.

Anonymous said...

"Black Box" are the two words i couldn't find any better to describe current standing of UTAR. Since Emily put up an issue about the administrative issues and the academician application to the university. Maybe there's some interesting story which should be made known or what I am about to tell is not intented to undermine the university's reputation but such exigency furnishes my gumption to speak up.

Interestingly enough that there's a lecturer from a local university got a position as a lecturer in UTAR. But that shouldn't be so alarming, but what had taken me aback is how the appointment to the position. As the lecturer is an almost a high scorer in her Masters but yet graduated with a Masters on her hand. It should not be surprised in this case, as you know, she could be a teaching assistant, but for the matter of fact she's not a normal TA, but a lecturer conducting major lectures for the junior year course. Would it be ridiculous that a yet-to-be-graduating Masters student from a local university holds major lectures. The worst part was her fluency in English, and this make me could not apprehend anything from her lecture and her knowledge without the depth one would expect. She agaped with someone threw some questions to her. How would one expect that a Masters without any postdoc experience to conduct a challenging major lecture.

I am so curious and astounded about her appointment by the admistration. Later got to know that her appointment was actually backed with just a recommendation letter from a MCA Exco,how absurd. Heartrending I was to know this story as political influence plays some parts. The point I am trying to highlight here is that we are in a dire need hitherto for an appointment of deputy VC to oversee the selection quality and the quality of UTAR itself, whereas VC can concentrate in her perpetual efforts to build UTAR's reputation, structure and supports. This appointee must be rigorously self-principled and not bound to any political influence or interference. And any academician appointment shall go through the stanch deputy VC.

On top of that, do you know there's a former NUS professor in UTAR right now. I am so proud even to hear that, the hope starts from here.. this point, or it just can only be merely a beautiful dream ever after. Only a dream, so it's time to wake up snowwhite!! Thanks

Kindly anticipating your rebuttal(s).

P.S. it's my personal opinion may or maynot reflect other people's and utar's quality is still considerably good now per se.


Anonymous said...

Let me make myself clear about the last paragraph in my previous comment which seems ambiguous. I was saying how many good starting we had left behind and how many good opportunities we still have. I put all my hands and legs up to concur with Emily's “and the few truly excellent lecturers I had who were of international standard, have since left”. Wondering how long can we keep this former NUS lecturer in Utar.


Anonymous said...

Hi Emily,

There is an article on you in the Sun today.

Congratulations for doing so well and all good wishes for the future.

Richard G.

Kahani said...

Hi Richard, thank you! I know about it, I wrote it before I left Malaysia. I'll be sending a few more articles now and then on my adventures in Denmark. ^_^

JA: I did find it sad that they value pliant and MCA affiliated lecturers over capable ones. But there are several who really shine and if you're lucky enough to get them, make the most of it.

Anonymous said...

Emily: I think all the current students should take note of your advice. fyi, I am no longer a student long time ago. Cheers.


Anonymous said...

I am not surprised if UTAR quality suffers, judging from my experience with the way the university carried out its recruitment. I was called for a second interview for a lecturing position, after having done a mock lecture and met with the head of programme. The second interview was a panel - none of the members were introduced to me. The "chairperson" proceeded to made derogratory remarks about my current employer (another university) and told me outright that they could not afford to pay me and that I should remain teaching where I was. It was the most unprofessional conduct of interview that I have ever experienced and a complete waste of my time.

Anonymous said...


I sympathize with your unhappy interview. At least, you know that you have the qualities that UTAR wants except that they cannot afford to pay you. You must be pretty good to have passed the first interview. Perhaps on another occasion or another management, it might have been a different outcome?

Would you have preferred that they be polite and later send you a letter saying, “ We regret to inform you that you have not been successful…” and you are not any wiser for it?

Richard G.

Anonymous said...


The point is the chairman made a DEROGATORY REMARK about his university...not about UTAR unable to pay

Anonymous said...


People who read the interviewee’s posting can draw their own conclusions on the chairman and/or UTAR.

I am suggesting that our friend should take it positively and move on!

Richard G.

Anonymous said...

There are several things which are not right with UTAR.

I am an industry practitioner, and was hired some months ago, to teach part-time at UTAR. The bureaucratic red tape is true, but that's not the main problem.

Although I only have a Bachelor's degree and therefore only qualified to be a tutor, I was also asked to lecture. Yes, I do have many years of relevant experience but students are promised (and it's legal requirement) that their lecturers would have at least a Master's degree. But I was also told that if I lectured, I should only be paid a tutor's pay! Basically, it was okay to get me to lecture, but not okay for me, to paid a lecturer's pay. I felt that was dishonest all around. I stuck to tutoring.

Secondly, when I asked the lecturer for reading materials and lecture materials, so that my tutorials would support his lectures, he had none. So I prepared my tutorials based on what I felt would benefit my students in the real world.

Thirdly, everything was haphazard. My tutorials were scheduled before the actual lectures! The excuse was that the exams were coming, and there was no time. So I taught before the lecturer did.

Fourthly, a close friend of mine who was teaching there, in a different faculty, was forced to jack up marks, to pass students. Apparently, even the students were surprised they could pass. How does this help the students or society? Poor students would have a mistaken idea that they are good, and not take the necessary remedial steps before "inevitably" graduating.

Sad, but true. I shall not mention the school/ faculty because I think this is a systemic problem in UTAR. The students are generally enthusiastic, but because of the low entry requirements, you really do get a range of students in terms of analytical and language abilities. But I feel even the best students in that particular batch would still find it tough to fight it out there.

I am no longer at UTAR.

Anonymous said...

To anon with bad interview experience - that makes the two of us. I won't go dwelling on my interview experience, save to say that anything 'positive' (like those portrayed by Richard here) that was mentioned to me before I headed to UTAR was just complete utterly bull. The interviewing committee was made up of clerks and janitors, and asked really childish questions when I was expecting more relevant ones like my research topics or ambitions, teaching philosophies etc (I mean, these are normal topics expected at academic interviews no?). The worst feeling for me was the absolute lack of appreciation or even disrespect of my background, experience etc, which I gather reflects the kind of 'quality' envisioned there.


Anonymous said...

whatever you say about utar management, lecturer or students... they are just a reflection of malaysian chinese society....because utar 99% typical chinese haha.... malaysia boleh!

Anonymous said...


To: “anon with bad interview experience - that makes the two of us.”

You know why they conduct their interviews that way?

JA in a corresponding thread said: “and another so wrong, they are running utar the way they are running ktar…”

If you look up earlier in this thread, anon said: “Does the current management from KTAR know how to run a rocket science university rather than turning UTAR into merely another teaching mass-producing institution?”

My sources in UTAR tell me that in spite of all these difficulties, there are academic staffs at the departmental level doing a fantastic job against all the odds. Some of them already made some postings in a corresponding thread:

“Anonymous said...
I am a lecturer from another faculty. I understand Emily is the top student in Utar’s FAS (Faculty of Arts and Social Science). I fully appreciate the views ……”

So don’t just complain lah. If you want to help, post some constructive suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I think Richard G is the public relation officer for UTAR designed to protect and shield UTAR from invasive criticisms!

Well done Richard G, you deserved your full pay plus bonus from UTAR

Anonymous said...

Hi anon,

I am sorry, you have completely misread me.

Since my last posting, I have met several people who have had bad interview experiences in UTAR. One of them was close to tears when trying to relate her experiences.

I owe an apology to the two previous anon who posted here for taking the matter so lightly. Please accept my humblest apologies.

The current UTAR management has done as great disservice to the reputation of UTAR.

Richard G.

Anonymous said...

Here is another indication that quality in UTAR is on the downside.

Recently, in one of the subjects final exams, 120 out of 140 students failed. To fix the marks, the dean decided to take a square root of the scores and multiply by 10.

How to have standards when students know they can pass even though most of their answer scripts are blank?

Numbers, numbers .. that is what UTAR management cares. To a politician, two votes from idots is better than one vote from an intellectual.

Anonymous said...

i was student at utar . left the uni a week to pursue a different course not offered in utar .

As one of the students of the foundations
programme , there are 2 things that I don't like about the uni

1. Lecturer will give revision question which is almost identical to the final exam paper ...

2. Was from PA block in PJ , I rarely see Malay or Indian students .. mostly Chinese .

Other then that , there's nth wrongfind about that university .. or at least what i saw .

Anonymous said...

Anon (Sat Dec 23, 12:14:23 PM) mentioned about one subject that saw 120 out of 140 students failed. The problems could have come from the setting of the exam questions and the lecturer’s delivery of the subject, among other factors.

It was probable that the questions were too tough for the subject’s level, which led to many blank answer scripts. This is where the roles of the subject moderator, course tutor and head of department become important. Prior to the finalisation of exam questions, the subject moderator should hold discussion with the subject lecturer regarding the level of difficulty of the exam questions, as compared to the subject’s syllabus, learning outcomes and objectives. There shouldn’t be too high a percentage of high order thinking (HOT) questions (following Bloom’s taxonomy) for a foundation or 1st year subject.

As for 2nd to 3rd year subject, there should be a progressive increase of HOT questions. This is where the lecturer’s delivery of subject becomes important. Syllabus should be covered at a balanced pace, not crammed into the last weeks prior to the exam, and the students should be given adequate training in questions of such difficulty level.

Sometimes, problems can arise from the drafting of the exam questions themselves – whether they are clear, understandable, and most importantly, do these questions match the answers required of the students, as stated in the answer scheme. The course tutor and head should maintain an overall supervisory role, i.e. look through the moderation form, moderator’s comments and then decide if the questions should be finalised or amended by the lecturer.

In other words, there should be quality checks right before the exam questions go into print. No doubt high standards must be maintained, but the questions must not be aimed to fail as many students as possible either.

When there is a high failure percentage, various factors come to consideration, among them the delivery of the subject, the understanding level of the students, the setting of exam questions and the quality control maintained by the department. If there is nothing short of expectation in these factors, and the reason for the high failures can be pin-pointed to the failure of the students in preparing for their exams properly, then, they should not be allowed to pass.

Anonymous said...

I dont think i see much neutraility in the previous post. and apreciate the person to share grading mechanism with us, but that doesnot do any good in explaining here because it's not that matter about the question setting mechanism, Utar has a bigger core problem than that.

The previous anon mentioned about the quality check on the questions, nonetheless the quality check on the student enrolment is crucially vital than the questions of a paper. And quality check on the lecturers.

Is Utar becoming or has become a A+ choice of haven for a B or C class students?

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

JA is absolutely right!

Anonymous said...

Anon (Tue Dec 26, 03:01:48 PM)replying to JA:

Hi & thank you for your feedback.

I was exploring the various reasons behind the high failure rate for that particular subject. It involved a sizable number of students (140), and 85.7% (120 out of 140) failure is something quite shocking. I put forth the few factors above just to give my limited perspective as to the possible reasons. I did not discount other factors like quality of students & lecturer, I just didn’t happen to discuss them. Anyway, since these two factors have come up, here are my thoughts.

If we attribute the high failure rate to the quality of students enrolled and the quality of lecturer in that subject, I think we may not be doing justice to the students & lecturer concerned.

Nothing can be known here of the students enrolled for that subject – whether they were really of poor quality or good quality, etc. And also the lecturers, whether poor or good quality.

We may not know.....some of the students might have worked very hard for the subject, despite being of poor quality at enrollment stage. I can’t be sure of course, just making some hypothesis.

I just would like to say that it might not be fair to attribute the failure only to the quality of students enrolled, quality of lecturers there or quality in Utar not being maintained. There may be other factors. I have attempted to discuss factors like quality checks on question papers.

Also, if we really want to link failure to the quality of students enrolled there, we might perhaps want to take a look at the bigger picture. Some students have poor or average results when they come in to the universities/colleges, but it is possible for them to undergo transformation at university/college stage. Slow learner, or slow development, maybe....

But until the doors are open to them, one can never tell. I honestly feel it won’t do much help to tell a student that he cannot go for university education because his pre-university grades are so low. That would be unfairly pre-judging him, before giving him another chance to prove his ability. At family level, I am sure many parents never give up on their children who always come back with red marks, and they always hope that their children will one day change for the better.

I feel universities should give a second chance to all students, even to those who have failed to prove themselves at secondary schools. And on their parts, the universities should ensure that standards are maintained, academic supports given to both students and lecturers, and quality checks on delivery of subject and assessments, among other things. Subsequently, if there is nothing short of expectation in all these areas, and it is clear that the students are just not of university material, then in all fairness, they should fail and go.

I strongly agree that there must be quality checks on lecturers. Lecturers should be able to teach, do research and preferably with practical experiences in the fields they are going to teach. But these are not enough. They must be trained in teaching methodology, facilitation and assessment techniques. Some may think old dogs can’t learn new tricks, but education is a never-ending process, i.e. there is no end to ways and ways of learning or teaching things.

As to whether Utar is becoming a choice for B or C class students, looking at the comments on Utar so far, some people seem to be saying that the students there are of that class. Again, I would prefer to look at the bigger picture, i.e. give them a chance until they fail us.

Anonymous said...

I just came across this blog site and have just spent the last couple of hours reading through the discussions on UTAR. This is my view as a foreign academic. Please don't ask me where.

I wish to see UTAR succeeds. In my view, UTAR has to succeed and it will survive. It is not ideal to be connected to a political party but if that is what it takes to survive, so be it. UTAR owes it to the community to do well and not betray the trusts and expectations of the community that supports it. This burden is heavy considering that many in the community are simple folks who do not have any inkling at all about higher education and not well aware of the best avenue for their children's higher education. I give the CEO and her former staff at KTAR a lot of credit for building up this institution from scratch.

From the discussions on this board, it appears that UTAR has its share of good and bad students. In another discussion thread, a UTAR lecturer wrote about the amount of time spent preparing the notes for the students. I think the lecturer has been dedicated in his/her work and spent too much time unnecessarily to prepare detailed notes for the students. In the U.S., students are responsible for keeping good notes taken from lectures in class and to be able to find supplementary information on their own. Students at UTAR should be thankful that test and exam questions come from materials in class instead of complaining. From my experience, even if I tell a class the topic in the test to be given the next day, half the class still would not be able to do the question correctly. It is more about whether the students bother to study or prefer to watch TV or play Nintendo. We have to accept that there are good and bad students.

As for the pace of development, I think UTAR has developed too fast. The need to hire a lot of Malaysian lecturers in such a short time means that many of the lecturers may not have the necessary experience. In my opinion, UTAR should delay offering the PhD programmes. I don't think any of the private institutions (except the local branches of UK and Australian universities because of available resources at the parent institutions) should be allowed to offer PhD degrees unless the institutions can show they have the research capabilites and that their faculty members have sufficient research experience by providing documented proof in the form of international (not Malaysian) research publications. That is just simple logic. How can an instructor supervise a student at the postgraduate level when the instructor can barely master the topic himself/herself? In the case of UTAR, probably the CEO has been under pressure to build up the postgraduate school fast even though there is a lack of research infrastructure and experience to support a PhD program.

Since UTAR is a new institution with limited financial resources and with a campus to build, it needs the patience and sacrifices of its students and staff members. Students should not be arrogant enough to expect to see every pennies worth of their tuition fees and faculty members should not be arrogant not to accept help from other institutions and be sloppy in their work. I was annoyed when a dean at UTAR asked me how he and his staff could help me in my research. I thought that was arrogant because he did not realize that it should be the other way round...that UTAR has nothing to offer but needs help from other institutions.

Singapore has to spend a lot of money to set up collaborations with MIT and elsewhere. If bloggers are correct, so did Malaysia. I think UTAR should be smart and humble enough to accept offers of help from more established institutions in order to raise their institutional profile especially when the offers are free.

As for the complaints about lecturers not being proficient in English, I just do not understand how lecturers cannot teach Science, Mathematics, and Engineering in English if they got their PhDs from English-speaking countries.

Anonymous Foreign Academic

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous foreign academic

Why dont you attend the lectures given by overseas trained english speaking local lecturers at UM?

Thousand apologies! Just like the series on TV... MIND YOUR LANGUAGE

Anonymous said...

UTAR is new and you cannot expect miracles to happen. You should not criticize UTAR alone for jacking up grades. I know many universities in Australia and UK doing that.. These twrinning programme colleges passing score is 40... How shocking is that to us.. The deans in twinning programmes told us to mark up students grades or lose our jobs. So don't blame UTAR alone...

Anonymous said...

40% as passing grade for twinning degrees?! UTAR passing grade is 50%! That's not fair!! Anything less than that will be considered a failure. It's indeed shocking!

Anonymous said...

From what I see, UTAR has 2 conflicting expectations that are placed on it.

1) To be a world-class university - A lot of people want to see UTAR succeeding as a university, at least in terms of international standing and worldwide rankings.

2) To serve the Chinese community by ensuring that Chinese school leavers have a place to go. There is this prevalent notion that UTAR was set up to 'save' Chinese students that were not able (for whatever reason) to get into local public universities.

I do not see any way both objectives can be satisfied at the same time as they have wildly differing approaches. If you want a world-class university, you will have to restrict student intake, implement a rigorous course structure and uphold high academic standards. On the other hand, in the interest of being perceived as 'serving the community', there is continual pressure from the university administration to ensure that most, if not all students graduate, regardless of whether or not they are really qualified to do so.

That's why I pity the lecturers in UTAR. They're expected to push the university in two wildly different directions, a venture that is bound to fail. The solution is simple. MCA already has 2 institutions under its wings. For years, TAR College has been serving objective B very well, which is to be a 'factory assembly line' for gradutes (don't flame me, I'm a TARC product too.. :P). One wonders why UTAR has to shoulder that burden as well. If additional capacity is needed, more TAR College branches can be built. UTAR administrators should be given a free hand in building up a world-class university. I'm sure the academic staff there are capable of doing so, if they are not encumbered by political matters.

Anonymous said...

The remedy is Quality, Quality and Quality!
No short cuts!

Anonymous said...

Until KTAR is allowed to offer degree courses that are recognized by LAN, I cannot see how UTAR can avoid providing an opportunity of a degree course to those who cannot get into public universities for the simple reason that UTAR owes its existence to donations from the community.

The next question is whether UTAR can be a reputable university for accepting students with a wide range of capabilities? I would think this is still possible as long as UTAR do not pass students who do not meet the mark. This can be controlled by the appointment of reputable external examiners from world class universities. The likely consequence is that there will be many not so bright students who will score less than CGPA 3.0 (second class lower) and some very bright students who will score more than CGPA of 3.5 and above (First Class).

Like all universities, finally, it would be the employers who will decide whether the grade of degrees offered by UTAR are a true reflection of the quality of its graduates.

The research reputation of UTAR will depend more on the quality of the academic staff and her postgraduate students. I would think it would be easier for UTAR to be highly selective in recruitment of academic staff and postgraduate research admissions since its survival as an institution is dependant mainly on undergraduate fees rather than on postgraduate research students.

There are a lot of assumptions here, of course. It assumes that UTAR is managed in a way that can attract the best students as well as academics. I wonder if I may be too optimistic!

Richard G.

Anonymous said...

Hi Richard G.

Hmm... can we put it this way if you may or hope I don't seem too radical for your case. A little math is needed to solve it, put UTAR as a utmost first choice for the students, when everyone got into UTAR as their first choice and the public universities as their second choice, ultimately those supposed to be secondary-choice students (who presumably currently in utar)can enter public universities since the vacancy is caused by influx of good student to utar and evenso these secondary-choice students can enjoy the low tuition rate at public universities (might as well since their secondary quality might expect to earn less which is compatible with the tuition fee paid, it's a good and right economical cycle for the case).

This scenario is what happening in US and I found is totally opposite scene in Malaysia. In economics it's ideal in term of future income with the amount paid for the tuition. Certainly I know it's a utopia, with utar current path.. if without changes in student quality and management. Not only that, initially there's much hope to that direction because of depleting public universities quality, but things is not as good as it gets because utar joins the line too currently. That utopia is always my hope and wish with utar stand up to its 'real platform'.

Oo... in this way.. not only can the less deserved get education but also get it cheap which is compatible with its future income.


Anonymous said...

Hi JA,

I had not looked that far forward.

Now that you have mentioned it, I can’t agree with you more. We are already seeing what you described in US already happening in the primary and secondary school systems. So I will not be surprised if it is extended to tertiary education - if it had not started already!

Richard G.

Anonymous said...

Pssst.. you know what.. Tony Pua - the Blog owner actually hired people from these universities:
Saint Cloud State University
Chinese TV Universtiy.

The self-proclaimed high priest of education Tony actually took in staffs from bogus universities to work for his failing firm Cyber Village.. Wow.. what happen to all those high quality staffs that he claimed he interviewed. I bet even UTAR students would turn away working for a no future company like Cyber Village.

Hey.. I thought Tony despise Chinese-Educated people. Well, he appointed a Chinese as chairman and guess what .. he is expanding business into China. Well, no suprise, his 'non-chinese educated' background is not going to help. I wonder if he is now sending his children to Chinese school now?

Anonymous said...

UTAR will always be an university that is heavily influenced by Malaysian politicians especially from MCA side.

Go and ask around a simple question: Why UTAR's website does not even include all their academic staff's academic qualifications and research interests?

UTAR will, one day, decay into a paper-mill factory like KTAR as long as BN goverment is still in place.

Anonymous said...

I really honestly feel that the chinese commmunity in Malaysia should really resolve to put UTAR on the map by making it an excellent educational establisment where even the non chinese would want to go.Churning mediocre graduates in large quantity is not the way to go. Of course, their is a price to pay but as a chinese, I, would be very proud to have such an institution even if my own chilren cannot qualify into it. It would be a hallmark, like many of the well sought after privately run chinese shools in Malaysia. Live up to it. Pay the price, for the long term benefits are abound.

Anonymous said...

I concur..............."as a chinese, I, would be very proud to have such an institution even if my own chilren cannot qualify into it. It would be a hallmark, like".............
Sometimes I grunt for the restlessness of conveying my message to public, at last someone has spoken up, don't let it stop saying to support the noble approach and thinking, let it be and let it flow. That's what I WANT, HE WANTS, WHO WANTS THAT TOO... raise yr concurrence please.


Anonymous said...

You can shout, cry or roll in the grave or till the cows come home...

Nothing would change! Nothing will!

There are many good and rational points being shown in these blogs, but at the end of the day if the POLITICIANS wont listen....NO POINT!

Just vote DAP if you all want changes!

Anonymous said...

Stop writing about UTAR's fee is "much lesser" than MMU or other private instituitions. It is NOT. For a same engineering 4-year course, MMU charges RM45000 while UTAR charges RM38000. By paying RM7000 more I would choose MMU over UTAR.

UTAR is basically a "teaching" University and it will remain so for quite some years. For anyone wanting to pursue post-graduate studies, I suggest you consider other universities for the time being. Currently UTAR lacks the fascilities to support research work. For example, you would find it ridiculous to hear that UTAR has no subscription to technical journals the likes of IEEE or ACM, not to mention the snail-slow internet connection & frequent network disruption.

Who knows UTAR may become more research oriented, say in 5 years. So if u are 25 now and wanted to get a master from UTAR, please wait until u turn 30.

Anonymous said...

what a ridicalous article !!! the composer should know Utar only 4-5 years, its impossible for a university can achieve the highest education standard within 5years, even UKM, how many years they need to build a better education standard? Havard University? Oxford University?

Anonymous said...

I am Chia Wei Siong from UTAR(CM Y2S2)....just give a chance to UTAR , o.k.?

Anonymous said...

I am Chia Wei Siong. As soon as now, UTAR may not good enough but UTAR have 66 percents of graduated students employment rate in working industry, although the performance of that students in working industry is not good enough...UTAR is just 4 years old...just give a chance for UTAR to achive a top university , o.k.? Just give UTAR a chance, o.k.?

Anonymous said...

I am Chia Wei Siong.... not 66 percents...i said wrong...but is definitely more than 60 percents....

Anonymous said...

hello every1 im new here
can i ask u all
does the certificate regconize by the foreign country ?
m i able 2wrk at the foreign country after i holding the cert from UTAR ?


Anonymous said...

If you got UTAR certificate or got two options:

1 Open a brothel
2 Open a magnum 4 digit shop

Anonymous said...

brothel n magnum ?
y? is that mean the cert was not gud ?

Anonymous said...

Dear Chia Wei Siong, where and how did you get the info of 60-66% employment rate of utar graduates? Can you please substantiate it with fact?

Anonymous said...

Ya...I am Wei Siong here...why i should lie you about the UTAR emplayment rate? Let me tell u, 90 percents of the unemployed graduated students are graduated from local university, and now got 50,000 unemployed graduated students in Malaysia. Where i get this info? Of course from reliable sources. Not to "advertise" UTAR anyway. But UTAR quality is not good enough, this is definitely true....that's why all of u so "prejudice" about UTAR....agains i want to say, just give UTAR a chance to improve, o.k.?

Anonymous said...

remember the fact, that :

90 percents of the unemployed graduated students are graduated from local university...

Anonymous said...

About the regconition of UTAR degree certificate....of course, even UTAR degree certificate is not been regconized by Malaysia Government, UTAR graduated students also can work at foreign country. No problem for working at foreign country, provided that you are a member of CIDB for Construction Management students.

Anonymous said...

But UTAR Construction Management degree certificates is definitely been regconized by Malaysia Government....ask LAN department in Malaysia if u do not believe....

Anonymous said...

U fellers always want the proven fact....just do want to believe what i ur mind, don't shallow ur mind....other people may lie u , but i definitely will only look forward the .....

Anonymous said...

I am Wei Siong here. Hahaha....very funny.....Malaysia Government not recognize the degree certificate from Peking University and Tsinghua University? Do Malaysia Government got the "power" to not recognize this two degree certificate? Peking University and Tsinghua University are the two TOP university in the world...the TOP 20 best in the world...hahaha...Malaysia Government want to not recognize this two university degree certificate? Let's compare this two university to University Malaya....University Malaya even TOP 100 best in world also cannot all of u know, University Malaya is dropped out from TOP 100 best in the world, and the quality from this university in the world is DEFINITELY been dropped so much!!!! Just want to remember all of u Malaysia Government got the "power" to not regconize Peking University and Tsinghua University? hahahaha...very shamful!!!!!

Anonymous said...

want to ask me where to get this info agains? I am the true searcher...

Anonymous said...

I bet u....The quality of University Malaya will still drop and drop and drop non-stop in the future , & probably this will make the University Malaya students cry tills cow go home....

Anonymous said...

Let us compare the quality of UTAR & Universiti Malaya....of course two of them are not good enough....why still blame UTAR's quality since the "best" university in Malaysia is considered "very very poor" in the world? Luckily UTAR got many Chinese, & Chinese's academic result is always good than Malay's academic result...this need not to be proved because everyone in Malaysia should know....I am Wei Siong here...

Anonymous said...

and UTAR also offers the courses that do not be offered by local universities ( some new course) , and that courses are very important for the country development....UTAR did give important contribution to the country....let's say ask Government to close the UTAR.....will it succeaafully been done? What u want to do with UTAR? All u wish is to ask Government to close UTAR? I am UTAR student but i will "wait" for this moment...

Anonymous said...

Hi you guys,

Why do you think Chinese are always better? This is ridiculous and dangerous, not only to others, but also to UTAR. It will be the end. The whole of Malaysian university and education system is now crap simply because the attitude is inculcated that one race is supreme. If you allow this type of thinking, UTAR will follow down the same path.

Anonymous said...

Sorry.....i am wrong that said Chinese always better.....forgive me....Actually i don't have race supreme attitude....I am different from other UTAR students.....i hate other UTAR students who have wrong attitudes.....but i can't change their behaviour...most of UTAR students just keep doing their wrong attitudes....

Anonymous said...

I need to say that ....UTAR is no doubt really not so good....what can i do? Regret for be a UTAR students? I am afraid that i am too late...already in Year 2...haiz...

Anonymous said...

Why UTAR management and academic keep quiet?

Everybody condemn UTAR except for Richard G.

Anonymous said...

Who is Richard G? Why he don't want to condemn UTAR?

UTAR 现在的名声越来越不好,一直给外面的人Complaint!!!! 我的妈啊?我不敢相信我就是UTAR 生,我越来越无脸了...

Anonymous said...

To the anon above:
Leave him alone and for heaven's sake, what were you saying there?
I thought this is an English blog.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

来这里看信息的大多数都是华人啦......连版主都是华人了啰.....还假扮清高 , "English" ?

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

Hello, everyone. I'm Jeremy, and I was introduced to this site by a friend just a day ago (he does not post comments here, unfortunately, only read). I am intrigued by the comments here, and wish to give some of my personal opinions on the issue at hand. I'm not entirely sure if this post is still being read, but it's all right. [As an advance notice, I am a UTAR student as well, in the Faculty of Engineering and Science (FES), Setapak.]

First and foremost, it is inevitable that in Malaysia, the education system is, shall we say, plagued by political shadows. This is especially true for Government-funded IPTA. Private institutions are less influenced by the Government, though they are not wholly free. The National Accreditation Board, otherwise known as Lembaga Akreditasi Negara (LAN), has to approve of their syllabi to be recognized in Malaysia. For most students, LAN recognition plays an important point in their course selection (at least, to me, it is), especially if they plan on working in Malaysia after graduation.

However, it is in my opinion that political influence in the system is beside the main point here. Regardless of whether the particular institution is politically inclined, the students are neither forced nor brainwashed during lectures to support any particular party. National politics play minor roles in determining the quality of the education provided, as some of the anon(s) have pointed out. Office and money politics do, unfortunately. However, that's beside my focus here.

I'm not sure if this is correct, but I think most of the comments here are based heavily on the environment in the PJ campus (FAS) only. If my presumption is wrong, then I apologize first. My observation will be based on the Setapak campus instead.
As a student in the university, it is to my interest that education is being provided as necessary. That's my original plan when I take up the mantle as the university's student.

As mentioned earlier, the main objective when I registered as a student is to benefit from the education provided by the university. That is not to say that the university should be giving you everything. It is no use if you pay the hefty tuition fee (I don't have to pay much, fortunately) and do nothing. After two years of studying, have I achieved anything? I am proud to say that I have, but I cannot say for the rest.

Barring certain shortcomings in the university, the lecturers have all provided above average assistance for the understanding of a particular subject. True, some lecturers are definitely better than other in terms of their teaching styles (I prefer non-monotonous lecturers, who inject their lectures intermittently with jokes or food for thought, just to de-stress long hours of lectures; I don't mind the English so long as it is understandable), while others are qualified only to "lecture", but the efforts of the students play a bigger role in determining whether or not they understand and learnt anything from the lectures. Kudos to the previous lecturer who posted here for his upright principles and teaching style; I wish the university has more lecturers like you.

Anyway, I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but most students expect the lecturers to be spoonfeeding them. They expect the notes to be complete, the materials to be prepared as simple as possible, and most ironically, need to depend only on the lecture notes to pass the exams. Sometimes, I do really wonder if examination is the only main priority of students in Malaysia. I believe the focus of education is not only on passing examinations—examination-oriented being the buzz word when tagging the current system in Malaysia. It isn't new stuff for students (and to a certain extent, lecturers) to think that education is a one-way process. You study what is given to you, and it becomes your passport to salvation. How very wrong.

Lab practices have to be one of the more unbelievable scenes that can happen. It is fine that students do not do their experiments correctly, but sharing their lab reports? I find that preposterous. It is all right if you do not understand a particular experiment, you can always discuss with your friends or the lecturers. Copying reports letter-by-letter is something I find so particularly annoying and disgusting, which is why I never share my lab reports with anyone, except when it is a group report. Even so, they have to do their own part first before they can ask. Plagiarism is forbidden in scientific reports, and lecturers do make it very clear from the beginning. Now, students change their tactics from plagiarising to paraphrasing, though they never actually do the research themselves. What they do is just reverse or translocate some of the sentences above or below the original report. How is that different?

On the relative ease of passing the examinations in UTAR, I will have to contend with some of the comments given here. It is definitely not a walk in the park. As Emily (congratulations, by the way) has pointed out, getting a particular lower grade is easy, but not if you aim for First Class Honours. Even in our current year, the examination level is too high for some of the students to cope with. Notwithstanding is that they do not understand the questions because of the problem with the command of English. They expected something ... much simpler. Can they survive their final year project? Hmm ...

A personal experience when I was asked to comment on UTAR, the question posed was, "I wish to study biotechnology in UTAR. How is the facility in UTAR? Is it good?" I am flabbergasted by the question. Define "good". "Good" when compared to Harvard or, to the nearest neighbour, NUS? "Good" when compared to other local universities? Such comparisons have wide contrasting effects. If I used the former comparison, it'll demotivate the prospective student; if I used the latter, she might still be interested. In the end, I answered, "The facilities are good enough, depending on how the students use them." The answer was not exactly neutral, nor was it indicative of the status of the facilities in UTAR. It was a politically correct answer, at least in my opinion, because functionality of facilities do depend on how the students maintain and use them. Laboratory equipment in UTAR may not compare to Harvard's or NUS's, but they still allow you to obtain respectable results that deviate only slightly from what is expected in the experiment. I appreciate very much the fact that they have adequate essential equipment for us to run the experiments. The laboratories need not be luxurious; a poor laboratory can generate results as good as the ones obtained in those labs through practice and diligence.

Already, I'm feeling the pressure of the approaching final year project, when my current year's final examinations are yet to come. Many undergraduate students in UTAR have failed to plan for their future, and in doing so, planned their failure. It is not surprising that almost every year, there are students who have to take the supplementary papers. Is the paper easy? If it is, then there should not be failures. Is the paper difficult? If it is, then the number of passing students should not be high. Is the passing mark tampered? This, I don't know. [The science papers are challenging enough, suffice to say.]

It all depends on the students, I guess. As it is, I like this statement by the lecturer: "I feel that if only the students have the right quality and attitude, this will go a long way."

That's all I have for now.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Jeremy,

You are long winded....
Cant you go right to the point??
Just focus on the issues at hand.
Dont bring in other irrelevant details such as whether your grandmother had breakfast...

Jeremy....ur funny!

Anonymous said...

To the anon [4/02/2007 11:44:00 AM] above,

I don't remember that the blog administrator imposed any rules on the comment length. If he does, I'll gladly comply. As it is, some people have given longer comments than mine.


Anonymous said...

Is there going to be an inbreeding going on within UTAR?

UTAR gives a student his degree, awards him, his master and then PhD, and ropes him back to work as UTAR lecturer/academician.

Why not sponsor/bait a UTAR student overseas and get him his PhD(bought??) and then bond him to serve as UTAR lecturer and then milk him for all his worth?

Isn't the current UTAR President,Tan Sri Dr. Ng Lay Swee is well-known famous applying this gambit??

Colluding and conspiring with foreigners abroad..

Anonymous said...

To the anon above:
"Why not sponsor/bait a UTAR student overseas and get him his PhD(bought??) and then bond him to serve as UTAR lecturer and then milk him for all his worth?"
Isn't that what the Malaysian, Singapore, and other govt doing? Even the great US educational system is also doing that if you think of getting college money from the military and then having to serve the military later on. So, what is wrong with that? If you agree to take the money and then work for the sponsor later on, then why complain? The main thing is nobody forced you to do that. The thing is that the number of years of service is only a short part of your life and nothing compared to the years you will be free to leave and work on your own. That is if you ever want to. Furthermore, you are paid fairly at market rate, not exploited as a slave. This is not like a snakehead operation where you can never work it off and you already sacrifice your dignity and even life when you accepted the terms.
"Tan Sri Dr. Ng Lay Swee ..Colluding and conspiring with foreigners abroad..?"
What are you trying to accuse her of doing? Is it something bad to collaborate with other academic institutions to bring benefits for the students back home? Do you think working with the Malaysian govt and only the people in Malaysia is the only key to solving the problems of lack of higher education opportunities for Chinese students at home?
I don't work for UTAR. I also don't reside in Malaysia but I have met and spoken with Tan Sri Dr Ng Lay Swee. I don't think she is a superhuman, but I think she has done tremendous good in the improvement of higher education for Chinese students in Malaysia. She is also handicapped in many ways trying to build up UTAR into an outstanding institution and having to answer to MCA. She may not be correct all the times but she has the right vision and the courage to look beyond the limitations imposed on her. Why do yo blame her for the woes in UTAR, why not the administrators, the instructors, and the others responsible for day-to-day operations of the university? If you ask me, I would replace most of the administrators at UTAR. If you are wondering who am I..just so you know, I am also a Chinese.

Anonymous said...

Anon above is 'yellow banana'

Anonymous said...

That is really sad of today's young people.
There is no respect for elders anymore.
We elders try to provide but the youngsters only know how to cuss.
You cannot dance and you blame the floor.
What a sad story. Really pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Don't know whether it's true or not. Here...

Anonymous said...

To stop the standard from declining, UTAR must impose very high standards in the promotion of people to associate and full professor levels. Make sure full professor has comparable achievement as in Singapore. Otherwise, just let the position vacant. It is easier to do this from the beginning. Don't make it a joke in putting half-past-six at full professor position.

Anonymous said...

MAY I KNOW DOEs utar APPROVED BY >>LAN<< in all the courses?

i;m having difficulty in choosing the right college now.

1) Degree in Business Administration of Utar (sg long) approved by LAN?
2) wat will happen if not approved?
3) any beneficial of having LAn in our future??
4)other college's(segi,taylor,metropolitan) quality better than UTAR?
should i choose UTAR cause of the exemption provided when i got my diploma in KTAR ?

Anonymous said...

Hi anon above:
UTAR is accredited by LAN and recognised by JPA. I would take UTAR over any of those private colleges. You talk as if you are too good for UTAR. Have you checked whether UTAR would accept you? If you read the more recent postings under the topic "TAR College Not Recognised", some people were saying that you might not even be accepted into UTAR. You were screaming about quality and yet you went to TARC. How confusing can that be.

Anonymous said...

not accepted into UTAR....

Anonymous said...

Dear fellow anon above,
What's your qualification that warrant a rejection even from UTAR? Failing grade?
Hmm...Perhaps UTAR has started to take note of quality...

Anonymous said...

I want to know.. about Multimedia University... is it best university for Information Technology?

Anonymous said...

so much has been debated over the academic excellence of UTar, as such i am wondering whether i should send my son to pursue a 3 year course in Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Studies, at UTar, so should I just send him to Soutern college for a same diploma course.

Anonymous said...

Send him to UTAR and then later top it up with a Masters in China, that would be my suggestion. Or do a diploma get him to work and then find out if the diploma can get him into a Masters program in China via exemption.

Anonymous said...

i spend for almost three hours to read the comment leave by people out there,not bad,well done~!no matter the comment good or bad,it does help utar as a refer to re shape university's image or re select the study base.people who critism,maybe they know alot of utar,or maybe they not. . . but is good that they dare to voice are important,people who radical until hesitate bout status of utar,recognition of utar,whats the problem in your own to wrote this?show your anger?unsatisfaction to utar?everyone does have their own perception,you maybe have your own view,well,singapore ,ausralia are accepted utar fresh graduates,any arguments about this fact?please,give utar a chance,thanks,peeps

Anonymous said...

The majority of PhD holders in the FIS faculty are young without industrial experience, meaning they joined UTAR after graduating. I found it amusing when I wanted to apply for UTAR's PhD programme and I had this bunch of three or four young thesis supervisors interviewing me on my intended PhD research. I learnt from another senior lecturer that the supervisors were jittery before meeting me. I am about 15 years their senior :)

Anonymous said...

I just spent a long long time reading all the comments in here and honestly i am getting abit nervous since i am currently a student in utar.

It is my opinion that english plays a big role in passing the subjects in the course, how can it not be, if the student cant even understand the meaning of a simple word, how do they answer the exam papers? It is known that there are not many "bananas" in utar, i am one of them though, and i dont see much initiative from the chinese speaking students to improve their english, chinese in getting to be important in the business world, but english is still on top. My english might not be perfect but it is ok compared to other people that cant even get their plurals right.

I for one think that it is the mindset of the students that are frustrating the lecturers and tutors. I had a few lecturers that were enthusiastic in teaching us new things, but the students were not interested in learning them simply because they think that the subject is not related to their course, therefore they disappoint the lecturers and tutors by not trying their best if at all.

I for one think it is interesting to learn some other things other than those related to my major, but the attitude of the others that dont really want to really deflates my enthusiasm, its just so tiring to say that i dont mind after awhile.

Give utar a chance, as some of the people mentioned , utar is relatively new, there is bound to be some kinks here and there, although i hope they get it fixed soon, i want to get a job when i graduate ;)

Anonymous said...

i'm a student currently studying my foundation in UTAR, and i somewhat agree what Emily Tan said "they won't really teach you to write well", in fact, i was really very unhappy when my Sociology lecturer is such a bad lecturer, esp. when it's my favourite and most looking-forward-to subject, fortunately for him(the new lecturer), the deputy head of foundation studies, came in to ask us to give him a chance to improve himself... i really hope he does.. none the least, studying here did improve myself throughout my 5 months in this course & I still am... UTAR is really a place I thought I'd never enjoy, but alas, it was slightly better than I thought it was, just the 'study environment' is not as 'friendly' because it's surrounded by factories & construction in PJ... those were just my 2 cents worth of words... no offence was intended...

Jo said...
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Jo said...
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Jo said...

Wow...I had no idea UTAR would be such a highly debated subject. Reading through the comments (some from people I recognise and know), I agreed about the good and the bad of UTAR. Being from UTAR myself with a BSc (HONS) in Chemistry, I do have my own two cents. *tosses coins into donation box*

Some of the comments were well written and well put, but as I scrolled down I found myself reading through comments that weren't helping at all. In fact it felt like some of the Anon comments were written out of our pure hate and spite for UTAR--downright just bashing the university. And some commentors who are from UTAR certainly had me cringing with their command of English (no offence but that IS the gospel truth and no one can deny that).

The “bad” or the “lack of quality” from UTAR cannot be blamed solely on the lecturers and the education quality of the school. Blame it on the students.

I’m serious.

If UTAR was all about passing their precious students to make it seem like they’re a school of excellence then why were there15 seniors retaking an entire semester with us? And out of that 15, why are there at least 10 who are taking it for the second time again? And also another handful of my course mates are also repeating another semester. Is the paper difficult? Yes, it was, and yet the rest passed and some even did well. If passing the students or “jacking up” the marks existed, then why did 70% of my class have to sit for the supplementary paper (where someone had pointed out earlier that the highest grade earned would only be a C regardless of how high the score)? And if we’re going to talk about UTAR “jacking up” then you might as well point your finger at every other university, school, college and such. The reason is this: it’s called the Bell Curve.

If you don’t even know what the Bell Curve is, then you obviously have no right talking about the education system at all because every institution knows exactly what it is.

This “jacking up” may happen but it’s not always. Another difficult paper we sat for had about 10 seniors retaking it with us. A total of 15 – 20 students (including eight seniors and the rest from my class) sat for the supplementary paper. There were rumours that during the marking of this paper, the lecturer had to remark the paper three times trying to squeeze as much marks out as possible just to “save” students. I was casually talking with an admin officer (one whom some of us are very close to) and when we told her about the rumour, she had a look of surprise on her face. “If that’s true, then obviously someone screwed up because I’m the first to know these things and I definitely have no idea it happened,” was her reply.

Passing the paper and graduating from any university is one thing, but graduating with first class honours and doing well is another. Let me tell you this, I worked my ass off for my first class honours. Hell, I could’ve just sat back, relaxed and consecutively scored only passes and Cs or C+ for my papers. Some of my course mates were just satisfied to be passing and that’s all.

Comparing two universities is rather unfair especially when these two universities have different standards. I’ve heard that local universities, for first class honours it’s a CGPA 3.75 (out of 4.00) as for UTAR it’s 3.50. Bet you’re saying, “HA! I told you UTAR has craptastic quality!” But hear this as well, the percentage to obtain an A (GPA 4.0) in a UTAR paper is 80 – 100% while in one local university it is 75 – 100%. That 5% can mean a lot. While an A- (GPA 3.70) in UTAR is 75 – 79% and for the same grade in this same local university it’s 70 – 74% (if I remember correctly). A 5% difference that could cost the student 0.30 GPA is a LOT.

Another difference with local universities is that the entrance qualification for Masters Programme is about 2.80 but for UTAR it’s at least 3.00; where there are even talks to push it up for 3.50. Only lecturers with grants are allowed to have any students for the Masters Programme and these students usually become Research Assistants and Teaching Assistants.

I admit, I’m one of those “yellow bananas” and cannot converse fluently in Mandarin while my course mates are wonderful in it. Unfortunately for them, it was also their disadvantage since lessons are in English. If UTAR was all for passing their students they would’ve made the exams dual language: questions both in English and Mandarin. Some of the lecturers even refused to answer the students back in Chinese and stuck to English. People from foreign institutions have told me how horrible the level of English is from ANY local university whether public or otherwise—it’s not just a UTAR thing.

My neighbour’s niece studied in a local university and she once said that her ENTIRE class was forced to re-sit and exam because certain specific people failed the paper. UTAR doesn’t have that: if you fail you fail. Go retake the entire semester for that paper and struggle balancing your schedule.

Yes, UTAR has its bureaucratic red-tape but which university doesn’t? Though UTAR’s one is so much thicker and has caused a few lecturers (some I adored) to resign and move on. The constant bickering and back-stabbing between lecturers also happens. There are good lecturers and there are lecturers who could work on being better. But the one thing I love about my lecturers is that they’re ALWAYS there for us (at least in my faculty). They’re willing to set aside time to help us whenever because they’ve experience the local university way of education. They’ve told us how their lecturers couldn’t be bothered with students and even locked themselves in their room to avoid being bombarded by questions.

Overall, I think it’s very unfair to write off every single student from UTAR just because of some bad apples. Some of us are actually good. Actually, come to think of it, those who did well in UTAR would’ve moved on to work with bigger companies or even have obtained scholarships to further their studies, which would explain why those who have interviewed UTAR grads have only gotten the “bad apples”.

UTAR may not be the best but it is certainly not the worst.

My apologies for this rather long comment. *bows*

K e L s said...

HoLa!!! Pls help, i am so glad to come across this site. I'm stressed and very confusing now. I am TARC Mass Communication (diploma) student. After months of delay, I think now is the time for me to choose where to further my studies. After several thoughts, my options are down to two, which is either UTAR or UCSI(University College Sedaya International).
I really don’t know what to do after reading all these comments. I became more confused. I've planned to take my degree at KL (I hope I can stay in pg but unfortunately, all uni in pg do not offer degree in mass comm). The thing that troubles me is that I must choose either University Tunku Abdul Rahman or University College Sedaya International.
There are rumours saying that UTAR's graduates find it difficult to find job as too many graduates from UTAR causes the market value to drop! Whereas, UCSI course is accredited by LAN and recognized internationally! If I go to UCSI, it takes me 3 years to graduate but in UTAR, it only takes 2 years. I really don’t want to stay in KL for 3 years and UCSI is very expensive. I don’t know what to do.
UCSI - LAN, International recognition, 3 years and expensive (but of course I can apply for loan). UTAR - LAN, not sure recognized internationally or not, 2 years, affordable. Pls help! Which one is better?
I am afraid that I may make the wrong decision and regret it for the rest of my life. If I am UCSI graduate, does it mean that I'll stand more chance in getting a better job? Pls help!
I'm kinda confused now. Does Mass Communication offer a bright future? How about job opportunity? Will I be able to earn a living in Malaysia with a degree in Mass communication? I don’t want my cert to turn out to be a blank paper which is of no use. I'm not into journalism or being a reporter. I'm interested in event management or maybe being a PR for certain companies or organizations. By the way, is it profitable to be a PR for certain companies or hotels?

~David~ said...

After read those comments, as UTAR graduate. I got sth to said.

I was from FES - Electronic Engineering (EE), so i only can give the comment on FES - EE. There's lot of good lecturers to conduct the class. Like Dr. Tham Choi Yoong, Prof. Lu Kee Siang, Dr. Tan Kia Hock... ...those lecturers you can found their articles on IEEE or IEE.

The EE graduates had been employed by Sony, Venture, Statchippac, Altera, Fairchild, Western Digital, Agilent... ...blah blah!!!

Sound great is it?! But don't forget there are lot of EE graduates still can't get a job.

What i can conclude is...UTAR still new, UTAR might have good lecturers, good student... ...but UTAR never have good management staffs. Whatever complain or suggestion bring up to management level will be lost. That's how i experienced b4 the efficiency & the response from there.

No doubt, UTAR is created from MCA! A lot of things still bounded with MCA even if the UTAR declared it's not involved any political. BUT! recently i received a call from MCA saying the election is coming and requested UTAR graduates for photo taking to make poster to do promotion for MCA.

What the??? Those graduates or student are doing well is not because of UTAR, is because of their capabilities and performance are doing well.

That's no harm or lost to study in UTAR. But everything gonna depend on yourself. What i can tell is be independence. Our malaysia education success to produce exam machine, supa dupa highly dependence but fail to... ...(you know what i mean...)

Anonymous said...

can anyone give me some opinions about studying biomed in utar?is it good?or better than studying biomed in public uni?i need more input about the biomed in utar before making choices..please help.


Anonymous said...

Bio med is in chaos in Utar, at least at Setapak... think twice and ask other students which are already inside before making decision. If you don't mind going to Kampar, then at least you have more beautiful landscape.

Anonymous said...

What kind of choas are you talking about? I dont see any of it.
Are you really sure?

-UTAR FES student

Oh, by the way, the management is poor, but that is the past. Now we have a new Head. Expect major changes in UTAR.

Anonymous said...

I started reading this website during the campaigning period for 12GE [after knowing Tony as he was the candidate of my area].
I will join in to give some experience with UTAR from now on since I was once a full time lecturer with UTAR [a part-time now]. 1st about the Chinese students not willing to mix with non-Chinese students.
I do not agree that they do not like to mix with students of other races. The main reason may be due to their English proficiency, they just find hard to communicate in English, so to avoid embarrassment, they just shy away from mixing with students of other races. I will inform my students about this & encourage them to make friends among themselves.

Anonymous said...

Getting admission to UTAR is easy but passing its EXAM is very Difficult especially its Actuarial Science Degree Programme.So far, UTAR's Actuarial Science Degree Programme is the sole Malaysian university (even UM & UKM now still cannot get the accreditation from the US professional body) which obtains full VEE profesional accreditation from Society of Actuaries,US. I dare to say UTAR actuarial students are more competitive than those graduates from local public university which are still very stubborn to use Malay in their lecture like what my UM friends experience now.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure of your information?

As far as I know, UM has a very strict criterion to choose students for actuarial science, at least when you are required to have a stpm, and the number of students are rather small, unlike Utar where we can have more that 150 in a single batch. Most employers are satisfied with UM graduates, but the very first batch of Utar students is still not yet on the market, so how do you measure their competitiveness? Besides, UM is one of the local university which is more internationalized (more students or lecturers come abroad, unlike Utar) and I wonder how English is not adopted to teach scientific disciplines. Nevertheless, I agree that in actuarial science, the degree that you obtain in local universities is nothing unless you take professional exam paper in international level, but again UM students perform quite well last year....

Anonymous said...

I am new to this blog & as such just started to read through the articles & comments made.
I found One Anonymous comment made on 26th March 2007 at 11:56:00pm as follows:
If you got UTAR cert or got 2 options:
1) Open a brothel, &
2) Open a Magnum 4 digit shop.
Why was he so sarcastic & offensive?
Did he really know the value of UTAR cert. or degree?
Yes, the cert or degree may not be that excellent as compared to that of UM or even Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford....
If I was the student & could not enter UM, what choice did I have if my parents were not that wealthy as that of the Writer? My choice was UTAR as the fees charged was affordable. Now after graduating with the UTAR cert. or degree, do I deserve such 'parah' or hurtful remark?
I do not know what cert. or degree he is holding, but if it was obtained because his parents were rich enough to send him oversea, please do not look down upon UTAR cert. or degree. He is just mere lucky than others. STOP that nonsense!

Anonymous said...

I refer to KeLLyKeLs' message on 12/1/2007 at 02:28:00am & wish to comment as follows:
1)- She is doing her diploma in Mass Com for nearly 2 years at TARC but she is not sure of what she can do with her diploma now.
2)- Both UCSI & UTAR are having local degree programme in Mass Com. These are approved [& to be accredited in due course] by LAN, why is UCSI's programme recognised internationally but not that of UTAR? From where did she hear of this?
3)- She needs to top up another 2 years for her degree at UTAR but 3 years at UCSI. This does not mean that UCSI is better! It implies that her diploma could not gain full 30 credit hours exemption from UCSI so much so that she has to do 3 years at UCSI.
4) One ASTRO newscaster [MS. TAY] for 10.30pm programme is having ACCA but not Mass Com degree. Another RTM Mandarin newscaster [MR KONG]is having HSC only. But their standard are much better than any degree holder in Mass Com. To me, the importance is not the degree but the personal quality.

Anonymous said...

I refer to messages posted by MR CHIA Wei Siong around March 2007 & wish to comment as follows:
1)- You must have graduated with BSc (Hons) in Construction Management from UTAR by now. Do you realise that your degree is recognised by both RICS & CIOB [not CIDB please] of UK? Do you know with such recognition, you are able to work anywhere in the world?
2)- I am not sure of your English standard now but if that was what had been shown in your few messages, my advice is please improve it soonest possible. If not, you are telling the world that the English standard of UTAR students needs much more improvement.

idunno said...
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idunno said...
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idunno said...

Wow, I spent a few hours reading the comments in this blog. It seems that there are many people out there that are taking interest in UTAR. As a student in UTAR, I would also like to leave a paragraphs if I'm not being despise.

First, let me start with the English Proficiency Level of UTAR students. I agree that most of the students there are Chinese educated but from what I can see, most of my course mates are trying very hard to improve their English. What I am trying to say here is that you cannot blame a higher education institution for some students lack of ability to master the language. I personally thinks that it was all how you were brought up and what kind of language you were exposed the most. So, don't try to blame the university as all the lectures are in English as well as the tutorials. Its all boil down to how the student understand the lectures (I admit that some lecturer's English standard are not up to mark).

Next, I would like to comment on UTAR's education standard. I wasn't very sure of the standard myself too when I first joined the university. Initially, I thought it was just like any other university quota system or money-faced. I just completed my final examination for my second year second semester and to tell all of you the truth, the questions are never easy to begin with and the lecturer's are not as lenient as what people think they are. Bottom line, its even harder than you can imagine.

They set their standard very high (that's what I heared from my lecturers) because they want to maintain or improve their standard to be able to compete with other universities. I do agree that the administration in UTAR is not very good but I hope it will improve especially when we are having Professor Engr. Dato' Dr. Chuah Hean Teik as our new president.

To sum it all, UTAR is an affordable university with quality not like what all of you thought. For people who are considering UTAR, please think carefully, even though UTAR accepts anyone that applies, don't think of graduating if you are not committed enough. The percentage of people taking supplementary paper is high (not because of the students are not smart enough) and quite a number of students repeat their semesters and there are also students that are being terminated because they are unable to fulfill the minimum 2.0 cgpa. What I have written here is true from what I have been observing around FES in Setapak. I am currently a y2s2 student in BSc. (HONS) Biotechnology.

Anonymous said...

I believe that only UTAR students or staff would be the best people to judge how the university is doing so far.
I am a Construction Management student from FES,UTAR and i've spent 2 years plus here.From my point of view so far,i think UTAR(or my campus)we have many dedicated lecturers who are ready to help and doesnt only aim to PASS us students.UTAR has also made an effort to ensure that graduates will be recognised not only here in Malaysia but globally as well.Recently,my course has got an accreditation by CIOB(Charted Institute Of Building) which has members from all over the world.UTAR was ranked one of the highest institution to receive the recognition by them alongside UTM.

On another note,what i see is although the standards of English is not REALLY good here but,students are slowly picking up pace as they have realised that English as a means of communication is very important not only in writing but for communication as well.

All in all,UTAR is a foundation build by people's money to help students who want to learn but have rather insufficient funds.

Anonymous said...

I refer to the above comment by MR JASON and wish to add further that both BSc (Hons) Construction Management & BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying are not only accredited by CIOB [The Chartered Institute of Building, UK] but RICS [Royal Institution of Surveyors, UK]too.

Anonymous said...

Reference to MR JASON's comment on 8/5/08 7.23pm:
It is UiTM & not UTM. The next local institution is TARC.
All are accredited together under the CIOB Recognised Awards List [March 2008] edition. In the list, you may find NUS, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University & others from UK, Australia, New Zealand....
For more information, please refer to

satz said...

hm.... everybody seems to kutuk UTAR.... but UTAR provides many exceptional courses in a cheaper price rather than the more expensive which is given in other univeristy.

no offence k!! but in need ur advise right now, i am going to pursue my foundation in engineering in UTAR then to chemical engineering...

so, are there any comments or advises for me ???

plz reply me soon here or to my mail at

Anonymous said...

Dear SATZ,
Don't worry about what others say but more so in your own finding.
You may logon to look for more info about the course, IPTS's, fees charged, etc. that of your concern.
Go for better one if you think it is better than UTAR.
But once you compare the fees charged by all especially, UTAR is not too bad.
It depends more on you & if you are serious in study, the sky is your limit.
Just refer to Uncle Lim of Genting & another Uncle Lim of I-Berhad, where did they graduate from?

Anonymous said...

Regarding to a anon said that a UTAR lecturer had forced to jack up the student mark by using the formula square root times 10. I wondering where he/she get this information. In UTAR examination department,the mark is can't control by the lecturer and also can't simply add fomula to the students mark.We only moderate the graph of the mark by computer.For example the graph of the mark is skewed distribution,the graph will be moderate to bacome normal distribution graph.The difference of this moderate mark method with the applying formula method is, apply formula will increase all the students mark,moderate graph is to let more student fall into the passed grade C,so that for those 49,48,46 mark students can increase become 50 above to pass the subject,and the grade A and B students mark will remain unchange and maintain only approximately 10% for A & A- ,20% for B+ & B. This moderating graph method is used by government in UPSR,PMR,SPM,STPM, and I believe that it also used by local university and foreign university, the main purpose is this method can standardize the exam difficulty level. (for those study high level mathematics will understand what I said above)

Anonymous said...

i m utar student in TD1 .I think utar is a good university.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed..being fellow BPian, I look up to you Mr Tony, as one of the best future politician. Utar is not so bad as it pictures, just drop by and have a tea session with us probably. You could easily identify excellent students. Even in my class, there were classamtes who obtained staraight As in Alevels, SPM, and also 3.9> in stpm. One of our student was even accepted to pursue her masters in Cambridge University. On average, we were all 7As (SPM) and above, for if we were not, then we would be denied our places in certain course. Our labs are well equipped, in comparison to other private universities, we have more and better equipments. Perhaps you really should drop by our research laboratories in Setapak. In most private and public universities, equipments are limited, but for us, this post very minute of a problem. Our achievements cannot be said in a sentence or two in this comment, but we don't really intend to waste our breath here too..let our results and achievements do the talking. We are already progressing well, with some research, even in collaboration with world reknowned university. Take care and have a nice day Mr. Tony

Anonymous said...

i strongly agree with Dan .I also from the UTAR FES Setapak Campus . Please , if u really dont know anything, dont simply say anything that is not true !!DOnt simply criticize just because you want to criticize . We proud to be UTAR students!!

Anonymous said...

To be top of the best universities, one must have good facilities, teaching & management staff + good students.
My advice to UTAR students is that they must improve their English ASAP. Nobody can blame you but the 'BIG-MOUTHED' politicians for the poor English standard among younger generation, but then your English must be improved once you are in English medium, don't always having the excuse of poor English because of doing in Malay medium in secondary school. I've come across of students who have switched to English for more than 2 years, yet still relying on the above excuse. They just can't even interpret a simple question in English if it was given in another format different from the usual one.
UTAR just cannot advance if she is so stingy in paying the academic staff. It will not achieve good status if salary scale is left to the current HR In-charge to dictate without due consideration of the needs of the faculties. There is great shortage of lecturers & then UTAR is expecting to pay peanuts only to capable lecturers.
Also please send the HR personnel in-charge in recruitment for re-training in PR. She is so hurtful to able academic coming for interview. We understand she is trying to save money for UTAR, but she need not to be so 'rude'& hurtful.
It is great for the new Principal in expecting the academic staff to do research & publish articles & books on new finding. But how to do so if the staff are so occupied in teaching since there is great shortage of manpower? How to attract good staff [not those he knows of] if the HR Personnel in-charge is preparing to offer peanuts? UTAR has to be practical & fair to those coming for interview.

Anonymous said...

Just like I said earlier, it is pointless to keep debating here..and I can't say much either, the public may feel free to picture UTAR as they liked. We have had HARVARD external examiners praising us for on par with international universities, yet certain parties are still critical towards the wrong aspect. Try to visit us one day, be amazed by how many of our lecturers are with international advisory board, instead of wasting time here. As far as english is concern, the worst person in my class has a BAND 5 in MUET :) that's all the end...if winning means so much to you all, then all right, UTAR is whatver that is you said, but in years to will beg to differ...take care :)

ong jian jie said...

For your information, I am UTAR student, just completed my foundation in science programme. I am currently pursuing my BSc(Hons) Actuarial Science in PJ campus. Well, I do hope that the above statement gives me enough eligibility to comment on this blog post.

well, before I start my comment, I would like to apologize to every reader that is reading on this, for my English standard that is yet to be categorized into University level.

First of all, I am not happy about this post written on Friday, September 22, 2006 by Mr.Tony.
The reason is, he (Mr.Tony) is not clear and understood about how things really work in UTAR, yet he published this. Although we are always concern about the issue of freedom in speaking, I must say that this post of his, brought a lot of negative influence to UTAR.

After I Finished my SPM, I google for some QUALIFIED and affordable institutions in Msia. I believe that many did the same. So here comes the main point.
I assume that more than HALF of viewers of this blog, will not read every single comment it has but just take the main point in this blog.( I'm sure some of them will not take the date of this post into account when they read this) Indirectly, many will doubt the standard of UTAR, and chose other Universities. Imagine that someone else is talking bad about your company, you know clearly about the effect to your company right?

To anyone who is still thinking of which institution to choose, and having UTAR in their consideration list, I can guarantee that UTAR has its standard.
well, UTAR PJ campus may have old buildings (former The Star building), some lousy facilities, or classrooms that always having problems...I am sure that the lecturers are among the best lecturers in the world. Lets not talk about other subjects, talk about Math and Chemistry.They are the best lecturer I have met...They never give tips, or any 'clues' for exam.If any of us failed,she will personally gives us 'extra tuition' so that we can pass it fair and square...and most importantly, IT IS NOT HER DUTY/RESPONSIBILITY TO SPEND MORE PERSONAL TIME WITH US!

well, that's for foundation. For my bachelor degree, I have Dr.Tan as my calculus lecturer..and he has international qualifications! and he's coming along with our new principal from MMU.

time is running out and I have to stop here..but I do hope that it can convince u a little.thank you.

Anonymous said...

Good news to Jianji, you have DR. TAN 'head-hunted' by new Principal from MMU, but how many he can bring along?
He will bring in those he knows, how about those not within his 'sight' & 'thought'? To him, only those he know are good, how about those he is not aware of? Would he respect these people? I'm doubtful!
If not, then how can he expect paying peanuts to existing staff & expect same quality of output like that of DR. TAN? [I don't mean the existing staff are not able to produce the same results!]
Jianji, please go & find out how those P/T Lecturers are treated by UTAR, they are there to contribute but no facility is given to them at all! No table, PC, paper, stationary.... & even marker pen! UTAR is expecting these P/T lecturers to use their 'feet' to write on the white board for doing explanation to the class, I suppose.
For those who did not publish research papers, they will be treated like 'dirt'! For those who did not write & PUBLISH, please make your application to other institutions & not UTAR.
Just too bad! Wait & see how much he can do for UTAR.

Anonymous said...

Dear YB Tony Pua,
I'm always ur supporter ever since u are active in PJ areas.However, after reading your irresponsible oomments abt UTAR, i'm really disappointed to u.Your real intention is just want to attack and bombard MCA by using UTAR as a scapegoat. UTAR's image has been tarnished by your irresponsible and groundless accusations. There are many good students who excel in their STPM and SPM pursuing their tertiary studies in UTAR. UTAR provides them a more secured option and better opportunity to pursue their dream courses.The quality of education has been strengthened as there are getting more good students choosing UTAR as their choice to pursue their dream while public universities tend to close their doors for them.Please stop sabotaging UTAR while ur arrow is actually pointing to MCA. Eventually, the victims of your irresponsible actions would be UTAR students and the university, not MCA or their leaders.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the "PJ Resident,the voice of justice" above.Tony Pua and some people criticize and discriminate against UTAR just because it is established by a political party which is a political rival of DAP(Democratic Action Party).Although I'm a DAP supporter,I can't agree with Tony over this issue.Let's talk about my personal experience.I'm currently a UTAR student studying Actuarial Science.Last year, i received my STPM result and decide to enrol myself in UKM or UM Sains Aktuari. Anyway, I was rejected by these "top" gov universities even though i scored 3A and 1B (B in Pengajian Am) in STPM and 10A1 in SPM.(Remarks:I was offered to study Matematik in UKM instead)Fortunately, UTAR(which is situated 1km away from UM)give me a chance to realise my ambition to be an actuary.If u notice it,UTAR actually creates many opportunities for students from middle and low income family (especially for the STPM students like me).Please do not criticise UTAR without any strong evidences and knowledge of it. Making comments based on"hearsay and self perception" is immature and unwise.THANKS!!!

Anonymous said...

It is time for the Alumni to gather and show the strength and contribution. We need to setup a strong and independent UTAR Alumni!!!

the future of UTAR will begin from there!!

bear in mind my vanguard!!we need a long sighted and affluent and influential alumni!!
let the wind blows, the alumni pole untouched!!

Alumni Association is the 'exit-plan' for the better UTAR.


Anonymous said...

UTAR-MCA relationship cannot be deny.
MCA is "Puak Cina Kapitalist" or The Shang class.

They are the Merchants and Traders class who are in power with the Westerners' help, just like the Kuomintang party in mainland China during the 1930-1949.

Under UTAR, you are not "liberated" but still under Malaysian capitalists' control.

To bring the great order to Malaysia, then DAP must rise up to power in forming the next Malaysia Government, then DAP shall truly represent the Shi class,the intellectuals class and has the mandate to form their own university.

Only then the real genuine intellectuals-academicians on this land, are truly liberated, in order to heal this nation.

This is a case of

Water-Wood "Capitalism"
Fire-Earth "Socialism"

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

UTAR-MCA relationship cannot be deny.
MCA is "Puak Cina Kapitalist" or The Shang class.

They are the Merchants and Traders class who are in power with the Westerners' help, just like the Kuomintang party in mainland China during the 1930-1949.

Under UTAR, you are not "liberated" but still under Malaysian capitalists' control.

To bring the great order to Malaysia, then DAP must rise up to power in forming the next Malaysia Government, then DAP shall truly represent the Shi class,the intellectuals class and has the mandate to form their own university.

Only then the real genuine intellectuals-academicians on this land, are truly liberated, in order to heal this nation.

This is a case of

Water-Wood "Capitalism"
Fire-Earth "Socialism"

6/18/2008 06:34:00 AM"

I wonder, what kind of person is this that said all these words. I you are not a student in UTAR, don't try to comment. The MCA has never tried to influence anyone in the university to vote for them. As a student in UTAR, I have never heard anything like you are in MCA university and what you ever you do, you must follow MCA or even vote for MCA if you are studying here.

Please do not drag in education with your political party. What do you mean "Only then the real genuine intellectuals-academicians on this land, are truly liberated, in order to heal this nation."

After your comment, I don't even think that you are a real genuine intellectual person in DAP.

Anonymous said...

The fellow commentor who has decided to use capitalism and socialism as a analogy has obviously been living in the communist age far too long and has yet to be exposed into the new era of democracy.

Or open-mindedness for that matter.

Why else would anyone use such an old-fashioned statement of announcing his/her distaste for UTAR (or rather MCA) and not even giving a single solid point to why he/she thinks so. Give us facts and figures and maybe we have something to debate about.

Yes, I am formerly a student from UTAR, and as you can see, I write (and I assure you, I also speak) rather fluently in English. Not everyone who graduates from UTAR is Chinese educated and have no sense of grammar usage.

And not everyone who graduates from UTAR has been brain-washed to vote and support MCA. In UTAR, the important point is education and we have paid for our education and (though it maybe hard to believe) studied hard and worked our asses off for our degree. We owe little to MCA.

To also prove another point that not all UTAR graduates are worthless and unemployed, I shall humbly submit myself as an example. You see, I graduated with first class honours in Chemistry, being on the Dean's List multiple times, and am now an employee of Nestle. So, if a multi-national company can look past the name UTAR and look at the students and the quality of the education, why can't others do the same?

Another fellow UTAR student had graduated with first class honours in Journalism, joined a popular and well read newspaper, and is now on an international scholarship to complete her Masters.

Are all of us so blinded by our hate for MCA that we cannot see that not only are the fees for UTAR affordable but also the quality of education can rival that of our local universities?

Anonymous said...

An anonymous(6/18/2008 06:34:00AM)wrote:"........This is a case of

Water-Wood "Capitalism"
Fire-Earth "Socialism"

I think this fellow must be suffering certain mental or psychic problem.So pitiful indeed~~

Anonymous said...

This is not a case of MCA influencing UTAR or making use of UTAR students to promote MCA politicians when GE is around the corner.

They may do that, but that is not the main point here.

It is all about the law of jungle or rule of law.

Has your parents educate you, about "the Four Occupations", assuming that you all are Asians?

Use Google and google it out, if you can.

There are two sides you can choose from, depending whether you are able to see the light or not or in other words, enlightened, like Tun Mahathir who quits UMNO on Wesak day.

Simple political science lesson 101
Do you believe in the existence of duality of cosmic forces?

Yin vs Yang.Female vs Male. Negative vs Positive.
USA World's largest debtors
China World's largest creditors

Capitalism "Yin"
Socialism "Yang"

USA and the Western world, capitalism democracy looks it as:


China looks it as:


You can either have Yin at the top of human food chain or Yang.

Western Politicians like Cheney-oil businessman and Bush-History major


Leaders-Technocrats of Chinese Communist Party of China


The Majority "Yin" vs Minority "Yang"

Capitalism democracy where majority rules, is nothing but a Western civilization's invention but Malaysia is part of Asia continent.

So should you follow the Westerner way or the Easterner way?

Your education system really matters, depending on which political system you are living in whether it is capitalism democracy or a socialist state.

Some people may call it

Ultra right wing (BN) vs Liberal left wing (PR)

If you want capitalism, then it is a inverted pyramid human food chain. A dog eats dog world.

If you want socialism, then it is a pyramid human food chain. The Chinese in China calls it Harmonious Society.

Is there right or wrong on this issue? The answer is probably, a No.
Why?Because both systems are all part of natural order.
It is just a question of preference that suits your own culture, which again depends on your geographical location.

Negative beings or "Yin" people or faction will tend to support Westerner's capitalism wholeheartedly.

Who are these "Yin" people or consumer society?

They are bankers, business-owners, insurance agents, merchants, traders, finance executives, stock brokers, importers-distributors, sales&marketing executives, economists, accountants,auditors, media executives, advertising executives, PR exectutives, entertainers, journalists, lawyers, etc..

They produce nothing concrete but only papers with words and number figures on it.

The "Yang" people? They are the productive forces of human beings, the workers and peasant farmers and people with education background in science and technology fields.

Here are more quotes from history point of views, which every genuine scholars-intellectuals should be aware of.

I let you all to go through them all, ponder deeply and try to understand the important points.
Looking around and seeing no one near, Pang Tong said, "It would be a pity if you upset my plan. The fate of the people of all the eighty-one southern counties is in your hands."
Xu Shu smiled, saying, "And what of the fate of these eight hundred thirty thousand soldiers and horse of the north?"
"Do you intend to wreck my scheme, Xu Shu?"
"I have never forgotten the kindness of Uncle Liu Bei, nor my oath to avenge the death of my mother at Cao Cao's hands. I have said I would never think out a plan for him. So am I likely to wreck yours now, brother? But I have followed Cao Cao's army thus far; and after they shall have been defeated, good and bad will suffer alike and how can I escape? Tell me how I can secure safety, and I sew up my lips and go away."

"Before leaving, Zhuge Liang gave his friend a letter and said, "I do not think that Sun Quan will use you as you merit. If you find life here distasteful, then you may come to Jingzhou and help to support my master. He is liberal and virtuous and will not disdain what you have spent your life in learning.",

"What have you studied," asked Sun Quan, "and what are you master of?"
Pang Tong replied, "One must not be narrow and obstinate; one must change with circumstances."
"How does your learning compare with that of Zhou Yu?" asked Sun Quan.
"My learning is not to be compared with his in the least. Mine is far greater."

Genuine intellectuals-scholars emphasize on meritocracy as rule of law.Greater means deeper.

Working for Nestle is nothing to brag about because you are nothing but an industry salary-worker destined to be working for the rich Westerner capitalists who own Nestle.You are still " colonized" and could be exploited and then discarded anytime by your capitalists' bosses.

You are still thinking like a "katak dalam tempurung", trapped forever living inside a pond called Malaysia, because you are not a global citizen that could find a job or survive in other parts of the world.

Only a True genuine education path enable you to do so, to give you more career options, to go to other parts of the world and become useful global citizen.

An inequality society vs equality society.

The Easy path or the Difficult path.
Make your choice.Make it not for yourself but also for future Malaysian generations.

A spark could cause a praire fire- Mao Zedong

Negeri-negeri Utara (PR) vs Negeri-negeri Selatan (BN).

To Tony P and Kian Ming. Seems to me, you guys have lots to do in educating and enlightening these young, ignorant Malaysian students' mind.

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous(6/19/2008 12:57:00AM) above,

Haha,your comments seems to be out of topic already.We didn't discuss about the concept of Yin and Yang or any irrelevant ideology.In fact,this is an academic issue in which we should be more analytical, rational and neutral while giving any comments.Any hatres against the rival political party should be avoided here because an academic matter is still academic afterall.Back to the basis,UTAR has improved much since its establishment in 2002 and is still progressing intensively.This is a positive sign in educational field while incurring positive competition among the other local universities.

Anonymous said...

Why blame Tony Pua for his views on Utar? Many feel what he expressed is the true reality.

I have seen so many Utar students on the way to campus near Millenium court. They dont look like students at all. All wear funny dyed hairs with tatoos and stubs and pins on their ears and nostrils....

Anonymous said...

why some of these people accuse tony pua of attacking utar because he is from dap? did they notice this blog entry was made in 2006 before he join dap and become a politician? did they even bother to read the whole entry and the comments before jumping to their conclusion?

Anonymous said...

Hua Qiang,
How can you deny the existence of Arts and Science stream classes in all the secondary schools throughout Malaysia?
That is Yin-Yang for you.

Anonymous said...

Trouble is most people do not dare to see the truth as brought about by Tony Pua and start bashing him. Tony Pua is very well versed in education and very much interested in the state of education.
Tony Pua should be credited for his noble efforts. UTAR students should be thankful of his positive criticisms and not live in a shameful state of self denial and pipe dreams

Go Tony Pua. We in UTAR believe and support you!

Anonymous said...

To Anon of (6/19/2008 12:57:00 AM):

Thanks for your great post on Yin Yang, Socialism and Capitalism, plus valuable lessons from the "Three Kingdoms" (which is one of the greatest Chinese classsic apart from "Sun Tzu's Art of War).

I don't think he/she has gone off topic, I am sure the author is just trying to make us think critically and intellectually. And I don't think it has got to do with him/her being pro or anti MCA.

And yes, Tony still remains a good educationist at heart. I am pretty sure he is not out there to bash UTAR up but so that UTAR does not rest on its laurels and live in self denials.

Let us hope the new CEO of UTAR will take note of all the comments made in this blog and strive to improve UTAR.

Anonymous said...

who said utar not involve in political??? b4 308 election, i received a call either from utar or mca fellow asking me & some graduates to take photo on poster for promotion in election for mca! i answer back we r not willing to help as we dun know when we will hv our convocation! bcoz no convocation = no cert. = many things can't do. and then suddenly we got letter from utar that we hv convocation on march. dun tell me the timing is just right...

besides, working in mnc doesn't mean good! u think utar proud of that? i dun think so, utar more lovely if u doing business and earn a lot of money. u'll get invitation here & there to promote utar... me, what they wan r rich person~

for all utarian:
welcome to UTAR (university tidak akan rugi)

Anonymous said...

What do you think about the new president of UTAR, who already come onboard for more than 100 days? Is there any one would like to give his/her frank opinion? Either good or bad is welcome.

Unknown said...

I believe that the new president of UTAR, Prof Chuah will be able to take UTAR to a higher level.

The current management of UTAR does not have strong Research culture or academic background. So you will need someone with strong background in academics, research and drive to lead UTAR going forward.

Weng Khong LIM said...

I can't comment on the new president as I haven't been a student in UTAR for a few years. However, I can say that I am pleased with the new UTAR web site. Sure, front page could do with a more aesthetically pleasing design, but still I find that the amount of information is much better. In particular, academic qualifications of the staff are now available. Also, there is more information on the research that is being carried out. A good start I would say.

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...

I just attended UTAR's latest convo. In fact, I have attended almost all of UTAR's convo but to qualify, I am neither a staff nor student of UTAR. I just happended to be free to drop by at Wisma MCA to see the convo via the big screen outside the Hall.

This year's convo, the first under the new President, Prof Chuah, is very different from previous convo and the message that Prof Chuah delivered, both in English and Mandarin is a very meaningful message compared to past convos.

Given time it is hoped that Prof Chuah will bring UTAR to a much higher level.

I don't think MCA dictates the running of UTAR but as the main sponsor of UTAR, they will give feedback on the strategic direction of UTAR.

Anonymous said...

if they are not dictating or in anyway interfere with UTAR, why not consider exiting UTAR, they still can be an external proxy not direct stakeholder. they MUST exit UTAR for better good. Otherwise UTAR will be stranded in a level, I would say under UM standard.

Mandarin should be used the minimal, I don't encourage to use Mandarin in any official ceremony, reason because to promote UTAR as an fully English able-speaking institution and also it might alienate other races or nationality or other background. be in their shoes, what if they spoke Arab and English?

UTAR needs to move to become a hetegeneous university quickly. (not import Bangla, but more East Asians or Europeans or other Malaysian ethnics)


Anonymous said...

JA, sorry to bust your bubble but whether or not MCA exits UTAR completly, UTAR will never ever be able to overtake UM in the near or mid future.

Just to talk about the Biz School, the MBA at UM is accredited by AMBA. It is the only MBA to be offered by a Malaysian University which is accredited by one of the 3international Organisations.

The level of support that UM receives from the Government far exceeds the level of support that MCA gives to UTAR. In fact, save for the initial grant and the piece of Land for their campuses, UTAR does not get much financial support directly from MCA.

The level of research that a top-tier Uni in Malaysia like UM produces or allocates is much higher than UTAR.

It is a good thing that Prof Cheah is helming UTAR as he is a "true academican" but it will take time for resuls to show.

Mandarin should be used as a minimal, Prof Cheah only spoke for 5 minute in Mandrain. Its what you want to communicate to your Target Audience. 95% of the Graduates of UTAR are ethnic chinese.

Most Malaysians don't complain when the "doa selamat" is recited at Government Universities or Functions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon,

you didn't burst my bubble, on the other hand I didn't have any bubble for you to burst except that you seems to be asymmetric in information and being institutionalized by the norm established by local.

first, I don't care about what accreditation.. it does not matter, MBA is merely a profit making or generating degree, does not helm much respect in the intellectual or academia per se, expect they generate wonderful revenue, literally they contribute none. and the accreditation by all means baloney.

second, you are right about government funding for research and running institution. why are you so obsessed with government control, supposed there's private universities have done better like in the US. academia will only prosper better with anarchism, please read Feyerabad's. You are being such a myopic and not being able to absorb the substance of matter. as I said, there's nothing grandulous about government support.

Mandarin should be all banished from communications.. if possible, it's a great man to take the first step. this case I meant in the campus learning area to beef up the quality of the language skills. doa selamat !! I complaint and I took action, that's why I am not planning to go back to Malaysia.

don't be so arrogant about UM or UTM or UTAR. I seriously don't care who go first, but as long as one has the potential to stand as tall as other best schools in the world I am fine. with the current situation, I find UTAR has higher potential than UM, one of the factor is the emphasis on English instruction as the medium. NUS was originally a 'branch' of UM, and was nothing significantly better than UM, facts in front of us show how both differs now.

does matter how much UM got the's about the right people doing the right jobs, Africa got tonnes of billions from OECD, yet they are still in vain.

I don't know personally about Dr.Cheah or whoever, I am looking at the prospect only.

I think personally you have been institutionalized by the local paradigm, you need some fresh breath. my advice to you.

btw, rumor has it that Harvard was under budget funding in constructing a building, emails sent to their alumni, within overnight they collected 1 billion usd.

short of time here, that's all I write for now.


Anonymous said...

I agree with JA's opinion.
Although i'm a graduate from UM,
but I found the university had not done much in improving the English proficiency among the students and STAFF.Some faculty office officers and lecturers/tutors also refused to speak in ENGLISH while i talked to them in the language.Sadly,the UM vice-chancellor is not serious enough over this issue...
As JA said, perhaps there would be one day UTAR would have better recognition than us(public unis) if the authority do not implement English education seriously....

Anonymous said...

I don't think the English standard of UTAR students at FES, Setapak Campus is good. You are like at one China University with all the students talking in Mandarin around you.
They just dare not speak out in English among themselves. Their reason: poor English standard.
Ex-UTAR Lecturer.

Anonymous said...

Please if possible give suggestions or solutions on how to overcome problems and issues faced by UTAR. criticism is good, followed by constructive solutions are better. We and they can rant, what makes us different is that we dare to change , we dare to make changes, that what makes us all forward exponentially. Saying something bad is frivolous as to us, information was not channeled by means of hearsay, we should be more concerned about the prospect the quality of the education the next generation of Malaysian is going to get.

Do it for someone, as you would wish someone would have done it to you, as you are actually helping the shadow of yourself.


Unknown said...

What UTAR needs to do is to differentiate itself from the other Universities (both Public and Private). Right now, most ppl will see UTAR as a University for the Malaysian Chinese who either cannot enter the local Public Universities or cannot afford to go overseas for further education.

We have to honestly ask ourselves, if your children / relatives children was accepted to study in UM / UKM and in the subject of their first choice and also to UTAR, where would you advice your children / relatives’ children to study. The same goes for Academicians, if you are currently a Professor in Oxford / Harvard and was thinking of coming back to Malaysia to lecture and to do research, racial politics aside, would you rather go to to UTAR or to UM / UKM.

To those who say UTAR for the first question, I salute you for your trust and faith in UTAR. For the second question, the answer is obvious, neither but rather to apply to Monash or Nottingham University.

How can UTAR differentiate itself? The fastest is to concentrate on a few selected courses and to excel in those courses. MMU concentrated on IT and Business and today, you will be surprised to find candidates who got a PhD from MMU lecturing in Monash and also Nottingham.

I suppose UTAR will be focusing on Engineering since it is the new CEO’s cup of tea and also IT since he took a whole bunch of people from MMU. Progress in Engineering / IT is easier to be seen compared to Accountancy or Social Science.

If UTAR does not quickly get its act together, very soon UTAR will lose its relevance with more and more private Universities being established. KUPTM has become Management & Science University and Sedaya has become UCSI University. I suppose very soon, INTI, Binary, and the list goes on will be granted University status.

Are the degrees from these new Universities worth the same as the Public Universities or the more established private Universities such as MMU or even UTAR and UNITAR. Are these local private Universities carrying out the most important task of producing proactive, thinking and matured graduates ready for the challenges of the outside world or are they only interested in making money. How will these Universities compare against lesser overseas Universities. Only time will tell whether we will have more unemployed local graduates or otherwise.

Kian Ming, if you can find the time, you should definitely run a story on this, too many new Universities in Malaysia – where is the standard.

Anonymous said...

Please don't put INTI and Binary as the same category... INTI has more than 10,000 students, is part of Laureate Education Inc, worked with universities such as Wisconsin Madison, Manchester, UNSW etc.

Unknown said...

Don't get me wrong, but the list of campus based Unis on the Laureate website is not exactly THES Ranked top 100 Unis.

Having 10,000 students means nothing cos our very own "World Class University" also has more than 10,000 students.

FYI, Binary was the first so-called Uni College to have their DBA programm approved by MQA (not that it means a lot to me ).

Anonymous said...

Came across this accidently. UTAR's chemistry programme is recognised and accredited by Royal Society of Chemistry of UK.

Now, how many local universities do benchmarking themselves higher than just the JPA and MQA recognition?

Anonymous said...

UTAR just had its Open Day recently. Had a chance to chat with the admissions ppl.

It would seem that the current President knows that UTAR has a "quality" issue and has decided to have a minimum qualifying point system.

Students who don't meet the min. cut-off point will not be offered entry into the degree programme but will be offered the Foundation programme so that these weak students can "build up their Foundation".

Of course, most of these weak students will not want to spend another year and will not accept this counter-offer from UTAR and will go to other colleges.

This is a good starting point for UTAR to be a centre for Excellent Education.

With student enrollment dropping due to UTAR moving to Kampar, the current President is strengthening the entry requirements instead of relaxing it.

A good move in the right direction but a risky gamble.

Anonymous said...

UTAR is losing good staff due to the Kampar transfer. It is good to impose stricter entry requirement but it is also imperative to secure and retain good teaching staff for the faculty. With double standards in promotion practice, no wonder in the midst of bad economy, the staff turnover is still high.


Anonymous said...

a degree from UTAR and they got a job here as they don't dare to work oversea because of the low standard of degree qualification; a good degree from a good ranking oversea varsities ; but behave idiotly to still come back & "serve" the country - damn those graduates !

Anonymous said...

I think you need to get your facts right. Don't just simply shoot your mouth. There are UTAR graduates working overseas. It is not a lousy degree compared to some public universities that adjust the graph for their convenience and as compared to USCI, Monash, Nottingham and other expensive but not so productive universities. It is who you are not the university itself. Don't blame others if you can't study. - A UTAR graduating student.

Anonymous said...

This April marks the 1st year of Prof. Chuah’s presidency at UTAR. In one year, Prof. Chuah has undone or neutralized many of the efforts of his predecessor for the last 7 years’ of UTAR establishment. Many unnecessary policies changes were done that until a point the whole management team looked so stupid that no one knew how certain things should be done (of course according to Prof. Chuah’s way that is). Sadly, this is how a typical Malaysian academic would behave when he/she helm the top management of a university. Imaging every now and then a new president come onboard things get undone just for the sake of change, UTAR will never move on. Let alone to be ranked at all in the near future. Also his disrespectful attitude towards the academic staff is driving good academic staff away from the university.

A soon-to-be ex-UTAR staff

Anonymous said...

Honesly, to ALL OF YOU here that has been posting and commenting about UTAR and MCA etc... I guess your ignorance and stupidity towards the area of education is NOT UP TO THE LIMIT.

It doesn't matter if you are a "soon to be ex-UTAR staff" or what so ever, I guess you are just a selfish lot and have no knowledge about what a university is all about.

In general, UTAR is a university which is a place that contribute to the development of students. IT IS NOTHING TO DO WITH MCA. Who cares is it belongs to MCA, MIC, PKR, PAS or EVEN YOUR GRANDFATHER??? That is not the point. The point here is gaining knowledge and giving the younger generation a chance to pursue their studies.

If ALL OF YOU HERE POSTING AND CRITICISING are so darn good... why are you not someone successful and a big shot somewhere?

Come on... if you are so damn good yourself, you won't be here reading this comments.

A piece of note to all those that has criticised... If you are a staff of UTAR, the only word to you is "Resign and FUCK off".

You will probably be causing just as much problem to your next employee.

To Students... In wherever you go, nothing seems perfect.

To other non-UTARians, I guess you will only know the picture once you are part of the game. If you are never at the level to comment, JUST SHUTUP...

Just think about it... I think politics should never be brought into education as in a school or university.

Grow up... read more and learn more. If you are nobody BIG, just shut up and get lost.

I am PhD holder from Harvard. I see things differently and so should you.

Spread the good words of education and not making it as a toy to play with...


Anonymous said...

TO ANON 5-08-2009 11:30:00 PM,

Anonymous said...

to anon 5-08-2009 11:30 pm,
are you writing on behalf of someone?? sound like it...

N/A said...

who is going foundation for actuarial science @ UTAR pj?? may intake 2009?!
wanna mix some friend b4 going =)

Anonymous said...

To ANON 5/15/2009:

First of all, I guess the 2 posting on that date is done by you (the same person). And since you are such a great person from the way you wrote it, why don't you just use your real idendity??

As for what ANON 5/08/2009 11.30 pm said, I guess he is just feeling disgrace of how some people write and criticise without knowing the facts.... same goes for you.

In this society, no one will be happy with whatever is there for them. So I guess UTAR is a good place as it is quality education at the lowest cost.

Don't compare a Jaguar with a Proton. The price speaks for itself and this will reflects the quality of the product.

So for all of you who are complaining of quality etc... i guess you must be wealthy to make such a judgement. You are most welcome to joing Nottingham or Monash if you are not intending to leave Malaysia.


Good luck to all...

Anonymous said...

To ANON 5/15/2009,
I think you are still living in Utopia land. In real world, people only see and do things the ways that suit their purposes. You are wasting your time preaching to these people like ANON 5/08/2009 11.30 pm. Better spend your time doing something more meaningful.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps Prof. Chua, when waking up at 3am later this morning, could seriously look and think back of everything he had undone, everything he is implementing, if these could really bring UTAR to a greater height? Or, merely elevates his personal pride and ego. Hoping him to stop 'firing', but 'listening'.

Anonymous said...

Anyone knows if Kampar the main campus or a branch instead? Why UTAR 'VIPs' are at PJ still?

Anonymous said...

The current President, Professor Chuah Hean Teik has made a lot of drastic changes of UTAR with a good intention but the changes did not make UTAR growth in greater heights and created more chaos. Prof Chuah has poor management skills and communication skills which are significant to manage a university.

UTAR can achieve greater heights if able to retain good staff. Staff is an asset towards a company. UTAR has good foundation that had built up through KTAR. He did not understand the basic management concept whereby staff is an important towards a university.

He has a good intention to save cost and cut cost for UTAR but at the same time he has spent a lot of unnecessary such as appointed 26 Deputy Dean for 9 Faculties and many Head of Departments. The UTAR hierarchy is unbalance because too many senior staff with small number supporting staff. Basically, all senior staff only operate by mouth and all supporting staff have to carry out the plan.

Anonymous said...

Another example demonstrating Prof. Chuah’s fantastic management skills. He instructed the academic staff to do the keying in of exam marks at the end of each semester. All the profs at the end of the semester need refresher course at the end of the semester since they only do it once a semester. You do the math, a few hours each for the profs to sit in front of the computer, sometimes dragging along a faculty officer times all the numbers of staff per semester times their hourly rates, easily the University can hire extra officers just to do this job. But no, Prof. Chuah decided to cut a few officers per faculty and save 50K per year but waste a few 100K more per year on a simple marks keying in process. And on top of that, errors occurred due to mass handling of the system by staff and without fail every semester will have “incidents” at the end of the semester to spice up the life as an academic in UTAR.

Anonymous said...

I have been in keeping abreast with the news about UTAR and have high hope for UTAR that UTAR may one day be internationally ranked in the TOP 100. To achieve this goal, internationally well-regarded research is very important. But, I see huge obstacles to achieving this goal. Some of these obstacles may not be within the control of UTAR.

Research funding---is the Government willing to support (GENEROUSLY) research done in a private not-for-profit institution like UTAR? Based on what I found, it seems like the Government is unlikely to do so. The Malaysian Government is short-sighted in many ways---especially with the recent policy of reverting to teaching Math and Science in Malay language. Malay language is an important role in the Malaysian society---a fact I do object or deny, but it is the language of choice in the scientific community. We just have to accept this, which does not imply inferiority of a language, say Malay language, Tamil, Mandarin, French, German or Spanish.

Another example is the lack of meritocracy in student or academic staff admission. I came across the scientific (or lack thereof) credential of Prof. Dino Isa, a Full Professor from Nottingham Malaysia. His journal publications are not many but he is made a Full Professor because he could get research money from the Government. Is the funding he received based on merit? I cannot not judge. The right way forward is to have a peer review of grant proposals, hopefully, with international reviewers to evaluate the merit of the proposals. I have the feeling the Government is not willing to make this kind of investment.

So what should the academic and research staff in a private not-for-profit institution do? I have a few answers to this question.

(1) University like UTAR should seek donations from individuals and private companies to set up a well-funded endowment and the endowment should be managed with foresight, responsibility and transparency. Transparency is very important here especially in the Malaysian society in which the citizens are very wary of corruption.

(2) The endowment can be used to create full scholarships to attract very good students regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender and disability. This is the only way to change the mindset of the future generations---that all are welcome based on merit.

(2) The endowment can be used to attract international or local up-and-coming or established scholars/researchers to set up research centers or groups. This has to done carefully and slowly. Current salary scheme in UTAR may be too rigid to be attractive to overseas researchers except to those good souls who come back for other noble reasons than for the money.

(3) UTAR should try to encourage research activities by creating a flexible teaching scheme and reducing the heavy teaching load to those who aspire to carry out research. Academic and administrative staff are the greatest asset the university has to make the university forward-looking.

(4) To know what is important in a research field and what has or has not been done are keys to a successful scientific endeavor. To achieve this, researchers usually attend conferences to collaborate and to present their works. The academic staff should be supported by UTAR to participate in international conferences. Again, this can be done through endowment if the Government is not willing to pick up the tab.

All in all, we Malaysians cannot wait for the Government to make things better for the low-income and average citizen regardless of race. Do not listen to the Government propaganda. NEP only benefits a handful Malays who have the RIGHT connections. Average Malays are left out this scheme. Don't tolerate this scheme anymore, ask for transparency and accountability. Support UMNO, MCA, MIC if you so desire but ask for accountability and transparency.

To the great souls out there, I urge you to donate generously to UTAR but make sure you have stipulations to ensure for transparency and accountability. Support you must.

A cautious supporter of UTAR.

Anonymous said...

Addendum to the previous comment:

The correct sentences in the previous comment about the Malay language are here:

"Malay language plays an important role in the Malaysian society---a fact I do not object or deny, but it is not the language of choice in the scientific community. We just have to accept this fact, which does not imply inferiority of a language, say Malay language, Tamil, Mandarin, French, German or Spanish."

Sincere apology,
A cautious supporter of UTAR.

Anonymous said...

According to his staff, the president is better known as "Chuah Heinous"

Anonymous said...

I agree, he is a "Heinous" person indeed. He instructed to build a car park near Sports Complex in the Kampar Campus. But this car park is not used by anyone because it is very far from the staff office and lecture halls. Maybe he should park his car there and walk to his office. Good money wasted because of his bad planning.

Poglet said...

Heard the president is running UTAR with a very autocratic style of management which may not be suitable for this modern world what more in academic.

He has set very good direction for UTAR to achieve research university status. But he wants to do it overnight. He has the aim, but does not care so much for means.

Staff in Kampar are teaching 3 tri-mesters without much rest. But still expected to do PhD and carry out research, consultancy etc with high teaching hours. (please note: public universities have lower teaching hours and also a long summer break, plus good resources) If all can achieve these KPIs, they could work or teach in any top universities. If the president keep pushing for the achievement and does not how to retain and keep talent eventually, UTAR will be just a good training ground.

As for student quality, UTAR took in broad spectrum of students, from 10As to 8Cs..... for example. For both commercial reason as well as the "mission" of educating and giving a chance to our young generations. If the "C" students do not know how to appreciate the opportunity, UTAR will fail their grade.

Also heard that the president and his team are mostly from science and engineering background. Does not know very well about the other side of the playing field in academic.

Anonymous said...

For those who are good in Add Maths and want to Economics. Let me put money into your pocket. The best economics team in UTAR is actually in UTAR's Engineering faculty, moreover better than UM's economics or it can be said one of the top economics team in Malaysia. I know that's odd, but it's true, the best economics team is actually hidden in the engineering school(FES Setapak) of UTAR. forget about the economics program offered by UTAR's other biz faculty, they are crappy. Even if you got offer to study economics in UM, throw that away. better goto FES.

For those who want to do economics, try FES's applied maths, act science or financial math. it's pretty legit ideal economics program in a way.

Be warned, it's math intensive.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Poglet, turnover at Utar has increased tremendously lately. Staffs strongly disagree with autocratic style of "Prof" Chuah.

Anonymous said...

i am too lazy to read all of these comments, so correct me if i got this wrong.

yeah UTAR might accept everyone who applies but you can't actually judge a student by his grades (worst of all in recruiting employees), some students might be good in term of practical and did poorly in exams. A lecturer or teacher should not just work for their payroll, they should take more attention of students potential or guide them at the right path, not just use the favourite excuse "aiya, too many student how to care all". A student himself should give all he can and what he can do in his studies and the management should give all they can do in managing, if too much student, bring in more lecture; not enough assets for hiring?stop building unnecessary building just to get more students, if you get more students, you should have more money circulating since all students are required to pay full ammount before he can start and would be penalize for some money without asking the reasons behind late summision(i got information from UTAR student for this one).

Well, furthermore i saw many of the young ones who can perform normally but still get poor results. After reading their exam questions, i came to have the thought "what is this, memorizing game?they ask question which you can find it in the notes", come on give them a break, what if i ask the lecture 14 chapters with over 30 pages each chapter full of notes and more importantly you have around 13 weeks to get hold of it and it is not just the only subjects the student took. 6 subjects, 14 chapters, 13 weeks, a totally new stuff, these all add together would kill me already not to say the students.

With this i start to think the education in our country might need some kind of reformation.

Anonymous said...

Poglet's correct; his style of management has caused mass resignation among the staffs.

Anonymous said...

Perak campus has the most number of students with huge area. The President and his VPs are still based in PJ. Remote controling huge campus population isn't practical.

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