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Reinstate Professor Ramasamy in UKM  - proof that Malaysia is serious about education reforms as important strategy to achieve Vision 2020 objective of fully developed nation

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Wednesday): It will be sad and tragic if the government needs an International Advisory Panel of world-renowned economists, social scientists and financial experts to realize that education reforms, human capital development and capacity-building are the most important strategies for Malaysia in the second half of the 30-year Vision 2020 in view of new global challenges and the rise of India and China as the new Asian economic powerhouses.

This was the  emphasis of the  Prime Minister,  Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi  in his UMNO Presidential Speech last month when he spoke of the importance of meritocracy, excellence, integrity and the attributes to create a “towering” Malaysia in the face of challenges of globalization, but his seemed to be a very lone voice from the debates and resolutions adopted at the UMNO Youth and UMNO General Assemblies.

The absence of the Education and Higher Education Ministers at the two-day meeting of the International Advisory Panel provides further proof that this message has not been grasped by the two Cabinet Ministers responsible for the education portfolios in the country.

In recent years, there has been an  unending and deteriorating crisis of higher education in Malaysia, highlighted recently by three issues involving:

  • The attempt by the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Dr. Shafie Salleh to remove Universiti Putra Malaysia Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Mohamad Zohadie Bardaie following Shafie’s arbitrary decision to close down UPM aerospace engineering programme and transfer it to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia which was not ready for the shift;

  • The Terence Gomez debacle in the University of Malaya, where the Prime Minister had to intervene to direct the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor to  approve the secondment of the eminent Malaysian  social scientist to take up a  prestigious research appointment at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in Geneva;

  • The latest higher education scandal, the arbitrary and discriminatory termination of the two-year contract of Professor P. Ramasamy by the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia to silence an endangered species in the country  – an outstanding public intellectual from serving academics.

Malaysia needs a Higher Education Minister who can spearhead an education revolution to meet new global challenges instead of one who has no inkling of the worsening  higher education crisis cripplying  the country. 

In Singapore, the National University of Singapore is aiming to be among the world’s Top 10 Best Universities, while the University of Malaya, under the overall leadership fo Shafie as Higher Education Minister, is content  to be ranked No. 50 among the World’s Best Universities by 2020!

If the best of Malaysia’s public universities rate so low in global rankings in 2020, what chance is there that in 15 years time at the end of Vision 2020,  Malaysia can take her rightful place as a fully developed nation, with “First World Infrastructure, First-World Mentality”?

Shafie should take immediate steps to reinstate Professor Ramasamy in UKM  as proof that Malaysia is serious about education reforms as the most  important strategy to achieve  the Vision 2020 objective of a fully developed nation.



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

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