Thursday, June 08, 2017

Red-dots' academic excellence

KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 ― Malaysian universities continued to climb up the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings for the second consecutive year, with two more Malaysian universities breaking into the top 300 universities in the world for 2017/2018.

The new rankings published today also saw Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) overtake Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) as the third highest-ranked university in Malaysia, as Universiti Malaya (UM) continued inching close to breaking into the top 100.

UM climbed up almost 20 places from 133rd in the last edition to 114th in the current edition of the rankings.

OK, I really didn't want to say and sneer: Please look at Singapore's National University of Singapore (NUS)'s and Nanyang Technological University (NTU)'s placing, ...

... but the bloody Malay Mail Online, apart from mentioning our universities, has also published the placings of both Sing's universities, showing NTU (Nanyang) surpasses NUS for the first time, jumping from 13th up to 11th spot while NUS slipped from 12th to 15th.

[2 years ago NUS was 12th while NTU was 13th, both respective positions as per last year]

Nonetheless, both are still in the top 15 places in the World for three consecutive years.

Don't think I as a Malaysian haven't been embarrassed.

Everyone knows about the reputation of NUS but what about NTU, even though it was just behind NUS for two years and then shot above its own nation’s top university this year?

NTU's origin was as Nanyang University, a CinaBeng Uni set up in 1953 by Chinese philanthropists and Sing Chinese citizens, who collectively donated land and of course money, because they wanted tertiary education in the Chinese language.

Nanyang University was forced by Lee Kuan Yew to merge with NUS in 1980. Lee wanted the Chinese medium of instruction replaced by the English language, despite serious objections from the Nanyang University's alumni and some segments of the mainly Chinese public.

His public reason was the Nanyang graduates would be more competitive and at least on par with graduates from NUS. But we don't know his unsaid motives.

In the 2017/18 QS World University Rankings, NTU (yes, not NUS) was ranked 11th in the world and 1st in Asia, surpassing rival university NUS for the very first time.

In the 2017/18 Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings, NTU was also ranked 1st in Asia.

Ah Beng's tertiary education in lil’ red-dot has come a long way since 1953 (formation) or rather 1980 (merged with NUS), perhaps thanks to Lee Kuan Yew after all, wakakaka.

But Nantah, Nanyang University's alumni, disputed Lee Kuan Yew's stated altruistic reasons for merging Nanyang University with NUS. They based their conviction on discovering differing views from/by LKY’s claimed Nanyang ministerial supporters, and alleged the late PM had his political agenda in restricting Chinese language tertiary education in Singapore.

In 1991, NTU became a separate university from NUS, so perhaps I should say, NTU as No 1 university in Asia has come a long long way since 1991, a mere 26 years.


And here in Malaysia, we are talking 'wonderfully' about how our universities have very nearly squeezed into the top 100 positions. Sometimes it's best to keep quiet.

Mind, once upon a time (in the 50's, 60's and even up to mid 70's), our MU, especially regarding its engineering and medical faculties, was a superb performer in Asia and could have given NUS a run for its money.

But what happened since UMNO ministers messed around with our higher education system like a political football?

They boasted about quantity but not about quality.

OK, let's not talk about Singapore's universities, of which thankfully for us, there are only two, because those Sings have been brought up by a superman who had since left us for Planet Krypton.

Let's talk about another CinaBeng country, no not China but rather, Hong Kong:

Population: 7+ million (94% Chinese)
Area: Melaka & Penang combined - 2700 sq km

Public-funded university placings according to the 2017/18 QS World University Rankings:

University (Uni) of Hong Kong (HK) - No 26th,

HK Uni of Science & Tcehnology - No 30th,

Chinese Uni of HK - No 46th,

City Uni of HK - No 49th

all above four in the top 50 positions in the World, while …

HK Polytechnic Uni - No 95th.

How come eh?

I hate to say this but methinks Malaysia needs to re-look at its Minister for Higher Education, universities’ VC’s and administrators, and the sooner the better.

From MM Online (23 Dec 2016):

Mahathir insisted he has “no” regrets implementing a law [UUCA] seen as curtailing university students' rights, saying he felt it was for their benefit.

[He] was the education minister from 1974 to 1977, [and] wanted undergraduates to be able to focus on their studies.

“No. The answer is no. I don't seek popularity. I do what I think it is right. I believe what I did at that time was in the interests of the students, particularly Malay students.

“I'm sorry to be racist to care about what happens to Malay students, but believe me the performance of Malay students is not as good as the performance of the Chinese and the Indians. They need to focus on acquiring the knowledge, they need more time, they don't have time for other things.

We can’t afford to loiter, lepak and laze around (or indulge in slapping people or whacking a dummy with a hudud cane) while others in the World shoot ahead of us in higher education by leaps and bounds.

violence (slapping) outside Simpang Enam mosque


  1. U know NUTS about NTU le!!!

    NTU's origin was as Nanyang University IS a fake fact!!!

    Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, NTU is formerly known as
    Nanyang Technological Institute. It was originally setup as a vocational/technical institute & has zilch connection with Nantah.

    Nantah, was forced to be amalgamated into NUS by Lao Lee, as u had mentioned.

    Nantah has gone with ONLY the original entrance gate still standing in the old Tua campus site.

    BTW, knows the ranking of that 'proud' ketuanan handiwork, aka uitm in this latest 2017/18 QS World University ranking?

    Wakakakaka... ranks amongst the grouping of 751-800, continuing its sliding from previous listing le!

    This is despite the cruel fact of consistently getting more taxpayers money than the other bolihland uni to produce most of the unemployable 'graduates' - last count in the 46% unemployed range!

    Just like all the ketuanan inspired 'projects' - money into the elites pockets while showing syiok-sendiri results of the adulterous kind!

    1. Ck Ck Ck, so arrogant in your misinformation about NTU, wakakaka

  2. The most toxic aspect of Malaysia's higher education system is the Racism, overt and covert.
    It permeates , corrupts and corrodes the entire system.
    From Student entry selection, Student Course offers, Academic standards, examination script marking, Administration , Academic staff hiring , staff promotions, Academic Thesis peer reviews, research funding...etc. etc.

    Having said that, while NUS and HKU have admirable academic standards, don't get too starry-eyed about their systems.
    Singapore and Hong Kong are exactly that - Red Dots.

    What it takes to be a successful Red Dot is different from what it takes for administering a country more than 400 x the size.

    Some fundamentals, of course , are the same.

    Emphasis on excellence, high standards, meritocracy, no tolerance for Kleptocracy, clean administration.