Monday, October 16, 2006

Professor Emeritus: "Malaysia always racialising problems"

Professor Emeritus Khoo Kay Kim lamented that once, Malaysia’s premier university, Universiti Malaysia (UM), used to have scholars who were among the best in the world but alas, today, has become a university that is no longer well-regarded internationally.

He gave the controversial Asli’s report as a typical example of the cause of UM’s plummeting in its international academic standing.

Khoo said the Asli situation speaks volumes on how studies that produces unfavourable results to the government are handled. He pointed out:

“The Asli president said the
findings were wrong. The director of the (Asli's) policy division said it was right. But the man in the street has no idea because we are not getting proper information. Nobody knows for certain who is right or wrong.”

Khoo said the public has been the biggest loser because it is still in the dark as to Asli’s findings, which reported bumiputera corporate equity at 45%, instead of the official figures of 18.9%. The problem lies with the government refusing to release its data or methodology.

Now, we lay-sceptics aren’t like the good Prof who is too diplomatic or academic to shoot from the hips, but leave it to KTemoc who attributes a government refusal to give out statistics or its methodology in arriving at the 18.9% bumi equity as incompetent at best and duplicitous at its worst.

Prof Khoo said the obvious but which requires saying nonetheless: “They’re (the government) are answerable to the people. That’s what democracy is all about.”

And don’t we know that, especially in teh light of the inelegant silence about the EPU's methodology.

The Prof averred that Malaysian universities have stopped trying to be academically excellent, merely publishing materials for local, not international, consumption – the Chap Tiga Kepala* variety.

* of dodgy brand or quality

He explained why our universities have been sliding downhill: “There is probably a serious consequence on research studies now ... we have very few economists left in universities. Do you know that UM currently does not have a professor in economics.”

“They (politicians) should be showing better example. What's the point of having Barisan Nasional (BN) with so many parties if they cannot discuss among themselves, and then get the public involved.”

He warned that if the matter were to be left unresolved, it would result in increased difficulty for academicians to conduct their studies.

“It has become very difficult for people to carry out research as they are not able to obtain formation or source materials. It results in a lukewarm approach to any research project carried out in the country.”

"They are not able to discuss the subject meaningfully. They can only discuss it through the political prism, which is not good. For example, if you beget the question to students, ‘Why is foreign direct investment (FDI) not coming our way?' they are not able to follow because they have no information to build their own opinions on.”

Khoo added that there is a tendency for pertinent economic issues to be racialised.

“That is the problem with this country. Very often, when we have a problem, it becomes a racial issue. And then you cannot proceed from there, you cannot further discuss it, because it already sensitive.”

Well, Prof, allow humble KTemoc to add in my 2 sens worth – we have always been obstructed in discussing any government-created problem because that's the way the UMNO-led government wanted it – stop discussions, for example on the Asli's report or (1) its gravy train cannot be justified anymore and worse, (2) the poor Malays want to know which other Malays are holding all that 45% + along with some embarrassing explanations on the unequal distribution.


  1. And now that Najib is promising to release the 'methodology' used by EPU, I hope it won't be as flawed as US intelligence assessments of Iraqi WMDs. But who knows, US is a developed country with 30+ intelligence and security agencies, armed with latest methodologies and IT capabilities. Now try to imagine Reynard the Fox, currently guarding the Goose, releasing the 'actual' production and distribution data of the Golden Eggs laid up to date. This is better than watching Jon Stewart on YouTube. Maybe Najib is angling for an appearance in The Daily Show like Musharraf?

  2. NOT even 1 economic professor in UM? Sheesh!!!!

  3. and robin, asli & Dr Tan whatshisname were trying to cut up the goose for the poor malays >>>

  4. you are invited to view my blog on an article titled " Excellence - have we lost the urge?'. It is pasted as one of the blogroll links.