KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should stop the “make believe” about Malaysia’s prowess as an educational superpower and allow two local universities to participate in an international ranking exercise. In calling for this, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang argued that by ending University of Malaya (UM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s boycott in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, it would demonstrate the country’s seriousness in restoring the international reputation and academic excellence of local universities.
The THE rankings is reputed to be the only global university performance tables to judge world-class universities. The Gelang Patah member of Parliament, in a statement, said no good reason had been given as to why UM and UKM have refused to participate in the annual exercise. Lim urged the Education Minister to tell UM Vice-Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin that his argument for not participating in the exercise did not hold water and was “completely unacceptable”.
Mohd Amin had previously stated that the institution had not taken part in the ranking as it was not yet in a strong enough financial position to compete with other richer, older and better-ranked universities until 2018. Lim, however, pointed out that some of the universities that were among the top 300 were younger compared to UM.
This included the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) which was ranked No. 51 of which was founded in 1971, Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech) ranked No.66 (founded in 19860 as well as the Korea University, ranked No. 201-225, (founded in 1993). “Unless there can be good and proper reasons, which should be fully made public, Muhyiddin should ensure that UM and UKM participate in the annual THE Top 400 World University Rankings.”
While local institutions failed to break into the top 400, Muhyiddin had previously claimed that the country’s education system was better than advanced nations and “one of the best” in the world.