Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang - Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong
in Petaling Jaya
on Monday, February 17 1997

University corporatisation proposals should be underpinned by a thorough process of consultation with academicians to check serious brain drain in local universities

It is high time that the university corporatisation plans and proposals be made available to the academicians to check the serious brain drain faced by the local universities.

The medical faculties in the three local universities, for instance, are facing a crisis because of an exodus of experienced doctors to private hospitals.

The Medical Faculty at University Kebangsaan Malaysia lost two professors and 18 associate professors in the last six months while 25 lecturers quit the faculty of Universiti Malaya last year.

Four lecturers left Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Medicine last month with another four expected to leave soon.

The UKM medical faculty is already understaffed as 25 per cent of the lecturers have left for the private sector or other universities and is short of 90 lecturers as the faculty requires at least 350.

The advice by the Minister for Education, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, is that the doctors from the universities’ medical faculties in the country should be patient and not to move to private practices as a new salary scheme will soon be implemented for them.

He said that under the corporatisation of all universities, including the University Hospital, salary structure of the doctors will be much more competitive and at a market rate.

Najib’s advice is unlikely to have much impact to check the brain drain from the local universities, as there is deep frustration and disillusionment among academicians in all universities about the secrecy with which the corporatisation of the universities is being carried out.

I recently asked several Univerisity of Malaya lecturers who expressed total ignorance about the university’s corporatisation plans and proposals, and who are quite skeptical that it could be introduced this year because of the absence of any information about it in the academic community.

It the doctors and lecturers in the local universities had been fully involved in the formulation of the corporatisation plans and proposals, it might have acted as an incentive to persuade them to remain if the salary schemes under the corporatisation would be more competitive and at a market rate.

The university corporatisation proposals should therefore be undepinned by a thorough process of consultation with the academicians to check the serious brain drain in the local universities. The corporatisation plans and proposals should be made public so that academicians can give their views and input.