Abdullah should intervene to end the UM mishandling of the Terence Gomez’s UNRISD secondment - a shame not only to the university on its 100th anniversary but an international embarrassment to PM and Malaysia
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): For four days, the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Dr. Hashim Yaacob had acted like an ostrich, hiding its head under the sand, to calls from my office asking for a meeting on the Dr. Terence Gomez issue, which needs to be resolved amicably and satisfactorily if it is not to leave an international black eye on the university and country.
I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to personally intervene to end the University of Malaya’s mishandling of Dr. Gomez’ secondment to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in Geneva, Switzerland, as it is not only a shame to the university on its 100th anniversary celebrations to be officially launched on June 16 but an international embarrassment to the Prime Minister and Malaysia in going against the national policy of checking and reversing the grave problem of brain drain.
A Vice Chancellor acting like an ostrich hiding its head under the sand, attempting to be oblivious to the avalanche of criticisms about the mishandling of the Dr. Gomez UNRISD secondment issue is not a recipe for University of Malaya to rediscover greatness and to be ranked too far behind its twin university counterpart in the international ranking of world-class universities. Both countries traced to a common origin in 1905, but in the Times Higher Education Supplement global ranking of the world’s best 200 universities, the University of Singapore was placed No. 18 while the University of Malaya No. 89.
The Terence Gomez case has re-opened the critical question of the higher education crisis in Malaysia as a result of the decline and decay in standards and practices in our universities.
A parliamentary roundtable discussion on “Higher Education in Crisis?” is being organized for next Friday, 27th May 2005, to focus on the national objective and challenge to become an international centre of educational excellence with world-class universities, whether government policies and actions match these aspirations and the lessons to be drawn from the Terence Gomez case.
This will be the second parliamentary roundtable as the first was held on Friday on the Police Royal Commission Report. It is hoped to organize a weekly parliamentary roundtable dialogue for consultation and interaction of views among MPs, political leaders, opinion makers, NGO representatives and civil society activists on current issues of national public importance.
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman