The Tempinis diaries

February 28, 2010

STPM 2010 And Studying in Hong Kong

Filed under: education, malaysia, singapore, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — toru @ 2:58 pm

I seemed to have neglected this blog for quite some time. But I noticed a spike in readership especially on my post on what to do after STPM. Another year has passed and we have a fresh crop of bright young things doing well in STPM. Well done! Remember to apply to Singapore universities besides the local ones. Don’t be caught flat footed if for some strange reason the local universities reject you.

For students who can afford it, you can consider Hong Kong as an alternative to the usual places where Malaysian students have traditionally gone like Australia, UK and the US. Further information on undergraduate studies can be found here. Information on postgraduate studies can be found here. I don’t know why Malaysian students have traditionally not gone to Hong Kong but there are many good reasons for going to study in Hong Kong. The universities are excellent, the city is vibrant and exciting for a young person and if you speak and write Chinese, job prospects ought to be quite good in Hong Kong and big cities in China after graduation.

January 31, 2009

USM as a Quota Free University

Filed under: education, malaysia, politics — toru @ 6:23 am

Dare we even hope that USM would be designated as the first quota free university in Malaysia in terms of recruitment of faculty and student admissions? This would effectively cement its status as the apex university of Malaysia.

Even in India, they are reversing quotas at some of the top universities.


January 29, 2009
India Reverses Faculty Hiring Quotas at 47 Top Universities
New Delhi — Buckling under pressure from academics at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian government has decided to exempt those and a number of other universities from quotas in faculty appointments. News of the exemption was revealed at a meeting on Wednesday of the institutes’ council, the highest decision-making body for the engineering schools.

January 6, 2009

Prof Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, tell us about your plans for USM

Filed under: education, malaysia, Uncategorized — toru @ 1:33 pm

I am happy to read that USM is organising class reunions. As I have written before, class reunions are important to keep in contact with alumni; the alumni is a huge untapped resource for funding for a university.

On another note, I realised that the Vice Chancellor of USM has a regular column in the Straits Times. Glancing through the past few pieces, his writings are a pleasant and light read. But what I really want to know from Prof Dzulkifli is his plans for USM especially since it has been granted the coveted Apex status. As the extra funding comes out of the taxpayers’ pocket, I feel that the public has a right to know. So please, enough of the lighthearted stuff. Can you tell us your plans for USM?

DZULKIFLI ABDUL RAZAK: Oh, the treasured memories at the reunions
By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak


FORTY years seems a very long time. But, when gathering for a reunion, 40 years seem just like yesterday as experiences and faces neatly fall into place. It’s much like a jigsaw puzzle meant for children. The pictures are vivid and large, the colours fresh and appealing. Most of all, it is fun as everything comes alive. At times, it is like re-living everything all over again, especially when it exudes happiness, in contrast to the predictions of gloom and doom ahead.

I discovered this twice last week when my alma mater celebrated its 40th anniversary. Both occasions were equally grand and captivating as though we were in a time-capsule, flashing from point to point, just quick enough to sample the moments.

The first time-capsule in this case brought us back to the days when Universiti Sains Malaysia, then known as Universiti Pulau Pinang, was newly established in 1969.

December 29, 2008

Another Blow to University of Malaya

Filed under: education, malaysia — toru @ 1:55 pm

Coming close to the news of losing the race for apex university status to USM, the story below spells more bad news for University of Malaya. Even University of Malaya’s business school is not rated as the top in Malaysia by the Higher Education Ministry.

Are the standards University of Malaya that bad these days? The new Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya, Ghauth Jasmon really has his work cut out for him.

Two business schools earn top accolade 

PUTRAJAYA: It’s no longer business as usual at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia’s (UPM) business schools, which were yesterday named Malaysia’s premier institutions in the field.

UKM’s Graduate School of Management and UPM’s Graduate School of Business have become the first members of the “top business schools” grouping, a position that brings with it a RM25 million grant and international acclaim.

Another Hare Brained Scheme by Khaled Nordin

Filed under: education, malaysia, politics — toru @ 1:44 pm

Here is another hare brained scheme by the Higher Education Minister, Khaled Nordin. It seems that in Malaysia, we are always scraping the bottom of the barrel. Why do I think this is a bad idea? Academics who are retrenched are probably those who do not write. So tell me again why does Khaled Nordin want to hire them?

Local Varsities To Recruit Foreign Academicians

JOHOR BAHARU, Dec 20 (Bernama) — The Higher Education Ministry will identify academicians who are being retrenched abroad as a result of the global economic downturn for absorption into local institutions of higher learning.

Its minister, Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the recruitment of teaching manpower from abroad could raise the level of higher education in the country.

�Educational experts who may be retrenched abroad can be engaged by the local tertiary institutions which will at the same time raise the standard of higher education in the country,” he told reporters after the handing over of the instruments of appointment of Members of the Advisory Committee of the Pasir Gudang Community College, here Saturday.

Mohamed Khaled said the ministry was also considering the re-employment of lecturers and tutors who had retired.

He said the scope of studies at the community colleges would also be scrutinised to give the students a better edge in their job applications.

He said to date, more than 75,000 students had pursued diploma and certificate courses at the 37 community colleges and 19 branches of the community colleges throughout the country since their inception in 2001.

The minister said nine more community colleges and 15 branches would be set up nationwide under the 9th Malaysia Plan.


December 15, 2008

Thinking out of the Box: Fund Raising for University of Malaya

Filed under: education, malaysia — Tags: , , , , — toru @ 2:35 pm

The new Vice Chancellor, Ghauth Jasmon has an unenviable task of taking over as the head of University of Malaya. His job is made more difficult by the fact that University of Malaya was not chosen by the Malaysian government as an apex university. In the exercise of choosing the apex university, UM was pipped by USM. The apex university status is especially crucial because it comes with extra funding. In this era, lack of funding usually spells disaster for an institute of higher education as the institution cannot afford to recruit the best and brightest staff and also foot the costs of labs and cutting edge research.

So is this the death knell of UM as the premier institution in Malaysia? It does seem so. Without the extra funding, it is inevitable that USM will overtake UM. The Vice Chancellor, Ghauth Jasmon needs to do something really drastic to turn things around.

One idea is to think out of the box. If the government will not fund UM adequately, Ghauth Jasmon should think of going to the alumni to raise funds. Of course, you can’t start asking alumni for money out of the blue. UM should begin by building a competent alumni office headed by someone with good contacts. Efforts of reconnecting with alumni must be made. An attractive and credible alumni magazine needs to be published; class reunions should be held. The alumni office should then approach the alumni members for donations. Alumni especially older ones are usually generous during class reunions when they recall the good old days. I am sure that many UM alumni would donate generously to their alma mater if the rallying cry for the donation is to keep UM as the premier institution in the country. Judging from the experience of the Singaporean universities like Nanyang and NUS, the task of fund raising is difficult but not impossible. Perhaps, ‘a rombongan sambil belajar’ across the causeway should be made soon?

In Asia, American-Style Fund Raising Takes Off The Chronicle of Higher Education December 5, 2008 Friday

Copyright 2008 The Chronicle of Higher Education
All Rights Reserved
The Chronicle of Higher Education

December 5, 2008 Friday


LENGTH: 2003 words

HEADLINE: In Asia, American-Style Fund Raising Takes Off


DATELINE: Singapore


Until last month, the development office at Nanyang Technical University was hidden away in a forgotten part of the sprawling Singaporean campus. The building was dated and the air-conditioning was cranky — a description that could also have summed up the university’s fund-raising efforts and its alumni.

Marina Tan Harper, director of the university’s brand-new development office, toiled in obscurity with her tiny staff. Few understood what the American fund raiser had been hired to do. Even fewer thought raising money from alumni made any sense. After all, in 2005, the year Ms. Harper was hired, just 143 out of 90,000 alumni had made contributions to their alma mater.

“Singapore is very first world, but the funding for universities is very third world,” says Ms. Harper, referring to the reliance on the government to finance higher education. “Literally, the concepts have to be taught.”

Teaching alumni why they need to give — and making giving easy to do — is what Ms. Harper set out to accomplish. And last year more than 4,000 graduates opened their checkbooks, helping the university raise $27-million, largely for its endowment. No one is asking what a development office does anymore.

This month the director, who used to run the development office at Northern Kentucky University, moved her staff of 21 out of their old digs and into the newest building on the campus. Today they sit at brand new desks working shiny new phones. Here at the heart of the campus, the air-conditioning never breaks down, and it is always a perfect 69.8 degrees.

Nanyang is just one of dozens of Asian universities adopting American-style fund raising. The institutions are opening development offices, hiring professional fund raisers, investing in slick billion-dollar campaigns, and trotting out their presidents to pass the hat, tactics unknown here a decade ago.

November 28, 2008

To the Incoming VC of University of Malaya – Ghauth Jasmon

Filed under: education, malaysia — Tags: , — toru @ 2:04 pm

Although I feel that it is premature for Rafiah Salim to be removed as the Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya, politicians (and I include opposition politicians too) should just stay out of the day to day running of University of Malaya. Ghauth Jasmon, unless he performs disastrously, should be given six years to lead University of Malaya. A succession of VCs will only lead to gimmicky and superficial changes.

Jasmon’s task is especially difficult since UM will not be given extra funding like USM because the latter has been named as an apex university. My wish list for Jasmon would be:

(a) continue Rafiah’s policy of requiring all lecturers to publish at least two articles a year in international journals;
(b) sign international student exchange programmes with reputable universities worldwide. In particular, UM could try to forge collaborations with Middle Eastern universities and offer its graduates a gateway into booming cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi etc;
(c) jointly appoint to faculty positions outstanding Malaysian born academics based abroad like Danny Quah from LSE etc;
(d) forge collaborations and make visiting and joint appointments with faculty members from Singaporean universities. Singapore is just across the causeway and it is time to put aside national pride and learn from our neighbours;
(e) recruit the best staff and students within the confines of the quota system (an oxymoronic suggestion, I know – but I live in hope); and
(f) strengthen alumni connections and leverage on alumni for fundraising purposes. A campaign like “Let’s Keep UM the number one university in Malaysia” could possibly move the alumni to donating to the university.

September 14, 2008

Varsity hit by complacency

Filed under: education, malaysia — Tags: , , — toru @ 10:01 am

Another side of UM. This ties in with my earlier post on the importance of soft factors.  It seems such soft factors are important not just to attract global talent but also for the morale of the students as well.


Friday September 12, 2008
Varsity hit by complacency
I AM a student currently residing in Univer­siti Malaysia and would like to share what I believe is in the heart of many UM students. When the results of the apex university were announced, most of us were not surprised that Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) had bettered UM.

We believe that UM is still resting on its old laurels of glory and therefore has become complacent, not wanting to improve or develop itself. Residential colleges and faculties are settling for second best in aspects like infrastructure, quality of academic staff, etc.

The motto “Producing leaders since 1905” only holds true because we were the only university around at that time.

Firstly, despite being in the heart of KL, water supply is still inconsistent. Residential colleges 3rd, 4th and 7th have been suffering from severe water cuts as pipe repairs have not been carried out effectively.


September 6, 2008

Why Choose USM over UM?

On further research and reflection, I am coming round to the view that the conferral of apex status on USM over UM is a mistake. I did an ISI Web of Knowledge search this morning using the all databases section. This database search includes the highly respected Web of Science database which contains high impact scientific journals. Here are my findings when I typed in the following terms under the “address” field:

1. “University of Malaya” – results – 1,679 hits

2. “Malaya” – results –  7,076 hits

3. “University Sains Malaysia” – results – 160 hits

4. “sains malaysia” – results – 4,010 hits

5. “science malaysia” – results – 1 hit

6. “National University of Singapore” – results – 10,278 hits

7. “Singapore” – results –  79,679 hits

8. “Nanyang Technological University” – results – 1,586 hits

9. “Nanyang” – 20,032

Based on this very simple and primitive search, my impression is that USM is currently very far behind UM in terms of international reputation and publication record. In academia, the crude maxim of “publish or perish” still rings true. A university’s rankings and reputation is only as good as its publications and research. Based on the figures, USM still has a long way from catching up with UM, let alone placing in the top 100 universities in five years time.

I should add a qualification that I could be wrong, of course.  If USM’s “hits” were more recent than UM, then this could indicate an up and coming institution (USM) as compared to one resting on its laurels (UM).

Now the interesting question is whether Khaled Nordin and his Ministry of Higher Education do a proper analysis of these figures before conferring apex status to USM?

August 16, 2008

UITM: No, you can’t come on board my (sinking) ship

Filed under: education, malaysia — Tags: , — toru @ 6:10 am

This is almost comical if not tragic beyond belief.  The whole institution is going down the tubes yet people are foaming at their mouths preventing non-Malays from joining Uitm.  What’s the point of having a 100 % bumiputra enrollment if your graduates can’t find a job?


PM vetoes call to open UiTM to non-Malays



Aug 13, 08 2:42pm



Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has vetoed a call to allow other races to enrol in Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), a proposal which caused a furore and a student protest.

uitm students protest in selangor state office 130808 01The mentri besar of selangor, where UiTM is located, triggered an uproar when he suggested on Sunday that the institution could offer 10 percent of its places to other races.

“He has no power to do that. Matters related to (student) intake are under the jurisdiction of higher educational institutions,” Abdullah was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times daily.

khalid ibrahim selangor state budget pc 120808 03Selangor Mentri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (left) has reportedly said the move to include other races and foreigners into the university would allow students there to gain more exposure and be friendlier to people of other races.

Currently it is the only university in the country which is confined to Malays and indigenous races – known collectively as “bumiputera” or “sons of the soil”.

Abdul Khalid’s remarks triggered a protest by 3,000 students from the university who took to the streets yesterday and marched to the chief minister’s office, waving placards saying, “Do not seize our rights,” and “Save UiTM.”

S’gor MB told not betray own race

UiTM vice-chancellor Ibrahim Abu Shah said the public university was reserved for bumiputeras as a majority of students in leading fields of study in higher-learning institutions in Malaysia were non-Malays.


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