DAP’s P Ramasamy has called for a complete overhaul of the higher education system in the country.
He said the “cancerous rot” in the education system, which “began with the hiring of incompetent vice-chancellors and deans of faculties, who were mostly Umno members”, had to be addressed.
Ramasamy, who taught in a public university for 25 years, said to make matters worse, universities could not act on their own, with bureaucrats in the education ministry calling the shots even over day-to-day affairs.
“Also, there is no diversity in the teaching staff, with almost all of them being Malays. All public universities in Malaysia suffer from an Umno hegemony of the worst kind.
“I do not expect the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to perform a miracle, but they can start taking steps to get rid of the mono-ethnic situation and Umno politics in public varsities.
“Recruitment of lecturers based on merit must be the top priority in the new reforms. Thanks to the current standards in teaching, we are producing graduates who can’t even read or write properly,” the Penang deputy chief minister II told FMT.
Ramasamy said he had heard of a lecturer at a public university being accused of plagiarism, but that the lecturer had simply moved to another university where he was offered a professorship.
“The culture of plagiarism in our public universities has been allowed to fester all this while. It is at a disturbing level,” he added.
Ramasamy said the PH government must conduct an audit of all universities, especially to ensure that research grants given by the government are accounted for.
He said laws restricting the freedom of expression among public university students ought to be repealed as well.
“Better yet, form a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe the spread of this cancer in our public universities,” he said.