Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wants Malaysian universities to position themselves in the world top 100 in the next five years so as to make the country a preferred education choice among the locals to pursue higher education.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said the government wanted to encourage Malaysians to pursue quality education locally as it would be more cost effective.
“In the next five years, I hope to see more of our universities ranked among the top in the world, then Malaysians don’t have to study abroad, don’t have to spend more money because it will be more attractive and cheaper to study in the country,” he said during a dialogue session with Malaysian students and profesionals residing in Melbourne here yesterday in conjunction with his nine-day working visit to Australia.
He said the perception of ‘the best education is only available abroad’ would not hold true forever if Malaysia could produce universities that are ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.
“Some time in the future, your son, your daughter, will say why should I go to a university abroad…I can go to University Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan (Malaysia) or Universiti ‘Pagoh’,” he said.
He said the government reviewed its scholarship policy last year whereby only excellent students in fields not available in Malaysia would be sent overseas. Muhyiddin said efforts to put Malaysian universities ranking to be among the best in the world were currently taking shape including giving automony to universities.
“We are moving in that direction, slowly but surely,” he said.
Muhyiddin also pointed out that some Malaysians studying abroad did not enter into the best universities because they actually did not qualify for a place in the local universities.
“I know quite a number of them. So to say, the good things are always away and Malaysian universities are not up to mark is not correct,” he said, adding that foreigners too, including Australians were now coming to Malaysia to study because of the competitive Malaysian ringgit to fund their study.
He said with online and long distance learning also provided better avenues for universities in Malaysia to have a better standard of education.
“We want of course to have the best education system in the country, the best schools, the best colleges, the best universities,” he said.
Muhyiddin said he was also currently campaigning to bring in more international universities to Malaysia’s shores. At the meeting attended by some 100 people, Muhyiddin also updated the guests with the latest government initiatives to advance the country towards 2020.