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There is more to Malaysian higher education than the definition offered by the minister of higher education.

If only we can understand its meaning as "drawing out the potentials from within" so that the human self can become a genius who is able to mediate the contradictions of our hypermodern society.

If only the minister had understood that education is not about creating ideologically-driven universities but academies of studies with a philosophical foundation and able to pursue in-depth inquiries fashioned after great medieval universities.

If only the minister had understood that the role of the vice-chancellor is not to create more and more followers of ideologies and become better and better intelligentsia, but to challenge academicians to challenge themselves in challenging the very foundation of what they profess.

If only the minister had appointed vice-chancellors who are true educational philosophers who will become guides by the sides and not true-blue political animals who speak loudly and carry around the long stick provided by the state.

If only the minister had not silenced radical professors who speak the truth, but allowed all voices of dissent to be equally heard and celebrated the radically different opinions yet, curb extremism along the way.

If only the minister projects himself as a transformative leader and not a transparent follower of shackling ideology.

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