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MUST in danger of going bust
Published:  Feb 11, 2011 1:22 AM
Updated: 4:01 AM

your say 'RM100 million squandered to produce 107 graduates - that's a mind-boggling RM1 million per student. This is Umnoputra-style daylight robbery.'

Private varsity 'squanders' RM100 mil gov't grant

Malaysian Down Under: This does not augur well for the nation's aspirations to become a global education hub. In the past, we've heard of many foreign universities wanting to open up campuses here, including the likes of Cambridge University. Nothing much has come to fruition.

The sad fact is, whilst other countries are strengthening their own national universities, we instead are aiming to become a regional education hub by living off the good names of established giants like Cambridge and others, begging them to set up operations in Malaysia.

Our own universities like MUST (Malaysian University of Science and Technology), envisioned to be a Malaysian MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), only boasts an enrollment of 207, and are at the verge of closing shop altogether.

Older universities like UM (Universiti Malaysia) and USM (Universiti Sains Malaysia) don't even feature in the top 200 of international university rankings. I can't help but feel that the huge brain hemorrhage faced by Malaysia is a major cause of this.

Malaysiawatch4.blogspot: This MUST project is taking a step too far. They should have started with existing premises in well-known universities like UM or UTM (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) where it will be easier to market the courses.

Unfortunately, like most projects of the NEP, there is a grand launch for the ‘shiok sendiri' syndrome and then it dies a painful death. Of course, it should be interesting to find out who owns the buildings that have enjoyed a nice rental all these years and also who got the renovation contracts. I'm doubtful if proper tenders were called.

SaveMalaysia: Quality students will not enrol in this local ‘MIT' due to the "negative prestige" of Malaysian tertiary education. Brilliant students would have been drained out by overseas universities (including those in Singapore) and private colleges with scholarships.

What is left are second or third-grade students as the first-grade students would have already been given overseas scholarship by the Higher Education Ministry. Tough luck, MUST.

Longjaafar: Former minister Effendi Norwawi has also tried to develop a very high-end project called ‘Sanctuary' in Shah Alam and that too did not take off after a very high-profile promotion. The problem with us is that we still give hundreds of millions of ringgit to people who have proven that they are incapable of delivering.

Cala: Born to fail? What should this be news at all? Is it not another case of Umno-led BN regime's failure?

But the most ‘wonderful' thing about the regime is its failure to appreciate economics and project feasibility. To this group of decision-makers, everything can be purchased from the shelf at supersonic speed. To them, Rome can somehow be built overnight.

Beware, one will not have a first-class research university if the official policy is not based on meritocracy but ‘kulitocracy'. Please take a leaf from Buderi and Huang (2007) on how China contributed to original IT research for Microsoft.

CN Yee: RM100 million squandered to produce 107 graduates - that's a mind-boggling RM1 million per student. This is Umnoputra-style daylight robbery. How come we don't see MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) in action here?

Anonymous: I have to laugh when I read that Dr Mahathir Mohamad visited MIT and was inspired. Would he be similarly inspired by MUST now? Didn't he know what 'stuff' Malaysians were made of under his administration? Compared to developing human resource, building the Twin Towers was peanuts.

Changeagen: Despite having squandered close to RM100 million in the past, MUST has since managed to find RM60,000 worth of savings in their aggressive cost-cutting exercise... It seems that they are well on the track to financial recovery and staying afloat.

Paul Warren: It looks more like MUST have started off in the knowledge that there will be RM100 million coming from the government. No grant, no MUST. Most other private schools started off with the owners own money and other than gaining the licence to operate, there is no other input from the government.

SEGi University College began with just two classrooms in Chow Kit Road paying a rental of about RM1,000 a month. Today their revenue exceeds the grant that MUST got. Of course, we all know Effendi was someone close to Umno.

Sarawakian_3ff9: Effendi was the man responsible for transferring all the successful and money-making companies under the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), a state enterprise in which Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud is the chairperson, and leaving loss-making companies still in SEDC's hand.

Samuel Ng: Another RM100 million wasted. The saddest thing is the opportunities to develop human capital and help Malaysians are lost. RM100 million here, RM100 million there creates one or two instant millionaires, but zero human capital development. How sad.

Anonymous_3f76: I'm amazed that this is only coming out now. The losses and obvious failure of MUST were widely known six or seven years ago - I remember writing about it back in 2004 when we heard that MUST was paying MIT RM20 million a year for the use of the name.

The original idea was to have a top level post-graduate provider but they were never going to be able to make ends meet with a tiny student base and a faculty composed of ex-IPTA (public universities) staff.

The public sector should never get involved in private higher education - leave it to those who have the energy, nous and intelligence to make it work.

Abasir: Yet another case of monkey see, monkey do. The fools behind this enterprise, who are so used to instant riches without real thought or work, obviously believed that a high-class educational institution can be quickly manufactured with some crony deals, political appointees, money, a brand like MIT and the 'blessings' of Umno.

Despite all the evidence that keeps popping up regularly, they keep using the same ingredients again and again. The fools will never learn because they are immune to what most decent people experience when they fail - shame.

Tailek: It looks like MUST is going BUST. This is another example of poor management and a squandering of the government (read: rakyat's) money. That's the trouble when politicians try to be businessmen.


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