DAP urge Putrajaya to justify RM108 million spent on 80 medical students

Patrol squad has not strayed from its objectives, says Guan Eng

Putrajaya must come clean on how Malaysia gained from spending RM1.35 million per student in the now "failed medical romance" with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said DAP.

Secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said today that the federal government must explain since the collaboration with the prestigious American medical school cost RM107.91 million for only 80 students.

"The public will also be interested if the 80 students are all Malaysians and the critiria applied for their selection.

This full accountability is especially important when the federal government has made limited offers to only 418 brilliant students to take up medicine at local public universites," he said in a statement.

Lim was referring to deputy education minister P. Kamalanathan saying yesterday that the limited number of offers is due to an oversupply of new doctors, where only 418 out of 1,163 students, who obtained top marks were selected for medicine.

Lim, who is also Penang chief minister and Bagan MP, said this was not the first time an alliance with a world-renowned university have failed.

He cited a case involving the prestigious Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Malaysian University of Science and Technology some 10 years ago.

He said a grant of RM100 million was set up in 1999 for the Malaysian university to mirror MIT but the partnership failed when MIT pulled out in 2004.

Lim said this latest case had reinforced the culture of mediocrity in Malaysian educational standards and the sad reality that there was no room for excellent institutions or brilliant students.

"This is symptomatic of the failure of the Barisan Nasional federal government’s transformation programme to pursue excellence and the creative city concept due in part to reluctance to embrace the critical success factors of talent, technology and tolerance," he said.

Lim said the 3Ts of talent, technology and tolerance must co-exist in an eco-system that can engender creativity.

Malaysia might have the talent and readiness to invest in technology but the general reluctance to permit tolerance of different ideas and lifestyles had proven to be too big a hindrance for the country, he said.

He also blamed such weaknesses as the reasons why Malaysian universities have become mediocre and local talents have migrated to greener pastures overseas.

"What is equally worrying is not just that the elite excellent foreign universities are abandoning Malaysia, but that the federal government is also abandoning our top students," he said.

Lim said as a first step, the Putrajaya must win back the confidence of top local students by giving them university places for their preferred courses before trying to attract top foreign universities to Malaysia.

"Why go on with the Sijil Tinggi Peperiksaan Malaysia (STPM) when our top students are denied places and their choice of courses?"

He cited the case of straight A's STPM student from Klang Ng Li Ying, who was denied courses in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy despite applying to nine local universities and was offered nursing instead.

There were also two straight-As students from Ipoh, who opted for dentistry and medicine in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, but got nursing in Sarawak and veterinary studies in Kelantan respectively.

"Another top student in (MCA president and Transport minister Datuk Seri) Liow Tiong Lai's own Bentong (parliamentary) constituency was offered nursing in Sarawak as well."

Another STPM student from Perak with four As failed to get into a pharmacy programme in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) despite being offered the same course by Monash University, Australia, which is ranked 8th in the world by the 2014 QS World University Ranking for pharmacy and pharmacology, he said.

"Someone must have forgotten to tell the whole world that USM is better than Monash University," Lim added. – August 19, 2014.