"If I were to relate to you my experiences with all these local graduates, especially those from public universities, let alone school leavers trying to enter universities in the United Kingdom like Oxford, Cambridge or at St Andrews University, or those in the United States like Harvard, Princeton, MIT, CIT, you will laugh at the atrocious standard of our Malaysian educational standard especially in Science. .."
"Very briefly :
1. You ask them a simple question in English, they can only reply in Bahasa Malaysia.
2. You ask them a simple technical question in the area they study in the university, they will be stunned. They will just stare at you; look up at the ceiling instead of looking at you. You will wait for 1 - 2 minutes for them to answer. When you repeat the question once again, they will just smile at you. They just don’t seem to know.
3. I have been a previous external examiner to some of the undergraduate students studying in local universities. When I asked them questions, not only do they just remained silent and just smiled and showed their teeth, but they gave irrelevant and out-of-point answers...
4. ...A few years ago, a female M.Sc. student from the University of Malaya even tried to bluff me and my co-judge that she boiled a flower extract in water for over 180 degrees Celsius, and she found the colour of the flower extract heat remained stable. This instantly caught me by surprise because water at normal atmosphere can never exceed 100 deg C. So I asked her if she used some kind of very special very high pressure cooker to boil the water. To my surprise she said no . . . ’just boil it with water in a beaker.’
Instantly I failed her. Her professor (a Chinese lady) who was standing behind her to give her support could not defend her, because I was one of the International Judges evaluating the quality of inventions put up by local public (some from overseas) universities...
5. My drug company employs a few science graduates, including qualified professional nutritionists graduated from UPM and UKM. During my conversation with some of them about nutritional diseases and methods to diagnose them, surprisingly they told me they have not heard of these deficiency diseases, let alone identify their clinical feature and diagnose them.
I remember at London where I studied nutrition, we were drilled through and through on the clinical features of all the nutritional disorders until we were truly expert in identifying every one of them. Both my external examiners were from the Department of Medicine from Cambridge. Both were Jews and Professors appointed by the University of London to examine us. I remember during the oral exams they would show us clinical slides of nutritional diseases, and ask us to make a diagnosis...
6. I have also been a Chairman of scientific sessions where research papers were presented by academics and post-doctoral researchers in scientific congresses. I just can’t believe the sub-standard quality of their papers which I think even a good Upper Form Six student from another country can do better.
When I was at the University of London doing my postgraduate way back in the early 1960s the quality of papers from British Universities were so high that we, even as postgraduate students, find it very difficult to understand. They were all so good, so professional and so specialized. Their papers were beyond us. Even way back in the 1960s, their papers were full of data, statistics and mathematical analysis of the experimental data done in a very sophisticated and elegant way. It was so professional.
But when our Malaysian university academics present a paper at a scientific conference, they only show pictures and photos, and seldom any research data..."
(I believe there are exceptions to the generally perceived low standards of students.)