Saturday, December 16, 2006

Comment From Om...

I sent an article from
to my OM (Uncle la), a renown and sought after HR and Organisional Development consultant/mentor/coach; The article talks about MUST; which was established in 2002 by the government with the aim of boosting Malaysia's R&D capacity and who boasted to have strategic partnership and participation of world renown Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is gone down under. OM used to hold a VP position at the U; ......

Here's his comment:

What can I say that would not sound defensive......

Truth of the matter is that, we (The Chairman, the President of the University and 2 VPs), gave up on the government machinery when we were given the task to set this University up. We did not give up on the government or its specific leaders - Mahathir was PM then- we gave up on the system. I was the first to give up, tak tahan, not getting anywhere.

The government machinery - from the Ministry of Science (MOSTE), to the MInistry of Higher Education and the Jabatan Pendidikan, the Treasury and the PM's Dept - the people we were in contact with, were never really keen on the idea for this Research University to be set up.

How come? Despite a collaboration with the best research university in the world (that is not a biased statement even if it comes from an alumni), this initiative was doomed from the start because no politician of 'power' (it was only an initiative of Mahathir, after that he was not in the picture) was involved, only hardworking, non-partisan and committed Malays from MCKK
(sorry....but that's the truth, other people do not want the job...susah buat University cara baru...research-based, post-graduate).

Personally, as the VP Operations, I was front-line to face the absurd bureaucratic shenanigans of our own Malay civil servants who somehow have the impression that this project is either too elitist or too dream-like or just plain boring.....or not 'beneficial' to them.

I am tempted to write a long treatise on what those shortcoimngs were, or how the University failed, people would brand me as protecting my backside, but suffice to sum it as...

If there is one disappointment of the Malay Administrators (I do not want to use the Govt, for then people would straight away point to the PM) that I'd like to pinpoint and highlight, it is THIS failure to build upon an opportunity that was served on a platter to help propel Malays, and Malaysia, in the area of scientific reasearch and breakthroughs. This failure should rank high as a major failure of the Malays who have been trusted to manage the development process, higher than the failure of the Bahasa Baku and.....

We were willing to spend millions to establish the MSC etc etc and go out of our way to launch grandiose projects that have short shelf life - bio-valley? E-village? We set-up VERY expensive universities like Unisel and all those University Colleges, which are just factories to produce degrees.

Yet MUST, have to beg, borrow, and almost steal, to make the University work, to make the PM's project work - to get permits for our lecturers, wasn't even allowed to collect for our Trust Fund, denied research grants simply because we are not a public university, or they could not understand the projects and/or refuse to think.......list goes on.

To my next generation, children, nephews, nieces and cucus reading this, if you are in a position to impact on the implementation of projects or work in areas to benefit the long term development of our people and country, work sincerely. Do more than expected, ikhlas, and please do not make decisions based on what is normal, or procedural. Take pains to understand the bigger picture, ask relevant questions and listen...yes .....listen, those guys I was dealing with do not know how to listen, do not want to listen, only want to show their power. They are selfish, and sombong tak tentu arah.

Also just because something is difficult, do not give up or be scared. I've personally seen Malays with 1st Class Honours who refuse to study at MUST because it is in English, because we require strong mathematics and research with MIT is tough. Hey, we even pay you to study at MUST

Maaf, Om nak cakap kasar sikit..... budak Melayu tak de telor, hanya nak senang...."Buat Masters and PhD kat UPM kan senang, nak pass pun senang, tak payah buat research susah susah..." this is an exact quote from a Malay UKM graduate! Malu, it was told in front of my Chinese Professor!

Akhirnya, yang rugi orang Melayu sendiri. Jangan salahkan orang Cina, India, Bangla, Indonesia, Filipina, orang kita sendiri yang melemahkan bangsa kita. Kita, nampak gayanya, lebih senang bercakap, tapi bila suruh buat, tak nak, kerja kita, kita suruh orang lain buat, lepas tu komen.....

Masya'Allah.....insaflah, jangan asyik marahkan orang.... Dollah Badawi lembab lah, Najib tak betul lah, orang tu tak betul lah, tapi ambil langkah nak bantu, nak tolong....haram!

Having said all that, jangan terlalu senang mengutuk bangsa kita sendiri, meludah kelangit nanti........ tampar air dalam dulang kena..........

Bikin mesti serupa cakap ye....diam ubi berisi, tak nampak megah, tapi masih bolih berbakti
Salam Ikhlas