03 April, 2007

Universities forking out millions for dubious awards

The credibility of a Geneva-based international science exhibition, where Malaysian universities have won numerous awards, is now under scrutiny. The Star reports.

The universities are said to have spent millions to take part in the exhibition which showcases new products and inventions, but an MP here doubts the worth of the awards given out

Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN - Ayer Hitam) questioned the need for public universities to take part in foreign exhibitions that showcased the universities’ findings and new products, such as the Geneva International Exhibition on Inventions, Products and Services.

In fact,Tony P (Education in Malaysia) had brought up this issue as early as 2005.

Trade Fairs Glory for Universiti Sains Malaysia? - Nov 2005
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Medal Obsession Continues..Dec 2006

Dr Wee said Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Unimas, among others, had submitted their products or inventions to the foreign exhibitions over the past few years.

“It is embarrassing that our universities are spending millions to participate in these low-standard award competitions.”

Meanwhile Malaysia's deputy premier has told the country's civil servants they need to work harder and spend more time at their desks.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak told a gathering of civil servants, who are frequently criticised for their seven-hour days, to condition their minds to see work as a virtue, not a punishment.

"If our minds are set that it is a chore to work, we will treat our work, even the simplest, as a burden,".

Najib urged them to think of the benefit to the country's productivity if people extended their working hours.

"Just imagine if we work 10 hours and not just seven or eight hours per day. If that is asking too much, take nine hours. I don't think nine hours per day is too much to ask," Najib said.

"Even bringing files home is not a burden, as we have placed our work as something that is holy, blissful and good, not only for ourselves but also the country," he added.

The deputy premier said European countries, which had introduced a 35-hour working week, such as France, risked losing productivity and competitiveness.

"In five days, that means a worker there must not work more than seven hours a day. Such nations may not achieve economic growth as their productivity would be stifled due to limited working hours," he said.



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