The Day Monash & Curtin Universities “Kowtow” To Suppression & Corruption

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Nov 17 2016
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Education is an extremely lucrative business for obvious reason. Every parent wants the best for their children. In Malaysia, especially the ethnic-Chinese, stories are aplenty about parents selling off properties and assets, or even borrowing from friends and relatives, so that they could send their children overseas to receive education.


Besides UK, US and Canada, Australian universities have been one of the favourite destinations for Malaysian students. Australia is nearer to home and they provide quality education, not to mention lower cost – at one time. From 1988-2014, the number of international students at Australian universities increased 13-fold, generating truckloads of money.


As local currency Ringgit depreciates over time, from RM2.50 to a dollar but later to RM3.80 to a dollar after the 1997-1998 Asia Financial Crisis, suddenly getting a decent education from Australian universities is something that would cost a leg and an arm. Hence the huge demand for twinning programmes, sandwich programmes and whatnot in order to cut cost.


Because universities can only take so many students annually, foreign universities started expanding their “education business” overseas. Since Australian universities first entered foreign markets in 1986, the higher education sector has become increasingly reliant on income from fee-paying international students.


Thanks to dwindling standard of local universities in Malaysia, the government took the alternative of encouraging other reputable foreign universities, including the Australians, to establish branch campuses, clearing regulatory hurdles that might impede their development. Unlike twinning programmes, branch campuses are direct extensions of universities, run by the institutions themselves.


However, while the Malaysian government wants to leverage on foreign universities reputation to attract local and foreign students to the country, they refused to throw money at the business model. The government is already burdened with billions of dollars sponsoring students overseas and providing loans to local university students – but never get repaid.


But for foreign universities, branch campuses aren’t cheap. Monash University Malaysia, the first foreign university in Malaysia, has invested a staggering RM200 million setting up its campus in Bandar Sunway. With capability to accommodate up to 5,000 students, Malaysia is the third largest campus of Monash University after the Clayton Campus and the Caulfield Campus.


Likewise, Australian Curtin University has pumped millions of dollars into setting up Curtin University Sarawak. That’s why the tuition fees for Monash University Malaysia and Curtin University Sarawak aren’t cheap. But they do the job of attracting international students, giving the false picture as if Malaysia is an excellent education hub in the region.


With less than 2 days to go before the Bersih 5.0 rally takes off, both Australian universities are now being criticised after the students leaked to the press that they’ve been warned through email by the universities not to participate in Bersih’s “illegal gatherings”. The students have been warned that they could be subjected to discipline actions.


But aren’t Monash University Malaysia and Curtin University Sarawak private universities independent of government influence, unlike the local universities? Shouldn’t Monash and Curtin be at the mercy of the students instead who pay the salaries, administration and management of the branch campuses? Don’t they subscribe to freedom of opinion and expression?


Apparently not. Monash and Curtin are here to make money, nothing else. They’re so money-minded that they willingly take instructions from the government of the day lecturing and preventing fee-paying students from exercising basic human rights that they’re supposed to subscribe – freedom of opinion and expression.


It’s not hard to understand why these Australian universities blindly and gladly execute Najib administration’s instructions. After spending hundreds of millions building campuses, the Australian universities aren’t going to risk having their cash-cow closed down. Although they are supposed to be direct extensions of universities back home in Australia, they are not free administratively.


The latest warning and threats against their students are the clearest proof that Monash and Curtin are led by the nose by a super corrupt-government. It’s a shame that both Australian universities are working hand in glove with Najib government to suppress the same students who pay their salaries.


Between the two, Curtin University which has a lower ranking was known to be the bootlicker of Najib administration. More than 4 years ago in February 2012, Curtin University was forced to apologize when they used “First Lady” to refer to Rosmah Mansor, the controversial wife of PM Najib Razak. They had since promised not to use the term on Auntie Rosie.


Curtin University had also conferred the “Honorary Doctorate of Letters” in 2012 to Auntie Rosie in recognition for her contribution behind “childhood programme Permata”, the same project that had allegedly sucked up a cool RM2 billion of taxpayers money but hadn’t and couldn’t be audited for transparency.


And it was the same controversial project that had angered Malaysian people when Auntie Rosie, whose lavish spending rivals that of Imelda Marcos, had allegedly spent a mind-boggling RM86.4 million hiring Emirate’s Executive Airbus A319 private jet for 2 months so that she could fly into Turkey with style – for a “Permata” award.

Emirates Airbus A319 Private Jet - Rosmah Mansor - Cost To Receive Award in Turkey - RM86.4 Million

For the same “Permata project”, Auntie Rosie had also won another award when she was selected to be the recipient of UNESCO’s award in conjunction with the 71st United Nations General Assembly – the “Lead by Example” Award. But it was cancelled at the eleventh hour after Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, was grilled about Permata’s funding.


Strangely, despite being conferred the “Honorary Doctorate of Letters” by Curtin University, Auntie Rosie dared not use the honourable “Dr.” designation in front of her name (*grin*). Besides sucking up to politicians such as Rosmah Mansor with awards that she didn’t deserve, Curtin University is known to be involved in corruption too.


Curtin’s staff, Keith Low, was caught by Perth Corruption and Crime Commission of taking bribes to doctor English IELTS test results for up to 25 migrants applying for permanent residency. Another lecturer was charged but escaped imprisonment after taken thousands of dollars in bribes to increase exam marks for students who would otherwise have failed.


Dr. Nasrul Ali, another Curtin University academic, was found extracted sexual favours in return for higher marks from 4 female overseas students, all in their early 20s. There’s also another reason why Curtin and Monash have chosen to become Najib Razak’s minions – government agency MARA sends hundreds of students to these Australian universities every year.


The biggest reason why both Australian universities are under Malaysian government’s thumb and have never been independence is the fact that stakeholders of Monash University Malaysia and Curtin University Sarawak consists of the same politicians and wealthy businessmen who are cronies of the Government of Malaysia.


George Chan Hong Nam, former Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak whose daughter Anisa Chan is married to former Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s son Sulaiman Abdul, is the Pro-Chancellor of Curtin Sarawak and the Chair of Curtin Sarawak Campus Council. Mr. Lee Kim Shin, an Assistant Minister is the chair of Curtin Sarawak Management Board.


The Government of Malaysia also influences Curtin University Sarawak by way of funding such as the latest BioValley project – state-of-the-art biotechnology research and development facility – costing more than RM50 million of taxpayers money. Jeffrey Cheah, founder and chairman of Sunway Group, influences Monash University Malaysia through stakes in Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (JCF).


Therefore, the questions about Monash and Curtin universities’ independence from Malaysian government influence does not arise at all. The Australian universities’ mission is to make money from students eager to splash money for a piece of overpriced certificate. And they would gladly suppress students on behalf of Najib administration for the sake of protecting their selfish interest.



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