Four Malaysian universities banned by Oman not notified, working to engage with embassy

Beatrice Nita Jay

KUALA LUMPUR: All four local universities banned by the Higher Education Ministry of Oman due to alleged academic and administrative abuses were not informed of the ban prior to the announcement.

The news only came to light when the announcement was reported by Oman’s local media, the Times of Oman.

SEGi University, one of the four Malaysian universities banned for alleged academic and administrative abuses, said there was no information or indication given to them prior to the prohibition.

“There has been no indication of any possible issues prior to the announcement made to the media outlets in Oman (Times of Oman).

“Our top priority now is to engage with the Cultural Attache in Malaysia to swiftly address the matter,” it said in a statement.

The university reiterated that it has good working relationship with the Embassy of Oman in Malaysia throughout the years and they were surprised by the sudden move.

“We would like to stress that all students in our university are treated fairly and equally in all aspects of student life, including services and education standards, regardless of their nationality.

“As a reflection of our commitment to full transparency and good practice standards for the best educational experience for our students, we welcome and are ready to give full cooperation to relevant authorities to check or verify settings and the current status of Omani students in our campus,” the spokesman said.

The university added that it will continue to further enhance the working relationship and communication with Oman and students of other nationalities to ensure the highest education standards.

Limkokwing Corporate Government senior vice president, Datuk Gail Phung said the ministry should have told all the institutions first, before making a hasty decision, leaving students in dark.

“We have spoken to most of our Omani students and they have said that they do not have any issues against our university.

“Should the ministry have met with us first, perhaps we could have discussed and obtained an explanation on this issue.

“We think that this move is rude to the host country (Malaysia) by just outing a decision online before making an announcement based on allegations. This is unfair to us as we believe that Malaysian education has a brand and reputation to protect,” she said.

Phung added that the ministry should have taken the students’ concerns as well since most of them are now left in dark.

“This has done damage to our reputation and I believe to all the other institutions involved in this issue,” she said adding that the university only received a letter from the Oman Embassy informing of the ban without any reasons given.

Meanwhile, Binary University of Management and Entrepreneurship vice chancellor, Professor Dr Sulochana Nair said the university was late in its public response as they were never given a formal notification regarding this matter.

Speaking for the first time since the news first broke on Monday, she said the report had been submitted without any investigation at all being carried out in the university.

She said the Oman Cultural Attache’s office did not visit, write to the university informing them of any non-compliance nor did they consult them on any of the allegations.

“They have provided incorrect and misleading information to the Higher Education Ministry of Oman thus defaming us and damaging our reputation.

“We are totally in the dark as to why we are being penalised and how they came up with such a report.

“We have been waiting for formal notification regarding this matter since Monday (Oct 2) and we have yet to receive any and hence our delayed public response,” she said.

She said the university had been sincere and professional in dealing with their students, and that their Oman students were disturbed with the ban.

As for Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim), the university’s vice chancellor had met with the representatives from the embassy and will meet with its cultural attaché on Friday, along with the university’s management.

On Monday, Times of Oman, in its report stated that the Committee for the Recognition of Non-Omani Higher Education Institutions and the Equivalence of Educational Qualifications in the Oman Higher Education Ministry had issued a decision to stop dealing with the four universities.

It said Omani students were not allowed to attend the educational institutions following the decision which was made due to alleged academic and administrative abuses by the universities. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd