KUALA LUMPUR: The Higher Education Ministry of Oman has banned four Malaysian universities due to alleged academic and administrative abuses by the varsities.
The universities are Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), SEGi University, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, and Binary University of Management and Entrepreneurship.
In total, there are 378 Omani students enrolled in the four universities.
The 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 these universities.
It said Omani students were not allowed to attend the educational institutions following the decision.
“The decision is due to the various alleged abuses by the universities,” it said.
Oman’s cultural attache to Malaysia, Yahya Salam Al Mundhari, said the reason for the withdrawals were due to alleged academic and administrative abuses.
“Most of these reasons are academic and administrative, including the existence of complaints against these universities by some of the Omani students studying there (in Malaysia),” said Yahya.
“These universities are not complying with some of the laws of the country of scholarship such as registering students, allowing them to study on tourist visas, and most of these universities are unresponsive and not cooperating with the Cultural Mission in solving the challenges facing Omani students,” he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, in an immediate reaction, USIM deputy vice-chancellor (academic and international) Prof Datuk Dr Zulkiple Abdul Ghani said the university has yet to receive any official information on the ban from Oman’s Higher Education Ministry or its embassy.
“The issue was only made aware to us through news reports from Times of Oman.
“However, an immediate meet-up will be organised by USIM with the Oman embassy to discuss this issue.
“Any problems or issues related with international students, whether it involves student welfare, finance or academics, have always been given the utmost attention by USIM as we believe they (international students) are our stakeholders,” he said.
Zulkiple added that the university has always enjoyed a good relationship with the Oman Embassy and would like for it to remain such, and is ready to improve any shortcomings without any compromise.
Meanwhile, a SEGi University spokesman said it would obtain further details about the ban to solve the issues immediately.
“We view the matter seriously as SEGi is out to achieve the highest education standards to serve the future generations.
“As the decision undertaken by the Cultural Mission involves policy and the bureaucratic processes, SEGi University will obtain further details about the ban from relevant agencies in order to find a solution and resolve the issue immediately,” it said in a statement today.
Meanwhile, Limkokwing University rubbished claims of such abuse occurring in their university.
In a statement today, its pro-vice chancellor (International), Professor Cedric D Bell said the university has no records of Omani students making complaints in their learning experience or any related matters.
He also said the Omani ministry had never raised such concerns to the university.
"Malaysia in general and Limkokwing University has for many years welcomed students from Oman and extended traditional Malaysian hospitality to them.
"It is a matter of great regret that the (Omani) ministry high handed an unilateral action against Malaysian institutions will unquestionably sour relations between our both countries,” he said.
Bell said the university categorically rejects the contrived reasons provided by the ministry for its reasons.
He added that the university will take necessary steps to address the reputational damage it would from this ‘unwarranted’ action.
At press time, efforts to contact Binary University of Management and Entrepreneurship was unsuccessful.