Another rush hour day. I slept very late the day before but not going to reveal here. I had earlier set my alarm to 7.30 am and multiple alarms in my handphone with different times. When I first opened my eyes, I smiled at myself for having a nonsense dream and happily looked at the alarm clock. It was 8.40 am. Oh…WHAT@@!! I had an important appointment with some others at 9 am. Gosh! I will be surely late! And the person I was going to meet was not a simple but a high rank person in UCSI University which was the Vice President for Academics, Prof. Kwan. For some unknown reasons, I finally uttered the word ‘shit!’ accidentally.
I reconfirmed to myself. Was the appointment at 9 am? Yea.. it was.. and without further delay, I rushed to the washroom and quickly bathed. I do shave and the ‘fast and furious’ movement caused some bleeding. I guessed I seriously need an after shave cream/oil but the price at Watsons is about RM 20 for a small tiny bottle. Next, I was about to call Han Boon but he managed to call me instead. A salute to him for being calm to know I just woke up and with a nice tone, he told me they will be going up first. We were planning to meet Prof. Kwan to hand in our petition on the passing rumours about increment of the tuition fees which was about 10% or nearly 2K increment. However, the petition letter signed by all students was with me at condo. It was great attitude shown by Han Boon which never can be easily learnt by the rests. He is indeed a good class rep and a good leader as he was the one who plan and lead the group of 11 (but turned out to be 8) to voice up the dissatisfaction from the fellow friends. Again, a big courage and determination were needed. I speeded from condo to university assuming that I was in the final lap of a 4 x 100m race. When I reached to the 3rd floor, I was greeted by the receptionist who then asked me to enter a room she pointed. HUH.. How did she know who I wanted to meet? Then, I saw all of them waiting quietly in the Prof. Kwan room. I was so relief that I wasn’t late at all and started chatting around to cheer up the tense moment. About 10 minutes later, Prof. Dr. Kwan Teck Kim and his aide, senior assistant Mr. Abu Bakar Jalaluddin, Senior Director, Academic & Corporate Legal Affairs came in. It was the first time I meet both of them and they greeted us nicely. After an introduction about us led by Han Boon, he then pointed out 3 main issues for the meeting which was the confirmation of fees increment, petition of increment should it was real and the improvement of facilities. Mr. Abu Bakar was the one who answered most of the questions as he seemed has more experience with the university than the newly promoted Prof. Kwan. He then assured all of us that the increment of fees was just irresponsible rumours of which the university is finding its way to track the people that spread it out to the rests. Accordingly, any fees increment procedure involves duration of a semester of 4 to 6 months before it is implemented. At such, the university will open its ear to feedbacks from various parties during the period before a final decision is made.In addition, Mr Abu Bakar also acknowledged us that increment is necessary and can’t be prevented in the current economic crisis faced by the world and Malaysia as well. He told us that CPI in Malaysia was 8.0+ in the last month. THAT shocked me as the highest so far that I knew was 7.6%. He also highlighted on the increment of transportation costs as well as the many costs covered by the university since the 5 years back when no increment was implemented. However, the university survived and managed to not put the expenses to the students’ fees. So, few of us addressed on the concern on the increment which might not be able to borne by our parents. Besides, the Marketing and Finance Department had earlier reaffirmed to most of the students that they will pay accordingly to the figure stated when applying entry to this university and any increment will be imposed to the new batches. At such, Mr Abu Bakar acknowledged that increment is an unavoidable event BUT he assured that increment will not be too fast or the coming 2-3 years time. He told us that many from different faculties do face the similar problems and some had some evidences with parents EPF and financial constraint to him as well as others. At such, the university despite is a business will not want to see nay dropout just because of such issue and will try their best in finding a solution. He acknowledged us that anyone of us can meet them personally should they face any difficulty regarding with finance provided with genuine evidences. However, they can look into your problems BUT do not guarantee any definite solution. At such, with the examples given by him, I found the university still considerable OK as they do look through the problems faced by the students. Well, almost ALL private institutions are money sucking as people claimed but the extent is the major concern. Some voiced out on the lack of lab equipments such as tabletting machine, HPLC, Coulter Counter and etc. Wow.. the list was so long. Both Prof. Dr. Kwan and Mr. Abu Bakar agreed that the issue was not something new and they will look further into the issues. He even asked us to write detail problems with the facilities and give recommendations to purchase a newer one that deemed suitable together with the model number. At such, some pointed out that we need to share and waited very long to perform our experiment which was then countered back with the fact that anywhere you went, you still need to share. As for me, I do not know why they asked for increment of so many lab machines. For example, what are the benefits for having two Coulter counter machines? It is a matter of time preferably an hour wait before your turn to use the machine and you can save few hundred thousand with the wait. Is that significant? As for HPLC, as Dr Gabriel had mentioned, we considered very good as the most owned was USM with 4 such machines. On top of that, we are not going to use them all the time but preferably one or two for the whole 4 years. Although, any additional machines are good for us. So, I voiced out on different views. I stressed that if the increment is justified with good facilities and services, the students will still object but it will be a minority voices. I will pay for the good ‘lecturers’, good lab machines and good overall facilities of the university WHICH are not seen yet. In addition, I enlightened them with the high parking rates, difficulty in finding parking, lack of books in the library, no time restrictions for printing use due to stupid uncivilized students printing their whole semester notes spending about 1 hour with the printing, lack of sports facilities eg the basketball/badminton court and the stupid high fees charged by the university bus service. The response was the RM2 paring rate was unavoidable to the claimed ‘security, insurance fees & etc’. Wait.. I thought PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK. Since when the parking is covered by insurance? The issue wasn’t new to them and there might be multistory car park on its way soon. MIGHT… and can you think how much the parking rate will be? The current burden was to climb up hills burning a lot of petrol and then climb down on foot for some distance under the very hot sun. Should there is a multistory packing which is good but unsure the rate yet, one might take at least 15 minutes to travel up by car and down by foot with confirmed sweating~ Regarding on book issues, each and anyone of us is required to purchase textbook by your own. The reason there is only roughly five books per title is to provide various references for students. Should students need increment of text books, you must bring up the issue during your own school’s board meeting. Regarding about the abandoned field or better known to be used by the Africans and some Malays from A Level, there is a suggestion to use some part of the field as parking bays. However, this is in process of greeting agreement as driving on the green field will cause distortion and damage the structure of soil as well as plants. On bus services which charge abnormally high than the outside provider, please forward to the Logistic Department. They forgot about my suggestion of 15 minutes time restrictions on the use of printing. Anyhow, it is not related to the Academics Department. Conclusion. No further increment as for NOW. Increment is unavoidable in near future but the university reserves the right to do so as stated on the disclaimer on the brochures as well as the fees schedule. If you have the letter from DVC on the promise of no further increment, keep it safely as it might be useful. Regarding on improving the facilities of the school, there is new division headed by Mr. Shanker Sathivellu, Senior Director, External Communications & Quality Assurance. The scope of this department is to evaluate basically everything in the university as ‘check and balance’ which is going to ‘audit’ the university and wherever necessary, provide suggestions for improvements. Messages from both Prof. Dr. Kwan and Mr. Abu Bakar; ‘Stop the rumours!’. In another point of view, such meeting was absolutely good as one can voice up their dissatisfaction, opinion, problems and etc. to the university so that their issues will be looked into. I am not sure about other university regarding about meeting with a senior personnel in the university. As for UCSI University, they do take the opinions from the students but whether they will implement the suggestions are totally depend on their judgment.