No fixing of marks in USIM, says ministry
by Tan Yi Liang
PETALING JAYA: An investigation into allegations
of marks-fixing at Universiti Sains Islam
Malaysia (USIM) by former law lecturer Yasmin
Norhazleena Bahari Md Noor found no proof of
her claims, said the Higher Education Ministry.
In a statement issued yesterday to refute
Yasmin’s claims, the ministry’s director-general,
Radin Umar Radin Sohadi, said: “USIM
has proved there was no marks-fixing in its
investigations, and the allegations of such a
practice are wholly untrue”.
“The statement by the minister of higher
education (on June 25) that marks-fixing is
wholly unacceptable is true,” it said.
It pointed out that a thorough examination
was conducted by the ministry after receiving
Yasmin’s complaints in June last year.
“After receiving the first complaint on June
10, 2008, the Ministry of Higher Education
began an investigation into the matter, evaluating
the manner in which exam scripts were
evaluated and whether there was injustice to
the complainant,” it said.
The Public Complaints Bureau had also
investigated the matter, and decided no further
action was required, it said.
The statement said USIM has clear internal
rules and procedures in the marking of exam
scripts and grading students.
“The USIM system of assessing and marking
exams has clear policies and procedures. Every
exam decision is discussed and examined at
the undergraduate examiners committee
meeting at faculty level, before being brought
to the university senate for validation or re-examination
if there is any doubt to its fairness,”
The ministry also said USIM had received
MS ISO 9001:2000 accreditation from Sirim,
which proves USIM has clear and transparent
systems for its examinations,” it said.
USIM’s public relations office said the matter
had been settled and it was “no longer an
Ex-lecturer seeks Najib’s help over exam marks incident
By Tan Yi Liang
PETALING JAYA: A former Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
(USIM) lecturer has taken her fight against her former
employer to the highest level by sending an e-mail to
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday.
“I was being victimised at USIM because I refused to
manipulate marks in order to pass undergraduates who
failed my courses,” Yasmin Norhazleena Bahari Md Noor
said in her letter to Najib.
Yasmin, who was a lecturer in USIM’s Law faculty,
said in her letter she had written to the Ministry of Higher
Education to complain “but had received only silence for
“I reported to the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE)
in June 2008 about my victimisation. The continuous victimisation
at USIM and MOHE’s silence to my complaint
forced me to resign in November 2008. The MOHE only
replied to my complaint in February 2009 (after eight
months), in USIM’s favour,” Yasmin, who is seeking a
meeting with Najib, said.
“I have been jobless for the past eight months, against
my will. I have been victimised by USIM and the MOHE.
Therefore, I seek Datuk Seri’s assistance so that I could
be reinstated as I was victimised because I refused to
Contacted by theSun, Yasmin said she had sent the
e-mail through a feedback option on the prime minister’s
website after calling his offi ce earlier.
“I called this morning and was told by an offi cer who
handles complaints to write in to the prime minister’s
office (website) and I left my feedback there,” she said.
No sir, marks-fixing ‘is acceptable’
by Tan Yi Liang
PETALING JAYA: A former
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
(Usim) law lecturer says Higher
Education Minister Datuk Seri
Khaled Nordin has contradicted
his ministry’s stand on
“He says marks-fixing by
universities is unacceptable
and should be investigated. I
have a letter from the ministry
saying otherwise,” said Yasmin
Noor, who had alleged that she
was victimised and pressured
to quit after refusing to pass
students who had failed her
On Thursday, at the opening
of the annual National Higher
Education Conference, Khaled
said: “I think any attempt to
fix marks is unacceptable. We
cannot accept such things
because it is against professionalism.
“We hope, if there is any
complaint over such matters,
an investigation will be
conducted by the relevant
Yasmin said: “I complained
to the ministry after I was victimised
in June 2008 but the
ministry only gave its reply in
“The ministry had responded
in favour of Usim,
despite me clearly detailing
the harassment in Usim.
“I had complained that a
senior shouted at me, accusing
me of being a failure and
that I should leave as I am not
suitable to teach in Usim.”
Yasmin, who was with
USIM’s law faculty, said she
only received a letter from the
ministry in February which upheld
the university’s decision
on altering and giving passing
grades to her failed students.
The letter states: “The Usim
Senate acted correctly in its
capacity as the highest authority
in academic affairs and has
the right to request that a student’s
marks be reassessed.
There was no wrongdoing on
the part of USIM.”
“I, therefore, challenge
the minister’s statement and
stand on marks-fixing being
unacceptable. I also never
got to meet the person whom
I complained to in the first
place, Department of Higher
Datuk Radin Umar, what more
“I was also not notified that
the matter was being investigated
prior to my resignation
on Dec 18, 2008.
“Why did they not tell me
about this before I resigned,
otherwise I would not have
quit. Why didn’t they tell me
about the letter until February
2009,” she asked.
Varsities must probe ‘marks fixing’ claims
by Tan Yi Liang
KUALA LUMPUR: “Marks fixing” by universities is unacceptable and should be
investigated by the respective universities, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled
“I think any attempt to fix marks is totally unacceptable. We cannot accept such things
because it is against professionalism. We hope, if there is any complaint over such matters, an investigation will
be conducted by the relevant university,” he said yesterday.
He said autonomy is important for the universities.“This is because one aspect of our efforts to bring excellence
to our universities is to give them autonomy, and one matter in which they can have full autonomy is in academic matters.
It is not for the government to check and interfere, because at the end of the day it will be linked to their reputation.
“We believe that all universities will act to ensure that this does not happen,” he told reporters after opening the annual
National Higher Education Conference.
On the matter of a Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) lecturer who was allegedly forced to resign after refusing
to pass students who had failed her course, he said it is not the role of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency to police universities for such incidents.
“The role of MQA is to ensure the quality of the courses offered. It does not cover students who sit for exams.”
Such issues are for the universities to handle themselves, he said.“If there is any plagiarism or cheating or poor standards, it is
for each university (to handle) because at the end of the day it will affect their reputation.” He said investigations into
the USIM issue have been completed and it is up to the parties involved to act on them. “As far as the ministry is concerned, we want to see that such a thing does not recur, and if it does, the matter must be investigated,” he said.
theSun TUESDAY APRIL 21 2009
Probe into lecturer’s ‘sympathy marks’ case
By Tan Yi Liang
The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) has begun a probe into a former public university lecturer’s allegations that she was forced to resign for refusing to give “sympathy marks” to underperforming students.
“The Complaints and Enforcement Unit is heading the investigation. We are looking into this because this is about quality,” said MQA spokesman Muhammad Muammar Gaddafi.
Muhammad, who spoke to theSun yesterday, said currently “we are checking the validity of the claims which were published in the Malay language daily Kosmo! last week”.
“We do not know if the accusation is valid or not. We have to see what Kosmo! reported, and we do not know who the teacher is,” said Muhammad, who declined to comment further on the probe.
“It is still too early to make any comment,” he said.
The lecturer, who spoke anonymously on April 15, told the paper that she had resigned from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) as she was unable to tolerate the pressure to give out “sympathy marks” to students who had failed an examination set and marked by her.
In that examination, only four out of a class of 157 passed, prompting the university to send her a letter through the faculty dean calling for an explanation for the high failure rate.
She was then criticised heavily by her superiors who allegedly pressured her into adding marks based on the attendance of students.
She refused as she felt it was the responsibility of the students to turn up for classes.
“How am I to give them more marks if they are undeserving. I have given them all the marks I can even though the students do not deserve them,” said the lecturer, who had been teaching in Usim’s law faculty since 2007.
However, her allegations were dismissed by Usim vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Husin who said that the university had a clear procedure for marking test papers and that Usim had been ISO 9001:2000 accredited since 2004.
“We obtained our ISO 9001:2000 accreditation on Nov 11, 2004, and we were re- accredited on Jan 8 last year by the Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (Sirim). This proves that we have clear and transparent procedures in place,” said Abdul Shukor in a press conference on Sunday.
He said examination results were first scrutinised in a meeting of the faculty’s undergraduate exams committee before being validated by the University Senate.