Sep 1, 1973
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
The study is a one year epidemiological cum clinical survey of all student psychological problems that arise within the University of Malaya campus. There are 8,000 students and the University curriculum is undergoing a rapid change from the transformation of the medium of instruction from English to the Malay language. Furthermore, a very high proportion of rural Malay youths from socially-deprived rural regions are given government scholarships or grants to enter the University. Coupled with the increasing political pressure by a benevolent Malay government to restructure society so that the more economically backward Malay can compete equally with the business-like Chinese, there is a growing tide of Malay Nationalism—the focus of which stems essentially from the 3,500 Malay under-graduates in the campus. The author ran a regular psychiatric clinic once or twice weekly at the Student Health Service, and the three attending physicians refer him all cases which they suspect of having symptoms or problems which are deemed as psychological, emotional or psychiatric. The students fill a structured form (administered by a research assistant) and each is interviewed by the author for clinical assessment. The results of the study indicate that as high as 90% of all students seen had psychiatric or emotional problems prior to entry into University, most of them developed onset of symptoms during their Form Five or Form Six years. Rural Malay students especially present special problems with very high rates of psychiatric breakdown. Other aspects of the study deal with the family structure of the students, their problems of acculturation into a relatively middle class University structure, their sexual problems, the smoking of cannabis and their projected anger on the University authorities and the government. This is to such an extent that at present the 3,500 Malay students in the University of Malaya campus form the main pressure group opposing the Malaysian Government.