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PM: Raise education quality

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for Xiamen University Malaysia Campus in Sepang. With him are (from left) Special Envoy to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, Chinese Assistant Education Minister Chen Shun and Transport Minister and MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

SEPANG: THE setting up of Xiamen University Malaysia campus as Xiamen University’s first international campus in Malaysia will attract high quality students from abroad and provide more choices for local students.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said it was fitting that Xiamen University had chosen Malaysia as the venue for its first overseas campus.

“Xiamen University is a prestigious and an internationally recognised university and by opening a branch in Malaysia, it will not only attract high quality students from abroad but would provide more choices for students.

“Not everyone can study abroad – but now Malaysian students will be able to undertake a global education at a reasonable cost, right here in Malaysia,” Najib said.

Malaysia, Najib added, was set to climb the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) list of preferred educational destinations from its 11th place ranking.

The government’s resolution was absolute to churn out a home grown workforce, capable of generating big new ideas and game-changing strategies that could create wealth and jobs for the people.

“To achieve both goals (improve ranking and generate capable workforce), Malaysia must improve the range and quality of our tertiary education.

“The Xiamen University new campus will help us to do this,” he said at the groundbreaking ceremony of the RM600 million Xiamen University Malaysia campus yesterday.

Present were Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and special envoy of the Malaysian prime minister to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting.

Najib added that the campus was part of the government’s plan to turn Malaysia into a global education hub.

It is aiming to attract some 200,000 international students to study in the country by year 2020.

Currently, there are 123,000 international students from 163 countries, pursuing their tertiary education in various institutions in Malaysia.

The development of Xiamen University Malaysia campus would also further strengthen the cordial and warm re lationship that both nations were currently enjoying, Najib said.

Calling the groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus a symbolic gesture of the friendship shared between both nations for the past 40 years, he added there was an increased committment by both countries to broaden and deepen their bilateral cooperation.

“The government will give its fullest support to the project (building the campus) to meet the tight deadline (of com pletion),” he said.

The prime minister added the sense of community created here at the Xiamen University Malaysia campus would ensure peace and friendship between the two countries for years to come.

“The 21st century will likely be Asia’s century. China aspires to be the largest economy in the world while Malaysia aims to be a fully developed nation by 2020.

“We need peace, stability and prosperity in our region if we want to achieve our respective goals.

“Deepening and strengthening our people-to-people re lations help us to achieve this,” he said.

Xiamen University, which is listed among the top 20 universities in China, was founded by famous Malaysian rubber magnate Tan Kah Kee in 1921.

The branch campus will be built on a 60ha site at Salak Tinggi and it is scheduled to be operational by September 2015.

The university expects to see an enrolment of 500 students next year and it will grow to 5,000 students by year 2020.

The maximum capacity of the university is a total of 10,000 students and they are expected to be from Malaysia, China and other Asean countries.

It was reported that the construction of the campus would come up to 2.6 billion renminbi (RM1.3 billion).

Liow, who is also MCA president, said he hoped to attract more international students to Malaysia and MCA was committed to bring more Chinese students to Malaysia.

“We have fixed certain target. Hopefully, more than 10,000 in the next few years. I feel this is a good start (the set up of the new campus) and it will be a good attraction for international students.”

For Ong, he said the prime minister had given a very strong support in bringing in a renowned Chinese university to Malaysia.

“The work ahead is to expedite and complete the project within the next one to two years. It’s a very tight schedule but we will try to help as much as we can.”

SOURCE: New Straits Times, 4 July 2014.

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