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Jia Qinglin orders all out support for Xiamen University’s Malaysian campus, says Ong Ka Ting

Kuala Lumpur: The establishment of a Malaysian campus by prestigious Xiamen University has gained the full support of the Chinese Government when the Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference H.E. Jia Qinglin orders that all relevant departments must give their full assistance to this project to ensure its smooth implementation.

This was noted by Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, adding that Xiamen University was chosen by the Chinese Ministry of Education to be the first Chinese university to set up an overseas campus.

He said the Chinese Government had taken this joint-venture education project seriously and it was an honour that Malaysia was chosen to host the campus.

In an interview with Nanyang Siang Pau, Tan Sri Ong said the Prime Minister made an offer to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to invite Xiamen University to set up a campus in Malaysia. A decision was made to accept the invitation after a year’s exploration and study by the university.

Xiamen University, one of the top 20 universities in China, was established by legendary Malaysian enterpreneur the late Tan Kah Kee. It has a historic link with the Malaysian society, said Tan Sri Ong.

“The fact that it has chosen Malaysia to set up its first overseas campus is a significant development in the exchanges and co-operation between the peoples of Malaysia and China in the field of higher education,” he added.

There is in fact a behind-the-scene story in the decision by Xiamen University to set up the overseas campus in Malaysia. Rarely told is the immense contribution by Tan Sri Ong that has led to this happy event.

Tan Sri Ong has been appointed Visiting Professor of Xiamen University since 2008 and has been working hard in encouraging the university to set up a branch in Malaysia. The invitation by Prime Minister gave the final push to its birth.

Tan Sri Ong said the President of Xiamen University Prof Zhu Chongshi had expressed full confidence in the project. The campus will be completed in 2015 and is projected to take in 10,000 students, a third of them from Malaysia and China respectively and the other third from countries other than Malaysia and China.

“We have 60 independent Chinese secondary schools here and an average of 10,000 graduates a year. They will be the source of recruitment for the Xiamen University campus,” he added.

The Malaysian campus will be sited in Salak Tinggi in the State of Selangor. It will occupy an area of 150 acres with a total investment of RM600 million (RMB1200 million). The campus is projected to be operational in September 2015. Xiamen University is one of the 800 Chinese universities whose degrees have been recognized by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education.

Tan Sri Ong said that besides Xiamen University, Shanghai Jiaotong University and Guangzhou Jinan University had also indicated interest earlier of setting up overseas campus in Malaysia. Jiaotong University may also be interested in having twinning programmes in Malaysia.

Xiamen University is the first university established by overseas Chinese in recent history. It is 90 years old and is the only comprehensive university in a special economic zone directly under the Ministry of Education. It is one of China’s top universities under “Project 211” and “Project 985” which are aimed at turning Chinese universities into world-class institutes of higher education.

It is well equipped and with top quality teaching staff with extensive international influence. Since its establishment, it has nurtured and trained 200,000 graduates and post-graduate students. About 60 fellows have studied and worked in the university.

Its current student population is about 40,000, 2000 of them are foreign students. The university boasts of 150 research institutes and is well on the way to achieving its goal of becoming a world-class research university.

Prof Zhu, when receiving the invitation letter from the Prime Minister to set up the Malaysian campus, emphasized that the Malaysian campus is a non-profit making university. It will not take away a single cent from the campus as all surplus funds will be used for the development of the project.

Tan Sri Ong: Xiamen University is one of the top 20 in China.
Tan Kah Kee
The statue of Malaysian enterpreneur Tan Kah Kee, founder of Xiamen University.

Source: Nanyang Siang Pau

Translated by Hoo Ban Khee.

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