Miri – 11 September 2014 – Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott took time off from his recent whirlwind visit to Malaysia to learn about developments at the Malaysian branch campuses of two Australian universities, Curtin University and Monash University.
Abbott met with Professor Jim Mienczakowski, pro vice-chancellor of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak), and Professor Helen Bartlett, pro vice-chancellor of Monash University Malaysia, at an afternoon tea hosted by the Australian High Commission at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the Australia-Malaysia education relationship.
Also present was HE Rod Smith, the Australian high commissioner to Malaysia, Tan Sri Dr Madinah Binti Mohamad, Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Malaysia and several prominent representatives of Malaysian private education organisations.
This followed a luncheon hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak and his wife, Datin Sri Rosmah Binti Mansor, in honour of the Australian premier at Seri Perdana, the prime minister’s official residence in Putrajaya, to which the two pro vice-chancellors were also invited.
According to Mienczakowski, Abbott was very keen to touch base with the Australian CEOs of education in Malaysia and learn more about the progress of Australia-Malaysia education ties and discuss ways Australia can better support higher education in Malaysia.
Mienczakowski briefed the Australian premier on progress at Curtin Sarawak, Curtin University’s largest international branch campus, since its establishment in 1999, and the role the Malaysian and Sarawak state governments have played in its development.
As the former executive director of higher education for the Government of Abu Dhabi’s Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), Mienczakowski made comparisons to Australian educational initiatives in that country and Malaysia. He also discussed with the Australian premier how such initiatives in countries ranging from Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Australia could make trans-national education more effective.