Miri – 31 March 2022 – More collaboration between state research bodies under Sarawak’s Ministry of Education, Innovation and Talent Development (MEITD) and Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) is in the offing.
This was according to Minister for Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, who in his speech at a dialogue session with the university management yesterday offered the support of agencies such as the Sarawak Research Development Council (SRDC), Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) and Sarawak Science Centre in the advancement of Curtin Malaysia’s research and development activities, particularly in the areas of biodiversity and biotechnology.
He also encouraged the university to actively engage with his ministry, district education offices and local schools to promote the learning of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects as this would be crucial to Sarawak’s future development.
Accompanying the minister on the familiarisation visit to the campus were deputy ministers Datuk Francis Harden Hollis and Dr. Annuar Rapaee, permanent secretary Datu Kameri Haji Affandi, SRDC general manager Dr. Peter Morin Nissom and SBC chief executive officer Dr. Yeo Tiong Chia, as well as officers from the State Economic Planning Unit and MEITD.
On hand to receive them were Chairman of Curtin (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., Datu Ose Murang; pro vice-chancellor, president and chief executive Prof. Simon Leunig; senior management staff, faculty deans, directors and managers of Curtin Malaysia.
During the dialogue session, the minister and his delegation were briefed on Curtin Malaysia’s learning and teaching, research, external engagement and student experience activities.
The Sarawak government’s ownership of Curtin Malaysia and the Sarawak Biovalley Pilot Plant (SBPP) sited at the campus was also underscored, as well as Curtin Malaysia’s contribution to the education sector in Sarawak and its research initiatives in bioprocessing, renewable energy, digital future and rural entrepreneurship, which are in line with the state government’s developmental thrusts.
Datu Ose also highlighted Curtin University’s standing in the top one per cent of universities worldwide in the global rankings and how that translates to the high quality of education and research at Curtin Malaysia. In addition, he said Curtin Malaysia has produced close to 10,000 graduates since its inception in 1999, the majority of whom are now working in the state but there are also a large number who are working overseas.
This was reiterated by Prof. Leunig, who said Curtin Malaysia’s remit to serve the needs of the state has not changed since its earliest days, and is now even more relevant in line with Sarawak’s post-COVID recovery plan, thus its current focus on offering more educational opportunities for Sarawakian students and practical research and engagement that will impact local communities. This has included the establishment of a new School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPACE) and expansion of its Faculty of Humanities to include health sciences.
Prof. Leunig also highlighted the fact that Curtin University has renewed its commitment to Sarawak by renewing its joint venture agreement with the Sarawak government for another 20 years, and this has brought about renewed campus expansion, and an expansion of Curtin’s intellectual footprint in ASEAN through strategic alliances and partnerships under the mantle of the university’s Curtin Global approach, with Curtin Malaysia as its regional hub. It will also see Curtin Malaysia becoming the university’s research hub for sustainable aquaculture and South China Sea studies.
The visit ended with a tour of the SBPP, which is owned by the Sarawak government and managed and operated by Curtin Biovalley Sdn. Bhd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Curtin Malaysia. At the SBPP, the minister and delegation were shown temporary facilities for aquaculture research, which will be replaced with a larger and dedicated facility funded by the state government later in the year.
Information on Curtin Malaysia can be found on its website at www.curtin.edu.my, or look for Curtin Malaysia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn.
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