PEKAN – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today outlined four major focus areas to be mastered by local universities to help Malaysia achieve its goal of becoming a fully developed country.
The four major focus areas are innovation, entrepreneurship, language proficiency, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skill.
Najib said the mastering of these four major areas would allow Malaysia to be more competitive as what took place in the United States, citing his visit to the Silicon Valley and Stanford University.
“I just came back from the United States, visited the Silicon Valley, Apple and met with President (Barack) Obama and other ASEAN leaders. From the meetings, (I realise) we have to master a culture of innovation. The ability to innovate must be nurtured and encouraged.
“As such, I now urge all universities, including Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), to develop a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said when opening the UMP main campus here Sunday.
Also present were Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and UMP vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Daing Nasir Ibrahim.
Meanwhile, Najib also wanted the four technical universities, namely UMP, Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), Universiti Teknikal Melaka (UTeM) and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn (UTHM) in Batu Pahat, Johor to remain as technical universities.
“I will ensure that they remain as technical universities. Do not create new faculties other than (those offering) technical education. This will be our policy.
“If the government can afford it, we will build more technical universities in this country,” he said to loud cheers from thousands of UMP students and staff.
At the function, Najib also announced a RM5 million allocation to UMP to build its information and communication technology (ICT) engineering infrastructure.
He also thanked the Pahang state government for approving the acquisition of land worth RM410 million to UMP to build the main campus at a cost of RM320 million.
At the event, the UMP Main Administration Building Complex was also renamed Tun Abdul Razak Chancellery as a tribute to Najib’s late father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was born in Pekan.
The use of Tun Abdul Razak’s name is also a recognition by UMP on the role played by the country’s second Prime Minister and the Father of National Development in transforming the education landscape, economy, social, and politics of Malaysia.
UMP, represented by Daing Nasir, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pahang Forestry Department, represented by its director, Datuk Mohd Paiz Kamaruzaman regarding the supply of seedlings for UMP’s green initiative.
UMP also signed MoU with The New Straits Times Press (NSTP) involving strategic cooperation in publishing, media and communication for rebranding activities and the Corporate Social and Innovation (CSI) programme.
NSTP Group was represented by its Group Managing Editor, Datuk Abdul Jalil Hamid.
Najib also witnessed the presentation of Bumiputera Entrepreneur Development Fund aid by East Coast Economic Region (ECER) chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John to 12 entrepreneurs under ECER’s Mahkota programme, which is supported by UMP Advanced Education (UAE) and the Bumiputera Agenda Unit (Teraju).
The special allocation from Teraju helps the participants to expand their business to become entrepreneurs of Small and Medium Industries (SMIs) and thus contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).