PUTRAJAYA: A new centre of excellence for research on disaster management will be set up, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said RM20mil in special grants will also be offered for research into disaster management and flood mitigation, through the Long Term Research Grant Scheme and Fundamental Research Grant Scheme.
"Landslides, haze and floods often occur in our country, and there needs to be a comprehensive and effective approach to disaster management.
"This includes the aspects of environmental management, disaster preparedness, public awareness programmes, relief coordination, communications and the rebuilding of disaster-hit areas," he said in his New Year's address to Education Ministry staff here on Friday.
Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, said that estimated cost of damage to schools and tertiary institutions in the recent floods was around RM500mil.
"I hope schools and institutions located in flood-prone areas will prepare for the possibility of floods.
"Students, teachers and parents should also be given disaster awareness education so that they will be physically and mentally prepared for such disasters, and are able to look after their families' safety," he said.
On another matter, Muhyiddin said that the Malaysia Education Development Plan (Higher Education) 2015-2025 will be launched in the first quarter of this year.
"This plan will produce innovative and creative talent in line with the 'new academia' agenda of the 11th Malaysia Plan," he said.
Muhyiddin also announced the setting up of the Malaysian Inclusivity, Development and Advancement Institute (Minda) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, which will carry out research on "social and economic inequality in society with a focus on economic development that is inclusive and narrows the wage gap".Muhyiddin later handed out letters of autonomy to five universities – Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, and Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka.
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