YTL Corp Bhd, which has a long history in supporting education, has contributed RM2.5mil to Yayasan Universiti Malaysia Sabah.
Managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh said in a cheque presentation ceremony in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that RM1.5mil would be used to build the foundation's corporate offices, which would comprise administrative offices, a gallery, seminar and meeting rooms and an auditorium.
“The balance RM1mil will be for a scholarship fund to support scholarships, research and the welfare of the university,” he said.
Yeoh said his father, YTL founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay, had always believed in the importance of a good education.
“Education is a means by which those in deprived socio-economic households can take themselves out of the poverty cycle.
“It is also the tool to ensure that the country will have the human resource skills required if we are to achieve our aspiration to be a developed nation by 2020,” he said.
YTL in partnership with the Boustead group had established a branch campus of the University of Nottingham in Kuala Lumpur.
The campus currently has an enrolment of over 600 students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh who witnessed the cheque presentation ceremony said universities did not only play a role in training the country's youths but had become an important part of the economy and made a significant contribution to the country's foreign exchange earnings.
He said in the 2004 academic year alone, public universities could only cater for 45% of the total 85,966 applicants.
“This being the case, there are over 40,000 aspiring students that could be targeted as potential students in private institutions of higher learning,” he said, adding that higher education was a lucrative venture besides being a contribution to society.
Shafie said Malaysia was increasingly becoming the country of choice for foreign students pursuing their graduate and postgraduate studies, with foreign student enrolment totalling 31,288 in 2003.
He said Malaysia being the chairman of the Organisation of Islamic Conference would also encourage students especially from the Middle East to study in the country.
On the call by the ministry for private higher education institutions to merge, Shafie said the ministry expected the private higher education sector to send in a memorandum soon.
“The budget will be tabled this September and it will be good to have something (on this topic) in there,” he said.
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