With funds for research being slashed, public universities should look at alternatives such as seeking contributions from alumni, as well as endowment funds instead of depending on government grants.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said such alternatives were underused.
“Our universities are too dependent on the government. Public universities are dependent on the government for 80% to 90% for their funding, and this is unsustainable.
“There are plans in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2020 for universities to reduce their dependency to 70% by 2020.
“Many research-based universities overseas only depend on government funding of between 30% and 50%,” he told a press conference after officially opening Universiti Teknologi Petronas’ new research and development complex in Seri Iskandar.
UTP Pro Chancellor Tan Sri Sidek Hasan and UTP Vice Chancellor Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim were also present at the event.
Citing an example, he said, UiTM has 600,000 alumni, and if each of them contributed RM1,000, the university would have RM6mil at hand, and if RM2,000 were to be donated, then the figure would reach to RM1.2bil.
Idris said students who earned degrees in universities overseas continues to receive letters seeking financial assistance, but local universities do not emulate this.
“So we are not utilising the alumni we have, and some universities are sitting on very good assets but not making use of them, and neither do universities make use of endowment programmes.
“Therefore it is time for universities to be more efficient in order to be sustainable in the long run.
“Cost cutting and efficient management must be put in place in universities because it is no longer viable to be complacent,” he added.
On UTP’s R&D complex, Idris said its completion is a significant milestone for UTP that will one day come to be internationally recognised.