Creative campus tie-up

CREATIVE Technology, the Singapore company which produces soundcards used in computers around the world, joined hands with a Malaysian university in what is said to be the first tie-up of its kind here. 

The alliance will mean that students of Malacca-based Kolej Universiti Teknikal Kebangsaan Malaysia will be taught in the premises of Cubic Electronics, a wholly owned unit of Creative.  

About half the university's 3,000 technical students are expected to be taught on the premises each day. The arrangement will earn Cubic an undisclosed rental. 

Creative said Cubic staff had also created an industrial training manual for the students, which would be available for use in a training programme from October. 

Creative chairman and chief executive officer Sim Wong Hoo said the alliance would allow participants to sample the experience of working in a company while still studying. 

He said his company stood to benefit in an intangible way, as students learn and develop their own ideas on industrial design - an important area for Creative. He likened the possible benefits to the gains which Silicon Valley has enjoyed because of its proximity to Stanford University. 

With Creative now branching out into trendier products such as MP3 players, there was a greater need to focus on design and packaging, he said. And this is where the tie-up is expected to help. 

“We need a lot of such talents in the industry... and we are willing and committed to invest in training these talents,” Sim said. 

The tie-up resulted from a space problem the university had. It was operating out of its temporary campus a few kilometres from Cubic's Malacca facility, and a rapid increase in student numbers meant it had to find more space, which Cubic offered to rent at its facility. 

This led to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two parties, said the rector of the university, Datuk Mohamed Ruddin Abdul Ghani. The MoU was signed recently.  

Under the terms of the MoU, about 120,000 sq ft at Cubic's Malacca unit will be used to house university lecture halls, laboratories and studios for research and development. 

The university, founded in December 2000, offers courses covering such fields as mechanical engineering, electronics and computer engineering, information and communication technology and research and development. 

When asked why he had not approached Singapore universities to implement a similar programme, Sim said: “In general, there is a lot more flexibility here in Malaysia. 

“There are fewer restrictions here in terms of land use, unlike in Singapore where there are strict rules on what land can be used for. And the Malaysian government has been very willing to accommodate our plans here.” 

Sim said that Cubic would now bring forward its second phase of development, which will cost between RM20mil and RM25mil. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network 

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