GOING to Cardiff is like a “balik kampung” journey for Dr Syed Raisudin Syed Abdullah, the Malaysian Students Department's (MSD) new director in London.
He lived in the city from 1986 to 1992 when he did his Masters degree and PhD in comparative management, studying Japanese and American techniques.
He was back in the city again during the fasting month but in a new role as head of the MSD here, which he assumed two months ago.
“I hope to be able to reach out to students in matters of common interest.
“We want to get to know them and attend to their needs,” he said in his office after breaking fast with over 100 students and the local Muslim community in Cardiff.
His staff readily attest to his “objective driven, task-oriented” style. During Ramadan, he travelled to Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, Manchester, Birmingham, Lancaster, Leicester, Leeds and Sheffield in England as well as Cardiff to meet as many Malaysian students as possible.
There are 11,000 Malaysian students in the United Kingdom, making them the fourth largest group of international students after their peers from China, Greece and India.
Dr Syed Raisudin said his priority was to further develop the data bank on Malaysian students and the Malaysian students' societies all over Britain.
“Although we have 11,000 students in the country, our data bank only stands at 3,300 while the societies number about 80.
“My objective is that from now until Sept 30 the figure increases to 50% although ideally we aim to reach 60%,” he said.
He added that some students did not register with the MSD when they arrived in the UK partly because of distance, especially for those studying outside London.
But now, with the Internet to assist in online registration, Dr Syed Raisudin said students were starting to respond. “We are trying to have some sweetener...let's say if they register with us, we can have a card to say that the student is registered with the MSD, please honour his or her request should he or she need discounted rates for the purchase of (travel) tickets,” he said.
He has also set his mind on developing a data bank with British universities, especially those with Malaysian students. Having an up-to-date data bank on Malaysian students would also enable the MSD to match them with prospective employers.
“We have been approached from time to time by organisations in Malaysia and we have made available information on job opportunities through our website,” he said.
Another area of interest is to help achieve the government's aim of making Malaysia a centre of educational excellence. Cooperation from MSDs all over the world will be needed if this is to be achieved.
Towards that end, MSD officials are tasked with getting as many universities abroad as possible, especially the reputable ones, to set up twinning programmes with Malaysia. Foreign universities are also encouraged to set up centres, especially in research and development, in Malaysia. – Bernama
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