On a mission for UiTM

I REFER to the report “Leading the Mara march forward” (StarEdu, March 31).

I read with great interest the interview with Universiti Teknologi Mara’s (UiTM) vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim.Most Malaysians are familiar with UiTM, which was established as Mara College in 1965 as one of the affirmative programmes for the bumiputra community. It has grown into the largest public university in Malaysia with 18,000 staff members, 35 campuses, 500 academic programmes,170,000 students and almost 800,000 alumni members.

After reading the views of our professor, I feel that the government has selected the right individual to lead the education institution in Malaysia. The future of the country lies in having enlightened leaders to lead the young.

I can appreciate the mammoth task and challenges faced by our professor. I am sure his leadership style of EATMI (Engage, Align, Teamwork, Motivate and Inspire) will get those working under him to come onboard.I headed a small education institution called POLIMAS (Politeknik Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah) in Jitra, Kedah, before, and I can understand the constraints of working in a government bureaucracy. I didn’t have the power to hire or fire an office boy but I was happy that I had the autonomy in leadership style and human relationships.

For me, the acronym POLIMAS also stood for “Pragmatic, Organised, Long-term, Innovative, Motivated, Accountable, and Simple”. Ninety-five per cent of the staff and students of POLIMAS were Malays when I was there, and I was grateful for their respect, support and cooperation. My tenure there was one of the most memorable times of my life.

I wish Prof Mohd Azraai all the best in his vision and mission for UiTM. The gigantic university has all Malaysians as its stakeholders.