Fashion to bring UiTM forward


ARMED with a clear vision, Datuk Rizalman Ibrahim (pic) is ready to make positive changes at his alma mater – Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

As the newest board member of the multi-campus university, the renowned Malaysian-born fashion designer wants to improve their graduates’ “survival skills” and bring the institution to greater heights.

“Although I am a fashion designer, my first course of action as board member will not be about changing the institution’s clothing or uniforms,” he said with a hearty laugh.

The 49-year-old, who studied Art & Design (Fashion Design) at the varsity, intends to leverage on three decades of experience to instil entrepreneurial values in the students, and prepare them to weather tough situations in the workplace and economy.

“Given that demand for supplies and services will not stop, entrepreneurship is a necessary knowledge. It is the art of survival.

“I wasn’t appointed to change the system entirely, but rather to further strengthen the varsity’s overall credibility.

“Existing traditions and methods need to be continued but they can be combined with new and relevant elements,” said Rizalman in a video interview with the media on Oct 17.

He said he would focus his entrepreneurial experience to contribute ideas for the development of UiTM.

“I am ready and willing to provide my input to enhance the quality of graduates.

“I want to incubate and produce highly-skilled students who are relevant, and transform UiTM into an institution which not only educates students, but one that also has commercial value.”

Given that UiTM produces skill-based graduates, Rizalman plans to incorporate more industrial related information into the syllabus.

Students, he said, should be exposed to entrepreneurship from the moment they start their studies.

“We have to prepare them for the working world because it is a cruel place.

“Students should be trained and taught to hit the ground running once they’ve moved to the next phase of their lives – which is working.”

Expressing an intention to “unite” the varsity’s many faculties, he cited the lack of cooperation between the respective faculties as a main problem that needed to be addressed as it has been a long-standing issue since the 1980s.

“Each faculty interacts only with themselves.

“The business faculty may say art and design is a waste of time, and the art and design faculty would diss the business students’ dressing.

“This should stop. Faculties should come together and think about producing a product collectively which can help generate capital for the university,” he said.

On his recent appointment, Rizalman cheekily said: “What took you (UiTM) so long (to appoint me)!”

“It has been my hope to become a board member. I see this as an opportunity to give back to my university – using my experience and knowledge.”

Describing the appointment as timely, he said he may not have been able to do justice to the role if he had been appointed earlier.

“I believe I was given this opportunity because I have the knowledge of syllabus and the industry to make improvements,” said Rizalman.

Before implementing any changes, he plans on going to the ground to study and understand which aspect needs more attention in the development of UiTM.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad congratulated Rizalman on his appointment.

“Based on my experience, I am confident that Rizalman will be able to contribute his expertise and devotion, especially in the field of entrepreneurship,” read Noraini’s social media posts on Oct 16.

UiTM also congratulated its alumnus’ appointment on its official Facebook page.

“Congratulations, Rizalman on your appointment as a board member of UiTM from the Chairman of the Board, Board Members and Executive Management of the university.”

Support from netizens has been pouring in for Rizalman, lauding him as “the best choice” and praising him for his successful career as a fashion designer, interior designer, event manager, wedding organiser and TV personality.

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