KAMPAR: Malaysia's development and its impressive progress in higher education reflects the Prime Minister's determination to promote knowledge and to have knowledgeable people, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik said.
He said Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Vision 2020 had called on Malaysians to move towards higher standards in the acquisition of skills, knowledge, language competency, work attitudes, discipline, managerial abilities, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to excellence.
“Raising the level and quality of education will create an advanced economy driven by information and skills. It is knowledge and the dissemination of new ideas that can change a nation and transform the world,” Dr Ling, who is Transport Minister, said at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) here yesterday.
He said there were 14 public universities now compared to only five when Dr Mahathir took office 21 years ago.
There are also 15 private universities and branch campuses of foreign universities now under the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act which also took effect under Dr Mahathir's administration.
“Today, enrolment in universities is 144,700 – a seven-fold increase – compared to 20,764 in tertiary enrolment in 1981.
“Utar, being the latest private university in the country, will rise to this challenge of Dr Mahathir.
“It has been the support and encouragement extended by Dr Mahathir that enabled us, in Utar, to embark on this ambitious course.
“He has entrusted to us the task of building a private university of excellence,” Dr Ling, who is also Utar council chairman, said.
He said Dr Mahathir's expectation of Utar was that it would educate and train Malaysians who could help develop the nation.
“We are grateful to the Prime Minister for his faith in us and for giving us the opportunity to serve the people and nation through Utar,” Dr Ling said, assuring Dr Mahathir that Utar would live up to expectation.
Declaring Utar's total commitment to achieve Vision 2020 goals, Dr Ling said the thrust towards change and innovation marked the administration of Dr Mahathir.
From an agriculture-based economy to an industrialising one, Dr Ling said Malaysia was moving towards a digital and knowledge-based economy.
Quoting renowned author Michael Backman, who described Dr Mahathir as a good example of a great leader, Dr Ling said the Prime Minister was a reformer with moderate Islamic views for a contemporary society.
“Dr Mahathir has done a wonderful job in forging a sophisticated, extraordinary and outstanding country. He has world presence. He is articulate, intelligent and politically astute. Malaysia has benefited much from this,” said Dr Ling.
He said Backman had aptly and cogently summed up a leader who had modernised the country's civil service, constructed a network of modern highways and changed the skyline of Kuala Lumpur with the world's tallest twin buildings – the Petronas Twin Towers.
He added that Dr Mahathir had also set in place the Multimedia Super Corridor, rolled out Malaysian-made cars and completed the world-class KL International Airport.
Dr Ling said Utar's activities, academic or non-academic, would also reflect the inter-ethnic harmony, close co-operation and moderation that had made Malaysia an example to a world troubled by continuing sectarian conflicts.
He also expressed gratitude to Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Tajol Rosli Ghazali and the state government for granting the land to build Utar, saying that he was confident that the university would be a catalyst for economic development in the Kinta Valley.
Did you find this article insightful?