KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry has been given the go-ahead by the Cabinet to set up the Global Health Institute, a medical research facility run in collaboration with the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo.
Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said the institute would come under the auspices of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
It would focus its research activities on infectious diseases in tropical and sub-tropical countries.
“We hope to open the institute next year,” he said, adding that it would temporarily share premises with UKM’s medical school.
Musa said that Malaysia was invited by the United Nations to set up the facility because it felt that the medical service as well as training in Malaysia was of high quality compared with that in other tropical and sub-tropical countries.
“Although there are 14 other research institutes under the UN, this is the first one in the field of medical research,” he said.
As the host country for the institute, Malaysia would contribute US$5mil (RM19mil) a year towards a rotating fund to finance its operations.
The United Nations would also contribute some funds, although the amount has not been specified.
A director, to be appointed by the UNU rector, would head the institute.
There would also be 22 professors and associate professors holding key positions.
“The institute will gather expertise from all over the world and work with foreign education and research institutes under the UN.
“This way, we will be able to collate knowledge from all over the world and be at the forefront of medical research and development activities,” he said after presenting excellent service awards to more than 700 teachers and ministry staff yesterday.
As a research establishment, the institute would offer postgraduate courses in related areas although admission into the programmes would be decided by UNU.
“The institute aims to attract researchers, both local and foreign. UNU will facilitate admissions and the awarding of research projects although as the host country, Malaysian interests will be given priority,” he said.
On another matter, Musa announced that the ministry would be setting up an additional 1,500 pre-schools next year in its ongoing effort to provide pre-school places for all children aged five and six by 2007.
“Since 2001, we have pledged to build 1,500 new pre-school classes every year until 2007. So far, we are on target.”