UNIVERSITI Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) have been designated as research universities under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
USM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said the university had been waiting for this for a long time.
“We have been preparing for this and it is wonderful to learn we are one of the four chosen universities,” he said when contacted.
He expressed hope that this meant the university could be given more flexibility and autonomy in hiring staff.
UKM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Salleh Mohd Yasin concurred, saying one of the steps in becoming a world-class university was through research.
“This is why, as part of the university’s strategic plan known as PS2020, we have placed emphasis on RIQ – Research, Internationalisation and Quality Assurance,” he said.
On the plan to increase the number of academic staff with PhD qualifications to 60% of the total academic staff by 2010, Prof Mohd Salleh said the university’s plan now was to hit 75%.
“We will also increase the number of postgraduates to 40% of the total intake from the current 28%,” he said.
Acting Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Razali Agus said UM was grateful to be acknowledged as one of the four research universities.
“We hope this will result in additional funding for research and more incentives,” he added.
He said UM would concentrate on certain niche areas like biotechnology.
While commending the Government’s plans to set up universities in Terengganu and Kelantan to meet the country’s demand, former academic Dr Syed Husin Ali cautioned that they should be properly conceived to ensure quality.
In Kelantan, community leaders lauded the announcement that the state would finally have its own public university – Universiti Darul Naim.
State Umno Youth head Dali Hussin said this showed that the Barisan Nasional-led Government did not isolate Kelantan.
State MCA deputy chairman Khor Chew Hing said the university should jumpstart development in the state.
“This is apart from the RM4bil allocated for flood mitigation; Kelantan is flood-prone,” Khor said.
State Gerakan chairman Datuk Ng Siang Chin described it as the “best gift ever” as investing in education was akin to generating long-term wealth for the state.
Ninth Malaysia Plan Links
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Click here for the full text of the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
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