KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Rozzeta Dolah (pic) believes she has benefited from the country’s Look East Policy that was introduced in the early 1980s.
It challenged Malaysians in the economic and industrial sectors to learn from Japan and South Korea, and she said her time in Japan greatly influenced her thinking and values.
Now a senior lecturer at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Razak School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, the 36-year-old said she was there for three years.
“I was taught that one’s contribution to society is important. The Japanese are so helpful to each other and are very civic-minded. They help each other improve,” said Dr Rozzeta, who qualified with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Meiji University in 2014.
She said she chose to pursue her doctorate in Japan after becoming interested in learning more about the Taguchi methods, a series of statistical methods developed by Genichi Taguchi to improve the quality of manufactured goods, and more recently also applied to engineering, biotechnology, marketing and advertising.
“It was an honour for me to be placed under the tutelage of Prof Dr Zenichi Miyagi,” she said, adding that she was fortunate to be able to learn the Taguchi methods from Shin Taguchi, the son of the founder, who was her thesis co-supervisor.
Wanting to emulate the Japanese in contributing to society, Dr Rozzeta and a colleague Assoc Prof Dr Khairur Rijal Jamaludin formed a team to set up a Malaysian hub for the learning of Taguchi methods.
The facility, called the Genichi Taguchi Centre, is at the UTM campus in Jalan Semarak.
The team also worked with others, including Shin, to start an English-language conference on the Taguchi methods – the International Conference on Robust Quality Engineering – which will be on its third run this year.
“The Japanese have a conference on the Taguchi methods where both the academia and industry players share knowledge with each other. This has been going on for years, but it is only in Japanese,” she said, adding that by having it in English, more people can “trade knowledge”.
Dr Rozzeta, who speaks and writes Japanese, said she truly admired the way the Japanese academia and industry players worked together.
Dr Rozzeta advised Malaysians studying in Japan to make the most of their time there.
“Try to be an opportunist, in the good sense of the word. Learn the best from the Japanese and put it into practice here to help our society be better,” she said.
The Look East Policy was introduced by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1982.