SIBU: Kolej Bersatu Sarawak, commonly known as UCS (United College Sarawak), will change its name to Kolej Laila Taib (KLT).
The official launch of KLT by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will be held on March 1, the birth day of the late Puan Sri Amar Laila Taib.
Announcing this recently, Sarawak Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said the UCS board of directors decided to donate the college to the state for a token sum of RM1.
The gesture is to honour Puan Sri Amar Laila Taib, the wife of the Sarawak Chief Minister who passed away last April.
New role: Front view of Kolej Bersatu Sarawak in Sibu to be renamed as Kolej Laila Taib.
The RM30mil college stands on 4ha at the old Sibu airport.
“It is a state institution of higher learning,” said Wong, adding that KLT would be wholly owned and managed by the Sarawak government through Yayasan Sarawak.
It will accept its first intake of 300 students in April this year. They will take up diploma courses in quantity surveying, civil engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, architecture and business management.
Upon graduation, this batch will be able to continue to degree programmes without going to Australia or Britain as KLT has articulation arrangements with well-known universities in the two countries.
KLT aims to attain university-college status by 2012.
Wong, who is chairman of the UCS working committee, disclosed that the Kolej Laila Taib Education Fund would be set up to provide scholarships for deserving students to pursue tertiary education.
“Sarawakian students of all races with five SPM credits can apply for the scholarships of RM15,000 for a 3-year diploma programme,” he added.
Reiterating the importance of the success of all projects in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy, Wong said that KLT would gear towards producing enough technical personnel for the projects.
Under principal Wong Kee Yew, UCS has made outstanding achievements in the education industry in Sarawak and Malaysia.
It is the first private higher educational institution to achieve recognition from Malaysian Qualifications Agency (previously known as Lembaga Akreditasi Negara), Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awan, Board of Quantity Surveyors Malaysia, Institution of Surveyors Malaysia, Chartered Institution of Builders and Institution of Engineers Malaysia.
Wong refuted criticism by opposition parties that UCS was given to the state because it had failed and lost its credibility.
“UCS is a non-profit private institution set up by donors. We don’t need to answer to anyone who chooses to politicise the issue,” he said.
He urged the opposition to work with the state to develop education especially in central Sarawak.
“We welcome everyone including the opposition to visit the college and assess its quality of education,” he said.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Robert Lau, also a member of the UCS working committee, challenged the opposition to set up and run a private college instead of just criticising.
“Sibu’s development is beyond politics. Don’t politicise the issue at the expense of development and the people’s interest,” he said.
UCS was the brainchild of former Sarawak United People’s Party president and former deputy chief minister Tan Sri Dr Wong Soon Kai.
The college has 438 students and has produced more than 3,500 graduates since its establishment in 1997.