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MUAR, Nov 11 — The Ministry of Education (MOE) will intensify efforts to attract more foreign universities to establish branch campuses at the Pagoh Higher Education Hub (HPTP) here, in line with the government’s aspiration to make Pagoh a regional education hub.
Its minister, Maszlee Malik, said so far Muhammadiyah University Prof Dr Hamka (Uhamka) from Indonesia has expressed interest in setting up a branch in the area and courses offered would be at postgraduate levels.
He said during a meeting in Putrajaya, last July, officials of the university had expressed their intention and during a joint visit to HPTP today, they gave an agreement to start a branch campus here.
“Apart from opening up opportunities to local students, they also informed that in view of the technological advances in Malaysia, they would encourage students from Indonesia to pursue their studies here,” he told a press conference after accompanying Minister of Home Affairs Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on a working visit to HPTP, here today.
According to Maszlee to fully utilise the HPTP area as an educational centre, the ministry would also approach South Korean and Japanese universities as well as local universities and colleges to encourage them to set up their branch campuses there.
When asked to comment on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s desire to see a Japanese university setting up a branch campus in Malaysia, Maszlee said to date three Japanese universities namely the University of Tsukuba, Nippon Designers School, and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University have expressed their interest on the matter.
Meanwhile in Kuala Lumpur, the MOE has extended its invitation to local and international private universities to set up their branch campuses at the HPTP.
According to Maszlee the opening of the branch campuses would give students from throughout the country the chance to pursue their studies at higher levels in the area.
“The development of the HPTP was planned to accommodate 10,800 students and hopefully the hub inspired by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when he was education minister, will act as a strategic growth catalyst for the Pagoh, northern Johore and Melaka areas,” he said in a statement here today.
HPTP involves the development of an area of over 400 hectares which had been developed in phases since 2012. Currently it houses four institutions of higher learning namely Universiti Tun Hussein Onn (UTHM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Polytechnic Tun Syed Nasir Syed Ismail (PTSN).
“Over 7,200 students are currently pursuing their studies at the four universities and we hope the students and lecturers will be able to interact with each other easily as they all operate under one roof,” he added. — Bernama