PUTRAJAYA, Feb 6 — The Ministry of Education (MOE) is intensifying effort to repeal the University and University Colleges Act (AUKU) 1971 and replace it with better and more comprehensive law, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

Dr Mahathir, who is also acting Education Minister, said the effort was in line with the Pakatan Harapan government’s 50th promise in its manifesto to restore the authority and independence of public universities and institutes of higher learning.

“I hope the new law that will replace the AUKU will focus on improving the quality and excellence of the universities so as to create institutes of higher learning that are aware and capable of responding to the ever-changing environment,” he said at his mandate and aspiration-sharing programme with the MOE staff here today.

Dr Mahathir also expressed hope that the National Higher Education Council (NHEC) could be reactivated to strengthen governance system and harmonise the new higher education legislation.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said the synergy of the research and innovation ecosystem would be improved this year in line with the RM400 million allocation set aside for research purposes to enable the universities to carry out high-impact research.

He said the focus should be given on forging and enhancing collaboration with institutions listed in the World’s Top 100 by QS World University Rankings.

In promoting demand-driven research, the Prime Minister said the implementation of Public-Private Research Network 2.0 (PPRN 2.0) and Prototype Research Grant Scheme (PRGS 2.0) this year would give emphasis on solving the problems faced by the small and medium industry.

At the same time, Dr Mahathir said the Education Ministry had also developed the ’Way Forward for Private Higher Education Institutions (PHEIs): Education as An Industry (2020-2025)’ document which will be launched soon to serve as a source of reference for private higher education institutions in determining their direction by 2025. — Bernama