UMT-UniSZA merger plan dropped, says higher education minister

Higher Education Minister Datuk Noraini said in a statement that the decision of the ministerial meeting was made after taking into account several factors and current challenges. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Higher Education Minister Datuk Noraini said in a statement that the decision of the ministerial meeting was made after taking into account several factors and current challenges. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, May 22 — The Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) merger plan will not materialise, said Higher Education Minister, Datuk Noraini Ahmad.

She said in a statement that the decision of the ministerial meeting was made after taking into account several factors and current challenges.

Among them were clear differences in aims and focus, issues on coordination of existing academic faculties and research institutions and the level of preparedness and acceptance of both universities in forming a unique identity for the new university, she said.

“The merger of UMT and UniSZA will also offset the achievements both have made in shaping their identities and expanding their aims internationally,” she said.

Noraini said the merger is expected to involve a high cost.

She said the ministry had taken the views of people in the universities seriously and had examined the implications on student development for both universities, if the merger had been carried out.

Meanwhile in Kuala Terengganu the change in plans was well received by UMT vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Nor Aieni Mokhtar, who said the news brought relief to the university community ,amid various uncertainties in laying out the 2020/2021 roadmap.

“Alhamdulillah. Glory be to Allah SWT and our deepest gratitude to Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad for considering, listening and evaluating the views of various parties in making this important decision,” she said.

UMT had been going through several brand evolution phases since 1979 and we have succeeded in bridging the gap between this institution and other research universities, she added.

“We can’t just let go of the achievements that we have attained throughout the university’s development period in terms of academic standards, students co-curricular activities, research quality and the international recognition,” she said in a statement today.

“All UMT and alumni members are grateful that we able to continue to dedicate our services to our beloved UMT,” she added. — Bernama

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