MIRI: The Sarawak State Government will assist Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) in expanding its facilities, particularly in relation to information technology (IT), to meet the requirements of the state.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Zohari Tun Openg, in his address to staff and students of Curtin Malaysia during a working visit on Monday, said this was necessary to meet the needs of Industry 4.0.
He remarked that tertiary institutions in Sarawak need to enhance their IT and other expertise in line with the state government’s goal to develop its digital economy and natural resources.
“Many areas of information technology can be explored by universities here to advance Sarawak’s digital economy. Sarawak is also rich in biodiversity, culture and environmental resources that have not been fully explored. All these require detailed study and research,” said Datuk Patinggi Abang Zohari.
The chief minister said he believed Curtin Malaysia was capable of helping the state realise its mission and was keen to see the university producing graduates with the necessary skills and capabilities to do so.
He added that as long as Curtin is fully committed to supporting the state government’s initiatives, it was only fair that the state government provide necessary support and funding.
Present during the visit were Curtin Malaysia Pro-Chancellor Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan; Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong; Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapa’ee; Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and chair of Curtin Malaysia’s Management Board Datuk Lee Kim Shin.
Also present were Curtin Malaysia Pro Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive Professor Jim Mienczakowski, Chairman of Curtin Malaysia’s Board of Directors Datu Ose Murang and members of the Curtin Malaysia Council and Board of Directors.
During the visit, the chief minister was briefed on the campus’ expansion plans, went on a walking tour of the campus, and had a one-hour ‘Meet the Chief Minister’ session with over 200 staff and students, including a number of exchange students from Curtin’s main campus in Perth.
In his welcoming speech, Datuk Patinggi Dr Chan said Curtin Malaysia is very responsive to the technology-enriched learning and teaching activities driving the higher education landscape by providing richly interactive learning environments, technology and infrastructure to support a new generation of students. They include technology-enabled distributed learning spaces that facilitate the two-way delivery of material between Curtin Malaysia and other Curtin campuses.
Datuk Patinggi Dr Chan added that with these new facilities and technologies, Curtin Malaysia is positioning itself as a centre of educational transformation and helping Curtin University expand its global footprint. They also help in preparing its graduates for a rapidly changing global workplace.
Professor Mienczakowski, meanwhile, said Curtin Malaysia, being a state-owned partnership with Curtin University, is proud to contribute to the state government’s game-changing digital economy drive that will propel Sarawak into a new digital era and make it an economic and technological powerhouse in the region.
He added that as Curtin University’s largest international campus and global hub in Asia, Curtin Malaysia is also firmly committed to the development of skilled and educated human capital through the education it provides.
During the session, Professor of Architecture Sambit Datta from the School of Built Environment at Curtin Perth gave a presentation on Curtin University’s research on smart cities and a proposed adaptation of the smart city concept for Miri.
This was followed by a demonstration of Curtin Malaysia’s distributed learning capabilities via a live video link-up from one of its state-of-the-art distributed learning rooms to a similar facility at Curtin Perth, allowing the chief minister to chat briefly with Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry and Provost Professor John Cordery there.
Before his departure from the campus, the chief minister visited the state-funded BioValley Park Project facility for biotechnological research at the campus and was presented a drone custom-built by students of the university. He also toured Azman Islamic Centre at the campus.
For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (www.curtin.edu.my), its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Google+ page (Curtin Malaysia), Instagram (curtinmalaysia) or YouTube channel (Curtin Malaysia).