KUUB, UPM Bintulu Sarawak Campus and Curtin Malaysia forging educational and research collaboration

Miri – 26 January 2024 – A delegation from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Bintulu Sarawak Campus made a courtesy visit to Curtin University of Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) on 22 January 2024.

The delegation, led by Haji Fakhzan Haji Bujang, Senior Language Instructor of UPM Bintulu Sarawak Campus and head of the secretariat of Konsortium Universiti Universitas Borneo (KUUB), represented Director of UPM Bintulu Sarawak Campus Professor Dr Shahrul Razid Sarbini, who also the current chair of KUUB, the newly-formed consortium of 16 Bornean universities.

Other members of the delegation included Deputy Director of Strategy Centre and Corporate Relations Hajah Siti Rajanah Abdul Aziz, Senior Lecturer of Microbiology and Molecular Biology Ts. Dr. Suhaili Mustafa, and Administrative Officer Mohamad Syukri Mohamad Adnan.

Professor Simon Leunig, Pro Vice-Chancellor, President, and Chief Executive of Curtin Malaysia, expressed in his welcoming speech that Curtin Malaysia was keen to strengthen its longstanding relationship with UPM Bintulu Sarawak Campus, and like UPM Bintulu Sarawak Campus was proud to be part of KUUB, working together with the other universities in Borneo to advance education and international research in the region.

He said that KUUB positions the three nations of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei as the foremost destination for higher education in Southeast Asia, and will effectively foster collaborations, build connections, and promote mutual understanding and integration to accomplish the universities’ shared goals for Borneo.

Professor Leunig added that the consortium is well-aligned with Curtin University’s Vision 2030 and its focus on People, Planet and Partnerships, as well as Curtin Malaysia’s commitment to innovation and excellence in teaching and research, engaging local communities and transforming lives through leadership, innovation and excellence.

During the meeting, Professor Leunig signed the KUUB Declaration of Understanding on behalf of Curtin Malaysia. All 16 universities in KUUB are signatories to the document, affirming their commitment to the consortium’s ideals and goals.

Regarding Curtin Malaysia’s ongoing ties with UPM Bintulu Sarawak Campus, Professor Leunig underscored the respective strengths of the two universities, saying that UPM’s strengths in academia and research and its role as one of the most prestigious public universities in Malaysia, could be leveraged with Curtin Malaysia’s own strengths in education and research, as well as its position as Curtin University’s largest global campus and hub in ASEAN.

“As a Sarawak Government-owned entity, Curtin Malaysia fully supports the government’s initiatives, and welcome any opportunities to actively contribute to these efforts. Furthermore, as part of Curtin University, a reputable institution ranked among the top 1 per cent of universities worldwide, the educational practices we offer meet international standards and are highly regarded within the education sector globally,” he said.

“Through collaborations, internships, and industry placements, our students gain practical exposure and develop industry-relevant skills. These partnerships further contribute to the advancement of the education we provide.”

Haji Fakhzan, meanwhile, mentioned in his speech that Prof. Leunig was one of the strongest supporters of the establishment of KUUB and continues to work towards fostering stronger relationships between the universities in Sarawak and Borneo, reflecting Curtin Malaysia’s passion for advancing education in the region.

This includes hosting the first KUUB Postgraduate by Research Colloquium 2024 this December, which will see delegates from the universities in KUUB; Curtin’s campuses in Australia, Malaysia, Dubai, Singapore and Mauritius; and other universities in the region gathering in Miri to share approaches to promoting and enhancing research, education and student experiences, which are increasingly central to the improved performance of universities.

Haji Fakhzan also highlighted the KUUB Secretariat’s role in assisting member universities in hosting events or projects related to research such as the Postgraduate by Research Colloquium 2024, student exchange programmes, and staff development.

Additionally, he emphasised that KUUB serves as a platform to promote educational and research collaboration in the region, bringing the universities closer together, and fostering trans-boundary education and understanding.

Also present at the meeting were Curtin Malaysia’s Dean of Research and Development John Curtin Distinguished Professor Ramasamy Nagarajan, Dean of Learning & Teaching Professor Tang Fu Ee, Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Science Professor Tuong-Thuy Vu, Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Health Sciences Professor Roy Rillera Marzo, Dean of Faculty of Business Professor Pauline Ho Poh Ling, and Director of the Curtin Malaysia Graduate School Professor Agus Saptoro.

For additional information about Curtin Malaysia, visit curtin.edu.my or look for Curtin Malaysia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, or TikTok.

Prof Leunig (seated on left) signing DoU on behalf of Curtin Malaysia, while Prof Vincent Lee signs as a witness

Prof Leunig (left) presenting a souvenir to Haji Fakhzan