Three Japanese universities to open M’sian branch campuses

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By TMR

Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s vision for the establishment of Japanese universities in Malaysia has been greeted with the interest of three higher-learning institutions that are keen to set up branch campuses in the country.

Minister of Education (MoE) Dr Maszlee Malik (picture) said the institutions include the University of Tsukuba, Nippon Designers Schools and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.

“One of the universities which have initiated plans to establish a branch in Malaysia is University of Tsukuba, one of the oldest university in Japan with a comprehensive research department,” he said in a recent statement.

He added that the ministry has embarked on a process to identify a suitable location for the Japanese university’s maiden branch in the country.

“MoE has begun identifying the location and other necessary steps to ease the process of establishment, registration and enrolment to support the PM’s initiative.

“This matter also has been discussed in my session with Japanese Education, Culture, Science and Technology Minister Masahiko Shibayama recently, which includes enhancing the collaboration between Malaysia and Japan,” Maszlee said.

He added that the Nippon Designers School is also expected to commence operation in Malaysia in 2019, while the University of Tsukuba would open its doors in 2020.

“The collaboration in establishing the branch campuses in Malaysia is among the Look East Policy, which was mooted by Dr Mahathir back in the early 1980s.

“As mentioned by Dr Mahathir, who received an honorary doctorate from the Tsukuba University recently, the establishment of Japanese universities will allow Malaysians to learn Japanese culture and work ethics in addition to their knowledge,” he said.

On Monday, Dr Mahathir expressed his intention in having Japanese universities branches in Malaysia.

The PM, who is on a three-day working visit to Japan, said the appreciation of yen against the ringgit has made it difficult for the government to continue sending local students to the country.

“We thought the best way is to have Japanese universities in Malaysia. We have been striving to get Japanese universities’ branches in Malaysia. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t allow them (for now).

“Under the Look East Policy, we had sent may students to study and work (in Japan) in order to learn about the Japanese work ethics and value system. Without the value system, we will never make progress even with good education,” he said.