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Visitors enthralled by Curtin Malaysia Carnival

Miri – 30 August 2018 – Over 4,000 members of the public thronged the campus of Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) for its Curtin Malaysia Carnival 2018, its twelfth open day event, last Saturday.

Including about 400 secondary school students from Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei, they were enthralled by a variety of attractions that included the ‘Faculty Showcases’ showcasing Curtin Malaysia’s faculties and graduate school, and the ‘Future Students Hub’ where future students learned about courses, scholarships, enrollment and other aspects of the university.

In addition, there was a ‘STEM Exhibition’ where visitors were introduced to fascinating aspects of science and technology and the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in education today.

The promotion of STEM was extended to inter-school competitions such as the ‘Curtin Croc Challenge 3.0’ run by the university’s Faculty of Engineering and Science and Office of Research and Development in collaboration with the Institution of Engineers Malaysia and Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineering (IEEE) Curtin Malaysia Student Branch.

Two other inter-school competitions were the ‘Eco-Business Design Challenge’ organised by the Faculty of Business, and ‘Spelling Bee Challenge’ by the Faculty of Humanities.

The ‘Curtin Croc Challenge’, Curtin Malaysia’s signature crocodile-themed electronic design competition, saw 10 teams competing to design the best ‘smart trap’ prototypes that could potentially be used to trap crocodiles in the wild for relocation.

Aimed at fostering critical thinking among students using real-life case studies, the competition has in the past encouraged participants to explore the use of simple electronics and basic programming to sense the presence of crocodiles lurking in swamps and rivers, alert villagers of crocodile intrusion, and this year, trap crocodiles for relocation.

The top three teams in the competition were from SMK Dato’ Permaisuri, SMK Pujut and SMK Lutong. Winning consolation prizes were two other teams from SMK Lutong, and a team from SMK Taman Tunku. They all received cash prizes amounting to RM3,500.

Coming up tops in the Eco-Business Design Challenge was a team from Chung Hua Middle School Kuala Belait, Brunei, followed by teams from SMK Dato’ Permaisuri and SMK Lutong in second and third place.

Aimed at instilling an entrepreneurial and business sustainability mindset among secondary school students, the competition required the teams to propose creative products made from recycled materials and pitch them to a panel of judges. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three teams. 

In the Spelling Bee Challenge, Chung Hua Middle School Kuala Belait’s Team A emerged champions. The school’s Team B followed in second place, while Team 2 of Kolej Tun Dato Tuanku Haji Bujang placed third.   

Designed to promote students’ knowledge of proper word usage and encourage them to strive for excellence in spelling skills, the competition comprised two elimination rounds and a grand finale. The winning teams walked away with cash prizes and medals.

Visitors also got the chance to explore Curtin Malaysia’s 1,200-acre campus, the world’s largest Australian international campus and also Curtin University’s largest international campus and global hub in Asia, by joining campus tours guided by student ambassadors.

Other interesting facets of the Carnival were a ‘Mini Kite Festival’ organised in collaboration with Bintulu Development Authority, organisers of the 14th Borneo International Kite Festival to be held in Bintulu next month, and musical performances by Casual Celidh, billed as Borneo’s only Celidh band from Brunei.

Popular deejay Natasha was on hand throughout the day to give listeners updates on the Carnival and engaging visitors with mini games and question-and-answer sessions. Visitors also got to see Curtin students showcase their talents in the ‘Curtin’s Got Talent’ contest organised by the Curtin Malaysia Student Council.

Other perennial attractions were the wide variety of food, retail and activity stalls run by over 30 student clubs and local businesses, and a ‘Community Corner’ showcasing 13 non-governmental organisations, including the Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society which held a ‘GoBald Satellite Shave’ in collaboration with the university in aid of children with cancer.

Next to its graduation ceremonies, the Curtin Malaysia Carnival is Curtin Malaysia’s largest and most anticipated annual event. First started in 2006 as the Curtin Malaysia Open Day, the event was rebranded the Curtin Malaysia Carnival in the lead-up to Curtin Malaysia’s 20th Anniversary celebration next year. It continued to received support from the Miri City Council for the ninth consecutive year, as well as from a number of the university’s industry partners and corporate sponsors.

In his opening remarks at the carnival’s launching, Curtin Malaysia Pro-Chancellor Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan said he was pleased that Curtin Malaysia continues to be competitive and relevant in the ever-changing education landscape in Malaysia and internationally.

Dr Chan said Curtin Malaysia is embarking on a new phase of campus expansion and challenged the university management to incorporate green features in its new buildings. He went on to pledge RM100,000 towards the development and installation of environment-friendly lighting systems for the campus’ outdoor sports facilities.

Dr Chan’s wife Datuk Lorna Enan Muloon, Sarawak Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin who is also chair of Curtin Malaysia’s management board, Curtin Malaysia pro vice-chancellor, president and chief executive Professor Jim Mienczakowski and deputy pro vice-chancellor Professor Beena Giridharan, chief operating officer Pieter Willem Pottas and Carnival organising chairman Nicholas Leong, were present to witness the opening ceremony.

On Curtin Malaysia’s achievements, Dr Chan said it has grown substantially from a fledgling campus with some 200 students in 1999 to some 4,000 today, and offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in business, humanities, engineering and science. He also said Curtin Malaysia was proud to have produced about 6,000 graduates so far.

Dr Chan attributed the success to several factors, including the strong support from Sarawakians and Curtin University in Australia, as well as the vision and dedication of Curtin University vice-chancellor Professor Deborah Terry who has propelled the university to the top one per cent of universities worldwide in a very short time.

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (, its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Google+ page (Curtin Malaysia), Instagram (curtinmalaysia) or YouTube channel (Curtin Malaysia).    


(L-R) Professor Mienczakowski, Dr Chan, Datuk Lee, Datuk Lorna, Professor Giridharan and Mr Pottas unveiling Curtin Malaysia’s 20th Anniversary logo.

Dr Chan, Datuk Lorna, Datuk Lee and others being greeted by Gundam mascot.

Students demonstrating their prototype at the Curtin Croc Challenge.

Winning team in the Curtin Croc Challenge from SMK Dato’ Permaisuri.

Winners of the Eco-Business Design Challenge with Faculty of Business acting deputy dean Dr Shamsul Kamariah Abdullah.

Head of Applied Geology Department Dr Bill Downey engaging with visiting students.

Huge kites take to the skies above the campus.