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Chief Minister gets update on latest developments at Curtin Malaysia

Miri – 18 January 2019 – Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was given an update on the latest developments at Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) by senior leaders of the university who paid him a courtesy visit at his office in Kuching on Wednesday.

The leaders comprised Curtin Malaysia pro-chancellor and chairman of the Curtin Malaysia Council Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam; chairman of the Curtin (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. board of directors Datu Ose Murang; chairman of the Curtin Malaysia management board Datuk Lee Kim Shin; board members Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot and Tuan Haji Azmi bin Haji Bujang, and Curtin Malaysia pro vice-chancellor, president and chief executive Professor Jim Mienczakowski.

In addition to key achievements over the past year and plans for the coming years, they also briefed the chief minister on Curtin Malaysia’s 20th Anniversary celebrations in 2019, which will include a gala dinner to which government leaders and senior university executives from Western Australia and Sarawak will be invited, and the graduation of Curtin Malaysia’s largest-ever graduating cohort of over 760 students in April.

Its highlights in 2018 included hosting a number of events in support of Sarawak’s Industry 4.0 and digital economy drives and the promotion of innovation in science, engineering and technology. They included the International Conference on Durability of Building and Infrastructures (DuraBI 2018), International Conference on Aeronautical, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AAME 2018), Great Energy Debate in collaboration with Shell International; and the concurrent Curtin University Technology, Science and Engineering (CUTSE) and One Curtin Postgraduate Conference (OCPC) conferences.

Curtin Malaysia also hosted an ‘Industry 4.0 Awareness Programme’ in collaboration with the Sarawak Ministry of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development and Sarawak Multimedia Authority for representatives from various industries and students of the university.

Earlier in the year, it hosted the 2-day STEM Playground 2018 – Curtin IEEE Science and Technology Exhibition and Kids Festival in Miri in collaboration with various industry groups and non-governmental organisations, the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research (MESTR) and Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumiputera Sarawak (TEGAS).

2018 also saw a number of its academics win prestigious awards for teaching excellence. Among them were Dr Stephanie Chan who won the ‘Young Woman in Engineering Award’ for her contributions to science and engineering; Dr Shamsul Kamariah who was awarded the ‘Curtin Award for Programs that Enhance Learning’ for innovative use of distributed learning; mechanical engineering senior lecturer Dr Sumaiya Islam, culture and language lecturer Dr Anita Jimmie and foundation in engineering and science lecturer Kamaroizan Mohamad who received Curtin Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching (EIT); and mechanical engineering lecturers Lai Zhenyue, Chew Ing Ming  and civil and construction engineering lecturer Dr Wong Shi Yee who were awarded Higher Education Academy (HEA) Fellowships by the United Kingdom-based Advance Higher Education (Advance HE).

Of particular note was Associate Professor Rajat Mazumder Mazumder, a geologist in Curtin Malaysia’s Department of Applied Geology, who with Trisrota Chaudhuri, a PhD scholar with the University of Calcutta who is also associated with the Geological Survey of India, discovered the world’s second oldest rock in Odisha, India. Their remarkable discovery was highlighted in a Scientific Reports, an online journal from the publishers of Nature.

In research and development, the Curtin Malaysia Research Institute (CMRI) entered into a research collaboration with the Sarawak Public Works Department to develop biosandstone as a solution to paving rural roads; and the Sarawak government-funded Pilot Plant Facility began exploring the potential of extracts from a variety of indigenous natural produce using its RM4.2 million pilot-scale Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE) system.

Three new undergraduate courses in construction management, cyber security and software engineering were introduced to meet industry demands, and the Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication was enhanced with the addition of a journalism stream ideal for students keen to pursue careers in the print, broadcast and online media. With this, the first industry-standard radio conti in East Malaysia for the teaching of broadcast journalism units was launched.

Established in 1999 as a joint venture between Curtin University and the Sarawak government, Curtin Malaysia has grown to become one of the leading tertiary institutions in Malaysia, in addition to being Curtin’s largest international campus and global hub in Asia.

It currently has some 4,000 students in foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in engineering and science, business and humanities. They come from over 50 different countries, creating a very international and cross-cultural learning environment, and teaching staff from some 15 countries further strengthen its global focus.

Last month, Datu Ose, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Chan, Curtin Malaysia Council member and chairman of Curtin Malaysia’s Joint Venture Board Dato Sri Fong Joo Chung, Datuk Lee, Board member Vincent Lu and Professor Mienczakowski were in Perth to sign a new joint venture agreement (JVA) on behalf of the Sarawak government for a further 20 years of partnership with Curtin University.

Representing Curtin University at the signing were Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry, Chief Financial Officer David Menarry; General Consul (Commercial) Josephine Di Fava; Deputy Director of Transnational Education and Partnerships Nigel De Silva; and Manager of Transnational Education and Partnerships Guy Harris.

According to Datu Ose, the JVA acknowledges 20 years of strong partnership between Curtin Malaysia and Curtin University, which is now recognised as a global university with campuses in Western Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and Mauritius and strategic partnerships with over 130 institutions across the world.

Professor Mienczakowski added that, as part of a university ranked in the top one per cent in the world in the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities, Curtin Malaysia is clearly the leading world-ranked institution in Borneo by a significant margin across the vast majority of global metrics. Also, as Curtin’s oldest and largest international campus now entering its twentieth year, it represents Curtin’s firm commitment to education and development in Malaysia, and particularly in Sarawak.

He said 2019 will be an exciting year for Curtin Malaysia, with the introduction of more new courses to meet industry demands, including a bachelor’s degree in management and human resource management, and master’s degrees in international business, marketing and petroleum engineering. 

Curtin Malaysia is also undergoing a new phase of strategic development over the next five years that focuses on expanding its role as Curtin’s global hub in Asia. It has over the last three years created more innovative learning spaces and incorporated technologies that facilitate bi-directional delivery of courses between the Perth and Miri campuses and support active student learning.

It has also embarked on the development this year of a Curtin Stock Market Trading Room (a teaching facility to give business students a real-life trading floor experience), Digital Centre for Excellence, and a new Engineering Research Laboratory and Curtin Cybersecurity Innovation & SmartCity Hub equipped with the latest technologies in an expansion of its existing substantial engineering and science facilities.

This is in addition to investments in biotechnological research infrastructure by the Sarawak state government and Curtin at the soon-to-be-opened Pilot Plant Facility at the campus, which will create fresh opportunities for collaborative research and industry engagement to bring positive change to local communities.

The Curtin Malaysia leaders thanked the chief minister for his continued support of Curtin Malaysia and looked forward to further funding from the state government for its infrastructure development, scholarships and research activities.

On Monday, during an event officiated by the chief minister in Miri, Professor Mienczakowski received a cheque for RM2 million from Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari as part of an allocation promised by the chief minister for infrastructure development. The chief minister, during a visit to Curtin Malaysia in 2017, had assured that the Sarawak government would assist the university in expanding its facilities, particularly in relation to information technology (IT) to meet the requirements of the state.

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), YouTube channel (Curtin Malaysia) or LinkedIn page (Curtin Malaysia).


The chief minister (4th from left), flanked by Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya, Datuk Lee Kim Shin and Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Chan (left) and Datu Ose, Professor Mienczakowski and Tuan Haji Azmi (right).


The Curtin Malaysia campus in Miri – Curtin’s largest international campus and global hub in Asia, and leading world-ranked institution in Borneo.