Tuesday, January 25, 2011

First five days a difficult period to help Malaysian students in Brisbane floods

KUALA LUMPUR Jan 24 — The Malaysian government could not provide aid to Malaysian students who were victims of flood in Brisbane, Australia, during the first five days said Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

He said nobody was allowed access into the affected areas to send aid, including the Malaysian government.

"It was not possible for aid to reach the flood victims when the flood waters had submerged the area. There would have been difficulty finding boats and other facilities to send the aid.

"However, we kept in touch with the authorities and set into motion, every effort to ensure Malaysian students affected by the floods were safe,” he told reporters here today.

He added that all they (Malaysian students) needed during that period (first five days), was to accept whatever aid and support provided by the Australian government or others who are allowed to enter the affected areas in Brisbane for the first five days.

Khaled was commenting on local reports that Malaysian students in Brisbane were disappointed with the Malaysian High Commission and the Department of Students Affairs for failing to provide aid during the floods.

Two weeks ago Queensland suffered one its worst floods in more than a decade when more than 20,000 houses were submerged by flood waters, causing extensive damages to property.

Khaled earlier witnessed the signing of an agreement between Iskandar Education Enterprise Sdn Bhd (IEE) and the University of Southampton (Southampton) to establish the University of Southampton Malaysia Campus (USMC) in EduCity, Iskandar Malaysia (EduCity@Iskandar).

The university is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social science, health, arts and humanities. Khaled said USMC in EduCity@Iskandar would offer undergraduate and post-graduate courses in electrical, mechanical and aerospace engineering.

"The university will initially offer undergraduate courses in engineering taught by Southampton professors in Malaysia for the first two years of the programme with a seamless transition to Southampton”s campus in the United Kingdom (UK) for the last two years.

"This will guarantee a unique ”Southampton” educational experience, combining the best Malaysia and the UK,” he said.

According to him, USMC was scheduled to be launched in EduCity@Iskandar by 2012 and the first student intake would be by September that year.

He added EduCity@Iskandar was now recognised as the next destination for higher education in Asia, and was set to attract students from Malaysia and across Asia.

"We aim to recruit an additional 150,000 foreign students within the next decade. This is not an unrealistic target. With our large domestic market and favourable economic policies, Malaysia is ever ready to ride on the growth potential of the higher education market in Asia,” he added.

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