A delegation from the Vice Chancellors’ Council for Private Universities (VCCPU), led by the Chairman of VCCPU and Provost & Chief Executive Officer of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (HWUM) Professor Mushtak Al Atabi, paid a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE).
The VCCPU delegation was received by Yang Berhormat Minister of Higher Education (MoHE) Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Yang Berbahagia Director-General of Higher Education Professor Dato’ Dr. Husaini Omar.
During the visit, both MoHE and VCCPU representatives engaged in a wide-ranging discussion that spanned a variety of topics related to the advancement of higher education in Malaysia, including the development of policies and pathways to enable Malaysian private universities to positively contribute to the knowledge and talent development necessary to maintain a vibrant and sustainable economy for the nation, the region, and the world in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (“4IR” or “Industry 4.0”).
Both parties reaffirmed their commitment to making Malaysia a regional Higher Education hub and explored the obstacles that may delay the realization of this aspiration, the pathways to overcome these obstacles, and encourage more international students to choose Malaysia as an educational destination.
Dato’ Seri Khaled Nordin expressed his support for the National Roundtable for International Students that VCCPU is organizing in May 2023 to gather all relevant stakeholders to consider the challenges and opportunities in this field.
In addition, the Higher Education Minister said that he believed that the success of the country depends on the success of the Higher Education sector and that both private and public universities have roles to play.
“It is essential that private universities are supported adequately so that they can both contribute and prosper. We see the VCCPU as a strategic partner in this regard, and we are committed to continuing working closely together to deliver our joint strategic objectives,” said Dato’ Seri Khaled Nordin.
The discussion also covered topics related to matters concerning the private Higher Education sector in Malaysia, including the issue of income tax levied on scholarships provided by private universities, teaching permits for academics in private universities, internationalization of higher education, deepening the collaboration between public and private universities, as well as the potential of having national level negotiated access to journals and research databases.
Professor Dato’ Dr. Husaini Omar commended the collegiate and the productive working relationship that the Ministry has with VCCPU and reaffirmed the Ministry’s commitment to take this strategic relationship to new levels. He added: “We will continue to develop policies that ensure the relevance and competitiveness of our Higher Education sector and the involvement and support of VCCPU is key to achieving that.”
Professor Mushtak reiterated the commitment of VCCPU member institutions to work closely with them to unleash the true potential of the Higher Education sector. He said: “The private higher education sector in Malaysia is valued at RM30 billion annually. This has the potential to grow to RM100 billion when we achieve our national targets of international student recruitment. Besides the economic benefits to the society and the economy of Malaysia, educating the young international students here will have the longer-term benefits of building advocates for Malaysia around the world and enhancing the country’s soft power.”
Professor Mushtak added: “We are committed to working with the Ministry of Higher Education and other stakeholders to continue developing private Higher Education in Malaysia and ensuring that it is of the highest global standards, both in educational outcomes, innovative approaches, and students’ experience. This will ensure that we will play a key role in creating a sustainable, equitable, and enjoyable world for all.”
Both the Higher Education Minister and VCCPU Chairman have agreed to have regular sessions to ensure effective communication and exchange of ideas and viewpoints in service of the flourishing of the Higher Education sector in Malaysia.