By Abdul Ghani Nasir
Pix by Saliman Leman
BANGI, 28 March, 2011 – Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM) Vice Chancellor has expressed the hope that the close ties especially in the field of education between Indonesia specifically the Province of Aceh with UKM could be further strengthened.
Speaking at the launching of the International Conference on Aceh Development organised by the Aceh Students’ Association of UKM here Saturday (March 26), Prof Tan Sri Dato’ Wira Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin wants researchers from UKM and Aceh to co-operate in exploring knowledge developed in the Malay world so as to create international awareness of what had been achieved.
“Such cooperation in the spirit of Nusantara will enable us to bring about changes to ensure the Malays can take their pride of place in the world,” she said.
Close relationships between Indonesia and UKM begun since its early years of establishment in the 70’s. The co-operation and support of Indonesian lecturers who had taught at UKM since then had helped the university attain its position in the field of higher learning in Malaysia.
Such relationship continued through the exchange of lecturers and students, sharing of expertise, joint seminars as well as co-operation with universities in Aceh like Universitas Syiah Kuala in Banda Aceh and Universitas Malikusaleh Lhokseumawe.
There are currently about 200 Aceh students studying in various fields for their first degrees, masters and PhDs in UKM.
UKM is also proud that many of its Alumni from Aceh were now holding responsible positions in the economic and social development of the people of the province.
She said UKM places special consideration to the role played by its Alumni, making it an important agenda that should be developed so that the alumni can assist in enhancing the university’s image.
“Alumni are our ambassadors since they can help to widen the university’s networking,” she said.
Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia, Tan Sri Dr Da’i Bachtiar who also addressed the conference said Indonesia welcomes investments from Malaysia though at times the investors had faced certain problems that needed to be straightened out.
He gave an example of land clearing projects for the planting of oil palm involving Malaysian investors though already approved by the Governor’s office as well as at the local level but could not proceed when Indonesia ratified the Copenhagen Declarations which prohibited the clearing of forest reserves.
The provincial and district administrations were not aware of the ratification and that had then resulted in misunderstandings, said Dr Bachtiar.
Aceh’s Governor Drh. Irwandi Yusuf who declared open the two day conference outlined the province’s development plans for the 2012-2020 period and its efforts in improving the province’s economy following its devastations to the 2004 tsunami that destroyed most of its infrastructures.
A total of 148 working papers were presented by researchers from UKM, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Malaya, Universitas Syiah Kuala and Universitas Nasional Indonesia. – Portal Berita UKM
Translated by Siti Madihah Ahmad Mahir UiTM Industrial Trainee