The first idea on the need for higher education for the Malays appears in the Conference of Rulers’ Meetings in 1903. Za’ba, a scholar, wrote about the idea in the Malay Board press in 1917. The ideas, debates and determination gave from the Malay scholars in establishing a university and the use of the Malay language as a medium of communication in higher education institutions began in 1923 when Abdul Kadir Adabi, another Malay scholar submitted a memorandum to the Sultan of Kelantan. However, such thinking and determination cannot be developed and implemented because of the various obstacles and challenges under the pressure of colonialism.
From 1957 to 1967, the struggle for the establishment of a national university became increasingly popular as it met the demands and spirit of national independence. Accordingly, in 1968, Malay scholars had formed a sponsoring committee with the role of planning the establishment of a national university. The various cultural and political forum was held to gain support from the government and the people, in order to introduce a higher education institution which upholds the Malay language as the medium of communication in all areas of study and knowledge. The never-ending struggle culminated with the establishment of the National University of Malaysia (UKM) on 18th May 1970, which began its first operation in the Kuala Lumpur Coastal Valley. The first group consisting of 192 undergraduate students and two (2) graduates began enrolling in three faculties namely the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Islamic Studies. In 1974, UKM had established the UKM’s Sabah Campus in the Kawang Gardens, Papar. The name was later changed to Limauan by Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun who was then, the Chief Minister of Sabah.
The campus, which housed the Faculty of Science and Natural Resources moved to Bukit Padang, Kota Kinabalu in 1980. Then moved to Menggatal, Tuaran in 1990 with the Faculty of Development Science originally located in Bangi Main Campus. With the establishment of Sabah University Malaysia in 1994, the UKM’s Sabah Campus officially closed in 1996 and the two faculties were transferred to the Bangi Main Campus, Selangor. During its 45-years of establishments, UKM has produced 170,112 undergraduate and graduated students. The university continues to grow rapidly as a public university with thirteen (13) faculties and thirteen (13) research excellence institutes currently. UKM also owns a commercially operated entity, namely UKM Holdings Sdn. Bhd. and UKM Technology Sdn. Bhd. as an approach to commercialize and personalize the acquired expertise while generating University’s funding.
Dewan Canselor Tun Abdul Razak, UKM Bangi
Chancellor Tun Abdul Razak Hall, UKM Bangi