Stress On Natural Biodiversity In 2015 UKM-Global Students Stint
By Asmahanim Amir
Pix Abdul Raai Osman
BANGI, 30 July 2015 – Natural Biodiversity is to be emphasised to 44 local and international students taking part in The National University of Malaysia’s (UKM) UKM-Global Student Mobility Partnerships 2015 (GSMP) for three weeks starting July 29.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Prof Dato’ Dr Mazlin Mokhtar said the programme is not only to build international bridges but also to promote mutual social and cultural understanding, while expanding appreciation for nature especially biodiversity such as the hinterland, sea and coast.
“For this purpose, we will bring participants to places with indigenous populations such as the Royal Belum Forest in Perak and Iban and Bidayuh long-house in Sarawak through the Indigenous Community of Malaysia (ICM) course.
“Another course is Sustainability of Tropical Heritage (STH) which will take students to Langkawi Island in Kedah and Danum Valley in Sabah,” he said to reporters after the opening ceremony of GSMP 2015, here on July 29, 2015.
He said students who choose to join the STH course will visit interesting places at Langkawi Island include Gunung Mat Cincang and to the Danum Valley in Sabah.
“STH course gives emphasis on the natural heritage. For this edition, it is different e because we have obtained approval to enter the Sipadan Marine Park (in Sabah).
“We also have the cooperation of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) and ESSCOM officials will brief security aspects to participants and staff involved,” he said.
Meanwhile, ICM Coordinator and anthropologist, Dr Vivien Yew said students who choose to join the ICM course will experience a wedding of the Bidayuh clan with all its paraphernalia and can discuss with the Iban community about personal hygiene and the environment.
“Before this, we only just ask them to make comparisons between Bidayuh and Iban lifestyle but now we will give them the chance to take part in a real wedding of the Bidayuh with clan who used authentic equipment without fusion of of Malay and Chinese cultures.
“Besides that, we will look at the extent to which ideas they provide can help the Iban clan in cleanliness,” she said.
Anthropologist Emeritus Prof Dato’ Dr Hood Mohd Salleh said students will go to the orang asli villages at the Royal Belum Forest to explore and take a closer look at the lives of the indigenous people of Malaysia.
“We want to give a chance to them (students) to interact with the orang asli so that the indigenous people can use this relationship to find out more about the outside world, especially in economic relations.
“How can we improve their economic standing through a thinking and ideas equation? That is what we try to achieve. Nowadays more and more orang asli are doing the homestay business, cleaning the villages and taking tourists to nature adventures to get a feel of their way of their life. This is a good development,” he explained.
Prof Dr Mazlin expressed hope that more and more international students will join this programme in the future while also pledging to send UKM students to other countries interacting with Malaysia.
This is the seventh GSMP programme held by UKM, which has produced a total of 168 alumni from 16 countries including Mexico, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Australia, he added.