Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, and very good afternoon.
H.E Dr. Yukio Hatoyama,
Special Envoy of Prime Minister of Japan,
Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin,
Minister of Ministry of Higher Education
H.E Ambassadors/ High Commissioners of ASEAN Countries,
YBhg. Prof. Dato’ Ir. Dr. Zaini Ujang,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
- I am delighted to be here with all of you today to celebrate what is an important milestone not only for the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology but for Malaysian education as a whole.
- Earlier this year, in our commemorations of the 30th Anniversary of the Look East Policy, the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and I affirmed the important role of this unique institution, which stands as a testament to the true strength of the bilateral relations between our nations. There is a Japanese word, kizuna, or bond of friendship – and it is this enduring bond, this kizuna, that MJIIT signifies so solidly.
- Its launch today marks the culmination of years of talks and careful planning – and I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the many people who have played their part along the way.
- The idea for a Japanese-style education facility in Malaysia was first conceived more than ten years ago during the ASEAN + 3 Summit in Brunei Darussalam by then Prime Ministers Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad and Junichiro Koizumi. It was further deliberated by successive Governments and, as the idea took shape, it was decided to create a technology-based university.
- In 2003 a task force was established by the Malaysian Government to conduct a feasibility study. By the end of that year it was agreed that the new university should be named the Malaysia-Japan International University of Technology and that it should work to promote human resource development in engineering and business management.
- Two years later the Malaysian Japan University Centre, under the able leadership of its Director, Professor Dr. Marzuki Khalid, and its Deputy Director Associate Professor Dr. Azizan Asmuni, was set up to drive forward the development of the new university. Support for the project was reaffirmed during this period by Prime Ministers Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Shinzo Abe. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the role played by the then Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia, Mr Masahiko Horie in making this endeavour a reality.
- But despite a huge amount of goodwill and enthusiasm on both sides, it was not until 2010 that the project really took off. During my first official visit to Japan, His Excellency Hatoyama and I pledged to push harder than ever for the realisation of the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology, as it was now called.
- Malaysian government agreed to receive a loan of RM250million from the Governent of Japan, and at the same time, the Malaysian Cabinet, approving the principle allocation of RM100million for each year, for the next 7 years. In this regards, I would like to thank the H.E. Mr Hatoyama for his support.
- Then in April last year Professor Ir. Megat Johari Megat Mohd Noor was appointed the inaugural Dean of MJIIT, which received its first intake of students on the Mechanical Precision Engineering and Electronic Systems Engineering undergraduate programmes in September and of course, the most recent development is the opening of the fantastic new MJIIT building, in which we stand today.
- So this is a day that has been a long time coming, but it has certainly been worth waiting for – and today’s launch is not only a celebration of MJIIT’s future but a chance to say thank you to all those who made it possible.
- Because the significance of this project should not be underestimated. It is, I think, a potent symbol not only of Malaysia’s rich and burgeoning relationship with Japan but of our confidence in Japanese technology, our admiration for the Japanese work ethic, and our desire to gain a window onto the Japanese way of life.
- At the heart of MJIIT is a commitment to providing affordable, accessible, Japanese-style education in a Malaysian setting at the same time as creating a cutting-edge hub for R&D – and the institute’s strong industry links, both here and in Japan, make it ideally placed to do that.
- It is a partnership that I hope will see Japanese innovation and entrepreneurial skills inculcated into a new breed of Malaysian engineers – young people with the skills and talent to contribute to the sustainable growth of our nation in line with the ‘1Malaysia’ vision.
- And with Malaysia fast emerging as a centre for international education, I would also like to see MJIIT serve as a platform for introducing students’ right across the ASEAN region, and indeed the world, to a Japanese-style engineering education. I am confident that, over time, MJIIT will grow to become a centre of excellence to rival that on offer anywhere in Asia.
- For there can be no doubt that MJIIT has an important part to play in helping Malaysia take our place at the heart of the global economy. The development of new and innovative technologies will be key to driving our country’s future economic growth – so I look forward to MJIIT inspiring future generations to follow their dreams, unleash their imaginations and become world leaders in their fields.
- And I look forward, to see this institution, growing from strenght to strenght, and to have the students capacity approximately around 3000 students, and making this institution as an important institution, to Malaysian, to Japan, and to the world of ASEAN.
- To paraphrase MJIIT’s own guiding principle, it is an institution that aspires to engineer the nation with the precision needed to guide us towards sustainable development and growth. It is certainly a noble goal, and I await with interest the next chapter in the story of this exciting institution.
- In the meantime, and until that next instalment, I am pleased to declare the Malaysia Japan International Institute of Technology officially open!