My surprise visit to Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) last Sunday was indeed memorable. I was informed that there were new student intakes a few days earlier. My wife and I arrived in the evening at Stadium UiTM where thousands of newly registered students and their seniors were about to begin a fitness activity as part of the orientation programme. Although we were not attired for sports activities, my wife and I decided to join them anyway. There were packed refreshments prepared for the students and I took the opportunity to distribute some of them myself. By joining the cheerful atmosphere I had the opportunity to interact further with the students. It was a pleasure to shake hands and share some light moments with these young Malaysians who could be the future movers and shakers of our country.
I left the stadium to the cheers of ‘1Malaysia!’ and next, walked to the residential college to see for myself the living situation of the on-campus students. I enjoyed the casual interaction with more of the students in their rooms and even inspected the bathroom facilities.
As we walked randomly around the residential college, we finally ended at the cafeteria. I sat down, and while waiting for drinks, I soon invited some of the students to a chat, which lasted a good 30 minutes.
I was very impressed with this set of UITM students as what started as a casual chat evolved into a discussion of deeper issues of the nation. I spoke with them on the 1Malaysia concept and how I envision the country to be when we are able to fully embrace and internalise the values of the concept. The students were very responsive, even offering suggestions and inputs on spreading the 1Malaysia message to a global audience. They also expressed their happiness on the amount of facilities available at UiTM. I stressed upon them the importance of pursuing knowledge in a responsible manner and the importance of developing the skills to manage and synthesise information such as information gleaned from the cyber world . With the rapid evolution of technology, it becomes a greater challenge to discern fact from fiction. The discussion would have been longer if not for the fact that the call for maghrib was moments away.
Truly that Sunday I could see that the young Malaysians with whom I conversed have the spirit and determination to make a significant contribution to the country. I left with fresh optimism that the students will take my advice to heart and make a conscientious effort to live and exemplify the 1Malaysia concept.