KOTA KINABALU — The challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic demands more research work done by the academic fraternity, particularly in fields that can further help revive the country’s economy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
The prime minister said although academicians tend to focus on research work and on developing their expertise, there was still plenty of room that can be worked on for society’s benefit.
“In this context, the direction taken by academicians must also be in line with the challenges faced by local communities and society in general.
“Academicians must start changing their way of thinking, in this case from ‘knowledge for knowledge’ to ‘knowledge for society and nation. We are facing challenges… the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery efforts and the implementation of various government agendas in security, health, tourism and for the nation’s prosperity.
“All these are among challenges that must be given focus, especially by the academic fraternity,” he said at a gathering with students of Sabah public higher learning institutions at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here today, where he also handed over Yayasan Tenaga Nasional’s My Brighter Future (MyBF) scholarship offer letters.
Also present were Minister of Higher Education Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad, Higher Education Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Mazlan Yusoff, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) chairman Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and TNB president and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan.
In facing these challenges, Muhyiddin expressed confidence that local tertiary institutions were on par with those abroad, but added that they must back this stature by also coming up tops in their fields.
He urged local academicians, including those from UMS, to come up with programmes that would help feature their work and expertise as a source of reference.
“Lecturers and professors must come forward with greater contributions not only in terms of teaching, learning, research and commercialisation, but also lend their expertise for the benefit of society and the nation.
“Their expertise and contributions must go beyond the campus walls so that society benefits too.
“They must be prepared to become experts in their fields and make the country proud with their achievements. We are lacking those who are willing to do this and this is why we have yet to produce our own ‘Nobel Laureate’,” Muhyiddin said.
Muhyiddin challenged tertiary institutions to work on activities capable of producing nobel laureates who will go on to become the pride of the nation and the world.
Towards realising this dream, he called on the Higher Education Ministry to work together with tertiary institutions to review and strengthen plans and programmes that had been developed before this so that more scholars can be produced.
At the event, Muhyiddin also witnessed the signing of a collaboration note between the government and TNB on the implementation of the MyBrighter Future (MyBF) programme.
The programme gives priority to Bumiputera students and also those from low-income non-Bumiputera families nationwide.
To date, a total of 315 students from Sabah have received sponsorship from the programme.