KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 (Bernama) — A Malay study centre, set up at the Beijing Foreign Studies University in 2005, is enhancing cooperation in higher education between China and Malaysia.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is happy to note that University of Malaya (UM), on its part, has established the Institute of China Studies and Kong Zi Institute which promotes the development of Chinese language education amongst the Malaysian public.
“Education is the most important area and it should always become the main agenda for a country’s long-term development plan…that’s why, I visited University of Malaya, it is the first agenda on my visit here,” he said through an interpreter during a question-and-answer session with UM students here.
Wen said, to increase education exchanges, a free flow of information between universities of the two countries was vital.
“I also believe, to enhance our cooperation in education, we need to study each other’s language to gain better understanding and knowledge of each country,” he added.
Wen, who arrived at the university at 4.30pm, is on a two-day official visit to Malaysia, to reciprocate Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 2009 visit to the mainland when the Joint Action Plan on Malaysia-China Strategic Cooperation was issued.
To another question from the floor on what made him become a prime minister as he was a scientist before, Wen said he never thought that one day, he would become a political leader and premier.
“If you asked me what opportunity brought me to the political stage in China, I would like to say that reform and opening up programmes made me move from the mountainous area to the senior leadership post in the Chinese Government,” he said.
Wen studied geological structure for five years as undergraduate student and did three years post-graduate studies before working as senior official in the ministry of mineral resources. He later worked in the central decision-making body.
“…what I want to stress here is, I would like to call upon young students to have big accomplishments, not big titles. “As long as one serves the people, they will remember him, no matter how big the (his) position is, I will always stay with my people for my country and the happiness of my people…this is my advice to the young people,” he said.
Earlier, UM Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Ghauth Jasmon said in his speech that the university recognised the growing importance of China’s role in higher education and was delighted to have established strong collaboration with a number of top-ranked academic institutions in China.
“There has also been a marked increase in the number of students from China in this university, especially in the field of engineering, science, business administration and Malay studies.
“In order to further facilitate the needs of students in China who want to pursue their education in our university, UM has also established an offshore office in Beijing, which acts as a centre for information and recruitment,” he said.
Currently, there are 347 students from China pursuing higher education in UM. Chinese students are the third largest group of international students at UM.