KOTA KINABALU, (April 2) — University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and the Timor Leste’s Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ministry and its Education Ministry today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in oil and gas (O&G) related training industry.
Through the MoU, UMS would provide skills in (O&G) industry training for the selected participants from Timor-Leste. The MoU would allow 30 Timor-Leste students to study for certificates and diplomas as the first batch at the university.
UMS was represented by Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Harun Abdullah while Timor-Leste by its Education Minister Bendito dos Santos Freitas.
Sabah Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao witnessed the signing ceremony.
Earlier, Gusmao was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in International Relations by UMS in a commemorative convocation ceremony at the university’s Chancellor Hall, here.
Mohd Harun in his congratulatory speech, welcomed the 38-member delegation from Timor-Leste to UMS, and hoped there would be a strengthening of ties between the two parties.
He said UMS had embarked on a concentrated effort to develop skilled manpower required to support the ever-expanding industry in Sabah.
“Through UMS’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, the first-ever Masters in Engineering Course to be offered in Malaysia specialising in the field of oil and gas was realised with the first intake of coursework graduate students in mid-2011.
“We are also set to roll out a new undergraduate Bachelor’s programme in Oil and Gas Engineering, which is expected to have its inaugural batch of enrolments in September 2014,” he said.
He said the faculty had introduced 10 engineering diploma programmes in the areas of process, instrumentation, mechanical, electrical and utility engineering whereby five programmes would be offered at the executive diploma level and five programmes at the regular diploma level.
“The faculty continues to strive towards offering more academic programmes tailored towards the oil and gas industry primarily to support the demand for skilled manpower in this industry, which is estimated to be 16,000 jobs annually across Malaysia.
He said the establishment of the engineering faculty had become the main motivation for UMS to make an historic visit to Timor-Leste last February and meet the country’s top official to offer its assistance to develop the newly-formed nation’s human resources.
Mohd Harun said with the courses offered ranging from diploma up to postgraduate levels, UMS would be able to provide a very comprehensive and complete range of skilled training required by the Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
Today, Gusmao also launched a UMS-Timor Leste liaison centre, located in UMS Chancellory building’s research gallery. The centre will coordinate and strengthen ties with the republic.
This morning Gusmao received a courtesy call from Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman in Sutera Harbour prior to the event at the university. — BERNAMA