USM NEWS PORTAL 

"PROTECT YOUR MONEY, SECURE YOUR FUTURE": MFPC-SOM HOSTED WORKSHOP TO PROMOTE FINANCIAL LITERACY

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USM PENANG, 27 April 2024 - The Malaysia Financial Planning Council (MFPC), in cooperation with the School of Management (SOM) Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), has once again set the scene for financial literacy through its signature event, 'My Money & Me 2024'.

This year's programme, which continues the tradition that begun in 2008, centred on the topic 'Protect Your Money, Secure Your Future', a rallying cry to encourage financial awareness among youths.

The 'My Money and Me' programme is a cross collaborative programme facilitated by MFPC, with the support of Bank Negara’s Financial Education Network (FEN), Securities Commission Malaysia, Federation of Investment Managers Malaysia (FIMM), Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN), BIX (Bond-Sukuk Information Exchange), Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM), Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA), The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living (KPDN), the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) and the Private Pension Administrator. The programme has been endorsed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Rakan Muda and the Ministry of Higher Education.

With the theme 'Financial Planning for the Future,' the event was held at Dewan Budaya USM, and attended by distinguished visitors and industry experts, with the opening ceremony officiated by Malaysia's Deputy Finance Minister, YB Lim Hui Ying.

Her introductory remarks established a motivating tone, emphasising the necessity of understanding financial responsibility from an early age.

Lim said that in light of the problems that have arisen today, we are reminded of how important and critical it is for young adults to become financially literate at an early age.

“I hope that the participants can benefit from this programme, in terms of smart and planned money management from a young age, avoiding persons becoming trapped in critical financial troubles early in life,” said Lim.

“It is hoped that participants can benefit from this programme in terms of smart and planned money management,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Student Development Centre, Division of Student Development Affairs and Alumni, Professor Dr. Azizah Omar said that USM is acutely aware of the role that universities can and must play in promoting financial literacy.

“We are dedicated to provide our students with the financial education necessary to ensure their success in the future, and we are eager to collaborate with MFPC and other agencies to further these efforts,” she elaborated.

This one-day programme featured engaging workshops led by industry leaders, whereby the programme agenda included important topics such as tax benefits, the importance of insurance coverage, and strategies in avoiding money fraud, which were presented by distinguished speakers from major financial institutions such as Bank Negara Malaysia and LIAM among others.

The event served as both a learning platform and a networking opportunity, allowing guests to meet with their peers and professionals.

This effort corresponds with FEN’s goals of instilling key financial skills in participants, ensuring that they are better equipped to handle and protect their finances.

Also present were the MFPC President, Andy Ng Yen Heng; Penang Chapter Chairman, Charles Tan Swee Choon; representative of USM SOM Dean, Associate Professor Dr. Abdul Hadi Zulkafli; Dean, School of Economics, Finance and Banking, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Associate Professor Dr. Bakti Hasan Basri; LHDN Director, Penang Branch, Nasruddin Mat Nasir; and FIMM Chief Executive Officer, Kaleon Leong Rahman.

Text: Siti Fatimah Abu Mansor/Editing: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi & Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

ASIIC 2024: ENHANCING SPECIES DIVERSITY AND RESILIENCE IN ASIAN FISHES

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BUKIT JAMBUL, 28 May 2024 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) through the School of Biological Sciences (SBS), in collaboration with the Asian Society of Ichthyologists (ASI), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) with support from Universitas Syiah Kuala (USK), Indonesia and IPB University, Bogor, Indonesia today joined forces to hold the the 7th International Conference of the Asian Society of Ichthyologists 2024 (ASIIC 2024).

The conference was resumed after a four-year hiatus due to the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the theme “Exploring Species Diversity and Resilience of Asian Fishes in a Changing Environment”, the 2-day conference is particularly pertinent, given the current and future global concerns caused by uncontrolled anthropogenetic activities, such as overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction, coupled with the adverse effects of climate change.

The opening ceremony held at Auditorium Murad Mohd Noor, SAINS@USM this morning was graced by the presence of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Dr. Habibah A Wahab, representing the USM Vice-Chancellor.

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In her speech, Habibah emphasised that this event aligns with efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Climate Action (SDG 13), and Life Below Water (SDG 14).

She highlighted that addressing these interconnected goals not only advances scientific understanding, but also fosters practical solutions for sustainable development and environmental conservation.

“It is hoped that through international collaboration and knowledge sharing at this conference, participants would enhance their understanding of complex issues related to biodiversity conservation,” she said.

Meanwhile ASIIC 2024 Chairperson, Professor Dr. Siti Azizah Mohd Nor in her welcoming speech expressed her confidence that this conference would strengthen professional bonds among ichthyologists working in Asia's biodiverse regions.

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The exchange of ideas and expertise here is poised to drive innovation and inspire groundbreaking research initiatives in this field.

The keynote address was delivered following that by the Curator of Ichthyology, Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore, Dr. Tan Heok Hui entitled “Encheloclarias – A Cryptic Acid-Water Catfish from Sundaland, A Critical Update."

The conference will be held from 28 to 29 May 2024 with the participation of over 180 delegates from 16 countries.

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Also present were the USM SBS Dean, Professor Dato’ Dr. Amirul Al-Ashraf Abdullah; principal officers of universities and head of departments.

Text: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

BANGLADESH HIGH COMMISSIONER STRENGTHENING BILATERAL RELATIONS WITH COURTESY VISIT

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USM PENANG, 21 May 2024 - The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Seri Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed today received a courtesy visit from the Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia, His Excellency Md. Shameem Ahsan at the Chancellory Conference Room, Chancellory Building in USM.

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The visit aimed to discuss and explore avenues for enhancing collaboration between Malaysia and Bangladesh, fostering mutual growth and progress in education and research.

Abdul Rahman was pleased to welcome His Excellency and to receive the courtesy visit from the Bangladesh High Commission to Malaysia, and the discussion between both parties was very fruitful.

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During the meeting, Abdul Rahman gave a brief overview regarding the university profile, background and achievements.

He expressed the confidence that cooperation between Malaysia and Bangladesh can unlock new opportunities for academic and research collaboration and mutual growth.

“As we continue to navigate the challenges of the 21st century, our partnership will be instrumental in shaping the future of education, research and innovation,” he said.

Following that, Md. Shameem then highlighted how the presence of Bangladesh embassies may serve to facilitate cooperation in relation to business and cultural matters, with established partnerships in industries, education, and economy.

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USM currently has 99 students from Bangladesh among its international student population of 7,904.

These students are pursuing postgraduate and undergraduate studies in various fields such as dental science, computer science, engineering and business studies.

Since 2019 until July 2024, USM has established three collaborations with institutions in Bangladesh through the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), and other agreements.

Also present at the meeting were the Counsellor (Political) of Bangladesh High Commission, Malaysia, Pranab Kuman Bhattacharjee; Honorary Consul of Bangladesh in Penang, Dato' Shaik Ismail Allaudin; USM Top Management; USM Head of Departments and principal officers of USM.

Text: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

ENHANCING KNOWLEDGE AND INNOVATION AMONG ACADEMIC LIBRARIES AND LIBRARIANS THROUGH SEA LIBRARIES OF THE FUTURE SUMMIT 2024

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PENANG, 11 June 2024 – In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and evolving societal dynamics, libraries emerge as pivotal hubs of knowledge and innovation.

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Three esteemed public universities in the northern region, namely Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) and Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) in collaboration with Elsevier, a global leader in scientific information and analytics company, today organised a pivotal event, which stands as a regional milestone, bringing together librarians and information science professionals from across Southeast Asia in the Southeast Asia (SEA) Libraries of the Future Summit 2024.

Held at G Hotel Gurney Penang, the summit's theme "Building the Library of Tomorrow: Sustainable Innovations for a Resilient Future" embodies the collective aspirations of librarians and information science professionals dedicated to driving and enduring progress in their field.

The Summit was officiated by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE), YB Datuk Ts. Mustapha Sakmud.

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In his speech, Mustapha highlighted that industry-academia partnerships set a new benchmark for driving innovation, advancing digital transformation, and empowering research within universities.

He expressed confidence that this summit would lay the foundation for future libraries by fostering an environment where emerging trends and innovative practices can thrive. Ultimately, this will enhance the research capabilities and impact of academic institutions.

“Academic libraries and librarians have played a crucial role in supporting research, research data management and promoting open access to knowledge.

“Thus, we must invest in sustainable digital repositories solutions and platforms that provide open access to academic research, ensuring that knowledge is freely available to all. By doing so, we contribute to the global exchange of information and support the advancement of science and scholarship,” he said.

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He also emphasised that building the library of tomorrow requires a commitment to continuous learning and adaptation.

He stressed further on continuous learning and adaptation as essential elements for building libraries of tomorrow amidst today's VUCA scenarios - Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.

Meanwhile, Regional Director of Elsevier Southeast Asia, Omar Malik expressed his pride in collaborating with USM, UniMAP and UUM as it exemplifies how diverse strengths can unite to create a roadmap for future-proofing libraries against evolving challenges. This partnership highlights their critical role in shaping education's future through community engagement.

“Today's summit is part of the Higher Education Electronic Resources Consortium (KONSEPt) capacity-building programme for Malaysia; emphasizing collective commitment towards enhancing library professional skills, crucially empowering them towards meeting institutional goals while supporting universities' research objectives.

“In addition to investing in capacity building programmes aimed at nurturing library communities worldwide through Elsevier’s broader Library Futures Programme, this initiative lays the groundwork for libraries worldwide to thrive while leading into the digital age,” he said.

Also present were the USM Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Seri Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed; UniMAP Chief Librarian, Mazmin Mat Akhir representing the UniMAP Vice-Chancellor; UUM Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dr. Mohd Fo’ad Sakdan; USM Chief Librarian, Arinawati Ayob; UUM Chief Librarian, Professor Dr. Che Azlan Taib; Chief Librarians and Librarians of the Academic Libraries of Southeast Asia.

Present at the same event was the USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Dr. Habibah A Wahab, who delivered a keynote address titled “Libraries as Catalysts for Sustainable Research Innovation.”

Text: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi & Tan Ewe Hoe/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

GENAP SETAHUN TERAJU USM: NC ZAHIRKAN UCAPAN TERIMA KASIH

USM PULAU PINANG, 3 Januari 2024 – Genap setahun menerajui Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) sebagai Naib Canselor kesembilan, Profesor Dato’ Seri Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed menzahirkan setingi-tinggi penghargaan buat semua warga kampus atas sokongan dan komitmen tinggi dalam menyumbang kepada pembangunan Universiti.

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Beliau berkata, momentum USM pada ketika ini amat baik dan beliau akan meneruskan segala usaha yang telah dijalankan termasuk memperkasa agenda APEX dan empat strategi yang menyokong dan menjayakan Ekonomi MADANI: Pendidikan Tinggi (4P).

Strategi 4P yang dinyatakan termasuk penyediaan bakat, penyelidikan dan inovasi, pemindahan dan perkongsian ilmu serta pengantarabangsaan.

Katanya, USM turut menjadi perintis bagi beberapa program berimpak tinggi yang dapat memperluas jaringan strategik bersama komuniti dan industri termasuk yang terkini, program Inkubator Penyelidikan dan Serap Industri Kementerian Pendidikan Tinggi (MRI3).

“Kita telah bermula dengan baik untuk memberi impak kepada pemegang taruh dan kita juga mempunyai hala tuju strategik untuk terus mengimplementasi segala idea yang dirancang ke peringkat seterusnya.

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“Kelestarian kewangan masih menjadi fokus Universiti pada tahun ini dan saya yakin kita akan terus bergerak mengikut momentum,” jelas beliau.

Abdul Rahman turut menyuarakan harapannya untuk melihat semua warga Universiti peka dengan dunia luar, termasuk melihat peluang yang boleh dimanfaatkan menerusi teknologi Artificial Intelligence (AI) dan digitalisasi.

“Sekali lagi saya ingin mengucapkan setinggi-tinggi terima kasih buat semua warga USM yang telah sama-sama berusaha dan menjalankan amanah masing-masing dengan begitu baik.

“Saya akui banyak cabaran yang akan dihadapi di masa-masa akan datang namun saya percaya dengan kerjasama dan komitmen semua, USM akan terus melakar pelbagai kisah kejayaan dan memberi impak,” katanya.

Teks: Marziana Mohamed Alias/Foto: Mohd Fairus Md Isa 

HBP VIVAZ FIESTA 2.0 UNITES USM COMMUNITY AND INDUSTRY PARTNERS FOR CAREER GROWTH AND CULTURAL EXCHANGE

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USM PENANG, 9 July 2024 - The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Housing, Building and Planning (HBP), in collaboration with Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp), recently held the HBP Vivaz Fiesta 2.0., a grand celebration that aimed to unite students, faculty, industry partners, and the broader community for a day of communal spirit, cultural exchange and excitement.

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The event commenced with a vibrant Career Fair, offering attendees the opportunity to engage with representatives from esteemed companies and organisations.

This platform provided valuable networking opportunities and insights into various career paths, making it an indispensable point of reference for students and job seekers alike.

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Present at the opening ceremony was the USM HBP Dean, Associate Professor Ts. Dr. Mohd Rodzi Ismail, who highlighted the importance of such initiatives in fostering professional growth and development.

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“I would like to extend a heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved in this collaboration. It is through these collective efforts that we can create meaningful opportunities for our students and strengthen the ties between academia and the industry,” said Mohd Rodzi.

Meanwhile, TalentCorp’s Internship Facilitation, Graduate and Emerging Talent Leader, Siti Noratikah Kasmoi, sponsored two key slots for the event.

The first slot focused on career roadmaps and internship insights, targeting second, third, and final-year students from seven HBP programmes namely Architecture, Building Engineering Technology, Building Surveying, Construction Project Management, Interior Architecture, Quantity Surveying, and Urban Regional Planning.

This session provided students with valuable guidance for planning their future career paths and internship placements.

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The second slot centered on corporate collaboration and knowledge exchange with industry partners, conducted in a hybrid manner and participated by 20 companies from Penang and other regions.

Talent Corp presented their various programmes to industry partners, including National Structured Internship Programme (MySIP) and Industrial Training Matching Grant Initiative for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (LiKES), fostering stronger connections between academia and the industry.

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The event also featured a range of engaging mini-games that sparked friendly competition among participants of all ages, a movie night, and concluded with a grand finale firework show that illuminated the night sky with a spectacular display of colours and patterns.

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Text and Photo: Associate Professor Dr. Radzi Ismail, USM HBP Deputy Dean (Academic, Career and International) & Gautham A/L Segar/Editing: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi

IC3D 2024 ADDRESSES GLOBAL HEALTH CHALLENGES ON DRUG DISCOVERY AND DELIVERY

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PENANG, 14 May 2024 – Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), through the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences together with the Malaysian Society of Pharmaceutical Technology (MSPT) recently organised the International Conference on Drug Discovery and Development (IC3D) 2024.

The jointly-organised scientific conference brought together more than 100 scientists, researchers, clinicians, policymakers, representatives from the government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to share their latest research and insights on drug discovery and development.

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Speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference, USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Dr. Habibah A Wahab, who is exercising the functions of the USM Vice-Chancellor said that in the current rapidly-evolving landscape, the quest for discovering new drugs and enhancing their delivery methods has never been more critical.

“This year's theme, "Drug Discovery and Delivery: Present and Future," highlights the importance of collaboration and innovation in addressing global health challenges.

“From combating infectious diseases to alleviating chronic conditions, the impact of collective efforts in drug discovery and delivery has touched the lives of millions.

“Across the globe, researchers and practitioners are utilising cutting-edge technologies and methodologies to produce novel therapeutic agents and optimised drug delivery systems to address unmet medical needs,” she said.

Habibah added that all these are made possible through interdisciplinary collaborations, data-driven approaches and precision medicine initiatives.

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The President of MSPT, Dr. Thaigarajan Parumasivan said that IC3D 2024 represents more than just a conference. It symbolises a beacon of collaboration. It is a platform that unites local and international experts under one roof to foster the exchange of ideas and knowledge essential for shaping the future of pharmaceutics.

“The theme ‘Drug Discovery and Delivery: Present and Future’ encapsulates the current advancements in drug discovery and delivery, while simultaneously foreseeing the path for future developments in tackling global health challenges,” he added.

IC3D 2024 was held in a hybrid manner to allow both in-person and virtual interactions during its keynote and plenary sessions as well as its poster and oral presentations.

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In addition, a post-conference workshop session offers attendees the opportunity to further understand the issue of drug development.

Also present at the opening ceremony was the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nurzalina Abdul Karim Khan.

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Text: Siti Fatimah Abu Mansor/Editing: Tan Ewe Hoe/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

NPC IDENTIFIES E-CIGARETTE POISONING TRENDS: URGENT CALL FOR REGULATORY ACTION

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USM PENANG, 8 April 2024 – The National Poison Centre (NPC) at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) plays a vital role in addressing poisoning incidents across the nation, closely monitoring emerging trends associated with new products in the market or regulatory alterations.

According to NPC drug and poison information services chief pharmacist, Sulastri Samsudin, NPC has been monitoring poisoning exposure cases related to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and their liquids since 2015, when they were first made commercially available.

“Over the span of nine years from 2015 to the present, the NPC has meticulously observed 111 cases linked to e-cigarettes and their accompanying liquids, with notable surges occurring during two distinct periods, first between 2020 and 2021, and then between 2022 and 2023,” she cited.

Sulastri said the first phase of increase by twice was in 2020 at 13.5 per cent and 2021 at 19.8 per cent compared with 6.3 per cent in 2019, which was during the Movement Control Order (MCO) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The majority of cases then involved children aged below five. This situation can be attributed to the accessibility of these products to children due to inadequate storage practices.

"This is further compounded by the form of product packaging, especially liquid e-cigarettes without safety features and the existence of interesting flavourings such as appealing food and sweets/candies.

"The second phase of increase was after the MCO, which was in 2022 and 2023. Although there was a slight decrease to 18 per cent in 2022; in 2023, the NPC recorded the highest number of e-cigarette exposure calls of 30.6 per cent, a five-time increase compared with 2019,” she said in a statement released recently.

Sulastri also mentioned that in the same year, nicotine was removed from the Poisons Act 1952.  

“The second phase also showed a change in the trend in the age category, where more teenagers aged 15 to 19 years experienced poisoning due to the deliberate use of e-cigarettes.

“Furthermore, more than 95 per cent of reported cases were symptomatic,” she said.

“The majority of symptoms exhibited by patients were consistent with nicotine poisoning symptoms such as severe vomiting, drowsiness, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fainting, and seizures/convulsions.”

She, however, said there were also patients who showed more severe symptoms such as psychosis, hallucinations, aggressive behaviour changes and were suspected of involving drug abuse into e-cigarette liquid.

"Since 2021, the NPC had started receiving cases of exposure to e-cigarettes linked to the drug, Magic Mushroom, or its active ingredient psilocybin, and recorded a total of 23 cases to date.

"Without any control over e-cigarettes, the NPC cannot confirm the content of the substance," she added.

As such, Sulastri urged the government to speed up the implementation of the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Act 2023 which was approved last year, to ensure greater control of electronic cigarette products, mitigate e-cigarette-related harm, and safeguard public well-being.

Among the control measures that can be taken are:

  • Use safety caps for e-cigarette refill containers;
  • Prohibit the use of food flavourings in e-cigarette liquids;
  • Limit the concentration of nicotine and the amount of liquid in e-cigarette liquids and refill containers;
  • Ensure that products, especially chemicals, are tested and registered for monitoring purposes;
  • Set a strict standard operating procedure for product manufacturing processes of e-cigarette products;
  • Strengthen the monitoring system for cases of exposure to e-cigarette poisoning;
  • Ensure that e-cigarettes are off limit to minors/underaged individuals.

"NPC once again calls for the speedy implementation of control over smoking products, especially e-cigarettes, to prevent more Malaysians, especially the younger generation, from falling victim to nicotine addiction and poisoning," Sulastri said.

Translation: Tan Ewe Hoe

PHARMACY CAREER DAY 2024 BRINGS OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS TO ENGAGE WITH INDUSTRY EXPERTS

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USM PENANG, 21 May 2024 – The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Pharmaceutical Sciences organised a programme today to provide engagement opportunities for students with experts and players in the field.

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In her opening speech, the Dean of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Associate Professor Dr. Nurzalina Abdul Karim Khan said, the programme is pivotal as it is planned for the students to explore a myriad of opportunities to establish connections and to be involved in network sessions with industry experts.

She continued by saying that though many students can excel academically, it is the first impression that counts, be they in an interview for a job, or upon seeing a patient. The strength of character is just as important, as they would need to have the desire for lifelong learning, to be compassion, and to have the empathy in dealing with customers or patients in the future.

In representing the USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Nurzalina further said that the event could assist in the students’ journey to become healthcare professionals. The field of pharmacy is constantly evolving and an event such as this could provide valuable insights and guidance into areas of healthcare, science and patient care.

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She then said, involvement in the pharmacy field is not only about dispensing medicine; it is about improving lives, enhancing patient outcomes and contributing to the wellbeing of communities, regardless of where you may serve. As long as they continue to have the core values of the profession, namely integrity, empathy and commitment to excellence, they would surely be able to make a positive impact in the lives of whom they serve.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony was later held between the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and HeyDOC, with Nurzalina representing the School and HeyDOC being represented by Christina Oui Hui Che.

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Held at Dewan Budaya USM, the ‘Pharmacy Career Day and Talent Recruitment Drive Event’ include collaborators from the pharmaceutical industry and companies such as Alpro, HTM, Nova, Guardian, Hovid, PMG, Duopharma, Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild and the Ministry of Health Malaysia (KKM).

The one-day programme also held different talk sessions from 10 different speakers, each one focusing on their area of expertise, in addition to having a few booths set up at the foyer of Dewan Budaya for the participants to view the various products and services offered by the respective companies involved.

Text: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

STRENGTHENING INTERNATIONAL LINKS: USM ENGINEERING CAMPUS HOSTS OFFICIAL VISIT FROM KYUTECH

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NIBONG TEBAL, 8 March 2024 – In an effort to strengthen international collaborations, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), through the Director's Office of Engineering Campus, today hosted an official visit from Kyushu Institute of Technology (KYUTECH).

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Based in Fukuoka, Japan, KYUTECH is one of the leading universities aiming to establish strategic partnerships worldwide and the meeting is part of their initiative to expand its global collaborations, with a target of establishing 10 collaborative relationships with universities around the world by 2026.

The meeting, chaired by the Dean of the School of Civil Engineering, Associate Professor Ir. Dr. Fadzli Mohamed Nazri, is hoped to be a crucial step in strengthening ties and fostering meaningful collaborations between USM and KYUTECH, ultimately promoting research, academic exchange, and international cooperation.

Notably, USM and KYUTECH have already engaged in collaborative efforts within the fields of Civil Engineering,involving programmes such as PhD mobility and supervision,as well as joint initiatives in biotechnology and research.

Representing KYUTECH at the meeting were Special Assistant to the Vice President cum the Chief Specialist of the International Operation Headquarters, Wakabayashi Toshiro; Director of Education & Research Centre in Malaysia cum Director of Collaborative Research Centre for Green Materials on Environmental Technology, Associate Professor Yoshito Ando and Associate Professor Shinya Ikeno.

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The collaborative relationship between USM and KYUTECH is expected to mirror successful partnerships between other universities and to include various levels of engagement that have proven to be effective in terms of internationalisation.

This is in line with the University's vision to strengthen its international presence and promote academic collaboration, and the institution also aims to formalise and evaluate these collaborative activities.

As for KYUTECH, it aims to designate USM as its fifth international strategic partner, marking a significant milestone in the growing relationship between the two institutions and opening avenues for further collaborative ventures that will benefit both universities while contributing to the global academic community.

Text: Siti Faizah Abd Halim/Photo: Muhammad Taufik Abdul Rahman

USAINS FURTHER STRENGTHENS COMMITMENT AS UNIVERSITY-BASED COMPANY TO POSITION QUALITY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

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PENANG, 6 July 2024 – USAINS Holding Sdn. Bhd. (USAINS), the business arm of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), has successfully hosted an Open Day event at the Eureka Complex at the USM main campus on 4 July, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

USAINS featured various products and services, giving opportunities to visitors primarily, USM staff and students to engage, ask questions and get their queries answered. 

Visitors enjoyed the informative Open Day with refreshments served throughout the day. 

One of the highlights of the Open Day was the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) Awareness Programme for China students pursuing their studies at USM in various fields and levels.

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Approximately, 100 China students attended the session which aims to support the students in enhancing their English language ability through the TOEIC and Certification Programme.

A similar programme was successfully conducted for Boston Scientific employees and USAINS in collaboration with USM, and there are plans to further expand the programme to include the campus community in the future.  

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Through this event, USAINS further initiates the commitment to position quality products and services ranging from consultancy, contract research, education and training, lab testing to selling of USM plate numbers.

The Open Day serves as a valuable platform for USAINS to effectively communicate its roles and services to USM staff and students.

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Through this initiative, USAINS hopes to enhance the value of its products and services and subsequently, sustain its pursuit of excellence as a promising university-based company in Asia.

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Source: USAINS Holding Sdn. Bhd./Editing: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin/Photo: USAINS Holding Sdn. Bhd.

USM AND FSU INK MOU TO PURSUE COLLABORATIONS AT VARIOUS LEVELS

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PENANG, 25 April 2024 – The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Distance Education (SDE) recently went on a visit to the Fergana State University (FSU) in Uzbekistan.

The SDE delegates led by the Dean, Associate Professor Dr. Zulnaidi Yaacob visited FSU and were then engaged in fruitful discussions with FSU's top management, including the Vice Rectors for academic and scientific affairs.

During the gathering, USM researchers Dr. Nagaletchimee Annamalai and Dr. Omar Ali Al Smadi, alongside counterparts from two distinguished American universities, Georgia State University and Minnesota State University, shared cutting-edge research findings in the realms of language, innovation, and artificial intelligence (AI).

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In addition to the scholarly exchange, presentations were delivered to FSU students, showcasing opportunities for international mobility programmes and Master's degree pursuits.

This event represents a significant stride towards fostering academic enrichment and cultivating a culture of international collaboration.

Moreover, a workshop on Scopus writing publication was also conducted for the staff, providing them invaluable insights into the scholarly publishing process and enhancing their research dissemination skills.

Zulnaidi said, “This visit marks a significant milestone for both institutions, laying the foundation for fruitful collaborations that will shape the future of education.”

Workshop on Publishing in Scopus indexed journal   With students presentation on mobility programme

Project Coordinator Siti Soraya Lin expressed optimism for the exciting projects ahead, underscoring the mutual benefits of this growing partnership between USM and FSU.

The FSU top management has also indicated a high interest in sending about 10 lecturers to pursue their PhDs at USM, through a hybrid modular learning approach that will be conducted in Penang and Fergana.

The occasion culminated with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), cementing a promising collaboration between the two institutions. The ceremony was held in the presence of officials from both institutions.

Source: School of Distance Education (SDE), USM/Editing: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin

USM EfP STUDENTS LEAD THE WAY IN SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROJECT

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PENANG, 3 July 2024 – The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Bachelor of Arts in English for Professionals (BA EfP) students from the School of Languages, Literacies and Translation (SoLLaT), in collaboration with Penang State Education Department (JPN), recently co-hosted an engaging community project.

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This two-week programme began with workshops on storytelling, public speaking, and debate, and finally culminating in an exciting competition.

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Thirteen secondary schools from Penang participated, with 150 students showcasing their talents. The debate segment stood out, featuring intense and thoughtful exchanges. After tough competition, SMK Penang Free School and SMK Convent Green Lane advanced to the final round, with SMK Penang Free School emerging as the champion. Congratulations to the winners!

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Associate Professor Dr. Malini Ganapathy, the Project Leader from SoLLaT who initiated this programme, highlighted the crucial role of EfP students in ensuring the event's success.

“Their involvement was essential for the smooth operation of the event. They took on key roles such as registration, ushering, chairing sessions, timekeeping, emceeing, photographing, editing, and food distribution,” she said.

Malini further noted that through these tasks, EfP students honed their soft skills, gaining valuable experience in organisation, teamwork, and communication, all of which are essential for their future careers.

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Special recognition goes to Nur Shaznie Faziera Mohamed Shawal, an EfP student and the head of the committee for this programme, for her dedicated leadership.

“Heartfelt thanks to everyone who made this programme a success. The volunteers, especially our EfP students, were amazing. We also appreciate the lecturers and teachers who gave up their weekends to serve as judges. Your support has been invaluable,” she added.

Looking ahead, SoLLaT USM hopes to organise similar events in the future, possibly including interschool debates within USM, especially between science and non-science students, to make things even more interesting.

Here's to more successful events in the future!

Text: Associate Professor Dr. Malini Ganapathy/Editing: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi/Photo: SoLLaT USM

USM GSB, BNM YOUTH ENGAGEMENT SESSION: NURTURING THE NEXT GENERATION OF FINANCIAL LEADERS

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USM PENANG, 4 June 2023 – Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) via the Graduate School of Business (GSB) had recently successfully hosted a Youth Engagement Sessionwith Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), with the main aim of nurturing the next generation of financial leaders.

Held at Balai Pes’eban in USM on 30 May, BNM Assistant Governor (AG), Fraziali Ismail gave a talk on two topics namely “BNM Engagement with Future Nation Builders” and “Economic Developments and Inflation Outlook.”   

He dwelled on the challenges and opportunities faced by Malaysia in a rapidly evolving global economic landscape, touching on the Malaysian Economy, the Growth Outlook and the Implementation of Key Structural Initiatives.

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USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor Student Development Affairs and Alumni, Professor Dr. Shaharum Shamsuddin, representing the USM Vice-Chancellor in his opening speech said, the gathering held for the Bank Negara Malaysia Youth Engagement Session 2024 is not merely an event; it is a platform to promote growth, learning, and empowerment among the USM students.

“The financial industry is evolving and changing at an unprecedented pace. As such, it is essential to prepare the next generation of financial leaders with the right skills, knowledge and mindset to navigate this complex landscape,” said Shaharum.

He also briefly shared the three objectives of this engagement session, which were:

Objective 1: Enhancing Financial Literacy and Awareness

Financial literacy is the cornerstone of personal and national prosperity. In today’s dynamic world, understanding financial concepts, managing resources wisely, and making informed decisions are essential skills. This session aims to equip you with the knowledge and tools to navigate the complex financial landscape confidently.

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Objective 2: BNM’s Economic Assessment and Research

Bank Negara Malaysia stands at the forefront of economic analysis and research. Their insights drive policy decisions that impact the nation’s economic well-being. During this session, participants will gain valuable insights into BNM’s assessments, research methodologies, and the critical role they play in shaping the economic trajectory.

Objective 3: Exploring Career Opportunities in BNM

BNM is a gateway to impactful careers. Whether you aspire to be an economist, a financial analyst, or a policy maker, BNM offers exciting opportunities to engage with its professionals present and to explore these paths.

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A quick check with our students who attended the session revealed that many of them had gained valuable insights into current economic developments and outlook.

They also had the opportunity to understand BNM’s economic assessment and research, gaining insights into its pivotal role in shaping the country’s economic landscape and potential career opportunities within the central bank.

Among those who also attended the session included the Director of Health Campus USM, Professor Dr. Shaiful Bahari Ismail; GSB Dean, Associate Professor Dr. Fathyah Hashim; BNM principal officers; and GSB faculty members.

Text: Siti Fatimah Abu Mansor/Editing: Tan Ewe Hoe

USM RETAINS SELF-ACCREDITED UNIVERSITY STATUS BY MQA

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USM PENANG, 4 April 2024 Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has successfully retained its recognition as a self-accrediting university accorded by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) until 2027.

The news was well received with pride and joy by the entire USM community.

The confirmation was conveyed in writing by the MQA Chief Executive Officer to USM Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Seri Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed, along with the Certificate of Self-Accreditation Status.

This accolade was given following an audit conducted by MQA, which evaluated USM’s strengths and areas requiring attention.

MQA congratulated USM on this achievement and expressed hope that the audit results would assist the university in its future planning endeavors.

USM was granted self-accreditation status by MQA on 29 April 2010, making it eligible to accredit its academic programmes internally based on the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) and standards set by MQA and the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) from time to time, except for professional programmes requiring accreditation from relevant professional bodies.

However, as a self-accrediting university, MQA conducts Institutional Audits every five years to retain this status. The audit process is carried out through the Code of Practice for Institutional Audit (COPIA) and Code of Practice for Program Accreditation (COPPA).

Reflecting on the recent audits, USM underwent Compliance Self-Audit on 8, 9, and 14 February 2022, followed by a subsequent Audit on 17 August 2023, to ensure compliance with self-accreditation criteria.

Following the completion of these audits, USM successfully retained its self-accreditation status effective from 25 March 2024 until 2027.

The university extends its gratitude to the USM Self-Accreditation Centre, led by its Director, Professor Dr. Azura A Rashid, and all PTJs/departments involved in the audit process.

Text: Tan Ewe Hoe

USM SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION CSR PROJECT AIM TO CREATE STRONG BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT FOR SMEs

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PENANG, 12 June 2024 – The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Communication recently organised the ‘Digitalization of Penang Entrepreneurs (D.O.P.E)’ programme, as part of the YBP230 Corporate Social Responsibility coursework.

This initiative, under the guidance of Professor Dr. Jamilah Hj Ahmad and Dr. Suriati Saad, was held at the MBPP Makerspace in Balik Pulau, Penang.

D.O.P.E aims to equip small business owners, especially in Penang, with digital knowledge by up-skilling workshops to adapt to the digital era.

The event was launched by Dato’ Seri Syed Mohamad Syed Murtaza, Chairman of the Bumiputera Foundation, Penang.

In his opening speech, he emphasised the importance of a deep understanding of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI).

He further said, "Mastery of these technologies is key to ensuring businesses remain competitive, thereby contributing to the country's continuous and sustainable economic growth."

The event continued with business digitalization sharing sessions by Tan Gaik Tong and Chu Boon, whom were invited by Digital Penang to give the talk.

There were also activities focused on brand positioning entitled “Positioning for Success,” personally conducted by USM students. This session focused on online branding to help these small business owners refine their brand identities, set strategic goals, and develop content suited to their target audiences.

Several small and medium enterprises (SMEs) joined in the programme, namely Saji Warisan Enterprise, Body Secret Home SPA, Kick Coffee, M.E.N.U Tomyam, Gerak Dinamik Enterprise, and Spin Chicken Rice USM.

“I had a great time sharing our stories and picking up new knowledge. I look forward to participate in more programmes by USM in the future,” said Saliyana Shuhaidah from M.E.N.U Tomyam.

According to Jamilah, the programme was held to allow students to connect with the community and the industry, by understanding the needs and provide benefits that will be sustainable in nature for the target audience.

“Additionally, the CSR course has the objective of equipping students with the ability to relate the social needs of the community or target public with that of the organisation (Corporate or NGO),” she said.  

In conducting CSR effectively, the D.O.P.E event highlighted the importance of community efforts to support local businesses and promote economic growth through digital innovation.

By helping entrepreneurs with digital skills, USM students are hoping to create a stronger business environment among the SMEs in Penang.

Source text & photo: Dr. Suriati Saad, School of Communication, USM/Editing: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin

USM SELECTED AS EMPLOYERS’ CHOICE OF UNIVERSITY

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KUALA LUMPUR, 2 May 2024 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Seri Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed today is honoured to receive the remarkable recognition for the institution as the "2024 Employers' Choice of University" by Talentbank, held at Grand Hyatt Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

The prestigious distinction is awarded based on surveys conducted with leading graduate employers, whereas USM has been recognised as one of the Malaysian universities consistently producing graduates in high demand by employers.

This achievement highlights the university's excellence in education and its effectiveness in preparing students for their careers.

This accolade underscores the commitment to excellence by USM in education and its efficacy in preparing students for successful careers, particularly championing in the fields of Interior Design and Science.

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According to Abdul Rahman, this recognition does not only enhance the employability of USM graduates, but also transforms its relationship with employers.

“By fostering collaboration among academia, industry, government, and the community, USM ensures graduates are equipped with industry-relevant skills and networks, thereby bolstering employers' confidence in the quality and readiness of USM graduates for the workforce,” he said.

Inspired by the Graduates' Choice Award, the Employers' Choice Award also celebrates 45 other universities renowned for nurturing highly employable graduates who are in high demand by employers.

The event coincided with Talentbank’s Raya Open House, offering a dual celebration that acknowledges the outstanding achievements of Malaysian institutions while embracing the joyful essence of the festive season.

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Also present at the award ceremony were the USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor Student Development Affairs and Alumni, Professor Dr. Shaharum Shamsuddin; Director of the USM Student Development Centre, Division of Student Development Affairs and Alumni, Professor Dr. Azizah Omar and principal officers of USM.

Text: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

USM-CULI FORGE NEW ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIP; SYMBOLISING A NEW ERA OF COLLABORATIVE ENDEAVOURS

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USM PENANG, 26 June 2024 – Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), through its School of Languages, Literacies and Translation (SoLLaT), recently entered into a significant Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chulalongkorn University's Language Institute (CULI).

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This collaboration marks a pivotal step in strengthening academic and educational ties between Malaysia and Thailand, fostering mutual understanding and cooperation.

The virtual signing ceremony was held on 21 June 2024 in a hybrid manner via Zoom, bringing together esteemed representatives from both institutions.

As a symbolic new era of collaborative endeavours, signing on behalf of USM was the SoLLaT USM Acting Dean, Azril Ali representing the Vice-Chancellor, while on behalf of Chulalongkorn University was the Acting Vice President, Associate Professor Dr. Siridej Sujiva.

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According to Azril, the MoU outlines several key areas of cooperation, including the exchange of researchers and administrative staff, collaborative projects, and joint student activities.

“This partnership will facilitate the exchange of faculty members for teaching and special lectures, as well as researchers for data collection through classroom observations and interviews.

“Additionally, both institutions will engage in the development of educational materials and collaborative research projects, including a special issue on CEFR policies and practices in ASEAN countries,” he said.  

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He added, “These initiatives will surely enhance the academic experience and provide valuable opportunities for students and faculty members alike.”

The collaboration between USM and Chulalongkorn University underscores the importance of international partnerships in higher education.

Siridej who also acknowledged the importance of leveraging each institution’s strengths, said, this MoU will not only promote academic excellence but also foster a deeper intercultural understanding.

“The joint efforts in organising study abroad programmes and online activities will provide students with invaluable cross-cultural experiences, preparing them to thrive in a globalised world.

“This agreement stands as a testament to the commitment of both universities to advancing education and fostering strong international relationships,” Siridej said further.

Text: Dr. Alla Baksh Mohamed Ayub Khan (SoLLaT)/Editing: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi/Photo: SoLLaT & Courtesy from CULI Facebook

USM-MoHE HOSTS DIALOGUE SESSION WITH E&E INDUSTRY PARTNERS TO ENHANCE TALENT DEVELOPMENT

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PENANG, 25 June 2024 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in collaboration with the Department of Higher Education (JPT), Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), hosted an exclusive Dialogue Session today, featuring the Minister of Higher Education, Dato' Seri Diraja Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir, and Electrical and Electronic (E&E) Industry Partners.

The event aimed to facilitate discussions on the E&E sector's needs concerning talent supply and job offerings, seeking input and feedback from industry partners to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the industry.

This session is expected to be a significant milestone in fostering closer ties between MoHE and the E&E industry, contributing to Malaysia's economic growth and innovation.

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Zambry Abdul Kadir in his speech highlighted the Ministry's commitment to preparing future talents with advanced knowledge and skills necessary for the rapidly evolving E&E industry, particularly in semiconductor technology.

He emphasised the alignment of the E&E sector with global trends, the current Malaysian E&E ecosystem, and MoHE's initiatives in talent development.

"MoHE has launched several initiatives to align university graduates' skills with industry standards and improve employability. These include the MOHE Research Industry Innovation Incubation (MRI3), the Structured Industry Apprenticeship Programme (SIAP) for integrated circuit design, and the MOHE Intel Elite Internship Programme," he stated.

He also mentioned other programmes like PENJANA KPT-CAP, the Teaching Factory Programme, the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Transformation Programme, and flexible micro-credential programmes aimed at increasing graduate employability through exposure to high-end facilities and current job market demands.

"This dialogue serves as an excellent platform to better understand the challenges in the E&E industry, particularly in semiconductor technology, allowing MOHE to strategize support for future talents, academic programmes, and R&D activities for postgraduate programmes," he added.

Meanwhile, USM Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Seri Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahman Mohamed, in his welcoming address underscored the importance of close collaboration between public universities and the industry to produce talents with relevant knowledge and skill sets.

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He highlighted the efforts of the Consortium of E&E led by USM and the MoHE Research and Industry-Infused Incubator (MRI3), which play pivotal roles in training industry-ready talents.

"Currently, over 900 students from across Malaysia are registered in the MRI3 portal, with more than 500 slots available in 30 industries," he said.

He expressed gratitude to industry players for supporting academia in industry-ready talent development through enhanced educational curricula; state-of-the-art facilities and hands-on training opportunities; and R&D collaboration.

"Let us build upon our successes and continue to shape the next chapter of Malaysia's semiconductor journey,” Abdul Rahman concluded.

The event also featured a mock cheque handover ceremony from industry partners to USM, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) to commemorate a strategic partnership between industries and higher education institutions in developing future talents.

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Also present were the Member of the Penang State Executive Council (Rural Department, Trade and Entrepreneurship Development), Rashidi Zinol; Deputy Secretary-General (Policy) MoHE, Dato' Dr. Haji Megat Sany Megat Ahmad Supian; Director-General of Higher Education JPT, Professor Dr. Azlinda Azman; USM Board of Governors Chairman, Dato’ Seri Dr. Awang Adek Hussin; vice-chancellors of the public universities and esteemed industry delegates and partners.

Text: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa

USM-TELEPERFORMANCE INKED MoU BRIDGING ACADEMIA-INDUSTRY GAP

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USM PENANG, 5 July 2024 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) through the School of Languages, Literacies and Translation (SoLLaT) from the Master of Arts in Translation for Professionals section, has strengthened its ties with the global digital business services company, Teleperformance.

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The collaboration was sealed through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 28 June 2024, aimed at bridging the gap between academia and industry, providing students with invaluable insights and opportunities to enhance their future careers.

The MoU was signed by SoLLaT USM Acting Dean, Azril Ali, representing the Vice-Chancellor, while Teleperformance was represented by its Malaysia and Thailand Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Andy Rangel.

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In his speech, Azril emphasised that this partnership would significantly enhance university-industry engagement, leading to greater heights.

“USM SoLLaT is committed to excellent teaching, innovative research, and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse community that includes industry players such as Teleperformance,” said Azril.

Meanwhile, Andy Rangel highlighted Teleperformance’s dedication to building the best teams and developing stakeholders to achieve their full potential.

“We are committed to being the best by working with leading universities such as USM,” said Andy.

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The event also featured a series of insightful talks from Teleperformance speakers, namely Michael Costevec and Marcos Ulip, who shared their expertise on career growth and the importance of cultural fit in the workplace, as well as from USM SoLLaT academics, Dr. Mozhgan Ghassemiazghandi and Dr. Alla Baksh Mohamed Ayub Khan who offered perspectives on technological fluency, experiential learning, and industry exposure.

The collaboration between USM and Teleperformance promises to pave the way for future initiatives, fostering stronger networking between education and industry.

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This partnership marks the beginning of a fruitful relationship dedicated towards enhancing student employability and bridging the gap between graduation and occupation.

Text: Dr. Mozhgan Ghassemiazghandi/Editing: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi/Photo: Nur Amirah Abdul Aziz


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