The belief that no corporation could prosper without good human resources has driven Tokuyama Corporation of Japan to establish collaboration in research activities with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).
Unimas’ graduate students would be able to further their studies at Yamaguchi University, Japan under the support of Tokuyama Corporation with the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the three parties at Unimas campus. The students would then have the opportunity to work at the corporation’s polycrystalline silicon plant in Samalaju Industrial Park.
Apart from that, other activities outlined in the MoU included joint-research activities, students and staff exchange between the two universities, exchange of academic information and publications as well as conducting of conferences, lectures and seminars. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Promotion of Technical Education) Datu Len Talif Salleh.
Tokuyama Corporation advisor Seiichi Shiraga said at the signing ceremony that besides sponsoring graduate students of Unimas to further their studies in Yamaguchi University, they would also provide research grant to Unimas to conduct power related studies. The corporation established in 1918 had long collaborated with Yamaguchi University, the third oldest university in Japan, in research activities, he added.
On the plant in Bintulu, he expressed his hope that the investment could help to create job opportunities for the state. “We also hope that we can play a certain part in the economic growth of Sarawak as well as to boost local businesses.”
Yamaguchi University vice president Dr Hiroshi Matsuda said he believed that the MoU would help to enhance the status of the university among Malaysian students. He pointed out that Malaysian was the second largest group of foreign students in the university in 2011, recorded at 40 students, after China.
He pledged that the university would try its best to provide the required skilled workforces for Tokuyama’s plant in Bintulu. The plant, scheduled for operation next year was expected to provide about 300 jobs to local skilled workforces. “We hope that Yamaguchi University could act as the bridge for further collaboration between Malaysia and Japan.”
The university has about 10,000 students with seven faculties and six graduate schools. Unimas vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Ab Hamid, meanwhile, urged academic staff and students of Faculty of Engineering, particularly, to take advantage of the MoU. Describing the MoU as ‘meaningful’, he said it would help to provide needed human resources for the development of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).
“This year also marks the 30th anniversary of ‘Look East Policy’, a programme initiated by our former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1982 which encourages our nation to follow Japan’s lead in technological and industrial development.
“Therefore, we hope to have more collaboration with our Japanese counterparts to further develop the technological industries in Malaysia, especially in the state of Sarawak.”