CM unveils bursary scheme for B40, M40 group students to study at UTS
Posted on : 10 Nov 2021  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (second right) signs the plaque to symbolically officiate the event to mark the elevation of UTS to university status while (from left) Dr Khairuddin, Dr Annuar and others look on.

SIBU (Nov 10): The state government has introduced UTS Bursary Scheme for Sarawakians in the B40 group and M40 group to study at University Technology Sarawak (UTS).

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said through this scheme, UTS and Yayasan Sarawak will cover 80 per cent of the tuition fees for students from the B40 group and M40 group who wished to study at UTS.

“This scheme, we will give to 100 Bumiputera students and 100 non-Bumiputera students,” he said, adding that it would cost the university RM3 million a year.

He announced this during the official launching of UTS at the campus today, in conjunction with the upgrading of University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) to a full-fledged university.

He also said that the university status was given on Nov 8, and now UTS is the first full-fledged university owned by the Sarawak government.

“Today is a historic day for the people of Sarawak especially those from UCTS because it is now being elevated to a full-fledged university.

“We have public universities mostly funded by the federal government and today, we have Sarawak’s own university,” he enthused.

He also revealed that in conjunction with this elevation to university status, other initiatives had also been introduced, one of which is the UTS Foundation Scholarship for all students.

He said the government will offer scholarship of RM10,000 to students who are eligible to study in the foundation programme at UTS.

“This we had calculated, if RM10,000 per student, it will cost the government between RM4.5 million and RM7 million a year,” he said.

Secondly, the state government has introduced UTS Undergraduate and Postgraduate Scholarships. Under this scholarship, the state government will give 50 per cent discount to those who wish to pursue undergraduate studies or postgraduate studies.

He said this would cost the government RM17.2 million to RM27 million a year.

He also said other financial assistances are available to those who wish to study at UTS.

Apart from that, he said the university would establish the ‘Datuk Patinggi Dr Wong Soon Kai Research Chair in Medical Devices Technology and Innovation’ to allow research especially on medical field.

“Dr Wong Soon Kai was a renowned surgeon in Sibu. The first one also. Actually, not just Sibu, but the whole country. He was also classmate to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Siti Hasmah.

“He was a pioneer in the medical field. So, we want to honour Datuk Wong Soon Kai’s contribution to the state, and we name this chair after him. This chair will allow researchers to do research on whatever subject, but particularly on technology,” he said.

He disclosed the Research Chair would be sponsored by the state government through Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Research with the grant of RM2 million.

He also said that the elevation to university status proved the commitments of the state government to fund UTS, especially in terms of operation and financial status.

According to him, UTS is not only focused on academic, but on providing skills and expertise in the effort to produce highly competitive graduates that can meet the needs of today’s economy.

“UTS is an institution that focuses on research and innovation that would propel Sarawak to become a developed state in 2030 and towards digitalisation in Sarawak,” he enthused.

Meanwhile, chairman of UTS, Dr Annuar Rapaee, said that after operating for seven years from April 1, 2013, UTS had fulfilled all criteria from the Higher Education Department to become a full-fledged university.

According to him, 80 per cent of its programmes had been awarded full accreditation from Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).

“We had produced 2,200 graduates since 2013, with the employability rate of our students the highest in Malaysia which is 99.1 per cent,” he said.

On international relations, he said UTS cooperated with more than 29 universities from 12 countries in terms of education and research.

He added that UTS had also been awarded Malaysia Research Assessment.

“UTS has six research centres; namely Centre for Sustainable Socio-Economic and Technological Development (ASSET), Borneo Regionalism and Conservation (BORC), Centre of Excellence in Wood Engineered Products (CeWEP), Centre for Research of Innovation and Sustainable Development (CRISD), Centre on Technological Readiness and Innovation in Business Technopreneurship (CONTRIBUTE); and Drone Research and Application Centre (DRAC),” he said.

He said all these research centres will contribute towards finding solutions to local issues using science, technology and digital innovation.

He added that UTS had also published more than 354 journals and books since 2019.

Also present at the event was UTS vice chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Khairuddin Abdul Hamid.