Assalamualaikum and Warm Greetings

It gives me great pleasure to wish everyone Happy Eid Mubarak and Salam Aidilfitri after a month-long rewarding and blessed Ramadhan.  Do enjoy the celebration in the spirit of 1 Malaysia.

We will also be celebrating Malaysia’s Independence Day on 31 August, 2012.  As we celebrate our national day, we should count our blessings as one peaceful and prosperous nation. Let us continue to forge ahead and remain committed in contributing to the country’s aspiration towards becoming a high-income and developed nation by 2020.

I am also pleased to welcome all new students for the 2012/2013 New Academic year.  Rest assured that you have made the right choice in coming to UTM as you are among the top-notch students chosen to be part of the university community. Amidst an excellent academic culture and vibrant intellectual ecosystem enclosed in a beautiful eco-friendly campus environment, you will also have the opportunity to participate in our Global Outreach Programme, 5 Excellent Track Programme, and vie for the attractive UTM Endowment Scholarship. Not to mention the UTM Job Creation programme which provides an alternative learning paradigm of experiential learning, peer instruction and entrepreneurs in residence.

This year has been a significant year for UTM when it was announced as the first autonomous research University in the country. The recognition marks a new milestone for UTM in terms of managing its institutional and academic governance as well as financial and human resource management.  Most importantly, this autonomous status has set the impetus for UTM to become more dynamic, vibrant and innovative in terms   of not only academic excellence but also in relation to value management, sustainable and prudent resource management and high-impact contribution.

In view of that, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all faculty members, staff, students and alumni of the university for their concerted effort, diligence and commitment in making UTM a respectable and outstanding exemplary institution in the country.

It is also worth noting that UTM is currently undergoing a comprehensive institutional transformation that promotes mindset change and better working functions as well as delivery systems to transform the university’s current operating models to one that is innovative, entrepreneurial and global, which is currently the tagline that UTM subscribes to.

This year saw the launching of the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT) at the UTM Kuala Lumpur Campus.  This marks the continuous and strategic bilateral relations between Japan and Malaysia. With an investment of RM793 million over a period of 7 years,  MJIIT is set to be a world renowned centre of excellence in engineering education involving a consortium of Japanese universities.

Other new academic initiatives include the introduction of 30 minor programmes in UTM revolving around fields such as entrepreneurship, innovation, sports management and equine studies, to name a few. Another venture is upgrading of the Faculty of Education into a graduate faculty focusing on postgraduate studies. In addition, an interesting development is the establishment of the UTM Equine Academy offering, among others, programmes on Equine Studies and Management.

To add to that, as part of its global branding initiative, UTM will be launching the UTM Postdoctoral Fellowship in association with ten renowned world universities, which is offered to 40 academic staff below 40 years of age.

Furthermore, the ‘New Academia’ concept UTM is currently advocating promotes new dimensions in academic and research engagements. The ‘New Academia’ also encourages integration and synergy with new partners beyond the academic fraternity.  As such, some projects materialised resulting from this is the KPJ-UTM Hospital development project at a cost of RM160million. In addition, UTM has also engaged with the National Heart Institute to establish the UTM-IJN Centre for Cardiovascular Engineering.

It is also worth highlighting that with its focus on entrepreneurial mindset and innovative spirit, UTM is keen in making its development project self-financed and sustainable.  As such the current development projects in UTM are unique in the sense that they are self-funded with a focus on sustainable, eco-friendly development with a touch of commercial orientation that can generate financial returns to UTM.  Examples of such projects are the high-end accommodation in UTM, Kuala Lumpur costing RM180 million, and the sustainable socio-cultural Iconic Development centre for UTM Johor Bahru worth RM200million. Moreover, the latest new infrastructure is the newly completed 17-storey new Management Tower Building in UTM Kuala Lumpur, while already under construction in UTM Johor Bahru are 7 buildings specially allocated for the research clusters.

Before I end, I hope that we will continue to move forward towards creating a conducive and sustainable learning environment in UTM. Our goal is towards a generation of New Academia with innovative and entrepreneurial mindset, based on the principles of deep knowledge culture, fertile intellectual ecosystem, high impact contribution and high-value creation. Let’s make UTM a distinct global brand!

Best wishes

Vice-Chancellor Zaini Ujang