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HSR: UTHM Confident Its Credibility In Railway Field Can Be Enhanced

JOHOR BAHRU: Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) believes its proposed cooperation with any parties to set up a training centre for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail (HSR) project will further boost its credibility as the Industry Centre of Excellence (ICOE) in the field of railway. 

Its vice-chancellor Professor Dr Wahid Razzaly said UTHM now has the advantage of having gained industry recognition in the field. 

UTHM also aims to have 50 per cent of academic staff with industry experience by 2020.

He said, as a public university that constantly helped the country in terms of human resource development, UTHM would also introduce the Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Rail Transportation programme at the university this year to produce special technology engineers in rail engineering.

UTHM also aims to have 50 per cent of academic staff with industry experience by 2020.

In addition, he hoped to create a future for rail technology in the country in line with HSR development. 

"This is the first programme for rail at the bachelor level in Malaysia and this university will start its first intake this September," he told Bernama. 

Wahid said this when asked to comment on the intention of Japan to cooperate with three local universities, namely UTHM, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) in establishing a HSR skilled training centre if it wins the project's contract bid. 

He added, since 2020 until last year, UTHM has produced about 17,000 engineers and 9,068 technologists for the country.

These people, he said, had a foundation in conventional engineering field, namely civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer engineering, and are needed in developing the rail industry. 

Hence, he said UTHM would continue to hire industry educators to jointly develop the industry. 

"As evidence, this year alone, about 20 per cent of the teaching and learning implementation must come from the industry. 

"This means the industry and academia have to work together because I believe the industry without universities will cause the industry to shrink while the university without industry will cause the university to be irrelevant," Wahid said. 

Meanwhile head of Industry Centre of Excellence for Railway (ICOE-REL) Professor Dr Khalid Hasnan said the Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Rail Transportation programme to be offered by UTHM from September will be implemented using the three-year method at university and a year in the rail industry.

For this programme, he said UTHM cooperates with Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) in the United Kingdom, which was selected based on its background with extensive experience in undergraduate rail transportation engineering programmes. 

In addition, it is also on par with UTHM in the context of programme module, which is to offer courses that are followed by one year of industrial training, he said. 

Khalid said SHU has been conducting this programme since 2004 and it was hoped it could help to develop the programme in the region. 

UTHM has also offered Master of Science in Rail Transportation Engineering since 2012, in collaboration with Birmingham University, UK and has produced a total of 37 graduates who are mostly working in their own rails, " he said. 

In the near future, Khalid said UTHM would also be collaborating with Beijing Jiaotong University to share academic and research expertise in the field of railway.

Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa, in an interview with Bernama, recently expressed the intention to work closely with UTHM, UTM and UTeM as these three local universities were along the planned HSR route and were perfectly located as training centres. 

He said the centres would be the core of technology transfer and Japanese human capital development plans to enable Malaysians and Singaporeans to acquire Shinkansen speed rail technology being developed by Japan over the last 50 years. 

The HSR project, estimated to cost between RM50 billion and RM60 billion, is scheduled to operate by 2026 and is able to shorten travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore by 90 minutes compared to between four and five hours by road.
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