UMP to become first university to offer railway technology studies

PEKAN: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) will become the first technical institute in the country to introduce studies in railway technology.

He said the field of study is a necessity today based on current developments in the field of transport including the construction of the East Coast Railway (ECRL) project to be launched in September.

"I place another KPI (key performance indicator) for this university, all this while it was focusing more on management in the automotive field, but now I want it to focus on railway technology.

"The position of the UMP Gambang campus is also close to the ECRL route where this big project will be launched (in September)," Najib said.

He said this to reporters at the launching ceremony of the UMP Mosque and at the Syawal celebration with more than 2,000 UMP residents and community in Kuala Pekan here, today.

Also present were Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, UMP Board of Directors chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hilmey Mohd Taib and UMP vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Daing Nasir Ibrahim.

The studies, named the ECRL Industrial Skills Training Programme, is expected to begin in September with a first intake of 300 students.

The programme will provide and improve the skills of local graduates to be employed by the ECRL contractor and the rail-tech industry.

Najib, who is also Pekan MP, said the project needed massive support from all quarters, including the institutions of higher learning in the country.

"We need skills in the field of rail technology whether it is in terms of construction, maintenance and management areas and to launch this skills programme, UMP will begin the process of transferring its skills.

"The programme will take six months at first and in the future a longer study programme (from the six-month period) ) will be introduced,” Najib said.

The ECRL construction project will connect Port Klang to Gombak, Selangor; Gombak to Kuantan, Pahang up to Tumpat, Kelantan and is expected to be fully completed by 2022.

In Pahang, the ECRL route will pass through Kota SAS, Kuantan Sentral, Gambang, Maran, Mentakab, and Bentong.

Meanwhile, Najib described UMP as a valuable jewel which benefited not only education but also the surrounding residents.

"I've seen that lately, UMP has been very encouraging and in terms of ranking it is now ranked among the 251 to 300 best universities in the world in mechanical engineering despite the fact that it is still young.

"Even its graduates' marketability reached 95 percent, they are able to work and continue studying. So our move to make UMP a technical university is the right step and UMP does not need to open a faculty based on non-technical studies,” he said. — Bernama