By MUHD IZAWAN BAHARIN – October 23, 2017 @ 10:25am
ISTANBUL: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi described his official visit to Turkey for a meeting of the eight-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation (D-8) as a success.
He said this was especially so for the strengthening of ties between Malaysia and the host nation.
Zahid said both countries were prepared to spearhead cooperation in various fields, including education.
He said several issues affecting common and regional interests were discussed in a closed-door meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Among the things that we agreed upon was the construction of a private university, a branch of Turkey’s Ibn Haldun University, in Malaysia.
“This university will replace the Al Bukhary International University in Alor Star, Kedah,” he told Malaysian reporters.
Zahid said the takeover would start with the formation of three departments, which will see
academicians from Turkey, Malaysia and other Islamic countries being roped in.
“A rector will be appointed, but the students and administration are already there at the university. The intake for students is 80 per cent foreign students and 20 per cent Malaysian students. This has been approved by the Higher Education Ministry,” he said.
Zahid said the courses offered would include studies in civilisation, technology and engineering.
“Turkey is well-known in the defence, safety and aviation industries, so we are confident with the knowledge transfer and technology for the students.”
Zahid said the setting up of the university was a collaborative effort between Malaysia’s Higher Education Ministry and the Turkish Higher Learning Board.
“The campus will be officiated in January, during Erdogan’s official visit to Malaysia to attend an event in Putrajaya,” he said.
Zahid said Turkey had requested that a foundation — Maarif Foundation — be formed to promote the two countries’ collaboration in the field of education.
He added that scholarships would be offered to Malaysian students who wished to study in Turkey through the foundation.
“Turkey will also cooperate with us through the Yunus Emre Institute. (This institute) will promote arts and culture between the two countries.”
Zahid said, on a regional level, Turkey was committed to aiding displaced Rohingya who had been forced out of Myanmar into refugee camps in Bangladesh.
“The Turkish government will build 20 refugee camps in Kutupalong, a field hospital and a school, while food and clothes will be bought in Bangladesh.”