Australia and Sarawak keen to collaborate on renewable energy devt via education, research

Justin (front row, second right), his wife Jeane Lona (right), Kim Shin (on Justin's left) and Leunig (on Kim Shin's right) posing for a group photo with Curtin University personnel today (Feb 21, 2022).

By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, Feb 21: The Australian government is committed to strengthening collaboration with Malaysia in various fields, particularly with the Sarawak government in exploring renewable energy development via education and research.

“Malaysia and Australia share a long history of engagement and collaboration in the area of education and research, from the first Colombo Plan scholarships. In fact, many of Malaysia’s current leaders in politics, business, civil society and academia completed their university studies in Australia, shaping the deep people-to-people links between our two countries,” said the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, His Excellency Dr Justin Lee today.

He was met after his visit to the Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) campus here.

During the visit, he was received by Minister of Transport Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin.

Also present was Curtin Malaysia’s pro vice-chancellor and president Prof Simon Leunig.

Justin was accompanied by his wife Jeane Lona, Australian High Commission education counsellor Fiona Morris, and Australian High Commission second secretary Luke McGreevy.

Justine noted that some Sarawakians including current Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak, Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud studied in Australia under the original Colombo Plan scholarships, paving the way for generations of Malaysians to come, and that via the Colombo Plan, both countries enjoyed a strong foundation in education.

He revealed that since 2002, over 125,000 Malaysians have studied in Australia and many more in the decades before, and over 3,000 Australian students have chosen to study and intern in Malaysia under the New Colombo Plan since 2015.

“Malaysia is an especially important education partner for Australia, exemplified by the four physical Australian university campuses located in different parts of Malaysia, including this university, Curtin University Malaysia,” he said.

Approximately 20,000 Malaysians are currently studying at an Australian institution in Malaysia.

His Excellency noted that education has been profoundly transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic and cross-border education has never been more important than now.

He cited Curtin Malaysia is an excellent example of how Malaysians and international students from the region can have access to a high quality education.

He also touched on strategic plans to form a South China Sea research centre to study maritime issues and risks within the surrounding area.

“I believe with the establishment of this centre, research on maritime issues can be carried out with the involvement of the participating countries,” he asserted.

Justin added, that through this strategic planning will seek to facilitate cooperation in research to create a safer, more secure and prosperous region.

Meanwhile, Kim Shin who is also the Curtin Malaysia Management Committee chairman highlighted the Sarawak government’s keenness to explore new potential in renewable energy via research and development (R&D).

“We are very keen to strengthen and create more collaborations especially in education and R&D on renewable energy, aligned with the Sarawak government’s focus on green energy. More collaborations will allow us to explore new ways of producing hydrogen energy,” he pointed out.

He pointed out hydrogen can be produced in many ways to make it more competitive and he saw great potential for growth in education and R&D in this sector. Thus, he hoped to see more collaborations in the future between Australia and Malaysia.

Kim Shin expressed his delight to see the tremendous progress and achievement in Australian-Malaysian ties in education which have brought considerable benefits to students from Malaysia and across the world, ever since the Colombo Plan Scholarship days.

“As we bring Curtin Malaysia forward in the coming years, the continued support of the High Commission and other stakeholders would be most critical,” he said.

He added, the Australian High Commissioner’s visit to Curtin Malaysia was an opportunity to update His Excellency on developments at the university, including the well-established partnership between Curtin University and the Sarawak government.

“In turn, we hope you will enlighten us on how the Australian government intends to further support private higher education in Malaysia, particularly here in Sarawak, and at the same time, how we can help progress Australia’s educational initiatives in this country,” Kim Shin told His Excellency. — DayakDaily