The Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology, which is a part of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM-MJIIT), has been actively collaborating with Japanese universities and industries since its establishment in 2011. We have recently taken strategic initiatives to establish the Malaysia-Japan Linkage Office (MJL) to continue our collaborations with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the 2023-2028 plan. This plan aims to enhance cooperation between Malaysia and Japan.
As part of our initiative, we visited our strategic collaborators in Japan from November 6 to November 14, 2023. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen our collaborative partnerships with academia, industries, and other related agencies in Japan. The participants included Prof Ts Dr Abd Latif Saleh (Pro Vice Chancellor of UTMKL), Prof Ts Dr Ali Selamat (Dean of MJIIT), Associate Professor Ir Ts Dr Nurulakmar Abu Husain (Deputy Dean, Academic & Student Development), Mr Isamu Hamada (Chief Advisor, JICA), and Mrs Emiko Hamada (JICA Expert).
The Malaysia-Japan Linkage Office was introduced during the visit, and UTM MJIIT academic programmes were expanded at eduPolis@Setapak. Collaborative partnerships were established for educational and research purposes, and potential collaborations with academia, agencies, and industries were explored. Additionally, a benchmarking for the upcoming Japanese Village concept for the UTM eduPolis@Setapak project was conducted. We shared our vision on MJIIT educational programme expansions related to the concept of Japanese lab-based education with our Japanese stakeholders.
During the visit, UTM MJIIT had the privilege of visiting prestigious Japanese universities such as Kyoto University, Kyoto University of Advanced Sciences (KUAS), Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT), and Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST). The discussions with these partner universities were related to academic collaboration, including joint/double/dual degree programs, mobility programs for students and staff, joint research initiatives, joint supervision, and joint publications. These discussions laid the foundation for future collaborations and academic exchanges between UTM MJIIT and these esteemed institutions. Specifically, Kyoto University has collaborated with UTM MJIIT since establishing the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Centre in 2015. Together with them, MJIIT has actively participated in the Japan ASEAN Science and Technology Platform (JASTIP) activities.
MJIIT collaborated with partner industries, specifically the Sumitomo Group and Yokohama City Hall, to explore opportunities for MJIIT students to participate in internships and work in Japan. These discussions provided insights into industry practices and opened doors for UTM MJIIT students to gain practical experience and enhance their professional skills.
Furthermore, MJIIT had fruitful discussions with Japanese agencies, especially the Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren) and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). The collaborations are based on the potential collaboration to enhance further UTM MJIIT’s position in achieving its vision and mission in line with MJIIT’s MJL plan for 2023-2028. The engagement with these agencies highlighted UTM MJIIT’s commitment to fostering strong partnerships and leveraging resources to drive innovation and growth.
UTM MJIIT received over 20 invitations during the visit for international internship placements and student attachment programs with Japanese universities and industries. These opportunities will provide UTM MJIIT students with valuable international exposure and hands-on experience, enhancing their academic journey. Additionally, UTM MJIIT was introduced to Japanese industries during the Job Fair Yokohama 2023 event on the final day of the visit.
The recent strategic collaboration between UTM MJIIT and Japanese universities and industries has been a significant milestone. It has strengthened existing collaborations and forged new partnerships, highlighting the institute’s dedication to fostering academic excellence, industry engagement, and internationalization. UTM MJIIT is committed to providing a transformative educational experience and equipping its students with the skills needed to thrive in a globalized world. This is evident from the fact that more than 50 UTM MJIIT alumni are currently working or continuing their studies in Japan. On the final day of the visit, we had a special meeting with these alumni who are currently working in various industries in the Tokyo and Yokohama regions, such as Takasago Thermal Engineering and NSK Ltd. This is a testament to how the Japanese lab-based education provided by UTM MJIIT in Malaysia has enabled our graduates to attain a level of competency comparable to students who graduated from Japanese universities in Japan.
We sincerely thank all the stakeholders, alumni, partner institutions, industries, and agencies for their warm hospitality and valuable contributions during our visit. Our collaboration is laying a stronger foundation for the future of education and research at UTM-MJIIT and expanding the quality of Japanese lab-based engineering and technology education in Malaysia and ASEAN.
Prepared by: Nurulakmar Abu Husain & Ali Selamat