Tag Archives: University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

CPR Training for Varsity Students

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Hundred students of University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Kampar were given training on Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) procedure. The training was jointly organised by St John Ambulance and Federation of Private Medical Practitioners Association of Malaysia as part of the Citizen’s Action in Response to Emergencies (CARE) programme.
The students were divided into small groups and practised CPR on the mannequin. Dr. Chang Keng Wee, President of Private Practitioners Association gave a talk on wounds, bleeding and burns.
Manin Singh, State Secretary of St John Ambulance said that giving First-Aid in the right way and safely is not an easy task. If the students are given proper training they can give First-Aid when it is needed at any time and place.

AJ

Self Interest Before Others

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UTAR is unlike other public universities. It has no hostel facilities. Is this a genuine oversight or is it deliberate?

Tunku Abdul Rahman College or TAR College was the forerunner of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR). Built on a 191-acre site adjacent to Wardieburn Camp, Setapak in September 1972, the college provided Chinese youths opportunities to further their studies upon completion of their secondary education. It was the equivalent of the MARA College in Old Town Petaling Jaya, which catered to Malay students.

Beginning
In July 2001 the Education Ministry invited the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), the owner of TAR College, to establish a university of its own. A steering committee under MCA President, Dr. Ling Liong Sik, drew up the blueprint while a working committee, headed by the then principal of TAR College prepared the working papers.

To ensure that the institution conformed to international standards an advisory council consisting of eminent scholars was established. The council met on April 15, 2002 to chart its course.

On June 10, 2002, the university received its first intake of 411 students at its Petaling Jaya campus. In August 2002, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad, declared it opened. Today UTAR has over 16,000 students pursuing 91 programmes in nine faculties spread over four campuses – Petaling Jaya, Sg. Long (Cheras), Setapak and Kampar. Of interest is the Kampar campus in Perak.

Benign Facade
The Kampar campus sits on a 1,300-acre site given by the Perak state government in 2003. Surrounded by lakes and rolling hills, the campus is noted for its aesthetic beauty accentuated by a lush green and vibrant background. It provides an ideal setting for those wanting peace and tranquillity away from the madding crowd. In short a perfect environment for studying.

The campus’ pioneer batch of students reported in May 2007. Although it can accommodate over 16,000 students only about 10,000 are currently enrolled in the 32 programmes on offer.

Behind this benign façade, however, a more ominous tale unwinds; one which is set to hound the university’s elders and MCA in the years ahead. In spite of its grandeur, UTAR is unlike other public universities. It has no hostel facilities. Is this a genuine oversight or is it deliberate? It could be both depending how one wishes to view it.

Custom-Made
Economic considerations topped the agenda when the campus was built. A bustling university with a huge student population means money for those with properties to sell and rent. Lands in close proximity to the university were snapped up and houses built on them. These houses are custom-made for students who, having no other means of accommodation, are forced to rent them.

In one purpose-built housing estate, within striking distance of the institution, the terrace houses come either in two or three storey configuration. The interiors are being partitioned into rooms (cubicles) ranging in size from 86 to 150 sq ft. One terrace house may have as many as 5 or 14 rooms, based on its structure.

The going rate for single occupancy averages about RM300 while twin/triple-sharing about RM200 per student per room per month, depending on the size of the room and amenities available. And since almost all the rooms in these purpose-built houses are taken up, one can imagine the amount of money the owner makes in a month. The reason for this lop-sided deal is obvious – unfettered greed. A paradoxical Shylock exacting his pound of flesh, it seems.

Rip-Off
One sympathetic Ipohite, concerned for the welfare of the much-maligned students, offered to build a hostel with his own money. Mindful of the havoc the hostel would cause, MCA turned it down citing some incomprehensible reasons.

“It’s a rip-off,” lamented one dejected parent whose only daughter was accepted into the university recently. “Parents and students have voiced their dissatisfaction but they have fallen on deaf ears.”

There will not be a solution in the foreseeable future so long as the self-serving interest of the greedy remains unshackled. It is cronyism at its best. Like all things else, the poor and the marginalised are left to pick up the pieces.

Fathol Zaman Bukhari

KAMPAR – From Tin Mines to Tertiary Education

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By Jerry Francis


Kampar, like most mining towns in the rich alluvial tin deposit region of the Kinta Valley, plunged into a depression when the international tin price collapsed in October, 1985. Several tin mines on which the town’s economy largely depended, gradually ceased operation. Also affected were scores of supporting industries, such as foundries, hardware shops, machinery workshops and timber traders. As a result, thousands of workers lost their jobs. Without any alternative employment opportunity available, most of the young people left as immigrant workers to Japan, Taiwan, Europe and the United States and sent their hard earned money home to their dependants. Kampar founded in 1887, thus became like an old-folks and children’s home. However, in just over two decades, Kampar has emerged from the tailings of the tin mines into a fast growing hub for tertiary education in Perak.

The revival of Kampar was possible largely because of the vision of a former veteran tin miner Tan Sri Hew See Tong, who gave a kiss of life to an otherwise dying mining town.

Tan Sri Hew See Tong

“Hew, a miner since 1949, was an advisor for a number of years to the International Tin Council (ITC) in London, which was established in 1956 to manage a buffer stock to keep the tin price at a steady level until 1985 when its buffer manager could no longer maintain the price due to rising cost of production and an increase in production by non-member countries. As a result ITC collapsed and so did the tin mining industry in the country.

After the tin mining industry collapsed, I managed to carry on until the drop of the tin price became unbearable”, said the 79-year-old Hew at a casual interview in a coffee-shop.

New Township
On ceasing mining operations in 1989, he decided to diversify and use his ex-mining land just north of Kampar town for housing and industrial developments. And so, a new township – Bandar Baru Kampar, sprang out in the midst of the vast sandy landscape.

Beautifully designed shophouses in Bandar Baru Kampar

This gave some clout to his efforts. Hew’s hope was to develop the new township to be a catalyst in bringing much deve-lopment and growth to the region.

He started off by luring three foreign electronic companies to set up their operations in the new township and provide employment for about 7,000 workers.

Need for Progress
Despite some critics accusing him of having a personal agenda, the soft-spoken Hew crusaded on with his vision to bring progress and new hope to the residents of his birthplace. “I felt we needed to do something and so decided to make Kampar a hub of tertiary education”, he said.

Hew then went on to persuade Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TARC) to set up a branch. His offer of five shop lots at a nominal rental of RM1 per year and a donation of 20.2ha of his ex-mining land for the college’s permanent site was too good to refuse.

And with the support of Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sek (former MCA president), he managed to get TARC to come in and the branch campus was constructed and officially opened on May 18, 2003. Today, the branch campus, surrounded by beautiful scenery and lakes, offers outstanding facilities and resources that further promote excellent teaching and learning.

UTAR
Hew was also instrumental in getting the University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) to set up its main campus in the new township. It was with the help of two former Menteri Besars of Perak, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah and Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli, and an MCA leader Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan that a 520-ha piece of ex-mining land surrounded by lush greenery and lakes was allocated by the Perak Government to UTAR.

The university was officially opened on June 1, 2007. UTAR has progressed steadily to be a comprehensive university providing “a diverse portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes with a niche in research and consultancy”.

Main square of Bandar Baru Kampar

Future Developments
Under its second phase of development, UTAR is constructing a grand-hall with a capacity for 3,500 people and a number of lecture theatres. Currently, UTAR has an enrolment of 12,500 students and TARC has 2,100 students.Bandar Baru Kampar has about 4,000 houses, 300 commercial buildings, two government schools, a large supermarket and a seven-storey hotel. Housing developments are still underway.

The Federal Govern-ment is proposing to build a satellite hospital in the township to cater to the residents of Lower Perak and MARA is planning to set up its university at nearby Gua Tempurung.

With plans for expansion by the two education institutions, the student population is expected to hit well above 20,000. Kampar is therefore primed to move further with the education sector as the main driving force of its economy.

Providing accommodation and essential needs of the students alone offers great prospects to the economic and commercial activities of the township as well as the old town. Already, restaurants, hotels, internet cafes and retail shops are among others thriving in the town.

Confidence in the economic boom of Kampar is shown by the number of commercial banks (8) which have their branches in the town. With its population on the increase to well above 70,000, the sub-district was upgraded to a full district – the 10th in Perak last year.

Tourism Potential
Having seen Kampar turn around to become a hub of tertiary education is not sufficient for Hew to rest on his laurels. “My dream is to see Kampar become both a hub for tertiary education and a tourist destination.

“There is potential for tourism development in Kampar and its surroundings”, he claimed. He pointed out the bird sanctuary in the area, Gua Tempurung and the old tin dredge in Chendrong as among the tourist attractions.

As for his role towards tourism, Hew said he, together with some former miners, were working on setting up a gravel pump mines museum to be located in the township.

“We want to show the young generation and the generations to come, the contribution of the tin mining industry to the economy of the country as well as remind the residents of the town’s heritage”, he said.

The old town was once famous for its chicken clay-pot rice, chicken biscuits and fish-ball noodles. Bus-loads of tourists were known to make a bee-line to the town to savourthe delicacies. However theconstruction of the North-South Highway soon made the detour to Kampar too tedious and foodie visits dwindled. With the new focus on tourism, Kampar should soon see the full buses returning, making Kampar a full destination rather than a detour.