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  • Multimedia University to Be Built at Malaysia's MSC
  • February 26, 1998 (KUALA LUMPUR) -- Malaysia is building a multimedia university, the first of its kind, to specialize in courses on multimedia technologies, on a 200-acre parcel of land in Cyberjaya, 30km from Kuala Lumpur.
    Cyberjaya is a new city that is being constructed on a former palm-oil estate.

    Telekom Malaysia Bhd, the country's largest telecommunications service operator, is spending about US$150 million to construct and equip the university.

    Telekom Malaysia recently awarded the contract to build the campus to MEPS Joint Venture, a consortium comprising developers Emkay Holdings Sdn Bhd, Projass Engineering Bhd, Eastbourne Corp. Bhd and Shorefield Holdings Sdn Bhd.

    The university, to be called Multimedia University, also will accommodate staff and students from Telekom Malaysia's Universiti Telekom or Unitele, in Malacca.

    At the signing ceremony, Telekom Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer Mohamed Said Mohamed Ali said the first class of 2,000 students will enter the university in September, upon completion of its first phase.

    By 2000, the campus will accommodate up to 10,000 students, excluding students attending virtual or distance learning courses, and its staff will number about 500.

    Mohamed Said noted that the university will be unique because it will offer courses on all aspects of multimedia and will use information technology in all areas, including lectures, administration, research and social events.

    Technology companies based in Cyberjaya, the host city for investors in Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor project, will be able to tap into the university's research facilities and hire graduates, he said.

    Based on Unitele's current program, the new university will have four faculties: information technology, engineering, management, and media arts and science. Students will take courses in a variety of disciplines, including multimedia digital systems, multimedia technology and management, multimedia engineering, digital media arts, film and animation, and media innovation.

    In the management faculty, courses such as those on multimedia finance and multimedia marketing will be offered. The university also will offer a distance-learning program to allow external students to follow degree courses and various short courses via the Internet, CD-ROMs and video conferencing.

    Already, Silicon Graphics Inc. and Lucent Technologies Inc., have expressed interest in assisting in the curriculum offered by the Multimedia University. Silicon Graphics World Trade Corp. chairman Robert Bishop said the company will help develop the university's curriculum on digital media content production.

    "We will show Malaysians how to use the most advanced tools to create their own products for the global market," Bishop said.

    Bishop said the company, together with local partners, also will build a 3-D simulation center for another local university, University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), to be located in Cyberjaya. Content development will become a major industry in the future and must be a priority for the MSC, he noted.

    "If you can develop Malaysian digital media content, then it can spread throughout the education system, it can be transmitted internationally and can be modified from language to language," he said.

    Ben Verwaayen, chief operating officer of Lucent Technologies Inc., said the company will assign scientists at Bell Laboratories to develop and teach courses at the Multimedia University.

    "I told the prime minister that we are anxious to start," said Verwaayen, after attending the recent MSC international advisory panel meeting.

    Lucent Technologies is expected to invest more than US$100 million in Malaysia and the MSC in the coming three years.

    Verwaayen said part of the investment is for developing its regional training hub for global system for mobile communications (GSM) technology, and it is likely to lend expertise to the university in that field.

    Related story: Malaysia Proposes ASEAN Framework For E-Commerce

    Related story: High-Tech Leaders Endorse Multimedia Super Corridor

    (Julian Matthews, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Wed Feb 25 18:55:25 1998