Table of Contents
- 1 A VISION IS BORN
- 2 Initial Funding
- 3 Ground Breaking
- 4 Approval to set up
- 5 Amanjaya Campus
- 6 Moving forward
- 7 Curriculum and Faculty
- 8 THE HISTORIC VALLEY
- 9 The Unprecedented Campus Design
- 10 The World-Class Curriculum
- 11 The Campus Life
- 12 World-class technology
- 13 The World Class Facilities
- 14 The next milestone: The first convocation
Left: Official Campus Visit by Minister of Higher Education, YB. Datuk Mustapha Mohd. (26 July 2007)
Right: Scaled model of the 224 acre masterplan
A VISION IS BORN
YBhg Dato’ Seri S. Samy Vellu strongly believes that education and self-empowerment are the key to success for the Malaysian Indian community. With this vision in mind, in August 1997 he announced at MIC’s 51st General Assembly to a packed audience that included the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad and the Rt.Hon. Prime Minister of Mauritius,Mr.Navichandra Ramgoolam:
“The MIC through its educational arm, MIED, has taken several steps to supplement the efforts of the Government to make Malaysia a centre of academic excellence and to make higher education accessible to all Malaysians. In this regard, the MIED has recently submitted an application to the Ministry of Education to set up a private university at Sungai
Petani, Kedah ……”
With the cost of the university estimated at around RM460 million, the MIC machinery was fully mobilized
to go on a donation drive for the University Building Fund, targeting a collection of RM 200 million. Besides soliciting donations from corporate organizations, each and every branch of MIC in the country was tasked to collect a minimum of RM 11,000.
The Federal Government initially pledged a matching grant of RM 50 million, but by 2007 it had generously advanced this grant incrementally to RM 300 million.
The Bujang Valley or Lembab Bujang is a sprawling historical complex and has an area of approximately 224 square km. Situated near Merbok, Kedah, between Gunung Jerai in the north and Muda River in the south, it is the richest archaeological area in Malaysia.
Archaeological research indicates that there was an old Hindu-Buddhist empire built here. The name itself is roughly translated into “Dragon Valley’ The area consists of ruins that may date more than 1,500 years old. More than fifty ancient tomb temples, called candi, have also been unearthed, many of which were built during the Bujang Valley civilization’s heyday. The most impressive and well-preserved of these is located in Pengkalan Bayang Merbok.
Research also indicates that an ancient Hindu-Buddhist kingdom ruled here as early as 300 CE. Relics found at the site are now on display at the archaeological museum. Items include inscribed stone caskets and tablets, metal tools and ornaments, ceramics, pottery, and Hindu icons.
It was indeed a proud moment for the entire Malaysian Indian community when the ground-breaking ceremony for the planned state-of-the-art university was officiated by YAB Dato’ Seri Syed Razak bin Syed Zein, Menteri Besar of Kedah, on 18th May 2000.
Approval to set up
At the 54th General Assembly on 27th May 2000, YB Dato’ Seri Samy Vellu next announced, “The setting up of our university has (already) been approved by the Federal Government. We have sent a team of experts to the UK to finalise the curriculum and other educational aspects with the University of Bristol…”
The Memorandum and Articles of AIMST Sdn. Bhd. were approved by the Department of Private Education in the Ministry of Education on 15 March 2001; this date has since been taken as the official founding date of the University.
The first task of AIMST Sdn. Bhd. following its establishment was to look for a suitable site in Sungai Petani to establish an interim campus. This was achieved without much difficulty when the imposing premises of a defunct college at Amanjaya became available. We also found two blocks (the North and South Wings) of brand new 3-storey shop lots opposite the college, sharing the same road frontage, which were also available for rental.
The University has invested heavily in building the infrastructural facilities at the interim campus for the conduct of all the degree programmes. The space occupied embraces 66 floors in 24 shop lots covering a total area of 67,173 sq.ft.
The University provides furnished hostel facilities and transport for its students in residential locations at Bandar laguna Merbok, Taman Desa Enggang and Bandar Puteri laya, all of which are close to the Amanjaya campus.
The next step was to activate the operations of AIMST University. The Registrar Dr. R. Rajakrishnan was appointed, along with a few administrative support staff. Shortly thereafter, Dato’ Dr. Professor V.G. Kumar Das was appointed as the Founder Vice-Chancellor.
Curriculum and Faculty
Teaching staff was recruited for the Matriculation in Science programme along with a few senior academics, especially in the life sciences and the curriculum for this course was modelled on the South Australian Matriculation Certificate.
Three Faculties and three Centres were initially established, each being composed of Schools, Departments or Divisions as appropriate. The Centre of Matriculation & Foundation Studies (CMFS) was entrusted with the task of conducting the Foundation programmes, while the Centre for General & Extracurricular Studies (CGES) was given the task of running University courses in English and Humanities, which are compulsory modules in all degree programmes.
THE HISTORIC VALLEY
AIMST’s permanent campus is located on a 228-acre site of Mukim Semeling in the Kuala Muda District, which has been alienated to University by the Kedah State Government. It is nestled within the foothills bordering the picturesque Gunung Jerai National Park.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Kedah is the site of establishment of Peninsular Malaysia’s oldest civilization. The Bujang Valley civilization, which began in the tenth century AD attracted a cosmopolitan population of merchants and traders, including Indians, Chinese, Achenese, Burmese and Arabs. The arrival of Arab traders signaled the first advent of Islam into the Peninsula. The archeological findings reveal that the State was once a prosperous center for trade and a focal point for knowledge and learning.
The establishment of the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and technology (AIMST) in this historical site is indeed significant, as once again Semeling in the new Millennium will be turned into an educational hub.
The Unprecedented Campus Design
The renowned local firm of architects, Hijjas Kasturi Associates Bhd. was appointed by MIED as the Master Planner for the University and TMI-Nusantara (M) Sdn. Bhd. as the overall Project Manager and KPK QS as the Quantity Surveyors.
The self-contained campus with purpose-built student and staff apartments that has a circular design alludes to the ever- spinning wheel of progress; an ubiquitous symbol which transcends many cultures and traditions. Discernible in the circle is the silhouette of the wau hulan (moon-shaped kite), which adds a distinctively local and harmonious touch to the overall design.
The unique central positioning of the Library in the circular design, contiguous to the faculty buildings, serves as a constant attraction for students to intimate themselves with its richly endowed learning facilities. Two other important building complexes are located in the central core. One is the Administration Building which also houses the majestic (2,500 seating capacity) Great Hall and the Experimental Theatre and the other is the Student Centre, replete with facilities such as a bank, post office, book store, computer shop, mini-market, University Health Clinic, etc.
The student and staff apartments are within walking distance to the Faculties, Library and Student Centre. The Campus boasts of an out-door field and track and an indoor sports centre with Olympic-size swimming pool, thus providing outstanding sporting facilities for staff and students alike.
The World-Class Curriculum
With its focus on medicine, science and technology, AIMST University is poised to play a key role in the development of the State of Kedah Darul Aman in particular, and the northern belt of Malaysia in general. All the courses offered are fully recognised. These courses include:
• Computer Science
• Information Technology (Multimedia, Information Systems, IT / Management)
• Materials Technology
• Engineering (Electrical & Electronic; Electronic & Communications)
• Business (IS, Finance & Management, Business & Marketing)
• Diploma (Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Medical Lab Technology, Computer Networking)
• Foundation courses (Science/Business)
The Campus Life
The strong sense of cooperation and community spirit is discernable amongst the multi-racial students, the teaching populace, and other residents of the campus. The creation of a centre to pursue world-class education, as originally envisioned by the founders, has finally been achieved.
Students of all races, ethnicities and nationalities are welcomed at AIMST University. The student population comprising both local and international undergraduates currently stands at 2300 and the figure is surely and steadily increasing. The academic and administrative staff of AIMST University reside mainly on-campus in the residences provided. The spirit of camaraderie that has developed is palpable and this undoubtedly affects the students in a beneficial manner.
Lecture halls are fitted with motorized screen, LCD projector and a rostrum that integrates the audio and visual equipment. Microphones,visualizer,audio mixer,graphic equalizer,power amplifier, VCR and DVD will all he housed in the rostrum. The facilities in a Video Conferencing Room are 42” plasma screen, camera, visualizer, DVD, VCR, PC, audio and control systems. Card readers and biometrics readers are installed in important locations.
The World Class Facilities
As AIMST University believes in a well-balanced education, a fully equipped Sports Complex replete with a gymnasium, swimming pool, indoor courts and outdoor track facilities help bring together students of all races via healthy physical activity.
The next milestone: The first convocation
Today, AIMST University stands tall amongst other global institutions of higher learning by providing industry driven and market-centric courses and modules in the fields of medicine, science, technology and arts. Driven by passionate leadership and lecturers coupled with highly motivated students it is now the university of choice in shaping future Malaysians.
With every last detail now in place, AIMST University is poised to celebrate yet another milestone; the inaugural convocation which is scheduled for October 2008.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”