Najib Abdul Razak said the existence of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) had changed the country’s economic landscape for the betterment of the Malay and bumiputera communities.
“The birth of UiTM is close to my family’s heart because the founder was none other than my late father, Abdul Razak Hussein, who envisoned it as a step in producing intellectuals from among the Malays and bumiputeras.
“On my part, when I was the education minister, I presented the Mara Act 1999, which was one very meaningful transformation because we lifted ITM up to become a university,” he said.
Najib said this at the launch of UiTM’s 60th Anniversary celebration in Shah Alam today.
Also present were Higher Education Minister Idris Jusoh, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri and UiTM vice-chancellor emeritus Prof Hassan Said.
The prime minister said the second step he took after ITM’s transformation into a university was to target an enrolment of 200,000.
“Following the transformation process, we saw many additional campuses being built in each state and now there are 34 UiTM campuses nationwide. I have also been made to understand that in the next four to five years, the 200,000 target would become a reality,” he said.
Najib said the establishment of the institution 60 years ago, impacted significantly on the four objectives in a university framework, namely, education, access to quality education, social mobility and social equality.
He said access to education was one of the benchmarks for a developed country and UiTM had contributed significantly in that aspect by successfully producing 661,456 graduates.
From the aspect of quality education, UiTM, he said, was among the highest contributors in graduate marketability.
“I have visited many countries and Malaysia is among the best in the world from the aspect of social mobility.
“UiTM has also contributed to national social mobility and social equality which have particularly seen the ability of the Malay and bumiputera communities to come out of poverty aside from building a just society regardless of race,” he said.
At the event, Najib also presented ‘Successful Alumni Icon’ awards to six recipients.
The recipients were Kamarudin Meranun (Entrepreneurial Alumni Icon); Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman (Professional Achievement Alumni Icon); Damit Ahmad (Cultural Alumni Icon); Muhamad Muqharabbin Mokhtarrudin (Sports Alumni Icon); Norazam Ab Samah (Humanitarian Alumni Icon) and Wan Nazri Wan Aria (Young Alumni Icon).
The prime minister also launched the university’s entrepreneurial fund which received its first contribution totaling RM1.1 million.