Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), the youngest public university in Malaysia, has become a well known higher learning institution not only in the country but also in neighbouring Indonesia. Impressed with the growing popularity of UMS among students in the country, Universitas Andalas (UNAND), Indonesia’s oldest university outside Java, is eager to expand collaborative programmes with the first university in Sabah. Its rector Prof Dr Jr Musliar Kasim, who led a delegation to officially seal the first collaborative agreement between the two universities, said UMS is currently one of the top choices among students in Indonesia who are looking to study in Malaysia. “Despite its young age, UMS is university that is well known in Malaysia and Indonesia due to its high quality education and beautiful modern campus. It has become even better known specially among students in UNAND after staff from the university were given the opportunity to further their studies and give lecture here,” he said when speaking in a ceremony in conjunction with the signing of the MoU in UMS yesterday. Apart from formalising the UMS-UNAND long-established relationship, the MoU marks the commitment of the universities to combine force and expertise towards enhancing their potential in various disciplines and researches. Through the agreement UMS and UNAND, among others, will promote exchange of information and materials of mutual interest, conduct visits and participate in each other’s teaching and research programmes, as well as jointly organize international conferences, cultural and sports activities. “We are committed to combine our potential in academic and research by having, for instance, visiting programmes for both student and professors, joint publication of academic and scientific materials, joint researches and collaboration in organising other activities that promote development of knowledge,” added Prof Musliar. In addition to the existing collaboration in a number of fields, he said UNAND is seeking to expand partnership with UMS by developing dual degree programmes in social politics, socio-culture, engineering and technology, and medical studies. Following the UMS-UNAND agreement, a group of students from Sabah will be visiting Sumatera soon where they will be taking part in a home-stay programme and conducting social activities. UMS Vice Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin said while UMS’s vision for the future is clear and its academic focus is on track, the collaboration with UNDAND would help the University to meet challenges more effectively. Expressing his hope more strategic initiatives and greater joint-resources between UMS and UNAND will be born through their collaboration, he said the MoU has charted a new stage in further enhancing both parties’ strategy to raise the quality of intellectual capital in their respective countries.