Education ministry confirms merger of 2 Terengganu varsities

PETALING JAYA: The government has agreed in principle to merge two universities in Terengganu, a move that drew brickbats when the proposal was first reported.

In a statement, the office of higher education director-general Siti Hamisah Tapsir revealed that the Cabinet had agreed on Sept 4 to merge Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA).

Putrajaya argued that the move would be able to improve the functions of the two universities in line with the higher education blueprint.

“The ministry is agreeable with the proposal to merge the universities and is preparing a framework for its implementation.

“A special committee is in the midst of being set up and will comprise representatives from the academia, students, various agencies and administrators to ensure this merger happens,” the statement read.

It also said that the report on the proposed merger would be completed in six months.

It went on to say that such exercises were also carried out in developed nations such as the UK, the US and Australia to increase the effectiveness and competitiveness of universities.

“It will also improve the quality of service and provide value-added services to the students, faculty and local community.”

Last week, FMT reported that two universities may be merged as part of Putrajaya’s austerity measures for higher-learning institutions.

A source then told FMT that many were unhappy with the proposal.

The source said among the reasons for the merger was to cut down on expenditure, especially when it comes to the salaries of the top management.