“With wisdom, we explore.” From the motto of Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), let’s have a quick exploration of the meaning of Malaysia Day as is celebrated with a great sense of gratitude throughout the extended Merdeka month. How can an institution of higher learning like UTHM play a significant role in nation building, especially in these rather turbulent times of the modern era?
Let’s begin with the very basic tenets of the University, for example the shared universal yet specific values of Trustworthy, Professional and Innovative.
As universities are looked upon as pinnacles of knowledge powerhouses, these institutions are relied on for actions which are honest and truthful, worthy of public belief and confidence. A university being TRUSTWORTHY expands into the responsible tertiary education of young minds, continuous exploration of new frontiers of knowledge, as well as the unwavering upkeep of integrity, moral values and righteousness, even in the face of adversities. Universities are entrusted with the noble task of nurturing future leaders in all walks of profession, to helm and steer the country, the region and the world towards a better tomorrow for all. Hence public’s wellbeing and nation’s priorities are not to be short-changed for various external factors and pressures at all.
If professionalism means the conduct that characterizes a profession, then being a PROFESSIONAL must certainly not fall short of the calling and commitment to acquire specialised knowledge and skills not achievable without long, intensive academic preparation. The determination to strive for excellence is not limited to the students but encompasses the entire community of the university, from the seemingly mundane administrative and supporting offices to the faculties and research centres spearheading revolutionary academic or investigative works. Professionalism would ensure the drive and passion for the lifelong pursuit of knowledge, keeping the loop of continuous improvement ever closed and in motion to propel Malaysia to greater heights.
Being INNOVATIVE calls for the duality of skills and imagination in creating something new, charting new waters and discovering unknown territories. Universities ought to be courageous to challenge the conventional ideas and way of doing things, deconstruct and rebuild with flexibility, lead and coordinate concerted efforts for betterment of practices, venture and blaze trails of new possibilities in technological advancement. Malaysia needs avant-garde intellects with progressive yet constructive ideologies to raise the bar of national achievement and excellence; an intricate multicultural landscape steep in tradition and rich in culture but never adverse to changes for sustained existence. Innovation in action would fuel the nation’s development, where creative rhetoric and eloquent propositions are effectively panned out into feasible action plans.
As Jalur Gemilang continues to dance in the wind to the spirited tune of the national anthem, as Malaysia persists to rise among the nations, may we be steadfast in our shared values to climb every mountain and to swim every ocean for Her, now and in the coming times.
Professor Dr. Chan Chee-Ming
Lecturer in Sustainable Geotechnical Engineering & Ground Improvement
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), Johor