Kuala Lumpur, Jan 20 — Najib Razak’s claims, based on unverified news that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is opening a joint campus with a leading Chinese university in Indonesia has turned out to be fake, with the US university denying the claim published in Indonesian media.
The former prime minister said the decision by MIT and Tsinghua University to set up a campus in Bali showed that the two leading universities preferred Indonesia over Malaysia, adding that it was a setback for the country’s vision of becoming an international educational hub.
He then said that during his time as education minister and prime minister, a total of 11 foreign universities had set up campuses in Malaysia.
“Hundreds of thousands of Malaysian students benefited at the same time, saving on their education costs,” Najib said in a Facebook post yesterday, adding that the plan to make Malaysia a center of learning appeared to have stopped after his fall from power in 2018.
Najib said the idea by former prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to bring in a Japanese university never received any follow-up either.
“I hope the current education minister will work to attract the University of Tsukuba and other world-renowned universities to set up a campus in Malaysia so that the country can continue its aspiration to become an international education hub and grow its human capital.”
MIT denies the report
In a response to the claims made in the Indonesian media, MIT said it had never inked any cooperation with Tsinghua University to set up a campus in Bali, adding that a university complex being built on the holiday island had nothing to do with it.
Last December, Bali’s former governor Made Mangku Pastika told the press that a new technological university was under construction in cooperation with the two universities.
It is understood that the university, Upaya Indonesia Damai, would be inaugurated by President Joko Widodo sometime in the middle of this year.
MIT has already established educational cooperation with Malaysia thru the formation of the Asia Business School (ASB), a partnership between Bank Negara Malaysia and the MIT Sloan School of Management.
ASB’s faculty and board members also comprise leading American academics, including MIT Sloan founding president Charles Fine, Athanasios Orphanides, Richard Schmalensee, and David Schmittlein.