July 07, 2012

AAC, SMART & Lynas

This year 10th Academic Advisory Council was held on 3 July 2012 at the ‘Kayangan’ meeting room, level 86 in PETT Twin Tower. As usual it was another heck of a job starting from preparing logistic matters; drafting the presentation materials, coordinating and collecting appropriate data and finally preparing the Minutes of meeting. Nevertheless, the meeting with Tun was something that I looking forward to each and every year. If my calculation is right, this is my fourth time having a meeting with the AAC members.

The Council amongst others discussed matters related to direction, strategy and proper planning for a ‘global university’ status. It’s an avenue for exchanging ideas between academicians and industry leaders, I must say. All members turned up for the meeting except for Prof Dieter Jahn (CEO BASF).

After the meeting, we were taken to MMC-Gamuda’s SMART tunnel control room for a visit. Datuk Zaidee himself briefed us on the history, operation and processes of the smart tunnel. SMART is an acronym of storm-water management and road tunnel, is the first and ‘smartest’ flood management and at the same time efficient road tunnel in the world. It started off with Tun Mahathir bold decision and aspiration to have smart roadways that will connect KL to Putrajaya in not more than 20 minutes driving. After sometimes, I do understand why Datuk Zaidee delivers the briefing with proud.

Prior to the trip to the SMART control room, I had a small chat with Datuk Zaidee.  We talked about Lynas and how rare earth, if it is developed and industrialized in Malaysia, could reduce at least 10% of total China domination of world’s rare earth. That 10% is huge in terms of dollars and cents. I guess that’s why some people ‘politically’ do not want the industry to take off citing environmental and safety as an issue.

As usual there are few good phrases of words from the meeting that I wish to highlight: -

a) Any long term investments especially in research and development, will always have a significant impact to the people and nation although it does not contribute to an immediate Return on Investment (ROI).

b) Aspiration has got to be realistic but at the same time should also be ambitious. The dilemma in balancing both aspects is of paramount important in order to have a clearer direction in achieving desired vision.

c) Students who are globally aware are those who are encouraged to develop their own critical thinking, have a broad basis in liberal art as well as being very competent in particular areas.

d) While we continue to learn from others, we must always take matters with 'a grain of salt' i.e. to accept the fact of other’s success but always maintain a degree of skepticism about its whole truth.

e) It is expected that in five-year time, a successful institution is the one that is better able to address the so-called 3Ps (people, planet & prosperity).

P/s – Convo event will be another hectic activities right after this... 

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