Update (17 February 2012): Curtin University never for a moment anticipated the ferocity of the backlash from Malaysians when it awarded a ‘honorary doctorate’ to Rosmah.
Now the news is all over the Australian media as well and the proverbial has hit the fan. It is going to take much more than public relations and Curtin U shutting down comments on its Facebook wall to repair the damage done to its reputation – if at all possible.
12 February 2012:
Back in Australia after a New Year’s jaunt in Sydney, Rosmah was awarded an honorary doctorate at Curtin University’s Bentley campus in Perth yesterday.
Rosmah received her scroll along with 600 other graduating students.
What are Curtin University’s links to Malaysia?
In 2010, the Malaysian Qualifications Agency granted Curtin University of Technology in Sarawak self-accreditation status following an institutional audit that included a visit by an MQA panel of auditors to the university campus. The campus was opened in Miri in 1998.
Curtin Sarawak has received various sources of funding in Malaysia:
In August 2003, Curtin Sarawak became the first international university in Malaysia to be entitled to access the prestigious IRPA grants (“Intensification for Research in Priority Areas”) of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment.
In December 2004, researchers at Curtin Sarawak were awarded their first IRPA grant.
In addition to sources of funding from the Federal Government, Curtin Sarawak has also access to funds from the Sarawak State Government as well as from various industrial partners.
If this is true, why are public funds going to a foreign university when many schools in Sarawak don’t even have basic facilities? How much has Curtin received in total?
In addition, the Sarawak government’s BioValley Park Project is to be developed at the Curtin Sarawak campus. The project is supposed to boost R&D to meet the state’s technological needs, particularly for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
Curtin Sarawak is also associated with the Sarawak leadership.
From the Curtin website:
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who is also the chairman of the Curtin Sarawak Council, said the first phase of the project spearheaded by the state Ministry of Industrial Development will be developed on a 10-acre site at the campus.
The Perth Now website reports:
LAST time Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak visited Perth, he was met with angry protests during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Today, it was a far more peaceful visit as he slipped into Curtin University on a hush-hush private visit with his wife, who accepted an honorary doctorate…
The Prime Minister’s last visit to Perth for CHOGM in October was met with angry protests when a “Bersihkan Malaysia” group held a rally in Forrest Place to campaign for electoral reforms in Malaysia.