Corporations and multinationals can apply for licenses to set up private universities in Malaysia early in 1996, once legislation has been passed.
Applications will be considered immediately after the private higher education bill and amendments to the universities and university colleges act are passed during the current session of parliament, according to education minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak.
Corporations which had the means to set up private universities would have to adhere to strict guidelines which are being drawn up by the education ministry. Corporations will submit their detailed proposals to the National Council for Higher Education, which is to be established early next year.
Proposals will have to contain details which include from where private institutions intend drawing lecturing staff, as they will not be allowed to draw staff from the public universities. Such a practice would clearly be counter-productive to the maintainance of quality said Mr Najib. The hiring of lecturers from overseas will be permitted.
Malaysia's Petronas oil corporation has expressed its interest in taking over University Sains Malaysia's branch campus in Ipoh. Detailed negotiations will begin as soon as parliament passes the relevant bills, said Mr Najib. The Ipoh campus will receive university status if it satisfies the ministry's condition, he said. In his budget speech last week, finance minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that Petronas would take over the Ipoh campus of University Sains Malaysia (USM) in Perak, and it would be known as the Petronas Institute of Technology.