Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi opened the new campus of the ethnic Indian-run Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology, now renamed by its acronym, AIMST in Kedah state.
Badawi said while opening the new campus at Semdeling Bedong Sunday that AIMST could build a strong reputation for producing software engineers and business process outsourcing professionals which the nation needed urgently.
He also called for greater interaction between universities and ICT (Information communication technology) companies to develop a business process outsourcing (BPO) base.
AIMST is a private university formed by Maju Institute of Educational Development, the education arm of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), on March 15, 2001.
It was conferred university status in April last year. Its first campus was set up in Aman Jaya.
The university has 2,300 undergraduates pursuing degree courses in medicine and health sciences, dentistry, engineering and computer technology, applied sciences and business and management.
Badawi said the opening of the university marked the completion of Malaysia's educational development phase where five private colleges were chosen to become universities.
"I believe AIMST can play a leading role in developing skilled human capital in the medical, scientific and technological fields that would benefit Malaysia and the world,
"The university, which will cater to all, is evidence that Malaysians can stand united as one and not be divided by racial or ethnic lines," The Star newspaper quoted him as saying Monday.
The prime minister said his government would continue to lend support to ensure AIMST achieved its mission.
MIC president and former minister S. Samy Vellu said the idea to build a university was mooted when he noticed that "many qualified students were not given places in public universities."
AIMST chairman K. Ampikaipakan said the university was given the approval last week to conduct PhD courses in biotechnology, adding that it had the nation's first private dental hospital with 125 dental chairs.
MIC has traditionally spoken for the estimated 2.6 million ethnic Indians that forms eight percent of Malaysia's 28 million population.