Eye on re­search

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HIGHER EDUCATION -

THREE Malaysian univer­si­ties, in­clud­ing Univer­siti Te­naga Na­sional ( Uniten) and 10 Ja­panese in­sti­tu­tions, con­ducted a joint re­search to study the signs of disas­ter and de­velop an early warn­ing sys­tem for nat­u­ral disas­ter in Malaysia as part of the first Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Re­search Part­ner­ship for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment ( SATREPS) projects in Malaysia. The re­search out­put was be­ing handed over dur­ing a cer­e­mony of­fi­ci­ated by Higher Education Malaysia deputy min­is­ter Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching in De­wan Za’aba, Higher Education Min­istry in Pu­tra­jaya.

The re­search ti­tled “R& D for Re­duc­ing Geo- haz­ard Dam­age in Malaysia Caused by Land­slide and Flood” by the three Malaysian univer­si­ties – Univer­siti Sains Malaysia ( USM), UniteN and Mul­ti­me­dia Univer­sity ( MMU) – was led by USM pro­fes­sor Dr Habibah Lateh and worked with Ja­panese coun­ter­parts from 10 in­sti­tu­tions.

“When­ever a nat­u­ral disas­ter hits an area, the dam­age done was not only on lives but also prop­er­ties, which may cost mil­lions of ring­git,” said Prof Dr Habibah. “If we can pre­dict such disas­ter, we can save a lot ( of ring­git) from the loss of prop­er­ties.”

The pro­ject, still un­der­go­ing test­ing phase, will ben­e­fit not only Malaysia but also other Asian coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to her.

“This is one of the ways MOHE can con­trib­ute to the safety of our peo­ple in Asia,” said Yap, quot­ing the Depart­ment of Higher Education di­rec­tor- gen­eral Prof Datuk Dr Asma Is­mail as “one of the high- im­pact re­search that can con­trib­ute to the na­tion”.

The pro­ject cost RM18.2mil when im­ple­mented and can also iden­tify evac­u­a­tion spots for vic­tims, be­sides pro­vid­ing datadriven in­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic, she added.

Ac­cord­ing to Uniten In­no­va­tion and Re­search Man­age­ment Cen­tre ( iRMC)’ s Prof Dr Ir No­rashidah Md Din, this pro­ject will pro­vide tools for rel­e­vant agen­cies to ad­dress the chal­lenges.

The Uniten team com­pris­ing Masters and PhD stu­dents also won Sil­ver Medal dur­ing the Malaysian Tech­nol­ogy Expo ear­lier this year for their part in the re­search re­gard­ing the early warn­ing sys­tem.

“From the agree­ment ( with JKR and Drainage and Ir­ri­ga­tion Depart­ment), we have also been granted ac­cess to the equip­ments for flood, rain gauges, wa­ter level sta­tion, au­to­matic wa­ter sta­tion and di­rect the in­for­ma­tion to In­foBan­jir ( a pub­lic emer­gency tool for flood in­for­ma­tion),” said Uniten’s As­soc Prof Dr Ro­hayu Che Omar. “This is also part of the univer­sity’s ef­fort to pro­vide so­lu­tion for prob­lems in the coun­try.”

When asked about the im­pact it brings to Uniten as one of the par­tic­i­pants, deputy vice- chan­cel­lor Prof Dr Ir Ibrahim Hus­sein com­mented that a TNB sub­sidiary can join the re­search pre­dict­ing flood to pro­tect its sub­sta­tions, dams and other prop­er­ties. The broad field of this study may also com­ple­ment other fields to make it more re­al­is­tic, he added, com­ment­ing on the pos­si­bil­ity of two new Uniten pro­grammes ( vir­tual me­dia and cy­ber se­cu­rity) join­ing the re­search.

The pro­ject will be pre­sented to the Cab­i­net soon and upon ap­proval will be im­ple­mented to disas­ter- prone ar­eas.

Uniten is a unique in­sti­tu­tion pro­vid­ing both aca­demic pro­grammes and en­gi­neer­ing tech­nol­ogy skills train­ing within the same cam­pus. The univer­sity’s pro­grammes are fo­cused on en­gi­neer­ing, in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, busi­ness man­age­ment and re­lated ar­eas. It not only pre­pares its grad­u­ates to be­come com­pe­tent pro­fes­sion­als, but also to de­velop them as well- rounded in­di­vid­u­als with broad in­tel­lec­tual out­look. Uniten is one of the first pri­vate univer­si­ties in Malaysia and is wholly owned by the pub­lic- listed Te­naga Na­sional Ber­had ( TNB), one of the largest util­ity com­pa­nies in South- East Asia.

For de­tails, look out for the ad­ver­tise­ment in this StarSpe­cial.

datuk Mary yap Kain ching ( third from right) wit­ness­ing the mod­ule demon­stra­tion on the early warn­ing sys­tem.

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