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Confucius Institute to be Mandarin language hub

13th December, 2019


KOTA KINABALU: The first Confucius Institute (CI) in East Malaysia will serve as a Mandarin language hub to expand communication skills.

Operating at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Centre for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning, the institute which offers a globally-recognised Chinese language certification was officially launched on Thursday.

In his launching speech, Assistant Education and Innovation Minister, Mohammad Mohamarin asserted it would bring more opportunities for the people of Sabah to learn and experience Chinese language as well as its culture.

“The institute which also serve as a Mandarin language research centre for teaching materials will play an important role, not only in helping to enhance students command of Mandarin, but also in providing good bilateral relationship between UMS and universities in China,” he said.

Additionally, the UMS CI will engage in student exchange programmes involving its students to universities in China to expose undergraduates to the cultures and communities.

Earlier, UMS vice-chancellor, Datuk Taufiq Yap Yun Hin said the establishment was made through a collaboration between UMS and Changsha University of Science and Technology which has inked by UMS and Hanban (CI headquarters) in November last year.

“A series of meeting by our Center for Internationalisation and Global Engagement and Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning were done before the agreement.

“With the agreement, UMS has appointed Prof Low Kok On as the Director of UMS CI. He has started the institute development in January this year,” he said.

In October, Professor Deng Rong was appointed as the Chairman (China) of the institute. Taufiq emphasised the long journey as a tough one yet fruitful.

“The support shown by the Higher Education Ministries and the CI headquarters to set up UMS CI is a great recognition for the university,” Taufiq said.

He also expressed his gratefulness for the kind support from various parties, including Hanban for its financial support worth USD136,000 – covering renovation, management and activities expenses.

Secretary of the Party Committee of Changsha University of Science and Technology, Prof Fu Hongyuan noted that CI has been actively operating since 10 years ago.

There are 548 CIs in 154 countries while in Malaysia, the first CI was at Universiti Malaya, followed by other education institutions like University SEGI, Universiti Pahang Malaysia and now UMS.

Fu also urged young Sabahans to learn Chinese language, culture, technology and science in order to equip themselves with knowledge in enhancing Sabah-China relationship.

Meanwhile, Consul-General of the People Republic of China to Sabah, Liang Caide said China is developing rapidly in many sectors.

“Hence, this encourages the people to know and learn more about our culture and language,” he said, adding that Sabah is an important location for the Maritime Silk Road.

This year, China is expected to witness a total of 6 million tourists to Sabah with 120 direct flights weekly. Liang stressed that China-Sabah investments in various sectors are also flourishing.

“With this new collaboration, both countries will benefit greatly,” he said.

Also present were President of the United Sabah Chinese Communities Association of Kota Kinabalu and Labuan, Datuk Susan Wong and Deputy Secretary of Party Committee of CCCC Dredging (Group) Co ltd, Zhu Zhaohui.

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