All of us at MITRANS were very excited as we waited at the car park this morning. Today is the day that the Ministry of Education (MOE) officially confers the title of Higher Institution Centre of Excellence (HICoE) on MITRANS for the niche area of Halalan Toyyiban Supply Chain (HTSC). As you can see from the photos below, we were anxiously waiting for the UiTM driver to pick us up with the MPV, to take us to MOE's headquarters at Putrajaya.
The team from MITRANS consisted of Prof Dr Saadiah Yahya (Director), Dr Harlina Suzanna Jaafar (Deputy Director HTSC), Assoc Prof Dr Jasmee (Deputy Director Industrial Linkages and Training), Assoc Prof Dr Sariwati (Head, Postgraduate Centre), Dr Siti Zaharah Ishak (Head, Centre for Public Transport and Sustainable Development) and Pn Azmin Faranaz (Executive Officer, HTSC and Industrial Linkages), plus yours truly.
After arriving at MOE's headquarters at Putrajaya, the most difficult part of the day was waiting for the ceremony to start. However this gave us the opportunity to network with the other members of academia who also present. MITRANS was just one of the dozen or so HICoEs around the country being honoured at this ceremony. Hence there were professors from other institutions of higher education such as Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).
At the back of the hall where the ceremony was taking place, MITRANS was given a place, together with the other HICoEs, to display some of our publications and awards. The display contained a brief history as to how MITRANS developed over the years, plus the industry, governmental and international recognition it received along the way.
In addition to the heads of centres from MITRANS, our newest senior research fellows and collaborators from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in the field of halalan toyyiban supply chain such as Assoc Prof Dr Zainal Samicho (food science expert), Ustazah Dr Fadhilah Abd Rahman (a well known authority on syariah law), and the very famous Prof Dr Muhamad Rahimi Osman (Dean of the Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies, ACIS). Also present was and lending moral support was waste water extraordinaire, Prof Sr Ir Dr Hj Suhaimi Abdul Talib (Penolong Naib Canselor Pembangunan, Pengurusan Fasiliti dan ICT).
YB Dato' Seri Idris Jusoh, Minister of Education II, was the the VVIP tasked with officiating the ceremony.
The official ceremony commenced with a welcome speech by Y Bhg Datuk Prof Dr Roziah binti Omar (Timbalan Ketua Pengarah, TKPS, Jabatan Pengajian Tinggi).
The official launch was performed by the Minister of Education II, YB Dato' Seri Idris Jusoh.
Here are some of the other centres of excellence that were recognised as HICoEs. Congratulations to each of you. May you advance the level of knowledge in your fields nationally and internationally.
The moment that we were all waiting for finally arrived. Prof Saadiah Yahya (Director of MITRANS) and Prof Ir Dr Hj Abdul Rahman Omar (Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation) were invited onto the stage to officially received a certificate of recognition and a mock cheque. Thank you to Prof Rahman, who supported us during the application process as it was going through MOE and for being present at all the evaluation sessions conducted by various expert panels.
After the conferment ceremony, the Minister of Education II, YB Dato' Seri Idris Jusoh took the time to say hello to those attending the event. Prof Roziah and Prof Rahman were also kind enough to spare some time to speak to those representing the various HICoEs.
The post-ceremony networking provided the opportunity for congratulations, exchange of information and name cards. More importantly, the challenges that lay ahead finally sank in that for awhile the discussions as to the road the lay ahead got serious.
Here are photos of the certificate evidencing the conferment of HICoE status, plus the mock cheque for RM3 million which represents the funds for one year. If everything goes according to plan and the auditors are pleased with the performance of MITRANS, there will be similar cheques for the same amount for years two and three respectively.
The gauntlet has been thrown down by MOE. So let us take up the challenge and make MITRANS the world class HTSC referral centre it was meant to be.