According to a recent report, a world-standard aerospace centre will be set up in Subang. This was announced during the tabling of Budget 2019 and was lauded by industry players and academicians at research universities, including Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM).
The centre, to be set up on a 32.37-hectare site in Subang this year, is seen as a positive development in the aeronautical sector, which is now one of the studies being given focus by the university.
The Dean of the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, UTHM and Associate Professor hopes that the university would be directly involved in the government’s effort.
He said this being that UTHM was one of the higher learning institutions that offer studies in aviation technology, apart from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
He also noted that the advantage for UTHM is that it is the one and only higher learning centre in the country, as well as in Southeast Asia with the ‘licence’ to hold courses on the handling of aircraft that students have the opportunity to learn in theory and practice.
He added that UTHM is one of four universities in the world, apart from those in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia that offers the study programme. Because of this, it is hoped that the university will be involved in this government project.
The Dean expressed confidence that the proposed development of the aerospace hub would not only be on technology development but also capable of producing local experts in the field.
It was noted that UTHM offers four bachelor’s degree courses and one master’s degree course in aviation technology. Thus, it will be apt if the university (UTHM) is involved in, or at least collaborates with the government on the project, for the development of aerospace in the country, enabling us to also conduct various studies and research in aviation.
In addition to the five courses, the university aims to explore into the aviation field 360 degrees, from A to Z, from general worker to exploring new technology.
Moreover, for public knowledge, it is now intensifying efforts to have its own airport at the Tanjung Laboh, Batu Pahat, work on which is scheduled to begin this year.
The Dean stated that upon the completion of the airport, the university would be able to provide more courses involved in the industry, including for cabin crew.
Meanwhile, the head of the UTHM Aeronautical Engineering Department stated that 130 students have enrolled for study programmes in aviation since they were introduced in 2010, with 20 of them have graduated and are now working with various airline companies locally and abroad.
The university’s involvement in producing human capital for the aviation sector is also recognised and supported by the Sultan of Johor who has given the university a Lake Renegade LA-270 aircraft for research, teaching and learning purposes.
In addition to producing human capital for the aviation industry, it was noted that the university is also researching the production of a giant drone which will not just carry video recording equipment but human passengers as well.
An earlier report noted that Malaysia is keen on becoming the aerospace hub of Southeast Asia.
It was noted that while Malaysia is still relatively new to the field compared to other countries such as the United States and other European countries, it already has almost 230 aerospace companies and some have grown substantially.
In recent years the sector has seen a surge in investments with several multinationals establishing and expanding operations across the country.
The Malaysian government is committed to spurring the growth of the aerospace industry as it aims to make Malaysia the leading aerospace nation in Southeast Asia.
The Malaysian aerospace industry is seen by the Malaysian Government as a strategic industry, which has vast potential in the country’s industrialisation and technological development programmes. This motive is manifested in the setting up of the aerospace centre.
The report also noted that partnerships with the European counterparts will help benefit the Malaysian local supply chain and push the adoption of cutting-edge technology among Malaysian companies, particularly the Small and Medium Enterprises.