Dato’ Mah Siew Keong, President of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia and also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, visited WOU to gain a deeper understanding of the University’s operations and progress.
He was accompanied by about 20 party members that included vice presidents Datuk A Kohilan Pillay, Datuk Dr Asharuddin Ahmad, and Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai. Present to greet them were Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Wawasan Education Foundation Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, WOU’s Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, plus Board members and WOU top management.
Dato’ Mah was making his first visit to the WOU main campus as Gerakan president. He pledged the Party’s continued commitment to the University.
Prof Ho briefed the delegation on WOU’s operations and financial position, highlighting the various challenges faced in maintaining academic standing while pursuing financial sustainability. He mentioned WOU’s improved expense-to-income ratio over the last few years and the target to break even in 2017. “We want to increase income through high student numbers while at the same time reducing expenses through prudence and efficient management on all fronts,” he stressed.
Prof Ho named a few pressing concerns, including student enrolment, expansion of full-time programmes, the difficulty in recruiting academic staff, and apparent lack of funding from the federal government after 2015.
He also spoke about the eight strategic actions being implemented by WOU. Among these were partnering with offshore education institutions through programme franchise and joint degree arrangements; licensing of course materials to overseas institutions; generating income via intensified professional development (PACE) activities; and sourcing funds from donors, government, sponsorships, and endowment chairs. Prof Ho requested “for the existing Government Grant assistance to be extended for 3 years (2016-2018) to further grow WOU”.
In his thank you speech at the end of the briefing session, Dato’ Mah reiterated, “Gerakan will work closely with WOU and ensure that WOU remains a leading educational institution.”