Nearly 2,000 people turned up to celebrate the official opening ceremony of Wawasan Open University’s main campus – Penang’s newest educational landmark. The campus grounds came alive with the hustle and bustle of activity as university staff began welcoming a deluge of guests.
The colonial Homestead mansion, generously offered by the Yeap Chor Ee Charitable and Endowment Trusts, painted a majestic sight with its whitewashed walls and awe-inspiring architecture. Behind it, the Albukhary building stood 12-storeys tall with its glistening-blue glass façade reflecting the splendour of the Homestead mansion and azure skies.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, arrived to thundering kompang, drums and a lion dance, while the media jostled for space to take photographs.
Abdullah was greeted by the dignitaries present, including Chief Minister of Penang Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Minister of Energy, Water and Communications Dato’ Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, Minister of Higher Education Dato’ Mustapa Mohamed, WOU Chancellor Tun Dato’ Seri Utama Dr Lim Chong Eu, Wawasan Education Foundation board of directors chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, WOU Vice Chancellor Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan and Yayasan Albukhary executive vice chairman Dato Ismail Yusof.
The VVIPs proceeded to the Homestead mansion, where a ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the entrance. Dhanarajan then led the dignitaries to the photo exhibition at the WOU gallery.
Ushers welcomed the Prime Minister and his entourage as they entered the Albukhary Building to commence a tour of the library. Director of Learning and Library Services Kamsiah Mohd Ali was on hand to welcome and brief the entourage on the facilities and services available at the library.
They were then ushered to WOU’s Lecture Theatre II to attend a press conference, after which the Prime Minister and the VVIP dignitaries departed for another function.
WOU staff and students gathered to wave goodbye as the Prime Minister and his entourage left the campus grounds.