SEPANG: Holding true to its tradition of rewarding academic excellence, Xiamen University Malaysia awarded its top 10 performing local students with a scholarship of RM12,000 each, as part of its 2016 Chinese Ambassador Scholarship Award.
The scholarships were presented by Chinese ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Huang Huikang this morning.
Congratulating the Malaysian undergraduates for their outstanding achievements, Dr Huang said Xiamen University Malaysia is the first Chinese university outside China to benefit from the Chinese government's scholarship programme.
"2017 is the year to deepen ties between China and Malaysia.
"The embassy has set aside an annual budget of RM120,000 for this scholarship programme for Xiamen University’s Malaysian students.
"It's a good next step for the Malaysia-China relationship. We see Malaysia as a good neighbour and good friend. The students can contribute to the betterment of bilateral ties,” Dr Huang told reporters later.
Declining to comment at length on the diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea, Dr Huang simply expressed his sincere wish that "Malaysia and North Korea can resolve the problem in a friendly manner."
Xiamen University, listed as among the top 20 academic institutions in China, was founded by Malaysian rubber magnate Tan Kah Kee in 1921.
Estimated to cost RM1.3 billion, the still under-construction Xiamen University Malaysia campus is built on a 60-hectare site, and comprises five academic buildings, six students' residences, activity centres, a café and sports facilities – including a gym and swimming pool – is expected to be fully completed by the end of this year.
The top 10 students are among the first enrolment of 187 Malaysian and mainland Chinese students at the university when it first opened its doors on Feb 23, 2016.
"The Chinese embassy will continue to give out scholarships to outstanding Malaysian students who are studying at Xiamen University Malaysia," assured Dr Huang.
On hand to welcome the Chinese delegation was the president of Xiamen University Malaysia, Prof Wang Ruifang.
"It's also noteworthy that we provide a special grant for Bumiputera and Indian students, as a caring gesture to welcome non-Chinese students to join us in the journey of academic pursuits, as well as in an effort to create a multi-cultural campus," he said.
Singing the praises of the university, scholarship winners Ong Sui Chang and Chong Bi said they mix in well with their university mates from China.
"I'm the president of the Maths Club. In my club, the vice presidents are Malaysian and Chinese. We take our mainland Chinese friend out to the pasar malam (night market) and introduce him to nasi lemak and local delicacies," said Ong, who is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in New Energy, Science and Engineering.
Twenty-year-old accounting student Chong said he likes the idea of having multi-racial, international lecturers and students at the university.
"We have a good mix of local and foreign lecturers here, including from the Middle East. Xiamen has the best Accounting degree among the top Chinese universities," he said proudly.