vc pasca pandemik researchUUM ONLINE: In a bid to encourage academic staff to produce high impact studies on Covid-19, UUM had taken the initiative of offering MYR100,000 in funding for the research.

The offer was the result of the announcement released by the Ministry of Higher Education (KPT) where special grants were extended to academics to conduct applied research on identified critical areas that are closely related to the community in facing the after effects of Covid-19.

UUM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dato' Dr. Ahmad Bashawir Abdul Ghani said the Covid-19 Pandemic Research Funding offer was for UUM academics to conduct post-pandemic studies of Covid-19 especially in the field of unemployment and food security.

He said the two areas became critical issues before and after the Covid-19 outbreak, which would also threaten the world’s economy and become two intensely debated issues.

“Furthermore, the government welcomes the suggestions made by academics to come up with ideas to reduce unemployment, as well as food security issues.

"I hope UUM academics in particular can provide applied and practical inputs to help the government and the Kedah State government develop Malaysia post Covid-19," he said.

Commenting on the government's announcement to extend the Movement Control Order (MCO) until 28 April, the Vice-Chancellor said the directive involved all university students who are still on campus and are not allowed to return to their hometowns until the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Health Malaysia decided otherwise.

He said following the MCO directive, he called on both the students and parents to be patient and trust that the decision made was done in the interest of all to prevent the outbreak from escalating further.  In doing so, people could return back to their normal lives.

“I also call on all university denizens to give their cooperation and trust in the decisions and steps taken as they are right for us to move forward together in an era never before experienced.

"In fact, I also know that students may start to get bored after being cooped up for too long but they too need to trust and be patient with all these actions as they are done in the interest of all," he said.

At a time when the university sought to break the Covid-19 chain, many donors came forward and were willing to help provide donations and help to ease the burden of students especially those students who did not return to their respective hometowns.

The Vice-Chancellor said that since the establishment of the Covid-19 Special Fund, UUM had managed to raise about MYR300,000 from various parties including government and private agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international companies.

In addition, he said, the entertainment allowance cuts in UUM key office bearers from JUSA A, B and C would indeed help fill the Covid-19 Special Fund to meet the needs of students.

“I believe the amount of donations will continue to grow and the university will make the most of it not only for the benefit of the students, but also for the University’s frontline personnel who have served day and night.

“In addition, the university also receives zakat donation every year from the Kedah Zakat Board to be distributed to students and those who qualify will receive it immediately,” he said.

Compliance with the MCO directives that prohibits any mass gatherings or meetings is not an excuse to discontinue the teaching and learning (PdP) activities, thus UUM has decided that the online PdP will take effect from 27 April which will begin in two weeks.

The Vice-Chancellor expressed his confidence that lecturers and students would be ready to participate in Online Learning soon and the university would ensure that experts from UUMIT and UTLC would be readily available to help ensure that the campus denizens could work online as advised by the government.

With the various efforts and initiatives undertaken by UUM to ensure the welfare and convenience of the campus denizens, Prof. Dato' Dr. Ahmad Bashawir expressed hopes that all staff and students will continue to be patient with the MCO as well as pray and support the measures taken by UUM to ensure that things would soon go back to normal.