Malaysia’s First University-Industry Research Consortium Launched by YTL Cement and Ministry of Higher Education, for Research on Sustainability of Tropical Limestone Karst

Putrajaya, 26 October 2023 – YTL Cement and the Ministry of Higher Education (KPT) have jointly launched the country’s first University-Industry Research Consortium, in collaboration with five top local universities: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Pahang Al-Sultan Abdullah, Universiti Malaysia Sabah dan Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

YTL Cement is awarding scholarships to 40 Masters and PhD students for research on sustainability of Tropical Limestone Karst Landscape in Malaysia, with a matching grant from KPT over five years. An exchange of Memorandum of Understanding between the parties was witnessed by the Minister of Higher Education, Y.B. Dato' Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, at an event held at the Ministry of Higher Education, in Putrajaya today.

YTL Cement has been working with a team of experts to scientifically map the geological, geomorphological, and biological high-value components of Bukit Kanthan Geosite. This effort to delineate a boundary for conservation was in support of the Perak State Government's designation of Lembah Kinta as a National Geopark that promotes a balanced sustainable development. This Research Consortium is a progression of this initiative.

Commenting on the collaboration, the Minister stated, “This Research Consortium is the first of its kind in this country, to create a university-industry collaborative network, ensuring that universities’ post-graduate research will be relevant to the needs of the country. At the same time, this will strengthen the bond between universities and industry, for mutual benefit.”

The Minister added, “I am confident that the results of this research will provide important information that will complement the National Mineral Policy.”

Dato' Sri Michael Yeoh, Managing Director of YTL Cement said, “It is important that we achieve a balance between conservation and the nation’s development. This research will provide the country with a comprehensive understanding of our tropical limestone karst landscapes needed to make informed decisions on its sustainable management.

Dato’ Sri Michael added, “YTL Cement is the first and currently, the only company in Malaysia to undertake conservation efforts at an active quarrying site. In this regard, we also plan to set up a dedicated Research Centre at the Bukit Kanthan Geosite that will serve as a Research and Education Hub on Tropical Limestone Karst.”

The Research Consortium will take a multi-disciplinary approach and will focus on five key areas:

  1. Geodiversity and tropical limestone karst landscapes
  2. Biodiversity and tropical limestone karst ecosystem
  3. Archaeology, history and culture in tropical limestone karst
  4. Economic and sustainable management of limestone resources
  5. Sustainable use of tropical limestone karst landscape for conservation and public education

The MOU exchange was held together with the launch event of the Ministry’s ‘MyBrain 2.0’ Programme at Dewan Za’aba, Precinct 5 Putrajaya. On behalf of the Ministry, the event was also attended by YB Dato’ Haji Mohammad Yusof bin Apdal, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Dr. Azlinda binti Azman, Director General, Department of Higher Education, Dato’ Prof. Dr, Norzaini binti Azman, Deputy Director General, Department of Higher Education and other senior officials of the Ministry. Also in attendance were Chief Executive Officer of YTL Cement, Dato’ Yeoh Soo Keng and Dato’ Hamidah Maktar, Executive Director of APMC Sdn Bhd.