University was pioneer in Chinese studies

14:06, April 28, 2011      

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The University of Malaya, Malaysia's oldest and largest university, has a 309-hectare campus southwest of the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

It was established in April 1949 in Singapore with the merger of the King Edward VII College of Medicine that had been founded in 1905 and Raffles College, which had been founded in 1928.

The growth of the university was very rapid during its first decade and this resulted in the setting up of two autonomous divisions in 1959, one located in Singapore and the other in Kuala Lumpur.

In 1960, the governments of the two territories indicated their desire to change the status of the two divisions into national universities. Legislation was passed in 1961 and the division in Kuala Lumpur became the University of Malaya on Jan 1, 1962, while the Singapore division was renamed the University of Singapore.

Notable alumni from the University of Malaya include former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and the incumbent Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

The university began to offer Chinese language learning in 1963 and was a pioneer in doing so among universities in the country.

It also formed a Chinese studies department that was aimed at introducing students to various aspects of the Chinese community - its language, culture, calligraphy, literature and the history of China.

China and Malaysia established the first Confucius Institute in the country at the university in 2009 and it has become a benchmark for the teaching of the Chinese language in Malaysia.

The university also has extensive contacts with various universities in China.

Source:China Daily
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