The Higher Education Ministry today announced that Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has been chosen as the sole Accelerated Programme for Excellence (Apex) university.
The programme is part of an initiative under the National Strategic Plan for the transformation of higher education in Malaysia launched last year.
The minister, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin, said the decision was agreed to by the Cabinet on Aug 27.
With the new status, the ministry expects USM to be among the world’s top 100 universities in five years and top 50 by the year 2020.
According to Khaled, the selection was based on the university’s transformation plan and its preparedness to change.
Nine universities had submitted their proposal to be considered for the programme.
On why University of Malaya was not chosen despite being the best university in Malaysia, Khaled said the method used by the Times Higher Education Supplement does not necessarily mean the higher ranked universities are better.
“It is not about new or old universities, but it was based on our set of criteria, for the future,” said Khaled.
When asked the difference between an Apex university and other universities, Khaled said that it was not fair to make such comparisons.
“Every university has its own strength, we just chose the best,” he added.