PAGOH - Phase one of the RM1bil (S$370 m) Pagoh Higher Education Hub (PHEH) in northern Johor is expected to be completed almost a year ahead of schedule, with over 25,000 job opportunities to be created.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the progress of the hub's development is encouraging and slated to start operations by June next year.
"This is a good sign and we will continue to work to bring in foreign higher institutions into the hub," he told reporters here yesterday.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister and Pagoh MP, said his ministry was working to bring in the Imperial College of London, which is ranked the world's second best university, to be a part of the hub here.
"We are working with them to set up an advanced automotive lab with the co-operation of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) at the hub here.
"I also welcome the setting up of the School of Entrepreneurship by Proven Holdings Sdn Bhd to create a niche entrepreneurial ecosystem," Muhyiddin said during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding ceremony for its student residential college at the PHEH.
In the first phase of the project, four higher education institutions - UTM, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, International Islamic University Malaysia and Politeknik Pagoh are being developed on 202.34ha of land.
Muhyiddin said RM300mil had been allocated to build residential blocks for 7,000 students within the hub, providing accommodation for up to 70 per cent of its expected number of students.
"The ministry has engaged with Proven Holdings to set up another 3,000 hostel units for students," he added.
Muhyiddin also said talks were underway for the construction of a station for the high-speed rail linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore near the hub.
"We have spoken with SPAD (Land Public Transport Commission) to make it a reality as it would be an added advantage," he added.
Muhyiddin pointed out that the hub, which is part of Bandar Universiti, would be a catalyst for economic activities in its surrounding areas, especially in Johor and Malacca.
"We are reviewing plans to construct PR1MA houses within the township besides developing other residential and commercial areas.
"Providing basic infrastructure and amenities such as a good transportation system, health clinics and police station are also our main focus for Bandar Universiti," he added.