PETALING JAYA - The opening of an extension of Xiamen University in Salak Tinggi speaks volumes about the ties between Malaysia and China.
The unprecedented move will see the independent Xiamen University Malaysia Campus (XUMC) open for enrolment in February.
XUMC president Prof Wang Ruifang said some Chinese universities had joint ventures or collaborations with foreign universities.
"But this is the first time a branch from a China university is brought overseas," he said.
Prof Wang expected its inaugural enrolment to reach some 500 students next year and welcomed both Unified Examinations Certificate (UEC) and STPM holders.
"We want to be a multi-cultural university, with students coming from various backgrounds, with different languages, religious beliefs and cultures," he said, adding that most of the courses would be taught in English.
He said the professors at the university were "carefully selected" and were proficient in English.
Only two courses - Chinese Studies and Traditional Chinese Medicine - will be taught in Chinese.
Science-based courses such as engineering will cost RM24,000 a year whereas for others, the fee is between RM22,000 and RM23,000 per year.
Those who enrol for the first batch will enjoy a bursary of RM1,000 per annum.
Students who got 6As in the UEC or 2As in the STPM will be granted a full scholarship.
"They will have to maintain a CGPA of 3.25 and above to maintain their scholarship," he said.
The original Xiamen University was founded in 1921 by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Tan Kah Kee.
XUMC was mooted during a meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in 2011.
Najib and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang continued to discuss the matter over several bilateral meetings.
Prof Wang also expressed appreciation to the Prime Minister's Special Envoy to China and Malaysia-China Business Council chairman Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting for his role in helping to set up the university.
He was grateful too to Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and his ministry for their support and co-operation.
He hoped the campus would serve as a "gateway to China" for its graduates.
Prof Wang said opening the campus in Malaysia was "not for profit" and any surplus received from tuition fees would be channelled back to funding research and scholarships.