By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: The biggest Education Malaysia Expo (Yes2Malaysia) was held at the Malaysian Embassy with the participation of 19 educational institutions on April 22-23, 2022. Ambassador of Malaysia to Kuwait Dato Mohammad Ali Selamat expressed his joy in hosting the two-day expo in Kuwait that offer students the best educational institutes that are ranked among the top 200 universities in the world.

"Malaysia is offering degrees that are well-recognized globally, where a total of 35 universities are in the top 600 according to QS World University Rankings 2021. Furthermore, based on QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021, 32 Malaysian programs were placed among the top 100 universities for the study of their academic subjects," he said.

Ambassador of Malaysia Dato' Mohammad Ali Selamat.

The ambassador affirmed that reaching Malaysia is easier now after Kuwait Airways announced it would start commercial flights to Kuala Lumpur in June 2022, with triweekly flights on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He announced that Malaysia has finally reopened for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers after two years of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also, studying in Malaysia will allow students to visit other neighboring countries such as Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

"Malaysia is known for its tagline 'Truly Asia'. It is one of the world's top tourist destinations and has UNESCO World Heritage sites like Mount Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu National Park, Malacca City and pristine marine parks. It is also one of Southeast Asia's most vibrant economies that can be the launchpad for your education and career," Ambassador Mohammad Ali Selamat said. He pointed out that Malaysia is one of the top destinations for those seeking an internationally-recognized education, boasting highly-ranked universities.

Chief Executive Officer of REXPO Ahmad Rezal Chan stands next to the virtual QR codes of the participated universities.

Cultural immersion

In addition to being at the forefront of quality education, its affordable, cosmopolitan cities provide rich cultural immersion, "Kuala Lumpur ranked as the second most affordable student city. Education in Malaysia will provide you with the tools to kickstart your future," the envoy said. Ambassador Mohammad Ali Selamat told Kuwait Times that his country is well-known as a modern, progressive, and Muslim-friendly country with easy access to halal food and contemporary life and facilities, noting that Malaysia's modern and convenient transportation system connects every part of the country.

"Malaysia is known for its friendly community and a melting pot of Asia's diverse communities. Therefore, students can gain a global perspective on working, interacting and living with people from different cultures. This will help in inculcating values like hard work, resilience and tolerance, ultimately creating individuals who can adapt to any environment," the ambassador explained.

Chief Executive Officer of REXPO Ahmad Rezal Chan: "This is the second edition of Yes2Malaysia Expo in Kuwait. Malaysia is a great option for Kuwaiti and expatriate students, because of Malaysia's affordability and quality of education as well as Islamic cultural similarities. The expo this time is a bit unique because it is a fusion expo, where several universities are on digital platforms participating virtually, while others are present in person. Students can scan the QR code and directly talk to them."

Chan added: "Students can have an exclusive counseling and interview session virtually and physically with representatives from Malaysia about education pathway and visa processing procedures." He indicated that among the 19 participating universities, four are approved by Kuwait's Ministry of Higher Education - Universiti of Malaya (UM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). He said free tickets and accommodation were given away to students applying to selected participating universities during the event, along with scholarship opportunities for undergraduate students.

"Malaysia has been named the world's second most affordable student city. This is mainly because the costs of living and tuition fees in the local currency are cheaper compared to the Kuwaiti dinar and other currencies," he added.

Annual tuition fees in Malaysia range from $4,000 to $6,000, while living expenses are around $400 to $700 per month. Although Malaysia is among nations with the lowest cost of education, students can strike a balance between quality and affordability. Regarding tourism, Kuala Lumpur has historic and touristic attractions along with its rich, diverse culture. Moreover, it is also distinguished as a suitable destination for holidays throughout the year and is considered the cultural, financial, and economic center of Malaysia.

Two million tourists

The Ambassador of Malaysia to Kuwait said that his country is expecting to attract two million tourists this year after lifting travel restrictions. "Tourism is one of the major sources of revenue for the economy, provides a large component of Malaysia's GDP and is a key backer of Malaysian employment."

Concerning trade and investment, Malaysia is a country with a rich history and culture that sits in the heart of Southeast Asia. It is one of the most developed and advanced countries in Asia. With a population of 32 million, a per capita gross domestic product of $10,600, and an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, Malaysia has set its sights to reclaim its place as one of the most attractive trade and investment destinations in Asia. The country and its people have bravely overcome the coronavirus outbreak.

As a trading post, Malaysia's history is deeply rooted in the development of Southeast Asia. As early as 1500, the Malacca Sultanate was well known as an important port and trading city for travelers and merchants from China, India and the Arab world. Along with other Southeast Asian and Asian countries, Malaysia has begun implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which came into force on January 1, 2022. Known as the biggest free trade zone in history, the RCEP would allow investors to reach out to a market of 2.2 billion people with a combined economic size of $26 trillion or 30 percent of the global economy.

Malaysia is the 25th most competitive economy according to the World Competitive Yearbook 2021. The country is ranked second in the World Banks' Ease of Doing Business for 2020 in dealing with construction permits and has been identified as the most attractive investment destination for 2022 by the Milken Institute in its Global Opportunity Index 2022.