PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia — The Higher Education Ministry has imposed on the opening of new campus by local or foreign universities said Higher Education Minister Idris Jusoh.

“No more building or opening of new campus,” he told reporters when asked about the number of foreign universities that have opened campuses in Malaysia this year, after celebrating the success of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia which was announced as the International University of The Year by Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, here yesterday.

Idris said the Higher Education Ministry had decided to impose the moratorium because there were enough universities and colleges in the country.

“Only if you are the top 100 in the world, we (the ministry) are willing to consider. Or if you can convince the Cabinet,” he said adding that there are 400 private colleges and universities in the country.

Despite the moratorium, Idris was optimistic that Malaysia was on the right track to be the regional hub of higher education with 200,000 foreign students by the year 2020.

He said the target was achievable as Malaysia had been the choice of students from many countries especially in student exchange programmes and transfer programmes.

For example, he said, the students from Heriot-Watt University in the United Kingdom who transferred to the Heriot-Watt University Malaysia campus increased from 30 students last year to 80 students who would be arriving in January.

Idris said the Ministry of Higher Education was mulling the possibility of collaborating with Heriot-Watt University for students from local public universities to spend one semester at Heriot Watt University Malaysia campus.

For a start, the collaboration will involve Heriot-Watt and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

“Such collaboration aims to give exposure of foreign universities to the local students and improve their English. The fee structure will be made affordable to the local students,” he added.

Meanwhile, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia chief executive officer Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi said Heriot-Watt’s success as the International University of the Year was due to its Go Global programme which allowed its students from any of its three campus in Scotland, Dubai or Malaysia to transfer as long as their programme was offered at their campus of choice.