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Business of Higher Education in Malaysia:
Development and Prospects in the New Millennium


Ahmad Mahdzan Ayob (PhD)
School of Economics
Universiti Utara Malaysia
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Noran Fauziah Yaakub (PhD)
School of Languages and Scientific Thinking
Universiti Utara Malaysia
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Traditional roles of the business sector in higher education are to provide scholarships and educational loans to students, provide space for student internships, advise universities on the curriculum, and employ the graduates. Of late, the business sector in Malaysia has become key players in delivering higher education. This sector's involvement complements the role of public universities in producing skilled manpower. Their participation in this arena reflects a changing socioeconomic and political development in the country.

The primary objectives of this paper are to address the following issues: Firstly, what political and economic developments spurred the growth of private higher education in Malaysia? Secondly, who are the major players in the arena and how did they get involved in international business/education partnership for the delivery of training in the Asia-Pacific region? Thirdly, what are the implications on the supply of and demand for higher education in Malaysia, and on its quality? Fourthly, how do private institutions contribute towards the diversity of curriculum deemed relevant for national development? Fifthly, who form their clientele? Lastly, what are the prospects of growth for both private and public higher education and for international partnerships?

* Paper presented at the ASAIHL Conference on The New Millennium: Business and Higher Education in the Asia-Pacific at the Auckland Institute of Technology, New Zealand, 6-8 December 1999.
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