Volume 5, Disember 2018


Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) has expanded its sister university network in Taiwan after signing two Memorandum of Understandings with National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) and Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology (NKUST) respectively.

Among other things, UMT and its two sister universities have agreed to collaborate on several areas such as exchange of scholars and researchers, student mobility programme, and joint postgraduate programme.

At the signing ceremony, UMT was represented by the Vice Chancellor Professor Dato Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar. Signing on behalf of NKUST was its President Professor Dr Ching-Yu Yang,

while NSYSU was represented by its President Professor Dr Ying-Yao Cheng. The signing took place during Professor Nor Aieni’s official visit to Taiwan, which was arranged by its Ministry of Education.

Professor Nor Aieni said that the signing of the MOUs between UMT and the universities in Taiwan signified the commitment of UMT to be the leading marine-focused university that is well respected nationally and globally.

These new MOU signings were materialised following the earlier success of internationalisation and research programmes with other sister universities in Taiwan, which were National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, National Dong Hwa University and National Taiwan Ocean University.


A scientific expedition to Setiu Wetlands State Park from 2-6 November created new research opportunities in both science and social science fields after several potential new species of plants and animals were discovered around the areas and unique cultural traits of local community were witnessed.

The five-day expedition was organised by Setiu Wetlands Nature Research Station, Institute for Tropical Biodiversity and Sustainable Development (IBTPL) in collaboration with Terengganu State Park Department. Areas of the state park covered included the mangroves, lagoons, paperbark forest and freshwater lakes.

Interesting findings were discovered during the expedition, one of which was an area named Gong Kubor situated at the west bank of Tasik Berombak. Here the forest that rested on BRIS (Beach Ridges Interspersed with Swales) land could be seen in its pristine condition. It was described as an island surrounded by a sea of palm trees. Various species of flora and fauna existed that could be studied further. There were high quality trees such as Resak (Vatica spp.) and various iconic herbal plants such as Mas Cotek (Ficus dettoidea) and Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia).

Wild animals made the forest their sanctuary, especially bird and insect species. This was also the only place in Setiu Wetlands where sound of riang-riang (Cicada spp.) could be heard.

The local folks here used to trap Sintar birds (Rallina eurizonoides) for their livelihood before the activity was prohibited by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. The bird traps were then removed by the officers who also taught the villagers the value of their habitat and the need to protect it. The villagers also believed that the area would remain uncharted because of the presence of a few old cemeteries there, a unique believe that could be the focus of social science research.

The expedition consisted of 53 participants from UMT, 32 from various agencies and 10 from the local community.

Findings from the expedition will be presented at Setiu Wetlands State Park Scientific Expedition Seminar to be held in the near future.

Source - jarina@umt.edu.my


UMT researcher Dr Riswadi Azmi who is also Director of Sultan Mahmud Islamic Centre of UMT has successfully conducted a comprehensive detailed study of Terengganu gold Quran manuscripts that are part of Terengganu sultanate heritage. His research examined the contribution of Terengganu sultanate in the copying of the Quran, the writing and printing history, and several pictures of gold Quran manuscripts found in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The manuscripts were displayed for the first time during the Gold Quran Exhibition held in conjunction with UMT 16th Convocation Ceremony from 11-13 November.

According to Dr Riswadi, Terengganu Quran manuscripts were of better quality compared to other manuscripts from South East Asia, being hand-written in a unique style.

The lavish use of gold on the opening, middle and closing pages of the manuscripts created a glittery look which easily caught the attention. In addition, the manuscripts used colors derived from high quality plants, and as such they did not fade and remained beautiful despite the manuscripts being more than 100 years old.

The exhibition was also open to the public where they could witness the beauty and opulence of Terengganu Quran manuscripts, one of which is the oldest dated 27 December 1836 and was produced during the reign of Sultan Mansor II from 1831-1836.

According to Dr Riswadi, the second oldest Quran manuscript found had the date 18 March 1859 noted on it, which was during the era of Sultan Baginda Omar, while the third oldest was the biggest Terengganu Quran manuscript that had the date 1871 noted on it, which was also during the era of Sultan Baginda Omar.

Dr Riswadi said that Terengganu was well-known in South East Asia as the state that produced unique copies of Quran manuscripts that looked beautiful, having been decorated with gold. This was proven when several manuscripts were found at various locations.

The Sultan and Sultanah of Terengganu deigned to visit the exhibition and were briefed on the history of the manuscripts by Dr Riswadi.

Source - riswadi@umt.edu.my


UMT researcher Associate Professor Dr Shamsul Bahri Abd Razak has travelled to Brazil to learn more about the stingless bees, the subjects of his many studies.

Dr Shamsul Bahri said that Brazil had the highest distribution of stingless bees in the world with the Amazon forest located in the North East of Brazil and the Atlantic forest located in the South East having interesting and unique stingless bee habitat that could be studied.

To date Brazil stingless bee species that had been recorded were 300, compared to 79 species found in Malaysia and other South East Asian countries, he said.

During his ten-day trip, Dr Shamsul Bahri had the opportunities to visit several stingless bee-related places. One was EMBRAPA, Brazil agricultural research agency located in Jaguariuna, a two-hour drive from Sao Paolo. He received a few tips on the technique of sustainable multiplication of stingless bee colony from Dr Cristiano. Dr Shamsul managed to record eight species of Brazilian stingless bees there.

While at the Federal University of Uberlandia, Dr Shamsul Bahri attended a conference called 12th Bee Meeting as an invited speaker where he presented a paper entitled Meliponiculture in Malaysia.

Another place visited was one of the biggest stingless bee farm in Brazil having more than 3000 colonies. One observation made was that even though the size of stingless bees in Brazil was large, honey produced was not much, around 4kg/colony/month. In contrast, Malaysian stingless

bees produced honey amounting to 20kg/colony/month. Dr Shamsul managed to record 17 species of Brazilian stingless bees there.

While in Brazil, Dr Shamsul Bahri held a discussion with Meliponas, the only Brazilian company that engaged in contract farming with Brazilian stingless bee farmers, to explore any possibilities of Malaysian stingless bee products entering Brazilian market or other countries.

“Overall, the trip to Brazil has provided new perspectives regarding stingless bee industry. Knowledge gathered there can really help improve the stingless bee industry here in Malaysia,” said Dr Shamsul Bahri.

Source - shamsulbahri@umt.edu.my


A team of volunteers from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) was part of the humanitarian mission that went to Palu, Sulawesi from 1-5 November to help distribute aid to the victims of the earthquakes and tsunamis that had struck the town earlier.

The volunteers from UMT Sultan Mahmud Islamic Centre, led by its director Dr Riswadi Azmi, distributed packed food and basic necessities to more than 2000 affected residents who were placed at two temporary shelters at Desa Panago, West Palu and Pos Gunungbale, South Donggala respectively.

Dr Riswadi said that the team decided to participate in the mission after witnessing the terrible aftermath of the disaster, which had left 2000 people dead and 4000 injured, and destroyed 70,000 houses.

In addition to distributing packed food and basic necessities, UMT volunteers also offered counselling sessions to the victims, especially the wives and children, to help ease their trauma. In South Donggala, Dr Riswadi provided advice from Islamic perspective for women who had lost their husbands and children on how to move on with their lives without the presence of loved ones.

“This is part of UMT’s commitment, to help those faced with hardship in

whatever ways. Also, this form of spiritual aid helps promote the beauty of Islam to the world,” he said.

The team also donated clothes to the fishermen along the coast at Desa Wani, who not only had lost their houses and belongings but their livelihood after their boats were destroyed by the tsunamis.

Earlier, the Islamic Centre had set up Pray 4 Palu campaign and managed to collect donations from UMT staff and surrounding communities totaling RM20,000 within two weeks.

“We’re very grateful to be able to obtain the money for the mission. On behalf of the team, I thank all those who have helped to make the mission successful,” said Dr Riswadi.

Another campaign called Perahu 4 Palu (Boats for Palu) has been launched as a follow-up to collect donations to purchase boats for affected fishermen.

“I hope that the public will continue to donate so that we can realize our next mission,” said Dr Riswadi.

Source - faizahismail@umt.edu.my

About UMTSohor eNewsletter

UMTSohor eNewsletter is a monthly online newsletter, published as one of the platforms to let the public know more about Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. In each issue, we highlight some of the significant and memorable events happening recently at UMT.

UMTSohor is a term coined by the top management as a branding strategy. Since UMT is located in Terengganu, befittingly a local word “sohor” is added to the university’s acronym. “Sohor” means

renowned in English. So UMTSohor in essence means UMT is renowned, famous. And if UMT is not already is, it is certainly working towards achieving that stature.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this newsletter, and subsequently marked the calendar for the release dates of future issues, so you can be constantly updated.

Universiti Malaysia Terengganu

21030 Kuala Nerus, Terengganu,

Website: https://www.umt.edu.my  Email: pro@umt.edu.my

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