Malaysia started subscribing to the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) in 2014, with 3 premier polytechnics given the distinction of being the first institutions to be visited and received APACC Gold Award in the country. One of these polytechnics, the Politeknik Ungku Omar (PUO) located at Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia, subjected itself to APACC reaccreditation on July 30 to August 1, 2018, 4 years after the first visit. To assess the improvements based on recommendations from the first visit and to generally evaluate the overall compliance of PUO to the APACC standards, an international team composed of Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs, APACC Special Officer in Thailand, Dr. Rajendra P. Adhikari, Advisor and Former President of Diploma Engineers Association of Nepal, and Ms. Adrienne Abril, APACC Officer, was assigned.

Courtesy Visit at the Director’s Office. (From L-R) Dr. Mohammad Naim Bin Yaakub, DPCCE DDG (Planning) and Former APACC President; Tn. Haji Zairon bin Mustapha, PUO Director; and APACC Accreditors Dr. Rajendra P. Adhikari and Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs The activity was inaugurated by the welcoming remarks of PUO Director Tn. Haji Zairon bin Mustapha. According to him, PUO has continually improved after the first APACC visit by addressing the recommendations, maintaining good practices, and sometimes exceeding what are expected. New buildings and facilities, interactive classrooms, and industry-sponsored education center are among the additional facilities being enjoyed by staff and students alike. He mentioned that through APACC, PUO was able to respond to changes effectively.

Mr. Muhammad Zubir bin Mohd Hanifah, Deputy Director (Academic), introduced the members of the PUO Team right after the remarks of the Director. PUO showcased the improvements and notable achievements through a presentation by the PUO APACC Team Leader and Senior Lecturer Mr. Tan Sui Chee.

APACC Team Member Dr. Rajendra P. Adhikari, in his Special Remarks, commended PUO for the dedication and hard work in preparing for the on-site revisit, and for seriously addressing the recommendations of the previous visit.

Prior to the presentation of on-site revisit schedule, the APACC Team Leader Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs recognized the collective efforts of the PUO team and informed updates and felicitations on behalf of the APACC management.

(Left photo) Robotics at Mechanical Engineering Department
(Right photo) Engine Room Simulators at New Marine Engineering Centre of Technology Building

Key officials of the Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education (DPCCE), Ministry of Education (MOE), Malaysia graced the program including Dr. Mohammad Naim Bin Yaakub, Deputy Director General (Planning) and Former APACC President who presented the latest developments in MOE; Ts. Haji Mohamad Amin Bin Hamat, Deputy Director General (Governance); Pn. Noor Aidi Bt Nadzri, Director, Curriculum Division and Malaysia National Coordinator for Accreditation; and Pn. Noaryanti Bt Mohd Nor, Senior Assistant Director, Quality Assurance Unit, Governance and Excellence Division.

(Left photo) Student Center
(Right photo) Presentation of Students’ Projects

Being the first polytechnic established in Malaysia, PUO strives to be a good example, thus representatives from various polytechnics were welcomed and given the chance to observe the proceedings of the 3-day event.

Interview with Key Officials

Facilities inspections and interviews with relevant officials ensued after the opening program. PUO Officials and Criterion Leaders, including Mr. Juhaidi Zamani Jamaludin, Deputy Director (Academic Support), led each team and presented the overview per criterion.

At the exit meeting on August 1, Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs presented the qualitative results detailing the commendations (demonstrated strengths), affirmations (healthy practices being adopted), and recommendations (suggested measures to address areas for improvement).

Presentation of Commendations, Affirmations, and Recommendations

PUO was established in 1969 named after Professor Dato' (Dr.) Ungku Omar bin Ahmad, the first Malay Director of the Medical Research Centre. One of the polytechnic’s niche area is Marine Engineering and the Marine Engineering Department was recognized as the Best Maritime Institution in 2016.