The Malaysian Ministry of Education's (MOE) objectives to produce mentally and physically holistic human capital and develop soft skills in students in universities are the main focuses of all higher education institutions in this country.

Like other higher institutions, Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) also desires to meet the seven key soft skills by holding various periodic programmes for their students especially to help burgeon maturity among the students.

Recently, UniMAP sent 32 of its young leaders comprising members of the 2017/2018 Students Council (MPP) across the world for eight days and seven nights in Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands for the 14th UniMAP Jelajah Ilmu Programme.

MPP 2017/2018's former President Muhammad Amir Hakim Razali said they had the opportunity to go to the European Union (Parliament) Council of Europe or better known as the European Union (EU) Parliament in Brussels, Belgium and asked questions about the current events of the country.

“This is an exciting experience and has opened our minds as a future-oriented young leaders as well as to have a better understanding of the condition of the world.”

“Even issue of the UK withdrawal from the European Union, or Brexit, to improve local Britons' opportunities in the job market among others without competition from other EU citizens shows the importance of the leaders' responsibility to lead a country,” he said to a reporter during the Jelajah Ilmu tour.

Amir Hakim added that this has indirectly reminds them all that in some situations, tough decisions needed to be done to achieve a positive outcome for the future of a country and its people.

“Although the impact cannot be seen in the near future, but it will certainly benefit the nation and its populace, and our leaders must think maturely when making judgements,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) Prof. Dr. Mohd Fo'ad Sakdan said that the programme would be able to improve communication skills, critical thinking, teamwork, as well as encourage continuous learning and information management among participants, moral and professional ethics, and leadership skills.

“The UniMAP Jelajah Ilmu Programme is an annual programme aimed at strengthening the existing soft skills in our young leaders.

“They have undergone various processes to strengthen their physical and mental states and the Jelajah Ilmu Programme is the university's top programme in shaping future leaders,” he said.

He added that this time we have chosen three countries, namely Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands, which are major nations. From their experiences it is hoped that they will be more understanding and sensitive to developments in global issues.

“Global issues plays a key role in shaping politics and diplomatic relations internationally,” he said.

He believes that as future leaders of the nation, the youth, especially students, need to be mature and willing to take on a higher vision to drive the direction of the country so that Malaysia can stand and compete on equal standing with the developed countries of Europe.

UniMAP Chancellor Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail and his daughter Her Royal Highness Sharifah Adriana Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail also attended the tour.

Other attending representatives from UniMAP were Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Zul Azhar Zahid Jamal, Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Mohd Fo'ad Sakdan, Director of Centre for International Affairs Dr. Salsuwanda Selamat and two Student Affairs and Alumni Department officers Ahmad Mu'adz Nazari and Aizatul Akma Wani Ariffin.

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