By Kuah Guan Oo
Pic by Marina Ismail
SERDANG, 16 July (UPM) – A senior lecturer of Universiti Putra Malaysia, Prof. Dr Mohd Khanif Yusop, has been elected the president of the Balai Ikhtisas (or the Malaysian Profesional Centre), the umbrella body of Malaysian professionals.
Elected to the post on 22nd June 2013 for a one-year term, the specialist in soil chemistry with the Faculty of Agriculture of UPM is expected to lead the influential 40-year old organization to engage with the Government and other agencies either to provide inputs or to resolve issues.
Prof Khanif, 63, who has taught in UPM for 37 years, said he is honoured to be given the trust to lead BIM and among his main focus would be the issue of official recognition of agricultural and other professionals as professionals in the same category as lawyers, doctors, engineers and architects.
He has been, as president of Agricultural Institute of Malaysia (AIM) since 2007, pursuing for the recognition of these agricultural professionals through the enactment of the Agrologist Act which has received positive support from the authorities as well as the stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
Prof Khanif’s membership in BIM is through AIM since BIM does not have individual members.
Among the 22 member-institutions of MPC are the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, the Royal Institution of Surveyors, the Institution of Engineers Malaysia, the Persatuan Akitek Malaysia, the Malaysian Institute Of Planners , Agricultural Institute of Malaysia, the Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia , the Veterinary Association Malaysia and the Institute of Internal Auditors.
He said while BIM is a platform for the professionals to network among themselves and others, it is also for the member institutions to engage the government in dialogues such as the budget dialogue.
“We raise issues that are common to all and we aim for a win-win outcome for all,” he said.
For example, when the Government opted to liberalise the services sector, BIM gave their views and inputs on how it would impact on the professionals in the country.
“Our aim is enhance professionalism and that is why we emphasize on the need for a code of ethics for all professionals in the country,” he said, adding that that is also why BIM would go all out to highlight the importance of integrity through forums and the like.
At the same time, it is also pro-active in organizing career clinics with universities to reach the students and help them with their career choice and other pathways.
Through the BIM-Profesional Academic Council, they engaged the management of universities and give them feedback on their profesional courses and curricula so that they could produce the right professionals.
He also noted that the Ministry of International Trade and industry (MITI) has been pushing for the export of Malaysian services and expertise sector and in this regard, BIM would have to work harder to get the official recognition for the professionals so that they can have a wider horizon for their skills.
As for UPM, he said he would be most happy to help the university by acting as a bridge with the profesional fraternity.
To sum up his thoughts, Prof Khanif offered his “bow and arrows” theory on the relationship between the professionals and the Government.
“The professionals are like the arrows and the policy-makers or Government are the bow. Together, we shoot at the targets of development!”.
Prof Khanif was born in Parit, Perak, where he had his early education at Iskandar Shah School.
He obtained a diploma in agriculture from the Agriculture College Malaya (1971), the predecessor of UPM before he went to the University of Hawaii where he was awarded a BS in Tropical Agriculture in 1973, followed by a MS in Agronomy and Soil Science in 1975. He read his PhD in Agriculture Science at the University of Ghent, Belgium, in 1983.
In his career in UPM, he was appointed head of the Department of Soil Science (1987 – 1991), Dean of the Agriculture Faculty (2001 – 2006) and a member of the UPM Senate (1993 – 2006).
He is currently involved with two long-term research projects – one on food security and the other, on urea fertilizer production using green technology. — UPM
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