The Cabinet of the Malaysian government on 12 July 2006 agreed to establish the Royal Professor Ungku Aziz Chair at the Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya. In conjunction with the establishment of the Chair, a Centre for Poverty and Development Studies (CPDS) was also created at the Faculty. The establishment of the Royal Professor Ungku Aziz Chair is to honor the contributions of Professor Ungku Aziz in the field of education and economic development especially rural development and poverty. It was inaugurated in November 2006 by the Fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with the launch of the Royal Professor Ungku Aziz Chair (RPUA). The establishment of the Chair and the Centre avows Malaysia’s continuing commitment to poverty eradication. Malaysia is often showcased as a country that has been successful in attaining its development objectives. Through the auspices of the Malaysian Technical Development Programme, Malaysia has provided a platform for sharing its development experience with other developing countries, especially through fostering South-South cooperation. Hence, the Malaysian experience is envisaged to provide useful lessons for other developing countries in policy and program formulation for poverty alleviation. At the same time the Chair and the Centre will serve as the channel to increase accessibility to information and facilitate the dissemination of this information amongst various stakeholders.
The Centre was established as a platform for research and teaching in the field of poverty and development studies. In this respect the establishment of CPDS is timely and it is foreseen to become a critical reference point for academic work, research and consultancy for poverty and development studies to serve the academic community, the general public, policy makers and the international community. The initial objectives of CPDS are summarized below:
- To organize joint research projects and undertake comparative studies on poverty and rural development including amongst rural communities in remote and marginalized areas.
- To develop new approaches and methodologies that are suitable for poverty and development studies, as well as to provide consultancy services and technical assistance.
- To improve accessibility to information pertaining to poverty groups through the creation of data bases, publications, seminars and conferences as well as through the internet and the media.
- To contribute towards capacity building in the rural areas especially amongst the poor and encouraging the incorporation of local and indigenous knowledge in the development process.
- To encourage co-operation between the Government, Private and Educational sectors through the sharing of best practices in integrated development activities.