When talking about the history of MARA, one name which often crops up is Tan Sri Arshad Ayub. As the first Director of MARA Institute of Technology (ITM) from 1967 - 1975, it was his idea that led to the growth of ITM in the early decades of its establishment. At that time, ITM was under the MARA Training Division.
Known for his charismatic nature and a firm Director, Arshad was greatly respected as well as feared by ITM students then. He was often seen at the students' hostels in the evenings to check on their activities.
Arshad, now 85, did all those things for the love of Bumiputera children and wanted them to excel in their examinations and continue to be successful in their careers.
"Coming from a poor family background, I realized how important it was for Malay students to have good education and qualification so that they can become professionals, which the numbers of Bumiputera were still lacking at that time."
Tan Sri Arshad Ayub
"Most of the Malay children in the rural areas were slow to get used to the environment, thus many projects to promote them were affected as a result, because they had no self-confidence due to the fact that they came from poor family background," said Arshad when met at ZA Studio, Sungai Penchala, recently.
Arshad believes that, as a Bumiputera and Malaysia citizen, one must have a social responsibility to carry out his duties with loyalty, honesty, integrity and having a healthy body.
As a Pro-Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) now, he advised the students to be disciplined spiritually, academically and physically because all these were the basis of one's success in life.
Arshad, who was received the RIDAMARA Award in conjunction with the 2000 Golden Jubilee celebration, said, the name MARA can never be separated from ITM although it has now become a university (UiTM) because of MARA had contributed tremendously towards the development and success of Bumiputeras until today.
When asked about MARA's role in the success of ITM, Arshad said, the leaders of both parties at that time had vision to assist Bumiputera students to fill up job opportunities in the private sector. MARA was a catalyst in that effort by offering relevant courses to ITM students.
He said, ITM conducted interviews to ensure every student had the ability and deep interest before they were selected to take up relevant courses required by the industry at that time.
Besides, said Arshad, he had a good working network and relationships with the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the local and foreign universities, big companies such as Guthrie and Sime Darby and prominent hotels for students to do their internships and other facilities for ITM students.
This strategy, he said, was so successful in filling up job opportunities in the private sectors besides encouraging the students to converse in English and other languages that they learned in ITM.
Arshad also hopes that MARA will continue to play its role according to the current needs in helping Bumiputera in education and business.
TAN SRI ARSHAD AYUB –