UiTM Campus Brings new life to former Mining Town. After nearly 36 years in the shadows, the once world famous mining town of Bukit Besi, in Terengganu, will recover some of its former glory when a new UiTM campus is built there soon. The campus, costing about RM1 billion is the second largest after the main campus in Shah Alam and will help UiTM achieve its target of 200,000 students at any one time from the current 100,000.
Unfortunately, bureaucratic problems and a drop in the production of quality iron forced the mine, which was Terengganu's richest source of income to close down in 1970. Its operator, Eastern Mining and Metal Company (EMMCO) left for Australia to start a new iron mine. This led to an exodus of tens of thousands of people whose livelihood had depended directly or indirectly on the mining activities at the old mine. Bukit Besi turned into a ghost town for some time, until Ketengah was formed which took several steps to rekindle the sparks of life into it. Ketengah created several new settlements in the area whose residents now depended on rubber and oil palm plantations.
The campus would be constructed in two phases with the first on 122 ha and the second on 362ha. Bukit Besi was chosen as the campus site because of its strategic site close to the East Coast Highway and the many facilities Ketengah had created. Another factor was the existing campus at Sura Hujung nearby which could provide the required staff for the new campus and other benefits.
Images credit to UiTMT