This is one of the things covered in the discussions conducted by the Vice Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Assoc. Dato 'Dr. Omar Osman and Dato' Bandar Mekaha (Mayor of Holy Makkah), Dr. Osama Fadhul Al Bar in the meeting held at the Office of the Dato' Bandar Mekaha yesterday.
"Opportunities for Malaysian universities, including USM to link expertise with Saudi Arabia, are always wide open," said Dr. Osama.
Meanwhile, USM is ready to play a more active and aggressive role in research, especially related to the Haj pilgrimage and other cooperation with universities in Saudi Arabia.
"USM for example, has been involved in research and utilised a variety of expertise available for the welfare of Muslims around the world performing the haj in Mecca for the last five years with the help and cooperation of Umm Al-Qura University and the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia," said Omar.
Hajj is one of the research efforts conducted by USM closely with several institutions of Saudi Arabia who was second highest after Japan's higher education institutions in international relations with more than 93 countries around the world.
Dato' City of Mekaha had agreed in principle to come to USM in July 2012 to deliver a public lecture on the Development of Mecca to the public in Malaysia.
Osama also agreed to help USM mobilize the expertise of the knowledge available to collaborate together for the benefit of Muslims worldwide and foster a closer relationship between USM researchers and academics in Saudi Arabia.
"At the same time, USM hopes to strengthen research collaboration with other universities such as Taibah University and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in the future as a result of meetings held during the visit to Saudi Arabia," Omar said again.
Meanwhile, Trade Commissioner for the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation in Jeddah (MATRADE) Amran Yem said Institutions of Higher Learning in Malaysia needs to be more aggressive in developing relationships with Saudi Arabia.
"We need to better understand the culture and ways of working in Saudi Arabia to facilitate a successful entry to the market place," said Amran.
He said the university has a good chance to strengthen existing relationships with parties in Saudi Arabia especially with the collaborative research which have been long established and MATRADE will follow up accordingly to ensure that fostered collaborative relationships will be successful and meaningful to the people of Islam and the country.