On June 23, 1970, the Director of Institut Teknologi MARA at the time, visited Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, USA. Tan Sri Arshad Ayub, who for some years had been considering the possibility of establishing a communication programme in ITM, expressed his interest in seeing Ohio University’s College of Communication and its School of Journalism, which was one of the largest and most highly reputed in the United States. Conversations were held with Dean and Director John R. Wilhelm and Associate Professor Ralph E. Kliesch regarding a higher education for journalism in Malaysia and the possibility of consultative assistance from Ohio University in planning such a programme.
Facilitated by a sabbatical leave from Ohio University and the good offices of ITM, Assoc. Professor Kliesch arrived in Malaysia on July 30, 1970, for four months to conduct a “feasibility study” for a communication programme at ITM.
More than three-fourths of that period was spent in intensive investigation into local conditions relevant to such a programme and evaluation thereof. The investigation included formal discussions with three dozen individuals representing the Malaysian government; mass media, higher education and private sector. In addition, informal contacts ranging from brief, unplanned chats to conversations of some length, were made with nearly as many other individuals relevant to the project at hand. These “target of opportunity” include nationals of perhaps a dozen countries and ranged from officers of the South East Asia Centre to mass media educators from other Asian countries to the Malaysian Minister of Information himself.
In addition, there has been extensive contact with administrative and academic staff of ITM, from Director Arshad on down, who cordially support the proposed program and who sought to be helpful as possible. By November 19, 1970, Professor Kliesch submitted a report providing guidelines for the establishment of what was to be designated as the School of Mass Communication in ITM.
In an academic disciplinary meeting on Tuesday, June 8, 1972 at 2.30 p.m. in the Registrar’s Room at Jalan Othman, Petaling Jaya, the School of Mass Communication came into effect. Before that, in an ITM Board of Studies meeting on Friday June 9, 1972 at 9.20 a.m. in the Meeting Room in Jabatan Perpaduan Negara, Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Kuala Lumpur with Tan Sri Mohd Ghazali Shafie as the Chairman, the Board agreed in principle to the establishment of the School of Mass Communication. This process had been a long time coming. ITM had been advocating the teaching of journalism as far back as the mid-1960s. On February 3, 1968, the local press (Utusan Melayu and Berita Harian) carried news stories of ITM’s consideration of such a programme.