United Kingdom and Eire Council of Malaysian Students
UKEC – an acronym for the United Kingdom and Eire (Ireland) Council of Malaysian Students is an umbrella body for Malaysian student societies across Britain and Ireland.
Officially founded in 1995, the council serves as a common platform of interaction for Malaysian students across the region, at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. UKEC traces its humble origins as far back as the pre-war years when a group of hopeful students initiated an unofficial student movement in London.
This movement was instrumental in creating a socio-political network among the educated Malayans back then. Camaraderie created through this network pioneered the fight for independence and later helped establish Malaya’s post-Merdeka governments. The country’s first two premiers, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and Tun Abdul Razak were among the prominent members of the network. It has been widely said that the nation first two premiers started discussing the road to independence in the 1940s.
However, this united movement disintegrated from the 1960s, when more Malaysian students attended British universities outside London. Malaysian societies in these universities were then founded and hence the need for a centralized organization was muted. As time progressed and the Malaysian student population burgeoned, the need for a common platform for Malaysian students across the country resurfaced. To address this need, a group of pioneering undergraduates formed an organization which brought together the leaders of Malaysian student societies in universities nationwide.
This new council tapped on the new technology; most importantly the internet in connecting with the student population at large. The union of Malaysian students then spearheaded many beneficial activities with emphasis on raising awareness of national issues among the bright young minds. In 2006, the council unanimously voted to include Malaysian societies in the Republic of Ireland under its wings and embarked on a re-orientation program to make itself relevant to the changing demographics of the Malaysian student population. From then onwards, UKEC, a politically neutral student movement has grown beyond leaps and bounds into becoming a mature student movement with the assistance from the Malaysian Student Department (MSD) and financial aid from generous corporate sponsors as well as government agencies.
In the 2008/2009 Annual General Meeting, the Supreme Council mandated the National Executive Council to lead a re-branding and restructuring program to improve the student movement’s delivery and ensuring sustainability of the organization in the future. The council headquarters is currently located at Queensborough Terrace, Bayswater, London – a site hosted by the MSD.