Paramount sees spike in local student intake on weak ringgit

KUALA LUMPUR: Property and education group Paramount Corp Bhd expects the weak ringgit to boost the intake of local students at its KDU University College this month.

Its group chief executive officer Jeffrey Chew Sun Teong said as a result of the weakening ringgit, parents may opt to send their children to pursue twinning programmes at local universities rather than send them overseas.

“However, it’s too early for us to see any impact. We may see the shift happening during the September or January intake if the ringgit continues to slide,” he told the digitaledge DAILY in an interview.

Still, Chew believes that the weakening ringgit has a neutral impact on the education sector.

“I think definitely it has become cheaper for international students [to study at local universities]. Nevertheless, Malaysia’s tertiary fees have never been their major concern, [but] rather it is other factors such as immigration laws and [the] quality of education here,” he said.

Chew is of the view that the government can take advantage of the weaker ringgit by streamlining its immigration process to make the country more attractive to international students.

Paramount’s property development business accounted for 74% of the group’s revenue for the six months ended June 30, 2015, while its education segment contributed the remaining 26%.

“We have always viewed the education business as [a] very resilient one, in the sense that it is recession-proof. We also hardly have any bad debts as students are required to pay before a course begins,” said Chew.

He added that with these two businesses, Paramount is in a good position to withstand any economic turbulence.