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Despite recent advancements, psychology and psychological medicine as disciplines continue to face difficulties of survival rather than development in Malaysia. Specifically, although there have been positive upward trends in the provision of psychological and psychiatric services in Malaysia, research on psychological medicine and allied fields remains at a relatively low level. Psychology, as a scientific discipline, does not have a strong base in Malaysia, mostly because of economic and political histories that have focused attention and finances on disciplines other than psychology. Despite scholars and practitioners agreeing that there is an urgent need for this to be rectified, attempts to develop a solid research base for psychology in Malaysia remain patchy and piecemeal. Indeed, only a few Malaysian universities appear to be geared, or even prepared, to face the challenges of developing a strong research foundation in psychological medicine.
The psychological community in Malaysia needs to be able conduct research in conditions equivalent to those of colleagues in other major fields and that mirrors centres of excellence in psychological scholarship elsewhere. With these issues in mind, we have developed the Centre for Psychological Medicine at Perdana University (PU-CPM), in a joint initiative with Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), Cambridge, United Kingdom. At its core, the mission of the centre will seek to advance research on psychological medicine through collaborative, cross-disciplinary ventures, in which scholars apply a wide range of theoretical perspectives on the past and present, producing knowledge invaluable in making grounded decisions about the future. The establishment of a formal centre will support a new area of research activity for Perdana University, allied with current degree programmes, and also ARU.
PU-CPM will focus faculty energy campus-wide around problems facing us on both global and local fronts and, in the long-term, help to establish Malaysia as a hub for research on psychological medicine. The work of the centre will model cultural understanding, promote in-depth and critical understandings of local and Western psychologies, and conduct world-leading research that explores the human condition. PU-CPM will create new knowledge about how we think and behave, foster and inform intellectual debate and civil discourse, and create a hub of research activities in psychological medicine and allied fields. It will also play a pivotal role in creating a new generation of Malaysian scientists trained to international standards and capable of conducting research at the highest levels.