Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)

Membership Type: Full
Year in which Organisation/Agency commenced operations: 2007
Countries/regions/states of operation: Malaysia

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Title: Dato’ Prof. Dr.
First Name: Mohammad Shatar
Surname: Sabran
Job Title: Chief Executive Officer
Phone: +603 8688 1900
Email Id:

Nominated Contact Person (if different from CEO)

First Name: Zabib
Surname: Bakar
Job Title: Head of Public and International Affairs Unit
Email Id:

Organisation Details

Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)
Address: Mercu MQA, No. 3539
Jalan Teknokrat 7, Cyber 5
63000 Cyberjaya

Additional Contacts

Criteria Requirements for Full Member

1 Criterion: Nature of the operations of the agency:
Measure: The agency is responsible for reviews at institutional or programme level of post-secondary
education institutions or post-secondary quality assurance agencies
Description: The Board

The Malaysian governmentâ??s policy to liberalise private higher education in order to provide for wider access to the masses and ensure the healthy growth of the private higher education in Malaysia has led to the establishment of Lembaga Akreditasi Negara / National Accreditation Board (LAN).

Lembaga Akreditasi Negara or LAN (National Accreditation Board, Malaysia) is a statutory body established under the Lembaga Akreditasi Act 1996. It became fully operational as of 1 January 1998. Its establishment is provided in Section 3 and Section 4 of the Act. It is a quality assurance body mandated to formulate and apply standards for quality assurance of certificate, diploma and degree programmes, accreditation, oversee and monitor courses of study in the Private Higher Educational Institutions (PHEIs) and to make recommendation for course approval to the Minister (now of Higher Education). The quality assurance and accreditation is currently programme based.

The governance structure is reflected in the appointment of a Board consisting of 10 members with the Chairman who is also the Chief Executive officer of the organization. Seven (7) of the members are academics of high standing from the local universities (2 from the private universities), 3 others each representing the Public Civil Service, industry and professional bodies with a Secretary. The Chairman is appointed by the Yang DiPertuan Agong (Malaysiaâ??s Constitutional Monarch) and other Board members are appointed by the Minister.

The Board is accountable to the Minister and the Minister may give directives which are not inconsistent with the provision of the Act. The Board is subjected to national policies in higher education as prescribed by the National Higher Educational Council. Quality matters are entirely within LANâ??s responsibility.

The board meets monthly to discuss and decide on a range of papers which include policies, administrative, finance, human resource and academic programmes.
(refer to pg 10-11 of the 2004 Annual Report)


Higher education as provided by the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 means the teaching of a course of study leading to the award of a certificate, diploma or degree. It covers post secondary school education or (post O level education).

PHEIs are registered institutions under the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 which are not funded or maintained by the government and they offer a wide range courses of diverse disciplines, levels and origins. There are currently 532 PHEIs which range from 532 institutions/colleges, 22 university / colleges universities and 4 foreign university branch campuses. Since its inception LAN has received a total of 7498 courses for approval, 2151 for minimum standards and 1849 for accreditation (till 25 /08/06).

Malaysian Qualifications Agency - Update

The Cabinet made a decision to establish a national agency for quality assurance, the Malaysian Qualification Agency, and call a review of all related Acts. A new quality assurance regiment will be introduced next year with the establishment of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency and implementation of the Malaysian Qualifications Framework. It is an amalgamation of LAN, the Quality Assurance Division for public universities and the quality unit of the Department of Polytechnics and Community Colleges and is due to set under the proposed MQA Bill due to be tabled in November 2006 latest and operational next year. It will be a statutory body similar to LAN.

The merger entity will unite the quality assurance system for both public and private higher educational institutions as well as the training / skill based providers. There are other new functions in addition to programme accreditation and institutional audit and its quality assurance activities will cover institutions / providers of higher education outside the Ministry of Higher Education.

Supporting Documents

a. Lembaga Akreditasi Act 1996
b. LANâ??s Annual Report for 2004 (please note that the Annual Report for 2005 is not ready for publication until Parliament has approved it which will be later this year). Previous annual reports will be provided on the request of APQN board members.
c. Information of board members as provided in the Annual report pg 8
2 Criterion: Mission statement and objectives:
Measure: The agency has formulated a mission statement and objectives which are consistent with the nature of the agency
Description: Mission Statement

LAN endeavors to ensure that courses of study offered by PHEIs are of high quality, at par with international standards, able to contribute to the needs of human development and capable of developing individuals to their maximum potential.


LAN aspires to be a quality assurance body for higher education that is credible, reputable and internationally recognized.
(This vision is under review)


i. To formulate policies on standards and quality control of private higher education sector
ii. To advise and make recommendations to the Minister of Higher Education (previously Minister of Education) for approval to conduct courses of study to be offered at the PHEIs;
iii. To evaluate for purposes of determining the fulfillment of Minimum Standard by the PHEIs. This is a mandatory requirement under Section 44 of the PHEI Act 1996 which will enable PHEIs to confer their awards.
iv. To evaluate applications for accreditations submitted by the PHEIs based on set criteria and quality standards.
v. To furnish interested parties with relevant information on the Act, rules and quality assurance criteria and standards
vi. To ensure uniformity / consistency in the evaluation for approval, minimum standard and accreditation of the courses of study and qualifications
vii. To strive towards the achievement of regional and international standards of courses of study offered.

Supporting Document

LANâ??s functions are prescribed in the Section 4 of the LANâ??s Act.
The core business is subjected to the clientâ??s charter (page 6 of the Annual report).
a. LAN Annual Report for 2004
b. LAN Act 1996
c. LANâ??s 12 Strategic Thrust
d. Business Plans 2000-2005, 2006
3 Criterion: Agency staff, Numbers, Profile, Roles:
Measure: The profile of the staff is consistent with the Mission Statement
Description: Organisation

LAN started with 37 post allocated by the government in 1998. With the increase work load, the number of staff has increased many folds to 168 as of 31 June 2006. A number of contract officers from the local universities have been employed over the last few years to assist in research projects.

The Chairman is also the Chief Executive Officer responsible for the day-to day operations of the organization and he is assisted by the Secretary to the Board who is also the General Manager of the Board. There are 4 sector heads.

The organizational structure has been restructured to enable increased efficiency, effectiveness, more focus in quality assurance in addition to creation of new units. They are as follows:

â?¢ Quality Assurance Sector is responsible for the core business i.e. programme accreditation and institutional audits and monitoring. The head of the sector is assisted by dedicated units, headed by senior managers and supported by a number of officers and support staff. Initially, the QA workload was distributed to units by institutions but as of March 2006, the distribution of QA workload is by disciplines. This major change enables development of specialized units. The 5 units are the Engineering and Built Environment, Social Sciences, IT and Multimedia, Medicine and Allied Health and Science, Arts and Humanities.
â?¢ Corporate and Policy Sector which includes several sub units to manage the corporate, policy and external relations, organisational development, legal and enforcement unit.
â?¢ Management, Training and Services sector is responsible for general administration, training, finance and IT. The support services enable the core business to operate smoothly and efficiently.
â?¢ LAN is also developing a National Reference Centre and a unit for Rating.
4 Criterion: Profile of reviewers:
Measure: The profile of the reviewers is consistent with the Mission Statement
Description: (The term reviewers is used interchangeably with assessors)


Effective audit training of properly selected reviewers is crucial to the proper and efficient performance of the core activities of LAN and ensures clientsâ?? satisfaction. Public confidence in the accreditation system not only depends on good and transparent standards but evaluation conducted in a professional and fair manner. The reviewers employed on assignment basis are drawn from the public universities, PHEIs, professional bodies and increasingly from the industry.

Recruitment exercises by various approaches and a clear selection criteria for appointment as reviewers and as chairpersons of panel. The selection criteria as determined by the Board places emphasis on qualifications, experience and expertise. The initial selection is screened by a specialist committee and recommendations are made to the board for appointment and renewals. Remuneration and other expenses are provided by LAN for every assignment completed by the reviewers.

LAN also cooperates with Professional Bodies (statutory bodies responsible for registering professionals) and evaluations of professional programmes are assisted by a Joint Technical Committee. Currently it covers medical, engineering, dentistry, pharmacy and quantity survey. The range of activities includes developing standards, training of reviewers, reports and other quality audit activities.

Auditor Training

All assessors are required to undergo auditors training organized by the training unit conducted by LAN. Training modules have been developed on auditing skill, conduct of site visits, report writing and recently the Credit system and Outcome Based Learning in line with the implementation of the Malaysian Qualifications Framework. Retraining have been provided and planned for each year and group.

Disclosure of interest

All assessors must disclose any personal interest which relates to the assignment to conduct accreditation. The declaration is made upon accepting appointment as assessors by the board. A PHEI may object to appointment of an assessor if it reasonably believes that the assessors may have a conflict of interest or biasness which may prejudice the institution.

Evaluation of assessor performance-feedback, complaints

a. Assessors in performing their assignment are evaluated by LAN and feedback is also obtained from PHEIs. An analysis of the evaluation is made for management review and to enable remedial or other actions being taken. It is important in view of the fact that LAN receives complaints from time to time.

b. Complaints of alleged misconduct or biasness are investigated and reported to the management. A retraining programme is provided for non performing or problematic assessors or otherwise no new assignments are given after retraining is provided.

(Please note we are unable to provide a copy of Assessment Forms as it is not in English)

Assessors Database

A data base of the assessors have been set up, which has been reviewed and amended tremendously, in tracking assessors, reappointments, assignments completed or delayed, payment and so forth. The two tables below provide the statistics and profile of assessors as on 31 June 2006.

Table A: Reviewers profile
No. Titles & Qualifications Quantity
1. Professor 154
2. Dr./Associate Prof. 533
3. Others:
a. Master 409
b. Degree/professional qualification 65
Total 1161

* the number is including assessors responsible for evaluating the delivery of Compulsory Subjects as prescribed by the PHEI Act 1996.

Table B â??Reviewers â?? Disciplines
No. Disciplines Quantity
1. Health Sciences/Medical 112
2. Engineering 238
3. Built Environment 81
4. Art & Design 56
5. Mass Communication 28
6. Science 105
7. Administration/Accountancy 262
8. Education / Islamic Studies 115
9. Computer Science / Information Technology 96
10. Hospitality / Tourism 43
11. Law 25
Total 1161

Supporting Documents

a. 2004 Annual Report
b. 2006 Business Plans (in National language only)
c. Code of Ethics for Assessors (not available in English)
5 Criterion: Independence:
Measure: The judgements and recommendations of the agency’s reports cannot be changed by third parties
Description: Statement

The core business of LAN includes evaluating course proposals and recommendation for approvals to conduct courses, evaluation for attainment of Minimum Standards, Accreditation, monitoring and follow up focus audits. The following paragraphs explain LANâ??s position in making decisions on Approvals, Minimum Standards and Accreditation.

Approvals of Courses of Study

LAN makes recommendation to the Minister for approval to conduct courses submitted by PHEIs. By the provisions of the PHEIs Act, section 38, requires the PHEIs to obtain the approval of the Minister before conducting any course of study. It is mandatory under the section 39 for the Minister to make his decision based on LANâ??s recommendation. The recommendation is based on an evaluation by assessors on the readiness of the PHEIs and the aspects examined include rationale/objectives and learning outcomes and curriculum in the course of study, assessment, physical and other resources, manpower and quality management systems. Currently, the decision to recommend for approval with or without conditions is based on qualitative evaluation and a rating scheme.

Generally no site visits for approval are carried out except for courses such as Medical, Pharmacy, Nursing or as directed by the management.

Minimum Standards

This is a mandatory requirement under the PHEI Act 1996. Decision on attainment of Minimum Standards is determined by LAN solely. It is an offence for a PHEI to confer an award if the requirement to meet Minimum Standards is not met. A course of study upon failing to meet the prescribed Minimum Standard will be recommended to take immediate remedial action or will face the consequences of having its approval being revoked. The process of evaluating is the same as accreditation which is described in item 8 below.


Accreditation by LANâ??s Act is not mandatory. Section 39(2) of LAN Act 1996 states that the Lembagaâ??s (Board) decision is final. The board may grant accreditation with or without conditions, or grants at a lower level than applied for, or reject with reasons. A certificate of accreditation is conferred to the institutions. The conferment of certificate is subjected to conditions amongst other payment of fee, scope, site, applicability, follow up visit, recommendation for quality development and validity period. A certificate granted by the Board is valid for 5 years.

A PHEI may apply to undertake evaluation for Minimum Standard and Accreditation concurrently at a discounted fee. The single evaluation exercise for dual purposes is conducted by a panel of reviewers the outcome of which may lead to different outcomes depending whether Minimum Standard and accreditation grades have been met.

However, the Ministry has made it mandatory for certain classes of courses of study offered by PHEIs to be accredited by LAN and this includes all fully franchised courses of study (3+0), professional courses and all courses offered by private universities and university colleges. In addition to this, accreditation provides added value to the institutions and student in the following ways:

â?¢ Obtaining loans from the National Higher Education Fund Council and sponsorships from other agencies
â?¢ Enhance opportunity to join the civil service
â?¢ Enhance and facilitates admission to universities, public or private
â?¢ Enables Credit transfers to be considered by receiving institutions

Revocation of Accreditation

The said LAN Act provides for grounds to revoke certification of Accreditation conferred and also prescribed due process to be observed by the Board.

Code of Ethics for Accreditation Managers (not available in English)

Accredited course or qualifications are recorded on the Register for public access. LAN publishes an official List of Accredited Courses in printed forms and is updated on the LANâ??s website from time to time.


The legal requirement to meet Minimum Standards will be removed when the PHEI Act is amended in the near future as it has created much confusion.

Supporting Documents

a. Lembaga Akreditasi Negara Act 1996 pp. 20-21
b. A sample of Certification of Accreditation and general conditions (translated version)
c. A printed copy of publication of the List of Accredited Courses
6 Criterion: Resources:
Measure: The agency has sufficient resources to run its operations in accordance with its mission statement and objectives
Description: Statement


LAN receives an annual grant from the Government based on the yearly estimates for operational cost and other expenditure. In addition, other sources of revenue is derived from fees collected for cost of evaluation which are used to reimbursed cost of evaluation and consultancy/seminars. Grant for operational cost for year 2006 is RM14,741,300 in addition of RM 1.23(m) for oneâ??off budget . In year 2005, LAN received RM14,649,000 from the government.


LAN is located, since its inception, at 14th floor of Menara PKNS-PJ building and has expanded to include 11th, 13th and whole of 14th floor. Its location is easily accessible to clients.


The Information Systems Unit plans for the organisation, procure and maintain all necessary equipments to ensure work processes can be carried effectively and is cost efficient. Ratio of PC to staff is 1:1 in addition to laptops, printers, scanners and a number of software/applications. Staff training is provided regularly.

It has developed 2 major Databases for storing and retrieving information i.e. Courses of Study and assessors in addition to a number of other applications which has been developed to enhance QA and management systems. The Databases are constantly updated to provide timely and accurate information, tracking, status reports and provides statistics/information to support policy proposals.

Supporting Document

2004 Annual Report
(please note 2005 Annual Report cannot be released until it has been tabled to Parliament before end of this year.)

Financial Report (extracted from Annual Report 2004), pp. 51-62
7 Criterion: External quality assurance criteria and processes:
Measure: The description of the processes and criteria applied should be transparent and publicly available and normally include:
self evaluation, site visit, public report and follow-up measure
Description: 7.1 Policies

Policies in relation to higher education are generally decided by the Ministry, National Higher Education Council and the government. It relates to policy directions on types of programmes, criteria for entry, credit system, durations, qualifications framework etc. In implementing the QA standards and evaluation, LAN is conscious to remain developmental, facilitative, transparent and fair.

7.2 Standards for quality assurance

Standard for quality assurance has been developed with reference to international best practices and with stakeholderâ??s agreement. Initially LANâ??s documentation prescribed 5 broad areas and it has now been described to cover 9 areas in addition to the 8 learning outcomes. The 9 areas are:

a. Vision, Mission, educational goals and learning outcomes
b. Programme design and delivery
c. Assessment of students
d. Student selection and support services
e. Academic staff
f. Educational resources
g. Programme monitoring and review
h. Leadership, governance and administration
i. Total continual improvement

7.3 The Malaysia Qualifications Framework

The MQF has been approved by the National Higher Educational Council in 2005. It has 8 levels with programme standards and quality assurance systems to support achievement of learning outcomes. The learning outcomes contain 8 aspects (please refer to MQF paper in website). MQA will be entrusted to implement MQF in Malaysia.

7.4 Discipline Program Standards

Over the last 3 years, there have been efforts by Quality Assurance Division and LAN to jointly developed programme standards of various disciplines. The Standards have been published and some are under review now for purpose of updating.

7.5 Evaluation Instruments

Formats for submission have been provided. Self assessment instrument and evaluation instrument / form has been provided to assessors which has both the quantitative and qualitative elements.

7.6 Publications of Guidelines
Generally all guidelines are accessible in hard copies and some is provided on line (LANâ??s website).

7.7 Evaluation Process

Evaluation is based on submission of a self review report and documented data in a form and manner as prescribed by the regulations and guidelines published. The process involves evaluation of data and report prior to a site visit by a panel of assessors. There are pre-visit discussion and post visit meetings by the panel of assessors. Duration of visit depends on the level and type of course and it may range from a 2 day visit to 5 days (for medical degrees). The delegation is headed by a chairperson and assisted by 2-5 member panel.

The range of activities will be specified in an agreed schedule and site visit includes meeting with institutionâ??s management, interviews with faculty staff, students, facilities, resources, review management systems and checking various records and it ends with an exit report. The visit will be extended to sites or premises which are on different locations.

The final draft of the report is given to the PHEI for feedback on factual matters and the feedback may be referred to the panel if there are any contentious issues before being table to the Sector head and panel of experts and CEO before tabling to the board. The decision of the board will be conveyed to the PHEI and upon payment of a prescribed fees, a certificate of accreditation will be issued and is valid up to 5 years.

7.8 Monitoring and Follow up visits

The accredited courses are subjected to monitoring exercises which mainly included documentary check and visits. The follow up visits depends on the type of programmes or conditions attached to the accreditation conferred. Currently all medical programmes are generally subjected to a follow up visits to ensure compliance e.g. on student enrollment, recruitment of specific lecturers and so forth.

7.9 Code of Ethics for Assessors and Accreditation Officers

All evaluation and site visit by officers and assessors are bound by the LANâ??s Code of Ethics for Assessors and Officers.

7.10 Recent changes in process - Provisional Accreditation

LAN has introduced provisional accreditation since June 2006 which is given after approval to conduct is given by the Ministry. The course of study will be subjected to full accreditation when the course of study has been substantially conducted by the PHEI. It will also help students to obtain educational loans.

Supporting Document
LANâ??s Guidelines
Flow Chart-approval and accreditation
Self Assessment
Code of practice for Quality assurance
8 Criterion: Quality assurance:
Measure: The description of the processes and criteria applied should be transparent and publicly available and normally include:
self evaluation, site visit, public report and follow-up measure
Description: 8.1 Decision making processes

The structure of the organization enables a clear line of decision making process and provides clear assignment of responsibilities. Policy matters are referred to the Ministry unless it relates to quality assessment issues. Weekly meetings of heads of departments chaired by the CEO help monitors development and implementation of activities. Departments are required to hold their own meeting regularly.

8.2 Annual Business Plans and Mid Term Reviews

The Annual Plan provides for the yearâ??s plans, strategies, programme and activities for each sector which is discussed and agreed by the Management. The Business Plans are submitted to the Ministry for endorsement and will be monitored. There are mid term reviews and reports to be tabled to the board and Ministry.

Standards and processes have been reviewed yearly. The various guidelines published previously are under review to integrate the standards and procedures between QA for public universities and private providers as practiced by LAN. Provisional accreditation, qualitative evaluation and rating are incorporated in programme evaluation. Programme discipline standards introduced is being reviewed by various expert groups. A series of code of practice will be introduced to enhance good practices in quality assurance in the institutions. For example a recent implementation is the code of Practice for Open Entry.

LANâ??s processes and outputs are also subjected to review by the Ministry to support the government's efforts to improve efficiency and productivity, reduce bureaucracy, delays and complaints. Quarterly reports and meetings are held to ensure agencies are continuously improving their systems and productivity. Complaints are monitored and dealt with by a specific unit.

8.3 Internal Audit

It is mandatory to employ an internal auditor who is answerable to the CEO directly. Each sector of the organization is audited based on a yearly auditing plan as approved by the board. Reports of findings are brought to the board for deliberation.

8.4 External Audit

In ensuring compliance, efficiency, transparency and productivity, LAN has subjected itself to an external audit similar to the one undertaken by AUQA. LAN has been certified by MS ISO 1994 version 9000 by the Manpower Planning Unit of the Prime Ministerâ??s department in 2003. Again in 2005, subjected to the MS ISO 9000 version 2000: Quality Management Systems and was certified SIRIM. LAN is required to ensure compliance with procedures, monitor non compliance and problems, take preventive measures to ensure processes are observed and review processes. Clientâ??s satisfaction surveys are conducted not just to meet the requirements of ISO QMS but also as part of the governmentâ??s policy that all agencies provide services that meet the customersâ?? needs and satisfaction.

Although the certification is valid until 2008, we have deferred the 2006 compliance audit till next year in view of the internal changes in processes and systems when the MQA is established.

8.5 Annual Reports to Cabinet and Parliament

Annual report on LANâ??s performance and financial statements requires endorsement of the Cabinet and Parliament.

8.6 Future developments

The MQA bill is due to be tabled in November 2006. Numerous workshops and road shows have been organized to explain MQA and MQF. Work on integrating the systems is well underway. With the establishment of MQA, the organization plans in the near future to be subjected to being audited by an international / regional agency in the business of quality Assurance and expand its networking.

Supporting Documents
2004 Annual Report - number of meetings held
Annual Business Strategic Plans
MS ISO Certification

Criteria Requirements for Institutional Member

Institutional Member Criteria:
Measure: Institutional Members are institutions of higher education in the region that are in good standing with the relevant quality assurance agency if one exists.
Proof of recognition as a Higher Education Institution: Applicable Only For Institutional Members
Proof of the organisation’s good standing with the local QA agency: Applicable Only For Institutional Members

Criteria Requirements for Associate Member

Associate Member Criteria:
Measure:Associate Members are organisations with a major interest and active involvement in evaluation, accreditation and quality assurance in higher education, but without the responsibility for assuring the quality of institutions, education programs, or external quality assurance agencies
Applicable Only For Associate Members

Criteria Requirements for Intermediate Member

1 Criterion: Nature of the operations of the agency:
Measure: The agency is responsible for reviews at institutional or programme level of post-secondary education institutions or post-secondary quality assurance agencies
Description: Applicable Only For Intermediate Members
2 Criterion: Mission statement and objectives:
Measure: The agency has formulated a mission statement and objectives which are consistent with the nature of the agency
Applicable Only For Intermediate Members
3 Criterion: :
Proof of the organisation’s good standing with the local QA agency
Applicable Only For Intermediate Members

Criteria Requirements for Observer

Criterion For Observers:
Measure: APQN accepts as Observers organisations outside the Asia-Pacific region, including: external quality assurance agencies; institutions with a major interest in evaluation, accreditation and quality assurance in higher education; other regional networks that have major interests in and strong links with the region
Criteria Requirements for Observer: Applicable Only For Observers

Documentation and Fees

Additional Information: I will be posting additional supporting information
Upon approval of my application I agree to pay:
  • $500 (Initial Joining Fee: Full Member, Intermediate Member, Associate Member)
  • $300 Member Fee: Full Member, Intermediate Member (if not INQAAHE Member)
I will be applying for support for: Both Initial Joining Fee and Membership Fee

Documents Submitted



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