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Manpower must be equipped with latest knowledge and skills in digital economy

It may be cliché in terms of word but not so when it comes to action in pursuing knowledge, skill and expertise in the fast changing technological advancement with the State’s decision to embrace digital economy toward the year 2030 and beyond. Essentially, learning must be made continuous efforts; it should not stop with a graduation. Instead, the culture of learning should be practiced vigorously during the era of rapid technological advancement. Arguably, the culture of learning is being made easier with many online courses available via the internet ; many of them are also available for free.

As such, there should be no excuse for not keeping pace with the technology advancement. As Sarawak is undergoing the 4th Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, the operations of all industries are expected to be influenced by advancing new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Big Data, Advanced Analytics, Human-machine Interfaces and Digital to Physical Transfer.

Hence, they must be transformed to adopt new technologies or face the threat of being extinct like many others due to disruptive technology. For example, the timber industry needs to be transformed to produce more innovative and creative engineered wood products from planted forest for the world market. The Yang di Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, in his speech during the SECOND CONVOCATION CEREMONY of UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY SARAWAK (UCTS) said the ceremony to celebrate 198 graduates from seven (7) specialized disciplines, is indeed very meaningful to the graduates and parents, who have sacrificed so much for their success. The convocation ceremony, which marks the pinnacle of success of the graduates, also signifies a huge achievement for UCTS.

The number of graduates for the second convocation has almost double that of last year. And 40 of them are being awarded with special awards to recognize their excellent achievements throughout their studies. Besides, 15 students from UCTS have received the Yayasan Sarawak Tun Taib Scholarship to fund their studies. Actually, they have taken a big step to pursue studies at UCTS. The Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Tun Abang Haji Openg, was being conferred with the Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business and Management by the University.

Tun Abdul Taib, who is also the Chancellor of UCTS, in congratulating Datuk Patinggi Dr Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari for the award, said he is happy that the State government is placing a strong emphasis on education and training to prepare the people for the future, for the digital economy in particular. He said as investing in education and training can never go wrong, the State Government has rightly allocated more funding to Yayasan Sarawak to support the education of Sarawakians in various strategic fields. On July 12, 2017, the State Government approved a proposal by Yayasan Sarawak to introduce a scholarship scheme to be named Biasiswa Yayasan Sarawak Tun Taib in recognition of the role being played by him in promoting higher Education in Sarawak. Among his notable contributions were the setting up Curtin University, Swinburne University, Kolej Laila Taib, University College Technology Sibu and others.

The Biasiswa Yayasan Sarawak Tun Taib combines Biasiswa Bestari, which was introduced in 2010 and Biasiswa Cemerlang, which was introduced in 2016 to provide scholarships to students, who have excelled in their studies. The new scholarship program also provides scholarships to graduates to do post graduate studies namely to carry out research in any chosen fields of studies as required by the State Government.

With the agreement of Tun Abdul Taib, Yayasan Sarawak new scholarship program was named Biasiswa Yayasan Sarawak Tun Taib as a way to recognize the achievement of Anak Anak Sarawak to enable them to get the scholarship awards. It also makes Tun Abdul Taib as the role model of the recipients in pursuit of greater excellence in pursuit of higher studies.

The scholarship scheme will give them opportunities to prepare them for the roles to continue with efforts of Tun Abdul Taib in the development of the State not only to become a developed State with high income economy but the richest in the country by the 2030. The State Government is developing Sarawak toward high technology economy or the digital economy.

For this reason, conscientious efforts must be made to equip the manpower with up to date knowledge and skills to enable them play their roles efficiently in the transformation of the economy. Obviously, Sarawak will need more Anak Anak Sarawak to acquire relevant knowledge and skills, for example, to support development projects such as Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), Pan-Borneo Highway and the Digital Economy.

The projects, once successfully implemented, among other things, will create many employment opportunities for young graduates to get meaningful employment and good income. They should also consider taking up the challenge to set up their own business and pursue an entrepreneurship career. Tun Abdul Taib believes if they start young, it is not so bad if they fail initially.

They can learn lessons from many businesses that are successful today after experiencing after several failures before. He said UCTS graduates, as future leaders of Sarawak, should be able to contribute to its development. In this regards, many development initiatives have been undertaken by the Government, towards attaining a developed status for Sarawak by 2030. He believed UCTS graduates would be able to rise to the occasion of Sarawak Digital Economy, by playing big roles in the new industry that requires creativity and innovation.

For example, the new graduates with the skills, knowledge and values that they have acquired, coupled with courage and determination, should be able to achieve many wonderful things in confronting the global economic environment. In this regards, he proposed that UCTS should establish an ICT incubator for young talents to experiment with their creative ideas and participate in the upcoming Digital Economy.

He also encouraged UCTS to establish a Research and Development (R & D) Centre in collaboration with the State Government and Sarawak Timber Industry, to undertake research and development work that will help timber industry to develop new products and venture into more downstream activities. Besides, the establishment of R&D centers at UCTS should be able to increase the image of UCTS as a preferred university in this region, the State of Sarawak, which has already been able to boast a number of universities of international repute, in particular.

Tun Abdul Taib called on all UCTS graduates to maintain a good image of themselves, which reflect an image of UCTS as professionals, with positive attitudes, good personality and character, as well as with high moral values in your future undertakings. The success of all graduates is the result of cooperation and commitment from all parties, including members of UCTS staff, who have strived to ensure teaching and learning process must comply with Higher Education Ministry and Malaysian Qualification Agency and Professional Bodies’ standards. Undoubtedly, UCTS has grown in terms of academic programs, research and strategic partnerships with other Higher Education Institutes, both within Malaysia and abroad. Indeed, the establishment of UCTS has had a huge impact on the state’s development.

Hopefully, members of the UCTS community, which deserves big congratulations for its efforts in enhancing the image and credibility of the university’s in the academic circles, will continue to serve with full commitment, honesty, sincerity and excellence in order to attain even greater success in future. Tun Abdul Taib thanked Prof Dato’ Dr Abdul Hakim Juri, who will finish his term as UCTS Vice Chancellor in January 2018, for his contributions to the development of UCTS over the years. He helped to build up the university college from almost zero when it started in 2013 to become what it is today a truly university college with credential and prestige. He wished him all the best in his future undertakings.

Tun Abdul Taib, in welcoming the introduction of Biasiswa Yayasan Sarawak Tun Taib, described it as the realization of the desire of leaders in the 60s and 70s in the era of the Alliance of Perikatan to come up with a program to raise the level of the achievement of young Bumiputras in education. It is their only way to move forward in pursuing higher education, which in the 60s and 70s was very low and beyond the reach of Bumiputras.

He is happy that the people comprising diverse ethnic groups do not talk of helping Bumiputras to go up in education as a big issue any more because of a good realization among them that all races must be given opportunities to move up in the ladder of success in education. The young people, regardless of their racial origins, locations or whether they belong to Bumiputra or non Bumiputra groups must be assisted to attain a certain level of success in education that can enable them to earn good income and raise their standard of living. Actually, the policy to assist young Bumiputras to pursue good education is to ensure that they will not be left behind and be able to achieve the same level of success with the non Bumiputras, who have been having a long history of pursuing good education.

In this regards continuous efforts must be made in a struggle to pursue good education through a system, which should be readjusted to new approaches to attain the same level of success by all races in the State. Undoubtedly, the government, through Yayasan Sarawak has been able to take appropriate steps towards achieving the desired objectives.

More importantly, the State has been successful in getting the interests, understanding and support from all the races regardless of whether they are Bumiputras or non Bumiputras. Actually, the program to raise the level of the achievement among young people in education has already become integral part of policies in Sarawak. It will remain a continuous effort to promote understanding and co-operation among all the races in the State. This document has been composed with the free HTML edior which can be accessed here . Use it every time for document editing.

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