Be bold amidst risks and uncertainties, seize opportunities, Sarawakians told

Posted on : 02 Nov 2018  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (third right) makes his way to the conference hall. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Sarawak must build strong bilateral relations not just with the Asean member states, but also with the world in order to assume its place in the international community.

In making this call yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawakians must go boldly despite the risk and uncertainties, and seize the opportunities presented before them.

“Only then will we be able to see tangible changes in our beloved Sarawak, when each and every Sarawakian rises together,” he said in opening the ‘International Conference on Sarawak and Asean’ here yesterday.

He said it is the aspiration of every Sarawakian to be on par with those living in the developed world.

“Our people certainly have the potential. We pride ourselves for being resilient, resourceful and united. Sarawakians thoroughly deserve better lives.

“But there is no free lunch. For us to assume our place in the international community, much more needed to be done. I thus ask our people not to expect Sarawak or the federal government to come around to hold our hands.”

According to Abang Johari, Sarawak not only needs to move more aggressively to create the necessary conditions to improve, but also to share the same benefits with the international community.

He was glad to see non-Sarawakians joining the conference to deliberate good ideas and proposals, and be enlightened on how to position themselves as part of the regional and international community.

Earlier, he called upon all parties to inform the Sarawak Department of Labour of their human capital needs to enable Sarawak plan the needs of education accordingly.

He said the gaps in specific skills are often brought to the attention of the department by various industry players.

“At the moment, only 26 per cent of our students are enrolled in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) stream. In response, the Sarawak government has made various efforts to increase the percentage of STEM students through collaborations with state and federal agencies.

“There is also an equal emphasis on vocational skills, which is why we’re working together with the educationists while seeing input from the various industries to improve TVet (technical and vocational education and training) conditions and understand how to match each other’s needs,” he added.

Abang Johari said the private sector needs to partner with Sarawak government in opening up more opportunities for students to conduct industrial training or internships, which would eventually lead to employment.

“Otherwise, the interest will not be there if the students realise there are no jobs available when they graduate,’ he said.