Besides, Sarawak is founding state in Malaysia, which is one of original members of ASEAN that has got a good experience in developing a good understanding of the necessity to build a common ASEAN market. For this year, more comprehensive efforts are being made to integrate the market of the original ASEAN member countries and extend it to the new member nations like Kampuchea, Laos and Myanmar.
Hence, Malaysia has been devoting itself towards building a common market, which will serve as the mechanism to create more job opportunities for the people in future. Obviously, the State or the country has not reached the end of the common struggle towards realizing a shared education system, which could suit the ASEAN market with all its opportunities.
Malaysia, over the years, has gone through the practical experience in overseeing the generation of theoretical efforts in getting regional co-operation in creating more jobs for the people in future.
For this reason, educational efforts must be made continuous, even though the State has many colleges and universities now, as the people must prepare for the future, which is getting more sophisticated in the process of industrialization. The State has narrower economic base because the market is narrow and the workforce, not as big and sophisticated as in Peninsular Malaysia.
The State used to have the top heavy experience where the people were encouraged to study to get the degree qualifications. However, it is increasingly obvious that the fields of studies being offered by institutions of higher learning are changing as they have to adapt to the types of development being carried out in the country or spreading out in the region or the world.
His Excellency the Governor of Sarawak, Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, in his speech during the launching of Multi-Million Ringgit Education Fund of United Peoples’ Party, said every time he had the invitation to give support to a movement to promote education in Sarawak, he felt obliged to do so with the realization of the importance of playing roles in preparing the people for their roles in nation building and cope with continuous changes.
Personally, he is very interested to see how the development of education could give greater emphasis on technical education. The State must make a stride in the development of education that should be adjusted to the new situation in the process of development more so in industrialization towards the year 2020 and beyond.
Generally, the people must realize that the development of Sarawak will go further into the interior because that is where the resources are. Perhaps the development will a bit slower because it would mean removing the people from their original place of abode.
However, the people are quite agile and prepared to take up jobs or business opportunities outside their traditional kampong or longhouses. In the towns, the Chinese will go to other towns and play greater roles than in the past.
Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said generally Sarawakians are quite enterprising. He has seen Sarawakians doing very well even in Africa; no need to say about other places that have become quite well established. They have the capacity to open up new areas of activities. They may start small but will become bigger tomorrow because of their ability to sell, create and even manufacture goods.
He has great respect for the ability of local entrepreneurs to adjust to the prevailing situation in places they work or operate their businesses. They help to create export market outside to enable Sarawak to have wider areas to co-operate in developing new market in synergy with efforts of building ASEAN integration of market for the future.
Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib congratulated UPP, which is celebrating its first anniversary, for launching a multi-million Education project, consistent with the importance that the Chinese attached to education. Hence, any serious political program, particularly among the Chinese, cannot be going without participating in the development of education in the country.
The fact that the party has been able to collect RM30 million is yet another example that local businessmen support efforts for the development of education in the State or country. The local businessmen, who have donated generously to UPP Education fund, also reflect their confidence in the people, who lead the party, as they have gained vast experience and contributed a lot to the development of education in the State
The President of UPP, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh has in fact been contributing a lot towards education and making Sibu as the centre of education anybody who wants to undertake educational expansion in future can recruit him even as dotting old man. He is bringing in the tradition to support education to UPP from SUPP.
Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said he had to looked up to Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh as a person, with the experience to advise him when he was the Chief Minister in developing educational institution so that the Government could create effects that benefit not only Chinese but all races. He has proven himself to be able to do so in Sibu.
He said continuous efforts must be made to prepare for more managers but greater emphasis must be given to train more people to become technically trained manpower. He recalled as the Chief Minister he had asked the State Government to give greater emphasis in preparing people for technical education. Now new schools in Sibu, Miri and Kuching are having elements of trying to prepare people for their roles in industrialization.
He believed UPP being led by people with experience can contribute a lot to the development of Sarawak in future. UPP has chosen its first project very well. It has been able to garner the support of all Chinese intellectuals in this venture to play greater roles in preparing Sarawak for industrialization. They have done very well in the past and there is no reason why they cannot expand the manpower for industries in the form of technically qualified people in future.
Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib, during a separate function to launch a business incubator, believed this kind of training would grow in future as there is a need to bring people to one place to get certain kinds of training from their raw stage in order to understand the market and the various personalities needed to be connected together in starting a business.
In the old days, it would be difficult to find sense of comradeship as close as it should be in building a higher institution of learning as a result of the training at the lower level following the diversification of the industrial sector.
He believed the setting of business incubator would be able to contribute meaningfully towards the overall efforts of business development as avenues for introducing management and business practices to young people.
The people, including those who have acquired tertiary education, who want to be involved in doing business, must realize that the business the world has its own characteristic. It is full of competition as well as full of co-operation.
He said the State has been implementing numerous big projects, which require managers having high qualification and good experience. The State is still in the first stage of pioneering its modern development.
He said development must spread out to nooks and corners of the State to give opportunities to all races regardless of their localities. For this reason, the State has set up a number of businesses especially on timber - based industries and estate development as efforts to diversify the base of the economy. This is the philosophy of development.
He said Sarawak has been able to spread the ramification for the bigger development to equip whatever business sectors or industries with relevant business management to lend to smaller enterprises to help them to reap benefits from development.
Now the people are still talking about huge investment in Samalaju without realizing that they will create opportunities for smaller companies to produce cheaper supplies of raw materials, semi raw materials and semi industrialized products to become the main focus of new businesses in Sarawak. The people have yet to see spill - over effects from billions worth of investment by 10 big companies in Samalaju that will benefits smaller enterprises.
Basically, a business needs supporting businesses. For example, one big business probably needs a few smaller and medium businesses. In this case, a medium business needs smaller ones in order to diversify activities into areas that are not initially able to compete with bigger firms.
Actually a big business gives greater opportunities for smaller enterprises to give people more opportunities in their businesses. The State is in the midst of seeing such phenomenon in and around Samalaju.
Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said the timber industry, which has diversified a great deal, has helped to develop people to man not only the export sector but introduce partners from overseas mainly in the Far East and eventually Russia and Africa. All the operators started as loggers and operators of transportation to serve the export market.
The State only exports 2% of logs to Europe now. But the State exports expertise like logging firms to AFRICA and slowly participates in the marketing of timber into quite well protected European market.
Sarawak entrepreneurs, who started as loggers, have become international players and get involved more in marketing rather than supply of logs from the hills and forests to the market. Actually, the State has given birth to a lot of firms, which are diversified in nature. They have diversified from the old business to greater manufacturing of logs and participation in marketing even outside the country.
The timber operators are penetrating into the society with even the small people getting involved in supplying various materials, construction and training of people to ensure that the total development of industries will be well meant.
The operators have to develop marketing skills further away from the traditional market. Initially, there were petty timber traders or operators, who were separate from businessmen who provided small services here and there.
They are taking bigger jobs as contractors, manufacturers of logs from hills now. Generally, they try to diversify market to be able to stand well in any competitions. Now the timber operators are not only doing business in Korea and Taiwan but spreading all the way to Africa, Europe and even the cold Siberia in Russia.
Generally, the timber industry does not only involve big people but the new ones, who have been trained by the big ones to start their business. These people have to train new people to manage their overseas undertaking besides training some of the local people. But Initially, there must be a group of small people to be cultivated to continue with the industry nearer to the source or parent companies.
Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said he has seen how small businessmen have grown to become international figures. They are smarter and surrounded by younger people, who have been trained very well their fields. Besides, there are more people doing smaller jobs with greater harnessing of manpower as proof that the industry is building more people to do a lot of smaller activities because of the growth of the industry and the diversification of activities.
Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said undoubtedly, Sarawak t is quite a different place from what he first saw more than 30 years ago. Then it was sufficient to talk about timber men. But now there are other things to do to develop Sarawak. The people have their own vision of what they can do to expand their business not only inside but abroad.
Generally, the varieties of businesses that have come up grow very fast. They require more people to man their expanding activities. Hence, any efforts to train people, not only in technical but also in management lines at various levels are greatly welcomed as the State moves forward in higher gears in development. Obviously, there are great opportunities for young people and the institutions of learning to play in the further development of Sarawak for the future.
Sarawak Monitor28 August 2015