S’wak taps skilled Indian manpower


KUCHING: Sarawak might get skilled workers from India to expedite implementation of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

Minister of Industrial Development Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan disclosed that his recent trip with Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud to India was to seek cooperation to secure a sufficient number of skilled workers, including those at the certificate and diploma levels.

“The collaboration is taking place in many forms, such as in the areas of university staff and student exchange, apart from the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

“Of course skilled-job opportunities would be given to our locals first. However, should there still be a shortage, India, with its population of 1.3 billion, will be a source for highly-skilled manpower,” said Awang Tengah to the media upon his arrival at the Kuching International Airport yesterday.

Among those in the delegation were State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Ghani, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) vice-chancellor Prof Dr Kairuddin Abdul Hamid and director of the State Planning Unit Datuk Ismawi Ismuni.

Awang Tengah said a visit to the Integral University of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Unimas and the university, to pave the way for a staff and student exchange programme.

RM50,000 fund to kick-start some activities

The MoU was signed between Khairuddin and Prof Dr S.W. Akhtar, the vice-chancellor of the Integral University of Lucknow.

The main focus of the MoU was on collaborative training programmes, research and development, joint seminar, staff and student exchange and sharing of information.

Taib, who witnessed the signing, announced an initial fund of RM50,000 to kick-start some of the activities inked in the MoU.

Awang Tengah said: “The MoU, among others, also allows us to recruit potential graduates from the university to participate in SCORE’s development.”

Unimas, on the other hand, offered two scholarships to the graduates of Integral University – one for a Master degree programme and the other for a PhD programme.

Awang Tengah, who is also  Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment, stressed that India was chosen because the country had already reached the developed stage and many  countries were after its skilled manpower.

In total, the delegation visited three universities, the others being Aligarh Muslim University at Aligarh and Jamia Millia Islamalia University (JMIU) at Delhi.  They also visited SJP Polytechnic in Bangalore.

The primary objectives of visiting the other universities were to explore various possibilities, such as staff and student exchange programmes, secondment or attachment of JMIU staff and Unimas, and offering of post doctorate positions to JMIU PhD graduates in Unimas.

Taib allocated 250,000 Indian Rupees (RM17,500) to initiate these activities, especially those pertaining to the recruitment of graduates as potential engineers for SCORE.

At SJP Polytechnic, the delegation also explored the possibility of sourcing their students in future.  SJP Polytechnic is one of the top polytechnics in India.

It churns out skilled engineers, at the diploma level, in electrical, mechanical and civil engineering and other related technical fields.

Taib also announced a fund of RM10,000 when visiting SJP Polytechnic to initiate various activities, with an eye on recruiting their potential graduates for SCORE.