KUCHING: The state government is aware of the need for its development planners to have basic knowledge and skills in communication for development (ComDev) to meet increasing expectations from stakeholders.
State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohammad Morshidi Ghani said as the state bid for more projects for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), it must try its best to benchmark itself against international standards.
“Many eyes will be judging our development efforts, and our challenges are to deliver the development plans and to ensure maximum benefits are reaped for the intended communities,” he said at the opening of ‘Strategic Communication Development Planning for Sarawak Development Project Planners and Implementers’ seminar at Imperial Hotel here yesterday.
Morshidi pointed out that resistance and uncertainties among stakeholders were expected and would be among the greatest challenges, but it must be dealt with and understood well.
“We need to get our stakeholders to be involved, engage them, build trust and resolve conflicts at the same time, be able to help them realize there are other options available and to acquire knowledge and skills they need to improve their conditions.
“This is why Communication for Development training for our development planners is important.”
On the seminar, Morshidi said it was a milestone and a step in the right direction as it is the first time the state government is embarking on strategic training in communication for development.
“It is also, perhaps, the first pioneering effort on the part of the civil service in Malaysia to embark on such training.”
Sixty officers from key government agencies and statutory bodies participated in the seminar, which will end on June 26.
It aims to help participants formulate a five-year strategic ComDev plan for a particular development project that the officers are working on.
The seminar was conducted by ComDev experts from the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB), who are leaders in the field. The trainers, Professor Cleofe Torres and Professor Serlie Jamias, are renowned in the field, having been involved in such training in Asia and Africa and had work with various bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank, Unesco and Unicef.
Sarawak Development Institute (SDI) chief executive officer Datu Aloysius J. Dris was also present.