LUNDU: Technical and vocational education and training are an important stepping stone to a bright future as more skilled manpower is required to spur the transformation of Sarawak through industrialisation.
In line with this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem yesterday granted RM10 million for the immediate construction of the 70-acre Centre of Technical Excellence (Centexs) Lundu Campus at Jalan Sematan-Lundu here.
“I don’t want to see our youths unemployed and waste their time. It is difficult to find jobs with only SPM qualification today and even more so in the future,” he emphasised during Centexs earth-breaking ceremony.
“Youths must have skills, a highly sought-after ability, in wide ranging and specific fields like mechanical, electronic, electrical and so forth. This is the legitimate path to looking for high paying jobs,” he added.
The ceremony saw 3,000 people including senior ministers, heads of departments, students of technical institutes and schools, community leaders and local residents gather to witness the historic event.
Centexs is a new name for Youth Development Training Centre (PLPB) after it was taken over by Yayasan Sarawak last year.
Centexs Lundu Campus will be the second branch after Centexs Kuching which was launched in October last year. Adenan pointed out that the prospects of employment for technical and vocational graduates were excellent as students would usually be identified by major companies before graduation.
“You can earn better than those sitting in the office as administrative officer or secretary,” he opined.
“Sarawak is seriously in need of more skilled people in wide ranging fields to contribute and push for industrialisation of the state in order for Sarawak to realise its vision by 2030,” he said.
“We need to industrialise Sarawak as we cannot just depend on agriculture,” he added. This, he revealed, was the main reason for the government to push for the setting up of technical institute in Lundu-Sematan.
“I do not want any delay. Construction will start tomorrow (today) after this earth-breaking ceremony. We want it to be done quickly,” he emphasised.
Adenan invited youths and school leavers from other parts of Sarawak to study in Centexs as a hostel facility will be available.
Other developments to make Sematan-Lundu a destination of choice, he revealed, would be the establishment of a matriculation centre and a waterfront. Telling the people to continue to support the government, he said he would do his best to source for funds for the projects.
“Whatever they have in Semenanjung Malaysia, we deserve them too. Despite the distance, we still sing the same national anthem ‘Negaraku’. I hope we do not have to wait too long,” he said.
“However, we must thank our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for giving Sarawak allocations to build the long-awaited Pan Borneo Highway,” he added. Meanwhile, state secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani, who is the chairman of Centexs, said the first batch of 60 youths, all sponsored by Petronas, had registered for the various courses offered in Centexs.
“The course will commence on Sept 7 later at Centexs Kuching at Jalan Sultan Tengah in Santubong while waiting for renovation to be done on the old Lundu Resident’s Office building which the government has approved to be used as temporary campus,” he said.
The new Centexs Lundu Campus, featuring a multipurpose hall, student centre, student residential block, surau, academic faculty and administrative block, is expected to be completed by next year.
Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, Morshidi said the state planned to set up three Centexs campuses with an estimated cost of RM500 million within the next five years.
“This (Lundu Campus) is the first. Another two branches have been planned in other areas in Sarawak based on needs and demand,” he said. Centexs Lundu Campus offers seven programmes in Oil and Gas – Welding 3G Plus and 6G Advanced; Construction – Scaffolding, Electronic and Electrical – Wiremen Level 1 and 2 and Mechatronic (Port Equipment), Manufacturing – Tailoring as well as Hospitality – Banqueting and Service Management. Morshidi encouraged industry players to collaborate with Centexs on the curriculum and trainings to suit their needs.
“The trainings are conducted with industry players through apprenticeship or on-job-training approach.”
Meanehile, Opar assemblyman Ranum Mina believed some 15,000 youths in the Sematan-Lundu area stand to benefit from the campus. He thus encouraged youths and school leavers from Sematan, Lundu and Bau areas to grab the opportunity to obtain skills there.
The ceremony also saw Petronas pledge its commitment through sponsorships worth RM90 million to five adopted ‘Trusted Schools’ in Lundu District; namely SMK Lundu, SK Siar Campuran, SK Sampadi, SK Stungang Melayu and SK Bumiputera. Some 2,600 students from the five Trusted Schools will be involved to ensure the success of the programme headed by Yayasan Amir, a foundation under Khazanah Nasional Berhad in Sarawak.
Those present included Adenan’s wife Datin Patinggi Dato Jamilah Anu, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin, Ranum, Petronas vice president of Upstream Business in Malaysia Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib and Yayasan Sarawak director Datu Abu Bakar Marzuki.