KUCHING: Digital technology is the way forward for Sarawak and as such, it is increasingly crucial for the young people to acquire new knowledge and technical skills to succeed in the future.
In this respect, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasises that Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Sarawak (PBB) must also be technologically literate and have long-term programmes to prepare young people with the necessary skills and knowledge for the technology-focused future.
“We must equip our youths and women with new knowledge and skills, but the question is how are we going to prepare them?
“Education is the key but we need to enhance our education sector – that’s why I set up the Education, Science and Technological Research Ministry to prepare Sarawak for the future,” he said at the 14th PBB Youth and Women Sections General Assembly on Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) yesterday.
Abang Johari, who is PBB president, noted the extremely poor conditions of many schools in Sarawak especially those in rural areas. This, he pointed out, drove the state government to fork out from its own funds to tackle this problem immediately and then bill the federal government later.
“Our schools are ‘teruk’ (lousy) so we decided to fund the repair and upgrading of schools and facilities because education is important for our children.
“This (condition) is made worst by the rainy season and flooding now. So I will be going to visit the areas affected by floods on Monday with (Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas) Uggah. We must help them.”
Abang Johari also shared with the PBB delegates that there would be more opportunities for Sarawakians to pursue higher education with additional scholarships and education funds from Yayasan Sarawak.
“The increase in timber tax from 80 sen to RM50 has contributed to the education fund. The timber companies have agreed, or else I would take back their licences. We want to send more children to pursue higher education.”
Abang Johari pointed out the importance of exposing youths to talent development opportunities to unleash and nurture their full potential.
“China has created drones that can transport humans. So don’t laugh or underestimate any possibility – believe that our children can innovate as well.
“Like Sarawak Pay – (it) is created by Sarawakian and introduced by PBB. Until today, Sarawak Pay has recorded about RM200,000 in transactions,” he stressed.
He said while the state government was eyeing 2030 as the target year for Sarawak to become an advanced state with high-income economy, he called upon PBB including its Youth and Women sections to move in harmony towards that direction.
He was confident that with funds and plans secured to enhance digital-cyber connectivity, physical connectivity including roads and bridges as well as water connectivity, Sarawak could attain the 2030 vision.
He also took the opportunity to thank outgoing PBB Youth and PBB Women chiefs, Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and Tan Sri Empiang Jabu, respectively, for their selfless contributions and strong leadership throughout their tenure.
Uggah, Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, new PBB Women chief Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah and new PBB Youth chief Gerald Rentap Jabu were among those present at the event yesterday, held ahead of the main PBB Convention today where Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to officiate at the opening ceremony.