Sunday, November 27

Malaysia facing acute shortage of accountants – Wong


Wong Soon Koh

KUCHING: The present number of accountants at 33,000 nationwide is insufficient to meet the demand for 60,000 accountants by the year 2020.

This was pointed out yesterday by Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, who quoted the latest statistics from the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA).

“It has been widely acknowledged that Malaysia requires 60,000 accountants by 2020. At present, we are well short of this figure.

“Latest statistics from the MIA indicate that there are only 33,000 accountants in Malaysia. Here in Sarawak, the shortage of accountants is even more acute,” he said at the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) and Kolej Sunway Kuching (KSK) at Riverside Majestic Hotel here yesterday.

As of January, MIA noted that there were only 1,848 qualified accountants in Sarawak, of which, 571 or 30.9 per cent were ACCA members, said Wong.

He said the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) aimed to accelerate the state’s economic growth and development by transforming Sarawak into a developed state by the year 2030.

According to Wong, a studyn in 2010 estimated that Sarawak would require 6,620 accounting professionals at degree level, 14,720 accounting professionals at diploma level and 24,970 accounting professionals at certificate level to meet the manpower requirement for SCORE by 2030.

“To meet these numbers, we need institutions of higher learning like UCTS and KSK to continue to produce more high quality, industry-relevant accounting graduates.”

He lauded KSK for maintaining a high level of standard in their accountancy programmes, as evidenced by their exceptional record in producing prize winners and graduates in Certified Accounting Technicians (CAT), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) examinations.

He was delighted to note that alumni of KSK had been making valuable contributions to various industries in the state.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that KSK currently offers world-class education that is on par with the best institutions overseas.”

Wong, who is also chairman of UCTS said,  “UCTS is the culmination of Sarawak’s vision and commitment in establishing a world-class institution of higher learning to spearhead the development and production of technical human resources for SCORE.

“In fact, UCTS is the brainchild of (Head of State) Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. During his visit to UCTS, he said, and I quote, ‘Let this university be the instrument of change. Let this university provide the necessary manpower particularly the qualified professionals in various disciplines to propel Sarawak into a higher level of development’.

“It is worth noting that as a private institution of higher learning, UCTS also plays a vital role in offering educational opportunities for those students who miss out on entry into public institutions of higher learning.”

Quoting a recent report, Wong said there were about 200,000 applications for entry into IPTAs yearly while only 47,000 places were available at the 20 universities nationwide.

He said UCTS, which is offering scholarships and charging reasonable fees, had made private tertiary education affordable for many students from lower income families.

“In signing today’s MoU with KSK, UCTS is reinforcing its commitment to facilitate students’ access to an affordable world-class education that will lead to SCORE-related career opportunities.”