Labour force needs to go undergo transformation as Industrial Revolution 4.0 looms, says CM

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Abang Johari giving a speech at the Sarawak Skills Development Centre 25th anniversary dinner. Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Building a strong intellectual capital in the state is one of the core components to participate in the wave of Industrial Revolution 4.0 and digital economy, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Quoting the world renowned physicist and futurist Michio Kaku who recently visited Kuching, Abang Johari told the crowd that any successful country in the future will be those that depend on intellectual capital.

“Digital economy will transform the way we manage our industries and the method we produce our products while spearheading the importance of networking among entrepreneurs,” he said during the Sarawak Skills Development Centre (SSDC) 25th anniversary dinner at a leading hotel at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman here on Friday night.

With the transformation towards artificial intelligence (AI) and digitalisation on the horizon, Abang Johari stressed it was imperative that the state labour force adjust to the fast changing environment and undergo up-skilling to better comprehend the latest technologies.

Abang Johari pointed out the conception of digital economy was developed during his first week as the chief minister of Sarawak in order to participate in the new emerging industries of digitalisation.

“Sarawak is going down the route of digitalisation and the state government is dedicated to upgrading our digital infrastructure and equipping ourselves with 5G technology.

As Sarawak kicks into full gear into developing the local intellectual capital to embrace digital economy, Abang Johari said industries and human capital have to be upgraded first via training programmes and be equipped with the latest technologies.

Abang Johari said when the then Ministry of Industrial Development was formed in 1988, he was tasked with developing the ministry from scratch without sufficiently skilled staff and equipment to drive the state’s economy towards industrialisation.

However, since then, the completion of the Muara Tabuan Light Industrial Park, Sejingkat Industrial Park and the Samajaya Free Industrial Zone were some of the notable successes achieved as part of the state industrialisation transformation back then.

“Fast forward to today, we had attracted many multinational companies to set up their companies in the industrial zone. But the question now is whether we can supply enough skilled workers to meet the demand of these emerging industries.

“Industrial Revolution 4.0 requires not only intelligence but also the mastery of knowledge in operating hardware and devices. The revolution now revolves around artificial intelligence,” said Abang Johari.