Monday, November 29

Awg Tengah: SMEs have to upskill, reskill to keep up, improve productivity

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(From left) Hallman , Naroden, Abang Abdul Karim and Abdul Latif in a photo call after the launching ceremony. – Photo courtesy of MPC

KUCHING (Oct 22): Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have to upskill and reskill their current and future workforce to keep up with technological advancement and improve productivity.

This is because new sets of high-skill talent are required in the labour market to intensify the utilising of technology in industries, said Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development (Mintred) Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

SMEs also need adaptable and flexible workforce, which are keys to successful digital transformation.

“Appropriate policy response encourages and supports the upskilling and reskilling of the current and future workforce. We need to equip our workforce with high-skill in adopting the agility of technology advancement and to stay relevant throughout the technology eras,” he said at the launching of MyReskill IoT Programme here yesterday.

His text of speech was read by Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais.

He congratulated Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) and its technology centre, Sarawak Skills Development Centre, for the prompt response to facilitate the industries especially SMEs in accelerating the digital transformation.

He added that the establishment of MyReskill IoT Programme is vital for existing workers in Sarawak to remain relevant in the labour market and boosting productivity at enterprise, sectoral and national levels. This is also an opportunity to transform Malaysia into a digitally enabled and productivity-driven high-income nation.

Awang Tengah who is also Deputy Chief Minister, said the Covid-19 pandemic had contracted Malaysia’s labour productivity by -5.5 per cent in 2020, the first since the 2009 global financial crisis, and the lowest in 10 years.

“Sarawak is not spared from the significant downturn and experienced a declined growth in labour productivity at –3.9 per cent in 2020 compared to 0.3 per cent in 2019. Sarawak also shows economic exports declined by 24.2 per cent and unemployment rate increased to 4.3 per cent in 2020.”

However, Sarawak is fortunate as it had embarked on a digital transformation journey in 2017 as part of the state’s Digital Economy Strategy, he said.

While Covid-19 has caused many upsets and challenges to the socio-economic norm, the change also presents and unlocks new opportunities for Sarawak to forge ahead.

“With the introduction of Sarawak Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 and Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy (SDES) 2018-2022, Sarawak will be able to embark on fully-fledged transformation capitalising on mega-trends around the world such as digitalisation and new industrial revolution.”

MPC board member Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg, MPC director-general Dato Abdul Latif Abu Seman and Sarawak Skills Group of Learning Institutions executive director Hallman Sabri were also present at the event.