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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Oct 30: To advance their community, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan has urged the Malays to give due attention to education, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and English.
“It is worrisome to note that the number of Malay students pursuing their studies in STEM is declining, as they are taking courses that are less marketable in the workplace.
“Parents play a crucial role to ensure that their children will have a solid education, starting from primary school right up to tertiary level,” he said in his keynote address at the 7th Sarawak Malay Cultural Seminar held at a leading hotel here today.
Awang Tengah, who is also Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu Sarawak (AKYBMS) chairman, also urged the Malays to master the English language as it is the global language of knowledge, science, technology and commerce.
“This will ensure that more Malays will be qualified in professional and technical education to continue to assist and develop our community, state and country,” he stressed.
On a related issue, Awang Tengah, who is also the Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development and Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources, also urged the Malays to be adventurous to master new knowledge and skills, as it would help them to uplift not only their own income but also that of their community.
“From the economic perspective, the participation of Malays is still unsatisfactory. We must admit that there are some Malays who have been successful in business and owned companies that are listed on the stock exchange, but their number is still very small,” he lamented.
Awang Tengah also advised the Malay community to stand solidly behind the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to ensure the community continued to progress.
“He (chief minister) has implemented numerous initiatives and policies that will benefit not only the Malay community but also other communities in Sarawak. For instance, with the allocation of RM1 billion for digital infrastructure, RM2.8 billion for water supply, RM2.3 billion for electricity supply and RM4 billion for Regional Corridor of Development Authority (Recoda), which include three new agencies namely Ulu Rajang Development Authority (URDA), Highland Development Authority (HDA) and Northern Region Development Authority (NRDA),” he said.
He also urged the Malays to continue to be accommodative towards other communities and religions as Sarawak is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic state.
“The setting up of Unit for other Religions (Unifor) must be seen as an effort by the Sarawak government to safeguard peace and harmony in Sarawak, with its diverse cultural and racial backgrounds,” he pointed out.
On politics, Awang Tengah, who is also deputy president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), urged the Malay community to remain united both in PBB and in Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
“We want PBB to continue to be the backbone of the state government. And this struggle must continue to be our main struggle in order to safeguard and defend our race and this beloved state,” he said.
Awang Tengah also urged the Malay community to support GPS to defend Sarawak’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Some 800 participants are expected to attend the two-day seminar themed ‘Managing culture in the digital era’ (Mengurus Kebudayaan Dalam Era Digital). The closing ceremony tomorrow is expected to be officiated at by the chief minister. — DayakDaily