By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Dec 19: Local universities, including Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), bear an important responsibility to ensure that the workforce in the future is prepared for the demands of economic change.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg urged universities, like UiTM, to strive in serving the needs of the economy by teaching and training, and more significantly, by unleashing creative thinking that could catalyse the state’s economy.
“Universities have always been traditionally perceived as being crucial for economic development. With the advent of the new millennium, universities are seen as more than crucial. They are now viewed as critical to economic development.
“As we all know, universities have always been credited with providing opportunities for youths to develop themselves and advance economically.
“It is readily conceded that university graduates can contribute greatly to a country’s economic development; hence, the society,” he said at the opening of the First Innovative Sciences and Technologies for the Sustainability of Future Global Economics 2018 here today.
His text-of-speech was read out by Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.
UiTM Sarawak rector Prof Datuk Dr Jamil Hamali was also present at the conference.
Abang Johari said the state viewed education from a global perspective and defined the role of universities as key to economic competitiveness.
This is due in large measure to faculty-conducted research that can produce scientific breakthroughs in all fields, including technology, industrial processes and production, and agriculture.
“These breakthroughs serve as cornerstones to the economic success of a nation. In fact, universities play a critical role in securing a country’s future innovation, economic competitiveness and prosperity in the global economy.
“This is exemplified in conferences like today, where experts in their respective fields convene in science and technology developments, identify emerging and future trends of developments and form networks, as they collaborate in these critical areas,” he said.
Abang Johari gave a reminder that growth in information technology had facilitated deeper integration of economies across the globe while also posing new opportunities and new challenges for the Malaysian economy.
Since the Industrial Revolution, the growth of economies throughout the world has been driven largely by the pursuit of scientific understanding, the application of engineering solutions and continual technological innovations.
Jamil, in his speech, said the conference aimed to provide researchers with an opportunity to develop their niche areas in their academic studies in an ever-changing technological environment to better improve their knowledge in their respective specialised areas, which will be useful after they graduate.
The emerging and advancing economies today need to enhance the quality of education and research, he added.
The two-day conference organised by Sarawak UiTM in collaboration with Sarawak Convention Bureau was initiated from a series of colloquiums held by several faculties since December 2015.
This year, the colloquiums are extended to an international level to promote the development goals of the Industrial Evolution 4.0 in the era of the digital economy in Sarawak. — DayakDaily