By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, Nov 28: Franklin Lingga Abun from Kapit has put the Iban community and Sarawak on the world map.
This 20-year-old third year engineering student of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) has secured a place in European automobile giant BMW as an automotive technology specialist at their headquarters in Munich, Germany, from 2021 to 2031.
He achieved the feat after a panel of judges from the automobile firm accepted his working paper and presentation on ‘semi-solar electric generation’.
Still in seventh heaven, Franklin flew back from Austria, where he presented his project, yesterday. He was welcomed at the Kuching International Airport by Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan and political secretary to the Chief Minister, Charles Nissom.
So what is his successful proposal all about? Unfortunately, Franklin is not allowed to let the cat out of the bag.
“After the acceptance by BMW and with my new role starting 2021, I am not allowed to reveal my project as it is a futuristic technology that will be certified only by the giant car company.
“BMW will only use this in its marketing literature in the future,” said Franklin, when probed by reporters covering his return at the airport.
Whatever it is, this son of a UMW mechanic in Bintulu revealed that his proposal would not have seen the light of day if not for the assistance of Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing and Snowdan.
“I was very worried whether I could or could not make the presentation in Austria after I applied to join online. This is because cost is the main burden, and I did not have that kind of money for the trip.
“But I was determined to go as it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was a now or never kind of thing. Along the way, a gentleman brought me to see Snowdan and Masing, and, as they say, the rest is history,” said Franklin, whose mother is a housewife.
Franklin admitted it was still too early for him to say what the future holds for him, but becoming a part of the BMW family is definitely a great start.
“At the moment, I have to prepare for my new role with BMW in 2021, and I also have to complete my studies in Unimas by 2020. I am lucky BMW acknowledged my availability to finish my degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing,” he said.
Franklin disclosed that he came up with the ‘semi-solar electric generation’ initiative all on his own ever since he entered Unimas in 2015.
“My inspiration came from Aaron Mass, a speaker and motivator and an online marketing industry expert. He (Mass) said our future is our youths and to develop eco-technology for future generations.
Franklin hoped his achievement would inspire more young Sarawakians to think big and put the state on the world map.
“I know there are many creative and innovative young people out there, and I hope I am not the only person or youth to come into focus,” he said.
Meanwhile, Snowdan said he was very proud that a fellow Sarawakian and Iban had made the state proud by being taken in by famous car maker BMW.
Snowdan told the press boys that Franklin was among three individuals called to make their presentations. The others were from South Korea and Germany, but only Franklin and the German impressed the panel.
“We never expected to have young talents like Franklin, who is a hidden genius with world-class ideology in the field of engineering and futuristic technology who suddenly appears out of nowhere.
“We should give him the opportunity. He has shown to us that there are many geniuses in the state yet to be discovered. Franklin’s feat makes us all proud, especially our youths,” said Snowdan.
He added that Franklin’s courage and self-belief made him a special person, and now he had the opportunity to rub shoulders with among the best automotive engineers in the world.
“How many of us Sarawakians or even Malaysians have this kind of opportunity with BMW?” he asked.
Snowdan added that when Franklin came to see him about the project, he made a good impression.
“I then brought him to see Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, who is also from Kapit, and without a second thought, Franklin got his blessings and support. We paid for his ticket, accommodation, food and pocket money for five days, from Nov 22 to 27,” said Snowdan.
He advised youths who have brilliant ideas to come forward if they needed help.
“We (Sarawak) want to have a world-class human capital that can lead us to become a high-income nation by 2030. In addition, we are also facing the Industrial 4.0 Revolution,” he pointed out. — DayakDaily