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MIRI, August 27: As English is a global lingua franca and would be the language to drive artificial intelligence (AI) in the future, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg advised Sarawakians to master this language to acquire knowledge and technical skills.
Launching the Sarawak English Language Education Symposium (Seles 2018) at a hotel here this morning, the chief minister said it would be difficult to interact or shine at the international level without knowing English.
“Like it or not, English is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is also the global link language of education, technology and trade in most parts of the world,” he said.
As such, it would be wise for students and workers to be proficient in English as most learning materials, especially those online, are written in English.
Also present at the symposium were Minister for Education, Science and Technological Research Sarawak Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong, Assistant Minister for Women, Family and Childhood Development Rosey Yunus, Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Lee Kim Shin and roughly 2,000 teachers and education officers from across the state.
Abang Johari pointed out that students nowadays were a fortunate lot as they could access an enormous amount information with the click of a mouse, while students in the past had to go to libraries to get information for their assignments or research.
“Sometimes, we have to queue to borrow books, and the majority of materials are in the English language. That is why it is crucial for us to master the language” said Abang Johari.
“Even the police have started using English, besides Bahasa Malaysia, in their work.”
He reiterated that Sarawakians must master English in order to be globally competitive, especially in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), which includes automation in manufacturing technologies, the Internet, AI, cloud computing and agro-technology.
Meanwhile, in his speech, Manyin said the state government had made English as its second official language since 2016.
A highlight at the launching ceremony was the disbursement of state financial grants totalling RM4.9 million to 15 schools from various parts of the state.
This is the second time Seles is organised. The first edition was held in Kuching last year. — DayakDaily