Multilingualism will give Sarawakians a leg-up in global competitiveness — Abang Johari

Abang Johari (fifth left) and other guests get ready to release balloons to symbolically declare open the Riam TVET Building and multipurpose building.

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By Karen Bong

MIRI, Oct 27: Sarawakians who are proficient in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin languages, have a competitive edge as global players and not just “jaguh kampung” (local or village champions).

Emphasising the importance of multilingualism in this globalised world, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said it was essential for effective communication, understanding and cooperation in trade, socio-economic development, technological advancement and much more.

“There are two languages that are very important today, but for us (Malaysians) there are three. First, the national language Bahasa Malaysia, secondly English (which is) an international language and third is, of course, Mandarin because the Chinese economy is growing.

“So if Sarawakians understand three languages, that means they are global players, not ‘jaguh kampung’.

“There is a saying that goes if one is thrown into the water, he becomes an island and if thrown on land, he becomes a mountain. That is the kind of Sarawakian we want to produce,” he added.

Abang Johari highlighted this in his address when officiating at the launching of the Riam Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Building and multipurpose building here today.

Abang Johari delivering a speech at the ceremony of the official opening of Riam TVET Building and multipurpose building.

In order to produce a knowledgeable workforce of quality for the future, he pointed out that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government thus decided to set up private international schools using the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) curriculum.

“Students who excel academically then have the opportunity to enter top and prestigious universities in the world such as Cambridge, Oxford and Stanford.

“We have the collaboration (with these universities) but our students must strive hard to be at the top to enter and pursue their further studies,” he said.

Abang Johari also commended Riam Road Secondary School for setting itself apart from other schools by offering a 3-in-1 education syllabus, namely Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) syllabus, national syllabus and the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum which it is in the midst of adopting.

“This school has a 3-in-1 education (system) with UEC, national syllabus and now, the international syllabus. I think this is the only school with three syllabuses in Sarawak,” he said, praising the institution.

Education, science and technology, Abang Johari stressed, are integral components to develop knowledgeable and skillful human capital of quality for the future as the world heads into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“Everything (in the way we live and work) is shifting towards the digital, automation, electronics and robotics. We can even ‘Zoom’ (video conference) to talk with everyone in the world. This is a new world where we have to work in a new way including our agriculture sector,” he said.

In response to the argument that automation will eliminate many jobs, Abang Johari emphasised that it will also create new jobs and for this, the younger generation needs to be provided with new education.

“Like how horse-drawn carriages had been replaced with steam trains. The coachman for the horse-drawn carriage can learn new skills and become the driver of the steam train.

“Education is lifelong learning; we have to continue and upgrade ourselves, gain new knowledge and be well equipped to face the future and its challenges,” he added.

Abang Johari (fifth right) presenting the mock cheque to Law.

At the function, Abang Johari presented RM2.5 million to the Riam Road Secondary School from the state government.

Among those present were Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong, Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin and Riam Road Secondary School board chairman Datuk Seri Law Kiu Kiong. — DayakDaily