Premier: Sarawak needs to aim to be ‘jaguh dunia’ not ‘jaguh kampung’ or risk brain drain epidemic

Abang Johari addressing the 57th Sarawak Secondary Schools Heads Education Management Conference in Sibu.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Oct 5: Sarawak’s education and economic ecosystems must grow hand-in-hand so that the future workforce has enough opportunities in this era of emerging technologies where their living standards can be raised, otherwise Sarawakian children will leave for better opportunities in other countries.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg pointed out that many Sarawakians are highly skilled, but if the State’s economy level is not on par with megatrends, there will be conflict which could lead to a brain drain.

“Our children will leave for other countries because we do not have specific jobs for them.

“As such, we need to increase our economy to match the training and education provided for our children,” he said when officiating at the 57th Sarawak Secondary Schools Heads Education Management Conference at a hotel in Sibu which was streamed live via the Sarawak Public Communications Unit’s (Ukas) social media platforms today.

With Sarawak transitioning to a new economy with emphasis given on the renewable energy sector, Abang Johari said the future of Sarawak will require experts and skilled professionals in a multitude of sectors and fields who can bring added value and optimise the natural resources Sarawak is blessed with.

“Our children must be given knowledge and skills according to the new economy and changes of the world.

“As such, we see that biochemistry and material science is very important as the foundation of the new economy moving forward. Our children who are interested, passionate and excellent can go into this field to ensure the bright future of Sarawak,” he said.

Sarawak, he continued, is blessed with natural resources that has enabled the development of renewable energy sources sought after by the world including hydropower, solar, reserved gas for ammonia, methanol and other fertilisers and now hydrogen and biofuel from algae for aviation.

“It means, we should not waste what has been given to us by God Almighty.

“As such, it is important to read to gain new knowledge. Here, the heads of schools and educators play a role in nurturing our talents with expertise in various fields.

“I believe that it is our common aspiration to get Sarawak to become an advanced and high income State by 2030. We want to be a global player, to be ‘jaguh dunia’ (world champion) and no longer ‘jaguh kampung’ (village champion),” he added.

The Premier thus called on the educators to work together closely with the Sarawak government to enhance human capital development in Sarawak in line with the new era and economy.

Sarawak State Secretary Dato Sri Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki , Deputy Minister of Education and Innovation Dr Annuar Rapaee, State Education Department director Datuk Dr Azhar Ahmad and heads of schools were among those present. — DayakDaily