Sarawak Foundation given new task to help transform economy

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 12: The Sarawak government has called on Sarawak Foundation to identify new courses in important fields to complement the state’s economic transformation agenda.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said there was a need for the younger generation to acquire new knowledge and skills to help propel the state forward.

“The state government will continue to stress on education so as to enhance human capacity building not only in (the field of) medicine but also engineering, technology and other important fields necessary for the development of Sarawak,” he said at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Medical Programme 2018/2019 Scholarship Presentation Ceremony held at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here today.

“All the approaches undertaken by the state government will eventually benefit the people, especially the younger generation. You (scholarship recipients) are a lucky lot for being able to get the scholarships.”

Abang Johari emphasised that with stability and peace, the state government would be able to continue offering scholarships to local students to pursue medicine.

Abang Johari (front row, centre) together with other distinguished guests in a group photo with the scholarship recipients.
Abang Johari presenting the scholarship award to Abigail Eleanor Gani. Also seen are (from right) Sabariah, Dr Annuar, Dr Sim, Azmi and Gerawat.

The medical programme that started last year was an initiative by the state government, Sarawak Foundation and Unimas. It offers scholarships of RM500,000 for a five-year course to 40 Unimas medical students every year. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, accommodation expenses, books and education fees.

Sarawak government has committed RM20 million worth of scholarships for 40 Unimas medical students every year with the aim of producing and nurturing 200 doctors in the next five years.

“We hope to produce 200 doctors through the scholarships in the next five years. This excludes those who have been given education loan.

“Medical studies are highly competitive and very expensive, while some scholarships are restricted. But the state government takes it as its responsibility. We want to provide bright students with scholarships to pursue their studies in medicine,” he added.

Abang Johari advised the scholarship recipients to strive to become good doctors and contribute to the community.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Foundation director Azmi Bujang highlighted that this initiative was introduced to meet the shortage of medical doctors in the state.

This second batch of 40 students, he said, was selected from a pool of 78 first-year medical students after undergoing a stringent selection process right from matriculation to interviews by Unimas followed by the Foundation’s written test and interviews.

“The selection process was difficult. They were all competitive and eligible although, unfortunately, we can only offer 40.

“However, for the remaining 38 students, rest assured they will be given due consideration for Sarawak Foundation scholarship loans should they require financial assistance to complete their studies in Unimas,” he added.

Deputy DUN Speaker Dato Gerawat Gala, Deputy State Secretary Datu Dr Sabariah Putit, Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee were among those present. — DayakDaily