Sarawak looking Down Under to enhance skills training

Abang Johari (third from left) at the Kangan Institute facility. With him are (from right) Dr Annuar, Abdul Aziz and (from left) Abu Bakar and Fadillah.

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KUCHING, Dec 18: Sarawak is exploring the possibility of more collaboration with Australia to develop the state’s human resources, particularly in skills training.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state needed skilled human resources as it embarked on developing green transportation.

“We certainly need a strong human resource base to man and maintain the new mode of public transport, once it is put in place. That is what we are interested in.

“The state government has drafted a programme to build an LRT (light rail transit) system that will serve Kuching and greater Kuching with a view to develop an efficient mass transit system for the city using trains that would run on hydrogen fuel,” he said when attending a briefing at the Kangan Institute in the Melbourne City centre.

He also pointed out that the programme had been deferred to give priority to rural development, but public opinions warranted a reconsideration of a route linking Kota Samarahan and Kuching to solve traffic congestion between the two areas.

Sarawak is also keen to collaborate with the Institute on training in the field of smart and digital agriculture as the state was embarking on an agricultural transformation programme to become a net food producer.

Meanwhile, Kangan Institute’s chief executive officer Trevor Schwenke said Kangan was willing to assist Sarawak based on its expertise and experience and looked forward to more discussions on this matter.

Kangan Institute is one of Victoria State’s largest providers of apprenticeship training. It has a strong relationship across a range of industries in Australia.

Also present during the briefing were Automotive Centre of Excellence executive director Joe Ballato and staff members.

Later, Abang Johari and his delegates were taken on a tour of the facility.

He and his delegates are on a five-day working visit to Melbourne, starting today. Tomorrow, they are scheduled to meet members of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

On Thursday, Abang Johari, who is accompanied by his wife, Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, will be receiving his honorary doctorate award from the Swinburne University of Technology in recognition of his long and outstanding service to Sarawak.

The chief minister’s delegation includes Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapa’ee, Deputy State Secretary Datu Abu Bakar Marzuki, Petra Jaya MP Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof, Sarawak’s Skills Development Centre (PPKS) chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Hussain and also board and council members of Swinburne University, Sarawak. — DayakDaily