By Wendy John
SIBU, Dec 1: Sibu is projected to become a “city for the elderly” in the next 10 years.
In order to prevent it from happening, youths who are working outstation are encouraged to return home to revitalise the local economy, suggested Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.
He added that youths who come back to their hometown could also venture into business.
“Sibu is experiencing an exodus of youth to work outstation and even outside the country due to the lack of employment opportunities.
“Most youths here after completing their studies, have to leave their hometowns and work outside the country because of the lack of employment opportunities in their area.
“They even have to separate from their family as they no have choice,” he said when opening the First Borneo Entrepreneurship Festival here today.
The event, which attracted 110 exhibition booths to promote branded goods, was organised by the Youth Entrepreneur Committee of the Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI).
Tiong said according to data estimates, in the next 10 years, 25 per cent of Sibu’s 240,000 population will be the 65 years and above elders, resulting in the problem of ageing population.
“Therefore, we should encourage young people to return to their hometowns to start businesses and reduce the outflow of population in order to prevent Sibu from becoming a city for the elderly,” he said.
Tiong’s speech text was read by his representative, Datuk Lau Cheng Kiong, who is SCCCI president.
He lauded the setting up of Youth Entrepreneurship Training Fund by SCCCI to help young people venture into business.
“Through the provision of relevant short-term training courses by SCCCI, professionals in various fields who were invited to impart skills and business knowledge would make young people interested in starting a business and exposing them to the latest trends, including increasing their market competitiveness,” he said.
It was hoped that after attending relevant training courses, young people can use their creativity and hard work to start a career in Sibu, thereby injecting vitality into the community and stimulating the local economy.
Tiong believed Sibu, as the third most populous place in the state, has the potential for development.
“As long as young people master the appropriate marketing methods, they can even re-create our specialty products such as vegetables, peppers, light cakes and others.
“Packaging, promotion to the whole country and even every corner of the world is a business opportunity that could be explored by them,” he added.
Tiong said many people are still having the belief that only those working in the air-conditioned rooms could earn a good income.
“However, times have changed, and farming, animal husbandry, and handicraft manufacturing have also received much attention in recent years. It is not difficult to earn good income, as long as they have the relevant knowledge and be a leader in their specific field,” he enthused.
Tiong wanted SCCCI to organise business training courses, so as to encourage young people who are interested in starting a business to take advantage of opportunities available. — DayakDaily