Category Archives: Local News

Funding for technical, vocational training to be reviewed

Nurul Izzah speaks during a press conference at Institut Jantung Negara, Kuala Lumpur July 25, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Nurul Izzah speaks during a press conference at Institut Jantung Negara, Kuala Lumpur July 25, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 —Newly-appointed Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) chairman Nurul Izzah Anwar said she will look into reviewing the allocations for the programme following misappropriation of funds from the Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK).

She said she would look into TVET inclusively and bring forward problems that have arisen from the administration of the previous government.

“My mandate is to holistically look (into TVET), and I will definitely bring forward several problems with the PTPK fund,” she said.

“This includes allocations from the fund that have been halted or severely cut due to the ongoing investigations into the misappropriation by the political secretary of the former Human Resource minister.”

In September 2017, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission detained the 61-year-old political secretary for allegedly misappropriating RM40 million channeled through PTPK.

The Permatang Pauh MP added that such misappropriation had to be stopped so that TVET institutions would be able to run well for the sake of those who truly needed it.

“We are now responsible for what the past government left behind, including the misappropriation,” she said.

“Whether we like it or not, we have to restore the function of the TVET institutions so that the children of tomorrow, especially those from the lower income groups will succeed.”

“TVET has strong potential to be on par with other TVET programmes in the world, like that in Germany.”

Nurul Izzah was speaking at the Programme MyHeart initiative spearheaded by Yayasan MyPrihatin and the Institut Jantung Negara Foundation today.

The programme is in its third year and a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two foundations to raise RM50,000 by March 2019 for children under 17-years-old who need financial assistance.


From TVET in Industry 4.0 to reshaping of our perception of education

LETTER | It was a timely decision for Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik to appoint Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar as the chairperson for a newly formed Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Empowerment Committee.

So far, TVET in Malaysia has been given much less attention than mainstream academic education system. It has been run under seven ministries – the Education, Higher Education, Human Resources, Public Works, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Rural and Regional Development, and Youth and Sports Ministries.

There have been so many ministries involved in TVET, with an allocation of RM 4.9 billion in 2018 for the TVET Master Plan, but merely seven percent of school leavers eventually join TVET programmes.

There is an undersupply in 10 out of 12 key economic areas, while only 70 percent of vacancies in TVET are being filled up.

It is acknowledged that there has been a severe lack of coordination between the respective ministries and departments whose functions are overlapping, and some are redundant.

Streamlining TVET

There is a study underway by the Human Resources and Economic Affairs Ministries to combine all TVET into a single agency and a single ministry. TVET should be an integrated part of the education system where education is to nurture productive and competitive workforce.

This is certainly a wise and timely move to elevate the country’s economy effectively towards industrial revolution 4.0 through an effective education system. The combination of automated assembly line, the internet of things and artificial intelligence, requires highly-skilled workers highly proficient in ICT. It will also lessen our dependency on labour, especially migrant workers, while elevating our workers’ competitiveness and earning powers.

Even though there has been a positive decrease of up to 75 percent in the dropout rate from the year 2000 to 2013, youth (15 to 24) unemployment rate remains high compared to other age groups. Even if they are employed, whether they possess adequate skills affects their level of income and self-esteem.

According to Education Ministry statistics, the number of students who dropped out before completing their primary education was 3,920 students in 2013, or one percent of the total primary school student population. The number of those who do not continue to finish their secondary school is 14,396 or three percent of the student population.

In other words, we have about 20,000 non-skilled youth entering the job market, who are at worst unemployed or at best get to work as non-skilled workers at the lowest wage spectrum.

According to a Statistics Department survey in 2015, when the national unemployment figure was at 3.1 percent, the unemployment rate among youths was about 10.7 percent (15. percent for the age group 15-19; 9.3 percent for the age group 20-24) ,which is three times the national average, or make 60.8 percent of the total unemployed workforce.

This is due to their lack of education attainment, work experience and vocational skills.

Better opportunities

In 2015, of the 405,000 youths with tertiary education, 24 percent were unemployed six months after their graduation, as compared to the fact that only 9.8 percent out of 2.162 million youths without tertiary education were unemployed. 54 percent of graduates who were employed earned less than RM 2,000 a month.

On the other hand, the starting salary of vocational and technical graduates at between RM 2,000 and RM 5,000 a month is even slightly higher than university graduates. 90 percent of TVET graduates (technical and vocational education and training) are employed within a year after their graduation, and their unemployment rate is lower than the university graduates’.

Two questions have been raised as to whether what university graduates learn are mostly irresponsive to demands of the job market, and hence leads to a higher unemployment rate among them, and whether workers without tertiary education do not have quality jobs and wages to lift up their standards of living.

Besides the importance of academic and civic requirements, our education has to be more demand-driven and socially oriented. A high degree of social partnership between public and private sectors has to be sought if tertiary education is made relevant to the socioeconomic development.

Despite these facts, only eight percent of our secondary students are in TVET, which is low compared to advanced countries like Germany and Switzerland, where almost 60 percent of their students are in TVET. In Singapore, as much as 75 percent of secondary students end up in TVET, and only a minor fraction (25 percent) end up in universities.

More importantly, Singapore has geared its country for Industry 4.0 for decades. Accordingly, as a vital strategy to always stay ahead of its neighbours in order to maintain its economic relevance and competitiveness in the world economy, Singapore has long undergone a meticulous pathway charted for Industry 4.0.

According to International Federation of Robotics Report 2017, Singapore is currently ranked number 2 in the world in terms of robotic density –that is, 488 industrial robotic arms per 10,000 workers according to the International Federation of Robotics.

Like Germany, Singaporeans could start TVET as early as lower secondary school, and TVET students could eventually converge into tertiary education in an education system that advocates learning process as a life-long matter. TVET has even been a debatable issue in Singapore to be started as early as the upper primary school level.

TVET qualifications are made as equivalent as academic qualifications in South Korea. Its marketability depends heavily on the demands of the job market, especially since South Korea has been the world number 1 since 2010 for the highest industrial robotic density-that is, 631 robotic arms per 10,000 workers, reflecting its leading role in industry 4.0.

According to Bank Negara’s Economic Development Report 2017, Malaysia has an industrial robotic density of only 34 per 10,000 workers that is even lower than the Asian average of 63 per 10,000 workers, and our industrial robot density is only five percent that of South Korea’s.

Race to the bottom

There are significantly adverse trends in the country’s economic development which is heading for a more regressive labour-intensive and migrant-worker-dependence direction at the expense of the local workers’ competitiveness, productivity and earning capacity.

Firstly, in the last 15 years, the high skilled jobs’ ratio has decreased from 45 percent to 37 percent while low skilled jobs’ ratio has increased from 8 percent to 16 percent. Secondly, the most alarming trend is that 81.5 percent out of the new jobs created have gone to the foreigners, while university graduates unemployment rate has gone up yearly. There has apparently been a mismatch between the education system and the job market.

To solve the adversity in our future economic development, we need a paradigm shift from the conventional labour-intensive and migrant worker-dependent economy to a newly high-skilled and digital-proficient local workforce. The answer to it is the dire need for a highly ICT-digital-proficiency oriented TVET system.

Even though only 9.43 percent of South Korean secondary students take up vocational courses, its tertiary education enrolment rate is as high as 93.18 percent, of which 22.82 percent students engaged in vocational education at the tertiary level. Moreover, 90 percent of South Koran youth commanded a minimal level of digital literacy.

In Germany, apprenticeships in TVET, starting as early as upper secondary school at age 15, expose the apprentices to real industrial working situations. Being protected by a youth employment legislations, apprentices spend 70 percent working in real industries with paid wages and 30 percent in formal classroom education. Almost all German TVET apprentices would be re-hired by their original industries after completion of their apprenticeship.

The close social partnership between TVET institutes, public sector, private individual industries, and the relevant chambers of commerce and guilds play a vital role to make it an effective mechanism for TVET in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Industry 4.0 involves not only automation and big data exchange in manufacturing technologies, but also includes cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, cloud computing and cognitive computing. It requires not only high skilled workers, but also a workforce with high ICT and digital proficiency.

Therefore, TVET has to be made first choice for some best students, revamping the traditional thinking of TVET as merely the choice for less capable students and academic drop-outs, in order to meet future societal and technology challenges.

The role of industry

Complaints have also been made by TVET educators themselves that Malaysian graduates do not get the deserved wages and job opportunities. This requires an open attitude from educators, and the relevant ministries and TVET institutes to work closely with private industrialists, chambers of commerce and guilds who keep afresh with the latest industrial development and market demands all the time.

Industries have to be made more willing to provide early starting point for apprenticeship as social partners or stakeholders in the process of upscale our TVET as the essential preparation for industry 4.0.

The TVET Committee is vital in institutionalise coordination between too many federal ministries undertaking TVET with the private sector and relevant guilds. For the TVET Committee to be more effective, its chairperson could be upgraded to the level of a cabinet co-minister, who coordinates all ministries, state governments, private industrialists, civil society involved in TVET and streamlines all forms of TVET and their accreditations.

Many public TVET institutions have become underutilised or unutilised where buildings are built and left astray. TVET has to be planned according to the socioeconomic demands.

Franchises of public institutions certification to non-profitable industry guilds initiated training programs are feasible to maximise utilisation of public funding and facilities. This social partnership and franchising of TVET programs is termed as “socialisation” of our education system.

Nonetheless, promoting TVET in industry 4.0 involves “democraticisation” of our education system by which the federal government needs to decentralise and share powers of administering education system including TVET with state and local governments, who know the local demands better.

State and local governments could coordinate between the chambers of commerce, guilds of various artisanship with our education system especially TVET institutes, which in turn has to be tailored according to a tripartite relation between international trends, national aspirations and local demands.

On the other hand, local industries already provide existent machineries and facilities for apprenticeship while the institutes could cut down its expenditures on setting up, but concentrating on teaching theories to the apprentices and training the trainers about on-job teaching.

TVET for Industry 4.0 forces us to review seriously about how our industries would run. While there is a high number of illegal foreign workers (1.7 million) and a marked proportion of semi-skilled local workforce, about half (54 percent) of female productive-age population actually work.

The currently inactive but potential women workforce well surpasses the number of foreign workers and could fulfil the need of our job market. The solution is to provide more welfares such as nurseries and on-job TVET.

The solution to stagnant economic performance and over-dependence on foreign workers is to “socialise” and “democraticise” our education system including targeting 60 percent youth in TVET, of which 40 percent would be female as in advanced countries like in Germany, South Korea and Taiwan, in order to achieve not only a targeted 80 percent women to be in the national workforce, but also be as competitive as their male counterparts.

The issue is not only about TVET alone. but the powers-that-be need to revamp their own perception of what ‘education’ means, which has been conventionally interpreted as the major tool to maintain the social status quo and train the future generation to be living ‘robots’ listening to the commands of their ‘owners’ – and, in recent decades, for cronyists close to them as a means to get kickbacks from construction projects of TVET institutes – than the noble intention to making our workforce prepared for the new challenge of Industry 4.0.

To promote TVET, we have to begin with reshaping our perception and policy towards education, which is not a privilege for some to profiteer, but as a birthright for all Malaysians to be equitably competitive, regardless of gender, race, religion and creeds, in an increasingly challenging world economy.

DR BOO CHENG HAU is the former state assemblyperson for Skudai.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini (source of article)

Hello Industrial Revolution 4.0! ― Nurul Izzah Anwar

Nurul Izzah says reforming TVET requires thinking beyond courses and institutions. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Nurul Izzah says reforming TVET requires thinking beyond courses and institutions. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 ― Seven ministries. Two Malaysia National Plans. More than RM10 billion spent in a span of three years, from 2015 to 2017. And where is TVET now? Plagued by stories of thousands of stranded, unqualified youths, awaiting placement and promise of a better future.

Regardless the state of affairs, everyone who cares about Malaysia’s future should support TVET as a means to empower Malaysia’s young ― in line with our upcoming embrace of Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Yesterday, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik announced my pro bono-related appointment as the head of the national taskforce on reforming our country’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme.

Today, the head of NUTP decides it was a non-starter, considering the mammoth powers required to structurally reform our TVET sector.

NUTP is certainly not wrong in raising concern on the viability of action pertaining to the Pandora’s box-filled TVET.

I recall a conversation with the Secretary-General of Youth and Sports Ministry, Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali, who filled with excitement, planned for our Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN) to adopt IR 4.0 as part of its curriculum.

Clearly, to bear fruition, the new government would have to continue with worthier initiatives of its predecessor ― transparently, accountably and efficiently.

To succeed, we need all quarters onboard. This is our Malaysia. It requires all of us to make anything work.

Reforming TVET requires us to think bigger than just courses and institutions.

At its very heart, while we accept the fact that people come with different talents in this world, we have a system that only measures and rewards one, academic talent.

And students who don’t make the cut are thrown into a barrel we now call the TVET system.

This is a systemic problem. And we should treat it as such.

Few would dispute the necessity of TVET in a modern economy; through formal and informal learning, TVET seeks to train and equip individuals with technical skills for the purposes of employment within certain industries.

While conventional education obtained through completion of university remains relevant, the incorporation of TVET as a mainstream option is of equal importance for young Malaysians seeking technical expertise for the working world. TVET is also effective for developing a sustainable, inclusive and socially equitable society and thus should be central to plans for educational reform in Malaysia.

Although TVET has existed in various forms since the 10th and 11th Malaysia Plan, the reality is these efforts have been seriously disjointed in their implementation and are in dire need of thorough structural reforms.

TVET has almost been an afterthought, with incoherent policies often in conflict with each other. Current TVET efforts for example, are supply driven which sees individuals trained in certain skills first prior to any work placement, leading to a severe mismatch of skills and industry. Elsewhere, funding is usually wholly dependent on the government, a dependency which suggests a lack of focus on TVET should funds begin to dry up, as vocational training has not been a priority of the government in the past. Certification to this point has been optional for both individuals seeking work and businesses, which has led to a lack of standards in employment. Trainers involve in TVET have also lacked the quality required for those in their office, lacking clear industry expertise while usually poorly trained themselves. Additionally, synchronization with tertiary education has been found wanting, making it difficult for those with TVET skills and certification to pursue university degrees and higher learning.

Revamping TVET has always been a key goal for Pakatan Harapan, included in the manifesto where we have promised to develop technical and vocational schools to be on par with other streams making it a viable option or alternative to all. This includes setting up a full-board TVET school for outstanding students from all walks of life enabling greater access to opportunity for Malaysians.

Alongside these manifesto promises, significant overhaul is needed for TVET implementation both in the long and short term especially if we hope to make significant progress before by year end. We should look to adopt international best practices as has begun in Penang with the implementation of the German Dual Vocational Training (GDVT).

This scheme offers financial incentives to companies that offer industrial training and/or internships to TVET students. This is reflective of a demand-based approach, where industries are committed to offering apprenticeships based on their own requirements and TVET institutions meeting that demand.

This helps to ensure individuals are equipped with relevant skills and assured to a strong degree of employment, representing an efficient outcome for everyone involved.

Industries and chambers should lead the way as they are best positioned to know the needs of the economy, supported by federal and state governments. Reducing the dependence on the government for both financial and institutional support compliments an industry-driven approach with the state providing assistance as necessary.

Policy reform is thus the best approach for government, creating favourable conditions for TVET institutions and providing incentives to both trainers and trainees, while ensuring coordination between industries and training centres.

With proper oversight, coordinated by the Jabatan Pembangunan Kemahiran under the Ministry of Human Resources, work will be done to ensure proper certification at all levels of both training and business. Where certification was previously optional, it should now be made mandatory in order for those with TVET training to find employment as well as for businesses to be eligible to hire TVET graduates.

Such standardisation of qualifications is long overdue if we want to treat TVET with the same seriousness and respect accorded to tertiary education. Alongside this is better integration and crossovers with academic pathways to provide more opportunities for those who wish to further their formal education to enhance themselves as individuals or change their career entirely.

At present, a lack of integration and accreditation prevents TVET graduates from qualifying from degree programmes at universities. The Penang state government has sought to address this by introducing short term measures aimed at providing accreditation, measures that can further be improved with concerted federal support.

These policy suggestions barely scratch the surface of the potential of TVET, one that can be harnessed to the total benefit of Malaysia and Malaysians through an inclusive approach and better engagement with all stakeholders. These steps will go a long way to dial back on the stigma against TVET and its graduates through better integration in the economy, helping to increase their economic value and ultimately providing better wages.

A holistic improvement of education in Malaysia includes the recognition and enhancement of TVET, elevating it to a status equivalent or superior to traditional tertiary education.

We must demonstrate that a university education does not have to be the be-all-end-all goal for many Malaysians, that many alternatives exist alongside these options, while a system that has for so long practiced various forms of exclusion shall now be expanded to ensure no Malaysians are left behind.

The mandate given to me is to come up with a report on structurally reforming TVET before one year is up. I’ll make sure post engaging with stakeholders, we will have a clear operational step by step action plan.

I urge NUTP to be as loud and demanding as they are today. Time and tide waits for no ministers in implementing much needed reforms.

Malaysians, say hello to industrial revolution 4.0!

*Nurul Izzah Anwar is MP for Permatang Pauh, vice-president and co-elections director for Keadilan. Nurul Izzah wrote this for Malay Mail.

Nurul Izzah to head new committee on technical and vocational training development

Nurul Izzah will head a new committee on the government's Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Nurul Izzah will head a new committee on the government’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, June 21 ― Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar will be heading a new committee on the government’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme, under the Education Ministry, its minister Maszlee Malik said today.

“This committee’s role is to prepare a report to strengthen and upgrade the standard of TVET.

“YB Nurul Izzah is someone who is very concerned about TVET, and has discussed with me on how TVET can help youths compete for jobs and become entrepreneurs,” Maszlee said.

“The Pakatan Harapan government understands the importance of the technical and vocational stream, and in line with Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto, we are committed to develop this stream, so that it is truly on par with other streams, and is not viewed as a mere second choice,” he added.

Nurul Izzah when met, said that she hoped to make Malaysia’s technical and vocational training on par with that in Germany.

“We know that there are over half a million Malaysian children who are outside the formal education scope, so it is our duty to lift the standard of TVET, so they will feel confident, they will feel proud with the accreditation, as proud as they would be if they are medical doctors,” Nurul Izzah said.

In January, then human resources minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot said that a TVET Council will be established, and to be chaired by then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Bernama quoted Richard as saying after a TVET ministerial coordination meeting that among others, the formulation of TVET master plan, which is expected to be ready by October 2018, involving industry engagement model, TVET financing model, matching demand to supply, strategic collaboration among TVET providers and efforts to achieve 35 per cent of skilled workforce by 2020, was discussed in the meeting.

Riot also reportedly announced the appointment of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology founder and president, Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing, as TVET Malaysia adviser.


PVMA programme put on ice

PETALING JAYA: Some 5,504 students are left in a bind after finis­hing school last year.

They had enrolled in the Pendidikan Vokasional Menengah Atas (PVMA) programme at their schools to receive Technical Voca­tional Education and Training (TVET) and were supposed to be awarded with two certificates — the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Malaysian Skills Certificate (SKM).

Unfortunately, 208 out of 269 national schools offering the PVMA programme have yet to be acc­re­­di­ted as SKM training centres to run it.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan (pic) told The Star that the PVMA programme was put on hold by the Education Ministry in February due to the matter.

“These schools are not recognised by the Department of Skills Development under the Human Resources Ministry because the teachers appointed to deliver the programme are unqualified,” he said in the interview.

A Human Resources Ministry guideline states that qualified teac­hers must have SKM qualification in the relevant programmes to assess the students’ programmes under Levels One and Two.

Currently, many of the teachers are SKM Level Two holders.

Tan said the equipment in the schools also do not comply with the regulations set by the Department of Skills Development.

Describing the situation as unfair towards affected students, Tan said those who have graduated from the programme are skilled and qualified but do not possess the paper qualifications.

Department of Skills Develop­ment director-general Nidzam Kamarul­zaman said schools must adhere to criteria before implementing SKM programmes.

“We also have a standard code of practice for schools to comply with.

“There are many elements involved, including having qualified instructors and trained teachers, meeting the requirements of our National Occupational Skills Standard and having a compound that is legal and safe for students.

“Serious consideration was not given towards the preparation of these schools (to run the programme),” he added.

Nidzam said the affected schools have since reached out to the department.

“We have been conducting meetings with them to correct the situation and we are targeting to solve the matter by next year,” he added.

An official from the ministry’s Technical and Vocational Education Division said a budget is set aside every year to be disbursed gradually to schools to buy necessary equipment.

“To resolve the equipment shortage issue, we began disbursing this year’s allocation last year, to speed up the process of accrediting these schools as approved training centres to run the PVMA.

He said the programme was temporarily suspended to allow the division to fully equip these schools before it resumes while schools that are already accredited are conducting the programme as per normal.

On the lack of trained SKM teachers, he said the division has begun the training process to tackle the issue.

While training takes only three months to complete, the official said due to the high number of teachers involved, it takes up to two years to complete.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said earlier this month that the ministry plans to standardise and park all the vocational skills training centres under one ministry to eliminate redundancy.

Some skills training centres currently fall under the purview of the Education and Youth and Sports Ministries.

Tan said the 5,504 students are being asked by the Human Resources Ministry to sit for an assessment known as the Recognition of Prior Achievement (RPA or Pengiktirafan Pencapaian Terdahulu), that formally recognises their existing skills and enables them to pursue further studies in other TVET institutions.

Education Ministry officials said a special task force was set up at the end of last year between the ministry and the Department of Skills Development at the national level to resolve this issue.

The ministry, added the officials, set up an internal taskforce in January this year and a state-level taskforce to facilitate accreditation issues on the ground.

The affected students will complete the assessment between July and August this year and gain a Level Two SKM certificate by the end of the year.

By the end of 2018, students are expected to be certified with a SKM Level Two.


City & Guilds Group announces RM80,102 bursary funding for Malaysians

The City and Guilds bursary can be used for vocational and leadership courses provided by City and Guilds, and ILM across a variety of sectors.
The City and Guilds bursary can be used for vocational and leadership courses provided by City and Guilds, and ILM across a variety of sectors.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — City & Guilds Group, a pioneer in global skills development, is currently accepting applications from Malaysians for its £15,000 (RM80,102) bursary programme.

The bursaries are available from a number of City & Guilds and ILM centres across Malaysia and aim to maximise accessibility to its vocational courses and training for all; ensuring that any individual in genuine financial need, who would otherwise struggle to complete a City & Guilds or ILM qualification, is given the opportunity to learn and develop their skills and fully contribute to the economic development of their country.

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, commented, “At the City & Guilds Group, we are committed to helping people, organisations and economies across the world develop their skills to support growth.

“This bursary programme is designed to support learners in their skills development journeys, and ultimately contribute to their financial empowerment.

“We know that access to vocational training has a significant and positive impact on economies around the world and is fundamental to closing skills gaps.

“We want to give individuals in Malaysia the opportunity to develop the skills they need to thrive in their careers and help these economies go from strength to strength.”

The bursaries can be used for vocational and leadership courses provided by City & Guilds and ILM across a variety of sectors, including travel, transport, hospitality, health and social care, construction and manufacturing.

Applicants must be

  • 16 or over
  • Currently studying, or seeking to study, a City & Guilds or ILM qualification
  • A resident of the country of study
  • Able to demonstrate that they are in genuine financial need

Bursary applications close on June 18. Prospective applicants can apply here.


Kulasegaran: All vocational training centres should be under one ministry to avoid redundancy

Human Resources minister M. Kulasegaran (centre) being briefed by Industrial Training Institute personnel on the air-conditioning course available at the centre. - SAIFUL BAHRI/The Star

Human Resources minister M. Kulasegaran (centre) being briefed by Industrial Training Institute personnel on the air-conditioning course available at the centre. – SAIFUL BAHRI/The Star

IPOH: The Human Resources Ministry will suggest to the Cabinet to standardise and park all the vocational skills training centres under one ministry.

Its Minister M. Kulasegaran said there are many such centres parked under different ministries and he hoped that this can be changed to eliminate redundancy.

“The overlapping must stop, why must there be competition between ministries?” he asked.

“It’s all under one family. I will submit a paper to the Cabinet to standardise it,” he told reporters after visiting the Industrial Training Institute here on Sunday (June 3).

Kulasegaran was commenting on the need for the standardisation, as some skills training centres also come under the Education and Youth and Sports Ministries.

Kulasegaran said such practices started in the 1990s and must be stopped.

“We don’t want competition between ministries.

“We want to compete with the private entrepreneurs and with other countries to be the best in the world. That should be the way,” he said.


Concern over 30% drop in numbers enrolling in skills training institutes

This will affect government’s plans to develop a skilled workforce, says minister Kulasegaran.

Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran says financial constraints were believed to be the cause of the declining student enrolment.

SHAH ALAM: Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran has expressed concern over the 30% drop in student enrolment into various skills training institutes over the past two years.

He said the declining number was alarming as such a scenario would damper the government’s aspiration to make Malaysia a highly-skilled nation if this trend continued to persist.

Kulasegaran said although the country had been having many technical and vocational education training (TVET) colleges, financial constraints were believed to be the cause for the declining student enrolment.

“The drop in student enrolment needs to be looked into thoroughly and I will raise this issue in the Cabinet meeting soon because we want to produce highly-skilled workers and empower them,” he told reporters after opening the Tamil Foundation Malaysia’s annual general meeting here today.

Meanwhile, Kulasegaran said his ministry was now reviewing the current minimum wage policy to give priority to the rights of Malaysians in the employment sector.

He said details of the policy would be announced on Monday.

On the programme today, the Ipoh Barat MP said the government would continue to empower the Indian community, including bringing transformation to the work sector dominated by the ethnic group.

“I was directed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to come out with drafts of various programmes to improve the skills of the Indians and all races in the future.

“There is a special segment for the development of the Indian community mentioned in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto which covers various aspects. We will work on it.

“In fact, the Indian Community Development Blueprint of the previous administration would be examined.

“We will implement (the plan) if it is beneficial for the targeted groups,” he said.


Malaysia has what it takes to attract MNC investments: GE Malaysia CEO


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has all the key ingredients to attract multinational companies (MNCs) to invest here but more could be done in terms of providing skilled labour, said General Electric (GE) Malaysia CEO Datuk Mark Rozario (pix).

“Talent, particularly new graduates, that’s probably one area that could improve but that’s not unique to Malaysia. If you think about university education, what’s lacking are things like critical thinking. The kind of skills that are required by industries are normally never fulfilled by just doing a university course.

“But the government is doing a lot in that area as well, they’ve got things like TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training), vocational training, internships; so continue doing that. The other thing that probably needs to be done is for the country to move away from the reliance of cheap labour, which the government is also doing,” he told SunBiz in an interview.

Rozario was one of the speakers at the recent 2018 APCAC Business Summit, which was hosted by the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce. Themed “Charting a Bold Future: US Businesses in the Asian Century”, the event shed light on US investments in Malaysia and the region.

For GE, which has been here since 1975, the environment in Malaysia is very conducive and all its key businesses, namely, aviation, power, oil and gas and healthcare, are present here today.

“We have invested in things like iCentre (monitoring and diagnostics centre) that we described just now, which is the only one in Asia Pacific for GE; one for the oil and gas industry and the other for power. The one for oil and gas is a global centre and is one of three centres, with the other two in Florence, Italy, and Houston, US. The centres operate in eight-hour shifts,” said Rozario.

He said the reason iCentre is sited in Malaysia is because of the infrastructure that is available here, such as broadband with good coverage and skilled labour, while cost of talent is competitive compared with the rest of the region.

“When you talk about Industry 4.0, one of the first jobs that would go are those semi-skilled jobs. Here in GE, we don’t have any requirement for unskilled labour. All our employees here have to be quite highly skilled.”

According to him, GE’s aircraft engine workshop in Subang employs 300 staff, all of whom are Malaysians. He said the facility, which is a global business servicing more than 40 airlines, used to have expatriate staff but with the transfer of technology and skills over the years, it now has 100% Malaysian staff.

The facility overhauls jet engines and is the only facility outside the US with the capability for GE’s latest LEAP jet engines, which is for the Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 737 MAX.

“Again, why is it sited here? Because we have the infrastructure, the logistics ability for the engines to be sent here by cargo. The engines are taken off the aircraft and flown over to the workshop. We have the logistics, we have the availability of talent. I think the environment here is very conducive for multinationals to have their operations here,” he added.

GE’s main businesses in Malaysia are aviation, power, oil and gas, and healthcare.


BAE Systems will set up MRO and vocational training centre in Malaysia

(L-R) BAE Systems International Sales Director – Typhoon and Hawk, Andy Lavin and BAE Systems International Ltd South East Asia Managing Director, John Brosnan with the Eurofighter Typhoon model at the BAE Systems stand at 16th Defence Services Asia 2018 in Kuala Lumpur. Picture courtesy of BAE Systems.

KUALA LUMPUR: BAE Systems Inc, the wholly owned US subsidiary of the British defence, security, and aerospace company BAE Systems PLC, is planning to set up a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility and a vocational training centre in Malaysia.

BAE Systems International Ltd South East Asia managing director John Brosnan said the conditional assessment would be dependent on Malaysia’s decision to choose the company’s combat aircraft, Eurofighter Typhoon for Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) programme.

“Both developments will be based on a joint-venture with local players. It will also provide economic value to the local market about five times of the value of the aircraft purchase,” he told NST Business in an exclusive interview yesterday.

Brosnan said the investment’s facility would be spent over 25 years, creating more than 20,000 high-skilled jobs for the locals including the establishment of vocational training centre for the local aerospace sector.

“We will develop the technical vocational training centre in phases over 10 years with the involvement of Bristol University and Loughborough University,” he added.

Brosnan said BAE Systems had been working with the RMAF for nearly five years to test its combat aircraft.

“Hopefully, a deal will happen soon for the Eurofighter Typhoon,” he said, adding that there is a requirement for Malaysia to upgrade its aerial surveillance capabilities.

Brosnan said the fighter jet delivery could be made in about four years, subject to the RMAF requirements and negotiations.

The fighter jet package could include the unit, support services including maintenance and repair as well as training modules for local technicians.

Malaysia has been for several years considering to replace its ageing combat fighters, Russian-made, MiG-29s, which currently are not in service.

However, the decision to acquire new 18 fighter jets has yet to materialise as the country is preparing its focuses on the 14th General Election, which will be held on May 9.

It was made to understand that the decision could only be finalised after the election with regards to potential purchase either Eurofighter Typhoon or France’s Dassault Aviation, Rafale fighter jet.

“Every country has economic pressure. Defence is a significant cost, where governments have to allocate certain spending priorities.

“That’s why we have affordable solutions whereby, rather than selling new defence equipment, we also help countries to upgrade their existing equipment with installation such as new missile system and radar,” said Brosnan.

However, he said there would come to a point where governments can’t just upgrade their defence systems.

“Malaysia is currently considering the replacement aircraft for its MRCA programme,” he opined.

He said Malaysia is certainly an important defence-military market in South East Asia for BAE Systems with over 50 years establishment in the country.

“We regard Malaysia as a first-world military customer. We are the largest international defence-equipment supplier to the Malaysian armed forces including frigates, trainer aircraft (Hawk), armed vehicles, missile systems, ground-based air-defence systems, radars and bridging systems,” he said.

BAE Systems International sales director – Typhoon and Hawk, Andy Lavin said the company provides the cheapest cost of ownership to operate the Eurofighter Typhoon.

“Currently we have over 520 units in service from eight countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

“The fighter jet is collaboratively developed and manufactured by BAE Systems UK, Leonardo – Aircraft Division (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany and Spain),” he said.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly capable and extremely agile multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations including air policing, peace support and high intensity conflict.

“Currently we have secured over 100 additional orders with potential orders of 184 aircraft from countries including Germany, Saudi Arabia and Spain,” he said.

Lavin said Eurofighter Typhoon sales could reach 1,000 aircraft globally in the next five years, backed by on-going active campaign promotion in countries including Belgium, Finland, Poland, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Malaysia and Canada.