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9 June 2010

Malaysia: PM exhorts Malaysians to move towards knowledge economy

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Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he would like to see more companies in the country offer apprenticeship programmes that can provide "shop-floor training" for fresh graduates as well as employees.

The prime minister said there must be a conscientious effort within the business community to upscale all aspects of operations and management, including the development of a value-added workforce.

"By doing so, as a nation, we will be able to generate higher-quality output using higher-skilled local human resources, in line with our goal to become a high-income nation," he said in his 1Malaysia blog.

Najib pointed out that he was proud of the country's workforce but, as he cautioned when introducing the New Economic Model, having one largely equipped with a Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) certificate alone was not in line with Malaysia's aspirations to become a high-income economy.

"The solution, as I see it, must be a reskilled labour force, so that all Malaysians (and not just school leavers) are armed with the right knowledge to meet employers' needs. This can be achieved through providing on-the-job training and offering continuing education programmes," he said.

The prime minister stressed that education must not end at school or university, therefore, but persist throughout one's working life.

"... and I would strongly encourage all my working-age readers to take up opportunities for ongoing self-development. As a rule of thumb, I would like to urge those who were unfortunate not to make the cut into colleges/universities or the equivalent, to continue seeking knowledge.

"I strongly encourage all Malaysians to find ways to enroll themselves into more practical education channels such as vocational schools and polytechnics. Let us not limit our education at only SPM certificate level," he said.

Commenting on the current poll conducted on his blogsite, Najib said he had invited the readers to name their academic qualification achieved when entering the workforce, SPM or lower, diploma, undergraduate degree and postgraduate degree.

He said early results suggested that most respondents possess SPM or lower, with those holding an undergraduate degree emerging in second place.

Najib said that although this sample was not completely representative of the population, it was somewhat mirrored by the Statistics Department findings, showing that 77 per cent of the Malaysian working population or 60 per cent of the entire nation entered the workforce with up to SPM qualification or equivalent in 2007.

"This is a considerable statistic that suggests a great opportunity to me, an opportunity to motivate and develop our workers further to spur the growth that we need," he said.


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