SIBU: State Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh has questioned why the Federal Government needs five years to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).
“I don’t know what is the big deal. Why do they need five years to do the study? I am puzzled,” he said when met after opening the three-day Sarawak Invention and Innovation Technology Exhibition 2018 (Saintex’18) and STEM Playground at the University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS).
He was asked to comment on the statement by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik who said UEC recognition could only come about in the next five years after a thorough and holistic study is completed.
Dr Maszlee was quoted as saying that a comprehensive study and views from relevant parties were needed while ensuring the status of Bahasa Melayu and inter-ethnic harmony is maintained.
Wong said previously the Federal Government had set two conditions for the recognition of UEC.
“The first condition involved Bahasa Malaysia and the second was that UEC’s syllabus must be Malaysian-oriented particularly in subjects like History and Geography. These are very straightforward,” he added.
Wong questioned why the Pakatan Harapan government, could not ensure recognition if both conditions are met.
“Whether it is recognised or not, Chinese independent schools will go on and the UEC is recognised worldwide by over 600 universities.
“The recognition in Malaysia is to allow students to enter public universities here,” he added.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said that in order to successfully embrace Industry 4.0, there was a need to equip the youth with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills which are required for a highly digitised economy.
“Failure to keep abreast with IR 4.0 would mean that Sarawak will be left behind,” said Abang Johari in his speech which was read by Wong.
Sarawak, he said, requires about 500,000 technical workers in the next 12 years to transform it into an industrialised state.
Due to this, technical and vocational education and training is now an important agenda to provide the required skills through human capital development programmes and certification.
UCTS vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Hamid said Saintex’18 was a right fit.
He added UCTS was set up five years ago to produce skilled and professional manpower to meet the needs of the state.