BUKIT MERTAJAM: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi urged skilled workers to love their job and be motivated towards improving their knowledge.
He said such workers were important human resources for the country to remain competitive in this region.
Speaking to a group of students when opening the Japan-Malaysia Technical Institute (JMTI) in Bukit Minyak here, Abdullah said the Government had provided all the necessary infrastructure to improve a workers skill and hence they should reciprocate by being motivated and disciplined.
Pak Lah (addressing himself) would like to advise all students that they must love their jobs and strive harder to improve their skills and knowledge.
A good worker must love his tool which is his life, without which he cannot be productive.
Likewise, a good skilled worker must have the hands-on information about his machine and they cannot rely on others to maintain it. This way, both the robot and human can be productive, he said.
Also present at the ceremony were Japanese Ambassador Masaki Konishi, Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn and Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.
JMTI marks the close bilateral co-operation between the Malaysian and Japanese Governments to produce highly-skilled workers for the industrial sector.
Abdullah said the perception that technical studies were for those who did not do well academically was no longer relevant because technical graduates were in great demand by the industrial sector.
He said the country needed 137,200 engineers and 331,700 assistant engineers by 2010.
The various public and private educational institutes will produce 301,859 skilled workers at the end of the Eighth Malaysia Plan, an increase of 60% compared to the previous Plan.
An additional 15 training institutes will be set up under the Eighth Malaysia Plan to meet the increasing demand for skilled workers, he added.
Dr Fong said the Human Resources Ministry would introduce the Skills Act to recognise the importance of skilled workers.
It (the Act) is to ensure a more comprehensive training similar to the ones implemented by Japan, Canada and Germany, he said.
Dr Fong said his ministry had so far spent RM140mil under the Skill Development Fund to train 100,000 people so that they would be skilled workers.
He said the Human Resources Ministry had also introduced a special scheme for the small and medium industries (SMIs) and another retraining scheme for retrenched workers.