KOTA KINABALU: It’s quite difficult being prime minister today, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim quipped while handling broad spectrum requests asked during an engagement session with university students.
He said as Prime Minister, he was asked to solve faulty furniture problems for universities, solve bus issues for students as well as find internship placements.
He said this in jest when responding to various student and higher education-related questions during a 90-minute meet and greet session at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here, Wednesday (May 31).
During the session, a student asked about what the government plans to help students get placements and internships because now, most of them have to find these internships themselves.
The student asked whether the government can assist them get placements, to which Anwar responded these initiatives were for the institutions to handle and that the government can only assist in providing suggestions.
However, he said that he knew of many partnership programmes between higher learning institutions with companies already in place.
Earlier, he approved a RM3mil allocation to solve the ongoing chronic water disruption issue in UMS, where the UMS student council president asked for solutions and listed out proposals to address the problem once and for all.
Anwar asked for the UMS vice-chancellor to write an official letter on the matter so that the funds could be channelled as soon as possible, adding that if all goes smoothly, the money would be handed over to UMS within a few days.
He also said it was up to graft busters to explain to the public what happened to the over RM100mil in cash and property seized during the Sabah watergate scandal, when answering a student’s query on what happened to these seizures that could have been used to solve water woes in Sabah.
He advised students to focus on their studies and get good results as they embark on a new future upon graduation and shift from a culture of contentment to strive for excellence.
Anwar said it was important that students learned to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and people with not only academic excellence but also morals and conscience.
He said for Sabah, it could be a developed and very much changed state in 10 years if leaders and the people do away with the culture of wastage, abuse and other negative practices in governance and operations.
Earlier, Anwar acknowledged the fact that Sabah and Sarawak were left behind in many aspects, but efforts were being done to rectify it.
He said apart from water issues, Sabah also faced power disruptions and 'holey' roads.
"Sometimes I also don’t know whether I am on a road or on a boat," he said.
He said the issues raised by students on campus, and those relating to other broader subjects including infrastructure, high flight ticket problems and better and fairer job opportunities for the disabled, would be addressed in phases.