This article first appeared on New Straits Times on 19 August 2019.
PETALING JAYA: Education, entrepreneurship and employment (3Es) are very important in defining factors for the success of our nation.
This was the consensus among panelists at a think-tank session organised by the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia in collaboration with The Centre at Sunway University today.
According to deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong, the Malaysian education system needs to be able to nurture a skilled workforce to meet the demand of the industrial revolution 4.0 and beyond.
“We must also invest in technology to cut down reliance on unskilled foreign labour and create more jobs for Malaysians, with monthly earnings of approximately RM4,000.
“We must also unleash the potential of our youth and women in the workforce, and be able to position ourselves to tap opportunities in the global economy.”
Liew said when it comes to the wellbeing of a nation, every race wants the same thing.
“Whether you are a Malay, Chinese or Indian, we all want a better life for our families. Being a multi-ethnic country is common in many parts of the world, but we need to create open dialogue and freedom of the press, while maintaining the cohesiveness of a nation.”
The two-hour open dialogue session addressed bread and butter issues, politics, racial divide and the education system.
Another panel member, Permatang Pauh member of parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar said the country’s national narrative should be one that unites and not otherwise, with a lot of political guile involved.
“We must have a non-biased way at looking at the government’s programmes. There should be no political interference until we reach the goal we have set out to attain. “As we are living in a multiethnic country, we must interact and socialise, without bias.”
Rembau member of parliament Khairy Jamaluddin meanwhile said while a one-stream education system was good to foster unity among schoolgoing children, it might be too late to do so now.
“We might have missed the boat on this one, it should have been done in 1957. However, what we can strive for today is to make national schools the school of choice. If we want a moonshot, that should be it.
“No Malay, Chinese or Indian student who scores straight As should be denied a good future.
“Creating moonshots betters job opportunities, improves industries and enhances technology. It makes a vision shared, and not just imagined to be shared.”
On leaders who are making too many U-turns and correcting mistakes, then and now, Khairy had this to comment.
“U-turns are sometimes a lesson in humility, I would much rather have a leader who is humble enough to admit his mistakes than insists he is always right.” he said.
Source: New Straits Times