MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

‘Move away from mediocrity to meritocracy’

Economist Ramon Navaratnam says the Malaysian workforce will never be able to excel if they are always "manja" ("pampered") and not sufficiently exposed to open competition.
PETALING JAYA: The government and the private sector still have much to do to ensure Malaysia’s human capital needs are fulfilled, says economist Ramon Navaratnam.
Speaking to FMT, Ramon said Malaysia’s human capital needs were diverse, but the country could not be too rigid in planning for the future and must leave it to market forces to decide exactly what these needs were.
He explained that the government must promote policies to develop important skills, such as mastery of English and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), as well as critical thinking skills.
He also touched on the importance of TVET (technical & vocational education and training).
“There is a tremendous shortage of technical graduates and skilled workers in Malaysia.”
He put this down to the negative perception many parents had towards the technical stream, but this could be changed if the government ensured TVET graduates were better paid.
As for the private sector, Ramon said companies still had not done enough to provide practical training and internships.
He said companies should be complementing the efforts of universities.
He said graduates from public universities were less employable due to a lower mastery of English and thinking skills, and this was where companies could help.
“Companies can help ensure university graduates are more industry ready by providing more technical and hands-on training.”
In this respect, Ramon said the government could provide more tax incentives for private companies to provide more training for graduates.
Most importantly, the government must move away from mediocrity to meritocracy, Ramon said.
He said the Malaysian workforce would never be able to excel if they were always “manja” (“pampered”) and not sufficiently exposed to open competition.
“We must not think that the world owes us a living and we certainly should not pass this message on to our youth.”

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