Public universities should stop depending on government funds, says Penang DCM II

Opalyn Mok

P. Ramasamy said the federal government is facing financial constraints so local universities can’t rely fully on the government for funding. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

GEORGE TOWN, Dec 7 — Public universities should look at ways to finance itself by working with the industries instead of relying fully on government funding, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy said today.

He said local universities can’t rely fully on the government for funding as the federal government is facing financial constraints.

“These universities can think of something to be self-financing, they can tie-up with industries to offer programmes and do projects to cover costs, don’t overburden the government,” he said.

He said universities can work with the industries to produce skilled manpower for the industries.

“So, by working with the universities, they can release the burden of the government and at the same time be relevant to create skilled manpower,” he said in a press conference in Komtar today.

Ramasamy said the government should step back and let the industries take over in working with universities to produce skilled manpower.

“Everything can’t be too government-centric and bureaucratic, we are the government, we don’t have the expertise, we should let the experts do it,” he said.

He said Malaysia’s economy is not moving ahead compared to Indonesia or Vietnam.

“One of the stumbling blocks is that our human resources is not in a state where they can be utilised for higher growth,” he said.

Ramasamy said only 30 per cent of the workforce are skilled while many are unskilled which included the large number of unskilled foreign workers.

He said the only way to increase the country’s skilled workers is through education.

“When we increase our skilled workers, we will attract investors with high skilled jobs and this will reduce the need for unskilled foreign workers,” he said.

He also said there is a need to have more technical institutes in the country to train up skilled workers.

Ramasamy also said the whole education system, from schools to universities, need to be revamped to meet with current challenges and needs.

He said the conventional method of teaching is too pedantic and needed to be changed.

“Students are losing interest in science and technology, not because they don’t like science, it is the way science is being taught,” he said.

He hoped the Education Ministry will look into the whole education system and revamp it to suit the changing times.

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