PETALING JAYA: A government backbencher has urged the government to address the shortage of skilled labour in science and technology in order to successfully implement the New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030.
“If we aspire to attract high-tech investments and raise the wages of Malaysian citizens, we must address the shortage of skilled labour in science and technology,” Teresa Kok (PH-Seputeh) said.
“The government must take the issue of shortage of engineers in our country seriously,” Kok said, referring to a statement from the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia published in The Edge last year.
It said Penang alone faces a shortage of 50,000 engineers to meet the needs of the semiconductor industry.
Kok said a joint effort between ministries was needed to nurture interest among students to learn science and mathematics.
“I propose that the education and higher education ministries collaborate in an effort to encourage and nurture our students’ interest in studying science and mathematics.
“I also suggest that the education ministry provide special training for our teachers on more effective methods of teaching science and mathematics to students,” Kok said when debating the 2024 Supply Bill in the Dewan Rakyat.
She said the communications and digital ministry should also play a role in promoting the advantages and importance of learning science and mathematics.
In May, higher education ministry student recruitment and development division director Azirin Abdul Aziz said there was a decline in engineering-related fields due to a lack of interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Recently, the higher education ministry also said more university students enrolled for business-related studies in public universities this year than in traditional engineering programmes.
Higher education minister Khaled Nordin said 17,369 students have enrolled for courses in business, administration, and law, while 13,990 were in engineering, manufacturing, and construction courses.