PM wants AI, TVET-related training ramped up for country’s youth - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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PM wants AI, TVET-related training ramped up for country’s youth

PM wants AI, TVET-related training ramped up for country’s youth

05 May 2024

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged all implementing agencies, particularly ministries, to prioritise the training of young people on artificial intelligence (AI) so that the country does not fall behind in this field.

The prime minister said in this regard, training for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) fields should be given emphasis and enhanced by ensuring that anyone interested, including religious school students, benefit from programmes provided by ministries and government agencies.

“TVET needs to be enhanced to meet (investor demands) like three or four days ago when we had Microsoft investing RM10.5 billion, which requires tens of thousands of workers.

“If (the investment involves) the entire ecosystem, then hundreds of thousands of workers need to be trained. Do we have that capability?” Anwar asked while noting that Malaysia currently lacks some 30,000 engineers.

He said this in his speech at the closing ceremony of the Northern Zone Madani Rakyat 2024 programme, held concurrently with the Penang-level Madani Aidilfitri 2024 celebration at Tapak Pesta Sungai Nibong here on Sunday.

Anwar, who is also finance minister, said that AI and TVET-related training must be accessible to all to avoid disparities in capabilities between urban and rural areas.

“If we only offer these courses to urban elites, there will be a gap with people in rural areas. That’s why the opportunity (for training in AI and TVET) must be available to everyone so that they can fully master both fields.

“I hope the federal government will collaborate with state governments to prioritise this new training stage. Otherwise, we will fall behind,” he said.

The prime minister also urged the Education Ministry (MOE) to continue efforts to foster interest among school students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, thereby strengthening the AI and TVET fields in the country.

“Our children are less interested in mathematics and science. So I told the MOE that there needs to be a concerted push for this transition to happen immediately,” he said.

In this regard, Anwar said MOE cannot rely on old approaches by setting specific targets, but should instead do it now to ensure the country can compete with other nations.

“Learn from what Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand are doing. They all say that adjustments in the universities and the education system must be done now,” he said.

Addressing the current challenges of AI, he said that young people, especially Muslims, need to adeptly master this new technology to help integrate the principles of the Quran and hadith to safeguard the values upheld in Malaysia.

“If we solely import AI from the West, then we will face problems. Our children must have the expertise to integrate the principles of the Quran, hadith and Islamic criteria in the framework or elements of this AI system.

“So, when new technology enters Malaysia, we will not worry that the West will dictate our values. We can uphold our dignity and values as Malaysian citizens,” he said.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said that Malaysia cannot lag behind in terms of public service efficiency compared to neighbouring countries, especially concerning approval processes, as it is crucial to attract investments.

Therefore, Anwar wants the speed level of investment approval to be on par with other countries like Vietnam.

Source: Bernama