Be adaptable to the needs of the industry, students told

THE new collaboration between Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang branch is very important to producing talents to cater to the needs of the industry, says Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

He commended both parties for jointly holding the FMM-USM CEO Forum 2019 at Dewan Tuanku Syed Putra in USM today. The theme of the forum was ‘Empowering Malaysians for Smart and Sustainable Future’.

An estimated 3,000 freshies packed the hall to listen to the success stories of three distinguished speakers – Top Glove Corporation Berhad executive chairman and founder Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai, OCBC Bank chief executive officer Datuk Ong Eng Bin and ECO World International Berhad independent non-executive director Datuk Kong Sooi Lin.

Chow (front row, seventh from left) together with Dr Asma (fifth from left), Mustafa (sixth from left) and Ooi (eighth from left) joining other FMM, USM officials and invited guests in a cake-cutting ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of both USM and FMM.

“It is indeed commendable for FMM Penang and USM to be working together. Both of these iconic institutions in Penang are celebrating 50 years (anniversary) and I congratulate them,” Chow said in his speech before officiating the opening of the forum.

“We want graduates who are not only ready for the market but also adaptable to the needs and changes of the industry.

“We look forward to more collaborations between USM and FMM in particular, and in general the academia and the industry as Penang is the manufacturing hub of the country.

“We need today’s youths to prepare themselves to face the 4th Industrial Revolution or the world of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), automation and other technological advancements that are expected to change the way things are done.”

The USM undergraduates singing the national anthem before the start of the FMM-USM CEO Forum 2019 at Dewan Tuanku Syed Putra in USM.

Chow said investors would often ask him about the talent pool available in the state before they decide to invest in Penang, which is known as the Silicon Valley of the East and the manufacturing hub for the E&E sector.

“Often than not, I think Penang is blessed by our human talents. I have to take my hat off to USM for being a very important institution that produces graduates and talents for our industry here in Penang and beyond. And of course to FMM Penang for providing the job opportunities and career advancements for our graduates.”

Chow, who himself is a USM alumni, also thanked FMM for donating RM200,000 to the Penang Future Foundation for deserving underprivileged students.

He encouraged deserving students, irrespective of which states they come from, to apply for the scholarships. They would be bonded for five years to work in any organisation of their choice in Penang or to serve FMM Penang.

“The Penang Future Foundation is an initiative by the Penang government to develop and retain our talents. The scholarships are for undergraduate studies in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Accountancy. Industry players are also invited to participate in the selection of scholars.”

Also present were USM pro-chancellor Tan Sri Mustafa Mansur, USM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Asma Ismail, FMM Penang Branch chairman Datuk Dr Ooi Eng Hock and organising chairman Lim Wei Yee.

Dr Asma says character plays an important part in the success of a graduate.

Dr Asma said with the advent of globalisation and the disruptive change of technologies, employers are looking for “adaptable graduates” because technologies are changing very fast.

“So, therefore we are teaching the students strong fundamentals, with a balance between character and knowledge. The knowledge that they gain here may be used only 20 per cent (in their work) but the character is what that is going to move them forward.

“More important is that we teach USM graduates to be life-long learners because disruptive technologies are such that nothing is going to be static. Things will always change,” she said in her speech.

Dr Asma also urged FMM and industry icons to invest in USM so that the university could deliver to them the type of graduates that they need.

She said while there is a lack of engineering students in some other universities, USM has a full intake this year.

Dr Ooi urged the education authorities to equip primary schools with computers and necessary IT facilities so that there would be no lack of science and engineering students in the future.

In his speech, he said he had two messages for the students. He first urged them to ensure a clean environment (free of unwanted plastics and other garbage) and then encouraged them to save, quoting from a saying that “A penny saved is a penny earned”.

Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad Radzi
Video by Alvie Cheng