MALAYSIA sorely lacks skilled manpower, a snag that must be quickly addressed and overcome in order to keep up with the competition that would emanate from the Asean Economic Community bloc when it comes into play in 2015.
Outgoing German ambassador to Malaysia Dr Guenter Gruber yesterday said the country’s biggest impediment for investment here is the lack of skilled workers at every level.
“I am talking about operators, engineers and not only at the top level. Efforts must be made train people. In Germany, we have apprenticeship and internship programmes.
“For hundreds of years, we have believed in the learning of manual jobs. A skilled person can earn as much as an academic, particularly if you are an apprentice with masters, and become a skilled person.
“If you open your own business, you could earn qualified person,” he said, adding that a country had to remain competitive because the world market is constantly changing.
He said Malaysia should not only focus on “third-rated” academic qualification but insist that the younger generation take up skills which could fulfil the needs of the country.
Gruber said the country did not need unemployed academics, stating that an employable workforce is lacking here — compelling the need to import skilled labour from abroad.
“Again, this is not only expensive. I took up a skill of being a tax assistant before I went on to continue my academics. It was the best thing I did. Education is plentiful and it does not only mean studying in universities.
“With the bloc’s implementation in 2015, there will be a 600 million consumer market. The potential of this area is wide and if Malaysia remains competitive, it is right in the centre of a new growth area in the world.”
Gruber also said a number of German industries are “disappointed” with China as the administration there was being “difficult”.
“And once they look elsewhere, they would always look at Asean and Malaysia because you have the best conditions for investments such as commodities, location, multi-ethnicity and a multi-lingual make-up.
“Malaysia is not perfect yet but it might be in five years because of these conditions. You are on the right track.”
JUNE 04, 2013