Yeo: More young M'sians must not just use innovations, they should create them

Last update: 04/11/2019

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 4 -- More young Malaysians should get a grounding in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), so that they can become agents of future scientific and technological breakthroughs.

In making this call, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Yeo Bee Yin, said while university students today were users of innovations such as text messages and Facebook, the government also wanted them to become creators of tomorrow's innovations.

"We must remind our young people that those who invented and produced these technologies were once students like them," she said in a speech read out by the ministry's Deputy Secretary-General (science, technology and innovation), Dr Mohd Nor Azman Hassan at the Government-linked Universities (GLU) Management Forum 2019, here today.

In this connection, Yeo urged universities and industries to support the government's efforts towards producing STEM-focused students, like it was in the past.

She pointed out that other countries were doing much better than Malaysia in terms of focusing on STEM and this had made their industries and economies more competitive and productive.

Her ministry, she added, aimed to put in place a complete ecosystem in supporting economic development through innovation.

Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP)  vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib who is also the GLU Council chairman, said the higher education industry in Malaysia was now confronted with issues that threatened the survival of universities and colleges.

"The huge reduction in the number of students enrolling in universities, the decrease in STEM students, and the increase in education costs, are among some of the challenges threatening the sustainability of universities," he said.

GLU is a partnership of four universities comprising Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), Multimedia University (MMU) and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN).