Malaysia Aims For Gold In Aircraft Maintenance

Last update: 11/07/2014

By Salbiah Said

This is the second of a three-part article on Malaysia's drive for gold in aircraft maintenance.

DENGKIL (Bernama) -- Bringing back a medal, with gold in mind, is what Malaysia is aiming for when it sends its aircraft maintenance team for the World Skills Competition (WSC) to Brazil's largest city of Sao Paulo from Aug 11-16, 2015.

"Malaysia wants to be the champion and is eyeing a gold medal", Director-General of the Department of Skills Development of the Ministry of Human Resources, Datuk Pang Chau Leong told Bernama recently.

The road to success may not be as long and winding to the Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology (UniKL-MIAT) here, as experts are not leaving any stones unturned to pick the best candidate for the competition in Brazil, currently hosting the FIFA World Cup 2014.

While football fever is gripping football fans across the world, the mood at UniKL-MIAT, which hosted the World Skills Malaysia Youth (WSMB) Competition for aircraft maintenance on June 14, was at an all-time high.

"It's not the region's champion that we are aiming for. We want to put Malaysia on the world map by winning a gold medal in Sao Paulo", said Pang after launching the competition in Jenderam Hulu, here.


Pang said the national level WSMB competition organised by the Malaysian Skills Development Department at UniKL-MIAT is the stepping stone for the nation to win the 2015 WSC, which will gather representatives from 54 nations.

Eight students took part in the national level competition at UniKL-MIAT, after a selection trial in March.

The eight students - three from MIAT, three from the Malaysian Aviation Training Academy (MATA), one from the Advanced Technology Training Centre (ADTEC) in Shah Alam and one from Banting Polytechnic - were picked from the initial batch of 27.

From April to June, the students went through intensive training, covering among others, assembly sheet metal, rigging flight control and daily inspection of aircraft removal and installation of aircraft component.

Meanwhile, judges of the WSMB for aircraft maintenance, which ended on June 17, have picked the winners. MATA made a clean sweep, with the first three placings from the academy, which is based in Kuantan, Pahang.


Shafiq Ammar Idris was the top scorer, earning him a gold medal, while second place went to Nurul Amalina Safuraa Ismail, who took the silver while Wintore Bacgust Isidore Lajawah took the third spot with a bronze medal.

Shafiq and Nurul Amalina will undergo intensive training and compete with each other in November. The best will represent Malaysia for the World Skills Competition in Sao Paulo next year.

Pang said the competition has many underlying agenda and objectives. Firstly is to raise the level of competition in the country; and secondly is to benchmark with the best in the world.

"The ultimate aim of the national skills competition is to select the national champion, which we can bring to the World Skills Competition, which is like the Olympics - where the best in the world competes", he said.

"That's when we know where our people stand and that we are comparable with the world. This (national level competition) is the first step. We would of course require to put in a lot of hard work", said Pang.


Pang said the Chief Expert of the World Skills Competition, Richard Johnstone, who hails from Canada, was invited to Malaysia in November last year to advise participants on expectations of the WSC.

"Here, we have brought together many like-minded institutions and agencies to work on the project to produce Malaysian champions.UniKL-MIAT, which is the centre of excellence for this project is playing a very prominent part", he said.

"As Malaysia cannot send its football team for the World Cup, we will send our team for aircraft maintenance", said Pang.

The World Skills Malaysia (Youth) Competition was previously known as the Malaysian Skills Competition.

It was rebranded by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the 2013 Golden Hand Award ceremony on Jan 23, this year.


The Prime Minister's Golden Hand Award, sculpted in the shape of a hand holding up the 1Malaysia gesture, will be given out to the top winner in the WSMB.

The competition, which is the brainchild of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is organised annually by the Human Resources Ministry since 1989.

This year, the WSMB has attracted 2,076 applications from government agencies, the private sector and universities, to compete in 28 categories, which are listed by the World Skills International.

Of the 28 categories, three are in the demonstration skills category, which covers aircraft maintenance, mobile robotics and plastic die engineering. Others include IT software solution for business, electronics, web design and automobile technology.

Winners at the national level competition will represent Malaysia at the 10th Asean Skills Competition (ASC) in Hanoi on Oct 19-29 this year and Sao Paulo on Aug 11-16 next year.


On the possibility of hosting the WSC, Pang said: "We are planning to host the competition at the Asean level possibly, in 2016.

"We need to bid for it and get the government's approval. We would not stop there until we win gold and become the world champion," said Pang.

At the PM's Golden Hand Award ceremony, Najib said the industry must optimise the skilled workers that are produced by public and private skills training institutes in the country.

He said Malaysia's skilled workers group accounted for only 28 per cent of the total workforce as of 2013, lower than the 33 per cent targeted by 2015. "We aim to achieve 33 per cent workforce in the high-skilled jobs category by 2015 and 50 per cent by 2020", said the prime minister.

Pang said, there are 385 public skills training institutes in the country with the capacity of training 200,000 people at one time, while 744 private skills training institutes are accredited by his department.