‘Swinburne key to propel S’wak as developed state’
Posted on : 01 Apr 2021  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Swinburne Sarawak deputy vice-chancellor and CEO Prof John Wilson (second right) shows Abang Johari the 130-page coffee table book during the ceremony, as other distinguished guests look on. — Photo by Roystein Emmor

Abang Johari (right) presents a mock cheque to Jason Yeo as the recipient of Swinburne Sarawak Distinguished Alumni Award, as Morshidi (centre) looks on. — Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING: Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus has played a pivotal role in thrusting the state into the 21st century towards becoming a developed state by 2030, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said.

Speaking at Swinburne Sarawak’s 20th anniversary celebration yesterday, Abang Johari said he was heartened to note that the university has to date produced some 7,000 graduates – 65 per cent of whom are Sarawakians.

“I am even more delighted to learn that Swinburne’s graduates are highly prized by industry and that more than 90 per cent are gainfully employed six months after graduating,” he said in his address.

He said such achievement proves that the state government had made a wise and correct decision to team up with Swinburne Melbourne to develop the local population in facing the challenges ahead of a highly advanced century.

The chief minister also acknowledged the state campus’ research endeavour which earned it a three-star rating from the Malaysian Research Assessment Instrument.

“Its expertise on Sarawak-centric issues, for example in sustainable technologies, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and digital economy, aligns well with our plan for Sarawak’s development,” he added.

Abang Johari also shared with the audience that the state campus’ research journey has made commendable strides since a joint RM40 million grant from the state government and Swinburne Melbourne in 2012 to boost the university’s research programme and instil best practices.

“I am pleased to note that industries and relevant government authorities have engaged the university through its research centres to help with their research needs.

“Such engagements to create research will improve with input from industries and the relevant authorities that possess the knowledge on issues that concerns the world.”

Adding on, he said then-chief minister Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had the foresight to develop home-grown talents, and that several missions were sent aboard to scout for a highly reputable and technological-focused international university to work with.

It was during one of these missions that Swinburne University of Technology was identified to set up a campus locally, before the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, who took over as chief minister from Taib, lobbied for Swinburne Sarawak to upgrade to university-status from just a higher education institute in 2000.

“Today, two decades after it first opened its doors, it is satisfying to see that Swinburne Sarawak continues to grow rapidly, graduating the highly competent and qualified workforce for the state,” said Abang Johari, adding that the establishment of a local campus had internationalised the city of Kuching.

He also said the state government will continue to work closely with the university to increase its capacity to around 5,000 students.

During the ceremony, Abang Johari launched the 130-page Swinburne Sarawak 20th anniversary hardcover coffee table book, containing details about the history of the university, including its contributions to higher education as well as playing its role in meeting the state’s development priorities.

Four Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were also exchanged during the ceremony between Swinburne Sarawak and industry players, namely Pansar Berhad, Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation, Sarawak Media Group Sdn Bhd and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

The event also witnessed the presentation of Distinguished Alumni Award, with Nehemia Raymond Segar being awarded the Distinguished Young Alumni Award (High Commendation); Alvin Lee Chun Ping for Distinguished Young Alumni Award; Augustus Raymond Segar for Distinguished Alumni Award (High Commendation); and Jason Yeo Kok Seng for Swinburne Sarawak Distinguished Alumni Award.

Among those present yesterday were State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion; Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Amar Michael Manyin; Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian; state Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah; and Swinburne Sarawak Board of Directors chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani.

Abang Johari browses through the 130-page coffee table book as Morshidi (left) looks on. — Photo by Roystein Emmor