JOHOR BARU — Parti Amanah Negara’s suggestion that a university be named after Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar is populist, shallow and does not consider the existing level of tertiary education in the state, an executive councillor said.
Health, environment, education and information committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the Universiti Sultan Ibrahim proposal was an abuse of the monarch’s name as the party was only seeking to curry favour ahead of the general election.
“This is an irresponsible act and is seen to be intolerant as well as confusing the people by dragging His Majesty’s good name,” he said in a statement.
Ayub said the Sultan’s name was not to be used for political purposes.
Johor Amanah recently issued a statement expressing disappointment over Ayub’s stand in rejecting its proposal to establish Universiti Sultan Ibrahim.
Ayub, who is the Kemelah assemblyman, stressed that the proposal did not reflect the real educational needs of Johoreans.
He said higher education in the state needed to be job-focused rather than an institution that offers everything under one roof.
“If Amanah studies the situation, they will also find that the current trend is to multiply the opportunities and skills in line with the demands of the 21st
century,” he said.
Quoting from the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, Ayub said recent hiring developments showed the latest technology will have an impact and affect up to 67 per cent of the current job market, while the other 34 per cent will be increasingly affected by 2020.
He said what was needed was the introduction of a training module in line with the progress of the digital economy and the Industrial Revolution 4.0 for Johor.
The Johor government had taken reasonable steps to address these developments, including by establishing a Human Capital Unit which researches the needs of the workforce in Johor and proposes appropriate action.
Ayub said the Johor government had implemented various initiatives in higher education, covering an interest-free education fund for Johoreans, raising the state as a higher education hub in Muar and EduCity at Iskandar Puteri, the latter of which has branches of leading international universities, such as the University of Reading and Southampton University.
“Amanah’s proposal shows that the party does not understand the current development of Johor,” he said.
“So it is not surprising that the proposal is not only populist in nature, but also one that is not practical and inadequate for implementation.”