Happy New Year 2024

By Sarawakian 

2023 has come and gone. It is the beginning of the year 2024 now. Another year of expectations and endless excuses of failed resolutions.

How you would approach 2024 very much depends on you and how you would approach the situation which will present itself. You would never know what would happen as the results would depend on the decisions made.

Many of us hope to have a better year. Nobody would want a bad year. Malaysia would be heading into this year with a Government that is just over a year old. There are about less than 4 more years left before the next election. We hope that the next election does not come any earlier than 2027.

Any efforts to make better of what is happening now should be made a priority. There has been enough divisive issues throughout the year and the past years. These issues have been overly inflated to bursting point unabated. If we are not careful and not stand up against ridiculous statements and actions, I fear that the country is in danger of going to a point of no return.

We have to really believe that unity in diversity is something to fight for. We are now already in 2024 and Malaysia as a country would be 61 years this year on 16th September. The country should move to be wiser and forward thinking.


We should look at having our education system reviewed. It is very important that the system is handled by competent people whose sole aim is to prepare the next generation for future opportunities. We have to rid anything that does otherwise. This would include those who do not have any passion for educating.

I believe that education is extremely important as it is driver of the future. Without which, we would be hard pressed to compete globally and somehow be slaves in our own country. This is especially so when we think that for now, money buys everything including talent. This is short term as in the long term, talent would turn the tables around.

It is time we really look at meritocracy as a measure of selection. This is the best way to assist every level of education required and what would be best as fit for each individual.  We should put vocational and technical studies on par with arts and science studies.

There should be a possibility for alternative paths towards an individual’s ambition. Each one would contribute to the country when they have completed their formal education if they have loved what they have studied.

Only then will we have future teachers, talent in science and technology, arts, vocational and technical industry. Everything would fall in place. Jobs would be created and jobs would evolve. The agriculture, manufacturing, services, property development, tourism and retail industries would be better off.

We have private and public institutions for tertiary education and the list seems to have expanded form what it used to be 20 years ago. Yet, the quality of graduates do not seem to see great improvement for the Malaysian human resource. We should not blame the graduates but we should review the system which they went through.

Education is not cheap and many are trying hard to eke out a living just to fund their children’s education. In the old days, you would only need to worry when you have reached Form 6 and heading out to university. The fees can be daunting. Those who scored good grades in the STPM or HSC (in the 70s) would have a chance at scholarships and convertible loans.

Today the PTPTN (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional) provides loans for this purpose. Do check the criteria and the payback requirements. In Sarawak, the government is looking at free tertiary education for Sarawakians in 2026 via the Sarawak owned higher education institutions. This would be a game changer.

So far the 3 Sarawak universities are Curtin University Sarawak in Miri, University of Technology Sarawak (UTS) in Sibu and Swinburne University in Kuching.

It is important that education remains the main driver for a talented Malaysian workforce. The world is changing and we need to have a very dynamic environment for the education system.

A well educated population would certainly thrive in a world which is heading towards industrialisation, knowledge based and digitalisation. It is also a world where technical and vocational know how would be on par in importance as with the traditional streams.

But as what was mentioned before, the subjects taught and the system which a student is provided education in must be reviewed. There must be a strong plan and a committed one to make it work. Not one which is done for political mileage or one which is aimed at a good for nothing agenda.

It is always hard to take a stand which is unpopular especially when it important to do so for the future. But this must be done. Nothing is worse than the ability to make a change but yet remain nonchalant with a tidak apa attitude.

The school calendar has already been rather messed up and we hope there is some resolve to end this nonsense by the year’s end. But the Ministry of Education still has the final holidays in February even for next year. January is no longer of a new term. It is the end of the past year’s term. February is now a month long end of term holiday which used to be December.

Most companies would not allow a carry forward of leaves and this makes it rather difficult for family time like it used to be. December holidays are now cut by half. Let us hope for some change here.

In the meantime, do have a great New Year 2024 ahead!