By Sarawakian

The Chinese New Year for 2020 is finally here. By the time you have started reading this, I am pretty sure that you would already be preparing for Chap Goh Mei.

But first, I would like to make a correction in my last article. The error I made was in reference to the historical position of the existing Prime Minister of Malaysia. He was also the 4th Prime Minister before taking the position again as the 7th Prime Minister. My mistake was to state it as the 5th Prime Minister in my last article.

What to do, one is getting older. But then again, taking a cue from an over 90 year man helming a country with a GDP growth forecast of no lower than 4%, an unemployment rate of about 3% and an inflation rate of about 2% this year, I see no reason for age as being an excuse. Mind you I have to make a reminder that he is currently doing it twice. There is such a thing as having 2 primes in one lifetime. And today we are witnesses to this amazing phenomenon.

The Vision 2020 has given way to a Shared Prosperity Vision or SPV 2030. It is a good move to update the past Vision. The current government’s push for STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as the future must be lauded. This is in line with the focus on the potential of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 or in short, IR4.0.

The confirmation of the use of English to teach Science and Mathematics is also one to celebrate. We should stick with the plan to better equip the students with the potential future. The education sector needs a steady and strong hand to guide and uphold against all petty challenges. In actual fact, other than STEM, it should also encourage the mastery of communications and the arts. The vocational and technical schools must arise to plug the hole which was left gaping when many pursued books rather than getting their hands dirty. They form an alternative bridge to engineering and creative arts.

Much of the good work done by the previous Minister when it concerned teachers and educators should continue. On the ground, teachers are appreciative of the improvement in reducing clerical work. Students in Secondary Schools have a chance to also choose their education packages and choose their core, compulsory and elective subjects within the guidelines of the chosen package. There are 3 options under the STEM package and one option under the Arts and Humanities package. Even those who are physically and mentally challenged are covered.

The Education Ministry did well last year in implementing their focus on bringing passion back to education; teaching and learning quality; autonomy and accountability; a reading Malaysia as well as fulfilling the manifesto seeking solution  for the PTPTN loan as well as the recognition of the UEC.

However, some missteps occurred and I prefer not to dwell upon the reasons which caused the last Minister to resign. But all the previous good work must go on and this is the only way to make the population better in preparation for the future. The lesson to learn is to keep to the focus instead of creating petty fodder for media and politicians to bite on.

We have also seen as read the improvements done in the sectors of public transportation and the focused efforts on safety and improved affordable connectivity. The Multimedia and Communications sector also saw the improved content and full digitalisation of free to air TV. The continuous improvement for fast and affordable data and internet connectivity must be commended. This pressure towards the private sector has made these so much more affordable without compromise on required improved speed.

The movement to the 5G network and the many visible construction of infrastructure would surely help in having Malaysia to be the first in the region to be 5G ready and even deploy in 2020. This is one year ahead of Singapore. This is an important step in preparedness for IR4.0.

Use cases have also begun months ago in many sampled areas. The deployment time is now only dependent on the spectrum and the usable consumer devices. Based on reports and readings, it is noted that many companies are very supportive and keen to be part of this government push, including Huawei.

The push for smart city initiatives would definitely create a sudden rush for creative usable technology. This would range from simple control of consumer goods like vacuum cleaners to even autonomous vehicles. This would also change the skill requirements of the future to one no longer requiring repetitive, based on set rules as well as those requiring limited or well defined physicality. Internet of Things or IoT and Artificial Intelligence would come to the fore even faster. Security would never be the same.

Subang Jaya is a prime example for a unique future. But we really need to push the local government. In this case, MPSJ. Where the top looks at the future, we do not see the local government playing an aggressive role in improving public facilities, landscaping, public physical connectivity and improved business to business relations. We need parks, bus stops, pedestrian walkways, bicycle ways and pedestrian crossings.

I believe that having a 3rd vote would help as those who would be chosen have to actually stay in Subang Jaya and not parachuted in; the same is said of councillors who are nominated by politicians. At least thereafter, there is no one else to blame but ourselves.

2020 looks good so far. Let us all look at improving ourselves and push our voted representatives to better focus on the progressive issues. Corruption must be eradicated at all levels. Transparency must be upheld.

Let me end this by also taking a moment to applaud the way Malaysia is handling the issue of the Novel Coronavirus. They have shown a steady hand and did not cause panic. Let us keep clean and start looking at the helping rather than allow ourselves to be divided by divisive politicians and NGOs. Race and Religion is not immune to viruses.

Have a Prosperous Kong Hee Fatt Choy 2020! The rat race has begun.  Keep clean and stay safe.