Digital evolution and the need for upskilling

The news of the merger between Celcom (Axiata) and DiGi (Telenor) has definitely captured the attention of Malaysians from all walks of life because of the size and popularity of both these companies. However, there have been a lot of chatter that seem to paint the merger in bad light,
especially in the area of job security.

Telecommunications, tech-based and manufacturing industries are undergoing rapid changes because of the emergence of high-speed broadband, Internet of Things (IoT), automation, artificial intelligence and Industrial Revolution 4.0. Jobs that were considered common in the past are under threat because it is increasingly being handled by AI, software and apps. Not necessarily the entire business (operation), but most
certainly, more and more tasks are being automated.

That is why the assurance of both parties in the merger in wanting to upskill and re-train existing employees are welcomed. Nowadays, there are a lot of graduates who are unemployed because employers feel they lack
the skills and knowledge in jobs such as cloud computing, machine learning, data science, augmented reality, virtual reality, app programming, big data, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, IoT and automation. Quite the mouthful, though these are terms that becoming increasingly commonplace.

However, in industries mentioned earlier, they are already looking for people to take on these jobs and the merged company ? MergedCo?s ?People Plan? which will look into retraining and reskilling of employees to fill in various new areas of work spanning ?home broadband, enterprise solutions and Regional Innovation Centre? is also a reflection of Telenor?s global
operation and its role as a major player in the international telco industry.

This means career growth and opportunities. A recent study by Randstad ?Market Outlook 2019? said digitally-adept candidates who have niche technical skills will be highly sought after by employers who are looking to advance their technological capabilities. As companies digitise their internal processes and services, the in-demand skills that employers
are looking for will differ greatly from what the workforce is equipped with currently, the study added.

I believe this merger will also convince employers of other companies that they too need to upskill and hire people with new skillsets – which invariably, are much better paying than rankand-file positions. And it is a natural progression to the nation?s growth as it becomes more
industrialised. Meanwhile, Voluntary Separation Schemes (VSS) and Mutual Separation Schemes (MSS) means staff can choose to accept or reject the company?s offer but they cannot be forced to accept it.

Those willing to stay can be part of a Multinational Company and will be rewarded by learning skills that can be used worldwide and increase their personal value and worth. And yet for others, an MSS or VSS is an opportunity to pursue a different career path or realise an ambition or dream that they otherwise may have thought as impossible. I personally know of former colleagues for whom the latter was true.

There will always be some that find the latest trends and technology daunting and may struggle to adapt. It is most likely this group of people who are most worried of losing their jobs because the lack of other skills and (potentially) their advanced age would mean it would be harder for
them to get a new job as many of these skills are becoming common prerequisites.

But just as companies must adapt with the times, so must employers and employees as well. So perhaps grasping the opportunity to reskill within an organisation that has vested interest in growing its talent base will be a next step worth considering. Let?s face it ? the digital evolution is taking shape worldwide and it is here to stay. If anything, this merger is a case in point as to why it is extremely important for Malaysian companies to be
digitally ready or risk being left behind.

Declining Timber Revenues Reason For Oil Grab By Sarawak Leaders

The announcement of Sarawak?s 2019 budget, the biggest ever budget in its history at a whopping RM 11.9 billion, came as music to the ears of Sarawakians. After all, Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg promised that the budget would be one for the people, aimed at accelerating development in Malaysia?s largest state.

However, the reality on the ground indicates a stark difference. Regardless of how big a budget tabled by the current Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government, it will not be sufficient to move the needle in terms of development, until and unless Sarawak?s biggest enemy is first dealt with ? endemic corruption by the political elite.

The bane of Sarawak?s development

Sarawak, a state blessed with an abundance of natural resources, may be the third richest state in Malaysia, but its people are among the poorest ? having had the unfortunate circumstance of being governed by an inefficient and fiscally irresponsible government.

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MCMC is looking to expand high speed broadband in Sabah and Sarawak via satellite

Tenaga Nasional?s fiber pilot project in support of the?National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan(NFCP) in Jasin, Melaka has generally?been deemed as a success. As it turns out, there will be more pilot projects to come under NFCP.

This was revealed by the Chairman of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission(MCMC), Al-Ishsal Ishak in media statement earlier this week. In the same statement, he has also disclosed that some of these pilot projects will take place in Sabah and Sarawak.

MCMC Tower 1 Cyberjaya

What made these NFCP pilot projects slightly different from the one in Jasin is the fact that they will be utilizing satellites as opposed to fiber. This is not exactly surprising though given the challenging terrains that existed in both states.

However, satellite-based Internet services are known to cost more than other methods although the latest pricing by the local satellite ISP, CONNECTme?is not that high anymore?as compared to?the time of its launch early last year. Nevertheless, let?s not jump ahead of ourselves before MCMC reveals more details regarding these upcoming NFCP pilot projects.


Vendor O&G Bumiputera tempatan bakal mendapat manfaat inisiatif PETRONAS-MED

Kebangkitan sesuatu industri memerlukan ekosistem yang berkembang pesat di mana setiap peserta ? tidak kira kecil mahupun besar- berhubung dan bekerja sama demi menjayakan matlamat yang membawa kebaikan untuk semua. Dalam pada itu, setiap peserta boleh dan harus menghasilkan impak yang bermakna supaya dapat memberi kesan positif kepada keseluruhan sektor dan ekonomi secara amnya.

Dalam konteks ini, melihat program perkembangan vendor baru Petronas  (VDP) yang memperkasakan peserta tempatan dalam sektor minyak dan gas domestic adalah sangat memberangsangkan. Inisiatif tersebut, ?Program Lestari: Inisiatif Pemerkasaan Keusahawanan Bumiputera?, merupakan usahasama dengan Kementerian Pembangunan Usahawan (MED) dalam memberi sokongan secara strategik kepada firma-firma  bumiputera dalam bidang minyak dan gas tempatan.

Buat masa ini terdapat 21 syarikat utama di dalam program tersebut, termasuk PETRONAS daripada sektor perkhidmatan dan peralatan minyak dan gas. Sejumlah 1,354 vendor terlibat dalam usahasama antara PETRONAS dan MED ini.

Memperkasakan vendor tempatan

VDP merupakan evolusi daripada inisiatif perkembangan vendor oleh syarikat yang dilancarkan sendiri pada Julai 2018. Ia bertujuan untuk meningkatkan kemampuan tempatan dalam industri minyak dan gas serta menghasilkan kesan berganda yang akan memberikan impak positif terhadap industri dan ekonomi.

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IOCs starting to move out of Sarawak

The ongoing politics in Sarawak?s oil and gas sector is heating up. The challenge to Petronas for licensing rights of oil and gas fields and the imposition of a 5% tax on fuel product exports is starting to have its effect.

Murphy Oil one of the largest international oil companies in Sarawak has decided to exit disposing its majority interests in eight separate offshore production sharing contracts in Malaysia joining Shell who sold off one of their downstream investments in Sarawak.

For other International Oil Companies (IOCs) already operating in Sarawak, the proposed sales tax staring 1st January 2019 will be a bitter pill to swallow and will put the breaks on the previously anticipated 25% hydrocarbon output growth in the coming years. This could mean less new jobs, less new investments and less new players in the market.

The assurance from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg Sarawakians will not be affected by the tax somehow rings hollow.

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RM40 power bill rebate for 185,000 poor households from Jan

The government has allocated RM80mil for monthly electricity bill rebate of RM40 each for 185,000 poor and hardcore poor households registered and verified under the e-Kasih system effective Jan 1.

In a statement, the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) said under the targeted aid programme, the eligible households would get free usage of electricity up to RM40 monthly, depending on their current usage.

?If the monthly usage is under RM40, the household head will automatically get free electricity based on the actual bill. However, if the usage exceeds RM40, the household head needs to pay only the balance after deducting the rebate of RM40,? it said.

The ministry said the RM40 Electricity Bill Rebate Programme was a new scheme introduced, taking effect from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2019, to replace the RM20 Electricty Bill Rebate Programme which was ending this December.

The rebate programme is in line with the government’s aim of caring for the people’s welfare and quality of life, as stated in Budget 2019 tabled last Nov 2.

Consumers can check their e-Kasih and rebate eligibility at the MESTECC portal, or by calling the My Government Call Centre (MyGCC) at 03-8000 8000.

They can also check for eligibility by calling the Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) careline 1-300-88-5454 or directly at the nearest Kedai Tenaga.

Consumers in Sabah can call the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) helpline 088-515000/15454 while in Sarawak, consumers can call the Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) customer careline 1-300-88-3111.

Meanwhile, eligible e-Kasih users who do not have a registered account with TNB, SESB or SEB can apply for a third party account by filling the application form at any nearest Kedai Tenaga TNB, SESB office or SEB office and attach a copy of their identity card as a support document.

Consumers who do not quality after verification has been made but wish to register in the e-Kasih programme can refer to the state’s Federal Development Office (PPPN) or Federal Development Department (JPP), Implementation Coordination Unit, Prime Minister’s Department, or the District Office’s Development Unit. ? Bernama

Source: The Star

Sarawak invests into Petronas, despite setting up Petros

The Sarawak government has received almost RM20 billion in accumulated dividends up to February 2018 from its investment in three Malaysia Liquefied Natural Gas (MLNG) plants in Bintulu through investments in Petronas subsidiaries (plants) located at the Petronas Complex. Confident with the returns the state government bought a 10% stake in the Train 9 plant and increased its stake in MLNG Tiga from 10% to 25%.


Following this latest agreement, the state government will now have interest in all four of the LNG assets in the Petronas LNG Complex in Bintulu. The state already owns a 5% stake in MLNG Satu Sdn Bhd, and a 10% stake each in MLNG Dua Sdn Bhd and MLNG Tiga Sdn Bhd.

The Sarawak patriots will turn around and say, why be satisfied with 25% why not go for 100% without knowing anything about the LNG business. In fact, Petronas already had a 60% stake in MLNG Tiga, and agreed not to exercise its preemptive rights to buy the 15% stake held by Royal Dutch Shell, instead supporting the acquisition by the state government.

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Sarawak gets RM250 mln federal fund for flood mitigation programme

The federal government has approved funding of RM250 million for the flood mitigation programme in Sarawak.

According to a statement from the Local Government and Housing Ministry issued, this came after a meeting between Minister of Local Government and Housing Sarawak Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and the federal Minister of Land, Water and Natural Resources Dr Xavier Jayakumar in Putrajaya earlier this month.

Dr Sim was joined by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, Drainage and Irrigation (DID) Sarawak director Chok Moi Soon and Sewerage Services Department Sarawak director Lau Hian Ung during the courtesy call on Xavier at Wisma Sumber Asli in Putrajaya.

It is learnt that drainage and irrigation are among projects under concurrent Federal-State Joint Funding list.

Under the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020), DID Sarawak requested for RM4.58 billion to handle four main programmes, of which RM608.7 million (or 13 per cent) had been approved.

It is reported that the approved projects for Sarawak included flood mitigation for Kuching and Sibu.

Source: Borneo Post Online

Sarawak set to achieve 97% electricity coverage by 2020

Sarawak is well on its way to achieve 97 per cent electricity coverage by 2020 with the RM2.37 billion special allocation in the State Budget 2019.

In pointing this out, Assistant Minister of Rural Electricity Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi said the electricity coverage in Sarawak currently stood at 91 per cent.

?About nine per cent or 30,400 households in rural areas still have no access to 24-hour power supply. Our target is to achieve 100 per cent electricity coverage by the year 2025.

?With the RM2.37 billion special allocation announced (last month) by the Chief Minister, we will be able to increase the electricity coverage from 91 to 97 per cent by 2020,? he said before performing the earth-breaking for a Rural Electrification Scheme (RES) project in Kpg Ulu Sungai Sinjan at Jalan Layang-Layang in Petra Jaya here yesterday.

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