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Sarawak to fund STEM students at top varsities

Datuk Abang Johari Openg (centre) says bright students or Sarawakians doing postgraduates studies will be sent to top universities for research and development. — Picture by Sulok TawieDatuk Abang Johari Openg (centre) says bright students or Sarawakians doing postgraduates studies will be sent to top universities for research and development. — Picture by Sulok TawieKUCHING, Sept 13 ― The Sarawak state government will send high achievers to the world's best universities to study disciplines that will boost the state’s digital capabilities.

“I have requested those in the academic world to provide us with the inputs for the government on the kinds of disciplines that will ensure Sarawak's digital ambition is achieved,” Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg said at the opening of an International Conference on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) organised by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) here.

He said that bright students or Sarawakians doing postgraduate studies will be sent to top universities like Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US for research and development.

He said those who have been accepted to study at these high-ranked universities will be given full scholarships and loans by the Tun Abdul Taib Foundation.

“That is the position for Sarawak because we feel that we must upgrade the talents of Sarawakians and they must be exposed to allow them to move forward,” he said, adding that Sarawak has no option other than to go digital.

He said over the past few months he has been busy with the academics on ways to upgrade Sarawak's Internet infrastructure with an allocation of RM1 billion, into high speed.

UNIMAS vice chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi, in his speech, said more efforts must be made to increase the number of students to take science subjects, adding that only 26 per cent of the students in Sarawak are of the STEM background.

“Our efforts to increase the percentage of STEM students are in place and are well implemented and this is in order to prepare the people to be a developed nation by the year 2030,” he said.

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