01/10/2020 07:45 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 -- Upskilling for micro-credentials is the way forward when academic qualifications as in the age of the new normal can no longer be treated traditionally, says Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar.

Without continuous learning and upskilling, he said, individuals and Malaysia would be “left further behind”.

“And I think if there's one thing that COVID-19 has accelerated, it is this digitalisation of life that we need.

“The amount of digitalisation that has taken place over the last six months or so has been tremendous. With the current 91 per cent of mobile 4G coverage, we hope that by 2022 we can bring it up to 97-98 per cent,” he said at the launch of the Redbeat Academy by AirAsia Digital and Google here today.

He said investments to build more 4G towers in the country are in the pipeline to ensure that the country would have almost 100 per cent coverage into the rural and uncovered areas.

“Another important effort that we are also undertaking is to increase human capital. We hear from technology companies that there's not enough talent. It's not that the talent is no good, but the good talent.. there's not enough of it,” he said.

On COVID-19 vaccine, the minister said he had discussed with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin about the possibility of securing it from pharmaceutical companies approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and Health Ministry.

“The NPRA will look at the safety and efficacy data from the pharmaceutical companies and they will study that data to ensure that it will be safe,” he said.

Besides companies, he said Malaysia was also in discussions with other governments like China to procure the vaccines.

“We don't even know if it's going to be successful, so we are studying the legal implications of advanced purchase.

“As far as pricing is concerned, we are looking at anywhere between US$5 to US$20 (US$1=RM4.14) per person. That is the indicative price range right now, depending on negotiations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Khairy dismissed the suggestion of a snap general election.

“I think it is irresponsible to have the general election anytime soon. We are seeing the COVID-19 numbers coming back and judging from the situation during the Sabah state election, compliance with the standard operating procedures among the dignitaries and the public was very loose.

“We can’t take the risk so it is not a good idea,” he added.





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