KOTA KINABALU: The formation of the Sabah Young Entrepreneurs and Professionals  Foundation (SAYAP) augurs well with the State Government’s aspiration to build a quality  human capital pool through the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya initiative, said Chief Minister  Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor. 

“I am happy to learn that SAYAP comprised professionals and entrepreneurs from various  industries such as Oil and Gas, Digital Technology, Economics and Finance, Medicine,  Construction and Architecture, Sustainable and Renewable Energy, Social  Entrepreneurs as well as young state civil servants.  

“Most of you are already successful in your own right hence I strongly support  the formation of SAYAP as an independent group to contribute to Sabah’s development.  Well done!” he said at the launching of SAYAP at the Marriot Hotel here today. 

In his speech delivered by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Panglima  Masidi Manjun, the Chief Minister said he was impressed by this initiative and the  enthusiasm by a group of young Sabahans who have returned either from working or  studying abroad and who wish to voluntarily contribute and participate in the development  of Sabah.  

“I applaud and support SAYAP’s initiatives to kickstart and provide a voice to this  generation of upcoming Sabahan professionals and entrepreneurs.  

“I am happy to hear that SAYAP aspires to be the bridge between the state government  agencies and across the private sectors and industries while supporting the state’s Hala  Tuju SMJ Roadmap.  

“I want to hear from SAYAP and all young Sabahans and also to offer you a platform  where you can empower other young professionals and entrepreneurs to contribute to the  state’s development,” he said. 

Hajiji said Sabah has the second largest population in Malaysia, which means it has a  large pool of talent and potential customers.  

“Nevertheless, the state government acknowledges the crucial issue of brain drain. As  the chief executive of the state, I have stressed and prioritised the importance of human capital and included it as one of the main thrusts of the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya  Development Plan. 

“We are committed to eradicating brain drain and building the strengths and skillsets  through the various initiatives we have implemented,” he said.  

Hajiji who is also Finance Minister said RM175.61 million has been allocated in next year’s  budget for human capital and ICT development through various initiatives to spur  students’ interests in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and Science,  Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), among others. He said the allocation  will also involve bridging the digital gap in rural areas to expand digital coverage and spur  digital transformation in Sabah.  

He added that ICT development in Sabah will also be given emphasis and the Sabah  Skills and Technology Centre will be introducing initiatives to develop and support digital  industry development while continuing the Industrial Revolution 4.0 technology training  throughout next year. 

At the same time, the Sabah Creative Economic and Innovation Centre will also continue  its programme to ensure Sabah’s human capital talent continues to be enhanced.  

Another achievement in the efforts to develop Sabah’s human capital was the signing of  Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between University Technology Petronas and  University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF) in October this year. 

Through the collaboration, he said UCSF will offer Oil and Gas based courses at its  campus to produce more local students in various fields in this sector.