Objective(s) of the Seminar

The objectives of the Seminar on Youth Unemployment: Entrepreneurship as Valuable Alternatives Source of Job Creation and Economic Dynamism for Youth in Sabah are:

  • To increase the public awareness especially youth on the vital role of entrepreneurship as job creation and providing opportunities to young people;
  • To provide updates on government efforts in encouraging entrepreneurship;
  • To provide an avenue for entrepreneurs and business leaders to share their experiences and responses on the best way of nurturing the next generation of wealth and job creators; and
  • To provide a platform for youth to be heard of what they need to enable them to succeed.

The Date, Venue and Subject Matter of the Seminar

The seminar was held on 13 September 2018 (Thursday) in Hyatt Regency Kinabalu Hotel, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The selection of speakers is made from different background and expertise but with the same understanding in addressing the issue of unemployment in Sabah from the perspective of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME). Insight view also taken from the academician perspective on youth inclusiveness in agriculture which involved the technology-rich environment. The other insight covers the comprehensive youth employment and development of entrepreneurship enablers for decent employment for young people based on Malaysian perspective. The Kiulu Tourism Association and Society of the Blind were invited to contribute knowledge and their experience in addressing the issue of unemployment in Sabah. Global view was given by an academician from Bogor Agriculture University of Indonesia being invited to share her view in capturing the young people’s aspiration and perception in regards to the pro-employment policies and creating a culture of high impact entrepreneurship to boost youth employment.

Attendees, Speakers and Moderator of the Seminar

The Seminar was attended by 232 participants from the line of policy makers, academicians, educationalists, youths, officials from relevant local government departments and agencies and, key stakeholders of private organisations from various industries in Sabah with six (6) experienced speakers and one moderator to preside over the seminar as follows:

Moderator of the seminar: Datuk Nancy Ho

Paper 1 – Trends and Prospects of Job Creation for Youth Employment: Technology, Sectoral Shift, Change in Job Landscape and Transition Pathways to Work for Youth by Mr. Foo Ngee Kee, Co-Founder and President, Small and Medium Enterprise Association Sabah.

Paper 2 – Youth Inclusiveness in Agriculture in Technology-rich Environment: Key Challenges and Sustainable Solutions by Dr. Jupikely James Silip, Director, UMS Ecofarm Management Centre, Faculty of Sustainable Agriculture, Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

Paper 3 – A Comprehensive Youth Employment and Development of Entrepreneurship Enablers for Decent Employment for Young People-Malaysian’s Experience by Dr. Bonaventure Boniface, Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

Paper 4 – Entrepreneurship as a Solution of Unemployment Problem: Challenges in Creating and Strengthening Networks of Young Entrepreneurs and Community to Share in Development Progress- Experience of Hilly Areas in Kiulu by Dr. Edmon Guntis, President, Kiulu Tourism Association.

Paper 5 – New Forms of Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship as an Alternative Solution to Youth Unemployment from the View of the Disabled by Ms. Mery Ringegon@Catherine the Chairman Society of the Blind Malaysia, Sabah Region.

Paper 6 – Pro-employment Policies and Creating a Culture of High Impact Entrepreneurship to Boost Youth Employment: Capturing Young People’s Aspirations and Perceptions on the Future World of Work by Dr. Sahara Djaenudin, Head of Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Management, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.

Intended Outcome

The goal of this seminar is to increase the public awareness especially among the youth on the vital role of entrepreneurship in job creations and providing opportunities to these young people to seriously considering the alternative of becoming entrepreneurs.


There were three players involved in financing and organising the event:

i. Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS Malaysia) – Main Sponsor.
ii. Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) (IDS) – Main Organiser: arranging and overseeing the overall conduct of the seminar.
iii. University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) – Collaborator: assisting in the overall conduct of the seminar, providing two speakers and introducing a speaker from Indonesia.

Issues and Challenges

6.1 Challenges in the labour market.

i. The changing job landscape i.e. job being replaced by digitisation such as travel agents, tellers, surveyors, journalist, legal assistant and finance assistant.
ii. Machine is widely used in the future. Self-check-in and self-checkout machine will be widely used in the market around the world.
iii. Insecure job-In Malaysia 2 out of 5 Malaysians fear of losing job.
iv. About 35% of the revolution industry will eventually generate a new high-skilled job higher than 28% of replacement of human workers.
v. New jobs are created such as Blogger, Sustainability Manager, Drone Operator, Apps Developer, Social Media Strategist and Data Scientist.

6.2 Challenges in the Agriculture Sector

i. No quarantine complex is build yet to facilitate exports of agriculture products to China.
ii. Infrequent and high costs of shipping freight in Sabah.
iii. Low scale due to lack of large fruit farm in Sabah.
iv. Unorganized smallholders and planting systems did not hit the China market requirements.
v. Youth nowadays has limited access to agriculture related knowledge, education and information, for example it is difficult to start agricultural activities without the knowledge of pre-harvest and post-harvest in agriculture.
vi. The youth often faced limited access to land and green jobs, financial constraints, limited access to market and limited involvement in policy dialogue, especially in agriculture.
vii. General lack of interest among the locals in Sabah, especially the younger generation. In other words, younger generation in Sabah would rather choose different industries (i.e. business, medical etc), compared to agriculture industry.
viii. Based on the statistic shown by the presenter, farming also is the least favourite job to choose by the youth globally (in the example given – Ethiopia), which represent about 9.4%. Even the top 10 job industries in Malaysia, based on Jobstreet.com findings, agriculture is not even in the list.
ix. Agriculture sector is the biggest contributor on job creation to Sabah’s economy (based on statistic by Sabah Development Corridor (SDC), yet locals are not interested to fill these jobs.
x. There are also challenges to use information and communication technology (ICT) in the food chain, which are:

Isolated software development;
Complicated handling large amount of data;Trigger societal changes;
Issue on connectivity, capacity and cost; and
Ability to use ICT at individual, organizational and institutional level.

6.3 Challenges in the Soft Skill Aspects among Youths

i. English proficiency. This issue is still a major factor that hinders our fresh graduate from getting the right job.
ii. Too choosy. From employers’ point of view, this issue always expressed by them as a reason for our fresh graduate failed to be employ.
iii. Lack of communication skills. This is one the reason that might cause our fresh graduate to be unemployed. Employers are very particular in some of the soft skills especially the communication skills, as this set of skills can bridge gaps and improve any negative situation if it is handled well. However, our graduates are not polished with this type of skill.
iv. Poor character, attitude or personality. Having a very good academic qualification does not guarantee you to be employed. It has to come with a good character, attitude or personality.

6.4 Challenges faced by the rural tourism industry in Sabah.

i. Financial constraint to start up the business: This issue is a common problem found in any kind of business. Solution to the problem is to do start-up the business in small scale as long as they have patience and commitment in their business.
ii. Difficulty in creating a viable business plan i.e. majority of entrepreneurs failed to come up with the good business plan that hinders them to succeed in the business.
iii. Lack of basic infrastructure: Basic infrastructure includes road access, internet signal, public facilities and, etc. This problem could contribute to some difficulties for visitors to reach a tourist destination. In addition, due to the poor internet excess especially in rural area, for example in Kiulu, this could indirectly give impact to their marketing strategy as information or promotion could not be done through online. The access of the location and basic information also limited.
iv. Lack of Innovation: The need to have an innovative product could increase the number of tourist visiting the location. However, the current scenario of our rural tourism entrepreneurs, everybody seems to offer same product and services. From one point to another, there is no difference and this might not attract the tourist more. Therefore, an intervention from the ministry is needed to help these local people to think more creative and innovative. For example, training in communication skills, safety knowledge and etc.
v. Imbalance tourism development and environmental: Improper plan to sustain the environmental in line with the rapid development of tourism sector will have huge impacts in future. It is important to practice environmentally friendly rural tourism.

6.5 The challenges faced by the disabled people in Sabah.

i. The disabled persons faced difficulty in getting a proper education at higher institution due to some reason such as financial constraint, lacking of skilled trainers and lack of advance technological equipment to assist those needed.
ii. A negative vibe from the employer makes it’s more difficult for the disabled person to be recruited because of the trust issue from the employer. The speaker shared her experienced as a disabled person in getting a job after graduated from university.


1. The suggestion to shift the minds of youths today to venture to the agriculture sector is a brilliant idea and could somehow reinstate most possible jobs that might loss due to the coming of industry 4.0.

2. Improving plans or develop new plans of the policy makers and encouraging the youth to venture in the entrepreneurship by adopting technologies such as the artificial intelligence capable of becoming a smart assistant, robotic or robots programme to perform tasks with minimum human intervention, Internet of Things, 3D printing.

3. In reshaping business with Artificial Intelligence, organizational levels have to change their workers’ skill sets and to improve productivity. The current skill sets will be augmented and reduction in workforce. These can be overcome through training and absorbing new skills.

4. The important to have the knowledge in assessing the environment and agricultural trend and their patterns in order to make the right decisions in venturing the agriculture industry. The Third Sabah Agricultural Policy 2015-2024 also outlined the development of human capital especially in agricultural sector. National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) also provide guidance and focus on enhancing Sabah’s human capital development, across all industries in Sabah. On the educational institutional side, the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2015-2025 outlined the stages and phases on encouraging youth to not just be a job seeker but also a job creator.

5. The creation of “agriculture app” which include the information such as crops yield analysis, spreading, diagnosis of diseases, field monitoring, variable rate of fertilities, soil erosion, smart data, and water source. With the help of this app, it might increase the efficiency of management for crops, land, production and any business related in agriculture.

6. Management of the big data. Real data is to confirm supply and demand of work force in agriculture to indicate basic need of big data in the sector. Sabah needs a platform for big data in agriculture, to transform rural livelihoods with the power of information.

7. To adapt the entrepreneurship and ICT skills in all courses offered for graduates in higher learning institution.

8. Financially, MyAgrosis offers a programme on gaining access to start up entrepreneurship. It is a platform where the new entrepreneurs could request for support in term of equipment, machinery and raw materials.

9. Prospects of Job Creation for Youth Employment through Entrepreneurship in Sabah proposed by SME Sabah. The two main projects which has a big potential to be developed in Sabah are as follows:

  • Tropical fruits farming for exports (Durians) and


  • Free-lance licence tour guide


10. In order to venture into digital entrepreneur, these young generations need to increase the knowledge related to digital marketing and current trends of businesses.

11. To set up an entrepreneurship and development centre/institute, focusing on training and as a ‘start-up’ program for the youth. The training will focus on enhancing the soft and technical skills of the youth. The speaker made some recommendation on the available financial assistant such as Federal Agricultural Malaysia Authority (FAMA), Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs), MARA, TERAJU, Tabung Ekonomi Kumpulan Usahawan Niaga (TEKUN).

12. To increase the security. The speaker advise that those who commercialising their businesses using digital entrepreneurs, have to use ‘Blockchain’ technology in ensuring the security of their online business. This technology basically will prevent any parties to access sensitive data without the permission of the owner.

13. Establishment of vocational school, techno park as a platform for research and business development, innovation centre dedicated for young people interested in digital technologies.

14. Parents with disabled child have to encourage and motivate their child to be independent. They need to know the right channel to get any assistant from the government or NGOs. Parents also need to know any the right kind of trainings or schools that provide specific education for their child needs.

15. The government needs to increase the availability of facilities such as special primary/secondary school and a university for disabled students. It is important to have these facilities nowadays in order to help this group to be able to get a qualified academic qualification and professional skills for the future undertakings.

16. The disabled person can reach Ministry of Health and People’s Well-being, Department of Human Resources or organizations for/of the disabled to start their business by providing them with financial aid that varies between RM 500 to RM 5000.

17. To increase awareness and better understandings of the needs of disabled person.

18. The speaker emphasise that there are plenty of jobs that could be handle by a disabled person by training them such as administrator, lawyer, teacher/lecture, counsellor, culinary, masseurs and librarians, provided they being given the opportunity and trust to handle the job (considering the qualification and skills gain by the individuals). Furthermore, with the aided by technologies, disabled person could do online marketing, human resources, computer programming, telemarketing and publishing.

19. The disabled also could do other businesses with proper training such as catering, spa and health centres, manufacturing, poultry farming, multi-level marketing and retailing. The speaker herself ventured into a spa and health business since 2008. She also founded a spa and health centre in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.


In general, the seminar has given positive impacts to the audience by providing knowledge, information and updates on youth unemployment: entrepreneurship as a valuable alternative source of job creation and economic dynamism for youth in Sabah. The suggestions and opinions have been taken into account by the relevant public and private agencies, institutions and organizations in formulating strategic measures in their specific fields to address the issue of youth unemployment here in Sabah.


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