The first lab session on “Setting Up the Human Capital Blueprint” was held on19 December 2017 at Dewan Perdana UPEN, Wisma SEDIA, Kota Kinabalu. The half-day lab was one of the tools to kick start the establishment of the Human Capital Blueprint. The lab was organised by Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) – (IDS), Sabah State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN) and Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) cum the Secretariat for establishing the blueprint. The lab was attended by 78 participants comprising of government officials, industry players, public and private higher learning institutions, skills provider institutions and members of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).


The session was chaired by the then Executive Director of IDS, Datuk Mohd. Hasnol Bin Ayub. In his welcoming remarks, he briefed on the scenarios of human capital development for Sabah, the need to ensure the establishment of the human capital blueprint, and why it is very timely for Sabah. Sabah’s priority now is to move in tandem with the fast changing economic environment, by exploiting the state’s assets and resources.


The blueprint will take approximately 6 months to 1 year to be completed. It is important that all stakeholders reach a consensus, same understanding and direction to be able to model the human capital agenda for the future.


Datuk Mohd. Hasnol handed the session over to Dr. Mohamed Haleem Mohamed Razi and Datuk Dr. Worran Haji Kabul, acting as the moderators for the lab session. The main objective of the lab is to gather inputs on current urgent issues on human capital management in Sabah, and establish a framework for the human capital blueprint.


The lab was divided into two parts. In the first part, three papers were presented by the Working Committee on the lab structure and related information on human capital development in Sabah. The second part is the laboratory or interactive session.


The session started with presentation on lab structure by Dr. Mohamed Haleem. Efforts that have been undertaken previously include engagement with the stakeholders and brainstorming session. He further explained the core that lies within the development of human capital involves commitment from all, including fostering innovative mentality.


It was finalised that there are ‘no’ formal blueprint on human capital in Sabah, rather documents on manpower study done by Ministry of Human Resource based on two session held prior to the lab session. The information is not sufficient to be the guideline for Sabah in managing its human capital. Dr. Mohamed Haleem then urged everyone to start fresh, and look at human capital agenda as a new goal to be achieved for future Sabahan.

Session 1: Paper Presentations


Paper 1:


UPEN: “Sabah Long Term Strategic Action Plan” (SABAH.LEAP) by Madam Gwendolen Vu, Deputy Director of UPEN


Sabah.LEAP contains a holistic vision that provides the long term strategies or general forward looking directional guide to realise Sabah’s vision and its associated target.


The main objective of Sabah.LEAP is to transform the face of Sabah’s economy into a competitive and innovative economy emphasising on the importance of making Sabah an attractive avenue for investment. The economic transformation also aims to increase the standard of social well-being where the plan aims to drive Sabah to achieve upper-middle income and subsequently a high-income nation. Additionally, this plan also addresses the pressing need to foster environmental sustainability and making Sabah the heart of eco-tourism.


Highlights from the presentation:


The presentation includes the details of the Sabah.LEAP:


  • The components of Sabah.LEAP according to policy areas which are economic, social, environmental and public delivery services.


  • Outline of Sabah’s plans to achieve the status of ‘green state’.


  • Identified industries (service, manufacturing and agriculture) identified to be the main drivers to aid Sabah’s development. Each industry is set an objective to be achieved by 2035.


  • Sabah’s ‘five years theme’ within the time frame of 2016-2035 to achieve environmental sustainability. The development of this is also divided into four different phases.


  • The tentative for the development of human capital to create a work force that is in line with industries demand. This tentative is divided into four different phases.


  • The eight requirements for Sabah to achieve its goal as a developed state by 2035 encompass social, economic and environmental aspects.


Sabah is now focusing on a long term goal to create a dynamic workforce consisting of educated local Sabahan to meet the demand of the fast-changing big industries in Sabah at the same time ensuring good standard of social well-being. Sabah.LEAP is an agenda that encompasses all aspects including economic, social and environmental aimed to pump Sabah into  a developed and green state as well as a high income nation.

Paper 2:


Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA): “Development and Human Capital Requirement in SDC” by Madam Janet Lee Oi Chin


Highlights from the presentation:


  • Sabah has its strengths in certain economic sectors such as palm oil, agriculture, tourism, and oil & gas and energy. Kota Kinabalu has seen healthy population growth and is currently the tourism gateway from major destination in Asia. However, Sabah still faces some fundamental issues being one of the poorest state, the lack of human capital or talents to fill new vacancies and the need to improve global connectivity for sea and air freight logistic as well Inter-land connectivity + internet speed and coverage;


  • Key challenges in Human Capital Development as extracted from World Bank Report includes uneven quality of basic education, low skill base of the labour force, mismatch between skills supplied and needed, low take-up and variable quality of technical and vocational education and over reliance on low skill foreign workers;


  • Human Capital component in SDC:


¨ The Human Capital Development roadmap started from 2013, through the identification of quick wins/pilot projects with Entry Point Projects (EPPs) to address immediate skills needs; 2013 to 2015, fostering a collaboration between industry, education institutions and government; 2016 to 2020, developing a sustainable, collaborative model to forecast, plan, attract, retain and develop talent.


¨ By 2020, it is projected that the industry will require about 36,757 or 26% skilled workers, 56,314 or 39% of semi-skilled workers and 50,850 (35%) low-skilled workers across all key economic sectors.


¨ Human capital development initiatives in SDC includes National Talent Enhancement Programme (NTEP), SDC Incubation Programme, 1 Agro-SAIP Training Programme and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) collaboration.


Paper 3:


IDS: “IDS Role in Human Capital Planning in Sabah” by Puan Hjh. Hasnah Samsudin, Senior Manager of IDS (Sabah)


SEDIA and IDS has been given the responsibility to jointly lead the human capital development initiative in Sabah, as decided during the 15th SEDIA Board Meeting on 25 March 2014, chaired by the Y.A.B. Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman, Chief Minister of Sabah. The initial approach is looks at the demand and supply perspective, focusing on three critical sectors, namely agriculture, tourism, and oil and gas which are crucial for Sabah’s economy as stated in the Halatuju of SDC. Another important sector to Sabah’s economy, and a booming industry, the Creative Industry was also looked into. Each cluster led by a cluster leader identifies and addresses the gap between human capital training and industry needs.


  • Ministry of Human Resource Development and Information Technology appointed IDS to chair committee to organise a seminar on human capital, addressing the issues of human capital development in Sabah. However, a one day seminar was not sufficient to provide a holistic solutions to human capital issues in Sabah. A blueprint is required to guide the human capital planning for Sabah.


  • IDS took the initiative to synergise efforts in terms of the development of hard and soft infrastructure within the human capital planning, and propose the establishment of a blueprint.


  • Stakeholders engagement:


¨ It is timely for Sabah to have an inclusive human capital blueprint – catching up with rapid development in Sabah. It is also important that all stakeholders reach a consensus, similar understanding and direction. Consolidated input is needed to produce a comprehensive and a holistic blueprint.


¨ Working Committee has been established to create a Human Capital Blueprint for Sabah, led by Datuk Dr. Worran (IDS) and  Dr. Mohamed Haleem (UCSF).


  • The human capital blueprint for Sabah should be inclusive, involving consolidated efforts among all stakeholders, completed within the time frame of 6 months. The basis on creating the human capital would be initiatives done by UPEN and SEDIA, namely Sabah.LEAP and SDC. Series of labs and discussion will be held to gather inputs and constructing the framework of the blueprint.


  • IDS will integrate efforts between SEDIA and UPEN, assisting both agencies in establishing a comprehensive plan that covers the need of human capital stakeholders. Planning done by SEDIA and UPEN to be aligned with the human capital development. Input and information from stakeholders are crucial to ensure that this blueprint ‘belongs’ to everyone.


Session 2: Laboratory Session / Question &Answer


Highlights and recommendations from discussion session between moderators and the stakeholders:


  • Initiating an engagement with industry players, educators, universities and society as a whole to develop a holistic human capital blueprint and come out with the requirement for midterm and long term goals. The main focus is to ensure that graduates meet the requirements of the industries.


  • Designing a system that is suitable and more compatible for youths in this region.


  • Entrepreneurship to be emphasized to provide employment opportunities. More than 90% entrepreneurs play an important role in Malaysian economy.


  • Develop an action blueprint on how to actualise the existing documents. It should highlight solutions to the problems related to human capital development in Sabah.


  • Highlighting the green agenda; looking into green technology instead of high carbon footprint producers (e.g. petroleum). The blueprint will state comprehensive issues regarding human capital to be more inclusive.


  • The logistic industry specially the port industry is highly reliant on skilled labour. A maritime academy was proposed whereby retirees from the industry could train new recruits. A long term plan would look into a developing a shipping industry as a total logistic solution.


  • Skill development plan on the long term basis pertaining the professional growth to of increase productivity.


  • Cultural diversity to be incorporated in the curriculum to change overall mindset, and be adaptable to the industry.


  • The rural communities proposed to have the same facilities as urban areas. Mindset to work and earn has to be nurtured, and not be dependable on government’s aids.


  • Inviting youth, and listening to their needs from their perspective.


  • Technical skills to be emphasised.


  • Most of the industry workforce candidates have good academic results but are lacking in communications and critical thinking skill, and are unable to think strategically.


  • Changing attitudes and mindset, as most candidates lacks the ability to thrives; inability to see things through and be competitive and productive.


  • Adapting to the blue ocean strategy to match the industry needs.


  • Looking into the training of the rural communities’ i.e. creating websites, handling emails, basic communication skill (i.e. English) and accounting skills.


Corina Emily Claudius, Muntazilah Rhadiah Ramlee, Nurul Masyirah Aklee & Siti Farizan Omar


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