Youth Skills Training Centres Much-Needed in Spaoh

BETONG: The robust infrastructure and economic development in the sub-district of Spaoh here, including the construction of the short take-off and landing airport (STOLpot), has provided many job opportunities for locals, especially the youths.

Spaoh resident Muhammad Maluddin, 40, said that in line with the spillover of economic opportunities, basic training in skills should be provided, especially for youths to enable them to meet the demand for manpower in the future.

“Skills training centres in various fields must also be set up so that youths here can acquire basic skills, especially for those who are less academically inclined, for example in brick laying or wiring,” he told Bernama recently.

Through formal training, youths in this area who are more inclined towards the field of skills will have the opportunity to at least obtain a certificate to make it easier for them to apply for suitable jobs, he said.

According to him, the existing training centres like Pusat Giat Mara, Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (CENTEXS) and several others were concentrated in Betong, which is about 40 kilometres (km) from Spaoh.

“With the certificate, it will be easier for them to apply for jobs as, these days, even ‘contract’ work pays quite high. This is one way to resolve the social issues so prevalent in this area,” he said.

Trader Dayang Ita Abang Dai, 63, said Spaoh town was now attracting more people and this had helped increase his sales revenue.

“Nowadays, many business centres are opening here and once the airport is ready, there will be more demand and this will surely benefit traders here,” said Dayang Ita, who sells traditional kuih like ‘pulut panggang’ that is popular among locals.

Situated about 270 km away from the city of Kuching, the town of Spaoh, which is also famous for ikan buntal kuning (lunartail puffer fish), is becoming more congested with an increase in traffic following the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway.

Spaoh, with its agriculture and fishing community, is located in the Bukit Saban state assembly constituency that is currently held by Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

Uggah will defend the seat under the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) ticket in the 12th state election this time.

For Muhammad, Dayang Ita and other Spaoh residents interviewed by Bernama recently, most admitted that Uggah had brought a lot of development to the area.

Prior to being the elected Bukit Saban state representative in 2016, Uggah was the Betong MP for three decades.

According to the locals, Uggah’s friendly nature and his practice of always going down to the ground to see for himself the problems faced by the people had endeared him to the voters in Bukit Saban.

At the 11th state election in 2016, Uggah contested under the Barisan Nasional-Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu ticket, won by a majority of 4,599 votes defeating Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s Noel Changgai, who only obtained 925 votes. – Bernama