KUCHING – A government backbencher Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing (BN-Meradong) said steps must be taken by the relevant parties to ensure the recruitment of Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) holders into the Sarawak state civil service can really take off.

He said this could further enhance the good name of the Sarawak government as far as pioneering the recognition of UEC was concerned while many government agencies were also facing severe shortage of Mandarin speaking officers to cater to those not so fluent in Bahasa Malaysia.

The Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) is a standardised test for Chinese independent high school students organised by the United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (UCSCAM) since 1975.

He said at present Sarawak has the most number of Chinese Independent Schools in the country.

“I thank former Chief Minister, the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem for taking the initiative and the new Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg in supporting to champion the cause of UEC in giving due recognition, yearly grant and agreeing to recruit UEC holders into the state civil service.

“However, the result of the latter leaves a lot to be desired, as to my knowledge there is only one UEC holder being recruited in the state civil service so far,” he said during the debate on the motion of thanks to the Sarawak Yang Di-Pertua Negeri at the State Legislative Assembly sitting here today.

Ding also applauded Abang Johari’s determination to upkeep the high level of racial, cultural and religious tolerance that have proved to be the key factors that have kept Sarawakians together as a closely knit family.

“We trust that our state government will continue to safeguard the interest of all Sarawakians, not only in defending our rights and privileges but also in ensuring that unity, peace and harmony among all races are upheld at all times,” he said.

On the fate of the only institute of higher education in Meradong, the Rajang Teachers’ Training Institute (formerly known as Rajang Teachers College), he urged Sarawak’s newly appointed Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research and the state government, particularly the chief minister to fight against any intention to close down the centre.

Founded in 1966 by a joint venture between the government of Malaysia and the government of New Zealand on ??32.3-hectare site, the construction cost of RM1.5 million was funded jointly under the Colombo Plan.

The Rajang Teachers College was officially launched on Oct 31, 1967 by Tun Abang Openg Sapiee, the then Sarawak Governor and the late father of Abang Johari.

— Bernama