Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sibu In The Blue Ocean - Part 35

When moving on to touch on Key Capabilities for "Sibu In The Blue Ocean", Tan Kee Hian actually took the audience for a journey to see "the qualities which Sibuians have for bettering Sibu but which may not have been fully developed".

As pointed out, the Key capabilities are parallel in degree of importance to the Blue Ocean Strategies. Together, they compose 10 Blue Ocean Ideas which shed lights on the future for Sibu.

The 5 Key Capabilities propounded by Kee Hian are as follows:

1. Changing mindset, values and beliefs
2. Systematic, error-free execution
3. Private-sector-driven development
4. "Sibu is not an island"
5. A conducive place for talents to flourish

The picture shows the glittering fireworks over the sky of Sibu on the night of Chinese New Year's Eve in 2009. All the glamour seemed to belie a bleak outlook for Sibu. Photo: Wong Meng Lei


Dave said...

I believe the 5 capabilites are proposed are setting Sibu in the right direction. But the one thing that Sibu lacks is the political power base. We are simply in no position to muzzle any sizeable developmental funds to jumpstart the econonomy.

Tan Kee Hian said...

A few people have asked about the abandoned "Methodist University in Bulkit Lan". I am afraid I do not know anything about it. Suffice to say, I am very pleased it did not happen, as I am sure it would be just one of the hundred or so 'vanilla' university colleges we see in Malaysia today. I urge you to put your energy and creativity to creating a propserous future for Sibu, rather than dwell on the past.

Tan Kee Hian

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your view on the Polytechnic University.

I wished you have asked the 500+ people to provide input after the talk.

I, however, felt that I am not very satisfied with the idea. I don't think we will be doing something unique for Sibu. It will be an average product. The bar has always to be set higher.

scho said...

Long time ago, there was a public vocational school which is now a public secondary school.

天鵝江畔 said...

1912 Methodist missionaries did set up a agricultural school at Bukit Lan.
1998 Methodist University was proposed to the Education Department in Malaysia. A study tour organised by Methodist Higher Education from America United Methodist Church did pay a visit to Bukit Lan. The CMM made a report at front page.But the proposal received no response.
I think Sibu need more Infrastructure as a basic development in future, our politician actually did nothing in the past few years if compare to China and surrounding areas.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony - I'm pleased to meet you in Sibu on Nov 27. Cheers and joy to you and your family, :p.

James Wong
Class of 78 (Form 5)
Sacred Heart School, Sibu

Tony Hii said...

James, thank you for dropping by. Please contribute your much-valued ideas or comments. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Dave said...

I am not too sure whether having a Polytechnic will do as traditional poly are aimed at providing specialized technical skills or courses. I think that's precisely what United College and the Maritime Academy are trying to do. in some niche area. For example: Singapore Polytechnic, the nation's first educational institution of its kind, was set up in 1954 to train technologists and professionals to support the industrialisation and economic development of Singapore.

So what precisely is Sibu Economy now or going to be? The proposed Blue Ocean strategy is to set us on a different path but we need to consider what the government has in mind for SCORE & Sibu. If there are none, then we will pursue our own growth. And for that, we need to get our MP to ask the Federal government and the CM directly. Local politicians does not seem to have much power in economic development matters.

Just read from TheStar today. Government is planning a 600m airport in Mukah. So again without political power, the airport extension is put on hold so that some body can build a another airport out of nowwhere. Today the 700m Bintulu airport serves less than the old Sibu airport by more than half. That's what I wanted to find out.

Anonymous said...



經營餐廳的話﹐設備要完善﹐廚師需要是一流的﹐菜單是高級的﹐菜當然需要好吃的﹐價錢還需要符合大家的經濟能力。建設大學也需要有這個理念﹐不能一開始就只打算為普通學生所開設課程。我們都曉得本地人的心願﹐目標設得不夠高﹐經營出來的水平大概還會在目標之下﹐這樣我不敢領教Polytechnic University會是一所怎樣的大學了。

Tan Kee Hian said...

Anon 5.04 pm,

Mr Hii, who chaired the panel after my lecture, invited questions but sadly there was only one longish comment by an old (I don't mean in terms of age) friend of mine.

He went on to invite all everyone to contribute ideas, suggestions and comments in the MPI Blog (link at the top left corner of this blog.) The response started slow, but seems to be trending upwards in the last few weeks. I promise at the panel to personally read, respond and add additional comments as appropriate.

May I take the liberty of inviting you to contact Judy Wong who has a copy of a fairly detailed strategy paper I developed on the proposed 'polytechnic' university for Sibu. She is part of a group that has also been fully briefed by me on the strategy.

I believe you will find the bar I have set to be much higher than most universities in Malaysia. It will be a unique and extremely powerful institution of higher learning if implemented fully.

Our individual assessments of the bar also depend on how we define what success means, and from whose perspectives. I can assure you I always set high targets/intent and stretched goals in everything I do.

To all who read this, please do not focus on the adjective "polytechnic". Consider the entire concept. Look at all four components of the total concept, and the description of the deliverables, i.e. products and services. The "whole" is much "greater than the sum of the parts".

I wish I could chat with you and others in person to clarify many questions and comments. Unfortunately, I am back in London where it has been snowing for the last few days.

Perhaps it might help to have an informal session over teh tarek at the cafe in Premier hotel or kopitiam with all interested, when I am next back in Sibu in February.

Thanks for you (anon 5.04 pm) for motivating me to respond. You are right to raise these good questions.

Judy said...

Thanks Kee Hian for your time in clarifying some misconceptions on the "Polytechnic University" that you had propounded.
With your generous permission, I will be more than happy to give a copy of the strategy paper to those who are really interested and have been engaging in serious discussions on the dev of Sibu lately.
I was hoping to ask someone who was involved in the Meth Univ. proposal to give a proper or 'official' response.
Anyway, as far as I know, the proposal/document was sent to the Education ministry in KL. However there was no response or reply from the ministry.
Attempts were made to ask influential political leaders to help but to no avail.
What I do know and the few occasions that I was present at briefings by Higher Education Minsitry officials (in my capacity as CEO/Principal of MPI in 2000 onwards, we were told and reminded(whenever the subject was raised up by interested parties) that colleges or any other interested party cannot apply to set up a university. "You have to be invited to set-up or become one". the exact words used.
About 6 years ago, things changed. There was a more liberal policy towards education. Private primary and secondary schools were allowed and even encourated to be set up.
Some established private universities were invited to be up-graded to Univ Colleges.
After about 5 years a few Univ Colleges with good track record and academic achievements have been given Univ status.
For those of you who are concerned with the word "Polytechnic" used, rest assured that for lack of a better term "Polytechnic Univ." that Kee Hian refers to is not the kind of polytechnics that we used to hear of eg in UK, Singpaore or even Malaysia.
Kee Hian has pointed out some excellent examples of such universities in Hong Kong and Singapore. They are now the choice univ. that even top scholars would prefer to go to.

Tan Kee Hian said...


Thanks for your comments.

Note the third key capability I listed is private-sector driven development approach. I believe there should be sufficient private financing power and business leadership in Sibu, based in Sibu, or originated from Sibu. How can we mobilise these resources? Where is the will?

Various government leaders including PM Najib and MOF 2 Husni have recently stated that unless we can ramp up private investments fast, Malaysia's future growth is seriously at risk, after more than 10 years of lacklustre development. I assume then that the proposed private-sector driven approach is totally in line with government's intent.

I would like SCORE to achieve all the stated objectives and more. Then, even if Sibu is not one of the prime centre of attention, Sibu people will use their ingenuity to capture much trickle-down benefits. However, I urge people of Sibu not to worry too much about SCORE. Let's control our own destiny, and do what is right for Sibu and get on with it. It's easier said than done, I admit. But we must start somewhere. Just sitting, talking and gazing at our navels will surely not shift Sibu from the current trend towards darkness and oblivion!

You are right in your posting at 9.40 pm to bring up the role of the MPs in raising the needs of Sibu to the Federal Government and CM. Why stop with just the MP? I understand one of the Federal Minister or Assistant Minister is from Sibu. What good are local politicians if they are not willing and able to champion the urgent fundamental needs of Sibu? Is it a question of power or a question of will and courage to fight for a good cause?

I have been away from Sibu a long time, so I don't know the how good the local leaders are :-T But I encourage you to lobby and push the politicians, as well as the business leaders, the community leaders, and the church leaders. Hold them accountable for their roles and promises. Those appointed to leadership positions and who benefitted from Sibu have moral obligations to give something back. Lastly, help them as they might need your support to break down bigger barriers.

Kee Hian

Tan Kee Hian said...


You have my consent to share the strategy paper. Please handle with care, as no written strategy document can fully capture all the underlying thinking, soft intent, and future refinements.

Use it as you see fit.

Kee Hian

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I think all the comments have great value and are very thought provoking.

All factors must come into play to enable Sibu to move forward.

And if SCORE is going to move forward Sibu should also be part of it. Otherwise Sibu will be left behind again.

Anonymous said...

The Methodist University Concept was part of several proposals of COUNCIL OF EDUCATION of the Methodist Church when Bishop Peter Chio was then Bishop of Methodist Church, I was his nominee who sat on the Council.I was told Bishop Chio is in Sibu from time to time. May be someone can contact him for a brief.

I consider Miri's Riam Instute of Tecknology is good model of reasonal success.If we can duplicate and improve on it in Sibu, why not?

ACCA, CAT, computer courses are not going to attract too many students these days, even KL's long established technical colledges like PERTAMA INSTITUTE OF TECKNOLOGY, Federal Institue of Tecknology and the likes are .....
CHANGE AND ADAPT may only ensure your survival but you will never reach the bar envisaged by TKH

Judy said...

Definitely changes and adaptions are needed. New and relevant courses both at diploma and degree levels are on the way.
One challenging task is getting the relevant qualified professionals to come to Sibu as lecturers.
I would not use the word 'never'. Somehow I always remember what my former Englsih language teacher taught us when he stressed that we should 'never use the word never'.

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