“ILPKL is M’sia’s first TVET institute, not Ungku Omar Polytechnic”

IT was surprising and ridiculous that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the National TVET Day would be celebrated on June 2, in conjunction with the establishment of Politeknik Ungku Omar, which he mistakenly called “the earliest institution to provide TVET education since 1969”.

In fact, the first institution to provide technical, vocational education and training (TVET) education in the country would be the Institut Latihan Perindustrian Kuala Lumpur (ILPKL), located in Kuchai Lama.  

This institute, under the Department of Manpower (JTM) and Human Resources Ministry (MOHR), was established in 1964 and was the first institute set up by the Government to conduct formal vocational training.  

The institute started from a small training center that ran apprenticeship courses in certain areas of craftsmanship such as electrical, plumbing, printing and carpentry, with infrastructures from Japan and Australia. 

It has now grown into one of the largest public skills training institutes. 

It is unfortunate that the prime minister was not advised by the MOHR about this fact and completely disregarded the rich history of the institute. 

You cannot simply erase and rewrite history. 

The rich history of the institute included it featuring prestigious Japanese lecturers from International Labour Organization (ILO) and was visited by numerous VIPs including Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak and fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.  

Don’t forget history   

Why has the Government neglected all this? 

As a minister, I visited the institute in 2018 and later spearheaded the ministry’s collaboration with Daikin Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Daikin Malaysia) to train 3,000 technicians through the implementation of the human resource development programme, “Air-Conditioner Certified Technician” (ACCT) by 2020, in which ILPKL would be one of the institutes involved. 

The programme, which was established in collaboration with the Department of Manpower (JTM), was aimed at improving the skills and efficiency of technicians in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry. 

Hence, I urge the Ismail Sabri to rectify this great mistake as TVET is such an important avenue for our children and they must also treasure its history.  

If he alongside the ministries involved at this event can display such incompetence and disregard to our history, it is a sad day for all Malaysians. 

Admit the mistake and correct this wrong, Mr Prime Minister. – June 21, 2022


M Kula Segaran is a former human resources minister and the MP for Ipoh Barat.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia. 

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