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Young Malaysians must be able to “learn, unlearn and relearn” to adapt to changes in a globalised world.

Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the ability to adapt to change was also part of human resource development, one of the four strategic thrusts of Budget 2005.

He said it was crucial for Malaysia to develop skilled human capital to attain developed nation status within the next 15 years, and imperative that the Malaysian education system produces graduates who are resilient in the face of economic uncertainties and had cognitive and transferable skills.

The education system also had to build students’ capabilities in science, innovation and creativity, as these would help Malaysia leapfrog into advanced nation status.

“People who have the right knowledge, skills and capabilities will also be more marketable and able to command better pay. And because they are equipped with transferable skills, they can move between industries at little cost,” said Abdullah at the official opening of the Limkokwing University College of Creative Technology campus here.

“In order to face the new realities and compete successfully in the new economy, Malaysia must strengthen its capacity for innovation and knowledge creation activities.”

He called on academia and industry to forge closer links and increase the commercialisation of research and development, and improve the legal framework to protect intellectual property rights.

The education sector must also strengthen itself by forging links with foreign universities. Abdullah said this would help curb the outflow of RM2 billion annually when students study abroad.

He said to promote healthy competition, both public and private universities should be ranked and private education institutions be graded. The Prime Minister noted the rising number of students in universities and said an estimated 600,000 more places had to be created by 2010.

Later, Abdullah presented the National Creativity & Innovation Awards 2005 to several top brands.

Also present were the University College’s president Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing, Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Salleh, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Jamaludin Jarjis, and Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.