KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Malaysia’s first and oldest polytechnic, Politeknik Ungku Omar (PUO), Perak, will undergo an upgrade to become the country’s first Apex (Accelerated Programme for Excellence) institution.

The revamp, as part of the newly-launched Polytechnic Transformation Programme 2023-2030 on Monday, was officiated by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

In his welcome address, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that as an Apex institution, PUO will offer more advanced and competitive programmes, including up to 50 per cent more degree programmes.

“All these changes are geared towards developing this Apex polytechnic into an institute of technology,” said Khaled, adding that the prestigious Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia would be used as a model.


He also highlighted the four other focus areas of the Polytechnic Transformation Programme 2023-2030, the first of which is to promote TVET for all.

To achieve this, the Ministry of Higher Education is ensuring easy access and offering short-term micro-credential programmes to workers or mature students who want to further their education or learn new skills.

The second focus is the creation of multiple special entry routes and structured academic paths which are shorter and more competitive.


Next is to ensure an upgrade in technology and expedite technological advancement.

“The ministry takes seriously the latest digital needs and technological advancement such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), block chain, augmented reality (AR), cloud computing and big data analytics.

“To date, about 30 per cent of polytechnic study programmes have been adapted to utilise digitalisation and continuous efforts are needed.”

The fourth focus, which is vital in helping fresh graduates find employment, is consolidating cooperation between polytechnics and industries.

As a sector, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is a key driver in the growth of a sustainable and inclusive economy, which aligns with the Madani Economy framework.

To supply the country with the right workforce that fulfils the needs of the current economic model, TVET needs to be responsive to industrial evolution and technological advancement.

Increased complications in economic value chains in the foreseeable future demands that our TVET is restructured to ensure that the country has a holistic model of human capital that is technologically advanced and future-ready.

Upgrading our polytechnics will produce a higher quality of skilled and trained workforce. — Picture courtesy of Ministry of Higher Education
Upgrading our polytechnics will produce a higher quality of skilled and trained workforce. — Picture courtesy of Ministry of Higher Education

As such, the Ministry of Higher Education through the Polytechnic and Community College Education Department or JPPKK has restructured the Malaysian polytechnic system in an integrated way.

Under the Polytechnic Transformation Programme 2023-2030, our polytechnics will be transformed into a TVET institution that will produce technologically advanced graduates who are innovative while upholding spiritual and humane values.

Furthermore, the initiative will intensify the aspirations of Malaysian polytechnics to become prestigious TVET institutions that will be the main contributor to the production of a national holistic model of human capital that’s future-proof.

The framework of the Polytechnic Transformation Programme 2023-2030 is formulated to pave a clear path through the setting of four objectives, three strategic reform initiatives, 13 critical reforms agenda and 18 objective strategies that plan to propel Malaysian polytechnics into excellence.

By 2030, Malaysian polytechnics are expected to have as many as 140,000 enrolled students at any one time.

In this capacity, polytechnics can take in up to 35,000 admissions by teenagers, youths and industrial workers to continue studying at various levels in various fields every year.

Therefore, as many as 24,000 skilled workers can be produced every year from 2030 onwards.

However, to meet the challenges of industrial revolution and technological shifts, industrial workers need to undergo upskilling and reskilling on a regular basis.

The rewards brought on by the Polytechnic Transformation Programme 2023-2030 can be reaped by the country by 2030.