It is high time for the Penampang University to be built. Fifty years since the formation of the Federation of Malaysia is a long time indeed.
Even if North Borneo - or whatever name this place was named by people who lived here thousands of years ago - was left to evolve by itself, education would still have played an important role in the lives of these people.
Now that Sabah is an independent 'nation' within the Federation of Malaysia, education had played and continues to play a crucial role in uplifting the standard of life of the people. People with little education face great odds in securing jobs that pay well as competition for employment gets keener by the day. Those with little or no education find little comfort as life becomes more competitive and stressful.
Thousands of Sabahan children now have the opportunity to be educated. Thousands sit for government examinations each succeeding years Thousands make the grade to proceed to the next level, up to tertiary education.
Unfortunately thousands will not get through the examination hurdles and end up doing menial jobs or are unable to get employed.
Students who pass with flying colours - at least those who managed to obtain scholarship or whose whose parents can afford the high cost of university education - can proceed to enroll at any university, local or overseas, to undertake degree courses of their choice.
Sadly, thousands will not get through the qualifying examinations imposed by the government authority concerned. They will only manage to obtain some job with poor pay. Many will end up not being able to get any decent job at all.
Human Capital of the Right Quantity, Quality and Type
Sabah is situated in a region with great potential in the near future. The people of Sabah may not have the time to get fully ready for such development.
Sabah needs enough people with qualification in various fields. Sabah requires quality human capital to compete with its neighbours especially participating countries in the BIMP-EAGA.
Unreadiness is a recipe for disaster. Sabah and Sabahans cannot afford to do this.
Penampang is among the larger districts in Sabah. It has a common boundary with the City of Kota Kinabalu, the Capital of Sabah. You may consider Penampang as a satellite of Kota Kinabalu, popularly referred to as "KK" by many people.
Penampang is not only a large district but the population is fairly dense and is growing fast. This is a suitable place for a university. Kota Kinabalu is getting congested. Thus, Penampang is one of the ideal places for educational development.
With the Penampang University built soon, students from Penampang need not travel to Kota Kinabalu.
This can help prevent traffic congestion, which is already very bad, from getting worse. This is also good for the environment. Moreover, more students have the opportunity to study locally.
With a university just nearby, parents will make substantial savings especially on travelling expenses. This is also good for the emotional health of their children.
Students who live within driving distance of this University will benefit tremendously from the establishment of this university.
Construction of the university blocks of building provide job opportunities for locals. More jobs will become available once the university starts offering courses.
Other than this, construction materials will surely increase in price in the future. Building a university now is cheaper.
So there are strong reasons why it is better to build the Penampang University now rather than later.
Name for the University
Based on some feedback, the following are some of the proposed names for this local university:
Many prefer Universiti Penampang or Penampang University. One respondent said that he preferred Tun Fuad Stephens University or Universiti Tun Fuad Stephens. Tun Fuad Stephens was the first Chief Minister of Sabah and also the first "Huguan Siou."