Establishing polytechnics that offer technical and vocational education and training (TVET) can reduce the country's dependence on skilled and semi-skilled immigrant workers, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.

Then, immigrant workers would only be required for the 3D (dirty, difficult and dangerous) occupations, he said.

"With the establishment of polytechnics, the Higher Education Ministry targeted a total of 100,000 students nationwide. I strongly support the policy and operating system implemented by Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

"When polytechnics focus on TVET, it means emphasis on training of skilled and semi-skilled workers. We know that jobs in our country in these skills depend on immigrant workers," he said at the ground-breaking for the Besut Polytechnic building in Bukit Keluang here.

Also present were Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman and Idris.

The polytechnic is the 34th established so far.

"We are confident that the government education system also focuses on TVET, which is better than any qualification that is not too technical," said Ahmad Zahid.

He quoted statistics indicating that 85 per cent of polytechnic students secure employment within six months after graduation while 50 per cent of eligible students who pass the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination opt for polytechnics as their first choice in TVET.

Meanwhile, some 500 graduates were produced annually in the creative and information technology industries, he said, adding that he hoped that Idris would be able to work on producing 5,000 such graduates in the future.

"Education is an important asset of the country. It is also a long-term investment because we want to build social mobility.

"We want to improve the socio-economic status of the people," he said.

The Besut Polytechnic was officially established on March 22 in line with the government recommendation under the 11th Malaysia Plan that promoted opportunities for technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

The Besut Polytechnic offers, among others, the Diploma in Digital Technology (Information Technology) and provides opportunities for students to contribute their skills in various sectors including agriculture, fisheries and manufacturing technology.

Besides the Besut Polytechnic, another polytechnic is to be built in Bagan Datuk, Perak, once the matter of land acquisition has been settled.