Classrooms should have CCTVs

January 21st, 2018
CCTV cameras can be installed in schools. — File photo

CCTV cameras can be installed in schools. — File photo

THE 21st century classroom should have closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs).

CCTVs are vital devices that need to be installed in every primary and secondary classroom.

The CCTVs will ensure that teaching and learning is maximised in the classroom.

The CCTVs will ensure that teachers enter and leave the classroom according to the time table.

The CCTVs will ensure that teachers teach the lesson and not sit at their table and do their own work .

There have been reports of teachers who give work to their children and then do their own work.

Some teachers have been known to do their tertiary assignments and course work in the classroom.

Some teachers do reports and other school clerical work during lessons in the classroom.

A lesson is usually 30 minutes, 40 minutes, or 60 minutes.

There are some teachers who waste much of the time in the classroom by doing unnecessary work not related to the lesson.

Small children are quite vulnerable to teachers who do not use their teaching time well.

Teachers need to know that the classroom is a divine place where knowledge is imparted to impressionable minds and hearts.

Teachers should leave all their personal and professional problems and anxieties outside the classroom.

Teachers should not enter the classroom with a heavy and burdened heart.

They should leave such baggage outside the classroom.

When they enter the classroom, they should enter with a clear heart and mind to teach the young children. The teachers’ core business is teaching.

The classroom is the teachers’ theatre of dreams.

There are many passionate and dynamic vibrant teachers in schools who go the extra mile to teach children.

They give themselves like a burning candle to illuminate the lives of their charges.

But at the same time there are the deadwood teachers who bring the teaching service a bad name.

Though their numbers are small, installing CCTVs in classrooms will curb abuse and check the teaching and learning experience of children.

The CCTV recordings can be viewed for teacher evaluation.

Classroom observations of a teacher’s lesson by the head teacher, senior assistants and subject panel heads can have its pros and cons.

If the teacher is informed of the observation, the teacher will prepare a wonderful lesson to showcase to the observers.

An impromptu observation can result in authentic, trustworthy and genuine evaluation of a teacher who is hard working.

For a balanced, fair and transparent evaluation of teachers, all classrooms should be equipped with a CCTV which would record the teaching and learning mode in the classroom.

CCTVs in classrooms would not only raise the standard of teaching and learning to a higher level but also solve a lot of disciplinary problems in the classroom.

The teacher’s core business is teaching and that should be the ultimate criterion to determine the teacher’s performance index.

The teacher’s competence and knowledge of the subject matter can be gauged from observing the teacher’s lesson.

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Niosh: It’s a matter of public interest.

January 21st, 2018

PETALING JAYA: The public should be informed of crane-related incidents which resulted in deaths as these cases are a matter of public interest, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) chairman said the authorities must be very stringent in monitoring and enforcing laws and regulations under the Factories and Machinery Act 1967 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994.

“Fatal accidents involving cranes at construction sites must not be taken lightly.

“Stern action must be taken against incompetent crane operators as safety aspects at construction sites must never be compromised,” he said in a statement.

“Periodical maintenance on all machinery must be carried out by all contractors. The authorities must also ensure that only certified crane operators are employed,” he said.

Since 1999, Niosh has been responsible for issuing certificates to competent crane handlers after they are assessed by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

To date, Niosh has issued 6,640 certificates to crane handlers.

DOSH said tower crane operators who fail to comply with strict safety regulations are subject to a RM200,000 fine, a jail term of up to five years, or both.

Its deputy director-general (occupational safety and health) Omar Mat Piah said it was the responsibility of project managers to ensure tower cranes had fully complied with all regulations.

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Serve the public selflessly

January 21st, 2018

SARAWAK mourned the passing of a statesman in Tan Sri Celestine Ujang Jilan, a former state minister, when he died on Jan 9 at 71. Ujang became a state minister in 1974 and served in various portfolios before stepping down from the state cabinet in 1981 to become Speaker of the Sarawak state assembly from 1981 to 1987. He was the party youth chief before he was elected to the post of vice-president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) in 1998, a position he retained till his retirement from active politics in 2007.

This made him a political contemporary of such state luminaries as current chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Tun Openg, the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem and former deputy chief minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang. Which explains why Zohari had such warm words in tribute to Ujang on the latter’s passing, describing how he and Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (the current deputy chief minister) had discovered Ujang to be a fair leader when both served under him as the PBB Youth chief.

PBB is, of course, an amalgamation of the Iban-based Pesaka and the Malay-Melanau-based Bumiputera and both the party and state government leaderships have maintained a delicate balance in representation from both wings of the party since both parties merged in 1973. Such a “gentlemen’s understanding” is what underpins the state’s political stability ever since.

Zohari revealed that when the state Barisan Nasional (BN) faced a political crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which saw the need to bring back Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) into the state government in order to broaden the base of Dayak political support for the state government, it was Ujang who volunteered to give up his government position in order to make way for PBDS to be accommodated.

Ujang was again in his element as he quietly and happily went into retirement in 2007 when he was still only 60. It is such leadership trait that marks him out as a rare political leader, always treating high political office humbly as a privilege, not a right, and subsuming personal interests and ambitions to the much higher demands of overall party and state interests.

As PBB faces impending party elections for its leadership posts, Ujang’s exemplary spirit of personal sacrifice should serve as a timely reminder that the party may perhaps only retain its lofty political position in the state and esteem in the eyes of both its fellow state BN component parties and the state electorate at large if it does not lose sight of the fact that political office should be all about selfless public service.

The secret of PBB’s success over the last 45 years is its proven capacity to be broadly representative and inclusive while uniting the state’s Bumiputra communities under a single political party. As with all major communities in the state, regional Iban representation is also an important consideration within PBB. Thus, Ujang is now succeeded by party secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom as state minister and assemblyman for Kemena in northern Sarawak. Deputy Chief Minister Uggah hails from Betong in the state’s south while fellow Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing of Parti Rakyat Sarawak represents the Ibans of central Sarawak in the state administration.

It is such a finely-tuned and delicate political balancing act which ensures there is sufficient give-and-take and internal checks and balance within the state government, PBB and the state BN to keep everything on an even keel overall. Political stability within such a bewildering multi-ethnic polyglot as Sarawak is only possible and sustainable with close adherence to such a political balancing act. PBB is also lucky to have such leaders as Ujang and Uggah who either willingly gave up high office or patiently waited their turn to shine at state level as in the latter’s case.

By John Teo.

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Moral compass for parents, guardians

January 21st, 2018
It is a partnership between teachers, school and parents, and in any partnership, there will be responsibilities to be shared among the partners. NSTP file pic /Effendy Rashid

THE education of our children is not the sole responsibility of teachers or the school. It is a partnership between teachers, school and parents, and in any partnership, there will be responsibilities to be shared among the partners. Navigating through this may at times be tricky for teachers, parents and guardians. The suggestion by the National Union of Teaching Profession Malaysia to have a Code of Ethics for Parents and Guardians is a way through this maze. The motivation behind the proposal is perhaps the increasing number of attacks by parents on teachers. NUTP says such incidents have not reached an alarming level, but it wants to arrest the problem before they get out of hand. Indiscipline in schools has spiralled in the recent past. On Aug 17, this paper highlighted the case of 402 schools being saddled with disciplinary problems. While Selangor and Johor topped the list with 76 and 63 schools respectively, Kuala Lumpur shamed us with 22 schools, all with drug issues. The disciplinary issues were so serious that police had to call in parents of problematic students for a chat. Bullying, too, is on the rise in residential and non-residential schools. Death due to bullying is not unheard of. NUTP’s proposed code may go some distance in solving this growing menace.

Parents must understand that the school is a learning environment and, as such, it would have rules to ensure that the institution is operated with this objective in mind. Parents must help, not hinder the school in meeting its objectives. The first duty of parents is to send to school a well-disciplined child, who is willing to learn. This is mostly, not entirely though, a result of the nurturing process at home. At times, a well-disciplined child may be shaped by the environment, either at school or outside, into a bully. For example, if a child from a caring home lands in one of the 22 schools in Kuala Lumpur with serious discipline issues, there is a likelihood that the child would fall prey to bad influence. Peer pressure will get to the child, and without early intervention, he will be a delinquent in no time.

Here is where the Code of Ethics for Parents and Guardians will come in handy. A good code will lay out the “dos” and “don’ts” for the parents to navigate their way through the education of their children. Parents who care for the development of their children will closely monitor their children’s progress in school. Parents need to recognise that the school is a place of work as well.


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Do not take elephant death slightly

January 21st, 2018
Part of the seven pygmy elephants which died in an abandoned quarry pond in Tawau, Sabah, in 2016. FILE PIC

SAHABAT Alam Malaysia (SAM) is astounded by the death of another wild elephant in Gerik, Perak.

In the incident on Jan 3, a 40-year-old female elephant was electrocuted at a construction site.

Elephants enter populated areas to search for food. These pachyderms have lost their natural habitats due to land clearing.

According to an elephant expert, natural habitats are lost when roads are built across grasslands, causing automobile traffic.

SAM, other non-governmental organisations and the public have expressed concern over the increasing number of roadkill involving elephants and other species.

However, it appears that the Malaysian Highway Authority has not addressed the issue, as many letters from SAM have gone unanswered.

Elephants are exposed to dangers from poachers, automobile accidents, poisoning, and are shot or killed by plantation workers.

The electrocution of this lactating female elephant brings to mind a similar incident in Sabah, where seven pygmy elephants died in an abandoned quarry pond in 2016.

It is irresponsible to leave work sites that are hazardous to humans and animals.

Which government body, department or agency is responsible for putting up the cabin and later abandoning it upon completion of the project without disconnecting its electrical supply?

Who will be held responsible for this unsafe work site? What if a person had walked near the cabin and stepped on the live wire?

The loss of one elephant is a number less, but what about its baby? It may follow the herd, but what are its chances of survival without its mother?

This death should not be taken lightly by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.


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Only 24pct of M’sian parents check content of children’s gadgets: Survey

January 21st, 2018
Less than a quarter of Malaysian parents check the content of their children’s electronic devices, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim revealed on Saturday. (File pix)

KUALA LUMPUR: Less than a quarter of Malaysian parents check the content of their children’s electronic devices, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim revealed on Saturday.

The worrying finding, for children aged between 3 and 17, was revealed by a survey of 1,165 parents who attended programmes carried out during the 1Malaysia National Family Month in November.

“Nearly 80 per cent of parents… allow their children to own and use electronic gadgets.

“However, only 15.1 per cent of them prohibit the use of gadgets if their children commit an offence (such as perusing forbidden content),” Rohani said.

The survey also found that only 48 per cent of parents limit the time their children spend on gadgets; while 3.7 per cent do not monitor their children’s online activities at all.


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France inspires world on immigration debate

January 20th, 2018
The makeshift refugee camp near Calais, France, dubbed the ‘Calais Jungle’, which was cleared in 2016. President Emmanuel Macron insists that he will never permit another ‘Jungle’ to appear on his watch. FILE PIC

EMMANUEL Macron is today the most admired world leader among liberals, centrists and cosmopolitans around the globe. He has managed to win the French presidency, enact reforms and stay relatively popular — all while speaking positively about the free market, the European Union, globalisation and trade. He has done all this in the face of a tide of populism that is still surging. What’s his secret? One key area to watch him on is immigration.

On Tuesday, Macron announced yet again that his government would be tougher on immigration, expediting asylum claims and then actually deporting those whose applications were rejected. (In 2 016, France deported less than 20 per cent of those denied asylum). He insisted that he would never permit another “Jungle” to appear on his watch, referring to the enormous makeshift refugee camp that was cleared in 2016. Macron is being criticised from the left and congratulated by his former opponent in the presidential election, the populist right-wing leader Marine Le Pen.

Macron has been an extraordinarily shrewd politician, and has a chance to be one of the great presidents of France’s Fifth Republic. He understands something about the popular mood, and not just within his nation’s borders. In Germany, Angela Merkel has seen her once sky-high public support crater over one central issue — her decision in 2015 to allow in a million refugees, many from Syria. In the recent German elections, in which Merkel’s party lost ground and the right-wing AfD won enough votes to enter Parliament for the first time, exit polling showed that 90 per cent of voters wanted those rejected for asylum to be deported faster, and 71 per cent wanted to cap the overall number of refugees.

The central issue feeding populism around the globe is immigration. That’s why you still see right-wing populism in such countries as Germany, Holland and Sweden, where economic growth is strong, manufacturing is vibrant, and inequality has not risen dramatically. Donald Trump beat 16 talented Republican candidates because he outflanked them all on one issue — immigration. “The thing (my base) want(s) more than anything is the wall,” Trump explained to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Democrats continue to move left on economics, believing that this will make them more credible populists. But polling shows that the public is already with them on economic issues. Where they differ — and especially with white working-class voters — is on immigration. And yet, the party is now more extreme on the topic than it has ever been.

Positions that dozens of Democratic senators took on immigration 10 years ago are now rejected by almost every party leader. Most back then, for example, would have agreed that America’s current mix of immigration skews too heavily towards family unification and needs to attract more immigrants with skills. Now, none will speak on the issue. The party today embraces “sanctuary cities”, suggesting that local authorities should ignore federal laws or even defy federal authorities who try to enforce the law of the land. Imagine if Republican mayors did the same with regard to laws they don’t like on guns or abortions.

It is difficult to be moderate on any topic these days, most of all immigration. Trump discusses the issue in ways that seem, to me, racist. Factions of the Republican Party have become ugly and mean-spirited in tone and temper, demeaning immigrants and encouraging nativism and bigotry. To compromise with these kinds of attitudes seems distasteful, even immoral.

And yet, the issue is one that should allow for some sensible middle ground. The late Edward Kennedy was one of the most liberal senators in the country. Senator John McCain is a staunch conservative. And yet they were able to agree on a set of compromises in the mid-2000s that would have largely resolved America’s immigration deadlock and the rage surrounding it. Canada used to have strong nativist forces within it. But ever since its immigration system moved to a skills-based one — coupled with strong efforts at celebrating diversity, multiculturalism and assimilation — it has had few such voices. And this despite the fact that Canada now has a substantially higher percentage of foreign-born residents than the US.

The scale and speed of immigration over the last few decades is a real issue. Just since 1990, the share of foreign-born people in America has gone from 9 per cent to 15 per cent. It has nearly doubled in Germany and the Netherlands and nearly tripled in Denmark.


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Are you a Gen X, Gen Y or Gen Z at heart?

January 19th, 2018
A new generation has begun to enter the workforce today: Gen Z

A new generation has begun to enter the workforce today: Gen Z

You’ve read countless articles about “your generation” but every time you do, you stumble on some trait that just doesn’t seem quite right.
Well perhaps, it’s more than just clumps of years that differentiate Gen X, Y, and Z. Just like age is sometimes really just a number, let’s explore the traits of each generation to reveal your true one at heart.
Gen X - If your motto in life is work hard, play hard, you’re most likely a Gen X. You grew up in a society with elevating divorce rates pushing you to maturity at a young age. You’re sceptical, highly independent and have perfected the art of adulthood while still retaining childlike qualities at heart.
Gen Y – You’re a chameleon. You are one of the most adaptable generations. Take music for example. You embraced your parent’s records, you listened to cassettes (first on your radio and then on your Walkman), moved on to CDs and then to MP3s and now online streaming. You’re sophisticated, diverse and have an innate desire to change the world.
Gen Z- You have a personal, diverse, complicated and an inherent bond with the internet. Basically, you cannot live without it. You are a speed learner, constantly evolving along with technology and you grow up so fast, too fast at times.
Work Ethics
Gen X – As a member of one of the best-educated generations, you expect a job that not only offers work-life balance but also provides opportunities for individual advancement. Is the company stable? Am I satisfied with the daily tasks given to me? These are some of the questions you ask yourself about work.
Gen Y – With a confident demeanour, your aim is attaining an occupation that is meaningful. Knowing that you make a difference is important to you. You prefer immediate feedback, you always question what’s in it for you and are additionally happy if provided with a creative outlet at the workplace.
Gen Z – You love being your own boss. You have out-of-the-box ideas on how to bring in the moolah. You are a king, no, a God on social media and you use your skills to try and generate income from it. The perfect office for you is one that allows for flexible timing, across the board discussions and plenty of opportunities to present new ideas.
Usage of Technology
According to the 2017 Internet User’s survey conducted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, there are approximately 24.5 million internet users in Malaysia. Basically, only a quarter of the population remains unconnected and Gen X, Y and Z all have their own unique digital behaviour.
Gen X – You are connected but social media is not the centre of your life. You like and share the occasional post but you mostly use the internet for convenience. Your history tab includes the website for your favourite bank, your email and your Facebook page.
Gen Y – Your phone is an extension of your body. You wake up and immediately switch on your device. You use technology to read the latest news, to find the best online promotions, to research your next holiday, to listen to music, to post the occasional picture and to find that highly recommended new restaurant. Basically, technology is an important part of your life.
Gen Z – The notification “the internet is down” sends shivers down your spine. Life is social media. A typical day would not be complete without you posting an Insta story or a Snapchat. You love interacting with virtual friends and keep connected by posting videos, silly pictures and even live broadcasts of your life. If there’s something trending, you mostly would have been the reason why.
One thing’s for sure, having a seamless online experience is important for all generations.
This is why plans like the all-new UMI 36 prepaid plan by U Mobile is so attractive.
Existing U Mobile prepaid users only need to upgrade to the new plan costing RM1.20 a day and enjoy 7.5GB of high-speed data and another 7.5GB of data for video streaming on selected applications such as Netflix, iFlix and 23 Video-Onz partners.

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The big role of small insects

January 19th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Insects are generally disregarded as big animals get the lop-sided attention.

Singapore-hailed and world renowned colorectal surgeon Professor Francis Seow-Choen said the small stature of insects had unfortunately fooled people at large to conclude they are unimportant.

He said this is a central reason why he choose to study small insets like stick insects at Thursday’s launch of his book “A Taxonomic Guide To The Stick Insects of Borneo” Volume 2, at the Kinabalu Hyatt Regency.

“Small insects are actually very important to the ecosystems,” Prof Francis told the packed Kemabong Room.

Guest of Honour and Chief Conservator of Forests Sabah Datuk Sam Mannan who launched the book said he agreed:

“Small insects are vital to the ecosystems because everything starts here,” Mannan noted, citing how hilarious cow-dung beetles play ‘football’ with cow dung in its instinctive role among the legions of tiny recyclers to return nutrients to the food chain that eventually nourish all the big guys.

However, Mannan said the latest book on the ’small guys’ exposed “how much we do not know about our surroundings’ rather than how much people know about these “bizarre walking sticks and walking leaves (Leaf insects) inhabiting Sabah’s old world tropical rainforests, citing Seow’s repeated rafts of discoveries of new species – 52 new ones featured in Volume 1 and now 37 new species added to Volume 2 – totalling 373 known species from 92 genera in all.

As a tribute, Mannan said Prof Francis personifies the spirit of Singapore which documents everything in quest of knowledge as he scoured the 2,600m Mt Trusmadi at the unseemly hour of 2am in a mission to get to the bottom of Borneo’s wealth of stick insects. “Sunbears could have attacked him or get hit by falling branches,” noted Mannan who said inhabitants of small Singapore are not likely to feel the pain of the demise of dugongs.

Therefore the only distant reason to care for people like Prof Francis is “moral” which points the burden of responsibility on the authority in power on the imperative to do all it takes “to document, protect and manage” the rich biodiversity for the sake of future generations.

“At one time, we thought we could do it alone and in the process I myself was nearly killed.

So we have learnt that doing it alone doesn’t work, we must rally everybody together to accomplish that vision because we also know we don’t have a monopoly of good ideas.”

The Heart of Borneo Initiative is an example of a “three countries –one vision responsibility’ which straddles the borders of Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Indonesia Kalimantan covering an area of 220,000 sq km, while the State Government through the Forestry Department chips in 39.000sqkm of important inland and highland forest ecosystems such as Trusmadi and Crocker Range as art of that vision and mission, Mannan said.

by Kan Yaw Chong.

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Keeping SIDMA College Clean and Safe

January 18th, 2018

“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah has always placed special emphasis on the importance of having a fresh, clean and safe environment in order to motivate its staff and students alike to achieve higher levels of efficiency as well as providing a more conducive environment to work and study. By emphasising on a clean fresh space for study and work, it also marks the important step towards creating a positive learning environment for the students.

In order to ensure that the college buildings and facilities are regularly cleaned and maintained, SIDMA College, apart from having its own Property and Administration Department (PAD), Dr Morni Hj Kambrie, Founder and Chairman of SIDMA College, have appointed external cleaning company to ensure that the college buildings and facilities such atrium, toilets, lecture and tutorial rooms, administrative blocks and surrounding areas are always clean and safe. This is to send a clear message that the students and our clients are valued, and that the college is concerned with their comfort and welfare. It is also to encourage students to take pride in their college; which indirectly will inspire them to take care of their own surroundings, and also to improve their attendance by way of them loving the clean environment!

Other than that, during this week, while the students were having their year-end break, all SIDMA College’s male staff under the leadership of Mr Mudin Long organised a “Gotong Royong” to clean up the college neighbouring piece of idle land that has been overgrown with bushes, trees, shrubs and can be a potential ideal breeding area for mosquitos, snakes and more, which if not intervene immediately, the college might be hit by uninvited guests such mosquitos, which might led to untoward  incidents such malaria, dengue, etc. Interestingly, all ranks of staff regardless of whether they are managers, lecturers and support staff work together hand in hand to achieve the common goal – towards a “Cleaner and Safer SIDMA College”!

The proactive exercise on 16 January 2018 involved around 35 personnel equipped with parangs (Machete), chainsaw as well other tools needed to cut down the trees, shrubs as well as to clear the breeding areas for the uninvited inhabitants. Dr Morni started the event by giving safety briefing especially with the fact that power tools are used throughout the exercise.

Dr Morni when met after the event, was very pleased with the work done by his staff. He thanked them sincerely for their contribution, and also treat them for breakfast and lunch. Other than that, staff involved were also entitled for one day unrecorded leave.

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