Resource for ready teaching and learning materials

February 19th, 2019
Teaching and learning content is ready for teachers to use in the classroom on Frog Boost.

Ready teaching and learning content and materials covering all core subjects for primary school up to secondary level will be made available in May through Frog Boost, a content repository on the Frog Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platform which is accessible to schools across the country.

The operator of Frog VLE, FrogAsia Sdn Bhd, said this move will help ease the burden of teachers who are often hard-pressed for time to prepare teaching and learning content and material for the classroom as well provide ongoing assessment for students.

FrogAsia’s executive director Lou Yeoh said in May, content, and quizzes for subjects such as English, Bahasa Melayu, Math, Science and Sejarah will first be available for national type secondary school (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan) to be followed by vernacular primary schools (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina and Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil).

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“Since introduced in July last year, Frog Boost now has Mathematics, English and Science contents and quizzes available covering the syllabus from Primary Year 1 to Form 5 of secondary school. It offers more than 135 million items of teaching and learning content ready for teachers to use, instead of having to develop their teaching materials from scratch,” she said.

“At FrogAsia, we applaud the government’s aim in easing the burden of teachers as we believe in making a difference in the education landscape across Malaysia. FrogAsia believes that it is important for teachers and students to have access to a repository of high quality, credible content. That way, teachers can save time creating content, besides sharing their own content with other teachers across the country,” said Yeoh.

By ROZANA SANI.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2019/02/461334/resource-ready-teaching-and-learning-materials

Fostering togetherness in celebration

February 18th, 2019
The school organises its annual gathering so pupils can learn from each other.

The school organises its annual gathering so pupils can learn from each other.

EVERY year, SJK (C) Tun Tan Cheng Lock organises its Chinese New Year celebrations ahead of the week-long festive break.

The celebration is held to raise awareness on Chinese culture among pupils from different races. It helps them to learn from each other.

The school’s board of directors chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng and Parent-Teacher Association chairman Eason Phan Yoke Seng invited Selangor deputy education department director Muhamad Radzi Abdullah, Petaling Perdana education officer Abdul Ghaffar Bakar and previous principals from Sekolah Wawasan to celebrate Chinese New Year together.

The atmosphere in the school grounds was electric as the “lion” leapt high into the air. There was also calligraphy writing to kick off the celebration at the school.

image: https://video.unrulymedia.com/native/images/in-art-close-icon-128×128-16481b937f87b244a645cdbef0d930f8.png

At the same event, school principla Ngann Sook Wei also paid tribute to the students who received awards during the Sixth Hong Kong International Students’ Innovation Competition that was held in Hong Kong last December led by vice princial Ong Chun Hor.

The award recipients are Christine Ng Ruixi from 6K, Elyse Wong Zhye Lin from 6H and Zoey Wong Zhye Xuan from 4M.

Their masterpiece, “Tornado Dust-Buster” won five awards including second place, International Innovation Award, Special Award in Korea, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Muhamad Radzi praised the students for their achievements.

Teachers and pupils received angpow and tangerines from the school.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/02/17/fostering-togetherness-in-celebration/#P9t0OOZukg5EZYY6.99

Asli backs education system reforms

February 18th, 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) has expressed support for the Education Ministry’s efforts to reform the education system.

Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said it was a commendable effort which should be supported by all.

“The ministry’s policy commitments in delivering holistic, value-driven education and engaging the private sector in reforms intended for the education system and dedication towards ensuring quality education for all is commendable,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik had revealed plans to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) a way of life.

“STEM education will be updated to become STREAM, including the vital components of Arts and Reading.

“We will also shift the priorities of teachers and lecturers nationally to focus on teaching STEM in a fun and experiential way, thereby making STEM accessible to all,” he said at an open dialogue on Malaysian education on Thursday.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/02/17/asli-backs-education-system-reforms/#fipSyrIVyHax5EPB.99

Educating today’s students for tomorrow’s world

February 18th, 2019
TIMES have changed, and so have schools. Gone are the days of sitting in rows, poring over textbooks, memorising facts. Advances in pedagogy, the latest academic research and technological developments have all helped shift our understanding of what great teaching and learning looks like.
Students as learning leaders
At Taylor’s Schools, learners are empowered to take control of their learning. Through the adoption of enquiry-based curricula like the IPC (International Primary Curriculum) at Nexus Malaysia and the integration of world-leading pedagogical approaches such as Quantum Learning at Taylor’s International School and Visible Learning at the Australian International School, students are nurtured to become resilient, curious and analytical thinkers.

Taylor’s Schools also understand that it’s important to offer students outstanding learning environments to support great learning.
The award-winning campus at Taylor’s International School Puchong is just one example of this, while the innovative learning environments at Garden International School and open-plan classrooms at Nexus Malaysia also help to inspire and engage students.

However, it is the quality of teaching that makes the greatest impact on children. Good teachers should be qualified, experienced and above all, passionate about what they do. In addition, strong professional development programme and regular opportunities for professional collaboration- featured in all Taylor’s Schools are crucial to ensure that teachers are able to bring out the best in every child.

Nexus Singapore: A centre of excellence .

Nexus Singapore will welcome students to its innovative new campus in 2020.

Here in Malaysia, Taylor’s Schools are well known for the high quality of education they offer, but Nexus Singapore is also well known for being a centre of excellence. The school’s recent “Topping Up” ceremony, at which guests and dignitaries gathered to ceremonially complete the foundations of the main campus building, marked an outstanding achievement for the Nexus brand.

Outstanding learning environments are important to support great learning.

Beating stiff competition from some outstanding competitors, Taylor’s Education Group won the bid for an outstanding piece of land in the centre of Singapore upon which to expand Nexus Singapore – an overwhelming endorsement by the Singapore government.

The new Nexus campus will welcome its first students in 2020 and will include innovative and flexible learning spaces, world-class theatre, music recording studios, sports fields and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Find out more about Nexus Singapore at https://www.nexus.edu.sg/

Great facilities support an outstanding education experience
A heritage of excellence
In Kuala Lumpur, Taylor’s College has been delivering an outstanding Sixth Form experience and consistently impressive results for many years. Recently, the college celebrated its 50th anniversary – an outstanding achievement, which highlights the robust academic foundations and impressive heritage of the college. At the celebration, hundreds of alumni gathered to share some of their fondest memories of being a Taylorian and how their education at Taylor’s institutions played a key role in their personal and professional success.
Both in Malaysia and in Singapore, Taylor’s Schools deliver an outstanding education that ensures students are “future ready”.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/02/17/educating-todays-students-for-tomorrows-world/#R491iehdmAKZMomM.99

YS Group to enhance its education program

February 15th, 2019

Recipients of the Appreciation Award with Shafie (eighth right) and Jamalul (seventh left).

KOTA KINABALU: Yayasan Sabah Group will further enhance its educational development programme, which is the main focus of the Group in ensuring the growth of a generation’s successful future, said Yayasan Sabah director Datuk Haji Jamalul Kiram bin Datuk Haji Zakaria.

Jamalul, who is also chief executive officer of Innoprise Corporation Sdn. Bhd., Yayasan Sabah Group will bring about more educational opportunities for students in creating excellence in education from early childhood to tertiary education,.

“In 2018, early childhood development activities through Taska Ria Nursery, Tadika Ria Kindergarten, Taska Kristal Ria Child Care, Transition Centre and Rural Kindergartens have benefited a total of 509 students.

“To date, 12,882 preschool children have benefited from Yayasan Sabah Group’s early childhood development activities,” he said at the Yayasan Sabah Group annual dinner held at Menara Tun Mustapha on Wednesday, 13 Feb.

“Yayasan Sabah Group in 2018 offered 2,335 new student loans, scholarships and bursaries for secondary school students as well as those studying at Institutions of Higher Learning.

“From 1967 to 2018, Yayasan Sabah Group has spent RM114.3 million on scholarships/bursaries benefiting 72,625 secondary students. Additionally, scholarships/bursaries for Higher Education worth RM334.7 million were spent from 1968 up to 2018 benefiting 18,717 students, while RM228.9 million worth of student loan has been spent for 10,026 students in tertiary education.

“Yayasan Sabah Group also spent RM95 million on the Sabah State Scholarship Award of Excellence (ABCNS) from 1990 until 2018 benefiting 553 students,” he said.

In 2018, a RM10 million One-Off Scholarship Assistance was launched by Chief Minister of Sabah cum Yayasan Sabah Board of Trustees chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd. Shafie bin Haji Apdal on 21 September 2018.

A total of 14,726 students has applied for the fund and the payment process of the scholarship is running smoothly.

“This special fund is the initiative of Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd. Shafie in assisting outstanding and underprivileged students who have just enrolled in Institutions of Higher Learning,” said Jamalul.

“Overall, Yayasan Sabah Group has spent RM772.7 million on scholarships, bursaries and education loans which benefited 101,921 secondary and Institutions of Higher Learning students since 1967 up till present.”

Jamalul also elaborated on the successful academic achievement programmes by both Yayasan Sabah Group owned Sabah Foundation Technical College (SFTC) and University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF).

“In 2018, a total of 821 students pursued their studies at SFTC in 24 certificate and diploma courses. A total of 465 students successfully completed their studies and graduated on 11 October 2018,” Jamalul said.

“UCSF is currently offering a Foundation programme, 10 Diploma programmes and seven Bachelors Degree programmes to potential students. As of December 2018, a total of 587 students have been studying at UCSF and 252 students are graduating from UCSF this year.”

Yayasan Sabah Group staff and their spouses attended the dinner graced by Shafie and his wife Datin Seri Panglima Hajah Shuryani binti Datuk Haji Shuaib.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2019/02/15/ys-group-to-enhance-its-education-program/

Educate the young about human trafficking

February 14th, 2019
Traffickers target their victims using tailored methods of recruitment and control to force them into labour or commercial sex. REUTERS PIC

THE increase in the number of human trafficking cases is a huge cause for concern.

Often described as modern-day slavery, it is a scourge in most countries.

The stories are almost the same everywhere. Victims are deceived into accepting job offers that promise a better life.

Instead, they find themselves trapped in a cycle of physical and psychological abuse, as in the case of 47 Malaysians arrested in Cambodia on suspicion of being members of an international online gambling syndicate.

According to the United Nations, more than 130 countries have been identified as transit or destination countries for human trafficking.

Victims come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, with varied levels of education.

Traffickers target their victims using tailored methods of recruitment and control to force them into labour or commercial sex.

Traffickers target poor and marginalised communities with the promise of jobs and a better life.

Traffickers maintain an online presence to lure vulnerable adults and children with the goal of meeting them in person, to take and circulate explicit photos, and coerce them into complying with their demands

Understanding the risk factors for victims can help one to intervene before it is too late.

Many people think that human trafficking is similar to kidnapping, or the sale of women and children by terrorists or domestic helpers turned into slaves in wealthy familes. It is more than that.

It is an issue of supply chain. Traffickers target vulnerable workers to fill labour shortages in a supply chain.

In the electronics sector, human trafficking exist in the extractive stages (where raw material is mined), the component manufacturing stage (where separate pieces are produced or combined) and the production stage (where goods are assembled and packaged in a factory).

Education and creating awareness of human trafficking can reduce cases. Awareness of human trafficking should start in primary schools. If children have age-appropriate information, it will protect them.

Not only the young need to be educated about human trafficking, parents, grandparents, educators and healthcare professionals also need to be roped in.

Human trafficking is a health, security and moral issue. It erodes political systems and harms communities.

It could happen anywhere, any time, in secrecy or in the open. You would not even be aware of it if you don’t know the signs.

By OSWALD TIMOTHY EDWARD.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/02/459660/educate-young-about-human-trafficking

Dealing with addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle

February 14th, 2019
Rather than stigmatising addiction we should help addicts. (NSTP Archive)

SUBSTANCE abuse, such as drugs, alcohol and smoking, is easy to define. However, defining non-substance abuse, also referred to as behavioural addiction, is difficult.

Non-substance abuse includes the use of technology, the Internet and social media; photographing; gaming; gambling; sex; bullying; shopping; exercising; and eating excessively.

Every part of our life can make us addicted. This, however, may lead to overpathologising people’s behaviours or broadening the addiction scope.

On the other hand, dismissal of certain activities or behaviours as not being addictive may be counterproductive

Substance or non-substance abuse is a pathology that does not only affect our emotional balance and decision-making but also control of our behaviour.

I see people walking on the road using their mobiles; people driving while making phone calls; people busy with their handphones at meetings; students watching movies, playing games and updating their online statuses in classes; people neglecting their clients, families, and friends to respond to mobile messages or update their status on social media; people taking wefies and selfies in dangerous places; and people recording their “deaths”.

Marc N. Potenza, writing in the Journal of Behavioural Addictions, while commenting on
the work of Billieux et al. (2015) titled “Are we overpathologising everyday life? A tenable blueprint for behavioural addiction research”, noted four elements of addiction:

CONTINUED engagement in the behaviour despite adverse consequences;

APPETITIVE urge or craving state that often immediately precedes behavioural engagement;

POOR self-control over behavioural engagement; and,

COMPULSIVE behavioural engagement.

Pthologising addiction and seeing it as a health problem will make us give priority to prevention and treatment rather than punishment. This is not to relegate or trivialise the power and role of punishment in curbing addiction or deter the rights of addicts though.

As a matter of fact, “battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle”, said actor Ben Affleck following his rehab stints in 2001 and 2017.

Based on scientific studies, we know that addiction is a medical disorder that affects not only the brain, but also culminates in behavioural change.

Not only are our biological and environmental risk factors responsible for addiction, but also our genetic variations and societal pressures.

By DR IDRIS ADEWALE AHMED.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/02/459983/dealing-addiction-lifelong-and-difficult-struggle

Mangrove ecosystem’s importance not understood

February 14th, 2019
The Sungai Bukit Tambun mangrove area. Mangroves contribute to coastal protection from erosion and extreme weather changes. FILE PIC

MANGROVE forests are a unique ecosystem which are located between the land and sea.

Mangroves can be found in 118 countries in the world, representing one per cent of the tropical forest worldwide, and less than 0.4 per cent of the world forests. Mangrove swamps provide a very important ecosystem to both human life and the diversity of life that inhabits it.

Firstly, humans are highly dependent on the products of the mangrove forest, which are its timber resources and fishery resources. Mangroves are the breeding grounds and early growth areas of various species of ocean life living on coral reefs.

Next, mangroves contribute to coastal protection from erosion and protect the environment from extreme weather changes. Besides this, the mangrove forest is important in maintaining water quality, trapping sediments and filtering pollutants originating from activities in the surrounding areas. This is compatible with the Quranic verse which means: “He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth; according to His calculations” (Surah Al-Sajdah, 32: 5).

Unfortunately, not many are aware of the importance of the mangrove ecosystem, causing them to be neglected, thus leading to the threat of its extinction. This is evident throughout Malaysia today in which mangroves are becoming increasingly threatened by various unhealthy human activities, such as reclamation of land for aquaculture, agriculture, industry or housing, coastal resort development, ports, roads, airports and oil exploration; widespread logging; and pollution.

It was recently reported that the sole surviving mangrove forest on government land located in the middle of Pekan Baru Batu Maung and adjacent to the Bayan Lepas Industrial Park was being threatened by irresponsible dumping of construction and industrial wastes.

Such activity had harmed the river across the mangrove swamp, turning it brackish and mixed with solids, along with the waste material disposed of at the dumpsite catching fire and scorching some of the mangrove tress that surrounded the open ground.

Such an incident should not have happened. Instead, the Batu Maung mangrove should have been given better protection, and it needs urgent as well as stringent action by all parties concerned be they local, state and federal governments to ensure that the sole remaining mangrove is fully protected and conserved.

All parties should be aware that the mangrove ecosystem is a valuable asset to the country and is among the region’s most productive ecosystems in the world. Not only is it an important area of human life, but it also has benefits to the overall ecosystem and economy.

The survival of the mangrove ecosystem is also important because of its great function in helping to protect coastal areas as well as controlling erosion. As an example, the mangrove ecosystem acts as wind-breakers, protecting against strong winds at coastlines. If the mangrove ecosystems continue to be destroyed, then the affected areas will be exposed to rainstorms, floods and erosion.

Yet, many still do not realise the importance of the mangrove ecosystems. In fact, it was found that the current level of public awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems is still relatively low in comparison to other ecosystems. This has led to conservation efforts of the ecosystem to reach a critical level in Malaysia.

In preserving the mangrove swamp ecosystems, efforts to foster awareness among communities should be done proactively, so that the ecosystems are not marginalised, which can then contribute to their extinction in the future. Perceptions of some members of the community who consider mangroves as idle ecosystems need to be changed.

Such people should be given appropriate exposure in terms of accurate information and knowledge from time to time on the ecosystem which also has its own important role as supplied by other ecosystems.

This effort is crucial in order for the survival of the mangrove ecosystem to be maintained not only for the benefit of humans, but also its survival as an important habitat for plants and animals rarely found in other ecosystems.

For such an effort, all parties need to be committed to ensuring that efficient management of the mangrove ecosystem can be achieved by trying to address the weaknesses of the past management system, enhancing knowledge of the mangrove ecosystem and sharing accurate information with all levels of society.

In addition, the restoration of mangrove ecosystems needs to be the main agenda in the sustainable development of the country. The high commitment at the leadership level towards this effort is necessary to ensure proactive action is taken in order to sustain the sustainability of mangrove ecosystems.

For example, mangrove replanting efforts should be taken seriously by getting the community to be involved in the activity to understand and learn more about the existence of the ecosystem in the future. Their participation in such activities will certainly raise awareness amongst them to safeguard and preserve the mangrove ecosystems.

By Rosmidzatul Azila Mat Yamin.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/02/459981/mangrove-ecosystems-importance-not-understood

Visit Malaysia 2020 – Not by numbers alone

February 14th, 2019
Tourism Malaysia may have to work harder to at least maintain the sector as the third highest contributor to the nation’s income. (NSTP Archive / Pexels photo)

MALAYSIA Tourism Promotion Board, or Tourism Malaysia, has big plans. In 2020, it was originally planning to bring in 36 million international tourists and RM168 billion in tourist receipts.

Are we branding and marketing the country rightly? There are about 200 countries vying for the tourist dollar.

Taglines do work for some countries, but is “Malaysia, Truly Asia” pulling in the people? According to Tourism Malaysia, it is.

They argue the “Malaysia, Truly Asia” tagline has positioned Malaysia as a “destination of diversity, with the country showcasing a kaleidoscope of customs, religions, traditions, festivals, heritage, arts and crafts, and cuisines of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, and various ethnic groups”.

But is the tagline doing the trick? Numbers may have the answer. In 2017, 25.9 million tourists visited Malaysia contributing to tourist receipts of RM82.2 billion.

Last year’s first nine months’ data of 19.4 million tourist arrivals and tourist receipts of RM61.9 billion point to a possible decline, posing a tremendous challenge for Malaysia to reach Visit Malaysia 2020’s target of 36 million tourist arrivals (now revised down to 30 million) and tourist receipts of RM168 billion (now revised down to RM100 billion).

The tagline, “Malaysia, Truly Asia,” may not be working as it did before. Looks like Tourism Malaysia has lots of work to do to get the numbers up.

In 2016, tourism contributed RM73.3 billion to the country’s gross national income, making it the third highest contributor.

Marketing Malaysia —or any other country — is all about branding our authenticity. When people think of a country they think of something special, something very unique.

What defines Malaysia? What is the national character of the country? Nation branding experts tell us that we must have two things when we market a country.

One, there must be a strategy. Two, those who are charged with the promotion strategy must be able to marshal the people behind it.

The first may be easier to do than the second, but the two must be there for a country marketing strategy to succeed.

The wisdom behind the latter is to get all Malaysians to act in a way consistent with the national strategy. All we need is one misalignment, and our reputation as a nation will go south.

The errant behaviour of many of our taxi drivers is a case in point. In fact, in 2015, LondonCabs.co.uk placed our taxi drivers on top of the list of the 10 worst taxi drivers in the world. Malaysia can do without such infamy.

Add to this, statistics on road rage, snatch thefts and other errant ways of ours then you will not look elsewhere for the reasons behind the declining numbers.

In this context, it may not be out of place to engage in some introspection of a national kind.

Who are we really? Would our individual conduct find a happy mention in the postcards the 26 million tourists write home? Would they speak highly of our outlook? National or otherwise?

And about our attitude towards others? Do we hasten to help others in trouble?

By NST LEADER .

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/leaders/2019/02/459985/visit-malaysia-2020-not-numbers-alone

Economic crisis can trigger WW3

February 14th, 2019
A prolonged economic crisis could spin out of control and morph into military conflicts.

ECONOMIC recovery efforts since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis have mainly depended on unconventional monetary policies. As fears rise of yet another international financial crisis, there are growing concerns about the increased possibility of large-scale military conflict.

More worryingly, in the current political landscape, prolonged economic crisis, combined with rising economic inequality, chauvinistic ethno-populism as well as aggressive jingoist rhetoric, including threats, could easily spin out of control and “morph” into military conflict, and worse, world war.

The 2008-2009 global financial crisis almost “bankrupted” governments and caused systemic collapse. Policymakers managed to pull the world economy from the brink, but soon switched from counter-cyclical fiscal efforts to unconventional monetary measures, primarily “quantitative easing” and very low, if not negative real interest rates.

But while these monetary interventions averted realisation of the worst fears at the time by turning the US economy around, they did little to address underlying economic weaknesses, largely due to the ascendance of finance in recent decades at the expense of the real economy. Since then, despite promising to do so, policymakers have not seriously pursued, let alone achieved, such needed reforms.

Instead, ostensible structural reformers have taken advantage of the crisis to pursue largely irrelevant efforts to further “casualise” labour markets. This lack of structural reform has meant that the unprecedented liquidity central banks injected into economies has not been well allocated to stimulate a resurgence of the real economy.

Instead, easy credit raised asset prices to levels even higher than those prevailing before 2008. US house prices are now eight per cent  more than at the peak of the property bubble in 2006, while its price-to-earnings ratio in late 2018 was even higher than in 2008 and in 1929, when the Wall Street crash precipitated the Great Depression.

As monetary tightening checks asset price bubbles, another economic crisis —  possibly more severe than the last, as the economy has become less responsive to such blunt monetary interventions — is considered likely. A decade of such unconventional monetary policies, with very low interest rates, has greatly depleted their ability to revive the economy.

The implications beyond the economy of such developments and policy responses are already being seen. Prolonged economic distress has worsened public antipathy towards the culturally alien — not only abroad, but also within. Thus, another round of economic stress is deemed likely to foment unrest, conflict, even war as it is blamed on the foreign.

International trade shrank by two-thirds within half a decade after the US passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930, at the start of the Great Depression, ostensibly to protect American workers and farmers from foreign competition.

Rising economic insecurity, inequalities and deprivation are expected to strengthen ethno-populist and jingoistic nationalist sentiments, and increase social tensions and turmoil, especially among the growing precariat and others who feel vulnerable or threatened.

Thus, ethno-populist inspired chauvinistic nationalism may exacerbate tensions, leading to conflicts and tensions among countries, as in the 1930s. Opportunistic leaders have been blaming such misfortunes on outsiders and may seek to reverse policies associated with the perceived causes, such as “globalist” economic liberalisation.

Policies which successfully check such problems may reduce social tensions, as well as the likelihood of social turmoil and conflict, including among countries. However, these may also inadvertently exacerbate problems. The recent spread of anti-globalisation sentiment appears correlated to slow, if not negative per capita income growth and increased economic inequality.

To be sure, globalisation and liberalisation are statistically associated with growing economic inequality and rising ethno-populism. Declining real incomes and growing economic insecurity have apparently strengthened ethno-populism and nationalistic chauvinism, threatening economic liberalisation itself, both within and among countries.

Thomas Piketty has argued that a sudden increase in income inequality is often followed by a great crisis. Although causality is difficult to prove, with wealth and income inequality now at historical highs, this should give cause for concern.

Of course, other factors also contribute to or exacerbate civil and international tensions, with some due to policies intended for other purposes. Nevertheless, even if unintended, such developments could inadvertently catalyse future crises and conflicts.

The people often have good reason to be restless, if not angry, but the emotional appeals of ethno-populism and jingoistic nationalism are leading to chauvinistic policy measures that only make things worse.

At the international level, despite the world’s unprecedented and still growing interconnectedness, multilateralism is increasingly being eschewed as the US increasingly resorts to unilateral, sovereigntist policies without bothering to even build coalitions with its usual allies.

Thus, protracted economic distress, economic conflicts or another financial crisis could lead to military confrontation by the protagonists, even if unintended. Less than a decade after the Great Depression started, World War 2 had begun as the Axis powers challenged colonial powers.

Anticipating and addressing such possibilities may well serve to help avoid otherwise imminent disasters by undertaking pre-emptive collective action, as difficult as that may be.

BJOMO KWAME SUNDARAM and VLADIMIR POPOV.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/02/459987/economic-crisis-can-trigger-ww3