Dealing with the bully

May 28th, 2017
A posed picture of bullying. — File photo

A posed picture of bullying. — File photo

Don’t brush off bullying as a rite of passage or that children need to toughen up as everyone has a part to play against it.

A Form Five boy wanted to borrow a pair of football boots but his 15-yer-old junior said no.

That night, the same junior was brutally assaulted by 10 other boys in his dorm.

He was so badly beaten up that he was rushed to the hospital with a fractured left rib, injuries to the head, back and stomach as well as bruises to his chest.

According to reports, this scene took place at a residential school in Malaysia and it isn’t the first, nor is it likely to be the last

Kamalanathan encourages everyone to come forward and lodge a report with the authorities, even if bullying happens outside the school gates.

Kamalanathan encourages everyone to come forward and lodge a report with the authorities, even if bullying happens outside the school gates.

Now a police case, the scuffle took place when the Form Five students allegedly beat up six Form Two victims.

The 10 have since been expelled.

Despite the heavy campaigning by the Education Ministry and countless programmes by non-governmental organisations, bullying still continues to occur in schools.

Malaysian Psychological Association president Dr Goh Chee Leong believes that this is because an environment that doesn’t actively discourage bullying can, in fact, encourage this endemic problem to fester.

As an example, he says that “institutionalised bullying” still takes place in some schools through ragging.

“It is almost semi-encouraged through the prefects, senior students and hostel wardens to teach and ‘discipline’ the juniors,” he says.

Ragging in residential schools have been highlighted by the media when their juniors are forced by seniors to do, perform humiliating acts and endure insults as well as beatings for no apparent cause.

Dr Goh says that based on a Unicef study he was part of in 2007 and 2008, they discovered that bullying cases are not isolated incidences in any particular location.

“It’s usually done in a context where the environment is either actively encouraging or is complicit in the act,” says the HELP University Faculty of Behavioural Sciences dean.

This, he adds, is true in schools where teachers just brush aside students or parents who complain about bullying.

Noor Azimah says the solution lies in consistent psychological counselling and therapy for the bullies.

Noor Azimah says the solution lies in consistent psychological counselling and therapy for the bullies.

Phrases like “boys will be boys”, “solve it yourselves” and “rite of passage” are not uncommon.

On the reasons why bullying occurs, Dr Goh’s paper on the psychosocial impacts of violence and bullying on children, says that some victims of bullying harbour intense anger and bitterness towards bullies and the social cliques that condone and support bullying behaviour.

This anger, if unresolved, may lead to victims becoming bullies themselves with younger children, and are classified as bully-victims.

Unicef defines bullying as “aggressive behaviour that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength.

“It occurs across all geographic, racial and socioeconomic boundaries.”

Malaysian Mental Health Association deputy president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj says: “There is no such thing as being bullied ‘toughens up ‘ a child or subscribing to the common fallacy of ‘boys being boys.”

He says that if the school is serious about being a safe environment, there should be no compromise on bullying.

He adds that ragging, though common and on the pretext of bonding and the formation of lifelong friendships, should also be shown “zero tolerance.”

“Ultimately, parents must keep a close watch on their children and not depend on schools to ensure their child’s safety and psychological well being .

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim strongly agrees schools, especially school heads need to make a firm stand on the matter.

“Many (school heads) do not because school leaders are more concerned about grades and performance.

“A bully case made public is the last thing any principal wants. Schools prefer to see the victim discreetly transfer out of the school and the bullies merely given a warning as eventually they will grow up and leave the school,” she adds.

by REBECCA RAJAENDRAM.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/05/28/dealing-with-the-bully/#PDdXMYms3cpqd6F8.99

New international school opens

May 27th, 2017
(From left) Tan, Mahdzir, Brother Fernandez and Sng at the opening ceremony.

(From left) Tan, Mahdzir, Brother Fernandez and Sng at the opening ceremony.

ANOTHER private Lasallian educational institution has opened its doors in Malaysia.

St Joseph’s Institution International School Malaysia (Tropicana PJ Campus) (SJIIM) is also Tropicana Corporation Bhd’s first foray into education.

“Education is a critical component of nation building,” says Tropicana Corporation Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Yau Kok Seng.

Yau says the group is fully committed to providing a learning environment that will complement the Education Ministry’s aspirations to create a globally competitive future workforce.

image: http://bcp.crwdcntrl.net/5/c=5593/b=40716910

“Our methodology will work to develop critical and creative thinking capabilities that will enable students to perform in both the sciences and the arts,” he adds.

“Being an ex-Lasallian, nothing beats a disciplined and holistic education.”

The school’s board of governors, chairman Michael Sng, says the school’s mission is “to nurture young boys and girls to become great people.”

“You are part of a great Lasallian tradition,” he tells students during the official opening ceremony held last Monday.

He stresses that their students “enter to learn and leave to serve.”

The ceremony was in conjunction with the Founder’s Day celebration at the school, which was graced by Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, Tropicana Corporation Bhd founder and advisor, Tan Sri Danny Tan Chee Sing, and Lasallian East Asia District brother visitor, Brother Edmundo Fernandez.

“The school now has almost 500 students in classes from nursery to Year 12 and we are grateful to our founding parents for believing in our ethos and are proud to be the newest international edition in a long line of esteemed Lasallian institutions in Malaysia,” he says.

by REBECCA RAJAENDRAM
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/05/21/new-international-school-opens/#Lj1lvydco42EMFoE.99

Proud to be a daughter of educators

May 27th, 2017
Teachers are not defined by the clothes they wear, but by the knowledge and the values they impart to students. FILE PIC

I AM blessed to be born into a family of teachers. My uncle would proudly regale us with the story of how our late grandmother taught one of my brothers to read.

Each time I listened to that story, it is as if I’m being taken through a magical experience.

I imagined atok mak (as we fondly called our grandmother) persevering in making sure that my brother, Azad, was able to catch up in his lessons.

Apart from my parents and grandparents, many of my uncles and aunties have also become teachers.

For them, educating others does not stop after school.

It is their way of life and it is not limited to books and exams, but also involves other aspects, such as household chores, playing, singing and even a thing or two about relationships.

My elders, as well as my school teachers, played a huge role in my life and I am forever grateful to them. I would not be where I am today if not for their guidance.

Some of my sweetest childhood memories came from schools. I learned how to play hockey from a teacher in primary school (I can’t remember his name, though).

Despite being beaten to a pulp by Kluang High School (STK) in our first outing, I held on to the memory of that game. This was despite me unashamedly admitting that I can’t play hockey to save my life.

Of course, some of us would have encountered that “teacher” whom we do not want to remember. Despite this, I have always had high regard for my teachers.

Even after years of leaving school, when I bump into my former teachers, I still have a lively and friendly banter with them.

For this reason, I naturally get upset each time I come across derogatory comments and remarks about teachers.

One recent example is when someone posted a Facebook comment describing educators from a certain school, who wore school uniforms on Teachers Day on May 16, as clowns.

The last time I checked, there is nothing wrong with wearing school uniform to celebrate that special day, nor is it illegal to do so.

Teachers Day is the one day they can have things their way (within the law, of course) after a year of sweat and toil, and there is no harm in having fun on the day that is dedicated to them.

And, if all you can see is a group of people making a fool of themselves, then shame on you.

Teachers are not defined by the clothes they wear, but by the knowledge they impart and the values they inculcate in students.

Being raised by teachers, I have witnessed the late nights my parents put in to mark exam papers, the efforts my mother made in preparing teaching materials and how my grandparents were beaming with pride when talking about their former students.

There were also hilarious moments that some of my uncles had encountered in their classrooms.

The invaluable contributions of teachers were aptly described by Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah during a tribute luncheon recently.

He said teachers played a crucial role in shaping the minds of the youth and that the development of a country would come to a standstill if the education system was a failure.

Sultan Nazrin wanted the voices of teachers to be heard, as they are the ones who were in constant contact with students, and could give input that might help the government to draw up solid educational policies.

He also urged parents not to depend solely on teachers in raising their children.

In the past, albeit rarely, there were parents who would show concern during parent-teacher meetings, and make it a point to visit their children in school.

But today, we hear of busy folks sending text messages to teachers, asking them to stay back after school to look after their children because they will be late in fetching them.

by  Nuradzimmah Daim.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/05/243042/proud-be-daughter-educators

Caring for all creatures great and small

May 27th, 2017
Jom Sayangi Haiwan Kita presenter Nurul Najwa Adzme explaining more about the characteristics of cats to students.

VAMPIE. What a cute name! His beautiful sharp fangs protrude out even when his mouth is closed, making him look quite comical. He’s sitting next to me, doe eyes looking straight into mine. Gently, I couldn’t help caressing his cheeks with my fingers and just like that, my heart melts. Any thoughts of pushing him off my handbag vanish as he begins to meow softly.

This adorable cat is one of the many furry felines at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Jalan Kerja Ayer Lama in Ampang, Selangor, where I’m spending my Saturday morning, in preparation for my story. He’s a long tailed black adult cat who’d been fostered by someone before being taken to SPCA. He’s dewormed, vaccinated, neutered and ready to be part of a loving home. I really hope that someone will adopt him.

That said, to adopt a cat is not a walk in the park. It comes with great responsibility. Both adults and children need to know the do’s and don’ts of owning a pet so cases of abuse and neglect can be prevented.

“Ignorance is at the root of many animal neglect and mistreatment cases,” explains SPCA’s Kelvin Cheah on why people abuse animals. Cheah has been working for five years under the SPCA’s Inspectorate unit, handling cruelty cases and, according to him, SPCA receives an average of 57 cases of mistreated and neglected pets every month. The number, he adds, used to be higher.

Pets are not Toys:

My trip to the SPCA certainly left me with plenty to ponder. And attending today’s talk by Mars Petcare on responsible pet ownership will no doubt give me more food for thought.

Mars Petcare is reaching out to the pupils of SK Seafield 3 in USJ, Selangor, to encourage responsible pet ownership through the Jom Sayangi Haiwan Kita programme. Initiated in 2015 and anchored by Whiskas in Malaysia, this global initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of taking care of pets, particularly cats.

“Owning a pet can be very rewarding for both parents and children. It’s a good family bonding activity. But the most important thing for parents to remember is don’t get a pet for your child out of excitement,” begins Ong Chiek Ming, Mars Petcare Country Director (Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines) during our chat at the school.

Pets are not toys, they’re a lifetime commitment, she reiterates, adding: “That’s why it’s important to educate children from young about the responsibilities.” Eyes shining with pride, she shares that the programme which started three years ago with just 15 schools in the Klang Valley has been receiving positive feedback and is extending its reach to Penang, Perak and Johor.

Caring for Cats:

The bell rings. Recess is over for the pupils. But for some Standard 4 and 5 pupils, they don’t have to return to their classes. Instead, they’ve been selected to join the one-hour interactive session on how to care for cats conducted by Whiskas presenter Nurul Najwa Adzme.

The oohs and aahs can be heard echoing in the hall as they discover the wonders of cat characteristics as well as nuggets of interesting facts about the felines, such as how cats have fur all over their body except on their nose and paws, how their whiskers can detect obstacles in the dark, that their hearing frequency is three times higher than humans (so don’t make so much noise around cats), and that they’re 10 times more sensitive towards smell than humans.

The children also got the opportunity to learn “cat language”. Your cat needs attention if it starts brushing its body against you. If it’s wagging its tail, the cat is excited about something. “If its ears are down and tail straight up, the cat is angry so you better run,” jokes Najwa, making the kids laugh hysterically.

There are three important things to provide when caring for cats — the right food, love and affection, and healthcare. Dr Susan Wan Mei Ki, a veterinarian who’s been working with Mars Petcare for almost 15 years explains: “Cats are generally active as they’re carnivorous, thus they need more protein — meat — in their diet. They can’t be vegetarian. They need specific nutrients to reduce the risk of getting clinical condition. If you give the wrong food, your cat may get sick.”

She also explains how cats like to be by themselves. “They’re not sociable. They do enjoy the company of people but not all the time. If they want to play, they’ll come to you. Otherwise, they’ll ignore you. They’re happy on their own.”

One also needs to understand the importance of providing a conducive environment for cats, Susan continues.

“Hunting is in their nature. That’s why they’re always on the prowl, always running. It’s normal and you can’t change that. So it’s important to enrich their environment so they will love to be home and can still be active.”

by  Zuliantie Dzul.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/pulse/2017/05/243154/caring-all-creatures-great-and-small

New school to replace the abandoned SMK Nabalu

May 27th, 2017

Tuaran: The long-abandoned SMK Nabalu project will be revived and relocated to a new site at Kampung Giok, near here, said Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

He said his Ministry has identified 25 acres next to SK Kampung Giok for the construction of the secondary school.

Describing the delay as critical, Mahdzir said the Government has always been determined to resolve it.

“The Ministry wants the problem to be solved as soon as possible, but we have to follow the right procedures,” he said after a joint working visit to schools in the district with Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, at SK Kampung Giok, Friday.

According to him, works on the SMK Nabalu project started in 2012 before it was halted in 2014, after which it was abandoned.

“It was abandoned as the soil was found unsuitable for construction by the Minerals and Geoscience Department…and we admit that a proper soil test was not conducted prior to the construction.

“But now we have a new site and will go through all the necessary processes like studies on the soil before construction.”

He also disclosed that they have completed the process of land title transfers from 10 landowners while five others have yet to sign the agreement.

“Once this is done, we will start to look into the design of the building,” he said, adding that the new school’s name will be left to the local leadership to decide.

Mahdzir said the Government had spent about 20 per cent or about RM5 million of the total allocation for the SMK Nabalu project before it was stopped.

Previously, Parti Warisan Sabah Vice Wirawati Chief, Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas, had questioned the fate of the abandoned project and defined it as a white elephant by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

In a statement, she said the school will benefit the school children in the surrounding areas where they do not have to travel far for their secondary education.

Tangau, who is also Tuaran MP, said the announcement made by Mahdzir will finally shed some light on the concerns faced by the people in Pekan Nabalu.

“This will surely solve a big problem as the aspirations of the people here to have a secondary school will finally be materialised.

“We heard various views, especially from the opposition, but the truth is the Government has always been working hard to build the school,” he said.

Earlier, Mahdzir and Tangau visited SK Mengkabong to observe the Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) approach in the primary school as well as to be briefed on the school’s development.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=117958

All Govt schools to have high-speed Internet by next year.

May 27th, 2017
Service rewarded: Mahdzir (second from left) giving the Tokoh Guru Negeri Kelantan 2017 Award to Ghazali. — Bernama

Service rewarded: Mahdzir (second from left) giving the Tokoh Guru Negeri Kelantan 2017 Award to Ghazali. — Bernama

TANAH MERAH: All government schools will be equipped with high speed Internet service by next year, making digital learning for millions of students a reality in Malaysia.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said Internet facilities would be upgraded in 6,000-odd schools, bringing the total number of schools with relatively high speed Internet access to more than 10,000.

“High speed Internet access does not only improve teaching and learning in schools, but is also beneficial for teachers and other staff in discharging their duties,” he said after opening the Kelantan Teachers Day celebration at SMK Belimbing here yesterday.

He said the current speed varies from as low as 2Mbps in rural schools to 10Mbps in some urban schools.

Mahdzir also called on teachers to be technology savvy, as information and communication technology tools were the way forward in the education sector.

He urged parent-teacher associations and non-governmental organisations to play a more active role to help drive schools towards excellence.

by SIRA HABIBU
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/05/26/all-govt-schools-to-have-highspeed-internet-by-next-year/#wLWjElcDhwS63F0X.99

Smart energy consumption

May 27th, 2017
(File pix) Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nancy Shukri has stated that Malaysia’s nuclear power programme will only be able to kick off after 2030, subject to approval of the Atomic Energy Regulation Bill. AFP Photo

ENERGY plays an important role in our lives. It comes in several forms that can be utilised to keep people warm during cold weather, provide food, improve transportation and increase productivity. When energy is utilised efficiently, it will bring great comfort to our lives. However, energy consumption has been increasing in recent decades as the world population keeps growing.

According to the United Nations (UN) report, the current world population of 7.4 billion in 2016 is projected to increase by one billion over the next 10 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050.

Besides population, the standard of living for many people in developing countries is increasing, which in turn results in the growing energy demand.

As a developing country, Malaysia is not immune to the trend as the Energy Commission reported that energy consumption was increasing year by year.

This activity does not only impact the the environment, but incurs great cost to the country that relies heavily on this resource.

It was reported on April 1 that Malaysia’s power generation industry spent RM15.1 billion to generate 120,059 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity for 8.45 million customers in Peninsular Malaysia.

To get a clear picture of fossil fuel dependency, the International Energy Agency in its “World Energy Outlook 2007” stated that between now and 2030, the global energy needs were expected to grow, and fossil fuels would remain the dominant source.

In order to reduce fossil fuel dependency, the energy mix is introduced as an alternative measure to face its shortage. In Malaysia, this energy mix strategy has successfully reduced dependency on oil significantly, from 87 per cent in 1980, to less than one per cent today.

However, since the energy mix is only based on other fossil fuels, the dependency on coal and natural gas to generate energy is increased to 87 per cent for both, while only around 10 per cent comes from hydroelectric power. The dependency on fossil fuel can no longer last, forcing us to seek alternative sources.

Recently, the Malaysian government began to consider nuclear energy as part of the national energy mix, since the country’s energy consumption keeps increasing, but the main energy source, which is fossil fuels, is running out.

According to the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) 2016-2020 under
Anchoring Growth on People agenda, it is stated that the use
of nuclear power as an alternative energy resource will be explored.

The Malaysian Nuclear Agency added that, “Malaysia would further explore the deployment of nuclear power as an option for electricity generation for post-2020 in Peninsular Malaysia”.

It is almost confirmed that Malaysia will be having a nuclear power plant sooner or later, as stated by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, who said that Malaysia’s nuclear power programme will only be able to kick off after 2030, subject to the approval of the Atomic Energy Regulation Bill.

Currently, the implementation of nuclear energy as part of the energy mix has a few challenges as the government and related agencies need to convince the public about the safety of nuclear power, to identify the source of financing for the nuclear programme, to obtain approval for plant site and acquire public support on locality.

It can be seen that the Federal government is struggling to fulfil the country’s energy demand, which involves complicated processes of building nuclear power facility.

As I see it, the search for alternative energy resources is an endless journey if the energy consumption is “allowed” to increase without implementing “green practices”.

“Green practices” can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, which can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations.

Therefore, we could do our part responsibly in society by considering “green practice” through “energy efficiency” implementation in order to reduce the rise of energy consumption. Basically, “energy efficiency” is the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services.

This is one of the best measures, which we could take as our own initiative, to address the issue of increasing global energy demand.

Among “energy efficiency” practices that we could also consider are: replace inefficient
appliances with more efficient ones; reduce loads to any mechanical appliances that require more operating energy; upgrade building envelopes such as improving insulation and roofing, to having good air ventilation to support the natural cooling system; and, use of energy-saving control systems in most of electrical appliances if and when possible.

by  SHAHINO MAH ABDULLAH.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/node/242804

Cost of living in Sabah higher, not lower – Wong

May 26th, 2017

Wong (3rd from right) and other members of SEA during the press conference yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Employers Association (SEA) hopes to bring down the cost of doing business in Sabah.

SEA president Datuk Seri Panglima Wong Khen Thau said this was the main role of SEA which was registered with the Registrar of Societies in Sabah on Aug 25, 2016.

He said they hoped Malaysia would one day have one price throughout the country, including Sabah.

He said it was ironic that despite the higher living costs in Sabah, the minimum wage in the State was lower than Peninsular Malaysia.

He said the minimum wage was determined by the prices of essential goods in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia.

“Of course, the prices of fish and vegetables in Sabah are lower than in Peninsular Malaysia, hence the assumption that Sabah is cheaper,” he said.

“(And) it is not true the cost of living in Sabah is lower. This is a misconception.”

He added that SEA hoped to reduce the cost of doing business in Sabah and bring about the realisation of the 1Country 1Price and address the imbalances.

Members of the SEA comprise trade organisations and companies in Sabah who have realised and recognised the value of joining forces for support and protection amid an increasingly complex and challenging business and labour environment.

by Jenne Lajiun.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2017/05/26/cost-of-living-in-sabah-higher-not-lower-wong/

Health care time bombs in our backyards

May 25th, 2017
The audience at a public health forum on Zika.

POSSIBLY just outside your door is a potential public health nightmare, a health care time bomb just ticking away. You’ve probably not heard of it before because the disease that this “bomb” causes, melioidosis, is perhaps one of the most neglected diseases that we know of.

The funny, or perhaps scary, thing about the state of neglect that meliodosis is in is that it is not even on the World Health Organisation’s list of neglected diseases.

Despite its status as neglected, melioidosis is a disease that, in 2016, was projected to affect more than 160,000 with annual increments expected. Unfortunately, melioidosis is seldom reported and is quite often misdiagnosed as something else thus earning it the nickname — the great mimicker.

The disease known as meliodosis is not new. It had been discovered more than a century ago and is known to afflict many in the tropical regions where the bacteria that causes it, Burkholderia pseudomallei, can be found.

It was even proposed that the fictional Tapanuli fever in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Dying Detective, one of the Sherlock Holmes short stories, was actually melioidosis. This disease was initially believed to be localised to Southeast Asia and parts of Northern Australia. However, it has recently been reported to be more widespread with the bacteria having been found in the soil of many areas of the Indian sub-continent as well as the Americas.

Perhaps one of the most dramatic surfacing of melioidosis was when several rescuers who recovered a drowning victim in 2010 at Lubuk Yu, Pahang quickly succumbed (48 hours after exposure) to what was initially a mystery disease.

In reality, melioidosis is happening everyday. Several studies have shown that many of the endemic regions for melioidosis have an alarmingly high number of the population carrying antibodies to it — meaning that they had at one time been exposed to the B. pseudomallei bacteria.

Melioidodis has another scary angle — it can also cause what is referred to as a latent infection, a situation where the bacteria can remain dormant in the infected host for years, even possibly decades, before eventually flaring up as melioidosis. This is one reason why it has earned another nickname, the Vietnamese Time Bomb — a reference to the fact that many Vietnam War veterans came down with the disease long after they had left the battlefield in the jungles of Indochina.

Studies have also found that incidence for co-morbidity of melioidosis with diabetes is alarmingly high, indicating that diabetics may have increased susceptibility to the disease or even possibly that diabetes itself may act as a trigger for a latent infection to flare up. Melioidosis is increasingly being recognised as an infectious disease of global importance. The double burden of diabetes with bacterial infections, such as melioidosis and tuberculosis, represents a significant global challenge.

With diabetes affecting an increasing number of the world’s population, the compounding effect of co-morbidity with a bacterial epidemic or even pandemic has the potential to explode into a public health nightmare.

In a way, the state of neglect for melioidosis has parallels to our neglect of the Zika virus. We have only recently heard of the Zika virus because it did not seem to affect us directly before. Misleading reporting and headlines give the impression that Zika is a new disease. In reality, the Zika virus had been discovered decades ago and is known to be present even in Malaysia. Unfortunately, like many things that we humans focus on, we prioritise our affairs into matters that affect us directly, and after that comes the more indirect problems. Zika didn’t seem to be causing any problems other than an annoying fever. We didn’t even bother to test for it previously — so like fevers caused by other viruses that we consider not worthy of mentioning, we had just lumped it into the “viral fever” category. But more recent events have attracted our attention — this disease was starting to be a problem.

The question is — had it always been so and we simply did not notice it, or did the virus evolve the capacity to cause more serious damage to humans? The point that I am trying to make is simple — we need to take proactive measures and learn from the past to plan for the future.

I started off with melioidosis because like Zika, many of us may have never heard of it until it is perhaps too late. However, diseases like melioidosis are largely ignored because they are not yet problems, not big enough yet anyway. What is the cut-off point for us to start reacting? Ten lives? A hundred? Or should the toll reach an even thousand first? We can do much better than simply reacting to epidemics in panic. We should be ready to meet such challenges head on. This can only be achieved through intensified research into such diseases.

Previous outbreaks, such as SARS, MERS, Ebola and Zika managed to escape local containment and spread globally, have shown how unprepared the world health care system and infrastructure is when it comes to responding to infectious disease outbreaks. Earlier this year, Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, announced the launch of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This multinational government-backed coalition’s mission is to finance research efforts aimed at preventing future epidemics for known and even yet unknown diseases. As a nation that can be greatly affected and is in the direct firing line of many infectious disease outbreaks, we should take steps to participate in such initiatives.

by MOHD FIRDAUS RAIH.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2017/05/242228/health-care-time-bombs-our-backyards

Revert retirement age of govt staff to 55: Kurup

May 25th, 2017

Keningau: The Federal and State governments have been urged to consider reverting the retirement age of civil servants to 55 so that more graduates will have the opportunity to be employed.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (pic) said there was a need to review existing policies, including on retirement age, as there have been more graduates coming out of higher learning institutions.

He noted that 170,000 students graduate from higher learning institutions annually but there are only about 6,000 job openings in both the Federal and State governments.

“I will propose 55 as the retirement age of civil servants like it used to be, so as to give a chance for graduates to be employed,” he said.

He said the Government was concerned over the issue of graduates struggling to get employment after spending years to earn their diploma or degree.

The Pensiangan Member of Parliament said this when briefing community leaders on the Government’s TN2050 agenda.

Meanwhile, a former community leader from Senagang, Hayang Gindawai, called on the Government to invest more on education development in Pensiangan.

by  Uhim Wong.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=117878