Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

Fiscal deficit is ok

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018
(File pix) Kuala Lumpur skyline. A budget deficit will boost aggregate demand in the economy by compensating for the muted growth in public consumption. Pix by Surianie Mohd Hanif

AS Budget Day draws near, it is the normal practice for the government to take stock of the milieu enveloping the country today. The milieu does not look sunny.

Take the global scene. The world is tilting towards de-globalisation and populism. The global recession, consequent to the 2008 global financial crisis, triggered this tilt. United States President Donald Trump’s trade wars against China, European Union, Canada and Mexico, further fuel this slide to increasing protectionism. They risk eroding the potential gains to global wealth as a result of free trade.

Together, our key trading partners, China, EU and the US, consume nearly a quarter of our exports.

Declining fortunes in these countries can negatively impact on our export earnings and, consequently, our welfare. If it is of any consolation, the depreciating ringgit should boost our global competitiveness. It should keep our exports afloat amid the dampening of fortunes in our export markets.

The increase in petroleum prices recently might seem a relief. At around US$79 (RM327) the price is US$28 more than that which was used to estimate energy revenues for the 2018 budget.

Assuming that the price holds, the government should be able to rake in an additional RM8 billion in revenue next year. Alas, much of it will go to subsidise fuel prices at the pump, leaving barely little, if at all, to finance other public expenditures next year.

On the home front, the government is concerned with the budget deficit and debt management. If these do take precedence over other matters of public finance, then that will only point to fiscal consolidation in the coming year.

From a Keynesian viewpoint that may not augur well to revitalising a slowing economy. Added to this, the elimination of the regressive sales and services tax or GST will punch another RM17 billion hole in the public coffers next year.

The gap would have been even wider if not for the sales and services tax or SST delivering RM27 billion to the government treasury.

All is not lost however. What is loss to the government coffers will be a gain to the public. The increased disposal income should enlarge public consumption and should help grow our economy.

Sadly, that may not be the case. Our household debts, at 88 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), rank as one of the highest in Asia. The increased disposal income may go to reducing household debt, leaving little for spending. Notwithstanding, debt reduction itself is a good thing. It will eventually make the economy healthier.

While we have almost eradicated poverty, our society is still unequal in income distribution. Our GINI coefficient, a measure of inequality, is 0.399. We are too close for comfort to the World Bank’s cut-off point of 0.4, beyond which a nation becomes highly unequal.

Weighed down by auto and housing loans, our bank lending growth has yet to hit double-digit growth to catalyse a moderately growing economy. The population is ageing. By 2030 we willl have 15 per cent or six million people over 60 years. Urbanisation is on the march as well. By 2050, 90 per cent of the population will be urban. These issues make public-policy changes imperative.

It is against this cheerless scenario that we need to assess the concern over budget deficit. Paul Krugman, a Noble-prize winning economist, argues that budget deficits are a necessity. They can reduce unemployment and bring about the needed economic recovery.

Without such pump-priming the economy in times of slower growth, as our country is experiencing now, a country can descend into a recession. There are already such signs looming in the horizon.

That is what happened to the United States in 1937 when then president Franklin Roosevelt prematurely reduced the New Deal stimulus. The New Deal, initiated in the aftermath of the depression in 1933, introduced all manner of programmes to provide economic relief during the Great Depression. Stimulus cutback threw the US back into recession.

In a similar refrain, Richard Koo in his 2015 book The Escape from Balance Sheet Recession and the QE Trap argues that budget deficits are not all that bad. Perhaps it was to avert such an apocalypse that Japan’s fiscal policy over the last decade has been expansionary.

Without its fiscal deficits Japan could have suffered a great depression like that of the US.

In our quest to reduce the budget deficit we have often taken the easy way out by cutting development expenditure. As a result, development expenditure as a share of the total annual expenditure has declined some 40 per cent since early 2000s. Budget deficits are not bad if they are meant to finance development to revitalise the economy.

A budget deficit too will boost aggregate demand in the economy by compensating for the muted growth in public consumption.

As such, fiscal retrenchment amid weak demand will be disastrous.

At three per cent of the GDP, our budget deficit is small.

But we must acknowledge that we have been incurring it for nearly 20 years. Hence the enlarged public debt that went to financing them.

By DATUK DR JOHN ANTONY XAVIER.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2018/09/412460/fiscal-deficit-ok

Work, Matters! : Finding Balance at Work and in Life

Sunday, September 9th, 2018
Pic by NSTP/NIK HARIFF HASSAN

My wife and I returned back to Kuala Lumpur last weekend, after almost three weeks of being away. Aside from our biannual trip to her home in Austria, we also did a fair of bit traveling around Scandinavia.

I especially like traveling, and I spend time planning these trips to ensure that we both see and experience as much as possible.

After such a connected and intense time together with my wife, the hardest part is to come back home, decouple, and get back to our daily work lives.

Usually for the first few days of being back, we both feel a sense of separation having spent a lot of time with each other, on holiday. While these vacations serve as a break, and offer us tremendous opportunities to learn, most importantly they help me connect quite deeply with my wife.

Many of you who read my column every week put in long hours at work.

It is pretty clear that for you to advance in your professional lives you will need to work between eight and 12 hours a day, for the foreseeable future.

Often, for you, the 60-hour work a week is the absolute minimum.

In my leadership coaching session, people sometimes ask me how to manage being a good spouse, while still succeeding at work, considering the number of hours their work demands.

To be frank, I am still a work in progress in this regard.

But, I understand that the dilemma that most of us face is the conflict between our private life, and the demands of a rigorous work-life.

How do you find balance?

Juggling a professional career as well as being an owner of multiple businesses, and also being a husband, I have had to work out what success actually means to me.

While the delineation of my work-life balance varies from time to time, the hardest part has always been to get my professional and personal needs, aligned.

At some points I have found it impossible to pay enough attention to both facets of my life. And sadly, like many of you, I, too, have opted for the wrong priorities.

My feeling used to be that my work or business life had to take priority, because it paid for my life-style choices.

But as my marriage and my health suffered from the lack of attention, I understood that I had to make changes.

I decided that I would actively seek the balance I need to give to all aspects of my life.

Professionally, I continue to work quite intensely. But I have become more demanding of myself on how I use my time. At work, I became selective of what to do each day, within a given number of hours, without overreaching.

To be successful at this, you must be absolutely honest with yourself.

You must curb laziness, and learn to manage your tendency to procrastinate. Each day, focus on what needs to be done and prioritise. But pay attention to how you can free yourself up within a given time-frame. This way you have more time to share with the people and the things you care about

I also have some other techniques I use to ensure that I achieve this balance.

My wife and I try to spend about an hour each morning together, before we head off to work. This time is not spent attending to our morning chores. Those things get done earlier. This is time spent hanging out together, talking and connecting over a cup of coffee.

The tough part is to not get drawn to the newspapers or your social media feeds. And if you manage to get this morning connection done effectively, it sets you up nicely for the rest of the day.

The next thing is to create a schedule in your life. As boring and predictable as this may sound, it will be your salvation when trying to balance your work and private lives.

I am fortunate that I work for myself therefore I am not constrained by rigid working hours. However, this also means that I can end up working all day long. So, I work on following a schedule. This includes planning when I reply my emails, or how often I count the “likes” on my social media posts.

And, arguably the most important discipline both my wife and I have cultivated, is to go on “work-free-dates”. This simply means that we go out for a movie, or for a walk, or for a meal, and choose not to discuss work matters at all. But instead, we just focus on being in each other’s company.

By SHANKAR R. SANTHIRAM.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2018/09/409689/work-matters-finding-balance-work-and-life

Boosting a two-way link in research

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

ENERGY, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin recently voiced her concerns on the lack of researchers working in the industry.

She said that research and development (R&D) in the country focuses on academic research but the outcome is not utilised in related industries.

As such, this has deterred the development of advanced technologies and products.

It was reported in the New Straits Times that some 78 per cent of the country’s full-time researchers work at universities while only 12.3 per cent work in the industry.

Yeo added that the country has to work towards the direction where R&D will no longer be limited to academia but also through collaboration with the industry.

The ministry will be allocating at least 50 per cent of research and development funds to experimental research next year.

“The government wants to create an ecosystem that encourages industries to thrive and allows talents to grow.”

Last year, 70.5 per cent of R&D expenditure was spent on applied research, with only 8.6 per cent allocated to experimental research.

“If we have an ecosystem supportive of new technologies, which allow industries to develop quickly in this fast-changing world, we will be able to overcome the challenges we face in this disruptive world.”

ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia deputy vice-chancellor (UKM) (research affairs and innovation) Professor Dr Mohd Ekhwan Toriman said researchers excel at university because passion for research inspires students.

Mohd Ekhwan said universities allow researchers to be independent and explore transdisciplinary research compared to those working at companies where the work scope is limited.

“Working at the university exposes researchers to the latest research and technology revealed at international conferences and facilitates networking with researchers from other tertiary institutions.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia deputy vice-chancellor (UKM) (research affairs and innovation) Professor Dr Mohd Ekhwan Toriman.

“There is no requirement for researchers at companies to attend international conferences, thus limiting their opportunity for networking,” he added.

Furthermore, he said researchers at the university share their findings and latest discoveries with students.

“Most universities provide researchers with facilities to carry out their work. They benefit from grants and incentives to conduct their research independently.”

University of Malaya (UM) deputy vice-chancellor (research and innovation) Professor Dr Noorsaadah Abd Rahman said researchers at the university do research to generate new knowledge that will push, not only the boundary of knowledge but also create new technology.

She said those working in the industry usually focus on experimental development research such as optimisation and scaling up research.

The industry should commercialise the output from university research.

“Researchers at both the university and industry are equally important. Good collaboration between the two boosts the flow of information between them.”

University of Malaya (UM) deputy vice-chancellor (research and innovation) Professor Dr Noorsaadah Abd Rahman.

ISSUES

UKM’s Institute of Systems Biology senior research fellow Dr Mohd Firdaus Raih said academic research has multiple aims which are usually long-term. Research into fundamental areas of science and translating findings into useful technology take time.

He added that such types of research are not sustainable in the private sector due to the need to serve the balance sheet and investors, especially so in Malaysia.

“Academic research provides technologically-and research competent-manpower for the private sector. In Malaysia, R&D is university-centric because the capacity to carry out research has not been present in the private sector and as such it is common to associate research with universities and not the private sector.

“This is slowly changing but we need catalysts and incentives to hasten the progress. We can overcome this by creating a conducive R&D ecosystem and providing incentives for both sides.”

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Systems Biology senior research fellow Dr Mohd Firdaus Raih

Noorsaadah said to move the output from academic research to the industry requires different skills and large investment.

For example, in science and technology, academic research tends to be small scale to test a hypothesis and/or prove a concept.

“Once this is achieved, research needs to be carried out to upscale the output. In advanced nations such as the United States and Japan, this type of research known as experimental development research is usually carried out by and at the industry.

“In Malaysia, our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not ready for such research or do not have enough funds to invest in such research and convert academic research output into a viable product in the industry.

“In addition, SMEs here do not have enough human capacity skilled enough to do the specialised research required for optimisation and/or up-scaling in experimental development research.”

BUILDING AN ECOSYSTEM

Researchers at both the university and industry are equally important. Picture courtesy UM Corporate Communication Unit

There is a necessity for an ecosystem that encourages industries to thrive and allow talents to grow. The ecosystem should also support new technologies, which allow industries to develop quickly in this fast-changing world.

Mohd Ekhwan said the industry needs the mirror lab at UKM so that research elements can be felt by industry researchers.

“They need to conduct research at university on rotation to maintain a research culture and carry out impact assessments,” he added.

Mirror lab is a collaboration between universities and the industry, without the need for the latter to develop its own facilities.

At UKM, the Centre for Collaborative Innovation was set up as the driving force in the innovation ecosystem. UKM intellectual property, technology transfer and commercialisation are managed by the centre, which also promotes the culture of innovation and the transfer of UKM-developed technology for the benefit of society.

“It also generates unrestricted income to support research and education, and develop new enterprises from research and technological innovation and create value or multiplier effect in the economy.”

Mohd Firdaus added that talent growth needs to come first before the industry can thrive, thus creating an ecosystem that is able to capitalise on the available capacity.

“In Malaysia, we have a very limited post-doctoral training system. In the West, Australia, Japan and Korea, many doctoral graduates go on to take up post-doctoral positions for three to five years.

“This is perhaps when they are at peak performance capacity of their research careers. After this post-doctoral research stint, they take up faculty posts at university or appointments with more leadership and management responsibilities.

“However, this is not the case here. Doctoral graduates at their peak are in management or faculty positions with responsibilities not related to research. This is what we need to address.”

Noorsaadah said fostering collaborative projects between universities and the industry is a good way to encourage a thriving research ecosystem in the latter.

One way to drive research in the industry is to have it set up laboratories on campus.

“This will enable an easier flow of research output between the university and the industry. In addition, graduate students should be encouraged to spend time doing research in the industry, especially if the work is connected with industrial output.

“The then Higher Education Ministry initiated the ‘industrial PhD’ programme where doctoral candidates did research in the industry, working on an area related to the industry.

“Research culture and activities in the industry thrived under the initiative. In the United Kingdom’s Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science and Technology programme, industries and businesses take the lead in arranging projects with an academic partner of their choice and provide studentship or fellowship to doctoral candidates to carry out research.”

Mohd Firdaus added that universities and the industry should be allocated funds and given incentives to nurture a post-doctoral training ecosystem.

“But ideally, we want some of them to also form up start-up companies in high-technology domains such as telecommunications, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

“Such start-ups usually remain not too far off from their intellectual birthplace. For example, innovation hotbeds such as Silicon Valley, Bay Area in San Francisco and Oxford-Cambridge in England are areas in close proximity to some of the world’s top universities.”

In Malaysia, there is such a corridor which extends from Petaling Jaya to Bangi/Serdang and on to Nilai.

“If companies are interested in having their R&D situated along this corridor, there may be advantages. In such a situation, the benefits go both ways. The start-up can benefit from the infrastructure available on campus while the university has an avenue for making its research benefit the people through the commercialisation of technology.”

SYNERGY

Noorsaadah said: “At UM, we encourage researchers to carry out contract research and consultancy work for the industry to add value to products in addition to incorporating newer technology.

“The industry, particularly SMEs, and the university need to learn to trust each other and be more open.

“Then we can better work together and allow easy access and sharing of talents as well as facilities.”

Mohd Ekhwan said the benefits of university-industry collaboration for skills development (education and training, innovation and technology transfer) and the promotion of entrepreneurship (start-ups and spin-offs) that can benefit researchers should be highlighted.

“We should provide more flexibility in university-industry partnerships by considering formal and informal collaborations. Formal arrangements include equity partnerships, contracts, research projects and patent licensing while informal partnerships include human capital mobility, publications and interactions at conferences and expert groups.

“Offer the flexibility of short- or long-term collaboration, thus encouraging researchers to define their preference,” he added.

“Another way to have more researchers in the private sector is to privatise research. For example, universities have facilitated their R&D to be commercialised as start-up companies.

“But some research at universities and government institutes can also be privatised. Once privatised, the companies must be in the business of research, not the business of making profits,” said Mohd Firdaus.

Public sector laboratories that are privatised must be allowed the independence to operate as a private company without interference from their original parent agency. They can hire outside of the civil service system and operate outside of government regulations.

“This has advantages because the companies can hire the right people and pay competitive salaries. By operating outside of the government bureaucracy, for example, purchases can be made fast and simple ­— even buying equipment on eBay if appropriate.

By Zulita Mustafa.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2018/09/408485/boosting-two-way-link-research

M’sia’s fertility rate drops to lowest level ever recorded

Thursday, August 16th, 2018
(File pix) National fertility rate this year is expected to decline to the lowest level recorded since the formation of Malaysia in 1963, with 15.8 births per 1,000 people compared to 16.1 in 2017. Pix by Fathil Asri

KUALA LUMPUR: The national fertility rate this year is expected to decline to the lowest level recorded since the formation of Malaysia in 1963, with 15.8 births per 1,000 people compared to 16.1 in 2017.

According to the 2018 Malaysia’s Selected Demographic Indicator, the overall fertility rate of Malaysian women aged 15 to 49 is estimated at 19.1 children, which is below the replacement level of 2.1 children.

This means that the Malaysian population is shrinking, as the average number of babies born to a woman during her period of fertility is not sufficient to replace her and her partner, Chief Statistician of the Department of Statistics Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidi told Bernama.

“This decline in the overall fertility rate is also one of the demographic factors that contributes to population aging,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile the gross mortality rate in 2018 is 5.1 deaths per 1,000 people – a drop from 5.2 deaths in 2017.

As a result of the lower mortality rate, Malaysia’s population in 2018 is estimated to increase by 0.4 million to 32.4 million people, the report said.

In terms of lifespans, a female born in 2018 could live for 77.6 years, while a male could live for 72.7 years.

As for gender indicators, the number of males is estimated to increase to 14.69 million this year, outnumbering females at 14.37 million.

According to the Indicator, Malaysians in the 15 to 64 year age group will increase to 22.58 million in 2018; while those in the 65 years and up category will increase to 2.10 million.

The 0 to 14 year group, meanwhile, is estimated to drop to 7.71 million this year, compared to 7.73 million in 2017.

By NSTP.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/08/401862/msias-fertility-rate-drops-lowest-level-ever-recorded

‘Famous’ super yacht Equanimity arrives in Port Klang

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018
Seized luxury yacht Equanimity, linked to Low Taek Jho, is brought to Boustead Cruise Terminal in Port Klang, Malaysia. REUTERS

PORT KLANG: Equanimity’s 20-hour journey to the Boustead Cruise Centre, here, from Indonesia was heavily escorted by three Malaysian marine police patrol boats and a KD Jebat warship.

The super yacht believed to be valued at US$250 million (RM1 billion) is said to be linked to fugitive Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.

Seized luxury yacht Equanimity, linked to Low Taek Jho, is brought to Boustead Cruise Terminal in Port Klang, Malaysia. REUTERS

The yacht, also claimed as having links to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), docked at the centre’s jetty at about 1pm.

While the super yacht made its way to the jetty, several officers and personnel from the Attorney-General’s (AG) office and navy officers were seen walking towards the jetty.

It is believed that upon docking, the officers would board the luxury yacht to conduct a series of inspection before having a meeting with the ship’s crew members later.

Seized luxury yacht Equanimity, linked to Low Taek Jho, is brought to Boustead Cruise Terminal in Port Klang, Malaysia. REUTERS

The pathway leading to the jetty have been cordoned off and is heavily guarded by at least 50 police personnel

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is expected to visit the Equanimity in a couple of days.

The yacht was first seized by Indonesian authorities at the request of the United States’ (US) Department of Justice (DoJ) as part of an investigation in relation to the 1MDB scandal.

Luxury yacht Equanimity arrives at the Boustead Cruise Terminal in Port Klang. Pic by SAIRIEN NAFIS

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir had on Facebook, thanked Indonesian president Joko Widodo and the Indonesian authorities for handing over the vessel.

Reporting by Iskandar Shah Mohamed, Dawn Chan, Hafidzul Hilmi Mohd Noor and Seri Nor Nadiah Koris

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/08/398956/famous-super-yacht-equanimity-arrives-port-klang

US state secretary: Well done, Malaysia!

Saturday, August 4th, 2018
Good to meet you: Dr Mahathir greeting Pompeo at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya. — Bernama

Good to meet you: Dr Mahathir greeting Pompeo at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is impressed by Malaysia’s economic development and dynamism.

“We’re proud of our strong partnership with American companies that do business here,” he said in a series of tweets yesterday.

Pompeo also congratulated Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Moha­mad and the Malaysian people on a successful election and a smooth transition of power.

He added that he looked forward to deepening the partnership bet­ween the two countries on a range of issues.

image: https://content.thestar.com.my/smg/settag/name=lotame/tags=all

Earlier, Pompeo called on Dr Mahathir in Putrajaya for talks as part of his two-day inaugural visit to Malaysia.

Pompeo, who arrived for the meeting at 9am, was accompanied by US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir.

Pompeo is the most senior US official to visit Dr Mahathir since his election victory.

He arrived in Malaysia on Thursday to kick off his five-day tour to three South-East Asian countries.

The United States established diplomatic ties with Malaysia in 1957 following Malaya’s independence from Britain.

Washington and Kuala Lumpur elevated bilateral relations to a Comprehensive Partnership in April 2014.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/08/04/us-state-secretary-well-done-malaysia/#23VP65AW4zDCEApX.99

Seeing the big picture

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
Issues such as heavy school bags and the colour of school shoes tend to generate controversies. Hence, we should not be too preoccupied with them.

IN the course of my public-service career, I would have heard hundreds of speeches by public-service leaders. A few have stuck in my mind. One of which is that by Tan Sri Ismail Adam, a former director-general of public service.

As often as the opportunity arose, Ismail would exhort public servants to see the big picture or, in his words, “the forest for the trees”. And, he walked the talk. When ministries approached the Public Service Department, or JPA — the Malay acronym — for the creation of new posts or divisions, he would invariably ask them how their request would further the strategic direction of their ministries. That would get them thinking of the big picture about how their request would fit into the larger vision and purpose of their ministries.

This nugget of wisdom of seeing the big picture is also the central theme of the Kim Chan’s and Renee Mauborgne’s 2017 book Blue Ocean Shift. There, as in their previous path-breaking 2005 book Blue Ocean Strategy, they exhort businesses to be single-minded about the big picture. Businesses should not to focus on operational issues and accounting figures if they want to seek out uncontested markets without competitors.

A similar resonance of appreciating the big picture is evident in Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson’s 2012 insightful book, Why Nations Fail.

Acemoglu and Robinson argue that inclusive and pro-growth political and economic institutions and the rule of law are prerequisites for a nation’s socio-economic progress. Countries are more likely to develop the right institutions when they have a pluralistic political system with competition for political office. There must also be an openness to their newly-elected political leaders, giving them space to realise their big picture.

Powerful people everywhere have always sought to rig the rules to seize control over government. In the process they weaken institutions. And, it is effective democracy that keeps these power-hungry gluttons in check.

Against this big canvass of economic development, Acemoglu and Robinson argue that contingent policies — the “trees” — however sensible, are often bereft of impact without the big picture of institutional change. Poor countries are poor simply because their leaders do not know which policies to pursue to prosper their citizens.

The new government came into power with such a big picture. At the hustings, Pakatan Harapan advocated stanching the rise in cost of living. The Goods and Services Tax and escalating petroleum prices were in the cross-hairs. Upon assuming office, the new government has mowed down these causes of inflation.

The bigger picture of restoring the fiscal position has seen the government committing to shrinking the public debt and deferring or paring down the price-tag of big-ticket projects.

To restore public trust, the new government has promised to restore the supremacy of the constitution. It wants the rule of law to be omnipresent in all its dealings. Relatedly, the government wants to revive the integrity of all three branches of government — parliament, judiciary and executive

A start on these big pictures has been made. There are many more big pictures looming on the horizon. One such big picture is education reform. Here, the big picture is how the education system can be revamped to produce employable school-leavers and graduates. This has to be done without compromising the high ideals of the higher-education system to extend the frontiers of knowledge and make students better leaders of tomorrow.

Such a big picture should not be stained by an obsessive preoccupation on issues such as the weight of school bags or the colour of school shoes. While these may be pertinent issues, they tend to generate controversies. Such controversies are unnecessary distractions from the pursuit of the bigger vision.

As Assegid Habtewold, the author of 9 Cardinal Building Blocks for Continued Success, says: “Having the big picture in mind enables us to overcome the routines that distract us from pursuing our dream.”

Similarly, the nation’s human resource management should not be mired by issues of who gets to cook in our restaurants. Rather, the big-picture focus should be on elevating our vocational education to the level of excellence that the German and Swiss vocational education exemplifies. The relevant ministry should focus on the bigger sketch of how talent can be attracted, developed and retained.

Putting out the small fires should not be ignored either lest they conflagrate into bigger ones. Notwithstanding, a proper perspective between “the forest” and “the trees” should prevail.

The political leadership has shown by example that we should not sweat the small stuff. It is our turn, as citizens, to emulate this good example. What is important for us today is that we must be mindful that irrespective of race or creed we are all Malaysians. It behoves therefore for all of us to honour that identity and treat one another as belonging to that big family.

By DATUK DR JOHN ANTONY XAVIER.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2018/07/394172/seeing-big-picture

Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie Bin Hj Apdal Officiated 2018 MASISWA Sports Carnival Zone Sabah

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Y.A.B Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie Bin Hj Apdal, Chief Minister of Sabah, when officiating the 2018 Sabah Private Universities and Colleges (MASISWA) Sports Carnival at Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex on 22 July 2018, congratulated the contingents for their full commitment and excellence performance in the 2018 MASISWA Sports Carnival and hope that they will continue to excel and be able to represent the country and the nation; much to the applauds from all the IPTS students.

The Chief Minister added that sports play a great role in our life as it keeps us healthy, wealthy; and increase our ability to always stay active and resilient. We can only have healthy mind when we have a healthy body – thus enabling us to achieve our dreams as well as to overcome obstacles. Great achievements can come our way when we maintain our physical and mental well-being.

Y.A.B Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie urged students from the universities and colleges to seize opportunities from the conducive learning environments provided by their learning institutions to excel holistically, not only in sports but also in academic, social, spiritual, moral values, thinking and communication skills, and more in order to be useful citizens and future leaders of the country.

As Chief Minister of Sabah, he stressed that he and his cabinet is willing to listen from the students and the youths of the country, and build the future of Sabah for the students and youths. He thanked Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (2018 MASISWA Organiser and SIDMA Sabah Chairman) for inviting and giving him the platform to meet and talk to the students and youth from the IPTS of Sabah and he hope that he will be invited again for the 2019 MASISWA Sports Carnival.

Y.A.B Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie and wife (Datin Seri Panglima Hajah Shuryani Shuaib), who was accompanied by Y.B Datuk Dr Yusof Bin Yacob (Sabah Education and Innovation Minister) and his wife; later took the opportunity to mingle and congratulated the IPTS athletes for their success; and together danced with the students to the tune of Sabah currently popular hit, “Original Sabahan” song.

Y.B Datuk Dr Yusof Bin Yacob, took the opportunities to advise students to avoid segregation among themselves based on race, religion, or economic status, but them to be more inclusive and united in their diversities, and work together in order to build a stronger and a more progressive country.

Earlier, Prof Dr Mohd Zamri Bin Yusoff, President of Sabah MASISWA Sports Council, thanked and congratulated Dr Morni Hj Kambrie and SIDMA College Sabah for their successful organisation of the event despite facing adverse conditions, particularly the financial constraints. He also appreciated the full commitment, support and collaborative efforts from all the IPTS to the organising committee.

He also announced that 2019 MASISWA Sports Carnival will be hosted by Asia Metropolitan College Kota Kinabalu and hope that all IPTS will continue their undivided support to the next year’s host.

Dr Morni in his welcoming address, thanked and congratulated the Chief Minister of Sabah, Y.A.B Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie Bin Apdal and Datin Seri Panglima Hajah Shuryani Shuaib, for taking their time off to grace the ceremony despite their very busy schedule for the day. He too conveyed his thanks and appreciation to all who have contributed both in money and kinds to the organising committee to ensure the smooth running of the sports carnival. He particularly thanked Y.B Datuk Dr Yusof and Sabah Education and Innovation Ministry who had contributed RM 10,000; the Sabah Youth and Sports Ministry and Sabah Sports Council who have given their support to ensure the host of the event can make use of all facilities at Kota Kinabalu Sports at a special rate. He too thanked all individuals who have sponsored and co-sponsored to the event such as KK Event House Sdn Bhd, Red Bull Malaysia, and more.

Dr Morni too thanked Prof Dr Mohd Zamri for his sharing of experiences and advice to the organising committee, as well as the full support and collaboration from all the IPTS. He too, congratulated all the athletes for their sportsmanship and sporting spirit. He particularly thanked all the sports marshals who were working in a very tight schedule and with limited resources.

Dr Morni also conveyed his appreciation to all staff of SIDMA College who have collaborated and assisted to ensure the smooth implementation of the event without compromising their core duties to the students.

SIDMA College Sabah which hosted the 10th MASISWA Sports Carnival for the first time, managed to set a record with the largest number of participants (both in terms of colleges and athletes). More than 1,500 athlete from 20 private institutions of higher learning in Sabah took part and participate in the grand event. The 20 IPTS that collaborated and participated in the event are SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah, University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF), Kolej Teknikal Yayasan Sabah, Eastern College, INTI College Sabah, Almacrest International College, Asia Metropolitan College KK, Institut Sinaran, Asian Tourism International College (ATIC), North Borneo University College (NBUC), AMC College, Jesselton College, Cosmopoint Sabah College, Management and Science University (MSU), Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC), Kiara College, Kinabalu Commercial College (KCC), MAHSA College, Geomatika College Keningau, and Sabah Institute of Art (SIA).

University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF) has emerged as the overall champions in the recent concluded Sabah Zone MASISWA Games 2018 held at Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex from 20 -21 July 2018.

During the 3-day carnival saw UCSF hauled a total of six (6) gold four (4) silver and two (2) bronze medals from the 12 games they contested. Their gold medals came from ten-pin bowling (individual and team), netball, badminton (men double), chess (women individual and team)

Inti College finished as the overall runners-up with four (4) gold and two (2) silver medals. Third place went to University Tunku Abdul Rahman College with three gold medals.

Please <CLICK HERE> to view list of colleges that participated during the competition and their achievement status.

Also present during the event were Sabah Sports Board General Manager, Datuk Penyuki Matta; as well as Chairman of Sabah Sports Board, Datuk Louis Rampas, Madam Azizah Khalid Merican (CEO SIDMA College Sabah), as well as the Chief Executive Officer and managers from IPTS that have participated in the events.

Read more @ https://www.sidma.edu.my/index.php/all-bulletin/89-news/169-datuk-seri-panglima-hj-mohd-shafie-bin-hj-apdal-officiated-2018-masiswa-sports-carnival-zone-sabah

What the leading players say:

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

“The Malaysia Incorporated concept is an excellent way forward for public-private partnership.

With this concept, both the public and private sectors are able to have common objectives and both sides are accessible with openness. This will enhance successful cooperation and lead to better efficiency and effectiveness in business.

The FMM is always supportive of this concept. We feel the Government should form a special committee on Malaysia Incorporated to carry out meaningful and highly productive projects involving all races.”

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers president Datuk Soh Thian Lai

“Since that historic day on May 9, Malaysians have been experiencing a breath of fresh air in terms of how this country is being governed. Dr Mahathir has instantly brought back a certain degree of credibility to Malaysia in the international scene.

This, coupled with distinct policy changes and transparency from the government, has brought about a 21-year high in consumer sentiment index. So despite the slowing economy and negative exposes lately, what Dr Mahathir and his new government are doing actually augur well for Malaysia Inc in the mid to long-term horizon.”

Ericsenz Capital Pte Ltd CEO Anthony Siau

“The ACCCIM will provide support to the revived Malaysia Incorporated concept, which was introduced in the 1980s to encourage closer collaboration between the public and private sectors to act and operate within a ‘Malaysian Company’.

This approach requires the Government to act as an effective facilitator, providing the right policy environment and facilitation as well as support services for the private sector to thrive.

The Public-Private Partnerships must be built on mutual trust and good governance to ensure that the nation’s scarce resources are effectively utilised while allowing the private sector to make viable investment decisions.”

ACCCIM president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap.

“Malaysia Incorporated can be beneficial to the country as a whole as the business sector can collaborate and not compete with the government.

But the policies and practices must be based on Good Governance. There must be competition, meritocracy, equity and reasonable and not monopolistic profits.

Also no cronyism and no politics in business, please. Otherwise you can have more 1MDB which we will resent.”

Asli Center of Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam

“I agree with the concept but there should be no red tape and the operation must be business-like. I believe the idea is still relevant but, of course, it needs to be reviewed according to the present needs.”

Association of Malaysian Bumiputera Timber and Furniture Entrepreneurs (Peka) president Hanafee Yusoff

“The Government’s move to revive the concept of Malaysia Incorporated has to be applauded.

This is definitely positive news for the business sector as this is a pro-business policy. This would mean there will be more collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/07/21/what-the-leading-players-say/#Hl7ZKpIGxGmoO5uP.99

Sabah as 13th Filipino state

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Former Philippine Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr said he will propose the inclusion of Sabah in Philippine territory as part of the country’s shift to a federal system of government.

In a live media interview Tuesday morning in Manila, Pimentel said Sabah could be the 13th federal state of that nation.

“There should be a way that is acceptable under international laws to assert our claim to Sabah,” Pimentel, who is a member of the consultative committee that President Rodrigo Duterte appointed to review the 1987 Constitution, said.

“I think we can defer it a little bit more but to say that we stop doing it is not in the context of my proposal,” he said.

Under Pimentel’s proposal, the Philippines will be divided into 12 federal states: Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, Minparom, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao and Bangsamoro.

Metro Manila will be the “federal capital,” Pimentel said, adding that Sabah could be the 13th federal state.

“Once we have asserted our sovereignty and rights over Sabah, we should include Sabah.

Not only Sabah, but also Scarborough, Benham Rise, and Spratlys,” he said.

The switch to a federal system was one of the key planks of Duterte’s election campaign.

The country currently employs a unitary form of government with much of the power emerging from the central government.

The Sulu sultanate used to claim parts of southern Philippines and Sabah.

However, being a republic, the sultanate faded into oblivion and discord over who should be the rightful heirs made pursuit of the claim academic.

In 1963, the British government transferred Sabah to the Federation of Malaysia.

The Philippines claims that Sabah was only leased, not ceded, to the British North Borneo Co.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=125930