Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

Our constitution and human rights

Monday, January 14th, 2019
People reciting the Rukun Negara at a National Day celebration. There must be greater openness to dialogue with mutual respect for views and ideas. NSTP/ SAIRIEN NAFIS

THIS is the second part of my reflective response to Azril Mohd Amin’s article on “The rights are not universal” (NST Dec 14, 2018). In the first article, I had focused more on the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). In this Part Two article, I will address Azril’s reference to the Federal Constitution and the social contract agreed by the different ethnic communities as well as his application to two matters, namely national language and on sexuality.

I have taken the position that the UDHR is not a colonial document.

However, in this part two ,I would like to discuss a matter that Azril has not raised, namely that the Federal Constitution is a colonial document. That does not mean we discard it as a pro-colonialist document but we need to note that the Alliance political party with the endorsement of the Malay sultans made the necessary changes which became acceptable to the Malay sultans and three major communities as a common building document.

At the end of the second world war with the shift in global positions on colonial societies, the British government after the failed Malayan Union plans, the Reid Commission of five persons (all foreigners) was established after the 1956 London conference.

The commission received 131 memoranda and hosted 118 meetings and eventually completed the drafted documents which were accepted by the Malay rulers, British Parliament and the Federal Legislative Council in Malayasia

The Malaysian Federal Constitution’s fundamental liberties section is similar to the UDHR. Article 5 on liberty of person is similar to UDHR Article 3; our Article 6 and UDHR’s article 4 on slavery or servitude are similar too. A significant clause is the one on equality. Our constitution’s Article 8 and UDHR article 7 are also similar: “All are equal before the law.”

On religious freedom, the UDHR provides for clear rights to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion”. In the FC, too, there is freedom, namely as in Article 11: “Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion…” The restriction is only on FC Article 11 clause 4 on control or restrictions to propagation. All these are universal principles and values arising not just from Western culture but from our common humanity where we can draw references from other Asian cultures and world religions.

It is also important to note that the Malaysian Parliament formally accepted the UDHR when the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 was passed. The act calls for regard to be had to the UDHR to the extent that it is not inconsistent with the Federal Constitution. This is the strongest formal endorsement on the UDHR by Parliament

We all recognise that there are some specific features of the Federal Constitution which is uniquely Malaysian. One major example is the balancing feature. On religion in Article 3, “Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practised”; on languages, Article 152, where the national language will be the Malay language but other community languages are not prohibited or prevented. In the case of the special position of the Malays and natives as found in Article 153, it is also the duty of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to protect the legitimate interests of other communities.

Azril draws reference to the Malay language as the sole language of the nation with reference to Article 152 of the Federal Constitution. In his arguments, he goes further by stating that vernacular schools are “the root of segregation” and also indicate that they “have no basis for their existence in Malaysia”. On this matter, Azril has got it totally wrong.

Article 152 (1) states that “the national language shall be the Malay language”. No one in Malaysia disputes this is a principle accepted in the founding of Malaya and Malaysia. However, in Article 152 part (a) and (b), it notes that there is no prohibition or prevention from the teaching or learning of any other language, including the provision of federal and state funds for this.

The Constitution makes it clear that while the Malay language is the national and official language, there is no objections to community languages. While it does not state what the other languages are, one can make a clear reference to Mandarin, Tamil, sub-ethnic languages and other languages of the natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

Azril also does not write that part of the historical educational development is the position not just of vernacular schools but also religious Islamic schools and schools run by Christian churches. Both the Razak Education Committee’s Report (1956) and the Rahman Talib Report (1960) sought to strengthen the national character of the education institutions with the Malay language as the medium of instruction. They also recognised the place of vernacular schools. It is therefore wrong to conclude that the vernacular language schools “have no basis for existence in Malaysia”. These vernacular schools are also our national heritage and reflective of multicultural Malaysia.

There is a need for more public discussions on these human rights themes in Malaysian society. Often we all seem to be in polarised sides holding on to our convictions. However, as Malay-sia is a multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual and multireligious society, there must be greater openness to dialogue with mutual respect for views and ideas. We can agree to disagree but in so doing we cannot dismiss or throw out human rights altogether.

By Prof Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria.

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World set to ring in New Year with dazzling displays, heavy security

Monday, December 31st, 2018

The party atmosphere will sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as the clock ticks past midnight.

SYDNEY: Australia’s largest city Sydney will put on its biggest-ever fireworks display to welcome the New Year and kick off a wave of celebrations for billions around the world.

A record amount of pyrotechnics as well as new fireworks effects and colours will light up the harbour city’s skyline for 12 minutes and dazzle the more than 1.5 million spectators expected to crowd foreshores and parks.

“I’m sure we’ll delight in seeing our beautiful harbour lit up like never before,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

To mark the international year of indigenous languages in 2019, the harbour will host a ceremony celebrating Aboriginal heritage that includes animations projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s pylons.

The party atmosphere will sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as the clock ticks past midnight.

A strong police presence has become a key element of the festivities, to protect crowds that could be targeted in terror and vehicle attacks.

Hong Kong:Glittering fireworks will be sent skyward from five barges floating in Victoria Harbour in a 10-minute display watched by 300,000 people on the foreshore.

Tokyo: Japanese will flock to temples to ring in the New Year, while US boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr will take on local kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a bout staged outside Tokyo.

Moscow: Concerts and light shows will be held across the city’s parks and more than 1,000 ice rinks have been opened for merrymakers.

Paris: A fireworks display and sound and light show under the theme “fraternity” is set to go ahead on the Champs-Elysees despite plans for further “yellow vest” anti-government protests at the famed avenue.

Berlin: Music lovers will party at a concert at the Brandenburg Gate, but a popular German tradition of setting off fireworks to mark the occasion has been banned in some other cities over safety concerns.

London: Britain’s capital will usher in the New Year by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over the Brexit referendum vote to leave the union, with the fireworks display at the London Eye to feature music from the continent’s artists.

Edinburgh: The Scottish capital’s traditional Hogmanay celebrations will also take on a pro-European theme ahead of the year in which Britain is due to exit the EU.

As the world parties, many will also look forward to 2019 and wonder whether the turmoil witnessed during the previous year will spill over into the next.

The political wrangling in Westminster over Brexit was one of the key stories of this year, with a resolution yet to be reached ahead of the scheduled March 29 departure from the EU.

US President Donald Trump dominated headlines in 2018 as he ramped up his trade war with China, quit the Iran nuclear deal, moved the American embassy to Jerusalem and met his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un in Singapore for a historic summit.

North Korea’s commitment to denuclearisation will remain a major political and security issue into next year, as will Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s reassertion of control after Trump’s shock military withdrawal announcement.

The war in Yemen, which started in 2014 and has already killed about 10,000 people and left some 20 million at risk of starvation, could take a crucial turn after a ceasefire took effect in mid-December.

Numerous countries go to the polls in 2019, with key elections in India, Afghanistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and Australia.


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More needs to be done for a peaceful and just world

Monday, December 10th, 2018
Children from an Mro community look at boats delivering rice bags from a local NGO near Buthidaung, Rakhine, Myanmar. The violence taking place there is a human rights violation. Reuters

SEVENTY years ago, on Dec 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations (UN). The UDHR, which for many is the most influential document of the last century, begins with a powerful statement, declaring that “the inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights” of all people are the “foundation of freedom, justice and peace”.

What a vision, emerging immediately after the dark years of World War 2. How revolutionary to proclaim that “dignity is inherent” and that “rights are equal and inalienable for all” in an era, when half the world was still under colonial regime.

When the UDHR was adopted, the UN was just three years old. The UN Charter obliged all member nations to promote “universal respect for human rights”, but this was not further defined. During World War II, the world witnessed a multitude of apocalyptic events that led to the deaths of tens of millions of people, leaving a permanent scar and an indelible mark on mankind.

While there were many reasons contributing to the war, extreme nationalism stemming from the indoctrination of racial superiority was a key factor that triggered it. Cognisant of this root cause, the UN established a drafting committee comprising experts from different parts of the world, including from Asia and the Middle East, who developed the UDHR based on the common values and principles of all major cultures and religions of the world. From this, emerged the Declaration that was founded on the core principle that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

The UDHR, which is considered the “mother” of all human rights documents, consists of 30 Articles, covering both civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. They address an array of basic human needs, including life and liberty, private and family life, thought and expression, education and health, and work. The Articles form the very foundation of what is known today as international human rights law, comprising the various UN treaties, conventions and jurisprudence.

In the 70 years since the General Assembly passed the UDHR, it is fair to say that the world has changed dramatically. A comprehensive wave of decolonisation swept the globe in the following three decades; scores of human rights treaties elaborated on the articles of the UDHR, specifying how states are accountable to promote and protect human rights; treaties were translated into national constitutions, legislation and adjudication; development around the globe advanced life quality, education and life expectancy.

Despite such progress, one cannot overlook the alarming situations of societal tensions and conflict that are taking place across the globe. In some areas, we see racism and xenophobia gaining ground, especially against minorities and vulnerable groups with disregard for human dignity. Human rights serve as the common value framework that bridges the differences between peoples — peoples of various ethnicities, cultures, religions and beliefs, gender, political views, nationalities and other status. The recognition of human dignity and equal rights are the foundation for justice, and the respect for human rights promotes social cohesion and is therefore a precursor to peace and stability. Hence the human rights agenda is a powerful framework for a country rich in diversity like Malaysia. Because human dignity is established and promoted in all religions and faiths, the promotion and protection of human rights will be a unifying force in Malaysia’s multi-religious and multi-ethnic setting.

Human rights include a set of minimum standards applicable to all human beings, which seek to ensure that even the most vulnerable and disadvantaged of peoples can benefit from the fruits of development and enjoy a life of meaning and self-worth. As such, human rights are a precondition for “leaving no one behind”, which is pivotal to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that all 193 UN member states unanimously adopted in 2015. A human rights-based approach ensures a people-centred and inclusive development agenda that can effectively address pockets of deprivation and reach those who live on the fringes of development such as low-income earners, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, refugees, migrant workers and the undocumented

In addition, human rights act as a safeguard against excessive use of force and abuse of power by the state. They are also imperative to democracy, espoused by the right to freedom of opinion and of expression, the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association as well as the right to vote.

In this regard, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) commends Malaysia for successfully expanding the democratic space, political and civil liberties in the country, following its historic 14th General Election and stands ready to support its transformative reform agenda.

On the 70th anniversary of the UDHR, it is only befitting to remind ourselves how far we have come since the cataclysmic world wars that brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reflect how much more needs to be done to further consolidate and bolster a peaceful and just society.

We must all understand and appreciate that human rights are universal to all of us and promoting greater respect for human rights will create an enabling environment for people to make choices in life for their own good and well-being. In essence, human rights are basic to human existence; human dignity will only be intact when human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.

By Stefan Priesner.

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Looking beyond oil

Monday, December 10th, 2018
Wind turbines and solar panels are a feature of the landscape in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China. Southeast Asia is cited as a potential renewable energy hotspot. Reuters

ALTHOUGH expected for some time, the recent establishment by Petronas of a “New Energy” team to look at renewables for possible future sources of energy is a far-sighted and welcome development.

Petronas has expressed interest over the last year to diversify into renewables amid low oil prices. In March, its chief executive officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said Petronas would explore new business areas including new energy, citing opportunities in solar power in particular.

Petronas joins a number of large global oil and gas firms looking into renewables, including ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total — all of which are raising investment in cleaner energy.

Why the interest in renewable energy (RE)?

It’s reliable, plentiful and will continue to decrease in cost as technology and infrastructure improve. In addition to solar and wind, the RE portfolio includes geothermal, hydropower and tidal energy, and biofuels from algae. And, of course, these energy sources produce few emissions of carbon dioxide which cause the greenhouse effect and global warming.

With respect to electricity generation, the latest United Nations figures show that the world last year installed a record 98 gigawatts of new solar capacity, far more than the net additions of any other technology — renewable, fossil fuel or nuclear.

Solar power last year attracted far more investment, at RM699 billion, up 18 per cent, than any other technology. According to the annual Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, produced by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, investments in solar power made up 57 per cent of the 2017 total for all renewables (excluding large hydro) of RM1.15 trillion, “and it towered above new investment in coal and gas generation capacity”, estimated at RM428 billion.

A driving power behind last year’s surge in solar was China, where an unprecedented boom saw some 53 gigawatts added — more than half the global total — and RM359 billion invested, up 58 per cent.

Driving the trend are falling costs for solar electricity, and to some extent wind power. Global investment in renewables has exceeded RM830 billion for eight consecutive years. Since 2004, the world has invested RM12.2 trillion in these green energy sources.

That said, renewables generated just 12.1 per cent of world electricity in 2017. That’s up from 5.2 per cent a decade earlier, but still a small fraction of total world energy needs.

The writing is on the wall, nonetheless. With growing evidence of the impacts and rising cost of climate change, pressure is building to reduce CO2 emissions. On Dec 2, negotiators from around the world opened the United Nations’ annual climate change conference, now three years after a landmark deal in Paris set a goal to keep global warming well below 2° Celsius.

Displacing and replacing fossil fuels won’t be easy and the world’s big oil companies, with their global infrastructure networks, are among the most important allies in this effort.

And as one commentator recently observed, the big energy firms have the most to lose if they fall behind the technology curve. They need to lead the march towards clean energy sources.

ExxonMobil is spending RM4.2 billion per year on basic research in low-carbon technologies, with a major focus on genetically engineered algae being farmed with an aim to produce an initial 10,000 barrels per day of renewable crude, which can then be upscaled to larger levels. Among other efforts, ExxonMobil is also partnering with America’s largest biodiesel producer, Renewable Energy Group, to create microbes that could turn waste biomass into biodiesel fuel.

BP, meanwhile, produces about 200 million gallons of low-carbon ethanol each year in Brazil. Its three facilities there also burn leftover agricultural wastes to power themselves and add 850 gigawatt-hours of electricity to the grid.

Meanwhile, BP and DuPont have formed a joint venture to use genetically engineered microbes to manufacture butanol, an alcohol that can be blended into gasoline, much like ethanol is added in the US. The annual US market opportunity for butanol is estimated at more than 20 billion gallons.

Royal Dutch Shell is focused on solar power and energy efficiency. It also recently acquired a firm specialising in power management solutions.

It is the giant French company Total that leads all the world’s energy firms in green energy investments. Its goal is to generate 20 per cent of its business from low-carbon products within 20 years. Its venture capital fund has invested RM667 million in about 20 projects and it owns over half of a global solar company starting to turn sustainable profits.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) recently cited Southeast Asia as a potential RE hotspot. Unfortunately, the agency said, the region lacks policy frameworks that would encourage investment. That needs to change.

By Zakri Abdul Hamid.

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Dealing with inequalities in the Asia-Pacific

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018
(File pix) The elderly shopping in Tokyo’s Sugamo district. The Asia-Pacific region is an ageing population — the proportion of people above the age of 60 is expected to more than double by 2050. Reuters Photo

MINISTERS and senior policymakers across Asia and the Pacific are gathered in Bangkok this week to focus on population dynamics at a crucial time for the region.

Their goal: to keep people and rights at the heart of the region’s push for sustainable development.

They will be considering how successful we have been in balancing economic growth with social imperatives, underpinned by rights and choices for all as enshrined in the landmark Programme of Action (POA) stemming from the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, or ICPD.

In the POA, diverse views on population, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, and sustainable development are merged into a global consensus that placed individual dignity and human rights at the heart of development.

Truly revolutionary at the time, ICPD remains all the more urgent and relevant a quarter-century later, in this era of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its Sustainable Development Goals.

Without ICPD we would not have the SDGs — they go hand in hand. The ICPD is a dedicated vehicle through which we can, and will address, achieve and fulfill the SDGs.

How well have we responded to trends such as population ageing and international migration? How successful have we been in ensuring optimal sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all, including the right to choose when or whether to get married and when or whether to have children, and how many? How well have we done in strengthening gender equality and women’s empowerment, and upholding the rights of the most vulnerable among us? Where should our efforts be refocused to leave no one behind?

Asia and the Pacific has much to celebrate. The region remains the engine of global growth and at the forefront of the global fight against poverty. It is now home to half the world’s middle class. The share of the population living in poverty has dropped considerably, although it is still unacceptably high. People are living longer and healthier lives. Rights-based family planning has contributed to considerable economic success and women’s empowerment.

And we are on track to achieve universal education by 2030.

Yet for all this growth, considerable injustices remain. On its current trajectory, the region will fall short of achieving the 2030 Agenda. In several areas we are heading in altogether the wrong direction.

Inequalities within and between countries are widening.

Some 1.2 billion people live in poverty, of which 400 million live in extreme poverty. Lack of decent job opportunities and access to essential services are perpetuating injustice across generations.

At the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), we are keen to shine the spotlight on three key issues where regional commitment is vital.

FIRST, we need to respond to the unprecedented population changes unfolding across the Asia-Pacific region. Many countries are facing a rapidly ageing population. The proportion of people above the age of 60 is expected to more than double by 2050. Effectively meeting the needs of an ageing society and ensuring healthy and productive lives must be a priority.

This requires a life cycle approach — from pregnancy and childbirth, through adolescence and adulthood, to old age — ensuring that all people are allowed to fulfil their socioeconomic potential, underpinned by individual rights and choices;

Equally, there is a strong case for strengthening Asia-Pacific’s response to international migration.

Migrants can, when allowed, contribute significantly to development.

However, we know that migrants are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. So our ambition is for discussions this week to build further momentum in support of safe, orderly and regular migration to fully harness its development benefits;

SECOND, there is clear evidence the region must spend more on social protection, as well as on healthcare and education. Today, social protection is the preserve of a few, rather than a right for all.

As a result, 60 per cent of our population are at risk of being trapped in vulnerability or pushed into poverty by sickness, disability, unemployment or old age, often underpinned by gender inequality.

The “Social Outlook for Asia and the Pacific: Poorly Protected”, which ESCAP will publish later this week, sets out why expanding social protection is the most effective means of reducing poverty, strengthening rights and making vulnerable groups less exposed.

Many women, migrants, older persons and rural communities would also benefit. Our evidence suggests it could even end extreme poverty in several countries by 2030; and,

THIRD, we need to invest in generating disaggregated data to tell us who is being left behind to ensure our response to population dynamics is targeted and credible. Availability of data on social and demographic issues lag far behind anything related to the economy.

Millions of births remain unregistered, leading to the denial of many basic rights, particularly to women and girls. Of the 43 countries which conducted a census between 2005 and 2014, only 16 have reliable data on international migration. With the 2020 round of censuses upon us, we will be redoubling our efforts to close these data gaps by strengthening new partnerships for data capacity and working with governments and other partners to translate data into policy and action.

By Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana and Natalia Kanem.

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Education system revamp: At long last

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018
(File pix) Education revamp would change what students learn in school. Pix by Danial Saad

PRIME Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has given the media a heads-up on a possible overhaul of our education system, suggesting a change in the school curriculum.

Dr Mahathir, who is in Singapore to attend the 33rd Asean Summit, said the revamp would change what students learn in school. About time. Many parents, teachers and students will likely welcome this, though they will be asking: when will there be a final, holistic education blueprint to end all blueprints? Fair question.

There have been far too many revamps over the years, and that many blueprints too. Even the National Union of the Teaching Profession welcomes the move, though its support is rather qualified. NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock told the New Straits Times that the revamp should not overhaul the primary and secondary school curricula because

what exist are fit for the purpose. Instead, NUTP wants the revamp to aim its cross hairs at the curricula of vocational schools.

Be that as it may, we cannot deny that our students are losing 3.1 years of their 12 years of schooling. Khazanah Research Institute’s “The State of the Household 2018: Different Realities” report calls this “…potential deficiency in the Malaysian education system…

What is important is to begin with the end in mind. What really is the end of education? We venture to suggest that the whole point of education is to produce a good man. We rarely teach one how to build a life and on which foundation such a life should be built on. This is the world of values, the realm of ethics. It is of such stuff that good men are made of.

And a great nation is but a collection of such good individuals. Instead, we teach things mechanical to be regurgitated in examinations. And we start them early too.

How would such tender minds cope with the idea of failing at exams? Finland just has one exam at secondary school level. But we should not go Finnish for this reason alone. There must be some larger end for us to emulate an education system. What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander.

Higher education institutes, too, need to address the question of the purpose of education. Every year, we seem to be churning out between 200,000 and 250,000 graduates from our institutions of higher learning. Yet close to 20 per cent of them remain unemployed on an annual basis. Employers tell us that graduates from local universities are not employable. Interestingly, the employers find half of the graduates to have character and attitude issues. Is it a question of quality? Or are the employers being unrealistic?


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Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau Officiated SIDMA College Kadazandusun Language Day

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

SIDMA College Sabah through its Kadazandusun Language Club, organised a SIDMA College Kadazandusun Language Day on 25 October 2018, as a platform for staff and students, especially those from the Kadazandusun community to immerse in the language throughout the day.

Mr Albert Bingkasan, who represented Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau during the officiating of the Semi Final Secondary School Students Kadazandusun Language Speech contest, known as “Pialaan Roisol Doid Boros Kadazandusun” at SIDMA College congratulated Dr Morni Hj Kambrie, Founder and Chairman of SIDMA College, for his undivided commitment to strive for the survival and continuity of the language in this modern era. Datuk Seri Panglima Welfred, through his representative, Mr Albert, also expressed his delights by noting the strong linkage and collaboration in existence between the Sabah Education Department and SIDMA College Sabah. He hoped that other colleges and higher learning institutions in this state will follow the way forward set by SIDMA College to complement various efforts taken by the Sabah Government to preserve one of the indigenous languages in the state.

The semi-final witnessed fifteen secondary school students from various districts of Sabah whom were accompanied by their respective teachers and District Education Officers to compete in range of topics, tackling crucial current issues such as language endangerment factors and needed preservation approaches, with relations to the Kadazandusun language.

Only five contestants with the highest marks were selected to contest in the Grand Final, which will be held on 30 November 2018 as a part of the closing ceremony Gala Night Dinner for Kadazandusun Language Day, or known as “Sodop Pisompuruan” at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa. The finalists are:

  1. Asliana Kaling @ Jainis (SMK Tun Fuad Stephens, Kiulu) – Teacher Pinus
  2. Jessy Ginus (SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin, Penampang) – Teacher Caroline
  3. Da Resty Gundang (SMK Narinang, Kota Belud) – Teacher Kisun Tampuling
  4. Rudolf Yuson (SMK Limbanak, Penampang) – Teacher Anita & Jimoty
  5. Abbylaylena Sitibon (SMK Kemburongoh, Ranau) – Teacher Kamaidah

Earlier Dr Morni in his welcoming address thanked and congratulated Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau for his dedicated supports to SIDMA College Sabah, especially towards SIDMA Kadazandusun Language Club, to continue striving for the future of the language.

He also thanked Y. Bhg. Datuk Hajah Maimunah Hj Suhaibul, Sabah Education Director and respective District Education Officers, Secondary School Principals, Kadazandusun teachers, judges who were specially invited for the event; namely Mr David Tiongin Lumbok, Chairman of SIDMA College’s Board of Governance, Madam Noumi @ Mazlinda Binti Jali, Inspectorate, from The Inspectorate and Quality Assurance of Ministry of Education Malaysia and Mr Victor Baga, a language teacher from Institute of Teacher Education Kent Campus; for the continuous support and all who have contributed in one way or another to support the implementation of the event. In addition, he too conveyed his appreciation to the co-chairperson of the Kadazandusun Language Speech Contest, Madam. Salumah Nain, and Madam Sitiamah Sahat, Kadazandusun Language Officer from Sabah Education Department; and was assisted by the programme coordinator, Ms Brenda Alexius Liaw.

Another activity held at SIDMA College Campus during the SIDMA Kadazandusun Language day was a Mini Funfair. The main aim was to expose to visitors the usage of the language in various settings, particularly while participating any of the activities held. The procedure, rules and regulations of each of the fun activities held was in the Kadazandusun language. In addition, lucky draws, Kadazandusun language songs request and dedication were among the various other activities held throughout the day.

To learn more about the upcoming activities and reserve your spot for the Gala Night Dinner, you may contact the SIDMA College Kadazandusun Language Club at 088 732 000.

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Budget 2019: Lack of hospitals with medical specialists forces housemen to wait up to one year

Friday, October 26th, 2018
The lack of hospitals with medical specialists is among the issues that need to be looked into by the government ahead of the 2019 Budget 2019. NSTP File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The lack of hospitals with medical specialists is among the issues that need to be looked into by the government ahead of the 2019 Budget 2019.

This is to address the issue of surplus of junior doctors and housemen in the country, said I-Medik vice-president Prof Dr. Rafidah Hanim Mokhtar.

Rafidah said the situation had forced many housemen to wait between six months and a year for spots to become available for them to carry their duties.

She said even though the country had about 139 hospitals, they did not meet the specific requirements to enable trainees to undergo their specialisations.

“With the increase of students in local and foreign medical colleges, the matter is becoming more complicated.

“Some of them are forced to find other jobs while waiting for their turns to be called for work. I hope this matter can be looked into by the government,” she said when met yesterday.

The 2019 Budget is expected to be tabled on Nov 2.

On the government’s proposal to provide insurance to those in the B40 income bracket, Dr Rafidah said it should be studied further in order to benefit the people.

This is to address the issue of surplus of junior doctors and housemen in the country, said I-Medik vice-president Prof Dr. Rafidah Hanim Mokhtar. Pic by STR/OWEE AH CHUN

“The government needs to have proper guidelines on this, apart from the need to determine the number of the people who go to hospital in a year and the amount allocated for this purpose, among others

“At the same time, I hope the government will continue to provide medical subsidies to the people as our health services are among the best in the world,” she said.

On the price of medicines, she said the increasing price of goods had prompted many people to switch from private to government hospitals and this had impacted the existing hospital staff.

“We need a budget that covers public health services for the people to receive the best treatments, and this is important to address the issue of people’s non-productivity due to chronic illnesses.

“Investment in the public health sector is important for the country’s savings in the long run, and this has been proven in many developed countries,” she said.

She also hoped the government would be able to increase the number cluster hospitals to complement district hospitals around the country.

By Saadiah Ismail and Syanty Octavia Amry.

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Committee set up to study and review nation’s education policies

Thursday, October 18th, 2018
The Education Ministry has set up a 13-member Committee comprising experts to study the nation’s education policies. (NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry has set up a 13-member Committee comprising experts to study the nation’s education policies.

Set up as an independent body, members of the National Education Policy Committee received their letters of appointment from Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik at the Parliament building today.

The appointments are for a period of six months, from Oct this year to April next year.

“The committee will give a recommendation based on independent research on the overall education policy of the country,” said Maszlee in a press conference after the ceremony.

The committee will also study the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (pre-school until secondary education) and the 2015-2025 Malaysia Education Development Plan (Higher Education) with the cooperation from the National Education Advisory Council (MPPK), and submit a recommendation to the minister.

The committee members, led by Malaysian Association for Education (MAE) and Malaysian Society of Education Administration and Management (MSEAM) president Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid, have a wide range of expertise that covers education policies, management training, STEM, educational technology, arts and other fields beyond education such as imbalance, gap and humanity. Many of them such as Hasrizal Abdul Jamil from Khalifah Model School, also have vast experience from abroad.

Also present was Deputy Education Minister, Teo Nie Ching.

Speaking at the press conference, Ibrahim said that the first draft of recommendations from the committee would be ready by December 2018 and the second, by February 2019.

The penultimate draft of the report willl be presented in March just before the final report in April 2019.

“We are not reinventing the wheel,” said Ibrahim, “There are already so many good policies that have already been implemented.”

“However, there is a gap between the policies and the implementation that we are seeking to address.

“Our aim is to produce a comprehensive study report to help improve the nation’s education system.”

The committee is tasked with providing innovative ideas in redefining the national education system to create a holistic Malaysian society, among others.

It will also be reviewing national education policies and approaches in the existing teaching and learning processes, and will study and recommend the direction of the education system in Malaysia from pre-school to university, with the goal of making government schools the preferred choice of students.

By Hanna Sheikh Mokhtar .

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PM: Hope is on the shoulders of the youth

Thursday, October 18th, 2018
The fate of a united and prosperous Malaysia now lies with the young generation, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. (NSTP/MALAI ROSMAH TUAH)

KUALA LUMPUR: The fate of a united and prosperous Malaysia now lies with the young generation, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Prime Minister said the country’s future rests on the shoulder of the nation’s youth, especially in the event that their contemporaries from the older generation are no longer around.

“My hope is on the young. A large number of my generation is gone. Whose hands would we leave the fate of this nation to, if not to the young generation?

“I plead with the young generation, please learn and grasp every kind of knowledge to transform Malaysia into a developed country.

“Acquire all skills. Strengthen your inner character. Hold firm to religion and noble values. Reject corruption firmly. Inculcate truth, honesty, and justice. Let us work together and unite to create a bright future for Malaysia,” he said.

Dr Mahathir was speaking during a speech to unveil the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) Mid-Term Review (MTR) at the Dewan Rakyat this afternoon.

Meanwhile, he emphasized that 11MP MTR is for the prosperity of all Malaysians from Perlis to Sabah and encompassed Malays, Chinese, Iban, Kadazan, Murut, Orang Asli and other ethnic groups in the country.

“We want a united Malaysia. We want Malaysians who are successful and enjoy the nation’s wealth. I urge all Malaysians to shoulder this responsibility.

“If all contents in this document are implemented, I am confident that Malaysia would roar once again as the Asian Tiger.

“Malaysia’s image would change from a kleptocratic nation to a true democratic country, with a government which is clean, noble and with integrity.

“Malaysians at every corner of the world would be able to introduce themselves proudly as “I am a Malaysian.” This is our (government) vow. This is our promise.

By Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid.

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