Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

SPM results out next Thursday

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
Students sitting for the SPM exams at SMK Putrajaya Presint 11 (1). - Bernama

Students sitting for the SPM exams at SMK Putrajaya Presint 11 (1). – Bernama

PETALING JAYA: The 2017 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results will be released next Thursday (March 15).

The Education Ministry said in a statement that candidates can obtain their results from their schools after 10am on the day.

“Private candidates will receive their results through the post or can contact their state education departments where they registered for their examinations,” it said.

Candidates can also check their results through SMS by typing SPM <space> identity card number <space> index number and sending it to 15888 from 10am on March 15 to 6pm on March 21.

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Elephant enters Sabah school hostel

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

An elephant enters the school hostel’s dining hall.

TELUPID: The conflict between man and elephant continues when a Borneo Pygmy elephant entered the dining hall of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Telupid’s hostel, wandering for a few minutes at around 1.45am today (Thursday).

No student was harmed during the incident as the dining hall was empty at the time.

Wildlife Department personnel were also called to stay guarded at the school for 24 hours.

According to the school principal, Rukimin Sulit, before the elephant entered the dining hall, it was eating a palm tree that was planted as part of the school’s landscape outside the hall.

He said that the school’s security guard was cautious and waited for the elephant to go out of the building itself.

“This is the first time that an elephant had entered a building. However, around six elephants had been wandering around the school compound since February 17. Personnel from the Wildlife Department had taught us that we should not provoke the elephants and avoid them or gently hush them away instead.

“The elephants do not pose any threats to the humans when it is not disturbed, so it is safe. School is on-going as usual as they (elephants) are here only to eat the trees that we had planted, and do not disturb the students,” he added.

Rukimin said that the elephants entered the school compound by stomping over the six-foot tall fences surrounding the school. He said that about 40 metres of the fences are now destroyed.

He  also said that the school had made application to the Education Department for funds to fix the fence.

SMK Telupid currently has 1,349 students with 395 of them staying in the hostel.

Since early this year, about 20 elephants had been spotted around Telupid in which villagers were affected when the elephants destroyed their properties and crops.

Villages that were affected include Kampung Liningkung, Kampung Bauto, Kampung Gambaron, Kampung Telupid, and Telupid town.

According to the Director of Wildlife Department (Sabah), Augustine Tuuga, the elephants were the same ones sent to the Deramakot Forest Reserve, located some 30 kilometres from Telupid, in early 2017, but had made their way back to Telupid.

He said since their return, a total of four elephants were captured, including a mother and baby elephants.

The department had put satellite collar on one of the captured elephants to monitor its movement on Tuesday, while the other three elephants are in the process to be sent to Imbak Forest Reserve, about 100 kilometres away from Telupid.

“This time we send the elephants further away in hope that the elephants would not return. It is an expensive procedure as it costs about RM30,000 to relocate one elephant.

by Rebecca Chong.

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What a shame at KK airport!

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: A 35-year-old holding a red Mykad who smuggled in an estimated RM570,000 worth of syabu inside his baggage at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on Sunday managed to give Customs officers the slip because “it was late at night and the area was dark”.

What was more shocking was the revelation that Customs officers do not normally conduct checks on passengers coming from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Sabah as only Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) have the authority to do so.

Thus the possibility that drug syndicates may have been exploiting this loophole all this while to smuggle drugs into Sabah.

State Customs Department Director Datuk Hamzah Sundang said customs officers conducted a check on a suspicious baggage in the KKIA domestic arrival hall after it went through the scanning machine at around 11.30pm that day.

Further inspection revealed eight packets containing 8kg syabu hidden inside “Guanyinwang” green tea packets.

In two separate incidents in Tawau, last year, RM410,900 worth of syabu was also seized by authorities after they found hidden inside the same tea packet brand.

“The suspect ran to the parking lot and Customs officers attempted to chase after him.

But due to safety factors, the suspect managed to escape.

“We believe that the situation could have been dangerous for our officers if they were to give chase as it was late at night and the area was dark,” he told a press conference, Wednesday.

Hamzah said according to the passenger manifest, the suspect was believed to have come from Kuala Lumpur via Malaysian Airlines (MAS) and was in possession of a red identification card with a Permanent Resident status, adding that the suspect was believed to have planned to distribute the drugs to the Sabah market.

“As of the moment, JKDM does not have access to conduct inspection on passengers who arrive through the outbound domestic flight, which means that baggage and items of the particular flight do not go through customs checking.

“For passengers coming from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Sabah, the customs department do not conduct any checking.

“Only Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) have the authority to do so. This situation was taken advantage by syndicates to carry out drug smuggling activities,” he said.

He said the situation needs to be restudied from the aspect of procedure and cooperation from airport authorities is needed so the department can tighten security in Malaysian airports, specifically in Kota Kinabalu.

If public has any information on the suspect, who is still on the loose, and the smuggling or distribution of drugs, they may contact the customs department hotline (1-800-88-8855). – Jegathisan Sivanesan.

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Blended learning models

Monday, February 26th, 2018

TEACHERS say they are willing to increase using online learning platforms if the content was more aligned towards preparing students for examinations.

According to a study done by the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, in the United States, which featured Malaysia as one of its case studies, teachers need the content to match what will be tested in national examinations.

The study, called “Blended Beyond Borders: A Scan of Blended Learning Obstacles and Opportunities in Brazil, Malaysia and South Africa”, focused on how a small sample of brick-and-mortar schools in these countries used online learning to deliver content in novel, more flexible ways.

Christensen Institute director of education research Julia Freeland Fisher says discussions during the school visits – for the study – showed that teachers were still looking for better content to make meaningful use of blended learning, especially for core subjects.

“Any teacher with a 1BestariNet Yes ID can upload their lesson sites to a nationwide repository and share it with teachers across Malaysia, allowing for the pooling of resources and the sharing of ideas and material,” she says, adding that the content is filtered by the Education Ministry to ensure quality.

“Teachers can also use the available content and format them in a way that emulates or support students in preparation for examinations.

“To date there are over 37,000 teacher-created sites covering all national school subjects.”

Yeoh also says that new and relevant content are continuously added regularly and that textbooks and revision books are available on the FrogStore for free.

She adds that there are currently more than 400 textbooks on the VLE and that FrogAsia has partnered with publishers like Penerbitan Pelangi Sdn Bhd and Oxford Fajar Sdn Bhd to provide content aligned with our national syllabus.

“One of our content partners, EduNation, also produces free tutoring videos that are in line with our national syllabus,” she adds.

Another point raised in the report is the use of blended learning models in the classroom.

Blended learning differs from learning in a tech-rich environment, says Freeland Fisher.

She explains that blended learning is a formal education programme where a student learns, partially or fully, through online learning with the student having some form of control over the time, place, path and maybe the pace they learn something.

Data from online learning can also be used to inform and drive a student’s offline learning pathway.

If it was just a tech-rich learning experience, she says technology is present in the classroom but the teacher is still in complete control of the learning experience.

“Students are using the internet to do research, maybe they’re typing their homework on documents and emailing it to their teacher,” she says.

However, the report points out that blended models should not do away with teachers or teacher-led lectures, small group lessons or face-to-face teaching. Rather, blended models offer a new way to teach in classrooms and schools whereby students may interact with content and teachers in a new way.

Freeland Fisher adds that teachers have said that “The facilities and infrastructure are the most difficult part of having a blended programme. The Internet isn’t always reliable, the classroom we use for the computer lab is very small and the all the computers besides the Chromebooks are old and secondhand.”

According to the survey, an overwhelming 77% said Internet connectivity in schools was a pain point when it comes to using technology.

More than half the respondents (55%) believe they needed more professional development in order to incorporate blended-learning into the classroom, says Freeland Fisher.

Yeoh points out that teachers are actively encouraged to take part in the many teacher training programmes such as the Education Ministry Coach Programme, Hubs Programme and Frog Teacher Advocate Programme.

The Hub is a central space established in existing schools, public spaces and buildings, teachers in nearby locations can gather to teach, learn and collaborate with other teachers to improve teaching and learning outcomes using the Frog VLE.

Chinese tourist influx to increase – Ambassador

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has become a popular tourist destination among the people of China, said Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tan.

According to records, around 430,000 Chinese from China had travelled to Sabah and the number is expected to increase.

“I am positive the arrival of tourists from China to Sabah will increase due to demand and also the additional three direct flights by XiamenAir, which started last month.

“With the additional flights, there will be 95 direct flights from Beijing, Changsha and Chengdu to Kota Kinabalu,” he told the media after paying a courtesy call on the Head of State Tun Dr Juhar Mahiruddin at Istana Negeri, yesterday afternoon.

It was an official visit to announce his appointment as the new ambassador replacing Dr. Huang Huikang.

by Mariah Doksil.

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1 mil Chinese tourists achievable – Consul-General

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018


Pairin (centre) flanked by Liang on his right, Sabah Ma Zhong Friendship Association president Dr Oh Ei Sun on his left and other guests jointly cutting the 44th anniversary cake.

KOTA KINABALU: The target to woo one million Chinese tourists coming to Sabah set by Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman is achievable in the near future, said Consul-General of China in Kota Kinabalu Liang Caide.

The target can be achieved with the strong support from the State Government, more direct flights will be launched one after another, and more hotels and resorts will be built, said Liang.

Besides that, he said Chinese people are making every effort to realise the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation while Malaysia is committed to achieving the 2050 National Transformation Plan.

“Both sides have highly compatible development strategies, and could therefore complement each other in strengthening a strong cooperation momentum and broadening the prospects for cooperation,” said Liang during the launch of the 44th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relation between Malaysia and China, and 5th anniversary of Ma Zhong Friendship Association Sabah at Hakka Hall here on Sunday.

The cultural event was officiated by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan who represented Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman.

“At present, both sides are working hard to build further for another ‘Diamond Fortieth Years’ through the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries,” said Liang

“Sabah is an important node along the Maritime Silk Road, as it has great potential for cooperation with various places in China.

“We look forward to the Ma Zhong Friendship Association Sabah taking its vantage position and contributing to the development of the One Belt, One Road initiative,” said Liang.

He said the arrivals of some 430,000 tourists from China to Sabah last year fit the old Chinese saying ‘The amity between countries is relied on their people-to-people bond’.


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Aiming for educational excellence

Sunday, January 14th, 2018
(From left) Deputy Education Minister Senator Chong Sin Woon, Mohamad, and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin watching students train after the launching of MyTID programme at SK Taman Seri Rembau, Negri Sembilan in 2015. — SAMUEL ONG/The Star

(From left) Deputy Education Minister Senator Chong Sin Woon, Mohamad, and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin watching students train after the launching of MyTID programme at SK Taman Seri Rembau, Negri Sembilan in 2015. — SAMUEL ONG/The Star

TWO years after becoming Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan set an ambitious target for Negri Sembilan – to be ranked among the top three states in national examinations such as the PT3, SPM and STPM.

Mohamad, who graduated from Universiti Malaya and had spent years in the banking and corporate sectors both here and abroad, set the benchmark upon discovering that the state was always positioned in the lower rungs of the tables whenever the results were announced.

Mohamad even took over the education portfolio to ensure his target of catapulting the state into the top academic achievers was realised.

“When I took over the state administration in 2004, my desire was to turn the state into a valley of knowledge.

The state government then introduced and funded several programmes such as getting teachers to undergo a nine-month Project to Improve English in Rural Schools.

This, he said was implemented after a survey found that rural students fared poorly in English although they did well in other subjects

At the same time, Mohamad set another target. In his quest to boost Negri Sembilan’s standing as a valley of knowledge, he encouraged undergraduates born in the state to excel while in university.

He then announced a reward programme where any Negri-born who obtains a first class honours degree from any public university was to be rewarded with RM25,000 by the state government.

Those who took study loans from the Negri Sembilan Foundation and the state Islamic Affairs Council also had these loans converted to scholarships.

With only one student graduating with a first-class honours degree in 2006, the number increased to 25 the following year.

A delighted Mohamad then reduced the cash reward from RM25,000 to RM10,000 in 2008 as the numbers continued to increase sharply.

In 2009, the reward was further reduced to RM5,000.

“We had no choice but to reduce the amount as we did not expect the numbers to increase so fast. Nevertheless, we are happy that our plan has been a success,” he said.

Today, Mohamad is an even happier man.

Negri Sembilan has not only been maintaining its position among the top three achievers for national examinations, it has also continued to produce more top achievers in public and private universities both here and abroad.

In 2017, a whopping 478 Negri-born graduated with first-class honours degrees.

Mohamad, who likened the first class scorers to modern-day Pendeta Za’aba (Tan Sri Zainal Abidin Ahmad), said these individuals were assets to the state and country.

“It does not matter if you are from an estate, kampung, Felda plantation or some rural area in Negri Sembilan.

“What is important is that you have now proved to be a top achiever and you must continue this culture of excellence when you start working,” he said.

Mohamad’s vision to turn the state into a Valley of Knowledge has also borne fruit with the state now home to more than 25 institutions of higher learning.

There are now several international schools in the state including

Matrix Global Schools, Epsom College, UCSI International School, Nilai International School and Zenith International School.

And among the universities that have set up operations here include Nottingham University, Manipal University, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Inti International University and Nilai University.

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Cuepacs makes two proposals to help civil servants by 2020

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

BESUT: The Congress of the Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Service (Cuepacs) wants the government to consider two proposals which would help reduce the burden of more than 1.6 million civil servants who are faced with increasing cost of living.

Its president Datuk Azih Muda said the congress expects the burden will be worse from next year as the cost of living is  increasing while their incomes remained small.

He said that although the government was helping by giving some aid which will be paid from January, it would not ease the burden of civil servants in the long term.

As such, Azih said, Cuepacs was proposing that the government give every civil servant an advanced annual salary increment while maintaining it on conclusion of a year of service.

Speaking to reporters here yesterday, Azih said Cuepacs also proposed that the government consider allowing civil servants in the states and statutory bodies to be given Socso protection..


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Industry experts enhance learning

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017
Adjunct Professor lecture series with Nik Hasyudeen Yusoff at the Faculty of Business and Accountancy in UM.

UNIVERSITIES are increasingly emphasising closer ties with the industry and its professionals to keep up with the challenging role of preparing graduates for the workplace.

Guest lecturers, specifically practising industry professionals, frequently teach and share experiences with undergraduates and postgraduate students doing research.

Where subjects have close ties to the industry, seminar-style lectures by a diverse range of professionals are seen as a more desirable way to introduce tertiary students to the disciplines.


University of Malaya’s Faculty of Business and Accountancy senior lecturer Dr Zarina Zakaria said academia-industry involvement has been ongoing at the institution for quite some time.

Named as Practitioners’ Sharing Sessions, the initiative is significant as it brings the real-world situation faced by those in practice into the classroom.

UM Faculty of Business and Accountancy senior lecturer Zarina Zakaria.

“It exposes students to the practical aspects and, to a certain extent, the know-how so that they will be able to translate theories and concepts into practice.

“This has enhanced students’ understanding of various topics,” said Zarina.

She believes that teaching and learning cannot be achieved in silo as both must acknowledge the ecosystem — by recognising the significance of systems, skills and processes — and industry experts need to share real-life processes with students.

“Talks by industry professionals in various fields and of special expertise enhance the learning process,” she added.

The faculty has also appointed former Securities Commission Malaysia’s market and corporate supervision executive director Nik Hasyudeen Yusoff as adjunct professor.

His area of expertise is in accounting; he has 23 years of industry experience and international exposure to financial reporting and auditing. He is currently Innovastra Capital Sdn Bhd director.

“Nik Hasyudeen is one good example of industry professionals who can relate their experiences for the benefit of undergraduates. His lectures are relevant to his profession, with real-life examples of the workplace,” she added.

A fellow of CPA Australia and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and Malaysian Institute of Accountants, he also sits on the Advisory Board at the Faculty of Business and Accountancy at UM.

“Recently, the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance held a forum panel

on the topic, Board Effectiveness: The Role

of Audit Committees, with students,” added Zarina.

“This event enabled us to bring the boardroom to the classroom. Panel members, who are also board members, shared how directors interact with the management.

“Likewise, we invite corporations to discuss topics such as transfer pricing, auditing of specialised industries, fraud audit as well various financial and management accounting issues.

“Most industry professionals volunteer

their time and get to know the students in the process. For example, the Big 4 Public Accounting Firms have been offering students book prizes, internships and permanent job offers.

“The sessions enable the firms to get students’ feedback on the reason why they regard them as their employers of choice.

“In return, students learn of their expectations at the workplace. They visit the industry to expose themselves to the real work situation and get a feel of the environment.

“The presence of industry professionals in undergraduate teaching is a good avenue to foster a better relationship between the industry, academia and students.”

UM realises the importance of balancing soft and hard skills because it is one of

many ways to prepare students for the workplace.

“They need to be exposed to emerging topics in their area of studies and industry experts share with students how to deal with challenges in practice.

“Students can’t be spoon-fed in the workplace. They need to take charge. We

can put academia-industry collaboration in place but, at the end of the day, it is all up to them.”


Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Adjunct Professor Zulkifli Abd Rani said one way

for higher education institutions in the

country to bridge the gap between

academia and industry is to increase the involvement of industry professionals at universities.

Zulkifli believes that this prepares graduates to be market-ready and secure employment within six months after graduation.

The country’s economy is expected to grow at a fast pace in the future, and the education sector will expand in tandem with rapid industrialisation.

“It will require a bigger workforce and open up job opportunities in the future.

“However, despite promising days ahead, many of our graduates are still unemployable,” he said.

While there is no easy solution to the problem, there are several ideas worth pursuing.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Adjunct Professor Zulkifli Abd Rani.

Based on his 27 years of experience in the oil and gas industry and having served it in three capacities as an operator, contractor and regulator, Zulkifli added there is a mismatch between the curriculum and industry needs and academia aspirations.

By Zulita Mustafa.

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Langkawi prepared to host Miss Tourism International pageant.

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017
Miss Tourism International participants at Sunway Putra Mall

Miss Tourism International participants at Sunway Putra Mall

LANGKAWI: Langkawi is prepared to host the final of the Miss Tourism International next year based on its success in hosting the semifinal rounds of the contest last year as well as this year.

“Based on the facilities that we have, we are prepared to host this event but I believe we still have to compete against other states which might be interested to host it as well,” said Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) chief executive officer Datuk Azizan Noordin.

Speaking to reporters after the Miss Tourism International 2017 Gala Dinner and Talent Show here on Saturday (Dec 2) night, he said Langkawi would benefit from hosting the contest as its attractions and products could be exposed to a wider audience around the world.

“Like tonight, the contestants were parading leather bags produced by the Langkawi Crocodile Farm and more products can be promoted through this event,” he said.

Meanwhile, Azizan said the introduction of a subsidiary title, Langkawi Tourism Ambassadress in the event this year would also help promotion of the island particularly to tourists from Europe and the American continent.

The title was won by Miss Tourism Brazil, Julia Do Vale Horta, who is a journalist and an event coordinator.

He said Vale Horta would play a part to promote the island not only in her home country but to other nations that she would be visiting.

Based on the number of followers that each of the contestants had on social media, he said the event had so far exposed Langkawi to over 600 million people from 50 countries.

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