Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

Dr Mahathir names nine more ministers, making initial cabinet line-up of 14

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

Dr Mahathir (left) walks alongside Sultan Muhammad V during their meeting at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur. — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has announced the names of nine more ministers of his cabinet, bringing to 14 the total number of its initial line-up.

In a statement yesterday, he named Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali as the Minister of Economic Affairs and Democratic Action Party (DAP) deputy chairman Gobind Singh Deo as the Minister of Communications and Multimedia.

He appointed Simpang Renggam MP Dr Maszlee Malik of Bersatu as the Education Minister; PKR Wanita chief Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin as the Housing and Local Government Minister; DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke Siew Fook as the Minister of Transport; and DAP vice-chairman M Kulasegaran as the Minister of Human Resources.

The others named yesterday were Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president Salahuddin Ayub as the Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry; Amanah strategic director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad as the Minister of Health; and Titiwangsa MP Rina Harun of Bersatu as the Minister of Rural Development.

Dr Mahathir had previously named Deputy Prime Minister and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the Minister of Women and Family Development; Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the Minister of Home Affairs; DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as the Minister of Finance; and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu as the Minister of Defence.

Dr Mahathir said Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V had given his consent to the appointment of the ministers.

He said the ministers would be sworn in at 11.30am on Monday (May 21) at Istana Negara.

“Their appointments are in accordance with Paragraph (b) Clause (2) Article 43 of the Federal Constitution,” he said.


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Shafie names Cabinet

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: New Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal unveiled his Cabinet line-up, Wednesday, that saw three new ministries to tackle health and people’s wellbeing, education and Law and Native Affairs.

Overall, the new State Cabinet comprises 20 representatives from Warisan, four from DAP, two each for PKR and Upko and one formerly from Umno.

They were sworn in at the Istana Negeri on Wednesday before Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.

Shafie, who is Parti Warisan Sabah President, also holds the finance portfolio, assisted by Inanam Assemblyman Kenny Chua (PKR) and Merotai Assemblyman Saripuddin Hatta (Warisan).

The 29-member State Cabinet also has two Members of Parliament – Stephen Wong Tien Fatt (DAP) and Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau – being appointed full ministers through being made Nominated Assemblymen.

A victorious Sabah State Government is entitled to six Nominated Assemblymen but Shafie decided to use up two of the quota.

Wong, who is Sandakan MP, has been appointed Minister of Health and People’s Wellbeing while Tuaran MP Madius, as Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Commerce and Industry.

Madius, who is President of Upko whose party quit Barisan Nasional after the general elections to form a coalition government with Parti Warisan Sabah and its partners, state PKR and DAP, is one of three who have been appointed as Deputy Chief Ministers.

The other two Deputy Chief Ministers are Christina Liew (Api-Api-PKR) who is in charge of Tourism, Culture and Environment and Dato Jaujan Sambakong (Sulabayan-Warisan) as Minister of Local Government and Housing.

Sindumin Assemblyman Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob (Warisan) heads the new Ministry of Education and Innovation, assisted by Mohammad Mohamarin (Banggi-Warisan) and Jenifer Lasimbang (Moyog-Warisan).

Datuk Hj Aidi Mokhtar (Pantai Manis-Warisan) has been appointed Minister of Law and Native Affairs.

His assistant ministers are Hj Uda Sulai (Petagas- Warisan) and the former Suhakam Commissioner and Indigenous rights advocate, Jannie Lasimbang (Kepayan-DAP).

The rest of the full ministers are Datuk Peter Anthony (Melalap-Warisan) as Minister of Infrastructure Development, Junz Wong (Tanjung Aru-Warisan) as Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries, Ewon Benedick (Kadamaian-Upko) as Minister of Rural Development and Poon Ming Fung @ Frankie (Tanjong Papat) as Minister of Youth and Sports.

Sri Tanjong Assemblyman Jimmy Wong (DAP) and Sekong Assemblyman Arifin Asgali (Warisan) have been appointed Assistant Ministers in the Chief Minister’s Department.

The rest of the Assistant Ministers are Ben Chong (Tanjong Kapor-Warisan) and Hj Azhar Datuk Matussin (Karambunai-Warisan) who are in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Assaffal Alian (Tungku-Warisan) in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment; Hiew Vun Zin (Karamunting-Warisan) Ministry Local Government and Housing; Norazlinah Arif (Kunak-Warisan) Ministry of Health and People’s Wellbeing; Daud Yusof (Bongawan-Warisan) Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries; Rasinin Binkoutis @ Kautis (Liawan-Warisan) and Dumi Pg Masdal (Lahad Datu-Warisan) Rural Development Ministry and Arunarnsin Taib (Gum-Gum-Warisan) Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Sebatik Assemblyman Datuk Muis Picho, who defected from Umno/BN, has been appointed Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development.

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Trump congratulates Dr M as seventh PM of Malaysia

Friday, May 11th, 2018
US President Donald J. Trump. -AFPpic

US President Donald J. Trump. -AFPpic

PETALING JAYA: US President Donald J. Trump has congratulated newly sworn in Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“President Donald Trump congratulates Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on having been sworn in today (May 10) as the new Prime Minister of Malaysia,” said a statement by the White House posted on the US embassy Kuala Lumpur Facebook page on Friday (May 11).

Dr Mahathir was sworn in as the seventh Prime Minister before Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V at Istana Negara on Thursday (May 10) night.

The statement also said that Trump congratulated all Malaysians in their participation in the election.

It added that the United States looked forward to continue working closely with Malaysia to further strengthen the US-Malaysia Comprehensive Partnership, and to address common international and regional challenges.

It said the US-Malaysia relationship was rooted in longstanding and strong people ties, democratic values, and commercial relations.

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Time to get serious about peace and development

Friday, May 11th, 2018
Some of the Rohingya who fled from Myanmar to Cox Bazar in Bangladesh. Inclusive development is critical to conflict prevention and sustaining peace.

FOUR months ago UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a “red alert”, noting that instead of progressing towards greater peace, the world had moved in reverse towards deepening conflicts and new dangers: “Global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War.”

Climate change is moving faster than we are. Inequalities are growing. We see horrific violations of human rights. Nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise.”

Levels of violent conflict have increased sharply since 2010, and conflicts have become increasingly protracted and internationalised, making them longer and deadlier. Due to violence, persecution, disaster, and instability 65.6 million people have been displaced from their homes, the highest level on record.

These figures are troubling and should elicit urgent action — but they also highlight the difficulties of working on truly “sustainable development”. We know that conflict sets back development by decades, and disproportionately and increasingly affects poor people; studies suggest that unless we dramatically change course, by 2030 fully 67 per cent of the extreme poor will live in fragile and conflict-affected settings.

But we also know that the only way to prevent the violence of tomorrow is to work on development today or risk leaving more and more people behind.

And the challenges of today are compounding to complicate tomorrow. Demographic trends in Africa, including a decline in child mortality rates combined with relatively high fertility rates, result in a doubling of Africa’s population to 2.5 billion by 2050. While 10-12 million youth enter the workforce each year across Africa, only three million formal jobs are created annually.

According to a World Bank survey, 40 per cent of those who join rebel groups do so because of a lack of economic opportunities. Further, it is generally not religious ideology but poverty and marginalisation (lack of employment, healthcare, education, security and housing, as well as distrust and lack of respect for government, and its perceived lack of legitimacy) that motivate youth towards violent extremism.

Educating youth, creating employment opportunities, reducing poverty, reforming and improving government systems, rebuilding trust and the state-society relationship take time. This is the reason that the Sustainable Development Goals, a universal set of 17 goals and 169 targets agreed to guide the agendas of the UN’s member states, are a generational endeavour with a 15-year window.

But because of the time it takes to plan and execute the real reform needed to make progress in achieving peaceful, just and inclusive societies, we cannot wait until 2029 to deliver. If achieved, the goals of the 2030 Development Agenda will transform our world: now is the time for us to direct financing and plan programming for delivery (and course correction) over the next decade.

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we must somehow address the Secretary General’s Red Alert today and avoid twelve more years of red alerts to make sufficient progress in an increasingly complex world. But we must remember, despite the current alarming trends, the world has never been simple.

We now know that development is critical to conflict prevention and sustaining peace, and this realisation is increasingly reflected in the frameworks we apply to guide our efforts. The overarching framework of “sustaining peace” was introduced in April 2016 through twin resolutions of the UN general assembly and the secretary-general, and redefines the approach of the UN, placing new emphasis on the long-term prevention of conflict and addressing its root causes.

The 2030 agenda and sustaining peace together underscore that sustainable and inclusive development, grounded in respect for all human rights, is the world’s best preventive tool against violent conflict and instability.

It isn’t just good practice to plan ahead and invest in development — it is also efficient and economical. Aside from saving and improving human lives, studies suggest that investing US$2 billion (RM7.9 billion) in prevention can generate net savings of US$33 billion per year from averted conflict.

Yet delivering peace, justice and inclusion is not as simple as infrastructure projects — in addition to technical expertise, they also require political acumen and flexibility necessary to navigate planning, reform and delivery.

It is time for us all to get serious about prevention and sustaining peace if we are to achieve the peace envisioned in the SDGs by 2030. Policymakers must focus efforts on prevention, committing additional resources and attention to the highest risk environments. Leaders need to be honest about the risks they face and the needs they have to avoid conflict.


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St Michael’s Church, police working together for safer community

Friday, May 11th, 2018


Ramli exchanging memorabilia with Wilfred Atin, rector of St Michael’s Church Penampang while Penampang police Chief Haris Ibrahim looks on

PENAMPANG: The Catholic community of Saint Michael’s Church here will work with the police to build a safer community.

Schools and mosques here have also established similar working relationships with the police through which safety concerns are communicated swiftly and remedial measures taken.

“We have chosen to establish connections with the church seeing that many police officers are Christians,” said Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din. “The police are always looking for new methods in forming smart partnerships with the community.”

He announced partnership in conjunction with the celebration of the 211th Police Day yesterday at the iconic St Michael’s Church, which is Sabah’s second oldest stone church.

Meanwhile he revealed that by Saturday last week, about 94 per cent of the Sabah police had cast their votes for the 14th General Elections at the Sabah police headquarters in Kepayan. 501 of them were postal votes.


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Workers call for better wages and end to discrimination.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

SUBANG JAYA: Hundreds of local and foreign labourers gathered in front of Wisma MTUC here calling for better wages and an end to workplace discrimination.

Those who gathered also joined a short procession around USJ at around 8am carrying placards while chanting slogans urging authorities to meet their demands.

The group gathered there in conjunction with Malaysia Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Labour Day celebrations here.

MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon said he hoped the Government would work towards a minimum wage of RM1,800 a month.

“Within the next five years they should also follow Bank Negara’s research that a single person should be earning a living wage of at least RM2,700.

“We have spoken to both sides of the political divide and hope whoever comes into power following GE14 looks into this matter,” he said when met at Wisma MTUC on Tuesday.

He said he hoped the Government would meet the 21 demands the MTUC had made in conjunction with the elections.

Among the demands included providing affordable housing for workers, a RM1,800 minimum wage, RM300 cost of living allowance, RM3,500 minimum wage for graduates, abolish GST except for luxury items, setting the minimum Employees Provident Fund dividends to not less than eight percent.

He said the Government should also raise awareness on workers’ rights and all issues regarding labourers through the television.
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SIDMA College Lecturers Participated in “Power-up A Good Lecture” Seminar

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

About 30 of academic staff trooped to Pan Borneo Hotel, Putatan on the 22 to 23 March 2018, for a scheduled staff professional development seminar, with the theme “Power-Up a Good Lecture.”

Designed specifically to boost lecturers’ presentation skills and paving the way for interactive learning, the seminar focused on incorporating different teaching methods in classroom for effective sessions, and understanding the need of students (personality)  through fun and interactive inquiries testing methods; as well as collaborating with relevance.

Acknowledging that the participants are SIDMA lecturers who are also teaching future educators, Datu Razali encouraged them to expand their network through building collaboration not only with the local communities around them, but also building connections with other institutions of higher learning.

The lecturers were also exposed to an engaging session with Datu Razali Datuk (Datu) Hj. Eranza, who is one of the trainer for the seminar and has acted as one of the panel for the Malaysia Education Blueprint. The engagement provided a platform for the lecturers collaboratively discussed and tackled different issues with relations to the 11 transformation in the Malaysia Education Blueprint.

Madam Jennifer Balanting, a local certified Human Resource Department Fund (HRDF) Trainer, whose training areas ranged from communication, management, sales and marketing, human resource and motivation also engaged the participants with various interactive and motivational activities.

One of the highlighted issue was the need to implement an outcome based education (OBE) in classrooms – where the sole educational process is focused on the learner’s personal learning. They (learners) and educators should have a mutual understanding on the qualities they should be developing for better effective learning environment and improve teaching-learning situations.

Madam Azizah Khalid Merican, CEO SIDMA College Sabah, during her official meeting with all the participants, hoped that through such program, SIDMA lecturers will be able refreshed their existing teaching knowledge and skills, developed new ideas and inputs, and thus be more confident and capable in presenting their lectures dynamically, yet effectively communicate their materials to their students.

She too, hoped that these participants will cascade their newly acquired knowledge and skills to others lecturers who were not given the opportunities to attend such session, during SIDMA College Staff Professional Development activities.

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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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