Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

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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Pintar Foundation raises almost RM900,000 to facilitate education for the underprivileged

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: A whopping RM887,500 has been raised by Pintar Foundation to facilitate educational opportunities for rural children and underprivileged communities including those from Sabah and Sarawak.

The monies were raised at the Pintar Rockin’ CEOs fundraiser tonight, which was launched by Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah and witnessed by his consort Raja Permaisuri Tuanku Zara Salim and corporate captains.

The monies were raised at the Pintar Rockin’ CEOs fundraiser tonight, which was launched by Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah and witnessed by his consort Raja Permaisuri Tuanku Zara Salim and corporate captains. Pic by NSTP/MOHAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALI

The event saw corporate leaders performed songs for guests, while outfits designed by Datuk Seri Bernard Chandran, footballer Thanabalan’s jersey and songstress Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza’s items were auctioned off to raise funds.

Pintar Foundation chairman Tan Sri Arshad Ayub said the funds would be used to assist target groups to undergo the foundation’s programmes tailored to develop confidence, proficiency, interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, apart from national pride and responsibility.

“The aim of the platform (fundraiser) is to garner public support and involvement in Pintar Programmes and specific projects so that our vision of assisting students of underperforming schools throughout the country can be realised.

“It is a platform to encourage the public to assist children in getting the education they deserved,” Arshad said in his speech during the event.

He said Pintar was an acronym which stood for “Promoting Intelligence, Nurturing Talent and Advocating Responsibility”, and its foundation was formed in 2006 as a social responsibility initiative mooted by Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

Pintar Foundation chairman Tan Sri Arshad Ayub. Pic by NSTP/EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN

“The foundation has been working closely with government-linked companies, private companies, non-profit organisations and government bodies, to ‘adopt’ schools in rural areas and underprivileged communities.


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Yet another record by SM St Michael

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Penampang: Habitual record-breaker SM St Michael has notched yet another proud achievement in the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) for having collected the most number of old books.

The school collected 42,617 old books within a short period of time and broke a 5-year-old record set in Johor.

MBR Research Analyst Muhammad Shukri Hairon Nahar made the official announcement during a ceremony, Friday.

The target given to the mission school, which has 902 students, was beyond 36,000.

The old books were contributed by students, the school’s Parents and Teachers Association, alumni and a long list of other contributors.

“This is a meaningful achievement for us because St Michael Penampang is an eco-school that advocates environment-friendly practices such as recycling,” said school principal Jennifer Asing.

The school has entered its name in MBR since 2008 by having the largest collection of flower pots made from coconut shell.

The rest of the entries were largest collection of piggy banks made from newspapers (2010), largest aluminum cans collection (2009), biggest mudball-throwing event (2011), most number of fridge magnet made from recycled papers (2015) and most number of bookmarks made from recycled materials (2016).

by Leonard Alaza.

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New Education D-G takes over

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017
Dr Amin (right) shaking hands with Dr Khair during the clock out ceremony for the outgoing D-G at the ministry, which was also attended by Deputy Education Minister Datuk P Kamalanathan (centre). — Bernama

Dr Amin (right) shaking hands with Dr Khair during the clock out ceremony for the outgoing D-G at the ministry, which was also attended by Deputy Education Minister Datuk P Kamalanathan (centre). — Bernama

DATUK Dr Amin Senin has been appointed the new Education director-general at the Education Ministry.

He took over from Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof, who had served in civil service for over 35 years

Chief Secretary to the Govern-ment Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa said in a statement that Amin officially started his term on Thursday.

“Amin was selected based on his leadership skills, qualifications, experience and competence especially in management and education development,” said Dr Ali.

Dr Amin previously served as the deputy rector at the Malaysia Teachers Education Institute, Institut Aminuddin Baki director and education deputy director-general (teacher professionalism development sector).

Amin obtained his degree from Universiti Sains Malaysia in mathematics, Bachelor’s degree in science (Human Resource Development) from Universiti Putra Malaysia and PhD in human resource planning and development from Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

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Be realistic about Budget 2018 expectations

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

THE Government will present next year’s federal Budget on Friday. As usual, we will be eager to know if we stand to gain something – perhaps higher tax breaks and bigger allocations – or if there will be proposed measures that may be particularly painful for some of us.

However, given that the deadline for the 14th general election is about 10 months from now, most people expect Budget 2018 to prompt more cheers than jeers.

We are accustomed to the idea that the closer we get to polling day, the more goodies will come our way.

In fact, when the ballot box beckons, interest groups such as industry bodies and trade unions have been known to lobby more forcefully for concessions.

We must always bear in mind that the federal Budget is not our collective wish list; it is a detailed plan on how the Government intends to spend over the coming year, taking into account its projected revenue and reading of the economy.

The Budget will of course address the needs of the rakyat and Malay­sia’s businesses and civil society, but we can agree that it is impossible to act on every request and recommendation.

It is reckless to even try to please everybody. At its worst, undisciplined government spending will burden a country generation after generation.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who will be tabling Budget 2018 as Finance Minister, made it clear last month that fiscal responsibility will not be ditched so as to pack the Budget with populist proposals.

Instead, he said, the Government would remain prudent and prioritise sectors that could contribute the most towards the country’s growth and the people’s welfare.

What we should really want is not necessarily a budget bearing one-off gifts, but one that promises lasting prosperity through sturdy systems, sound and fair policies, bold ideas and wise governance.

In other words, we should hope for a good plan that will be implemented with care and diligence.

And it is not just a matter of the Government being efficient and productive. As taxpayers, ratepayers and users of public services, we have our obligations too. We must pay our dues, obey the law and generally be solid citizens.
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10,000 attend Head of State birthday parade

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: A 17-gun salute reverbrated through the heart of the city as the Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin’s official 64th birthday celebration here began with a ceremonial marching parade competition yesterday morning.

Padang Merdeka was filled with some 10,000 people as the customary firing of cannons attracted foreign tourists and local spectators to witness the ceremony involving 85 contingents.

Sabah’s 10th Head of State and his wife Toh Puan Norlidah R M Jasni were joined by Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman and wife Puan Sri Faridah Tussin, State Dewan Speaker Datuk Seri Panglima Syed Abas Syed Ali and wife Datin Seri Panglima Nuraini Habib Kadir, state cabinet ministers and other dignitaries at the ceremony.

Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) Enforcement Department beat 16 other contingents and reigned as champion for the government department in official uniform marching category.

The Malaysian Royal Customs Department and Volunteers Department (RELA) took the second and third places respectively in the same category.

Meanwhile, the Sabah Public Works Department (JKR) won the government department not in official uniform category, which was participated by 27 contingents.

Close behind JKR were the Sabah Town and Regional Planning Department and Chief Minister’s Department in the second and third places respectively.

In the non-governmental organization or association or ethnic category, Akademi Jahitan Kota Kinabalu won by beating 11 other contingents, followed by Pasukan Tindakan Cemas Malaysia and Persatuan Pandu Puteri Malaysia Cawangan Sabah.

Yayasan Sabah Group beat seven other contingents in the private or commercial category, whilst the Sabah Forestry Development Authority and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) took the second and third places respectively.

Among the six contingents participating in the higher public or private learning institution (IPTA/IPTS) category, Komander Kasatria UiTM Sabah took the first place, whilst Petronas Briged Bomba and Institusi Latihan Kesihatan Malaysia took second and third places.

In the secondary school category, Kadet Remaja Sekolah SMK Sri Nangka Tuaran beat nine other contingents and took the first prize home whilst SMK Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu and SMK Taman Ria took second and third places.

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Restudying BR1M & GST among issues suggested by MTUC for Budget 2018

Friday, October 6th, 2017
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Abdul Halim Mansor urged the government to review the Goods and Services Tax (GST). NSTP pic.
By JULIA FIONA AND ALIA MIOR - October 6, 2017 @ 4:38pm

KUALA LUMPUR: Contributing to Social Security Organisation (Socso) for all permanent and contract government staff, restudying the giving of 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) and looking into the issue of Goods and Services Tax (GST) are three issues which the government is urged to consider in the upcoming Budget 2018.

These are among the main proposals submitted by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) to ensure that the welfare of Malaysian citizens remains secure.

Its president Abdul Halim Mansor has recommended that the government works with Socso in providing mechanisms for contributors to earn medical security and benefits and not to burden the civil servants with medical bills.

“I believe Sosco is the most reliable organisation for citizens in ensuring their security, and government should work closely with Socso to reflect their responsibility.

“For loss of lives or those who get into accidents and lose their ability to work, most of the permanent and contract government workers who come from low income family background are usually burdened by medical bills.

“That is why Socso should be the main source of medical security for the workers to get treatment and get back to work. Socso has its own rehabilitation centre for its contributors, for example, Tun Razak Rehabilitation Centre in Melaka,” Halim said, as one of the board of members of Socso.

“I urge Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to consider Socso security rather than rely on private insurance or only on giving BR1M allowances.”

He hoped that the next of kin of a Socso contributor could also gain the benefit of this insurance, as low as 50% and as high as 80%, in case of loss of lives or injury due to accidents.

On GST, Halim urged the government to review the income tax deduction and implement the income tax rebate mechanism for private workers who stayed in urban and rural areas.

He said the government should restudy where GST should be implemented and it was important to ensure that every GST could be claimed in helping to reduce the cost of living of the citizens.

The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj said the government needs to look into making healthcare more affordable.

“We are short of medical help and we need the backup from private hospitals. However, the cost of private hospitals is too expensive.


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Leave Sabah out: Bosses

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah should not be part of a proposed implementation of an Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) for retrenched workers due to the State’s unique economic and social circumstances.

Sabah Employers Association (SEA) President Yap Cheen Boon said EIS is inappropriate for Sabah as retrenchment on average is only 254 employees per year, which is rather low compared to other states in the peninsula.

Besides, he said, latest statistics showed that wage growth has been increasing since last year which resulted in not many workers being laid off compared to other states like Selangor.

He said if EIS was approved for implementation, then it would be compulsory for the workers and employers to pay contribution of 0.2 per cent each apart from paying for Employment Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (Socso) until they retire.

The proposed EIS had its first reading in Parliament this year.

“EIS was mooted by the Government based on statistical figure that Malaysian employers have retrenched a lot of workers since 2000 and these workers did not get compensation due to some irresponsible employers.

“Hence, when this happens, the EIS was proposed to serve as a safety net. In fact, the basic component of EIS is two-fold.

“First, to allow the retrenched workers to have basic money for six months under decreasing percentage rate.

For instance a monthly salary of RM1,000, the retrenched worker will get RM800 for the first month, and RM600 the second month and RM400 the third month, among others.

“Second, the employers must provide new skills for the retrenched workers so that they would able to apply for new jobs,” he told a press conference, Tuesday.

Also present were SEA Deputy President David Chu and its Secretary General Fong Ming San.

Yap said EIS requires employers and employees to contribute 0.2 per cent each which totalled up to 0.4 per cent is excessive for Sabah as it will see an annual contribution of RM77 million from both parties combined which was seen as in parallel with existing laws that sufficiently protected retrenched workers and an unnecessary excessive drain.

“We have a bit of problem with this proposal because based on the total contribution of 0.4 per cent from employers and employees as suggested by the government, the monthly intake of yearly income fund can be over a billion Ringgit and it is way more than the past statistics shown of the amount of money owed to retrenched employees not paid.

“What we calculate is going to be more and more than enough to cover the so-called ‘loss’.

“As for providing training for the retrenched workers to acquire new skills, we disagree because training is performed by a lot of State and Federal agencies. So why are we duplicating?” he asked.

Yap said SEA also queried whether the retrenched workers would get the EIS contribution which would mean they will be getting dual benefit and this seems unfair.

“Such detail on the dual benefit was never discussed and finalised.

“In addition, we believe that pushing EIS is too hasty and a dual mechanism will be like sucking money out of the economy.

“Hence, if the government really choose to go along with this proposal, there are few things that need to be settled. First, the details of the proposal must be clear.

by Hayati Dzulkifli.

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