Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

Keeping alive Pak Ungku’s legacy

Saturday, December 19th, 2020
The late Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid’s greatest triumph as an academic was his close touch with society’s struggles. - BERNAMA PICThe late Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid’s greatest triumph as an academic was his close touch with society’s struggles. – BERNAMA PIC

LETTER: ON Dec 15, the nation woke up to a major loss. While lawmakers were busy voting on the 2021 Budget, the nation mourned the passing of Royal Professor Ungku Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid, 98, a towering figure known to many Malaysians from all walks of life.

Few can match him in terms of his immense contribution to nation building. He is to many a leader par excellence. As an economist by training, Pak Ungku, as he was affectionately known, did not stop exploring new frontiers of knowledge.

During his time helming Universiti Malaya, we often heard about his forays into social issues and even sharing his creative exploits of the pantun on radio. He was one academic who would qualify as a true lifelong learner.

This has served the nation well. It may have been due to his strong grasp of multidisciplinary knowledge that led to his game-changing ideas that have been transformational for the nation.

Combining economics and social science, it was his ideas which led to the establishment of Tabung Haji and Angkasa, the cooperative movement. He showed how the pooling of resources can turn into a powerhouse for shared economic prosperity.

In the case of Tabung Haji (TH), he saw the worldwide practice of Muslims saving money to go on the Haj pilgrimage, one of the five tenets of the Islamic faith. Back then, I knew of some Muslims in my kampung putting aside money in the house, often under the pillows, for that auspicious day.

It was risky. Some lost their savings through thefts and other unfortunate ways. The establishment of TH helped to introduce a safer way of keeping aside such savings.

At the same time, TH, through its professional investment committees, would invest the money in suitable instruments generating returns for the depositors. The Angkasa idea was also about pooling of resources which makes possible shared returns.

To many, Pak Ungku’s true assets were his ideas. There is no doubt that he practised critical thinking, always hatching new ideas to help solve some of the nation’s problems, while at the same time opening up new socio-economic opportunities.

We, the academics, must take heed of such deeds on how to give back to society. And Pak Ungku showed his selfless nature when sharing those high-profile ideas. I learned from friends who taught at UM that Pak Ungku placed meritocracy in high regard.

This often put him in the poor books of the non-believers. What a pity. It was in fact through such upholding of excellence that UM truly shone during his tenure at the university. He also gave a lot of emphasis on good communication and the mastering of languages.

In my assessment, Pak Ungku’s greatest triumph as an academic was his close touch with society’s struggles. If we are looking for a model academic who has not foresaken the ivory tower, it is him. His yardstick for success was definitely not the long list of academic papers.

Instead, it was his constant thinking and exploring of ideas to put an end to the pains of society. I am quite certain his key performance indicators then were different from what they are now. It may be time for the current leaders in the academic world to rethink their focus.

We must be reminded that a university is a place where knowledge is acquired and developed. Such curated knowledge is of no use unless it is effectively transferred for adoption and harnessed by society, including of course the business branch of society.

The nation has undoubtedly lost a gem, who for years highlighted great ideas to the community. But, if we emulate some of his noble practices as a selfless intellectual, his legacy will continue to live on.


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Nation mourns loss of Tun Rahah

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Rahah, 87, was an important figure behind two former premiers of the country, namely her late husband, the second prime minister of Malaysia Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, and son Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was the country’s sixth leader. Bernama Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The country today mourns the passing of Tun Rahah Mohamed Noah, a resilient wife, loving mother and noble human being.

Rahah, 87, was an important figure behind two former premiers of the country, namely her late husband, the second prime minister of Malaysia Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, and son Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was the country’s sixth leader.

Born on June 11, 1933 in Muar, Johor, she was the youngest daughter of national politician Tan Sri Mohamed Noah Omar and received her early education at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus in Johor.

Rahah married Abdul Razak on Sept 4, 1952, and they were blessed with five sons — Najib, Datuk Mohamed Nazir, Datuk Ahmad Johari, Datuk Mohamed Nizam and Datuk Mohamed Nazim.

Although she became a widow at the age of 43 when Abdul Razak died on Jan 14, 1976 due to leukaemia, she managed to raise her five children to become successful individuals.

Rahah gave much encouragement and inspiration to her husband, especially in steering the country forward following the racial riots in 1969.

She also accompanied her husband on his official duties, both locally and abroad.

Rahah gained first-hand experience on the intricacies of politics from her father, who was the first Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and also served as the president of the Senate.

She also played an active role during elections, campaigning from house to house and speaking at rallies organised by women, thus proving that women can also make an effective contribution to the development of the country.

Rahah was an active member of UMNO’s Kaum Ibu movement (now known as Wanita UMNO) and was the founder of the Wanita UMNO Petaling Jaya movement, besides having an inclination to charity work benefiting women.

She was also the first patron of the Muslim Women’s Action Organisation (Pertiwi) from 1969 to 1976, besides being the president of the Girl Guides Association of Malaysia and the first Chancellor of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNITAR).

Rahah, who played a huge role in raising and educating her sons after her husband’s death, has been described as a mother who always gave her full support, guidance and love to them.

Najib, in his previous Mother’s Day message, had said that he would not have achieved success in his life if not for the undying support and love of his mother.

“It is mother who enabled each one of us (sons) to fulfil our potential; fulfil the promise of our ambitions and follow our destiny,” he said.

Rahah was awarded the Seri Setia Mahkota Award by the Federal Government in 1976, which carries the title ‘Tun’, and had also received the Tun Fatimah Gold Medal from the National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO); the Srikandi (Heroine) Award from the Malaysian Girl Guides Association; and an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy (Education) from Universiti Utara Malaysia.

BY Bernama.

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Tun Rahah’s remains arrive at Ar-Rahah Mosque

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: A convoy of 10 vehicles bearing the remains of Tun Rahah Mohamed Noah arrived at the Ar-Rahah Mosque at Kampung Kerinchi here, at 7.50am today.

Members of the public can pay their last respects to Rahah, the widow of Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, from 9am to 1pm.


Dignitaries and members of royalty expected to pay their last respects to Rahah today include the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, accompanied by Tengku Permaisuri Selangor Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Department, Rahah’s remains will be transported from the Ar-Rahah Mosque to Masjid Negara after the Zohor prayer.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday announced that Rahah will be accorded a state funeral at the National Heroes Mausoleum at Masjid Negara.

A convoy of 10 vehicles bearing the remains of Tun Rahah Mohamed Noah arrived at the Ar-Rahah Mosque at Kampung Kerinchi here, at 7.50am today. - NSTP/ASWADI ALIAS.A convoy of 10 vehicles bearing the remains of Tun Rahah Mohamed Noah arrived at the Ar-Rahah Mosque at Kampung Kerinchi here, at 7.50am today. – NSTP/ASWADI ALIAS.

Rahah, the mother of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, died at about 4.45pm at the Prince Court Medical Centre here yesterday. She was 87.

By Adib Povera.

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INTERACTIVE: More graduates turn to lower-skilled jobs as pandemic worsens underemployment

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

Business Management degree holder Syed Ahmad Zeid Aljoffri, 38, works full-time as a food delivery rider in Subang Jaya as he bears the brunt of the Covid-19 impact on the economy. (December 15 ,2020). – AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: More graduates in the country are taking up jobs which do not match their qualification or their field of study as the shortage of skilled jobs is further worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Civil engineering post-graduate Ainun Syakirah Bahruddin is one of many who encounters this problem.

The substitute teacher secured her first job as a research engineer in Bangi after completing her degree in civil engineering. But she has now foregone her ambition to pursue her career in the industry as she faces heavy competition to secure a long-term career in the industry.

“I earned RM100 less in my second job as a site engineer in Terengganu and it only lasted for nine months as the company did not renew my contract.

“I also find it very challenging to try and compete with male candidates when trying to secure a job, ” she said, noting that she is often probed by potential employers about her ability to remain committed to work because of her gender.

Now she is ready to settle as a Mathematics substitute teacher who handles her own small business.

This is the reality faced by an increasing number of local graduates who have to compete for limited jobs that match their qualification.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) on Nov 9 released figures on skill-related underemployment in Malaysia for the first time and data shows that from the first quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2019, a quarterly average of 32.7% or 1.4 million workers from the total employed persons with tertiary education are underemployed.

DOSM defined skill-related underemployment as those who have tertiary education and are working in the semi-skilled and low-skilled occupations.

This group of people are also identified based on their desire to change their current employment situation in order to fully utilise their occupational skills.

“Over the years, it was observed that the incidence of skill-related underemployment signalled the existence of some structural issue in the labour market, even prior to Covid-19 pandemic, ” the Statistics Department noted in its third quarter 2020 Labour Market Review.

In the third quarter of 2020, skill-related underemployment increased to 36.8% or 1.76 million people, a 5.3% increase from the previous quarter at 1.67 million people.

The largest share or 46% was contributed by the age group of 25-34 years, while youth made up 23% of the underemployed workers.

The department’s chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the situation was common in developing countries which relied on a labour intensive workforce rather than capital intensive.

The situation is also expected to worsen because of the current economic crises brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This will lead to a higher demand of semi or low-skilled workers and underutilisation of skilled human capital who can’t fulfil their potential in the economy, ” he said.

Uzir said the underemployment contributes to lower productivity and earnings, which led to less money being channelled back into the economy and wider income inequality among the workforce.

“In Malaysia, we face a situation where we produce almost 300,000 new graduates per year with diploma, degree, master’s and PhD qualifications but due to lack or no working experience, as well as the current sluggish economy, they face difficulty in finding suitable jobs.

“This is in contrast with developed countries where many workers take up part-time jobs and work fewer hours than they optimally can,” he said.

Uzir noted that it is becoming more common for a person to have tertiary education in the country compared to the past decade and it will become a natural qualifying benchmark for youths to enter the workforce.

“What differentiates the graduates is the extra skills that they possess, so they need to remain competitive.

“They also need to be willing to take up reskilling programmes and move across sectors, especially for those impacted with the current economic situation, ” he said.

Uzir, however, urged youths not to forego pursuing tertiary education as graduates have a higher prospect of employment than those with only SPM qualification.

Based on the 21,000 job creations in third quarter of 2020, only 28.1% is offered for the skilled category.

Uzir said based on the newly released statistics by the Statistics Department, policymakers can identify fitting jobs that need to be created to reduce underemployment and underutilisation of skills in the country.

He also encouraged higher learning institutes to promote relevant courses or subjects that match future industry needs.

“Graduates should also have the mentality to pursue entrepreneurship and be a job creator, besides being a job seeker, ” Uzir said.

A look into the job availability on the Ministry of Human Resource’s job portal MYFutureJobs from Jan 1 to Dec 4 saw 47,639 degree-level job vacancies.

However, there are almost a triple more degree graduates who are actively seeking jobs on the website.

The majority or 325,405 of vacancies are for SPM-level, which makes up 55% out of the total job vacancies on the portal and 212% more vacancies than active job seekers with the same qualification level.

A fresh graduate such as biotechnology degree holder Muhammad Furqan Abdul Rahman, who faces this dilemma, said he is open to moving across job sectors or pursue occupations with lower qualification, if it means he is able to earn some income.
Civil engineering post-graduate Ainun Syakirah Bahruddin and Biotechnology degree holder Muhammad Furqan Abdul Rahman faces challenges in finding jobs that match their qualification.

Civil engineering post-graduate Ainun Syakirah Bahruddin and Biotechnology degree holder Muhammad Furqan Abdul Rahman faces challenges in finding jobs that match their qualification.

“I worked as a warehouse assistant for a few months after graduating. Now I’m employed as a data management junior associate at another company, ” he said, acknowledging that his passion in bio-tech has to be put on hold until the country advances further in the field.


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Bung Moktar denies signing SD backing Anwar as next PM

Sunday, December 13th, 2020
Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin calls for an immediate end to issues that do not bring any benefit as it only serves to confuse the people. - NSTP file picDatuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin calls for an immediate end to issues that do not bring any benefit as it only serves to confuse the people. – NSTP file pic

KOTA KINABALU: Kinabatangan Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin has denied that he is among the 10 Umno federal lawmakers who were said to have signed a Statutory Declaration (SD) backing PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the next Prime Minister.

The Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman emphasised that it was not easy for a political leader to get support in the form of SDs when it came to the formation of a government.

“To get an SD is not easy because it will determine the government of a country.

“The question of my name being linked, I do not know. I have made a statement last month that I had never given any support to any quarter.

“The important thing is that we individually never supported any party, including Anwar, to be the head of government,” he said in a statement, today.

Commenting further, Bung Moktar, who is also Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, said the allegation linking his name with the matter was nothing more than speculation by irresponsible parties.

“Maybe certain parties deliberately want to speculate. I think there are better things for me to do, especially focusing on the problems faced by the people,” he said.

Bung Moktar pleaded for an immediate end to issues that do not bring any benefit as it would only confuse the people.

“Even though our country is a democracy and social media is free to be abused, things which do not bring any benefit should be ceased as it confuses the people.

“If it is true about the party claiming they have sufficient majority, then take the SDs and present it to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. There is no need to make a statement,” he said.

A news portal reported that Bung Moktar was among 10 Umno Federal lawmakers who had signed the SD to back the Port Dickson Member of Parliament as the ninth Prime Minister.

By Izwan Abdullah.

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Ismail Sabri: South China Sea need to remain free for commercial purposes

Friday, December 11th, 2020
The waters of South China Sea should remain free and secure for commercial purposes without any military activities or being turned into a field of conflict among major powers, said Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.- NSTP/IQMAL HAQIM ROSMAN.The waters of South China Sea should remain free and secure for commercial purposes without any military activities or being turned into a field of conflict among major powers, said Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.- NSTP/IQMAL HAQIM ROSMAN.

KUALA LUMPUR: The waters of South China Sea should remain free and secure for commercial purposes without any military activities or being turned into a field of conflict among major powers, said Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Ismail Sabri who headed the Malaysian delegation to 14th Asean Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and the 7th ADMM-Plus conference via video conferencing also called on all parties to avoid actions which can affect the stability of the region.

The two-day meeting which began yesterday was hosted by Vietnam as 2020 Asean chair while the ADMM-Plus involved the Defence Ministers of all Asean countries and eight Plus dialogue partners namely United States, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia as well as the Asean Secretary-General.

“Also emphasized was the Rohingya refugee crisis which gave effects to Malaysia’s social aspect and economy as well as at international level. The issue should not be shouldered solely by any one country especially Malaysia.

“Asean member countries especially the Plus dialogue partners as well as international community are urged to find an effective solution to the humanitarian crisis,” he said in a statement here today.

Ismail Sabri said among other matters discussed were the five new regional cooperation initiatives for the agreement of Asean Defence Ministers.

He said they included a standard operation procedure (SOP) document of the Asean Militaries Ready Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, AMRG on HADR.

“The SOP is meant to be a guide to the armed forces of countries in the region in extending humanitarian aid to countries affected by disasters in the region under the Asean flagship.

“It is hoped the initiative would further strengthen the solidarity of Asean in facing disaster in the region in line with the ‘One Asean One Response’ concept,” he said.

In this regard, Ismail Sabri also participated in three informal meetings of Asean Defence Ministers +1 with United States, China and Japan held on the sideline of the ADMM-Plus meeting.

He also joined the 10th ADMM-Plus anniversary celebration and a joint session with special guests of ADMM chairman which are Germany, Canada, European Union, France, United Nations and United Kingdom.

The meeting ended with the signing of a joint declaration by all Defence Ministers to strengthen the spirit of cooperation among Asean countries and Plus dialogue partners.

by Bernama.

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Comment: Who will Trump be when he leaves office?

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

Trump still has millions of supporters but will they be as supportive when he is no longer in the White House? — Reuters

IN the days after the presidential election, while votes were still being tallied, essays began appearing in the national media that might be called “whatever the outcome” articles.

These pieces argued that it didn’t matter whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden ultimately won. America’s afflictions ran too deep. The country was too divided, too rancorous, too racist. No matter who is inaugurated Jan 20, as George Packer wrote in The Atlantic,”all Americans will remain the losers.”

No one ever went bankrupt betting on America’s failings. And it’s safe to say that our beleaguered nation won’t soon be done with racism, bitterness and the siren song of demagoguery. But I can’t throw in with Packer, et al. The outcome of the 2020 election matters profoundly. With President-elect Joe Biden in power, we’ll get a sharp reminder of just how dramatically the country changes when the chief executive does.

And after President Donald Trump’s reluctant and disruptive exit, the transformation will be even more apparent than usual. Trump brings so much venom and menace to any doorstep he darkens that the improvement will be immediate the day he’s helicoptered out of DC, if only because Biden is unlikely to spend his first week lying outrageously about inauguration crowds, as Trump did four years ago.

But what about the earnest concerns that Trump will keep Trumping when out of office? He no doubt will. But it’s a lot easier to tune out a sadistic has-been in his late 70s holding court for last-gaspers on a fascist website than it is to ignore a belligerent commander in chief who sits on the country’s nuclear arsenal and hands down catastrophic executive orders that have material consequences for everyone.

Dr. Bandy X. Lee, the Yale psychiatrist and co-author of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, has tirelessly demonstrated that Trump is mentally unfit to serve as president. But she has also been clear that just because Trump lacks competencies required for the presidency doesn’t mean he couldn’t make a go of it as a private citizen. The danger, she argues, is not Trump himself. The danger is Trump plus the presidency.

Once Trump leaves office, we will also be reminded that he has always been fundamentally a pop-culture phenomenon, and not an ideological one. Pop culture is fickle. Its caprices, contingencies and spontaneous mutations bedevil historians and political scientists, who tend to see civilisations as responsive to profound geopolitical shifts rather than simple consumer whims.

But Trump is nothing if not a function of those whims. Yes, to some astute New Yorkers, he came to prominence as a defendant in a 1973 racial-discrimination lawsuit and as the ghoulish proponent of the death penalty for innocent Black boys in 1989. But for most of the world he entered consciousness as the hammy overlord on The Apprentice.

And though Trump has never written a political manifesto, nor a single policy paper, his name appears as a meme in some 300 hip-hop and pop songs, ranging from the Beastie Boys’ Johnny Ryall (1989) to Jay-Z’s Hova Interlude (1999) to Uproar by Lil Wayne (2018).

This is not incidental. Trump’s name is a meme, not a set of beliefs or practices. Many of the early songs use the meme to evoke a generic fat cat, but – as happens with memes – admiration for the Trump cartoon curdled quickly to disgust. In Hova Interlude, Jay-Z called himself “the ghetto’s answer to Donald Trump”; two decades later he likened Trump to a superbug that develops in perfume-sprayed garbage left to fester.

That’s the way it goes in pop culture. While stars are at their height, they seem as though they’ll never fall. They seem to answer every need in a culture – and express its ambitions, desires, essential character. In 1984, Madonna announced her plan “to rule the world” in her first TV appearance. A decade later, observers agreed she did rule it.

But that was then. Madonna recently showed up in an Instagram image with her six children (who knew?) and is said to be working on a movie about her life. She’s a 62-year-old working musician, and good for her. But she’s an empress of nothing.

Trump, too, will soon be an emperor of nothing. Just as rappers divined from the start, he was only ever useful as a set of metaphors. And the memes that coalesced around him when he entered politics – including “MAGA,” “perfect physical specimen” and “stable genius” – lose all potency when no longer backed by the real power of Fort Knox, the US military and the nuclear codes.

To say that Trump will sputter out like a pop idol is not to take away from the damage he’s done, nor to ignore the cruelty in American culture that he has exploited. But it is to say that the outcome of last month’s election is far from insignificant. The American people voted decisively to remove a dangerous driver from the extremely heavy machinery he has operated for far too long. That makes us winners. Trump without the office of the presidency is just Trump the meme – and a name that rappers have been rhyming with “slump” and “chump” for decades.

by Los Angeles Times/TNS.

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UMS strives to develop M’sian human capital

Sunday, December 6th, 2020

Taufiq (centre) with the organising committee at the launch of International Conference on Education, Social Sciences and Technology.

KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) is focusing on its efforts to escalate the development of human capital in Malaysia to be on par with other developed nations.

UMS Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Taufiq Yap Yun Hin said this commitment is a collective desire by all parties to contribute actively in making Malaysia an internationally competitive nation in academia including strengthening cultural knowledge.

He said, “Infrastructures, facilities and a variety of expertise at UMS will not contribute to the aspirational goal to uphold cultural knowledge, without the collective efforts from the UMS community and the support from various parties.”

Taufiq said this when officiating the two-day International Conference on Education, Social Sciences and Technology (Icest 2020) which was held virtually starting Thursday.

Taufiq stressed that efforts to ensure the achievement of a strong cultural knowledge is in line with the main objectives of Icest 2020, which were to create a knowledge- and skill-sharing platform pertaining to education, social sciences and technology among the Conference participants.

Taufiq is confident that a community that is committed to knowledge-sharing activities such as conferences will contribute to the performance and increment in productivity for themselves and the nation, particularly Sabah.

Also present at the opening ceremony were the Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) Prof Dato’ Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran, Director of Sabah Education Datuk Dr Mistirine Radin, Dean of the Centre for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning (PPIB), UMS Assoc Prof Dr Lai Yew Meng, Chairperson of Icest 2020 Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Sohaimi Esa and President of the Association of Malaysian Researchers and Social Services (AMRASS) Dr Mohd Nor Jaafar.

The conference was jointly organised by PPIB UMS, Sabah Education Department, AMRASS, Majlis Guru Pendidikan Khas Sabah and Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Gaya.

In his keynote speech, Prof Dr Mohammad Shatar stated that virtual learning has now become a global practice, but within the Malaysian context efforts to expand broadband coverage remain the top priority to ensure all students have Internet access no matter where they are.

Dr Mistirine’s keynote speech focused on the adoption of virtual methods for learning and collecting research data, which has made it easier for researchers to reach out to their informants or respondents.

The Conference was participated by more than 200 participants and included more than 150 research papers presented by local and overseas researchers.

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Yi Yi’s return to China delayed due to Covid-19

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020
Yi Yi, the giant panda was supposed to be sent back to China in April. - NSTP/File picYi Yi, the giant panda was supposed to be sent back to China in April. – NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will come up with a new formula to ensure Zoo Negara, its other counterparts nationwide and permanent wildlife exhibition centres can continue to operate.

Energy and Natural Resources minister Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah told the Dewan Rakyat today that this was to ensure these premises can run continuously amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Discussions are on-going to ensure a new model can be introduced to the zoos and the centres,” he said without elaborating while winding up the Supply Bill 2021 for the ministry at the committee stage.

Shamsul added that the ministry will meet with the Zoo Negara management tomorrow to look into its problems.

“This is so we can appropriately resolve the issues they are facing and address the concerns raised by the people,” he said.

Shamsul added the second giant panda cub born in Malaysia named Yi Yi, who turned two on Jan 4 this year, was supposed to be sent back to China in April.

“However, it had to be postponed as the conservatory in China is still closed due to the pandemic.

“The ministry will facilitate the process of sending Yi Yi back to China the soonest possible as per the Malaysia-China Giant Panda International Conservation Agreement that was signed between both countries.

“We had (earlier) initiated the process but it had to be delayed because of the pandemic,” he added.

By Dawn ChanHana Naz Harun.

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Preservation of life must come first

Monday, November 30th, 2020
A Health Ministry worker carrying out a swab test on a foreign worker on Saturday in Meru, Klang. Human lives must take precedence, and not compromised in the search for power and profits. -- NSTP/ASWADI ALIASA Health Ministry worker carrying out a swab test on a foreign worker on Saturday in Meru, Klang. Human lives must take precedence, and not compromised in the search for power and profits. — NSTP/ASWADI ALIAS

FOR most human beings, life is sacred. And it must come first in ensuring that humanity remains respected, dignified and sanctified. All lives matter. Period.

There can be no other way as we closely witness, almost daily for the last few months, events unfolding in the world’s most democratic nation. Ironically, then and even now, innocent lives are wantonly wasted on the political pedestal in the rush to secure power.

A sheer means to an end. Add to that lies, half-truths and fake news in a world made more uncertain by the coronavirus pandemic. We also see how social media is misused and abused to lend support by promoting hatred and racism as well as sexism.

So much so that many global companies launched a worldwide boycott to force change but with little consequence. Therein involves leaders who are disconnected from the reality on the ground when defying lessons brought out so clearly by the pandemic.
Overall, it is not only dehumanising but at once commercialises being human by putting the need for profits above the lives of fellow humans.

So, it is appalling to learn recently how businesses reap unbridled profits from the miseries of others as the pandemic heightened. The protection of life and well-being of workers are found wanting.

One such experience led to a closure of tens of the outlets involved, while reportedly thousands of workers are said to be severely affected at the facilities following a drastic rise in positive Covid-19 cases among them.

It is regrettable that greed seems to have blinded many despite the daily deaths reported at times in the thousands globally.

What with the onslaught of the so-called third waves, many more are affected. In the most advanced economy, hospitalisation is said to be at its peak. No amount of money and technology can give any assurances. It includes vaccines, a new variable that adds to the complexity of the situation.

If they are going to save the day, human lives must take precedence, and not be compromised in the search for power and profits. It is about the collective well-being of humanity. No one is to be left behind. Inclusive, equitable, just and sustainable is the reality of the future, post-pandemic.

This is what the pandemic is now telling so that we can be better prepared. Unfortunately, many have missed it, if not dismissed it blatantly due to selfish reasons or ignorance. Covid-19 has made the invisible, visible. Not in the tangible sense but intangibly — pointing to the values of cleanliness, openness, vigilance, integrity and discipline — spelt Covid.

Each of these is a vital value to break the spread of Covid-19, only if they are infused organically into politics and economics so that the invisible is also made more visible in both words and practices. This is the only way out of the pandemic, as a preparation for the post-pandemic era with a new set of norms.

Not limited to just three Cs and Ws, namely, avoiding crowds, close contact and confined spaces or the wearing of masks, observing safe physical distance, and washing your hands. We also need to add three Rs — be fully responsible in upholding that life is truly revered and respected in whatever we do.

By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.

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