Archive for May, 2013

High racial tolerance in Sabah sliding, RCI told.

Friday, May 31st, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Ethnic tolerance among Sabahans is very high but on the way down, Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s (UMS) social expert told the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah.

Associate Prof Dr Kntayya A/L Mariapan from the School of Sociology UMS, said a study he conducted in 2007 to measure the level of acceptance between different races in Sabah showed that the people at grassroots level were very tolerant towards each other.

The study involving respondents mainly from the native Bajau, Suluk, Kadazandusun and Murut, tried to quantify the level of acceptance among the different ethnic groups.

Over 1,000 households from Sandakan, Keningau and Kota Kinabalu, were selected as respondents using the random sampling method in the research, which also used the focus group interview approach.

Testifying as an expert witness during the inquiry yesterday, Dr Kntayya explained a set of 16 questions covering social, political, economic as well as religious aspect were given to the respondents.

The questionnaire among others asked the respondents their level of willingness to marry someone from outside their own ethnic group, form a join business venture with partners from other races, join political parties whose members are predominantly from other races and so on.

He said analysis of the data gathered led him to conclude that the ethnic groups in Sabah involved had very high tolerance towards each other, scoring between 1 and 2 on the Bogardus social distance scale.

“This is very high, with 1 being the highest or very tolerant and five the lowest or no tolerance,” said Dr Kntayya who specializes in ethnic Malaysia relationship studies.

However, he clarified that the study only captured the ethnic tolerance at the particular time it was conducted and ethnic tolerance is not a static but a fluid entity that could change at any time.

He explained the level of tolerance or acceptance between ethnics could either improve or worsen depending on any given triggering factors, and based on his observation the ethnic tolerance in Sabah was going down rather than going up.

Findings on street kids kept under wraps – sociologist.

Friday, May 31st, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: A sociologist yesterday suggested stateless street kids be given some kind of status so that they can be recognized as part of the community.

“This would attract less objection from the local communities while at the same time help towards addressing the issue of stateless children in Sabah,” said Prof Dr Kntayya A/L Mariapan from Universiti Malaysia School’s School of Sociology when testifying in the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah.

He stressed that while directly giving immigrant children citizenship would draw strong objection from the local communities, a middle way was needed to be taken to address the issue.

Dr Kntayya, who appeared before the Commission as an expert witness, said these children could pose social threats if they continued to be rejected by the community as the chances of them getting involved in criminal activities such as prostitution and gangsterism were very high.

He informed the Commission that the Women and Family Development Ministry had asked him to conduct a research on street kids in Sabah but kept the findings confidential and prohibited him from publishing any materials from the study.

“I could not reveal anything from my study, but it is (the number of street kids in Sabah) very big. I must be careful not to reveal anything,” he said, when asked if the street kids were mostly foreigners and from which country.

Can you add value to your job?

Friday, May 31st, 2013

CHANGING LABOUR MARKET: Skills needed in the workplace are naught in colleges.

UNDERNEATH the huge drop in demand that drove unemployment up to nine per cent during the recession, there’s been an important shift in the education-to-work model in America. Anyone who’s been looking for a job knows what I mean. It is best summed up by the mantra from Harvard education expert Tony Wagner that the world doesn’t care anymore what you know; all it cares “is what you can do with what you know”.

And since jobs are evolving so quickly, with so many new tools, a bachelor’s degree is no longer considered an adequate proxy by employers for your ability to do a particular job, and, therefore, be hired. So, more employers are designing their own tests to measure applicants’ skills. And they increasingly don’t care how those skills were acquired: home schooling, an online university, a massive open online course, or Yale. They just want to know one thing: can you add value?

One of the best ways to understand the changing labour market is to talk to the co-founders of HireArt ( Eleonora Sharef, 27, a veteran of McKinsey; and Nick Sedlet, 28, a math whiz who left Goldman Sachs. Their start-up was designed to bridge the divide between job-seekers and job-creators.

“The market is broken on both sides,” explained Sharef.

“Many applicants don’t have the skills that employers are seeking, and don’t know how to get them. But employers also have unrealistic expectations.”

They’re all “looking for purple unicorns: the perfect match. They don’t want to train you, and they expect you to be overqualified”.

In the new economy, “you have to prove yourself, and we’re an avenue for candidates to do that.”

“A degree document is no longer a proxy for the competency employers need.”

Too many of the “skills you need in the workplace today are not being taught by colleges”.

‘142 million child brides by 2020′

Friday, May 31st, 2013

STOP PRACTICE: There’s a need to debunk misperception that marriage protect girls.

KUALA LUMPUR: CHILD marriages can be eradicated not only with a strong political will, but also by educating  society, especially men, about the practice.

The “Girls not brides” global coordinator Lakshmi Sundaram said young men must be educated that girls married before they turn 18 were at a higher risk of complicated pregnancy and advised against it.

“The global community must take child marriage seriously. If we don’t, 142 million girls will marry as children by 2020,” she said at a press conference at the Women Deliver Global Conference 2013 here.

“Young boys should be educated that real men do not marry young girls.”

She said girls who married as children were not only more likely to lose out in education but also faced a higher risk of health problems and gender inequality as child brides had little say.

“Many child brides have also described their first sexual experience as forced. They are also more vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.”

She said in the developing world, one in three girls were married by 18, one in nine by 15, and some were as young as 9.

“Complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls aged between 15 and 19 in the developing world.”

According to Unicef statistics, child marriages was 30 per cent or more in 42 countries with 75 per cent in Niger, Bangladesh (66 per cent), India (47 per cent), Afghanistan (40 per cent), Brazil (36 per cent) and Sudan (33 per cent).

Sundaram added that child marriage cut across countries, culture, religions and ethnicity and occurred around the world.

by Elivin Fernandez and Nuradilla Noorazam.

All for use of English in schools

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

ROYAL SUPPORT: English – medium schools can serve as alternative for parents.

JOHOR BARU: RAJA Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah yesterday gave her support for the setting up of English-medium schools.

The consort of the sultan of Johor said she would be all for it if the Education Ministry were to approve the idea.

“Having an English-medium school will serve as an alternative for parents who want their children to be proficient in English.”

She said this after opening the 22nd International Conference of the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta).

Raja Zarith Sofiah is the royal patron of the programme. She cited her own experience when she went to England to study after completing her education at the Datin Khadijah national-type primary school in Kuala Kangsar.

“For me, it was not much of a problem because in the 1970s, all school subjects were taught in English. My younger sister, however, found it challenging to cope when she went to England, because during her time, all the subjects were taught in the national language.”

Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah (right) handing over the Hyacinth Gaudart English Language Teacher Award to Wan Hanim Mohamed Noor at the Melta conference in Johor Baru yesterday. Pic by Zulkarnain Ahmad Tajuddin

by Chuah Bee Kim.

Read more @: All for use of English in schools – General – New Straits Times

‘Teachers can help promote unity’

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

PUTRAJAYA: Teachers play a key role in promoting racial harmony among the young.

Director-general of education Tan Sri Abd Ghafar Mahmud said the role of teachers was to instil the values of integration and unity in their students to strengthen the 1Malaysia concept.

“Such positive attitudes and noble characteristics ingrained in the young will result in stronger ties in the community and create national integration,” he said yesterday at the convocation for the Teacher Training Institute here.

He said teachers must also maintain a healthy interaction among themselves and practise the values they teach to set an example to their students.

Ghafar said the teaching profession should not be looked down on as the job carried with it multiple responsibilities and demands.

He said teachers must lead future leaders and keep up with today’s ever-changing world.

“They must also remain relevant in today’s world, where they face different, futuristic and competitive views, and keep up with rapid changes. They have to carry out educational transformation and accept the challenges that globalisation brings.”

The trust of leadership

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Betrayal of trust of leadership, abuse of public funds and having no concern for the welfare of the economically needy renders even one’s religious rituals and profession of faith hypocritical.

ISLAMIC history is rich with traditions and anecdotes which contain sufficient counsel for people of power and holders of authority.

According to al-Ghazali, in his work Nasihat al-Muluk, how effective those traditions are depends on the strength of their faith. If faith is firmly established in the heart of those people of power, then these traditions will be impactful and influential to their behaviour and conduct.

If those religious traditions are not effective, however, this will be because the heart is devoid of faith. Indeed, nothing remains of it except profession of faith with the tongue. In reality, merely talking that one has faith is one thing, but true faith that is receptive to religious counsel on trust and leadership is another thing altogether.

On his administrative experience, al-Ghazali recorded in his work Kimiya al-Sa‘adat, “I do not know what sort of faith really exists in the heart of a Finance Officer who holds the treasury in trust for the people but instead gives the money away only to some (undeserving) individuals. This action is an utmost limit of neglect of God’s commands and un-Muslim conduct.”

In contrast with the notion of sociopolitical leadership as trust is the notion that politics is “who gets what, when, and how”, with all forms of power play, manoeuvring and machinations.

Indeed, there is the Prophet Muhammad’s reminder that there are three signs of a munafiq (hypocrite): “When he speaks, he lies; when he promises, he breaks the promise; and when he is entrusted with something, he betrays that trust, even if he ritually observes canonical fasting, prayers, haj (pilgrimage), umrah (lesser pilgrimage), and asserts that he is a Muslim.”

As the Caliph ‘Umar b. al-Khattab reminded, “Don’t let a man’s humming prayer during the night deceive you. A true man is the one who keeps his trust and returns it to its owner, and from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe.”

by Dr. Mohd Sani Badron.

Read more @

More needs to be done to keep kapcai riders safe

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

THE humble kapcai is a staple of personal mobility in this country. As transportation modes go, it is reliable, relatively cheap and in abundant supply.

It accounts for a vast majority of the 10 million odd motorcycles on our roads, a not inconsiderable figure when weighed against the country’s 28 million population.

The reasons for their big number are not difficult to fathom.

In most places today, public transportation still does not take you where you want to go, when you want to go. So, for much of the working class, the kapcai really is king.

Whether it is the daily commute to work, despatch duties or pizza deliveries, there is little, other than rain, that stands in the way of a kapcai rider getting to his destination, usually much more quickly than other vehicle users and at a low premium.

But it can be dicey being a motorcyclist in Malaysia.

Official statistics place the annual motorcycle fatalities near the 4,000 mark – higher than any other mode of transport.

The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) says road fatalities could fall by 30% if motorcyclists were separated from the main roads.

There is much to be done to take this beyond a pipe dream.

Firstly, there are not many dedicated motorcycle lanes in the country, save in a few highways.

In those that have them, such as on the Federal Highway, things are clearly not what they should be.

The Star Says.

Read more @

Sabah RCI: Businesswoman testifies that her old IC was used by another person

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: A businesswoman told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah that she found out her old identity card (IC) was used by another person when she went to open a bank account in 2007.

Chia Oi Len, 59, from Papar, said she had changed her old IC, with serial number beginning H, to the IC embossed with a hibiscus flower picture, but it was never reported lost.

“The Kota Kinabalu Maybank branch told me that they could not entertain my request to open a savings account because somebody else had used my old IC in Kuala Lumpur,” she added.

Chia said she then lodged a police report and then changed the IC to the MyKad IC, which she used to apply, and was approved to open an account at the bank, but was disallowed from applying for the (Auto-Teller Machine ) ATM card.

She was testifying before the five-member RCI panel led by former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong.

Read more @

Spike in new voters from 1982 – EC.

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: The conducting officer in the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) public hearings in Sabah yesterday suggested the Election Commission considering posting photos of all registered voters on its website.

Manoj Kurup said this would make it easier for the public to check their voter status, especially in cases where more than one persons were using the same identification card number and name.

“It has been revealed throughout the Inquiry that there were cases where two individuals are using the same identity. So, why not include the pictures of the voters so that they can make sure it is them and not other people when they check online?” he said.

Putrajaya Election Commission (EC) Registration of Voters Unit secretary Yusniati Ishak, who was testifying before the Commission when the suggestion was made, said the EC at the moment did not see the need to implement the move.

She added that a study needed to be carried out before implementing the suggested improvement as it could involve extra costs and could be deemed inconvenient by the public if they had to provide pictures when applying to be registered as voters.

However, Yusniati said she would forward the suggestion to the EC office.

Friends of the court taking part in the hearing also suggested that EC put up the pictures of new applicants when exhibiting their names for objection before confirming their status in the electoral roll.

They also suggested EC use colour photographs to make it easier for the applicants or members of the public to identify them in case they wanted to make an objection.

Earlier, Yusniati explained that the names of new voters would be displayed for 14 days in designated public places, such as district offices, before they can be confirmed as registered voters.

She said this was to allow the parties involved to make objections, such as in cases where the person registered in a certain constituency was not from the area.

On the number of registered voters in Sabah, she confirmed that there was a decline throughout the 1969, 1974 and 1978 elections.