Archive for July, 2015

Sabah’s total export drops 7.3 per cent — Matrade

Friday, July 31st, 2015

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s total export had dropped 7.3 per cent from January to May this year compared to the same period last year.

Statistics provided by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) shows that the overall export of our State has decreased from RM15,582 million in 2014 to RM14,437 million in 2015.

Nonetheless, Matrade chairman Dato’ Noraini Ahmad said the export value exceeded the import value for Malaysia, despite the minor drop of 7.3 per cent of export value for Sabah.

Noraini said entrepreneurs should take advantage of Malaysia being the ASEAN chair and promote their products in the region.

She said the transactions did not necessarily have to be conducted in US dollar (USD), as entrepreneurs could also use the Chinese currency in China.

Noraini said this in a press conference after the opening ceremony of Exporters Forum 2015 organised by Matrade.

The event was officiated by the Assistant Minister of Industrial Development Datuk Bolkiah Ismail, who represented the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman.

On the other hand, Matrade’s Management Services Division senior director Wan Latiff Wan Musa said the global economic slowdown has a much bigger impact than the ringgit’s plunge in value.

China, Malaysia’s largest trading partner, was experiencing a less favourable economic growth and has a larger influence on our export performance compared to the drop of ringgit value, he said.

In general, Wan Latiff said the drop in Malaysian currency was an advantage to exporters and a disadvantage to importers.
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Motivational Programme at Limbang, Ranau, Pitas and Telupid for 2015 SPM and STPM students

Friday, July 31st, 2015

“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in”   …….. Leonardo da Vinci.

In order to success, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure”……………Bill Cosby.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”  ………….. Nelson Mandela.

In line with Prof Dr. Morni Hj. Kambrie, Chairman SIDMA Board of Directors, UNITAR International University, Sabah Regional Centre; corporate social responsibilities (CSR) to compliment and supplement ongoing and existing Malaysia Education Ministry’s motivational and career pathway planning programmes to schools students to enable them to be both college or university and career readiness, in terms of both knowledge and skills; Puan Azlina Ngatimin (Director) and her team members from SIDMA Corporate Relations and Business Development Department, Property Administration Department, and Information Technology and Media Department organised motivational programmes at Limbang, Ranau, Pitas and Telupid; commencing on 28 July 2015..

The motivational talk was aimed at helping rural students to prepare for the upcoming SPM and STPM examinations; to achieve and maximise their potentials and thus to enable them to dream big for a brighter career and their future. Among some of the items shared during the programme were tips on effective studying, creative and critical thinking, effective self and time management that encourage success; as well as advice on how to develop students individual aspirations and maximise their potentials; encouraging them to further their education in institutions of higher learning in their field of interest that will lead them to the top of their career.

Dr. Morni who took time off to lead the motivational talk shared his success stories and experiences from a Sarawak born humble, ordinary kampong boy till now being a Director of SIDMA Board of Directors. He described the tough life when he was young, had to work at a McDonald’s outlet to finance his tuition fee, prior to receiving his Ph. D in Entrepreneurship from Sterling University, England in 1990; as his only source of funding was from his father, who was then a pensioner.

Through this humble sharing of his success stories, Dr.  Morni hoped that it can impress the students and enable them to reflect on it, and to develop a better perspective of life, its challenges, and to be a better and more committed student when given the opportunities to further their education to greater heights, in order to build a successful career.

The programme at Limbang on 28 July 2015 which was held at SMK Kubong, Limbang was attended by students and teachers from SMK Kubong, SMK Seri Patiambun, SMK Agama Limbang and SMK. Limbang.

At the end of the workshop, representative from Limbang Education Department, who very impressed by Dr. Morni contributions and effort, on behalf of the department and teachers, expressed her sincere thanks to Dr. Morni and SIDMA staff who assisted to ensure the success of this very beneficial programme.

On 30 July 2015, a similar event was held at SMK Ranau. The function was attended by students and teachers from SMK Ranau, SMK Kemborongoh, SMK Timbua, SMK Matupang Jaya, SM Agama Al-Irsyadiah and SM Agama Mohamad Ali, Ranau.

After the talk, Puan Barizah M. Kahar, Pengetua SMK Ranau, on behalf of all Ranau School Principals and teachers took the opportuniy to thank Prof Dr. Morni and his team from SIDMA College for the job well done. She was very delighted as Dr. Morni’s motivational talk was keenly followed by the students.

Similar event will be held at Pitas on 3 August 2015 at SMK Pitas 2. Students from all the six secondary schools in and around Pitas district are invited to attend the function which is expected to begin at 8.00 am.

During the two programmes, students participated actively in all activities set; such as quizzes, projects, discussions as well as presentations. As token of appreciation to staff and students from all the respective schools who made efforts to attend the functions, Dr. Morni sponsored hampers for lucky draws to all participants of the above events.

The students commented that the talk was just a really enriching experience; indeed very beneficial, enabling them to understand more about themselves as well as about the various education opportunities and its related issues.

Fire breaks out in Bukit Aman

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

PETALING JAYA: A fire has broken out at the Police Headquarters in Bukit Aman.

Inspector-General of Police Secretariat assistant head (Corporate Communications) Asst Comm Datin Asmawati Ahmad said that the fire is believed to have originated on levels 9 and 10 of Menara 2, which is where the Criminal Investigation and Narcotics departments are located.

“As with any other fire incidents, bomba will investigate the cause of the fire. Definitely, no conclusion has been reached yet,” said Asmawati.

No casualties were reported.

Police sieving through the damage done by the fire.

According to KL Fire and Rescue Department operations director Azizan Ismail, the department received a call about the fire at 7.20pm on Wednesday.


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Trusting the power of leadership

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Man should measure his own capacity and his own knowledge when taking on the tremendous task of being a leader.

THERE are people who are able to lead while there are others who are meant to be led.

Leaders are necessary for the smooth running of societies and to move nations and civilisations forward. They are the ones, in the words of American author John Max­well, who “know the way, go the way and show the way” to others.

In Islam, leaders are expected not only to administer the world but also to take care of the religion. Al­-Ghazali, the great thinker of Islam, said the good ordering of religion is very much depen­dent on the world that is well administered. Hence, good leaders are indispensable.

Leadership is the most basic mechanics that guarantees the well-being of a group or society. It can exist even with the minimum number of people, as reflected in the Prophetic saying that “if any people embark on a journey, one of them must be appointed as a leader”.

Leadership will have a great impact, either good or bad, on a great number of people. Good lea­dership will surely bring benefit to many people, just as bad leadership will destroy the whole nation.

We read in history of leaders who have built great civilisations due to their good leadership, just as we have also read of those leaders who have ruined the lives of the masses due to their bad leadership.

Leadership deals with power. At whichever level a person is entrusted with leadership, there must be some element of power to enable him to command the followers in order for him to get things done.

It is only with the help of power that leaders can ensure stability and harmony in a society. With power, undesirable things can be avoided and negative ones can be put under control.

With power, too, leaders can be held accountable for their actions and decisions since it is the power that they possess which enables them to make decisions with free choice.

But the problem with power is that it also offers great temptations towards abuse and corruption, if left unchecked. Without proper sense of responsibility and correct knowledge, leaders will easily fall prey to this thunderous sway of power.


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Cabinet reshuffle: Who’s in, who’s out

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

The following is the list of new ministerial appointments:

New ministers

1. Deputy Prime Minister – Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

2. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister – Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau

3. Domestic Trade Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister – Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin

4. Natural Resources and Environmental Minister – Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

5. Education Minister – Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid

6. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department – Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said

7. International Trade and Industry Minister II – Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan

8. Communication and Multimedia Minister -  Datuk Seri Mohd Salleh Keruak

Ministers with new portfolios

1. Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister -  Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (Former Communications and Multimedia Minister)

2. Higher Education Minister – Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh (Former Education Minister II)

3. The Rural and Regional Development Ministry – Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Former Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister)

New Deputy Ministers and new portfolios

1. Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister -  Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican

2. Deputy Home Minister – Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed

3. Deputy Home Minister – Tuan Masir Anak Kujat

4. Deputy Tourism Minister – Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin

5. Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister (Miti) – Datuk Ahmad Maslan (Former Deputy Finance Minister)

6. Deputy Higher Education Minister – Datuk Mary Yap (Former Deputy Education Minister)

7. Deputy Education Minister – Chong Sin Woon

8. Deputy Natural Resources and Environmental Minister – Datuk Hamim Samuri

9. Deputy Defence Minister – Mohd Johari Baharum

10. Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs – Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki

11. Deputy Finance Minister – Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani

Ministers dropped

1. Deputy Prime Minister & Education Minister – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

2. Natural Resources and Environment Minister – Datuk Seri Palanivel Govindasamy

3. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister – Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin

4. Domestic Trade Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister – Datuk Seri Hasan Malek

5. Rural and Regional Development – Datuk Seri Shafie Apda

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First Two Years Of PPPM 2013-2025 Achieves Five Main Initiatives – Muhyiddin

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

News Pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 (Bernama) — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said an improvement in the quality of education is one of the five main initiatives which have been achieved in the first two years of the Malaysian Education Blueprint (PPPM) 2013-2025 in transforming the national education.

The deputy prime minister said the other four aspects were increasing access to quality education; equity in education; cultivating unity in education; and improving efficiency in the delivery of education.

“I am proud because we have realised the 11 thrusts of the PPPM as presented in the second annual report on the implementation of the PPPM.

“I am proud of the commitment shown not only by education personnel, but also by parents, the community and the private sector, in achieving the PPPM,” Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said when presenting the 2014 Annual Report of the 2013-2025 PPPM at the Seri Bintang Complex Hall in Kuala Lumpur, Monday.

On increasing access to quality education, Muhyiddin said among the successes which had been achieved was an increase in the enrollment of pre-schoolers from 81.7 per cent to 84.2 per cent, resulting from the efforts of the ministry to diversify initiatives and incentives.

Other obvious changes seen in post-secondary education was the setting up of Form Six centres in Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Kedah, Selangor and Sabah last year, he said.

Muhyiddin said the improved quality in education emphasised the LINUS 2.0 programme (Literary and Numeracy programme) with 98.7 per cent of Year Three pupils achieving basic literacy in Bahasa Melayu, 99 per cent mastering basic numeracy and 78.3 per cent of Year Two pupils achieving basic literacy in English Language, out of the more than a million pupils who were screened.

“The programme for the competency of English Language teachers will also be continued as part of the effort carried out in 2013, where a total of 10,502 English Language teachers were retrained under the Programme for English Language Teachers (ProELT).

“Efforts which are more focused on English Language proficiency have also implemented by identifying 1,191 English Language hotspot schools, which are schools below the national average for English Language marks,” he said.


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Amanie And UNITAR To Hold Forum On Islamic Finance

Monday, July 27th, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 (Bernama) — Amanie Academy Sdn Bhd, a unit of Amanie Holdings Ltd, together with UNITAR International University (UNITAR) will jointly organise the AMANIE UNITAR Islamic Finance Forum 2015 on September 17.

Themed, ‘Unlocking the Critical Ecosystem of Islamic Finance’, the one-day forum would share ideas and insights in keeping up with the new trends and demand in the market, said Amanie Holdings Ltd Chairman Datuk Dr Mohd Daud Bakar.

“In this forum, we will try to bring back the right focus and attention to rediscover the importance of the Islamic Finance ecosystem and to make the industry better,” he told a press comference here today.

Mohd Daud, who is also Chairman of the Shariah Advisory Council of Bank Negara Malaysia, also said collaborative ventures between market players, academic institutions and technology providers are significant in developing talent in Islamic finance industry.

The forum would gather senior industry figures, global investors, practitioners, academicians, as well as, prominent Shariah scholars, and the topics would focus on the synergistic challenges of all supply chain in making Islamic finance more visible and more impact, he added.

Meanwhile, UNITAR Vice-Chancellor, Associate Prof Dr Sakina Sofia Baharom said the university would also launch its Bachelor of Islamic Finance programme at the forum.


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‘Medicine prices will increase with TPPA’

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: The price of me­­di­­­cines – from antibiotics to cancer treatments – some of which went up due to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will go up even more under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPPA), a doctors’ association says.

The Muslim Doctors Association of Malaysia (Perdim) said GST plus the TPPA equalled a “double whammy” and that many consumers might not be able to cope with it.

Association president Datuk Dr Ahmad Shukri Ismail urged the Government to not agree to the TPPA, which is currently under negotiation.

Ahmad Shukri, the Barisan Nasional state assemblyman for Pulau Tawar, Pahang, said at a press conference: “We have to speak out about this because consumers are already bearing the brunt of so many price increases.”

The association will hold its first annual general meeting on Aug 1 and has 955 members comprising Muslim general practitioners who work in private clinics and private hospitals.

Association deputy president Dr Mior Mohd Yusuf Adnan said about 80% of medicines sold in Malaysia were generics, which meant prices would likely rise sharply under the TPPA.

The trade agreement would create strict curbs on the sale of gene­ric medicines as Western pharmaceutical companies seek to streng­then protection of their patents and intellectual property rights.

“It will be harder to obtain gene­ric medicines because under the TPPA, most of the medicine that will be sold will be ‘genuine medicine’.

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Not ready to age

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

Malaysia’s racing against time to become a developed nation but with a growing population of singles, couples having fewer kids and people living longer, there’s a high chance we’ll be an aged country before then. And, we are far from ready to grow old.

MALAYSIA is fast becoming an aged nation. And it isn’t ready.

In 2006, we hit the ageing status and by 2030, we’ll be aged.

Lack of care centres for the aged, infrastructure and money are why we’re struggling.

Describing the situation as “dire if we do nothing”, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) deputy chief executive officer (strategy) Tunku Alizakri Alias says we’re ageing before we can reach developed nation status.

The number of youngsters are dropping as the number of seniors soar, he points out.

“Other countries are becoming aged too but they’ve already developed. Our window period for planning is much shorter.

“Making policies and implementing them takes time. And, you can’t save money overnight,” he warns, stressing that not enough retirement savings and low financial literacy are big challenges.

Sixty-eight percent of members aged 54 have savings lower than RM50,000 which can only last five years assuming they spend RM820 per month. The full EPF withdrawal age is 55 but the average life expectancy is 75.

Malaysians must face facts. We’re living longer so we must work longer, he says.

“The new poverty line income is RM930. So, how long do you think RM50,000 will last now with rising healthcare costs?” he asks, adding that the price of surgery spiked by about 14% from 2006 to 2013.

He cautioned against withdrawing the EPF early for expenses that don’t build assets.

In the old days, investing in your child’s education brings returns. Nowadays, it’s not a sure thing that they will take care of you, he says, matter of fact.

“Withdrawing money for investment is also risky because one in 10 new businesses fail.”

He believes that financial literacy is the key to facing the challenges of an aged nation.

That’s why the EPF launched our Retirement Advisory Service last year.

“We also need a holistic social security master plan. The critical illness insurance penetration is too low here. There must be better coverage for those in the informal sectors.


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338,000 OKUs want more essential items exempted from GST

Friday, July 24th, 2015

PETALING JAYA: Faced with the rising cost of living, some 338,000 disabled Malaysians (OKUs) want more items to be exempted from the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Currently, only tools and equipment used by the disabled are GST-exempted and do not cover daily costs of upkeep.

Wheelchair-bound Senator Bathmavathi Krishnan (pic) said the move to include basic daily items would not only ease the burden of the disabled but also the families who look after them.

“The exemption should include items like catheters, diapers, daily supplements and food items used for special diets,” she told The Star.

She said allowances given to the disabled were insufficient to cover their needs and families caring for them were forced to dip into their own pockets.

“Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the Government is targeting to improve the well­being of the B40 group (bottom 40% households income group).

“The assessment of this group does not take into account families who care for the disabled,” she said.

Bathmavathi also suggested that allowances for the disabled be increased to about RM500 a month, as the cost of upkeep could range from RM150 to more than RM1,000 depending on the type of disability.

The monthly income of B40 households was RM2,537 last year and there are some 2.7 million households under this group.

At present, those caring for a disabled person are entitled to RM300 a month, while a disabled person who is employed is entitled to a monthly allowance of RM350.

A disabled person who is unemployed receives an allowance of RM200.

On a separate issue, Bath­mavathi, who is the founding president of the Association of Women With Disabilities Malay­sia, wants the Government to make it easier for OKUs to enjoy the current exemptions.


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