Archive for August, 2015

Malaysians from all walks of life celebrate National Day

Monday, August 31st, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians from all walks of proudly display their patriotic spirit and solidarity in celebrating the National Day at Dataran Merdeka.

The people had the opportunity to witness almost 13,000 participants from the public and private sector, security forces, school students and a group of mountain guides take part in a mesmerising parade at the venue for the National Day celebrations themed “#sehatisejiwa” (One Heart, One Soul).

Gracing the historic event were the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis, Cabinet ministers and foreign envoys were also present to witness the auspicious event.

Shortly after arrival, Tuanku Abdul Halim took the salute and inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by four officers and 103 men from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment from the Sungai Besi Camp led by Major Mohd Herdi Ismail.

Waves of Jalur Gemilang seen at Dataran Merdeka.

This was followed by the hoisting of the Jalur Gemilang by Royal Malaysian Navy personnel, accompanied by the singing of the national anthem Negaraku.

A 14-gun salute was fired by the 41st Battery of the Royal Artillery Regiment.

The celebration which was broadcast live nationwide, started with a special performance, Derap Seragam, by 900 officers and men from the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM).

The performance was a first for the ATM at a national day parade; it was followed by a musical interlude mounted by school students.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/08/31/National-Day-Dataran-Merdeka/

Malaysians Proudly Display Patriotic Spirit, Solidarity In Celebrating National Day

Monday, August 31st, 2015


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 (Bernama) — Malaysians from all walks of life descended in droves to Dataran Merdeka here today to proudly display their patriotic spirit and solidarity in celebrating National Day 2015.

The sea of Malaysians had the opportunity to witness almost 13,000 participants from the public and private sector, security forces, school students and a group of mountain guides take part in a mesmerising parade at the venue in conjunction with the National Day 2015 celebrations themed “#sehatisejiwa” (One Heart, One Soul).

Gracing the historic event were the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis, Cabinet ministers and foreign envoys were also present to witness the auspicious event.

Shortly after arrival, Tuanku Abdul Halim took the salute and inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by four officers and 103 men from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment from the Sungai Besi Camp led by Major Mohd Herdi Ismail.

This was followed by the hoisting of the Jalur Gemilang (national flag) by Royal Malaysian Navy personnel, accompanied by the singing of the national anthem Negaraku

Immediately after, a 14-gun salute was fired by the 41st Battery of the Royal Artillery Regiment.

The celebration which was broadcast live nationwide, started with a special performance, ‘Derap Seragam’, by 900 officers and men from the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM).

The performance was a first for the ATM at a national day parade; it was followed by a musical interlude mounted by school students.

An LED screen measuring 108 metres by nine metres, the biggest ever used in any celebration in the country, was also installed at Dataran Merdeka to enable the thousands of people seated at the tribune (terraced seats) and along the road to get a clearer view of the action.

Read more @ http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v8/newsindex.php?id=1166779

Parents must play their part in schools

Monday, August 31st, 2015

The art of caring: It’s not words but acts of kindness that go a long way. The teachers, parents and pupils of SK Meru are seen here with the residents of Pusat Jagaan Warga Emas after the art and handicraft session.

The art of caring: It’s not words but acts of kindness that go a long way. The teachers, parents and pupils of SK Meru are seen here with the residents of Pusat Jagaan Warga Emas after the art and handicraft session.

The involvement of mums and dads in school projects brings about encouraging results for both students and their parents.

AS we are aware, the Malaysian Education System is slowly progressing towards a new system, where teachers are given more responsibilities in setting up the framework to produce well-rounded students.

We often hear teachers complain about how their paperwork takes too much of lesson-planning time. This is because teachers are often burdened with non-teaching chores and recording data online, compared to the conventional way of recording everything in a log book.

With more teachers complaining about this, it dawned on me to do my part to ease the situation.

I asked myself, what could I do to help and make sure that parents were more involved in the schooling process of their children? What could parents do to ease the teachers’ burden, to ensure the quality during contact hours in the classroom is not compromised because of their workload?

The intention was simple – to create students who are more holistic in academics, while building character at the same time.

My journey began last year when my eldest daughter (who was nine at the time) was selected to be part of a competition in school. It was only then that I seized the moment to be more involved, rather than perform the usual routine of dropping off and picking her up from school.

I took the initiative to be present during the students’ training sessions where I contributed my ideas.

Apart from that I became their guardian, mother, teacher and friend. That’s when I realised, we do not have to do much to show that we care and support these children; only give our time and attention.

I also grew closer to the teachers and they, too, were happy to see that as a parent, I was doing my part to ensure that the students were not participating in a competition for the sake of competing, but to also learn values for a lifetime.

by NORHAYATI AHMAD.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Education/2015/08/30/Parents-must-play-their-part-in-schools/

In service, we unite

Monday, August 31st, 2015

NGOs play a big role in being the glue for society

Non-governmental organisations (NGO) working with communities have found that bringing people together to work towards a goal is the best way to build unity.

One organisation that has inherently united people of various races and professions to serve the community is Rotary International – the world’s oldest community service organisations.

Some 3,000 Rotarians in Malaysia have taken on countless humanitarian projects to improve the well-being of local and international communities.

Rotary District 3300 Malaysia Governor Siti Subaidah attributed Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self” as well as its non-partisan and non-sectarian stance for drawing people from various backgrounds to serve the community as one.

“All the projects Rotarians undertake forge unity and respect for one another,” she said.

Rotary Club of Bandar Utama vice-president K.G. Tan said when people practise moderation and accept one another’s differences, they could achieve unity in diversity.

A significant programme that had brought communities together is the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Award (Ryla) programme.

Siti recalled that three years ago, children of policemen were invited to a five-day Ryla programme held at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol).

One police officer’s child said she enjoyed the camaraderie among Malaysians at the programme despite just having met one another.

Siti said such events were important as youths played an important part in instilling unity and removing wrong perceptions.

Rotary Club of Bandar Utama president-elect Ong Hock Siew cited another example of a Ryla programme about four years ago where a group of youths helped some destitute and elderly people by cleaning their homes.

“The youths learned that together, they could achieve much in solving issues and it opened their eyes to the need for peace, harmony and understanding,” he said.

In good and bad times

Taiwan Buddhist Tsu-Chi Foundation Malaysia deputy chief executive officer Sio Kee Hong said its disaster relief work in Kuala Krau in Temerloh, Pahang, in January brought various communities together.

More than 2,000 volunteers went to Kuala Krau to assist the flood victims.

by LOH FOON FONG.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/Metro/Focus/2015/08/31/In-service-we-unite/

20,000 Sabahans don’t pursue higher studies

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Kota Kinabalu: Asian Tourism Institute (ATI) Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Wong Ken Thau urged the Government to take note of the worrying issue of underperformance in schools in the State.

He said a recent study conducted by Persatuan IPTS Sabah (PIPTSS) indicated that school performances in the State at secondary level is among the lowest in Malaysia.

He said in his speech at the (ATI) 18th Convocation Ceremony at the Klagan Regency, 1 Borneo on Thursday that 78 per cent of Sabah’s secondary schools are ranked in the lower bracket (band 5-7) in 2011 versus 47 per cent in Selangor.

“The issue of underperformance may perpetuate as schools and communities lack role models of a high performance culture and mind-set. This will obviously translate to be a threat to our human capital development.

“Another aspect of this study has indicated that annually a significant number of Sabahans (more than 20,000 out of 36,000 qualified SPM leaders) do not pursue higher education at all be it academic or vocational.

These figures are very significant and they deserve very significant attention if we are serious in our manpower development.”

He said that the findings of the study concluded that among the many reasons two major factors seem to emerge eminently which are lack of interest and confidence to continue their studies and the financial constraints that have plagued them especially PTPTN loans which do not provide subsistence and accommodation allowances apart from the recent reduced loan amount.

“These are serious hurdles that our young people have to go through. We hope the State government can consider a separate funding for our potential candidates in Sabah,” he said.

Wong said that as of today the State is in good talking terms with federal leaders on the subject of empowerment or autonomy.

“It is time we consider the priority of our educational transformation and advancement. The pre-condition for economic success in any nation building is the success in the development of its human capital resources. Maybe it is time now for us to ask for more control of our own education funding and planning in this knowledge industry.”

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=102812

Sabah women showed leadership since 1880s

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Kota Kinabalu: The leadership role of Sabahan women can be traced back to colonial times, as evident through an 1886 British North Borneo Herald clipping that depicted a wealthy Dusun woman at the village of Terawi, said Museum Director Joanna Kitingan.

“The head woman, who was said to be of ‘considerable intelligence’ served as a peacemaker between Bruneian tax collectors, the Bajaus and also the Dusuns around Putatan and was conferred the title ‘Mentri Babu’ (an advisory role to the British government),” she added after the opening of the ‘Women in History’ exhibition at the State Museum in conjunction with its Golden Jubilee celebration.

The British North Borneo Herald was the-then British Admiral’s written record of his endeavours in the region.

The descendants of Si Limpai was graciously invited by the museum during the event which will showcase the documentation of the earlier roles of women in the State, especially during the colonial times throughout this year.

Joanna, who had personally undertaken the task to collect the documentation available on women in the State, said the exhibition had been an opportunity to gather material for a proposed museum for the fairer sex.

This was the maiden effort to amass all-things-women for public viewing, she said. She also credited traditional women healers – Bobolian and Bobohizan, who had an equal status as the men during olden times, for their roles in the community.

The event was officiated by the Minister of Community Development and Consumers Affairs Datuk Jainab Ahmad. Jainab lauded the celebration of women in history through the exhibition, which showed the group’s struggle over the years.

She also urged all women entrepreneurs to stay focused and conduct proper research to excel in business. “I have suggested that local products be exported to foreign countries and we are looking at the feasibility of this,” she said.

Also present was the State Attorney-General Datuk Hajah Mariati Robert, who is the president of Sabah Women Advisory Council (MPWS).

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=102803

Petronas set to be region’s 2nd largest urea producer

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Ammonia Urea (Samur) project is set to make Petronas Chemicals Group (PCG) Southeast Asia’s second largest urea producer, producing 2.6 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) once it is fully operational next year.

Petronas Chemical Fertiliser Sabah Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Mohd Iskandar Bakeri said currently, the PCG’s urea production capacity is only at 1.4 mmtpa, making it the fifth largest producer in the region.

“We are proud to say that the project is 90 per cent completed and commercial operation is expected to begin as early as next year,” he said during a media briefing here, Thursday. The project, which started in 2011, was supposed to be completed this year but various technical issues hindered its progress.

Nonetheless, the company is confident that the deadline will be met and operation will commence as planned.

The plant is expected to create more than 4,000 jobs, with 80 to 90 per cent of the jobs to be given to Sabahans. However, for a start, the management levels will mainly be filled by outsiders who have more experience in the day-to-day operation of the plant.

Such arrangement had become a thorny issue among the locals, especially when it was revealed that the company has no concrete model on a workable succession plan to replace the outsiders with the locals.

On the other hand, the plant is expected to create numerous economic opportunities, especially for the SMEs industry, because the plant will only be manning its core activities such as operation and maintenance. “The rest, such as machining, pipe fitters and welders, machinery overhaul, blasting and painting, scaffolding, will be outsourced.

“Other business opportunities include the general maintenance and housekeeping, transport services and electrical and instrumentation works which would certainly encourage local economy and provide more job opportunities,” said Iskandar.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=102801

Let’s do our part to shape the nation

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

TOMORROW we celebrate our National Day. Although it is to be distinguished from the upcoming Malaysia Day (when Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore came together with the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, with Singapore subsequently breaking away two years later), this is still a day that has always been celebrated by all Malaysians nationwide.

As the familiar patriotic song, Malaysia Berjaya puts it: Dari Perlis sampailah ke Sabah, kita sudah Merdeka; Negara makmur rakyat mewah, kita sudah berjaya.

There is no need to translate these lyrics into English.

We have been independent so long that it would be embarrassing if any reader who is Malaysian could not understand these words in our national language.

Our diversity is our strength.

Even in the use of language, there are those politicians who sometimes forget that they have to be careful with what they say at all times.

There is no such thing as using a specific language to address a specific ethnic group, thinking that it is fine to go overboard with one’s remarks because the others will not understand.

This has been a real challenge in recent times, especially with the rise of social media, when anything said even within a small group can go viral.

It is perhaps also because of the information overload that we sometimes feel a sense of despair over the state of our nation.

It does not help that the haze has returned, and visibility has been substantially low in many parts of the country.

The slew of news about the country and the variety of interpretations keep many keyboard warriors perpetually busy.

There are many citizens in this land today who were never part of the independence years, nor were they aware of the many growing pains that this nation went through to get to where we are today.

The Star Says,

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Columnists/The-Star-Says/Profile/Articles/2015/08/30/Lets-do-our-part-to-shape-the-nation/

English is not an impossible dream

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Language mentor: Teachers listen intently as a A Pro-ELT trainer (centre) briefs them during a training session in Johor. – File photo

Although the Education Ministry’s postponement of English as a must-pass subject in the SPM last week was unexpected, it explains here the steps it is taking to strengthen English language proficiency among students and teachers.

THE English language is without a doubt the most influential language in the world. Trade and commerce in the globalised world are dependent on English as a lingua franca.

Academic and scientific researches are also largely authored in the English language. The government and Education Ministry are fully aware of the importance of the English language to the long-term development and well-being of Malaysia today and the future.

Many proactive measures and policies have been instituted to ensure our children and graduates have a strong command of the language.

The ministry has taken a dual-pronged approach to increase the quality of English at both the school and tertiary level of education. The first is remedial in nature and the second is policies that will strengthen English overall among students.

The first phase is to retrain current teachers to reach a satisfactory level of English proficiency through various methods. Among the methods employed to do this is the Native English Speaking Programme (Program Penutur Jati).

So far 1,800 primary schools have undergone this programme across six geographical zones. 360 mentors whose native language is English have spent 360,925 hours of personal input time to train 4,639 teachers so far.

There has also been an improvement to the teaching and learning pedagogy of the English language for teachers. This improvement stresses on factors such as class administration, student motivation, research literature and teacher evaluations to further improve the delivery of English lessons.

To build a strong foundation, the ministry has embarked on the first phase of increasing literacy by choosing 21,568 students randomly across the country based on the School Based Assessment.

by P. KAMALANATHAN.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Education/2015/08/30/English-is-not-an-impossible-dream/

A celebration of diversity

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

It is the country’s National Day tomorrow and in many schools, the fun and festivities held so far highlight the ‘Malaysianess’ of its students.

CUISINE, culture and traditional attire were the focus of SMK Bandar Utama Damansara 3’s National Day celebrations this year.

Principal Misliah Kulop said the National Day theme was Sehati Sejiwa. The school, however, added on an extra word to personalise their message to its students. The school’s Salam Sehati Sejiwa (Hello One Heart, One Soul) was to show that they were just not learning about their friend’s culture but embracing it.

Misliah said she chose to highlight the different cultures during the school’s National Day celebrations held on Aug 13, as she wanted to bring her students closer for them to understand each other’s culture better.

“I also wanted to instil a sense of mutual respect, open-mindedness and the importance of harmony in the teachers and students of the school,” she added.

“Children of so many different races (in the country) are enrolled in this school, but the students rarely get to experience the different cultures,” she said, adding that this could be due to today’s lifestyle and urban living.

“I suggested that the students dress up and flaunt their outfits so that it reflects the vibrancy and richness of their respective cultures ” she said.

One such “model” was Claire Richard, 16, who donned her traditional Bidayuh costume.

Culture vultures: The students were encouraged to dress in traditional attire to reflect their Malaysian identity.

Claire says it was the first time the National Day celebrations was held on such a grand scale in the school.

Some enthusiastic students took it one step further and borrowed outfits from their friends.

Sixteen-year-old Kenneth Lim Kean Sing, who proudly paraded in a baju Melayu, said it was his Malay buddy who lent him the costume. Form Two student Jynn Kok E-Lynn, 14, also had on a borrowed baju kurung.

It was an opportunity for her and her schoolmates to show their love for the nation by donning traditional costumes. “It’s not just an interesting but powerful symbol of our unity, and we also had the chance to ‘connect’ at a more personal level with our friends when they willingly shared their outfits ” said Jynn.

Form Four student Ivan Low Wei Han, 16, decided to buy a baju Melayu. To be a true ‘anak Malaysia’, he decided that it was time to own one.

Students came to school in their uniforms as they had lessons. But at noon, the celebrations started and students were all dressed in traditional costumes.

There was an array of Malaysian delicacies such as vadaimurukkukuih bahulu and Chinese love letters, and students who were decked in their best served their teachers and peers.

Sekolah Sri UCSI cultural costumes and of the Merdeka celebrations reheasal...

Misliah said that many dishes were now considered Malaysian and no race could claim them to be exclusively their own. This is because they have become so popular and prepared by people of different ethnicities.

by REBECCA RAJAENDRAM.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Education/2015/08/30/A-celebration-of-diversity/