Archive for August, 2015

Suffer the little children

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

AN alarming fact from the LPPKN’s study is that 90% of divorced couples have children who may have to deal with emotional complications from their parents’ break up.

“We found that there is a difference in social and sexual behaviour between children whose parents are still married and those whose parents are divorced.

“For example, teenagers with divorced parents recorded a higher percentage of being exposed to negative influences like pornography, phone sex, cyber sex, going out until the wee hours, smoking, drinking alcohol and illegal racing,” an LPPKN spokesperson tells Sunday Star.

Health Ministry mental health promotion advisory council member Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj describes divorce as one of the most devastating life events in the development of a child.

“The child clings onto the parent fearing the ‘remaining’ parent may be lost as well. The child may become deeply disillusioned and lose trust in his parent while subconsciously dreaming of ­recreating a happy family once again,” says Dr Mohanraj, who is also Malaysian Mental Health Association deputy president.

He adds that such children often display symptoms of anxiety such as bed wetting, temper tantrums, and refusing to go to school.

Older children and adolescents often act out, becoming more independent, aggressive or rebellious.

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Torn between the negotiators

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

I have seen groups claiming credit for releases for which they were not responsible, and groups marking up the ransom so that they could take a cut.

THE threat of beheading hangs over the head of Malaysian hostage Bernard Then, held on the notorious Jolo island in southern Philippines.

The 39-year-old Sarawakian’s Abu Sayyaf captors have threatened to behead him if their millions of ringgit ransom is not paid.

On Aug 22, about 100 days since Then and 50-year-old restaurant manager Thien Nyuk Fun were abducted by Abu Sayyaf-linked gunmen from a floating restaurant in Sandakan, about 333km west of Jolo, Then’s 40-year-old wife Chan Wai See received a chilling call.

Chan had switched off her mobile phone for months as the police advised her not to be in contact with the gunmen.

However, on Aug 21, she switched it on after reading media reports about the beheading of a Filipino hostage.

The next day she received a call from the Abu Sayyaf in Jolo at about 5pm. Her husband spoke to her for less than a minute.

“He said he was next in line to be beheaded.

“The kidnappers then snatched the phone from him and told me they would behead him if the ransom was not paid quickly.


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New trend of ops using alternative procedure to conventional anaesthesia

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

IPOH: The Health Ministry will ex­­pand the usage of acupuncture-assisted anaesthesia (AAA) to other hospitals after its successful introduction at the Raja Permaisuri Bai­­nun Hospital here.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Su­­bramaniam said the method, known also as AAA, would not re­­place conventional anaesthetics but would be introduced at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Putrajaya Hos­pital and Selayang Hospital.

He said AAA was first practised at the hospital here after a visit by ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah to the Shu­­gang University in Shanghai in 2012.

“There have been 22 surgeries performed here where the doctors used AAA.

“We have also trained doctors on AAA procedures,” he told journalists after visiting the hospital yesterday.

“It’s another alternative to the conventional method and one that we will be promoting to patients,” he added.

Dr Subramaniam said AAA had its advantages over conventional methods.

“It is cost-efficient.

“Patients would be awake and alert during surgery but the pain sensation is blunted and motor functions are preserved with less drugs being used,” he said.

“Patients can also go home after surgery, lessening the need to stay at the hospital,” he added.

Dr Subramaniam said hospitals would not force patients to use AAA.

“There will be counselling first to see whether the patient can accept it,” he said.

The first thyroid surgery using AAA was performed by Dr Noor Hisham here, assisted by consultant surgeon Dr Yan Yang Wai, while the acupuncture was performed by the hospital’s anaesthetic department head Dr Kavita M. Bhojwani.

Dr Kavita said AAA could be applied to only certain types of procedures.

“The method is suitable for neurosurgery cases like craniotomy and cranioplasty and general surgery like removing breast lumps, lipomas, chemoports and inguinal hernia,” she said.


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G25: Young must embrace diversity

Friday, August 28th, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: The young represent the core of the #AnakAnakMalaysia campaign as they are the future of the country, according to the coordinator of the Group of 25 (G25).

Datuk Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin said the principle of unity in diversity must be inculcated in schoolchildren.

Evoking memories of the pre-Merdeka period, the former ambassador recalled the excitement then of hope in the country’s future.

“I come from a generation where we are very much part of Anak Malaysia; one where race and religion did not matter, when Malaysians of all colour and creed mixed with each other without barriers,” she said in an interview.

(On Dec 8, 2014, The Star published G25’s open letter calling for a review of syariah and civil law in line with the supremacy of the Federal Constitution. Originally consisting of 25 prominent Malays, most of whom are former high-ranking civil servants, the group now has over 50 members).

Noor Farida was upset over the drop of the multiracial enrolment in national schools now.

“I think this campaign is very timely given that we have this polarisation of race and religion; it’s about time we try to bring back the good old days when we had a more united Malaysia. For us ordinary citizens, let’s look at each other as our friends, neighbours, brothers and sisters as part of the Malaysian family.

“This is what we as individuals can do to reach out to one another and extend the hand of friendship,’’ she said.

For her, the period of Merdeka is not just about celebrating.

She said it was a time to take stock and reflect on the country’s current political and economic climate, and future development.

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TVET Effective Way To Increase Malaysia’s Skilled Human Capital – Riot

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

KUCHING, Aug 27 (Bernama) — Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) will be the most important avenue for increasing Malaysia’s skilled human capital base, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem.

As such, he said the government would focus on transforming TVET to meet industry demand.

“The government will intensify collaboration with industry to increase intake in TVET, improve the quality of programmes and institutions and improve the sector’s overall branding and profile,” he said when closing the World TVET Conference 2015 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here Thursday.

He said collectively these advancements would produce sufficiently skilled graduates and make TVET a pathway of choice.

“It is expected that the intake of school leavers with Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) to TVET programme will be increased to 225,000 by 2020 as compared to 164,000 in 2013.

“As Malaysia aspires to become an advanced and inclusive nation by 2020 and to realize this Malaysia requires human capital with knowledge and skills, as well as ethics and morality to drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” he added.

In this regard, he said the initiative under the 11th Malaysia Plan are projected to generate approximately 1.5 new jobs by 2020 of which 60 per cent require TVET-related skills.

Riot said to expedite the quantum leap of the rate of employability of TVET graduates, the entrepreneurship facet should be explored by the TVET training providers and their students to create the competitive edge of TVET.


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HOTS Syllabus Essential To Bring Education System On Par With International Standard

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) — Come the third quarter of each year, students all over the country are gripped by “exam fever”.

With the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and the Form Three Assessment or Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3), Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) examinations around the corner, most students are busy making the final preparations to ace the papers.

Their parents are throwing in their full support by motivating them and buying them revision books, and ensuring that they eat nutritious food and get enough rest and sleep.

This year’s UPSR is scheduled for Sept 8 to 10 while the PT3 exam is already well underway with the third formers having completed their case study instrument assessments for History and Geography in July. The oral tests for Bahasa Melayu and English are being conducted this month, while the written exam will take place on Oct 12, 13 and 15. The SPM exam will be held between Nov 2 and Dec 8 while the STAM written exam is scheduled for Oct 19 to 27.


Not very long ago, this writer happened to run into some neighbours discussing their children’s education and future and they appeared very anxious.

A few of them complained that they were finding it hard to help their children with their homework and revision due to the changes in their syllabus in line with the implementation of the School-Based Assessment programme, which tested students on their higher-order thinking skills (HOTS).

Homemaker Ajah Samsuri Samsudin, 50, was all for a better education system but wished that they were kept in the loop where educational reforms were concerned.

“I may be only a homemaker but I don’t want to be left behind where my children’s education is concerned. To me, higher order thinking skills are necessary not only for students but all Malaysians as the nation prepares to attain fully-developed status by 2020,” said the mother-of-five, with two of her children still in school.


What exactly is HOTS, which is among the aspirations of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (MEB)?

The MEB defines HOTS as the ability to apply one’s knowledge and skills for problem-solving and decision-making, and to be more innovative and creative.

HOTS is primarily aimed at changing the concept of learning facts by rote to one that required students to think and develop important cognitive skills to enable them to be more creative, as well as be able to analyse and evaluate knowledge, and solve problems.

In other words, HOTS sees a shift from textbook learning to acquiring knowledge and soft skills that can turn children into more well adjusted and all-round individuals.

When last year’s inaugural PT3 exam and SPM (which also incorporated HOTS-oriented questions) results turned out to be far from satisfactory, many quarters, including parents, blamed the new format of the questions for their children’s dismal performance.


A senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Business, Economics and Accounting Faculty, Roseni Ariffin, said the implementation of the MEB was timely as the Malaysian education system was lagging behind that of other nations, “although at one time we were ahead of them.”

Pointing out that economic development should correlate progress in knowledge, she said: “We’re living in an information explosion era, hence our education system should strive to cultivate students who can think, evaluate and embrace knowledge quickly and holistically.”

She said with Malaysia shifting its focus from the agriculture, manufacturing, and oil and gas industries to the service industry, it was time “we got out of our comfort zones and became groundbreakers and innovators.

“Leadership skills, confidence, boldness and the ability to plan and be innovative all have their beginnings in a strong educational background.”

Hence, the importance of sowing the seeds of creative thinking into the minds of the younger generation while they were still at school, she added.


Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris Deputy Vice Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni), Asso Prof Datuk Dr Junaidi Abu Bakar, meanwhile said the HOTS concept was not exactly alien to teachers as they were exposed to it whilst undergoing training at their college or university.

by Sarimah Othman.


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MPWS, UNITAR, and SIDMA Educational Outreach Programme in SMK Penengah, Telupid.

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
UNITAR International University (UNITAR) and SIDMA College Sabah collaborated with Sabah Women’s Advisory Council (MPWS) Education-Committee, together co-organised an Educational Outreach Programme to enhance awareness and education opportunities among rural women at SMK Penengah, Telupid on 22 August 2015.The function was  very well received, coordinated, collaborated and implemented among the community leaders, parents, teachers and students as a total of more than 1,500 parents, teachers and students from SMK Penengah, Telupid turned up as early as 7.50 am in their eagerness to participated in the event. Also present during the event was Pegawai Pendidikan Daerah Tongod (Telupid), the Honourable Drs. Maharin Bin Osman.

Puan Hajjah Maimunah Hj Suhaibul, Chairperson (MPWS Education committee), during her keynote address focused on the challenges and raising the awareness on the importance of education for rural women; the exposure to the various educational opportunities available for their children brighter future and ensuring that they are not left behind in this dynamic changing society.

During the event, Prof Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, (Chairman, SIDMA Board of Directors), Puan Azlina Ngatimin (Director, Corporate Relations and Business Development), Mr. Louis Jais (Academic Manager), Mr. Iwan Mahdzuan Mahali (Head, Information Technology and Media), and team members from SIDMA College, UNITAR Sabah conducted various collaborative learning experience for the students; featuring fun, hands-on activities; enhancing them to learn through teamwork, project based as well as cultivating an appreciating for creative and critical thinking skills.

Dr. Morni, who has always been portrayed as a motivational speaker, took the opportunity to relate his own personal experience from being a Sarawak born humble, ordinary kampong boy to being able to obtain his Ph. D in Entrepreneurship from Sterling University, London.

He described the challenging life when he was young, reminded the students that he was not from a well-off family and that his father was then a pensioner, and unable to finance his studies. However, because of his strong determination, principles and willingness to work and earn his Ph. D. he faced the challenges and continued his studies till his Ph.D. in London by taking part time job at McDonald’s outlet to finance his studies, and finally earned his Ph. D in Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Morni hoped that through this humble sharing of his success stories could impress the students and enable them to reflect on it, and to find meaning in their life; developing new strength to overcome adversity, which in turn could help them to take action and see their situation from a different perspectives.

He too hoped that parents who attended the session to be more committed and caring on their children education, and encouraged them to further their education after SPM/STPM by seizing the available funding agencies available, such as scholarship, PTPN loan and more.

Prof. Dr. Zaida Mustapha, (Dean, Faculty Education and Communication), UNITAR International University, Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Eshan took the opportunity to share with teachers from Penengah her education philosophy of “Teaching from the Heart of Mindfulness”.

She explained that teachers, as reflective practitioners, should always look back at how they teach, evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching process, and think of how to improve their teaching process; thus cultivating a spirit of warm-heartedness through the practice of mindfulness.

A mindfulness-based teaching approach is crucial for teachers, particularly to those who are losing their heart and soul in teaching to a more materialistic approach such teaching for a living.

Teaching from the heart of mindfulness invites teachers into its warm hearted nature; paying more attention to one thoughts and feelings; involving more acceptance; increases positive emotions while reducing negative emotions and stress!

According to Dr. Zaida, scientific research has proven that teachers practicing teaching mindfulness in the classroom reduces behaviour problems as well as aggression among students; improves their happiness levels and their ability to pay attention. She encouraged teachers, particularly those teaching in the rural setting schools to adapt a mindfulness-based teaching approach in order to understand and encouraged their students be more participative and interactive in their learning process.

Dr. Zaida also took time to enlighten parents and students of SMK Penengah on educational opportunities available after their SPM and STPM; and encouraged the children to further their education in institutions of higher learning in their field of interest that will lead them to the top of their career.

The other speakers of the day were:

a.    Prof Madya Dr. Rosdiana Hj Sukardi (UITM, Kota Kinabalu)

b.    Encik Jamaludin Abidin (Institut Pendidikan Guru keningau)

c.    Puan Joanna Datuk Kitingan (Director, Sabah Museum)

d.    Puan Hajjah Rosinah Hj Abd Moin (Yayasan Sabah Sandakan)

e.    Puan mary Jim (Manager, Everlasting Bridal House & Sweep Academy)

f.     Encik Maspi Hj Peran (Counsellor, Institut Pendidikan Guru Keningau.

The Honourable Datuk Maslung Banah, Assistant Mnister of Youth and Sports, Sabah cum Kuamut Assemblyman who was given the honour to grace the occasion; congratulated MPWS and its partners for introducing such beneficial initiative to the Penengah community. He was indeed glad to note that the local leaders, parents and teachers collaborated with the school and MPWS to ensure the success of the event. He particularly thanked Dr. Zaida for her initiatives, traveling all the way from Kuala Lumpur to share her worldview on education to the parents, teachers and students of Penengah. He also thanked all the other speakers for sharing their views and raising awareness among the Penengah community, particularly relating to the development and future of Penengah younger generation.

As token of appreciation to the Penengah teachers and students for their keen participation during the function, Dr. Morni sponsored hampers for lucky draws to all participants of the event.

Dr Morni also took the opportunities to convey special appreciation to Puan Hajjah Maimunah and MPWS Committee for their willingness to accommodate SIDMA College into their Educational Outreach Programmes. He also conveyed special thank you notes to Prof Dr. Zaida, Puan Azlina, Mr. Louis Jais, Mr Iwan, Ms. Nancy Pishori, Ms Nur Atiqah and all SIDMA College, UNITAR Sabah staff who had assisted to ensure the successful implementation of the programme.

“The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book”. Unknown.

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Let’s be truly together in the spirit of Sehati Sejiwa

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

IT is that time of the year when rehearsals for the National Day parade – both at the federal and state levels – are in full swing.

There is a lot of preparation and hard work involved. The uniformed groups in schools, especially, look forward to being invited to take part in the parade. As do the school bands. The military and the police have a permanent presence at such parades and they too look forward to marching to the beat of Merdeka.

Schools also take turns to send their students to the parade as spectators, even if they are not represented in the parade proper.

The National Day parade is an event that brings everyone together to remind us of the birth of this beloved nation of ours.

There is a theme for each year’s celebration which is drawn up at the federal level. This year’s theme, Sehati Sejiwa (One Heart One Soul), was chosen to reflect the spirit of solidarity, understanding, togetherness and humanity of all the people in the country.

It is an appropriate reminder that whatever our differences may be, Malaysians are together as one.

Which is why the Penang Govern­ment’s initial insistence on having its own theme at the state level – Bersih, Cekap, Amanah (Clean, Efficient, Trustworthy) – was such an unnecessary distraction at a time when the country is already struggling with so many divisive issues.

The state has wisely rescinded its decision following a state exco meeting on Monday but the damage has been done.

The issue has resulted in so much unnecessary exchange of words over who is right and action being taken to bar the students and the others from taking part.

Politics and our Independence celebrations should not mix. This is not the platform for anyone to engage in tit for tat. What do we gain in the end?

The Star Says.

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Don’t make fools of the rakyat, Johor Ruler tells Government

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

MERSING: Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar (pic) has advised the Government not to make a fool of the rakyat by sugarcoating information and news just to cover the current situation.

He wants the Government to immediately solve the current issues that is happening including the sliding ringgit value.

“As a Sultan, I can not interfere in politics but as a Sultan, I am responsible to make sure that the rakyat in my state are able to live in a progressive and prosperous way,” he said on Tuesday.

Sultan Ibrahim said this in his speech during the Special Forces 50th anniversary held at Kem Iskandar here.

The Ruler also reminded current leaders picked by the rakyat to carry out their responsibilities for the public interest and not to act with self-interest.

“The rakyat today are an educated generation and smart enough to judge any information given to them.


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Half new addicts are below 25

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Kota Kinabalu: There seems to be no end to wasted youth in the State after it was revealed that 80.8 per cent of the 479 drug addicts detected between January and May this year were those under 39 years of age and almost half were below 25.

“This is a very worrying trend which is why the National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK) conducts numerous programmes to create awareness among youths especially on the danger of drugs and its effects on society,” said State Director Bakri Bibi.

Of the 479 drug addicts, 93 per cent were males while only 32 were females.

Currently, the agency also conducts random urine checks in schools, with the cooperation of the Education Department, to ensure that students are free from the influence of drugs.

He added that the agency had identified 35 hotspots for drugs in Sabah with high cases in areas such as Sepanggar and Sembulan.

“We conduct several drug prevention programmes in these areas. In terms of investment, it depends on various aspects, namely the risks, the current situation in the area and the conditions there. The higher the risk, the more programmes will be conducted,” he said.

Bakri said this after the closing of the inaugural Drug and Youth Programme by Community Development and Consumer Affairs Assistant Minister Datuk Anita Baranting, representing minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad at Wisma Wanita here, Monday.

A total of 10 schools in and around Kota Kinabalu were selected to participate in the programme where students were given three motivational and educational talks on the danger of drugs, increase students’ assertiveness as well as to provide the latest information on drug issues.

“It is hoped that the programme will be extended to other schools in other districts with the cooperation of the State Education Department,” he said.

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