Archive for May, 2016

Empowering lives through education

Friday, May 27th, 2016

THE Ninth Asean Education Ministers (ASED) meeting that concluded yesterday proved to be a fruitful one.

After two days of deliberations following months of discussions, the most notable achievement was the adoption of the Asean Work Plan on Education 2016-2020 by the ministers and their senior officials.

The Work Plan on Education 2016-2020 will guide cooperation in education over the next five years, and will unify all collaborative efforts on education between Asean dialogue partners and various international organisations, including entities that support Asean.

In essence, the Work Plan recognises that children are key stakeholders even as governments attempt to provide a better quality of life for all.

Much of the final details in the Work Plan on Education were hammered out in the two-day Third Asean Plus Three Education Ministers Meeting (3rd APT EMM) and the Third East Asia Summit Education Ministers Meeting (3rd EAS EMM) that took place on Monday and Tuesday, just hours before the ASED took place on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Work Plan on Education was mentioned as a strategic planning document as far back as Eighth ASED in Laos in 2014, where the various ministers noted the progress made under the Asean Cooperation in Education in support of its strategic planning document, which back then covered the period from 2011 to 2015.

The Ninth ASED was chaired by Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, who took charge given Malaysia is the Asean Education Chairman from now until 2017. Chairmanship is rotated among the Asean member states every two years, with Malaysia last playing host in 2008. Laos was chair from 2014 until Malaysia took over this year.

This year’s meeting also saw 18 countries represented – 10 Asean Education Ministers, three Ministers from Japan, South Korea and China (Asean Plus Three) – and representatives from the five East Asia Summit members, namely the United States, India, New Zealand, Russia and Australia.


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Manage disaster waste properly at quake areas – Bomba.

Friday, May 27th, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) is urging the relevant quarters, including disaster management committees, to manage disaster waste in areas affected by the Ranau earthquake.

Sabah Bomba director Nordin Pauzi said that disaster waste had to be well managed to prevent mud floods during the monsoon season.

He said the initial stage of disaster waste management had been carried out to remove logs and other debris from dams, thereby restoring river flow.

Nordin said the earthquake had caused rivers to become shallow and slow down the flow of water due to debris from landslides, structures and trees. However, he said heavy rainfall would cause water to overflow to nearby villages and cause mud floods.

“Restoration efforts may take a long time if disaster waste is not well managed,”he said, when asked about mud floods in several areas around Kota Belud and Ranau on Monday, after presenting prizes for a colouring contest organized by Bomba here yesterday.

On flood preparations, Nordin said Bomba had focused equally on measures before, during and after disasters, including flood and forest fire.

Before disaster strikes, Nordin said Bomba would update its standard operating procedures (SOP), evaluate flood-prone areas, as well as strengthen cooperation with relevant quarters such as the Social Services Department, village chiefs and local leaders so that they can act when early warning system is issued, as well as to ensure evacuation process did not happen during a disaster.

He said the early warning system allowed village chiefs and local leaders sufficient time to act before disaster occurred.

“We gather information from the Department of Drainage and Irrigation, Meteorological Department, water level and tides, and issue verbal warning to village chiefs and local leaders so they can take early measures.”


Philippines to pursue Sabah claim

Friday, May 27th, 2016



KUCHING: Philippines’ incoming president Rodrigo Duterte vowed to pursue the Philippines’s claim to Sabah, widely reported by the Fillipino press yesterday.

The Phillipines Star quoted Duterte saying, “I’ll stick to our claim,” when asked for his stand on the country’s claim to Sabah.

Pressed if he would recognize the claim of the sultanate of Sulu on Sabah, Duterte replied: “Yes. What has been the policy will always be the policy of the government especially those for the interest of the country. We have to stake our claim.”

The news portal reported the Sulu sultanate used to rule over parts of southern Philippines and Sabah. However, in 1963, the British government transferred Sabah to the Federation of Malaysia.

The Philippines claims that Sabah was only leased, not ceded, to the British North Borneo Co. and that heirs of the sultan of Sulu continue to receive lease payments for Sabah.

Malaysia, however, maintains that Sabah as part of its territory since the formation of the federation in 1963.

The dispute over Sabah made it to the headlines again in 2013 after followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram entered Lahad Datu in Sabah to assert their rights over the area.

A series of armed encounters ensued after Kiram’s followers refused to leave despite the warnings given by Malaysian government forces.

Dozens of Malaysian security personnel and sultanate followers died during the clashes.

President Aquino has clarified to Malaysia that the actions of Kiram’s followers were not sanctioned by the Philippine government.

The Manila Bulletin reported that in a press conference at Davao City yesterday, Duterte also claimed the Spartly Islands located in the West Philippine Sea which were claimed by China were also his.

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English, like US dollar, can’t be ignored: Edu DG

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: The importance of English language in the world today parallels that of the US dollar in that one cannot do without it no matter what.

“Many people have tried using other currencies like dinar to change the status quo but still the US dollar ultimately is still preferred and used widely.

“Only God knows why the US dollar is so important,” said Education Director Dato Sri Dr Khair Mohd Yusof , to some 350 teaching and administrative staff of the Sabah Education Department at the Federal Government Administrative Complex, Wednesday. His speech was delivered by his deputy, Datuk Ahmad Tajudin Jab.

They were among 259 personnel recognised with certificates for their distinguished services at the Excellence Service Award 2015 in conjunction with Teachers Day.

He also touched on Mandarin being the language spoken by more people in the world than any other language, but was not as important as English.

“Only God knows why English is so important,” he surmised, as he told teachers that if their students only had command of one language or monolingual, then, they are only exposed to one worldview.

Teachers were exhorted to show greatness and good examples like imbuing the reading habit by being widely read and seen as avid readers.

Dr Khair wanted educators to instil in their students only two points distilled from 13 points of a renowned western educator – respect and responsibility.

“This is known as the ‘2 R’ – respect and responsibility. Students must learn to show respect and take responsibility in whatever they do and interact with others,” he said as he dwelled on ethics and spirituality in a multi-racial nation emphasising on the teaching profession as a means to inculcate patriotism and national unity.

Teachers in Malaysia were urged to form and build up Professional Learning Community or PLC in their respective locality of service, inspired from a western world model to build up confidence and integrity.

In the United States, teachers share information through their Professional Learning Community.

“Teachers talk about practice. Teachers teach each other. Teachers observe each other in the act of teaching and learning.”

He called on teachers to keep an open mind and have a paradigm shift to increase productivity and upscale the quality of service as “education is an important investment for the country’s future and progress where unity and harmony prevail.”

Dr Khair alsos said that according to World Bank records, Malaysia spent two times more than any other developing Asean nation on education based on the GDP.

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Ministry failed Sabahans: NGO

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: The Health Ministry has failed the people of Sabah by not improving the conditions in Queen Elizabeth Hospital I (QEH I), according to the Sabah People’s Right Association, which highlighted several outstanding grouses, Wednesday.

Its President Lee Pun Yee reminded the Ministry that health and education cannot be compromised because these are the cornerstones of any country’s progress and prosperity.

“Firstly, the perennial woes of the QEH I public car park have yet to be resolved. It is a messy area where outpatients and visitors park illegally for want of space and thus hinder mobility. Whoever planned the car park was not farsighted in that the growing population of Kota Kinabalu and the foreseeable increase in the number of vehicles on the road were not taken into consideration.

“In fact, a multi-storey car park area should have been in place but clearly, the planners were not sensitive to public needs,” he told a press conference at the QEH I Canteen.

According to Lee, he had previously brought the matter to the attention of the hospital authorities and was assured that something would be done.

Secondly, he said, the hospital’s haemodialysis centre is in dire need of more machines but this is apparently not forthcoming. “Isn’t the Ministry aware of Sabah’s need for improved services and facilities? Maybe we are sometimes forgotten because we are 1600km from Kuala Lumpur.”

He said one patient with kidney failure was told to undergo haemodialysis only once a week, instead of three times, when she sought treatment at the hospital last December.

“Subsequently, the affected patient had no choice but to receive treatment at a private haemodialysis centre.

Mind you, it’s not cheap. It costs between RM200 and RM250 per session,” Lee added.

Thirdly, he noted that while parking lots are provided for doctors and nurses in the vicinity of the QEH I Haemodialysis Centre, the same cannot be said for patients who are required to come to the centre at least three times a week.

Lee showed reporters the spot where a female patient fainted and fell at the entrance/exit after treatment, resulting in bleeding on her back, when she was about to go to a waiting car driven by her husband.

“The husband could not enter the area (immediately outside the centre) because it is usually chained.

Only authorised personnel are allowed to park there. Normally, patients would feel weak after haemodialysis and should not be made to walk far to their vehicle.

“Under the circumstances, why can’t the hospital authorities designate a parking lot as a pick-up and drop-off point in the interest of patients’ safety and well-being?” he asked.

Fourthly, Lee lamented that the signage for disabled persons (OKU) placed on a pole near the centre was removed and yet to be reinstated. “Neither are there any parking lots reserved for OKUs now in that particular area,” he said.

He believes that because of his outspokenness, he may not be in the good books of the hospital authorities.

“Why should the doctors ‘hate’ me as claimed, instead of appreciating my initiative? I am only doing my bit for the community for the sake of patients. I have to play a role in highlighting the people’s grievances,” he said matter-of-factly.

Against this backdrop, he said the Sabah People’s Right Association would be willing to offer help to QEH I in terms of expanding its existing public car park area if adjacent land could be made available.

Similarly, Lee said, the association could also assist in respect of extending the existing haemodialysis centre and acquiring more haemodialysis machines for the hospital if given the mandate to do so.

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Teaching, Learning Process Should Change According To Times

Friday, May 27th, 2016

BESUT, May 26 (Bernama) — Teachers and lecturers have to adjust their way of teaching and learning in accordance with the changing times and technologies to produce students who excel.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said educators should also be more flexible and ready to face the changes in teaching methods including keeping abreast of technology.

“The changes taking place in this day and age may not be the same as in the past such as changes in technology, the Internet and smart phones that help teaching and learning that can be studied at any time as information is everywhere.

“We can no longer follow the old ways because now the Internet and technology is developing whereby the old methods may no longer be relevant today,” he told reporters after officiating the Besut district Teachers’ Day celebrations Thursday.


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The rules of royal succession

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

The Federal Constitution provides the basis for choosing the King’s successor, aided by a rich tapestry of constitutional conventions or practices.

THE five-year reign of our fourteenth Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, the Sultan of Kedah, is coming to a close on Dec 12 this year. His Majesty was also our fifth Yang di-Pertuan Agong from Sept 21, 1970 to Sept 20, 1975 and has the unique distinction of being the first and only reigning Sultan to be elected by his brother Rulers to ascend the federal throne twice.

Who will succeed His Majesty in December? Under the Federal Constitution, Articles 32, 38(2) and the Third Schedule provide the basic rules relating to succession but these have become inlaid with a rich tapestry of constitutional conventions or practices.

Conference of Rulers: Under Malaysia’s unique system of elective monarchy at the federal level, the King is elected by the Conference of Rulers.

For the purpose of the sovereign’s election, the Conference consists only of his brother Rulers from the nine Malay states. The Governors of Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak take no part in the election nor are they eligible to contest.

Rotation: Unlike the bloody “Wars of the Roses” fought over the English throne, the nine Malay monarchs have developed a civilised though complex system of sharing the federal throne.

They take turns in such a way that every Ruler who is willing and deemed suitable by the Conference can occupy the federal throne at least once before another Sultan occupies it twice. For this reason no King can be immediately re-elected after expiry of his five-year term.

The first cycle of occupying the federal throne was completed with the election of the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, as the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong from 1989 to 1994.

The list is as follows: Negri Sembilan (August 31, 1957 – April 1, 1960); Selangor (April 14, 1960 – September 1, 1960); Perlis (September 21, 1960 – September 20, 1965); Trengganu (September 21, 1965 – September 20, 1970); Kedah (September 21, 1970 – September 20, 1975); Kelantan (September 21, 1975 – March 30, 1979); Pahang (April 26, 1979 – April 25,1984); Johor (April 26, 1984 – April 25,1989); Perak (April 26, 1989 –5 April 25, 1994).

The second cycle commenced in 1994 with the selection of the Negri Sembilan Ruler, Tuanku Ja’afar, whose father Tuanku Abdul Rahman was the country’s first federal monarch. Negri Sembilan (April 26, 1994 – April 25, 1999) was followed by Selangor (April 26, 1999 – November 21, 2001); Perlis (December 13, 2001 – December 12, 2006); Trengganu (December 13, 2006 – December 12, 2011) and Kedah (December 13, 2011 to now).

by Shad Faruqi

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Laws must be fair to all parties, says group

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

PETALING JAYA: Laws, including on unilateral conversion of minors, must demonstrate that it is compassionate and peaceful to all parties, including those from different faith, said Sisters in Islam.

The group called on the Govern­ment to promote such values not only in terms of relationship with the people but also in practices of law and the treatment of those from the other faith.

“Justice is paramount in the teach­­ings of Islam. The objectives of the law should be to do justice and the rights of the people including ensuring that those from the other faith are not marginalised and discriminated against in the name of Islam,” it said in a statement yesterday.

The Star reported yesterday that moderate Malay­sians from various backgrounds had made a stand against the unilateral conversion of children, urging that they be allowed to hold on to their original faith until they can decide for themselves at age 18.

They were responding to a par­liamentary reply by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom who said that any proposed law to ban uni­­­lateral conversions in Malay­sia would contravene the Federal Constitution.

Sisters in Islam also urged the Government to clarify whether Jamil’s statement was reflective of the Cabinet committee tasked to look at unilateral conversion of minors, as it was contradictory with the prior messages conveyed by Putrajaya.

Universiti Malaya law professor Dr Azmi Shahrom said Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution must be read with Article 160 and the Eleventh Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

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Reforms on funding

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Barring overseas donations is among measures being considered to regulate political funding before the next general election.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low said the prohibition was among reforms which will be presented to the Cabinet by the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing.

The prohibition from foreign sources or interest means people who are not Malaysians.

“This needs to be in place so there is no foreign interference in our election process,” he said after a conference on political integrity entitled Reinforcing Transparency in Political Financing in Malaysia.

Low said the proposed Political Donation Act would also include prohibition of money directly or indirectly from organised crime and companies who benefited from government contracts.

The law, he said, should also regu­late money from corporations and government-linked companies (GLCs).

“To be practical, these companies (GLCs) need to be defined, you cannot ban everyone who does business with the government,” Low added.

He said the key criteria was conflict of interest or the extent the funding imposed an obligation on a politician or party.

Low said no disclosures were necessary for small amounts donated by individuals or obtained from crowd sourcing.

The conference at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity was part of the Consultative Committee’s ongoing efforts to engage stakeholders including political parties, civil society and academics.

Low said political reforms in South Korea happened gradually over five decades and reforms in Malaysia should also be rolled out in phases.

“There cannot be a single phase. It’s impossible for stakeholders to accept every reform because some require changes in the institutions,” he said.


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‘Pass English test or no promotion’

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

MALACCA: Top state officials, many of whom are university graduates who passed with first class honours, are unable to understand correspondence in simple English, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron.

Appalled by the poor grasp of English among some high-level officers, the state government has made it compulsory for all of them to attend classes and pass an examination if they want a promotion.

“We are engaging a local university to conduct intensive English courses, followed by an examination after six months,” he said after chairing the weekly state exco meeting yesterday.

Idris said civil servants who were graduates should be able to understand simple English “but sadly, this is not the case in Malacca”.

“They should make an effort to learn English by reading more. It’s really appalling to hear that English is being ignored.”

Idris said it was imperative that these officers learnt English as it was an important tool to communicate with investors from China, Europe and the United States.

He said all their efforts overseas to draw tourists to Malacca would fail if those in the state entourage could not speak in English.

“The lack of English proficiency is not good for the image of Malacca as a top global tourist destination.”

Idris also said he wanted English to be the second language in the state administration, especially with respect to foreign investment and tourism.

“It’s disappointing to get feedback from civil servants holding key positions if they stand tight-lipped when asked questions in simple English,” he said.

“If we neglect English, a global language, investors will shy away from dealing with us.

“The state is left with no choice but to quickly improve the standard of English if we want to draw in investments and tourists.”


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