Archive for August, 2016

National Day parade kicks off

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
KUALA LUMPUR: Songs filled the air as thousands descended on Dataran Merdeka to join in on the festivities of the 59th National Day parade.

From early Wednesday morning, throngs of people made their way to the raised seating areas while vendors hawked wares ranging from breakfast to Jalur Gemilangs and vuvuzelas.

There was a threat of rain at around 6.45am as a light drizzle began to fall, though that did little to dampen the excitement in the air.

The sky cleared up a short while later and the event kicked off with songs and performances.

Huge LED screens allowed those present to get close-up views of the performances while at the same time displaying the lyrics of songs.

Performers lined the road and waved flags in rhythmic harmony as Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and other VIPs arrived.


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Strong Patriotism At 2016 National Day Celebration At State Level

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 (Bernama) — The 2016 National Day celebration with the theme ‘One Heart, One Soul’ was celebrated in a grand manner throughout the country with various events demonstrating strong patriotism attended by state leaders and the general public.

Besides the colourful celebration at the Dataran Merdeka, the other states had also drawn up various programs to mark the event this time, which drew the attention of not only the local population but also the foreigners.

In PERAK, the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah and Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Zara Salim joined the general public to celebrate the National Day at the state level in front of the Municipal Hall, Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab, Ipoh.

A total of 116 contingents involving 6,960 participants from government departments and agencies, schools, institutions of higher learning, uniformed units and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) took part in the procession and parade.

In KUALA TERENGGANU, Yang Dipertuan Muda Terengganu Tengku Muhammad Ismail Sultan Mizan witnessed the celebration at the Dataran Batu Burok.

On arrival together with his sister, Tengku Nadhirah Zahrah, they were greeted by Menteri Besar Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman as well as members of the State Executive Council.

The procession participated by 5,236 people from 159 contingents from the various agencies and school students began from the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium to Dataran Batu Burok, a distance of three kilometers.

Members of the public also took the rare opportunity to witness the gaiety of the celebration with more than 10,000 attending the event in stages beginning at 7am.

In JOHOR, thousands of local and foreign nationals had gone to Tangkak town as early as 6am to witness the procession from 111 contingents involving 3,663 participants.

The celebration commenced shortly after the arrival of Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin who started the event by releasing 59 sparrows symbolising the 59 years that Malaysia had been freed from the colonialists, followed by the procession of the contingents carrying the ‘Jalur Gemilang’, and other contingents including the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces.

In SABAH, the parade and procession were held on a moderate scale attended by about 15,000 people including participants of the contingents who had begun to fill up the Dataran Bandaraya, Kota Kinabalu, as early as 6am.

A total of 175 contingents involving government agencies, the private sector, NGOs, institutions of higher learning, school students, Sabah ethnic associations as well as 25 vehicles took part in the procession.

Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and wife, Toh Puan Norlidah R.M Jasni; Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman as well as state Cabinet members, among others, were entertained by a special performance from the Sabah Cultural Board with dance performances as well as poetry reading carrying the theme of a struggle.

In MELAKA, 9,881 participants from 227 contingents made up of government agencies, institutions of higher learning, school students, associations and members of the Malaysian Armed Forces joined the parade and procession at Bandar Hilir.

Melaka Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob, his wife Toh Puan Zurina Kassim, and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron joined about 3,000 people including foreign tourists to witness the procession.


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Yearly medical check-ups the norm in Japan

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s the norm for the young and old in Japan to go for a yearly medical check-up whether in school or at a community or government facility, said a Japanese non-governmental organisation.

“Even for women who don’t work, they are provided with basic services by the local government,” said Sumie Ishii, chairperson of the Japanese Orga­nisation for Interna­tional Coope­­ration in Family Planning.

“They receive information at health centres or they will be assigned nearby doctors, either in a public or private health facility, based on a universal health coverage.

“Its insurance policy will be used for aged care once they retire at 65. For those who do not have enough funds, the social security will pay for their health needs,” she said during a conference on population ageing in selected Asian countries organised by the International Planned Parenthood Federation here yesterday.

Ishii also noted that some companies in Japan will compel their employees to improve their health if they are found to be obese or suffering from unhealthy habits.

For instance, if the younger generation is found to be obese, the companies will work out a strict regimen for them, she said.

“They will refer the employees to nutritionists, physical therapists or doctors who will customise a weight-loss programme for them.

“This is because employers are worried that when workers become sick, it will be more expensive to treat,” she added.

Deputy Women, Family and Com­­munity Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the corporate sector, non-governmental organisations and local community associations should set up day centres at strategic places for older persons to support them and their families.

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Reaching out to hire grads

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

WITH over 6,000 Malaysian students in the United States (US) Talent Corporation Malaysia (Talentcorp) has found it a mammoth task getting them together.

They’re scattered all over the country’s 50 states that cover a massive land area and three time zones.

This makes arranging career fairs a logistical nightmare as Malaysian employers need to travel to many different cities to meet the students. It is the same for the students too. Many of them live on tight budgets and need to travel quite a distance to get to such events.

Realising the many obstacles facing an overseas student’s job hunt, the National Assembly of Malay-sian Students in America (Namsa) held the US Malaysian Students for Excellence 2016 (US-X) programme in Serdang, Selangor.

Organised together with Talentcorp, the objective was to gather Malaysian student leaders from across the US for a two-day leadership summit.

The students were also given pointers by Leaderonomics, which focused on tapping their potential.

As participants, the students had to pitch ideas on how to improve career-related initiatives that could gather Malaysian students all across the US. More specifically, how employers and Talentcorp could reach out to potential employees.

According to Namsa president Mohamad Ihsan Ahmad Nordin, 22, opportunities in career and professional development in Malaysia was listed as the biggest challenge for Malaysian students in the US.

Through the programme, Mohamad Ihsan said: “We have made a collaborative effort with Talentcorp to connect with our students in the US and for Malaysian companies to reach out to them.”

An idea that caught the attention of Talentcorp, was the one put forth by Ray Lim Zu Yi, called 3Z1T (3 zones 1 time).

Ray said that it involved creating a virtual career fair that made use of video call technology to connect people.

“Rather than meeting the candidates physically, we are able to have Skype sessions between recruiters and students,” he said,.

He added that they didn’t want to “fully digitalise” the career fair but wanted to keep some form of live interaction possible to better gauge potential employees.


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Government focus on quality education

Sunday, August 28th, 2016
THE bulk of the country’s budget is channelled towards education simply because the government’s focus is on giving its people access to quality education.

Education Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad said Malaysia’s push for quality education was the envy of many countries.

She said education expenditure allocated from the federal government’s annual budget stood at 21% when speaking on Innovation as a Strategic Imperative for the Organisation held recently in conjunction with the 2016 Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (Capam) session.

“The government sees education as an investment, not a cost and, therefore, the government has provided adequate facilities.

Dr Madinah said co-curricular activities were given due importance because there was a proper system in place.

“The government even has a special programme called the Supplementary Food Programme where money is allocated to provide nutritious meals for children from poor socio-economic backgrounds, to ensure they get a headstart in school,” she said.

It was moderated by adviser and head of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Public Sector Governance Unit, Dr Joan Nwasike.


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Better learning outcomes for all

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

MALAYSIA will achieve full primary school enrolment within the next few years.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said it was possible despite the challenges his ministry faced in reaching out to some indigenous communities.

“We face a problem reaching out to those who live in very remote parts of Malaysia (like the areas in Sarawak and Sabah that are nearer to Indonesia),” he told reporters after launching the Education 2030 Symposium here on Tuesday.

The symposium focused on the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4), which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Some of the students from these communities have to travel a few days to reach the nearest school.

Although the ministry had provided hostels and boarding schools, Mahdzir said that the children needed adequate supervision, especially when they enrolled in schools at the age of seven.

He also said that based on the 2015 annual report of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, primary school enrolment stood at 98%, while upper secondary school enrolment was at 85%. This situation could be due to students finding jobs to support their families.

He said students dropping out was especially prevalent among those in the lower income bracket.

In this regard, Mahdzir said the game changer for secondary schools may be TVET (technical and vocational education and training). “We can do this (increase enrolment rates) by adding more vocational courses,” he said, adding that this could help retain students who prefer the TVET path.


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Looking for our cultural identity

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

It is time to contemplate our national culture as we celebrate our 59th National Day this week, says former Culture Minister Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim.

EVERY morning in South Korea, primary school children are asked to walk down a path where they will meet the elderly of the community. The children are trained to respect the elders with a bow and salutations. In Singapore, the young are immersed in a Confucian value system that is inherent in all aspects of their society.

“These values are also ingrained in our culture but where are they in our schools and higher education institutions?” asks Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim, special adviser to the Malaysian Government on socio-cultural matters.

We need people to come out to say that we need to preserve our culture immediately, he stresses. “But people now are more interested in what they are going to get out of their salary, position or politically. No one is interested very much in forging ahead for a national culture or in preserving our value system.”

Dr Rais believes it is important for the nation to revive our “national culture” for Malaysia’s future, now that we are celebrating our 59th National Day.

“Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that we are cultureless but the trend of maintaining culture in Malaysia now is inhibited by too many religious and intra-religious values.

“I believe it is not too late. It’s timely for us,” he stresses. “In fact, I think it’s critical as we are now embarking on a big scale education reformation. We need to look within ourselves and see how much of this nation’s ‘transformation’ should contain our cultural heritage and value systems.”

He highlights, even in China, they are now telling their people that “they are Chinese, not Americans, and they are not like Google”, after they hurtled towards progress and development. “We don’t have to be like China, but we need to have our own self-reflection and analysis and reform.”

Our schools are stressing too much on examinations and classroom routines that we do not teach them the basic tenets of culture, he laments, stressing, “We need to introduce culture back into our schools and education system.”

When we talk about culture for the future, Dr Rais adds, we are talking about our value systems and way of life, which include language and education, not just the joyful and artistic manifestations like the dances and music.

Malaysia with its rich mix of diverse races and religions has a rich mix of culture, from the Malay Nusantara traditions and beliefs to the Confucian philosophy, Dravidian way of life and the orang asli and orang asal heritage, he notes.

This is proven historically, he asserts. “Our cultural cauldron started as early as the first century when the Chinese dynasty identified us as a potential trade partner and Indian sailors and fortune-seekers settled in the northern states of Kedah and Penang. It is a historical fact and we should nurture this diversity while taking care of our respective religious values.

“Sadly, while we have so much culture and values here in the East, the Western ways are always hanging over our society – it is changing our language nuances, value system, our education and our way of life. This will shape the Malaysia of the future,” he warns.

At the crux of our culture is “budi” (virtue), Dr Rais notes.

“If you ask me what the spine of our culture is, I’d say it is budi, which is a universal value. For the Malays, budi is also modesty and dignity. It teaches us how to be ‘shameful’ in the face of negative elements like dishonesty, cheating and thievery.

“It is sad that we don’t teach or learn it anymore, or try to decipher the wisdom of budi.”


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Sultan Nazrin calls for international law to be upheld by all countries

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR:  The world would be a safer place if international humanitarian law are scrupulously observed and upheld by all countries, said Sultan Nazrin Muizzudin Shah.

The Sultan of Perak said that he chose to highlight humanitarian disasters and their impact on world peace mainly because the scale of the problem is unprecedented and it is growing increasingly grave.

During his speech, Sultan Nazrin had to pause for a few moments as he got emotional and choked up as he spoke about the sufferings of the innocent lives in the conflict areas.

“No human – man, woman or least of all a child,” he paused, as he was holding back tears during his speech at the launching of Kuala Lumpur Business Club Diplomatic Dialogue Series at The St. Regis Hotel, here on Friday night..

“Should have to endure the agony and suffering of the refugees and migrants or the affected populations in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestine, Nigeria, Sudan or South Sudan,” he continued.


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‘If you want to be the best, we’ll give you the opportunity’

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

SHAH ALAM: Cultural diversity is the one of the strengths to AirAsia Bhd’s success, says the airline supremo Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

The airline, which operates in five countries across Asia, has people from all walks of life and cultures and Fernandes said and any one who has the passion to excel has a chance to do so.

“I don’t care about race, sex, creed, colour or religious affiliations.

“If you want to be the best we will give you the opportunity to be best. We are very proud about that and continue to nurture them,’’ he said at the “Power Talks” series organised by The Star, at the Management and Science University.

He said there was a pilot who had started as an office boy at AirAsia, several women CEOs, a beauty queen who is a pilot at ThaiAirAsia. And the airline which started with no women pilots, now has 52 of them.

“AirAsia is what it is because we have Malays, Chinese, Indians, and others, all working together.

“Now we have become an Asean airline,’’ he adds.

Cultural diversity was also the strength of Malaysia, Fernandes said.

“The strength of Malaysia, that is why I am wearing this thing (#AnakAnakMalaysia wristband), is its multiculturalism.

“In fact, we are the only country in the world with such diversity in cultures.

“The sooner the leaders of the world see this, the better it is for us, and I applaud The Star to raise it at these times. It is the diversity of cultures, people and languages,’’ he adds.

by B.K. SIDHU.

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UMS makes breakthrough in mangrove crab breeding

Saturday, August 27th, 2016
Annita, with the small crablets on her palm, while Dr Rossita explains the challenges the team had to endure before successfully arriving at their present stage.

Annita, with the small crablets on her palm, while Dr Rossita explains the challenges the team had to endure before successfully arriving at their present stage.

KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Borneo Marine Research Institute (BMRI) shrimp hatchery has made a historical breakthrough by being the first to successfully produce crablets of the mangrove crab species Scylla tranquebarica in captivity.

According to BMRI director Associate Professor Dr Rossita Shapawi at a press conference held at the hatchery yesterday, the species was the dominant species in Sabah and commonly sold at the local markets and seafood restaurants.

Sabah is presently the major exporter of Scylla tranquebarica in the country, attributing to 55 percent of crab landings in the country.

Mangrove crabs are high value seafood not only in Sabah but also in other countries such as Taiwan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Thailand. They are high in demand in the form of live crab as well as in frozen soft shell crab form.

The normal selling price of mangrove crabs in Sabah is between RM15 and RM28 per kilogram at the local wet markets, and RM36 and RM60 per kilogram at the restaurants, while soft shell crabs are sold at RM35 to RM45 per kilogram in frozen seafood outlets and RM50 to RM120 per kilogram at restaurants.

She said that in the UMS shrimp hatchery, efforts started with the captive breeding of this mangrove crab in 2013.

“The efforts began to pay off this April after several years of failed attempts,” she said.

She added that with the scientific breakthrough, they hope to be able to work with interested parties as the hatchery at UMS was inadequate for commercial production.

“Up until now, the industry is still dependent on wild supply, but sooner or later, we will not be able to depend on this. We are already seeing a huge depletion in the supply of the mangrove crabs, particularly female ones…so this is a significant contribution to the industry,” she said.

Meanwhile, the leader of the research team, senior lecturer Annita Yong Seok Kian said when they started the captive breeding in 2013, they faced several problems including disease infection and cannibalism that caused mass mortality of the broodstock.

“Similarly in the larval rearing, mass mortality also occurred within a week after hatching due to disease infection. The pathogens that cause the infection have been identified and preventive steps are established to improve the broodstock and larval health management in our hatchery,” she said.

Since then, various efforts have been taken to improve the maturity of the broodstock in captivity in enhancement of broodstock nutrition, simulation of tidal activity and habitat creation that mimics their natural habitat in the mangrove area, she said.

by Jenne Lajiun.

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