Archive for August, 2016

Work in private sector, local grads told

Friday, August 26th, 2016


Joseph (third left) presenting a letter of appointment to a recipient as Arpah (second left) looks on

KOTA KINABALU: Local graduates and job-seekers have been urged to take up jobs in the private sector which offers rewarding career-pathways and lessen pressure on the increasingly saturated public sector.

“In view of the uncertain economic climate, the government is freezing employing new staff for vacancies of non-critical posts left by retirees which will be filled by existing staff being promoted or interdepartmental transfers,” said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Anak Belaun, adding new recruitment for critical posts are still being sought.

Meeting reporters after officiating the Civil Service Career Carnival on Thursday, he said the current policy on public service employment will continue until economy improves.

Malaysia has among the largest civil service in the world, numbering 1.6 million which is the highest civil servant-to-population compared to many developed countries.

Official figures show a total of 1.3 million applications for public sector jobs were received between January 1 and July 30.

In Sabah, the State civil service provides jobs for 124,834 people.

“The percentage of people employed is already quite high, numbering an estimated 300,000 applicants every year, undeniably the civil service is becoming increasingly saturated and there’s a vital need to ensure a more balanced ratio that’s the same with advanced countries,” he said, and emphasised improving the efficiency and productivity in the civil sector.

Additionally, Joseph advised graduates not to be choosy with jobs especially those entering the job market for the first time.

“Taking up seemingly unrelated jobs provide a wealth of work experience which adds value to your resume, improves employability and gives graduates the edge in future public or private job opportunities,” he said.

About 30 people officially received their appointment letters for various civil service post, presented by Joseph, accompanied by Public Service Commission (SPA) chairperson Tan Sri Arpah Binti Abdul Razak during the ceremony on Thursday, in the presence of over 500 government officials, job-seekers, students who attended the career carnival at the State Federal Administrative Complex here.

For those seeking to work with the public service, Joseph underlined the importance for job-seekers to plan their career pathways carefully by selecting suitable courses and studies that are relevant and needed for the position at the government departments.


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Vocational College Graduates Im Much Demand

Friday, August 26th, 2016

News Pic

NILAI, Aug 26 (Bernama) — A total of 72.3 per cent or 1,643 of the 2,273 diploma graduates in 16 different courses from 15 vocational colleges nationwide have received job offers upon finishing their studies in April.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said those who graduated with diplomas in Electrical Technology, Electronics Technology and Automotive Technology were among the most sought after.

“For me, this is a very healthy development and it places the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as one of the important components of education at the national level.

“We want a skilled workforce, so this is one of the components in TVET,” he told reporters after the inaugural Ministry of Education (MOE) convocation ceremony for vocational colleges at Dewan Tuanku Canselor, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia here Friday.

Also present were Education Director-General Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof.

Mahdzir said the government was also committed to developing the potential of students with a variety of interests and abilities through a 20 per cent increase in student enrolment in the vocational education system.

“To date, there are about 78,000 students currently enrolled in skills training at 80 vocational colleges across the country,” he said.

Mahdzir also hoped that cooperation between the MOE, private industries and government agencies could be enhanced in implementing the Vocational Education Transformation, particularly to provide opportunities for students to undergo on the job training (OJT).


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Education Ministry Withdrew Suspension Of Water Based Co-curricular Activities Yesterday

Friday, August 26th, 2016

JOHOR BAHARU, Aug 25 (Bernama) — The Education Ministry has withdrawn their notice of suspension on all forms of water based co-curricular activities effective yesterday.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said all State Education Department, District Education Office and school management were advised, to be more vigilant in selecting venues to conduct any outdoor curriculum activities.

“The ministry has set the standard operating procedures (SOP) and guidelines to be followed by the school.

“The guidelines involve three phases which are before, during and after the activity to ensure that participants do not suffer any harm,” he told reporters after opening the Sekolah Seni Malaysia Johor in Bandar Seri Alam, here today.

Mahdzir said before carrying out any activities, the school should seek advice from the nearest District Health Office relating to the risk of infectious diseases in the areas concerned, at least one month before the date of the activity.

The ministry, on Aug 12, has issued a notice to suspend all co-curricular activities involving water activities following the case of a teacher in Kedah who died due to leptospirosis infection.


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Early Education Determines Child’s EQ

Friday, August 26th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) — It is not easy to go against the current and tell parents to not focus on academic learning while their children are young, but Dr Putri Afzan Maria Zulkifli had strong faith in what she was doing.

Many Malaysian parents subscribe to the conventional education model, although numerous studies and proven education modules long practiced overseas have shown that child-led learning had longer lasting and more positive outcomes on children’s cognitive development.

Putri Afzan, who is the founder and managing director of child enrichment centre KinderKaizen, believed strongly in providing early education that allows children to learn in the most natural and enjoyable way – through playing.

“There is no need to force children to quickly learn to read or excel academically. The first six years of life is when a child’s emotions are developing, and the best way to nurture it is through play,” said Putri Afzan.

Many were initially cynical about her prospects in the field of early education, even claiming that there was no market for it.

The early childhood education expert took it all in stride and proved to the naysayers otherwise when KinderKaizen became so successful that it now has 22 branches in nine states.


Putri Afzan went to Britain with her family to do Masters in Education and Childhood Studies at the Leeds Metropolitan Development and PhD in Cognitive Science at the Sussex University in Brighton.

Seven years in Britain had given her the chance to observe the positive effects of the British play-based education on her own children.

On her return, Putri Afzan became a lecturer at several institutions of higher learning such as UPSI and OUM.

It was not long before she and her husband, Mohd Faizul Iqmal Mohd Kamil, decided to open the first KinderKaizen centre.

She soon left her career and post as the Deputy Dean at the Faculty of Early Childhood Studies of UNITAR International University to focus fully on helping parents and children at her centre.

With her husband as the centre’s CEO, Putri Afzan operated the centre based on Britain’s learning module.

There was no syllabus to adhere to in class. Instead, children are free to explore and discover based on their interests, inclinations and social and emotional development.

“We only assist them when they ask for help. Otherwise, KinderKaizen kids are free to become as creative as their imagination and abilities will allow them to be. Trained teachers will always be nearby to supervise them during every activity,” said Putri Afzan.

The British learning module employed at the centre has already been presented to the Education Ministry and was approved.

There are no desks, chairs or books as typically found at regular kindergartens at the centre.

The children are allowed to run around and play without realising that actual learning was taking place from the activities held.

“Happy children develop high EQ (emotional quotient) and this stimulates their IQ as well,” said Putri Afzan, a mother of five.

“The concept used in KinderKaizen is children’s mind enrichment with a focus on holistic learning and cognitive balance,” she said.


Parents who have grown up within a conventional learning environment would understandably become nervous at the thought of a learning centre that focuses on learning without books.

Many would ask: “When would my child learn how to read? Would they ever be ready for primary school?”

Putri Afzan said that the period from birth to six years old was when children’s EQ experience the most development. Children who receive proper stimulation will have a stable EQ, and this in turn would lead to good IQ development.

“If a child’s EQ is stable by the time he is seven years old, he would be easily receptive learning inputs at school,” said Putri Afzan.

Despite passing over workbooks, children at KinderKaizen are able to learn the proper way of holding pens and pencils by developing their cognitive skills through play.

She cited a unique case at KinderKaizen Wangsa Maju where a child was totally incapable of holding a pencil on the first day of enrolment. However, within two months, the child was able to write on the blackboard as well as draw and write using both left and right hands.

The centre did not force the child to write. Instead, the skill came to him naturally through the process of playing and learning with his peers.

by Nurul Halawati Mohamad Azhari.

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What will it take to go green?

Friday, August 26th, 2016

So far, various campaigns have failed to change people’s attitudes and habits over the years.

MALAYSIANS use an average of nine billion plastic bags a year. Yes. Nine billion. Let that number sink in. That’s more than the world’s entire population.

Actually, scratch that, we probably use more than nine billion. That figure is based on plastic bags that are taken away from hypermarkets and supermarkets.

If you include department stores, night markets, wet markets or even the mamakshops where you pack your teh tarik or mee goreng, this figure should at least double.

This should not be tolerated, at least not for a country that has aspirations to become a developed nation.

For sure, the Government has tried various means to curb plastic bag usage – the no plastic bag day (first introduced in Selangor in 2008 and subsequently nationwide in 2011), recycling campaigns and recently, the waste separation regulations instituted in various states.

While all these measures have been trumpeted as initiatives to protect the environment, none of them have actually succeeded. Despite the millions spent in awareness campaigns, Ma­lay­­­­sians, to a large extent, continue to have a lackadaisical attitude towards “green” initiatives.

A recent study by Monash University showed that the “No plastic bags on Saturday” policy has raised awareness, but it has had a negligible effect on reducing plastic bag use. The wide-ranging ethnographic study found that the policy’s objectives, of reducing waste sent to landfills and reducing pollution, had not been achieved.

To verify this study, The Star sent a number of our journalists to various Klang Valley supermarkets, hypermarkets and department stores on Saturdays for the last three months.

These journalists found the consumers’ indifference shocking – it was hard to find people who actually brought their reusable bags when shopping. They found that the general perception of consumers was that they were aware of the “no plastic bag” ruling, but they either didn’t care or found ways to circumvent this ruling.

These methods include using the white plastic rolled bags meant for vegetable and produce sections to carry their shopping items, paying 20 sen for a plastic bag and cramming everything inside, and also using the shopping trolley to transfer their groceries to their vehicles.

Obviously, we Malaysians are an ingenious lot when it comes to saving 20 sen!

Two new rulings will come into force in January next year. A polystyrene food packaging ban will take effect on Jan 1 in Selangor and KL, and additionally the “no plastic bag” ruling on Saturday will be extended to seven days a week in Selangor, also effective Jan 1.


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Exhibition on history of Sabah, Malaysia

Friday, August 26th, 2016
Hajiji (middle) viewing the books published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka at the event yesterday.

Hajiji (middle) viewing the books published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka at the event yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: An exhibition that showcases the history of Sabah and Malaysia is now being held at the Suria Shopping mall near here from Aug 25 to 31.

According to Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Haji Noor, after visiting over 50 booths owned by both State and Federal agencies yesterday, the exhibition was geared to providing information to the community on the various developments that have taken place in Sabah.

At the same time, it was also aimed at raising the awareness of the people on the importance of looking after the historical records.

He added that efforts would also be made to bring the exhibition to other places in Sabah such as Sandakan.

Photographs, books and documentaries related to the birth of the country and on Sabah’s independence were among those displayed at the exhibition.

Also shown were articles and print materials on the various ethnic groups in Sabah as well as explanation on the role of the various ministries and State and Federal agencies in the State.

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Sarawak remains top investment destination

Thursday, August 25th, 2016
Masing hitting the gong to officially open the forum, witnessed by (from right) Yeoh, Wan Azhar, Mohd Rafidz and Dr K Govindan. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

Masing hitting the gong to officially open the forum, witnessed by (from right) Yeoh, Wan Azhar, Mohd Rafidz and Dr K Govindan. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: Sarawak is focused on building a right physical ecosystem to strengthen and safeguard its position as one of the favourite investment destinations for both domestic and foreign investors.

In stating this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem pointed out that the state was on track to become a very important regional development corridor as it had consistently performed well in attracting investments, both foreign and domestic.

“Sarawak today is a vibrant and developing state with its economy among the most diversified in the country. With various sub-sectors contributing double digit growth Sarawak is a state with great vigour,” he said in his address at the inaugural Development Bank Infrastructure Forum at Pullman Hotel here yesterday.

His text of speech was read out by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing.

The Chief Minister also said Sarawak has become one of the top investment destinations in Malaysia, attracting total investments of RM11.9 billion in 2015, second after Johor.

“Sarawak is the third largest state in Malaysia by contribution of GDP in 2014 with a GDP of RM102 billion, after Selangor (RM238 billion) and Kuala Lumpur (RM160 billion) and is rich in natural resources such as oil and gas, timber and palm oil, just to name a few,” he said.

“We grow and modernise at a rapid pace in line with the goal laid out in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and the 11th Malaysia Plan,” he added.

Adenan also said besides leading in the oil and gas and energy sector, the state held great potential in other areas that have thus far remained largely underdeveloped such as the tourism, communications, infrastructure and the agriculture sectors.

“Our industrialisation programme is spearheaded by the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) which covers a vast area in central Sarawak and leveraging on the rich source of natural resources and relatively cheaper hydro-power,” he pointed out.

“Estimated to attract over RM300 billion worth of investments by 2030, SCORE will be the engine of our economic growth until 2030,” he added.

by Karen Bong.

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30 years on, wait for strata titles continues

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: The Land Office has been urged to expedite the issuance of subsidiary titles to the owners of the low cost flats at Kepayan Ridge Phase 18 and 19, Blocks A1, A2, B2 and B5.

Api Api assemblywoman Christina Liew said Sale and Purchase Agreement stated that the developer would apply and obtain the subsidiary titles for the buyers of the flats.

Liew, who is also PKR Sabah deputy chairman, said that she first visited the low cost flats in April 2009 at the invitation of some of the residents over some longoutstanding problems such as lack of maintenance of their buildings and non-issuance of subsidiary titles since they bought their flats in 1988.

After her visit, on May 4, 2009, she wrote to LPPB (the developer), the City Hall Mayor, Assistant Minister to the Local Government Datuk Edward Yong, and the Director of the Land Office to look into these problems seriously and requested that they be rectified immediately, she said.

“I received a reply from LPPB on June 17, 2009 stating that OCs had been issued to the owners of the flats on January 24, 1992 and the Land Office had issued them an offer for the subsidiary titles on land title CL 015492501 since February 27, 2009. In the same letter, LPPB enclosed a copy of the OC dated January 24, 1992 and the copy of letter of offer from the Land Office approving the master CL title to LPPB.

“I had again, in August 2009, written to LPPB, DBKK requesting them to rectify some of the structural defects in the buildings but received no reply from any of them. I then left the issue of application for subsidiary titles to LPPB and the Land Office. he land director had also agreed to issue the subsidiary titles within threemonths after the last election, in May 2013,” she said.

However, Liew lamented it has been seven years of waiting from the time when LPPB was offered the master title No. CL 015492501 (on 27th February 2009); some of the owners and residents again raised the issue of subsidiary titles to her today; many complained that they have not received the subsidiary titles till today.

“I was taken by surprise when the residents informed me the subsidiary titles have not been issued to the individual units yet. Without the subsidiary titles, the owners of the flat are unable to form a management cooperative to manage and maintain the general state of affairs for these flats and its surroundings, including the open space, walkway, drains, cleanliness. As of today, there is no management cooperative for any of these flats.

“I will write to the Land Office and LPPB to verify if the subsidiary titles have been issued to the owners or not. After all, it has been almost 30 years since they bought the flats. If the subsidiary titles have not been issued, then it is impossible for the owners and residents to form a management cooperative to manage the flats and its surroundings. The duty and responsibility goes back to LPPB, who is the developer,” she stressed.

Liew, who visited the area yesterday, also said that what she witnessed in Block A6 No. 36-2 was really shocking.

She claimed the building is in a dilapidated condition with structural defects and along the corridor, slabs of concrete ceiling had fallen off exposing the iron bars, pillars were severely cracked, live electrical wiring hanging around almost to the ground and telephone lines hanging around and being tied back temporarily.

All these posed danger to the residents, especially to the children who may accidentally touch the live electrical wires as they move around the areas. The repair of such defects should be on an urgent basis before any untoward incidents happen to anyone living there, she said.

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Video of deadly boat tragedy raises questions

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: A purported video of a tour boat passing by without helping people drowning in last Sunday’s boat tragedy has surfaced in the social media raising questions on why the boatman closed an eye to help rescue them.

The video, apparently taken by a tourist on the boat showed background sounds of tourists speaking in Chinese saying ‘rescue them! rescue them’ as the boat passed by the place where a fisherman’s boat carrying 10 people had capsized and a headmaster and a teacher had died.

The tourists were clearly disturbed and they were heard asking each other why they were not stopping to help as the boatman continued his journey.

A lady was also seen wiping away her tears while others looked on in alarm amid background sounds of people in distress in the two minute and 50-seconds video.

The video has stirred anger and disbelief among chatters in various WhatsApp groups, with some asking how a person could be so inhumane and look the other way when there were so many people clearly in need of help.

It surprised many others as many a time in the past, it was fishermen or local villagers who came to the immediate rescue of victims including tourists boats that have ran into trouble in the treacherous waters off Pulau Mantanani where numerous cases of capsize and drownings have occurred over the years.

“I don’t know why they did not even bother to immediately act to help the victims,” said one of the WhatsApp users.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sabah and Labuan regional director, Mohamad Zubil Mat Som said they were aware of the video but were trying to establish the authenticity of the video and the boat concerned.

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Higher meat, vegetables prices push up July inflation

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s inflation rate, which is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose 1.1% on-year, as prices of meat, vegetables and fish rose.

The Statistics Department said on Wednesday that core inflation, which excludes most volatile items of fresh food, as well as administered prices of goods and services rose 2% in July 2016 compared to a year ago.

It said CPI for July rose 1.1% to 115.1 compared with 113.9 a year ago, which was slower than the 1.2% increase forecast.

Among the major groups which recorded increases were the index for food & non-alcoholic beverages, up 3.8% on-year (this group has a weightage of 30.2 in the CPI) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco, which rose by 19.9%.

As for food, it said the increase was due to four food sub-groups index for meat (+7.0%); vegetables (+6.3%); fish & seafood (+6%) and fruits (+4.5%). However, the index for non-food fell 0.2%.

On a monthly basis, CPI for July 2016 increased 0.3% to 115.1 from 114.8. Of the 12 major groups, nine recorded increases included transport; recreation services & culture; miscellaneous goods & services; food & non-alcoholic beverages.

CPI for January to July 2016 rose 2.4% as compared to the previous corresponding period. The increase was led by  main groups with high expenditure percentages: food & non-alcoholic beverages (+4.3%) and housing, water, electricity, gas & other Fuels (+2.7%).