Archive for March, 2017

Weekly fuel prices to take effect every Thursday.

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Motorists will have to keep an eye on the changes of petrol and diesel prices every Wednesday, following an announcement of the weekly petrol and diesel pricing mechanism by the Domestic Trade, Co-operation and Consumer Affairs Ministry.

Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin made the announcement on RTM’s TV1 5pm news on Wednesday, and said that the new mechanism would allow consumers to enjoy a more stable retail price for fuel compared to the monthly pricing currently in use.

The new mechanism will come into effect on March 29.

Weekly fuel prices will be announced every Wednesday and the new price will be enforced the next day.

“The first announcement will be on Wednesday, March 29, which is next week and the new petrol and diesel prices will be enforced on March 30,” he said.

Hamzah also said fuel station operators will be allowed to give discounts on fuel, provided that prior permission is obtained from the ministry.

“Station operators are reminded to adhere to the new prices and serious action will be taken against those who do not,” he said.

Hamzah said the ministry had had several consultations with oil companies, station operators, non-governmental organisations and other relevant parties before coming up with the change in the pricing mechanism.

This was later presented to the Cabinet and the weekly price mechanism was approved on Feb 22.

Read  more @

Maintain good cognitive health

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

We should use our minds fully as mental inactivity can hinder our development mentally, emotionally, physically and socially.

TAKING good care of cognitive health is something unthinkable for many. The majority of us would find it strange with what cognitive health is, and some would even be wondering what cognition has to do with health and well-being.

What is cognition, why is it necessary to take good care of one’s cognition or cognitive status, and what are the steps to maintain good cognitive health?

Cognition is a hypothetical construct, accepted as one of the most fundamental elements of human beings, besides emotional and physical components. Generally, cognition is understood as a platform where all mental processes take place.

The platform resides within the most delicate and sensitive human organ, i.e., the brain. Upon cognition rest mental processes such as attention and concentration, perception, remembering, thinking and reasoning, decision-making, problem-solving, planning, and so on.

They are also understood as higher-order cognitive processes, because they help humans to function as they are supposed to, they help define what humans are and thus, differentiate between humans and non-human entities.

The mental processes are highly important to ensure the survival of humans in this life. Therefore, for the cognitive processes to be functioning effectively and efficiently, they have to be well managed, and their health status always in check.

This is similar to physical health and emotional well-being that are required so that humans can function as well as they possibly can. For this reason, everyone should bear in mind that cognitive health is defined as the ability of the brain to function and perform all mental processes required with full capacity, healthily, and efficiently.

Cognitive health is not mental health or mental illness, but it determines the health of everyone’s mental, emotional and physical health. One’s physical and emotional states affect cognition and vice-versa.

Similarly, when cognition is not healthy or is dysfunctional, one cannot function as one used to, because one’s mind has lost its ability to guide one to behave as a human.

Even so-called normal human beings may have their cognitive abilities dysfunctional, which affects their life for the worse. In addition, weak cognitive functions and abilities may affect the pattern of human relations and interaction negatively.

Why does human cognition become dysfunctional? There are many reasons that are responsible for the dysfunctioning of human cognition and mental capacities that later affect general human health and well-being.

One of them is cognitive inactivity. This refers to the inability of a person to fully utilise his mental capacity in order to promote productivity and bring or create an energetic environment for his life.

Mental inactivity occurs when someone does not stimulate his mental ability as required and that will result in mental lethargy and later on hinder the full functioning of a person mentally, emotionally, physically, as well as socially. Even the milliseconds of mental inactivity may lead to some damage to the person and his environment.

For example, while driving in a car on a massively congested road, when someone is not fully attending to his environment or being distracted, it may lead to an accident. In fact, long periods of mental inactivity are proven to damage brain plasticity and deterioration of brain functions.

Furthermore, a situation when a person is, to a certain extent, perplexed with personal or social issues that limit their mental capacity from functioning fully is dangerous since it may lead to sad consequences and even fatalistic phenomena.

An example of such a situation includes personal emotional distress, or when one is being inflicted with emotional and mental health issues. Among them are depression and anxiety attacks.

In fact, outbursts and impulsive and uncontrollable anger also incur bad consequences for humans due to the limited mental capacity they bring on. One with depression runs out of one’s productive time by thinking a lot on the dark side of his experiences and throwing away the bright side of his life.

Read more @

New English Language Learning Method To Be Introduced – Mahdzir

Monday, March 20th, 2017

PUTRAJAYA, March 20 (Bernama) — A new English Language teaching and learning method via online, the Cambridge Accessible Tests (CATs), will be introduced with the focus on rural students.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said this pioneer programme would start by the year-end involving about 40 rural primary and secondary schools and expected to be implemented fully in one or two years.

He said the programme was developed with the cooperation of Cambridge Malaysia Education and Development Trust (CMEDT), and a working committee headed by Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamed Yusof would be formed to monitor the implementation of CATs.

“I think this is a very good programme for students, especially those in the rural areas who are less exposed to the English language,” he told a press conference after an explanation session on the English Language Education Implementation Strategy Towards Students’ Proficiency, here, today.

Also present were CMEDT executive chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and Education Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad.

Mahdzir said the CATs design was developed by CMEDT and ready for use. In fact, he added, English Language teachers had been trained at the English Language Training Centre (ELTC), Education Ministry, to implement the programme.

Meanwhile, ELTC director Dr Mohamed Abu Bakar said CATs functioned as an additional English Language teaching and learning method involving nine levels of mastery at the primary and secondary school levels.

“Students’ English Language proficiency will be tested from one level to another and if they can master all the nine levels, that means their proficiency is very good.

“When students have completed the nine levels of learning in primary school, they will start again from the first level in secondary school,” he said.


Read more @

Be courageous, Perak Sultan tells judges

Saturday, March 18th, 2017
Arifin (left) with Sultan Nazrin.

Arifin (left) with Sultan Nazrin.

KUALA LUMPUR: The country needs courageous judges to instil confidence in the judicial system so that the institution remains respected, said Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.

Describing the current situation in the country as “challenging”, the Perak Ruler said it was crucial to ensure that the public has a high and clear regard of the judiciary.

“We live in challenging times, in which our institutions sometimes seem to be under threat.

“More than ever, we need courageous and fair-minded judges to instil confidence that the judicial system remains sacrosanct in guarding the rights, interests and liberty of all,” Sultan Nazrin said in his address at the launch of the book “Justice Above All: Selected judgments of Tun Arifin Zakaria with commentaries”.

The book was launched in conjunction with the upcoming retirement of Arifin as Malaysia’s 13th Chief Justice.

Arifin was sworn in as Chief Justice on Sept 12, 2011, taking over the position from Tun Zaki Azmi.

Sultan Nazrin added that judges must be independent, impartial and have integrity.

He said judges must also strive relentlessly to dispense justice in accordance with the Rule of Law, which among others provides the foundation for economic growth and progress.

“By providing fair and prompt judicial decisions on matters concerning the enforcement of commercial rights, a well-functioning judicial system helps to promote a competitive and attractive economic climate in the country.

Read more @

Book corners bring out the reader in pupils.

Saturday, March 18th, 2017
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) treasurer Wendy Cheah and the organiser of the reading corners at SRJK (C) Puay Chai 2, Bandar Utama

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) treasurer Wendy Cheah and the organiser of the reading corners at SRJK (C) Puay Chai 2, Bandar Utama

WITH children increasingly losing interest in reading, the parents of SJKC Puay Chai 2 pupils in Bandar Utama decided to put together three reading corners within the school compound.

The reading corners meant to cultivate the habit were set up about three months ago and are placed strategically in the foyer, outside the library and the activity hall.

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) treasurer Wendy Cheah said children nowadays were more likely to indulge in digital games even when they eat.

Year 1 and 2 pupils being entertained at the launch of the reading corners.

Year 1 and 2 pupils being entertained at the launch of the reading corners

“We have placed the books in such a way that the covers face out to attract the children to pick them up,” said Cheah.

“In November last year, we conducted a pilot study by putting old copies of the Young Scientist magazine on the shelves.

“Surprisingly, about 30 to 40 of them huddled around the shelves to read,” said Cheah, who is the brains behind this initiative.

“Following the successful, we were willing to spend about RM8,000 on shelves and renovations to set up the reading corners,” she added.

Since then, many parents have sponsored the books, for which school principal Pang Lai Cheun is grateful.

Read more @

14 from SMK Tawau get excellent results

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

TAWAU: Fourteen students of SMK Tawau achieved excellent results in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2016 examination, with Mohd Syafiz Qayyum Jamihil @ Jamil one of the best students in Sabah for obtaining 6A+ and 4A’s.

Mohd Syafiz Qayyum, who was accompanied by the school headmistress, Fitriani Binti Wahid, flew to Kota Kinabalu to receive his certificate from the Education Ministry Thursday.

The other 13 top scorers were Endry Yusuf Mohd Ali (1A+, 4A, 5A-), Ho Li Vun (3A+, 5A, 2A-, 1B+), Muhammad Fadlih Baharudin (3A+, 4A, 2A-,1B), Muhammad Ismula Ikhwn Kassim (2A+, 3A, 4A-), Zainab Yusuf (3A+, 4A, 2A-, 1B+), Nur’ Nashatul Abu Bakar (5A+, 4A), Nur Farah Ain Natasha Nicholas (5A, 4A-,1B), Sim Shiang Yung (1A+, 6A, 1A-, 1B+, 1B), Nur Fadillah Mohamad@Dukah (4A, 4A-,1C+), Nur Syahirah Alim (7A, 1A-, 1B+), Nur Fatimah Yusran (4A+, 3A, 1A-, 2B+), Nur Anis Syahirah Ashari (2A+, 4A, 2A-, 2B+) and  Aida Farhana Alias (6A, 2A-, 1C+).

The school has achieved an overall passing rate of 96.25 per cent (GPS 4.19) in SPM 2016 compared to 94.27 per cent (GPS 4.52) in 2015.

The number of candidates who sat for SPM 2016 was 293.

“I urge the candidates for SPM 2017 to study diligently in order to obtain excellent results in the examinations,” Endry said.

Ho said that all students should have their own target in order to achieve excellent results.

Having a clear target is very important to achieve their ambition in the future.

Meanwhile, six students of SM Holy Trinity, Tawau, scored excellent results in their SPM 2016 with an overall school passing rate of 81.31 per cent compared to 78.89 per cent in 2015.

The school excellent headmistress, Chow Yuet Lee, said there were 112 candidates who sat for the SPM and only 87 of them passed.

The overall school average grade (GPS) was 5.69, a slight increase of 0.14 from 5.83 in 2015.

The top scorers were Nur Jannah Binti Sarkansah (straight 10As), Rashiema Nurfarain Binti Rasid (8A’s), Mimi Khairunnisa Binti Zachary (8A’s), Macklern Norbert (5A’s), Nur Syahirah Bt Suriansah (5A’s) and Tsen Jing Jing (5A’s).

Read more @

Call to inculcate anti-drug culture in youngsters

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Liew and the committee after the meeting.

TAWAU: An ‘anti-drug’ culture should be inculcated among youngsters starting from primary school as they can fall prey to drug abuse regardless of age.

The chairman of Tawau Drugs Restoration Committee (DRC), Tan Sri Datuk Liew Yun Fah said drugs not only influenced 50 to 60-year-olds, but also primary school pupils nowadays.

For instance, the 19-year-old girl who tested positive for drug abuse when she drove against traffic on the PLUS highway in Peninsula and killed 26-year-old father-to-be, Mohd Fandi, recently.

“This incident might become our wake up call to step away from drugs. Everyone should take responsibility to ensure drugs are eliminated without relying on certain parties.

Read more @

EKSA to be expanded to Sabah schools

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Ravia (second left) was very satisfied with the conducive environment of the school library.

TAMBUNAN: State Education director Datuk Hajah Maimunah Haji Suhaibul said that expanding the Ecosystem Conducive Public Sector (EKSA) to schools throughout the state is in line with the success of the department that obtained the 5S certification from MAMPU in 2011 and 2013.

She said this step continued at all district education offices across the state and has successfully achieved EKSA certification from MAMPU in 2014.

“We are very proud of this achievement because the state Education Department was the first to successfully gain the 5S recognition and EKSA certification and best practices should be extended to schools throughout the state,” she said when launching the EKSA program for secondary and primary schools here at SM St Martin on Thursday.

Maimunah’s speech was read by the Head of Information Management and ICT Sector of the State Education Department, Ravia Sylvester.

Maimunah said the expansion of EKSA to schools will get started with 24 primary schools and 24 secondary schools across the state.

However, she said several schools had already received recognition from EKSA andcertification of MAMPU with proactive action, tenacious efforts on guidance from the District Education Office and Lift Sector respectively.

“I am sure a lot of challenges and obstacles were faced by the four schools, but they finally gained EKSA certification from MAMPU.

“The schools that we are proud of are SMKA Tun Ahmad Shah Kota Kinabalu, SMKA Mohammad Ali Ranau, SM St Michael Penampang and SMKA Kota Kinabalu,” she said.

According to her, the schools selected for expansion should emulate the four schools that have successfully acquired the certification of EKSA from MAMPU.

She said the main components of EKSA based practice in 5S (Aside, Arrange, Sweep, Standardize and Always Practice) have been improved with the addition of elements of corporate image, creativity and innovation, green practices, conducive environment and the diversity of the agency.

“In the context of 21st century education is emphasized in the Malaysian Education Development Plan (2013-2025), a conducive learning environment will help improve the quality of learning and teaching in the classroom.

“Practicing EKSA will help the efficiency of management at the school level as the benefits of EKSA implementation are outlined such as improved quality of service to customers, a more cheerful workplace atmosphere, cost savings, increased creativity and innovation, an increased level of safety and increase the spirit of teamwork,” she said.

Maimunah said based on the benefits and positive impact as well as the consistent implementation of EKSA with slogan, JPN Sabah No. 1 Leading Change, the management review meeting (MKSP) of State Education Department last year, held on November 21 decided that EKSA should be extended to schools throughout the state.

She said the 48 pilot schools will be exposed, guided and audited before the assessment is implemented from MAMPU.

According to her, to ensure this aspiration is achieved, the State Education Department through its Lift Sector and the District Education Office will make sure this aspiration can be implemented in schools according to the plan based on the PDCA cycle so that targeted schools managed to get recognition and EKSA certification.

by Johan Aziz.

Read more @

SPM: Sabah scores better

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah recorded a state average grade (GPN) of 5.64 for the 2016 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), bettering its 2015 achievement.

State Education Director Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul said in 2015, Sabah had recorded a GPN of 5.66, which is an improvement of 0.02. The lower the points, the better.

In 2016, a total of 33,581 candidates sat for the examination compared to 31,691 students in 2015.

The number of students who passed all subjects also witnessed an increase of 0.16 per cent with 16,321 candidates or 48.6 per cent compared to 15,352 candidates or 48.44 per cent in 2015.

However, the number of students scoring all As (A+, A and A-) dipped from 142 in 2015 to only 113 last year.

“A total of 57 subjects were sat by SPM candidates in 2016 in Sabah. Of this number, we managed to maintain a 100 per cent pass in 24 subjects.

“Among these subjects are Literature in English, English for Science and Technology, Automobile Servicing, Motorcycle Servicing, Multimedia Production and Computer Graphics,” she said during the announcement of the results at SMK Agama Tun Ahmadshah, near here, Thursday.

Her text was read by Deputy State Education Director Datuk Dr Mohd Kassim Mohd Ibrahim.

According to her, four core subjects – Bahasa Melayu, English, Islamic Studies and Science – also charted an improvement in the Subject Average Grade (GPMP).

The other three core subjects, namely Moral Studies, History and Mathematics, had witnessed a GPMP decrease.

She named SM Sains Kota Kinabalu with a School Average Grade of 2.49 as the best school, while SM Sains Lahad Datu (2.50) and SM St Michael, Penampang (2.50) rounded off the top three.

SMK Agama Tun Ahmadshah, Kota Kinabalu which registered 3.44, SM Ugama Islamiah, Tawau (3.44), SMK Perempuan, Sandakan (3.67), SMK Agama Kota Kinabalu (3.73), Sekolah Sukan Malaysia Sabah (3.86), SMA Al-Irsyadiah Marakau Ranau (3.97) and SMK Agama Ranau (3.99) completed the list of top 10 best schools in Sabah.

SMK Agaseh Lahad Datu’s Gan Min Hong topped the list of best students in Sabah with 8A+ and 3A, followed by Aerissa Hui Yan Yue (7A+, 2A, 2A-) from SM Sung Siew Sandakan in second place.

Read more @

Reaffirming Constitutional supremacy

Friday, March 17th, 2017

LAST week a Roundtable Discussion was organised by Perkasa, the Malay rights pressure group, to examine the “Rukunegara Muqaddimah Perlembagaan” (RMP) proposal by a citizens’ group to convert our Rukunegara into our Constitution’s Preamble.

Perkasa concluded that the RMP campaign “would be detrimental to Malay and Bumiputra interests”.

To begin with, Perkasa should be congratulated for the peaceful, democratic and civilised manner in which it put its views forward. In the past we have had individuals and groups resorting to threats of violence, rape and intimidation against people with differing views.

However, the substance of what was said at the Perkasa confabulation deserves examination.

Motives: One learned speaker alleged that those who support this RMP initiative have a hidden agenda. In reply, I wish to say two things. First, this demonisation is a game two can play. In reciprocity one could ask whether there are some inarticulate agendas in the RMP opponents’ minds since they are questioning our nation’s venerated ideology, denigrating it and depicting it as a threat to Islam and Bumiputra rights.

One must not forget that the Rukunegara was formulated by a council headed by Tun Abdul Razak whose concern for Malay empowerment can hardly be doubted. The council was composed of many towering, iconic personalities from all races, religions and regions.

The Rukunegara’s teachings have been drilled into our children’s minds for 47 years. Suddenly, a group of patriots are finding the Rukunegara’s principles and objectives a hidden threat to their well-being and a contradiction with some core provisions of the Constitution!

In fact, the Rukunegara and the Federal Constitution complement each other. A greater understanding of the Rukunegara will restore, not weaken the Constitution.

Second, there is nothing hidden about the aims of the RMP initiative. The aims are to reassert the supremacy of the Constitution by adding to it the wisdom of the Rukunegara; to restore the spirit of moderation, accommodation and multi-culturalism that animated the leaders of our independence; to promote greater federal-state comity especially in relation to Sabah and Sarawak; and to express concern at the decline of national consensus on major issues.

Constitutional supremacy: The Constitution is our chart and compass and our sail and anchor. Regrettably, many post-1990 constitutional practices (like State Assemblies trespassing into federal legislative jurisdiction; or the ecclesiastical authorities of one religion raiding the places of worship of another religion) undermine constitutional supremacy. These practices also violate the ideals of the Rukunegara.

Moderation: Though with some flaws, our Constitution was a masterpiece of compromise, compassion and moderation. It provided a rock-solid foundation for our society’s hitherto exemplary political stability, economic prosperity and inter-communal peace and harmony. Undermining the Constitution has weakened our social fabric.

Preamble cannot override Article 153: A retired Chief Justice is reported to have expressed the opinion that “all laws, regulations, orders and executive actions which give privileges to Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak will be unconstitutional and void the minute the Rukunegara becomes the preamble”.

Most respectfully, this view is legally incredible and politically inflammatory. First, a preamble can never override explicit provisions of the Constitution. A preamble by itself is not legally enforceable and cannot be made the basis of a legal claim. It consists of glittering generalities, broad and sweeping statements that encapsulate the ideals and aspirations contained in the Constitution.

Read more @