Archive for July, 2017

SIDMA College Semester June 2017 New Students Completed their EEP.

Monday, July 31st, 2017

The Semester June 2017 English Enhancement Programme (EEP) for SIDMA College student was recently completed. Although the programme was being conducted during SIDMA College 7 weeks short semester, the 67 new students who were selected to participate in the EEP managed to complete their 28 contact hours of “ACE English” programme; a specially tailor-made English Enhancement  Programme to improve student’s academic English skills. It focuses on improving the four basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing through engaging and interactive lessons both in and out of the classroom environment.

SIDMA College’s EEP is fully funded by SIDMA College through Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Founder and Chairman SIDMA College) Corporate Social Responsibilities’ (CSR) and was conducted with the collaboration by various departments such as the Students Affair Department (STAD), Property Administration Department (PAD), Finance Department, Information Technology and Media Department, Academic Department and others.

Madam Jenifah Abdullah, a former Senior English Language Officer with the Sabah State Education Department, who has the privilege to attend and has conducted numerous intensive English Language Teaching and Learning courses at state, national and international level during her past 38 years of services; has been hand-picked by SIDMA Board of Management to develop various study modules for the programme. For this June 2017 semester students, she added outdoor learning environment whereby students were given opportunities to use English in informal setting outside the classroom, such as while in the college’s bus, in the Sabah State Museum, shopping malls, and more.

Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Founder and Chairman, SIDMA College) who was the guest of honour during the Closing and Certificate Presentation Ceremony, was amazed by the presentation put forth by the participants of the programme. A video recording of some of the activities conducted were recorded and shown during the ceremony and Dr Morni praised the students for their effort to use English, but advised them that they should be more careful in using words which they don’t really understand or has no related meaning. No proper learning will take place if they simply speak the English word just because they have to complete the programme and ignore it after completing it. Overall, he praised them for their effort to try to use English, but they need to maximise on their understanding on the meaning from their English usage.

He took the opportunity to thank the various departments who have collaborated and contributed to ensure the successful implementation of the programmes which indirectly assisted our students’ learning and thus elevate the good name of the college for producing graduates with high proficiency of English.

Dr Morni particularly praised Madam Jenifah for her willingness and readiness to share her experiences and knowledge with the college students and he hoped that the students will find the importance of mastering the fluency of English which indirectly will also encourage their future studies and learning to use English more frequently and in a correct manner.

Earlier, Madam Jenifah, in her welcoming address thanked the various managers, particularly Mr Terence B Stephen (STAD), Madam Nancy Pishori (PAD), Mr Iwan (IT), Madam Rukidah (Finance), and Mr Louis Jais (Academic) for the collaboration on ensuring the success of the programme despite it being held during short semester. She also congratulated the students for their commitment to improve their English and performance well in this college.

Christer Munlook, student representative, on behalf of all the students conveyed their sincere appreciation to Madam Puan Jenifah for her time, effort and her personal contributions to motivate their English mastery. On behalf of the students he too hope that there will be a continuation on advance English courses for them to further improve their English usage.

Also present during the closing ceremony were Puan Azizah Khalid Merican (CEO) and Mr Louis Jais (Academic Manager).

Read more @ http://www.sabah.sidma.edu.my/sidma2010/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=900:sidma-college-semester-june-2017-new-students-completed-their-eep&catid=3:latest-news&Itemid=0

“Financial Intelligence Programme” for SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah Students.

Monday, July 31st, 2017

SIDMA College collaborated with CIMB Foundation and GEM Systems Sdn Bhd to conduct a financial literacy training programme for SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah students at SIDMA College on 25 and 26 July 2017. The programme, being the first of its kind, is aimed at providing fundamental financial literacy programme to Malaysian youths especially towards for SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah students. Realizing the importance of the programme, Mr Terence B. Stephen (Acting Head, Student Affairs Department (STAD) and assisted by the Student Representative Council (SRC) identified more than 70 candidates to receive first-hand information from the event. These students are expected to cascade their knowledge to all the college students through various group gathering sessions to be held throughout the year.

Key speakers of the event, Ms Syamsiah  Hamdin  (GEM Systems Sdn Bhd, Kuching) and Ms Christine Chan (GEM System Sdn Bhd, Kuala Lumpur) stressed that the basic focus of the training is to equip participants with a wide range of money management lessons such as delayed gratification, goal setting with Financial IQ, Risk Assessment and Profiling, Property Investment, Debt Management, Financial Lifestyles Changes, Unit Trust Investments, Wealth Multiplier Lifestyle, Budgeting and Tracking, Share Investments, Financial and Investment Planning, and more; for the participants to prepare themselves and able to move forward a smooth and successful  life journey especially upon getting their own salary/income.

The two days’ workshop kicked-off with the speakers highlighting some statistical figures on the current Bankruptcy rate in our country, and encouraged the participants to reflect their current lifestyle financial management, as well to orient themselves and make the necessary lifestyle changes needed in order to be more financially independent; thus indirectly mitigating the growing number of bankruptcy among youths today.

The workshop itself is both engaging and entertaining as it combines very fundamental interactive lectures with fun simulation games such as Property Investment Games, Unit Trusts Investment Game, Shares Investment Game, and more; and the participants reacted positively throughout the two days’ workshop.

Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Founder and Chairman, SIDMA College) during the closing session thanked the programme coordinator, Ms Julia Layam Empari (GEM Systems Sdn Bhd) for the comprehensive module and the very informative training programme. BeSMART Financial Intelligence Programme is a very recently launched programme, and till to date, only 9 of such training sessions have been conducted for Sabah and Sarawak by GEM Systems Sdn Bhd; and Dr Morni thanked Ms Julia for giving priority to SIDMA College Sabah and Sarawak for being among the first 9 centres in the region to receive such training.

He also conveyed his special appreciation to Mr David Lo (Manager, CIMB Bundusan Branch) and Ms Siti for their valuable time to present themselves during the plenary discussion on related local financial issues with the workshop participants. Dr Morni also conveyed his thanks to Mr Abdul Rashid Abd Rahman (CIMB Foundation Coordinator) for the holistic financial literacy programme to facilitate and shaping the Malaysian youths of today.

Dr Morni also took this golden opportunity to emphasize to the participants on the management and the usage of their PTPTN study loan, and later when starting their career, plan on proper usage of their salary as well as the settlement of their study loan, and other related loan before incurring into more debts such as on expensive car, house loan and more.

He also thanked Mr Terence for the smooth coordination of the event and congratulated the students for being selected to participate in this dynamic event. He hoped these students will be cascading this very important to the other students efficiently.

He also announced that Bank Negara Malaysia will be conducting the first of its kind Financial Carnival at Suria Sabah Shopping Mall  from 4th – 6th August 2017, to further educate and expose the general public on proper financial management. He added that SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah will participate in the programme, and that majority of the participants are expected to be selected from the current participants based on certain criteria to be determine by STAD.

Most of the event participants found the programme very useful and important as it has equip them with the right knowledge, habits and mind-set on how to take charge of their finances and achieve financial independence. They all hope that they be given opportunities to attend more of such future courses.

Read more @ http://www.sabah.sidma.edu.my/sidma2010/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=899:financial-intelligence-programme-for-sidma-college-unitar-sabah-students&catid=3:latest-news&Itemid=0

‘Tourism tax should be for tourists’

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The exemption of Malaysians from paying Tourism Tax is as it should be because going by its name it should only be imposed on tourists.

Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI) President Datuk Michael Lui welcomed Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz’s statement that Malaysians are exempted from paying tourism tax.

The announcement came after weeks of debate over the wisdom and necessity of the tax which, in its original form, was imposed on accommodation premises from hostels to five-star hotels.

“Consistent with the definition of the tourism tax it should only be imposed on tourists instead of Malaysians,” said Lui.

Lui suggested that instead of imposing RM10 per room per night on foreign tourists at all types of accommodation premises, the RM10tourism tax should be exempted for those staying at accommodation rated three-star and below.

The tourists staying at four-star accommodation premises and above would have to pay tourism tax of RM10 per room per night.

“This move can ensure our global competitiveness in tourism, and to boost the Sabah tourism industry which is one of the main economic contributors to the state.”

Lui added that the plan to return RM1 for every RM10 in tax per room per night collected to the state government is too little for the purpose of promoting tourism in the state.

“KKCCCI would like to suggest that RM10 collected to be equally shared between the federal and state governments to develop tourism.”

He also urged the Tourism and Culture Ministry to accept the proposal made by both Sabah and Sarawak governments to defer the implementation date to April 2018. This is important for the operators to have enough time to install the system, and the custom authority to set up the mechanism.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/17363

Easy for bilingual kids to pick up another language.

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

TWO-year-old Summer Tan spends her afternoons watching English cartoons and reading Chinese storybooks with her mother.

Exposed to both languages, the energetic tot effortlessly switches between English and Mandarin when she speaks.

Science says she stands to benefit from this ability.

Bilingual infants such as Summer are able to learn a third language more easily, a study by the National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers has found.

They are able to differentiate between words from an unknown foreign language, unlike their monolingual counterparts.

“That suggests that the window on further language acquisition had started to close on monolingual children but was very much open for the bilingual children,” said Leher Singh from the NUS Department of Psychology.

During the nine-month study, infants who were solely exposed to English and those who knew English and Mandarin were exposed to the southern African language, Ndebele.

In one experiment, the 40 infants are shown an image and at the same time read a Ndebele word.

After that, they are shown the same image but this time a different word is read out to them.

The bilingual children detected the change in sound while the monolingual children did not.

The conclusion was made using a method that tracks the time that they spent looking at an object on a computer screen while the word was read out to them. More fixation time when the tone changed reflects a surprised response, indicating that they were sensitive to the differences.

The finding, published in scientific journal Child Development in May, further supports the theory that exposing children to two languages at the same time has cognitive benefits.

An earlier study by Singh and her team found that bilingual babies can master the rules of each language faster than monolingual babies.

A child learns a language fastest from birth to the age of three, and in the past people used to think teaching a child two languages at the same time would hamper the early learning process for both languages, said Singh.

She added: “This study suggests parents trying to raise bilingual children shouldn’t worry about that, and in fact we should be aware of the fact that it is beneficial to children.”

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/07/23/easy-for-bilingual-kids-to-pick-up-another-language/#2A2PHpEEvFRQuwW5.99

Science, a must for country to reach greater heights.

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

THE public and media practitioners must encourage the younger generation to have a love for science so that the national aspiration of becoming a developed country can be realised.

Chairman of the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Move-ment Prof Datuk Dr Noraini Idris said in order to become a developed nation, the country needed to produce at least 5,000 graduates a year.

“However, going by the enrolment into the pure science stream, there is a shortage (of students) in the schools for STEM.

“The shortage in the schools would lead to a shortage at the university level because one of the contributory factors is the negative perception about STEM, and a lack of interest,” she said in her speech at the recent launch of the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) Cluster and Foster Schools Carnival and N9 STEM@ Nilai.

The event was launched by Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah. Also present was USIM deputy vice-chancellor (Academic and International) Prof Datuk Dr Zulkiple Abd Ghani.

Noraini also said under the national education policy, there was a need for 60% of students joining the science stream while the remaining 40% for the non-science streams.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/07/23/science-a-must-for-country-to-reach-greater-heights/#vKjhQYBJUggWqhgB.99

Company renews support for STEM initiatives

Saturday, July 29th, 2017
Kamalanathan (fifth from left) sharing a light moment with Prof Yang Farina (left), Graham (third from right) and International Mathematical Olympiad secretariat at PermataPintar director Prof Datuk Dr. Noriah Mohd Ishak (fourth from right).

Kamalanathan (fifth from left) sharing a light moment with Prof Yang Farina (left), Graham (third from right) and International Mathematical Olympiad secretariat at PermataPintar director Prof Datuk Dr. Noriah Mohd Ishak (fourth from right).

EXXONMOBIL is renewing its support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives in Malaysia with a RM250,000 contribution to the 2017 National Science Challenge, as well as sponsoring RM120,000 for the Malaysian delegation competing in this year’s International Mathematical Olympiad held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

During the cheque presentation ceremony recently, ExxonMobil Subsidiaries in Malaysia chairman Edward Graham said: “In the energy industry where demand continues to increase, STEM experts are highly sought after to create solutions for tomorrow.

“By participating in programmes such as the National Science Challenge and the International Mathematical Olympiad, we are able to give students a chance to gain additional exposure and experience that extends beyond the classroom environment.

“This allows students amazing opportunities to further enrich their STEM knowledge and to also develop soft skills, which are useful when interacting with others and working in groups,” he added.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P Kamalanathan said problem-solving skills, the ability to gather and evaluate evidence, and making use of information can be learnt through STEM education.

“STEM education is widely acknowledged as a need for a nation to be successful in today’s highly competitive and globalised digital economy,” he added.

Unfortunately, he added, according to the ministry’s data in 2014, only 46.7% of students are opting for the science stream at the secondary and tertiary school levels.

This is the reverse of the target to have a 60:40 ratio of science and technical stream students to arts students.

He said it is “too late” to be promoting STEM in secondary schools as students start narrowing down their interests while in primary school.

Kamalanathan said that by using fun learning methods, teachers can draw primary school pupils to the sciences.

To encourage more students to take up the challenge and participate in STEM competitions or at least spark an interest in the sciences, National Science Challenge Steering Committee chairman and Academy of Sciences Malaysia fellow Prof Dr Yang Farina Abdul Aziz said teachers need to be just as excited and enthusiastic about STEM in the classroom

This year marks the 28th edition of the National Science Challenge, organised by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.

By REBECCA RAJAENDRAM
Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/07/23/company-renews-support-for-stem-initiatives/#czcKWCZ0GowihGB0.99

Test shows no rural-urban gap in computational thinking.

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

CYBERJAYA: Pupils in rural schools perform just as well as their urban counterparts when it comes to computational thinking.

According to the digital competency standards test administered by the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), there was no rural-urban gap, or even a gender gap, when it came to digital competency.

“Initially, you can say the rural pupils are not on a level playing field,” said MDEC vice-president for talent and digital entrepreneurship Sumitra Nair.

“But we found out that they actually catch on very quickly.”

The test was conducted after the new curriculum, which embeds computational thinking and computer science modules, was introduced in 25 schools in 2015.

“It will continue to be administered in batches after the curriculum is expanded to all schools this year,” Sumitra said.

She explained that the test was created to evaluate pupils in three domains: technology, cognitive and digital citizenship.

“The first one involves operations such as save, copy and paste.

Way of the future: Sumitra showing the computational thinking and computer science modules for coding that will be introduced into the national school syllabus.

Way of the future: Sumitra showing the computational thinking and computer science modules for coding that will be introduced into the national school syllabus.

“The second one is on problem solving.

“The third one is on doing the right things online – ethically, safely and responsibly.

“For example, crediting the source when you do a search; how to determine what is a credible source; when you share your information with others, and when you do not,” she said.

Sumitra said there was no major negative feedback since the curriculum was rolled out to all primary schools seven months ago.

“We have to adapt as we go along. As we learn what works and what doesn’t, we have to keep fixing it.

“What is most important is the commitment.

“The goal is to ensure our future generation is ready for the future workforce,” she said.

Sumitra added that apart from jobs in the ICT industry, doctors and even engineers would soon need to have advanced computational thinking skills.

“It is not going to be a silver bullet that will solve everything, but I think we have to make a start, and that is the important thing,” she said.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/07/29/test-shows-no-ruralurban-gap-in-computational-thinking/#6F8pSGleq2qRKEbT.99

Prepping for a STEM-pede: Igniting interest in the education pipeline

Saturday, July 29th, 2017
University students can help inspire interest in STEM among school children.

MUCH has been said about how STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is critical for the nation in terms of wealth creation and global competitiveness.

Defined as disciplines of knowledge consisting of science (physics, chemistry and biology) and mathematics with the integration of various technologies and engineering, STEM incorporates all the technologies collectively considered core underpinnings of an advanced society.

The strength of the STEM workforce is often viewed as an indicator of a nation’s ability to sustain itself and Malaysia, in its Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (Preschool to Post-Secondary Education), has set the roadmap for strengthening delivery of STEM across the education system.

This is being done via three measures: raising student interest through new learning approaches and an enhanced curriculum; sharpening skills and abilities of teachers; and building public and student awareness.

Despite the plan and efforts put into various STEM programmes since 1967, the 60:40 ratio for Science/Technical and Arts Policy has never been achieved — neither at school nor, subsequently, tertiary level.

There is also the STEM paradox where many believe despite having a STEM-based qualification, there is no guarantee there will be suitable jobs requiring their skills in the employment market upon graduation.

The National STEM Movement, headed by representatives of several universities in Malaysia as well as those from the Education, Higher Education and Science, Technology and Innovation Ministries, aims to drive the passion in fundamental subjects in STEM, nurture excellent scientists for the country and develop a career path for scientists.

Its chairman, Professor Datuk Dr Noraini Idris, who is the deputy vice-chancellor (research and innovation) of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, said currently — like the rest of the world — Malaysia is faced with various challenges in the STEM issue.

“Young children are no longer keen on science. This leads to a decreased number of students taking up science at secondary school level. With a poor population at secondary school, by the time they get to university there isn’t enough supply of good and talented science students to be trained in STEM fields,” she said.

Today only 27 per cent of students in the entire education system in Malaysia are in the science stream, said Noraini. “We are lagging far behind in science and mathematics at secondary school level as observed in international assessment studies. Math and science encourages logical thinking — what concerns us is the poor critical thinking skills among students. While UPSR is trying to encourage it through a different exam format, the results are still wanting. How are we then to have the talents with exploratory minds that could harness knowledge in STEM to transform the country into a high income nation,” she shared.

And why the ardent concern on producing a STEM workforce?

Data from Academy of Sciences Malaysia show that a total of 1 million people are required by 2020 to be in the science and technology fields: 500,000 in support and services comprising technicians, those in the vocational field, science officers, nurses and ICT personnel; 470,000 implementors like engineers, doctors and architects as well as well as scientists, technologists and applied scientists; and 30,000 in research.

“The type of nurses that we want, for example, is not those who obtained a diploma or degree — they must be thinker nurses also. Doctors will not be able to observe patients every second as they’ll focus on the critical cases first. So, nurses need to have a strong science base to think critically and be good at problem solving. With a workforce of a high knowledge base like these, they will be able to help the department, the organisation or the country move to greater heights,” she illustrated.

The pipeline for STEM starts from the cradle right up to career, Noraini highlighted.

“So that means as academics at tertiary level, we lecturers have to go down and carry out campaigns on STEM to educate our people. When we talk about science, we must learn about physics, chemistry and biology even at kindergarten and the primary school level. We must be strong in math. Of course, the focus will be different at those levels. STEM provides the basis for inquiry, exploration, innovation… When we do sciences, we don’t necessarily become doctors or engineers — we can become entrepreneurs, successful corporate heads, innovators, policy makers and more with the knowledge of sciences. This is the thing we want to impart — through knowledge of STEM, we can do a lot of things,” she said.

The National STEM Movement has introduced numerous initiatives.

“We are now in the midst of designing a STEM Career Portal. The general public — parents and students — need to know there are a variety of careers in STEM other than the traditional ones. For example, Malaysia is surrounded by the ocean — we can learn a lot of things from our environment and turn this learning into a future career based on marine sciences,” she said.

The National STEM Movement have already begun to organise the Malaysian Young Scientist Competition fashioned after the US Science Competition. “This is carried out at every state. Other than teachers, university students play a role as advisors or coaches. We want more collaborators to help to encourage and inspire people to take up science,” Noraini said.

The movement has also organised the Malaysian STEM Colloquium in a number of states with the next one to be held in Johor in September. “Although there is a university coordinator for the event in every state, we welcome others to join. These colloquium do not only highlight pure sciences, we also link STEM to the arts and social science. In Kelantan, STEM dikir barat was performed and in Melaka, STEM was featured in a Hang Tuah setting,” said Noraini.

She is particularly excited about the National STEM Mentor-Mentee Programme that involves facilitators from the National STEM movement, mentors comprising science students from universities, and mentees who are students from Form 1 to 3 — with one mentor assigned to five mentees.

The programme involves both rural and secondary secondary schools as well as public universities in all states.

“We expose the students to the wonders of science and also university environment. Our key performance indicator is that after undergoing the programme, each school involved will set up more pure science classes for those interested. Because this has just started, we need more manpower from public and private universities and also industry partners to help us out,” she said.

On the perceived inability of some STEM graduates to gain employment, Noraini said universities now have to relook at the courses being offered in STEM areas.

“What we see is that many universities are offering the same courses. What if the programmes that we are designing do not match with the real world situation? We have to study properly what is the area of concern and whether this suggests that multidisciplinary STEM courses should be introduced. That is why when we design a curriculum, we need to discuss thoroughly with the industry partners,” she said.

Dr Logendra Ponniah, Taylor’s University head of School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said when discussing STEM, many educators do not focus on its intrinsic values of problem solving ability, critical thinking ability, inquiry and so forth.

“It is the competency of the person that is acquired through a STEM-based education; an engineer, for example, will make a systematic thinker and planner who can conceive engineering design principles that are widely used in many industries.

If you look at the CEOs of today, many of them have STEM education and they subsequently moved on to management. And they attribute their thinking style to their STEM education. So parents and educators must align: constantly emphasise that STEM is not a body of knowledge, it is a kind of thinking, and it is not a professional engagement. And if teachers can emphasise competency more than knowledge, I think we stand a second chance in the future,” he said.

Professor Emerita Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman, Malaysia’s first astrophysicist and the founding director of the Malaysian National Space Agency observed that unemployment among science and engineering degree holders does exist.

By ROZANA SANI.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2017/07/260862/prepping-stem-pede-igniting-interest-education-pipeline

Corporate Sector Involvement In Schools Welcomed – Kamalanathan

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

BATANG KALI, July 28 (Bernama) — The Education Ministry welcomes the active involvement of the corporate sector in development of schools in Malaysia, said its Deputy Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan.

He said such smart partnership was not just for infrastructure-building but also other aspects such as education, welfare and so on.

“We have more than 10,000 schools, and of these, 2,000 are secondary schools, so all types of aid can be given to them, especially those in the rural areas.

“Maybe there are companies which want to improve the electricity supply, upgrade the fields and paint the buildings. There are so many ways to help. Just communicate with the ministry and we will give you the list of the schools and inform you what kind of help is needed,” he said.

Kamalanathan was speaking to reporters after closing the ‘Samsung Employee Volunteer Programme’ at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Syed Mashor here today.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=1376862

Restoring judicial power

Friday, July 28th, 2017
Legal balance and harmony is maintained in line with the doctrine of separation of powers because legislative power is vested in Parliament, while executive power is vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong acting upon advice. FILE PIC

WHEN our Federal Constitution came into force on Merdeka Day, Article 121 stated: “The judicial power of the Federation shall be vested in a Supreme Court and such inferior courts as may be provided by federal law.”

Legal balance and harmony was maintained in line with the doctrine of separation of powers because legislative power is vested in Parliament (Article 44), while executive power is vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong acting upon advice (Article 39).

The objective of this important constitutional doctrine (originally attributed to French political philosopher de Montesquieu) is that no single arm (organ) of the government shall completely dominate the other. However, absolute separation of powers does not exist here because some of our members of parliament are also, at the same time, members of the administration (in the executive branch of the government).

Subsequent events in our constitutional history saw an erosion of this judicial power. This is evident upon our reading of Article 121 as it stands today, where the important words “judicial power… shall be vested” are now painfully missing. In plain language, the three arms or organs of our government are no longer at par.

Members of the legal fraternity and the judiciary were recently reminded of this segment of our legal history when the Federal Court handed down its remarkable decision in a land acquisition case known as “Semenyih Jaya Sdn Bhd v Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Hulu Langat” on April 20. The facts of the case are summarised below.

The appellant company owned a piece of land in Hulu Langat, Selangor. In January 1997, the company commenced construction for its industrial project known as “Kajang 181 Park”. Part of the land was then acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1960 (Act 486) for the purpose of constructing the Kajang-Seremban Highway. The appellant was in due course awarded compensation totaling RM20,862,281.75 — representing the sum of RM17,627,400.00 (the value of the land acquired) and RM3,234,881.75 (compensation for the loss suffered from the termination of the project). Unhappy with the amount, the appellant referred the case to the High Court.

At the High Court, the appellant submitted that the compensation awarded was inadequate because the Land Administrator (respondent) failed to consider the appellant’s “other claims” — namely, loss of profits and the costs and expenses arising out of the termination of its commercial project. The appellant submitted that he should be compensated for loss of profits in respect of the sale of the 57 units in the project, which had been concluded when the acquisition took place.

After hearing the submission of both parties, the High Court held that the appellant was also entitled to receive an additional compensation of RM1.16 million “for severance and injurious affection”, but its other claims for compensation were dismissed. Aggrieved by this decision, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal but the appeal was dismissed. The appellant then sought leave to appeal to the Federal Court. Six questions of law were framed for the decision of the Federal Court.

For the purpose of this short commentary on the issue of judicial power, focus is made only on question No. 3, which concerns the constitutional validity of Section 40D of Act 486.

According to Tan Sri Zainun Ali (the Federal Court judge who delivered the 87-page judgment of the court), the issue was whether Section 40D “contravenes Article 121(1) of the Federal Constitution, which declares that judicial power to decide a dispute brought before the courts is vested in the courts” (paragraph 24).

Explaining the history of Act 486, Zainun said that originally (before 1984), the duty of assessors (under Section 42 of the act) is only to assist the judge in determining the amount of compensation, while the power to determine it remains vested in the judge. When Act A575 came into force (on Jan 20, 1984), Sections 40-42 of Act 486 were deleted, thus, completely removing the role of the assessors. The role of the assessors was, however, restored by Act A999, which came into force on March 1, 1998.

She added that when the revised Section 40D came into force in 1988, a “sea change” took place because the assessors are now empowered to decide on the amount of compensation, their decision becoming final and non-appealable. Their original role (merely to assist the judge) has been transformed, as they have become “fact finders and adjudicators”, effectively usurping the judicial power of the court.

By SALLEH BUANG -

Read more @https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/07/261181/restoring-judicial-power