Archive for August, 2017

Azmin: Selangor policies responsible for SEA Games medal success.

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
PETALING JAYA: Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (pic) has attributed the success of Malaysian athletes from Selangor competing in the 29th SEA Games to the state’s programmes.

Azmin, in a statement on Tuesday, congratulated the Malaysian contingent for its outstanding performance in the games this year in achieving the targeted 111 gold medals.

“The success of the country in the 2017 SEA Games bore witness to 142 athletes from Selangor contributing 74 medals from 41 sporting events,” he said.

He highlighted that the athletes from Selangor achieved 31 gold, 23 silver and 20 bronze medals.

“The sterling performance of the Selangor athletes is the result of the Selangor state government’s sports development programme based on 2I concepts, which are ‘incorporate’ and ‘integrate’, in order to unearth new talent starting from the schooling stage.

“The achievement of Selangor’s athletes gives the state government confidence to further increase resources and manpower to continue the sports development programme with the 2I concepts, in order to produce high-performing athletes,” he said.

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SEA Games: Malaysia tops medal tally with 145th gold.

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is the best sporting nation in South-East Asia, topping the medal tally at the 2017 SEA Games (KL2017) with 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze medals.

Malaysia’s 145th and final gold of the games was won by the men’s speed skating quartet of Wong De-Vin, Ariff Rasydan Fadzli, Hazim Shahrum and Khairil Ridhwan Khalil, who finished ahead of second-placed Singapore.

With a total count of 323 medals, this is Malaysia’s best-ever finish in the history of the SEA Games.

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Child sexual abuse: Is the punishment deterrent enough?

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
The four defendants at the magistrate’s court in Kota Samarahan in June.

THE scene at the Sessions Court in Kota Samarahan was rather busy as reporters swarmed the complex, waiting for an important proceedings last Friday.

It was on that very day judge Marutin Pagan ended a six-year-long torment of a teenager and her younger sister from a village in Tebedu, near Serian, through his verdict against the girls’ grandfather, father and two uncles.

He had sentenced the four farmers, aged between 26 and 57, to 335 years of imprisonment after they pleaded guilty to 13 counts of committing incest with the victims between June 1, 2011 until last month.

The victims’ grandfather, father and the third defendant, the sisters’ 26-year-old uncle, were sentenced to 25 years’ jail for each offence.

The victims’ other uncle, 28, who faced four charges of having sexual intercourse with the sisters, was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment each for the first two charges and 30 years’ jail each for the other two charges.

All jail sentences for all of the accused were to run concurrently from the date of their arrest.

The four were also slapped with 24 strokes of the rotan each.

The older victim, who is 19, is 26 weeks’ pregnant. She was 13 when she became the object of lust of her grandfather, father and uncles.

Her younger sister is 14. Both victims have been placed at two protection shelters, supervised by the state Welfare Department.

As the department turns its focus to help the victims overcome the traumatic experience, the authorities were again confronted with a similar case involving a Form Three student of a religious school in Saratok.

The teenager, 15, confided in her school counsellor that she was raped on seven occasions by her father for the past three years. The father was arrested and has been remanded until Friday.

Preliminary investigations into the case, which is being probed under Section 376B of the Penal Code for incest, however, revealed a disturbing detail — the mother of the victim, who was the only child in the family, knew of her husband’s heinous act.

The woman claimed she turned a “blind eye” after she was threatened not to expose her husband’s wrongdoings.

Although there was no information how bad the threat was, the state’s statistics on domestic violence cases do not paint a good picture.

A total of 279 domestic violence cases were reported in 2015, and the figures drastically rose to 427 cases the following year. In the first seven months of this year, 323 cases have been reported.

The recurrence of sexual assault cases against children and teenagers by their own family members has sparked many arguments on social media.

Among the questions repeatedly asked was whether the present legislation is deterrent enough to set a lesson for others from committing the same offence.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said she personally believed that no punishment was equivalent to the crime committed by sexual offenders against their kin.

“Personally, I don’t think the punishments stipulated in the present law are enough to punish these irresponsible people.

“This is irrational. How can they do this to their own children? I don’t know what to say, I am angered by this.

“We (the ministry) have carried out campaigns promoting good parenting and creating awareness of sexual crimes against children, but these cases still persist. I am baffled,” said the  minister recently.

Nevertheless, Rohani said the government was doing everything in its power to punish offenders of sexual crimes against children.

Such commitment, she said, was reflected in the setting up of a special court for sexual crimes against children in Putrajaya on July 4.

The court helps the prosecution team establish stronger cases against those accused of committing such offences due to the nature of the court. Similar courts will also be established in every state soon.

The state government has also conducted two surveys to look for ways to address problems relating to statutory rape cases and incest.

At this juncture, it is imperative to continue to educate children and teenagers about incest and sexual abuse.


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Malaysian consumers under 30 more likely to be conned online

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
Legal Consumer Complaints Center (NCCC), Mandeep Singh (left) and National Consumer Complaints Center (NCCC) Senior Legal and Policy Manager, Shabana Naseer Ahmad at a press conference on the Consumer Complaints Annual Report 2016 at ERA Consumer. (pix by SHAWAL AZANI

PETALING JAYA: Consumers in their 30s and below are most susceptible to online fraud particularly for their affinity to trendy gadgets, according to the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC).

Its Legal and Policy Division senior manager Shabana Naseer Ahmad said such consumers readily fell prey to “best price” and limited edition offers.

“Unfortunately, they fail to scrutinise the background of the sellers prior to buying the products; the result – items never arrive or are fake products,” she told a press conference on Tuesday.

Referring to the NCCC Annual Report 2016, she said there were 7,371 complaints last year pertaining to online transactions, involving losses amounting to five million ringgit.

According to the report, the number of consumer complaints had also risen from 44,540 in 2015 to 48,563 in 2016.

The losses increased from RM233.76 million in 2015 to RM255.62 million in 2016.

“We expect the figure to rise next year because the scammers are becoming more cunning and are resorting to various devious schemes,” she said of online fraud.

NCCC was established in 2004 by the Education and Research Association for Consumers Malaysia and Selangor and Federal Territory Consumers Association.

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Mary receives Livelong Contribution Award

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching, the deputy minister of higher education, received the Livelong Contribution Award by the 26th Persidangan Antarabangsa Persatuan Pengajaran Bahasa Inggeris Malaysia (MELTA) here on Monday.

MELTA’s sponsor, Raja Zarith Sultan Idris Shah, the consort of the Johor Sultan, officiated the conference. She also gave away three awards, including the one to Datuk Mary Yap.

Television network ASTRO, received the Corporate Social Responsibility award while Cynthia C James, an English officer of the State Education Department received the English Teacher Award.

The staging of MELTA was aimed at complementing government efforts in raising the level of English and to encourage interaction between English educators in Malaysia and those overseas.

The three-day international conference was participated by more than 400 English teachers from Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Brunei, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The Raja Mahkota of Perak, Dato Seri Raja Nazhatul Shima Sultan Idris Shah was among the luminaries that were present.

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Why we must invest in the young

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Quality early childhood education not only benefits the child but also parents, the Taska and kindergartens, and in society at large.

“By investing in our children we are actually investing in our future generation.

Thus early childhood education is a very important part of child development,” said Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad.

“The emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adults that they will become.

“This is why we need to raise awareness among the public on the need to invest in young children so as to maximise their future wellbeing,” she said in her speech when opening the first International Early Childhood Conference 2017, here, Monday. Her speech was read out by Sabah Welfare Department Director Mohd Noor Wahab.

Jainab said teachers are important assets to the country and that quality early childhood educators will produce quality education for children which will affect the future generation.

“We thank teachers for all their hard work, passion and endurance to keep doing what they do.

It is not an easy job but a very important one.

“They are the ones who will be training our future generations. One day these children will be the ones who will run our country, so teachers, you better make sure you do your job well.

“Quality can only start when we work towards it. We must upgrade ourselves, we must change our ways and we must have passion in what we do.

“As the Chinese proverb says, ‘when the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills’.

“Together, let’s build windmills and let’s work towards building quality early childhood education,” she said.

On another note, Jainab thanked organising chairlady Datin Rahimah Quadra and her team for their efforts.

“It is great to see different organisations collaborating and working together for the greater good.

When many people work together, the job gets done faster and it is easier for everyone,” said Jainab, who hoped there will be more such conference in the future.

Meanwhile, Rahimah said through the conference, the teachers were motivated, inspired and enriched with new ideas and knowledge to improve their profession as educators.

“Research has shown that the first eight years of life are crucial to success in life.

During those early years, how a child learns and develops – mentally, emotionally and socially – is critical.

“As early childhood educators, we must realise this important role we play in shaping lives and characters of our children into future leaders.

“We are not just teachers, we are the managers of the world’s greatest resources: children.

“It is my hope also that this conference will not just end here, but ‘jumpstart’ the journey towards quality childhood education in our State and country.

“Let us not just be happy with what we have but keep working hard to further improve,” she said.

A total of 250 teachers and early childhood educators from across Malaysia as well as Singapore attended the two-day conference themed “Towards Quality Early Childhood Education” at Klagan Hotel, Warisan Square, here.

by Sherell Jeffrey.

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Improve English proficiency’

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: The proficiency level of both spoken and written English among children and the people has dropped drastically in the country.

Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) Royal Patron Raja Zarith Sofiah Binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, who is the Royal consort of the Johor Sultan, said such dramatic decline can be attributed to many causes.

“English is only used to answer the teachers’ questions and it is only spoken during English classes and there is a lack of support to use the language at home or within the community.

“For example, many parents in rural areas do not speak English and, thus, their children do not have the opportunity to speak the language outside the classroom.

“Another cause is that the learners have a limited vocabulary because English reading materials are not readily available,” she said.

Raja Zarith said this in her speech when gracing a three-day 26th Melta annual international conference, here, on Monday.

The three-day conference themed “New Directions in English Language Education: Global Trends and Local Innovations” is aimed at educators, academicians, policymakers and parents to share ideas with teachers and practitioners from other parts of Malaysia and the rest of the world on how to improve and elevate standard of English.

Also present were Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad representing Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, Higher Education Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching, State Education Director Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul, Melta President cum Organising Chairman Prof Dr Ganakumaran Subramaniam and senior officials.

“I have spoken to some young people who have shown a keen interest in learning English and most of them told me that when they speak English outside the classroom, they are often ridiculed.

“They do not get support from their peers. On the contrary, they have to be brave and accept the rude remarks.

Hence, it is important to be more aggressive in taking action together as a society, and not depending solely on the work carried out by ministries or by our government,” Raja Zarith said.

She said there are many who perceive those who speak English as unpatriotic and that they do not value or proud of their mother tongue, which is not true.

“As an example, I have read one of Malaysia’s classic works of literature – the ‘Sejarah Melayu’ – both in its original Malay and in its translation into English as the ‘Malay Annals’.

“I would proudly present it as a gift to a foreign guest or visitor. If the guest or visitor cannot speak or read Malay, the sensible thing to do would be to present the book in its translated form,” she said.

In fact, Raja Zarith said statistics showed that Chinese is the language with most native speakers numbering at 1.2 billion speakers while Spanish is a distant second with 400 million speakers and English is third with 360 million native speakers, with half a billion who speak it as a second language and not including those who speak English as a foreign language.

Even though English ranked third in the list of languages which are most spoken and used worldwide, she said it is still considered as a language that is used most for international business or commerce, sciences and perhaps the most powerful tool of the century and the pulse of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is the Internet.

by Hayati Dzulkifli

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Use Of Technology Vital For Better Grasp Of Stem Subjects – Abang Jo

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

KUCHING, Aug 28 (Bernama) — The use of technology must be given a strong emphasis in the teaching and learning of STEM subjects in Sarawak schools in order for the state to be able to create a solid foundation in science and technology.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said computer and internet technologies had become the primary aid in the study of STEM subjects in schools which Sarawak education system should capitalise on.

“Students need to do well in science and mathematics as these subjects are the foundation to internet and computer technologies upon which Sarawak’s future hinged on,”he said when addressing the people in SMK Temenggong Oyong Lawai Jau at Long San in Upper Baram, Miri yesterday.

Abang Johari made a flying visit to Long San to launch a tuition programme that was initiated by the Temenggong Dato Lawai Jau (TDLJ) Education Trust Fund after launching the biennial Baram Regatta in Marudi earlier in the day.

He was happy to note that the 600-odd students at the school were provided with tablets to help them in their studies and that the students had shown signs of improvement in their grasp of science and mathematics.

Abang Johari also thanked the two volunteers who had close connection with the Silicon Valley in California, United States for helping out to bring the tuition programme to the students at the school.

He said all that would be needed was for the school to have a 24-hour supply of electricity and good internet connection for the students to have full access to internet services in the remote Kenyah settlement.

“I have instructed the Miri Resident to study how a mini-hydro power plant at the village be redeveloped and combined with solar energy to produce a 24-hour hybrid power supply,”he said.


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Fans’ roaring support is pure gold

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Fans roared their hearts out but Malaysia went down fighting in the SEA Games football gold medal match, missing out on “the mother of all medals” as a determined Thailand held on to a first-half 1-0 lead until the end.

The sporting Malaysian fans cheered the winners at the final whistle.

It was not quite the sweet ending to the Games that Malaysians had hoped for, but it could not overshadow the national contingent’s historic achievement.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tweeted that he was proud with the fighting spirit shown by the players despite losing. “Do not despair, we will increase our efforts!”

As at 10pm yesterday, Malaysia had made its best-ever haul of 140 gold medals, well ahead of the 111 the last time the country hosted the Games in 2001.

Golds from badminton, cycling and field hockey, among many others, took the tally to nearly 30 medals ahead of the target set to match its performance 16 years ago.

Earlier, the atmosphere at the Shah Alam Stadium for the football final was electric as thousands of fans turned out to cheer the Malaysian football team.

The stadium gates opened at 4pm and it was filled to its capacity by 8pm.

There was a small number of Thai fans, made up mainly of officials and athletes from the SEA Games contingent.

Several hundred fans came to the stadium at the last minute, hoping to buy tickets that were sold out on Monday.

The SEA Games Organising Committee decided to sell the tickets only at the stadium, with none made available online owing to an “outdated ticketing system”.

In videos that went viral on social media, fans were seen climbing over fences on Monday, demanding that ticket counters be opened.

The Football Association of Malay­sia clarified that it was not responsible for the sale of tickets for the SEA Games football and futsal matches.

At the stadium yesterday, there was also confusion among fans who were not sure which gate to enter as not all the gates were open.

There were many Jalur Gemilang waved and fans were cheering for the Malaysian team, which came onto the field at 8.15pm.

Many VIPs were seen trickling into the stadium minutes before kick-off.

The gathered fans certainly raised the roof as they sang the Negara Ku, chanted “Malaysia, Malaysia!” and sang other patriotic songs to spur on the national team.

A fan from Ampang, 17-year-old Amir Danial, said he had attended many football finals but the match for the SEA Games was one he did not want to miss.

“It feels really good to see Malay­sians of all races coming to support the national team,” said Amir.

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Over 1,000 haj pilgrims to recite Quran for Merdeka.

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

MECCA: More than 1,000 Malaysian haj pilgrims will recite the al-Quran for an hour on Wukuf Day in Arafah, in conjunction with the World and Merdeka #QuranHour campaign on Thursday.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki described the campaign as a manifestation for Muslims to stay true to the 3M – membaca (reading), memahami (understanding) and menghayati (appreciating) the al-Quran.

“The significance of this campaign is that it is going to be held in Arafah on the 9th day of Zulhijjah which coincides with Wukuf Day and our 60th Independence Day,” he said when launching the World #QuranHour and Merdeka #QuranHour at Tabung Haji’s headquarters at Abraj Al-Janadriyah Hotel here.

Also present were Tabung Haji group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Johan Abdullah, 1438 Hijrah Malaysian Pilgrim Contingent leader Datuk Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman and some members of the Tabung Haji Board of Directors.