Archive for August, 2017

‘Crucial to communicate effectively in English’

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: English is the most important language in today’s global society that it dominates the internet and remains the most preferred language of international exchange.

Her Royal Highness Permaisuri Johor, Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris noted the ability to communicate effectively in English is crucial in an increasingly borderless and globalised world as it is still the official language for world business, innovation, academia and the sciences.

“The importance of the English language in today’s world cannot be denied and is arguably the most popular and widely-used accounting 55 per cent of all online content today, in contrast to 45 per    cent of the combined languages of the world,” she said in her royal lecture while officiating the 26th international conference of the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (MELTA).

Raja Zarith, who is also the royal patron for MELTA, highlighted the English is still the most influential and the main medium of instruction that connects people across countries and cultures despite the rapid growth of other languages.

“Although the English language ranks third in the most-used languages worldwide, it is still considered the global language for international business, the sciences and the heart of the modern era – the internet,” she said.

In her speech, Raja Zarith lamented that the deteriorating standard of English among the youth is alarming as proficiency levels of both spoken and written English has fallen drastically. Moreover, she underlined the need for an integrated effort of all parties to be more aggressive in taking action to promote the English language among the younger generation.

During the launching of the three-day conference, Raja Zarith also took the opportunity to bestow the prestigious MELTA Lifetime Contribution Award to Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching for her outstanding contributions in furthering English education at the state and federal levels.

Meanwhile, the MELTA Recognition Award was presented to State Education Director, Datuk Hajah Maimunah Hj Suhaibul while the recipient for the MELTA Hyacinth Gaudart English Language Teacher Award was Cynthia. C. James.

For the MELTA Corporate Social Responsibility Award for company’s contribution to English education, the honorary title goes to ASTROAwani headed by Vice President of the NextGen Content, Putri Yasmin Megat Zaharuddin. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman believes English education needs to incorporate more creative and innovative approaches to make lessons more interesting for pupils and help them actively practice using the English language.

“Academics and educators must keep abreast of the latest trends and innovations to keep lessons entertaining and engaging for students especially in places where English is not widely spoken,” he said in his speech which was delivered by Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid.



Over 6,000 M’sians turn out to celebrate diversity.

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

SHAH ALAM: From royalty, captains of industry, celebrities and indigenous folk to people in general, Malaysians of all ages, creeds and colour rose early to come to­­gether in a celebration of unity during the #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk 2017.

Even the weather cooperated when it stopped drizzling half an hour before the flag-off by Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah at Dataran Kemerdekaan here.

More than 6,000 people, mostly wearing their #AnakAnakMalaysia T-shirts and wristbands, walked 5km around the Shah Alam city centre in a show of unity, diversity and harmony.

Many arrived as early as 6am and the early rain yesterday failed to dampen the general enthusiasm.

Everyone sang Negaraku with gusto, which got them all charged up for the cool morning walk.

After the flag-off at 7.15am, Sultan Sharafuddin and Tengku Permaisuri Selangor Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin later led a 2.2km unity walk together with Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and his wife Datin Seri Shamsidar Taharin

The walk took participants past iconic buildings here such as the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah mosque, Laman Budaya, Wet World Water Park and Shah Alam Convention .

The #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk 2017 was organised by Star Media Group (SMG) in collaboration with Eco World Development Group Bhd (EcoWorld) to mark National Day and Malaysia Day.

SMG chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said the turnout showed Malaysians were united in celebrating the nation’s 60th year of independence.

“Let’s stand tall as Malaysians and be united, and the nation will continue to prosper,” he said.

Fu said it was an honour to have Sultan Sharafuddin and Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin grace the event and take part in the walk, which was back for a second year.

SMG managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai said it was “a really awesome morning”.

“You could see the joy on everyone’s faces. I think that says it all.

“There was a possibility of rain, but that didn’t matter at all. It’s so great to see Malaysians willing to wake up at 4am and band together for unity,” he added.

EcoWorld chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said the large crowd showed that Malaysia has a bright future and moderation is the way to go.

“We all believe in moderation, unity and harmony. All of us walked together and even the Sultan walked with us. Isn’t that great?” he said.

The walk’s organising chairman and Eco World Foundation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said: “This walk should leave every participant with good memories.

“We are having similar walks in Penang and Johor after this one. When we walk together … we are all Malaysians,” he added.

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English language proficiency among young low – Permaisuri of Johor

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The proficiency of written and spoken English in the country has dropped among the young people and children.

Hence, the importance to be more aggressive in taking action together with society and not depend solely on the work carried out by ministries or by our government, said the Permaisuri of Johor, Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris.

She mentioned when launching the 26th Melta (Malaysian English Language Teaching Association) International Conference yesterday,  that there were many reasons for the deterioration of the English language in the country.

She said among the reasons were because English was only used to answer  teachers’ questions and was only spoken during  English classes.

Aside from that, there was a lack of support on the use of the English language at home or within the community, she said.

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

In addition, learners also had a limited vocabulary because English reading materials were not readily available, she said.

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

“And there are also many who see those who speak English as unpatriotic and that it shows that those using the language do not value nor are proud of their own mother tongue,” which she said were not true.

“As an example, I have read one of our 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 in Malay, the sensible thing to do would be to present the book in its translated form,” she said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman said  the Sabah government was focused in ensuring that education was available to both children and to school leavers who were keen to pursue tertiary level learning.

“We work closely with the federal government in addressing educational needs state-wide, even if this means providing primary level education in some of the most remote areas while large secondary schools with hostel facilities are built in districts that have rural communities who would otherwise find it difficult to go to school,”  he said.

Musa also said academicians and educators must keep abreast of the latest trends and innovations, and that this included staying ahead of the game in English language education.

“Those involved in teaching this international language must find ways and acquire the relevant skills to make lessons interesting for students,” said Musa who was represented by Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid.

He added that he believed teaching English required one to be creative and to have the ability to keep lessons interesting, especially in areas where the language was not widely spoken.

“The ability to communicate effectively in English is crucial in a borderless world, which allows us to interact with global citizens through various platforms including the internet,” he said.

He also stressed the importance for classrooms practices to remain relevant to the learning needs of the younger generation and to adapt to global trends.

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Lam Thye: Rise of bullying among youths a big concern.

Monday, August 28th, 2017
PETALING JAYA: The spate of bullying and violent behaviour among youths has become a grave concern for the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation.

Its senior vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic) said negative influences from their peers and the Internet, insufficient parental guidance and elements of gangsterism were the reasons for their involvement in crime.

“It’s more disturbing when violent acts are committed by pupils in primary schools as previously, such cases involved only older students,” he said in a statement.

Lee was referring to a recent incident in Kapit where a seven-year- old pupil died after being assaulted by his seniors at a primary school hostel.

The Year One pupil sustained multiple wounds and bruises on his head and body after he was allegedly kicked and punched multiple times.

Lee said the government and other stakeholders must find the reasons why juveniles are behaving violently and disobeying the law.

“Matters of indiscipline such as truancy, misbehaviour, thefts and fights leading to violence and injury must not be tolerated even if such problems are not alarming in our schools and universities,” he said.

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UK-Malaysia Ties: Then,now and the future

Monday, August 28th, 2017
Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaiming independence for Malaya on Aug 31, 1957, at the Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. (FILE PIC)

THE month of August bears witness to the commemoration of two diametrically contrasting independence movements, culminating in freedom from British colonial rule.

As the hour of midnight struck on Aug 14, 1947, the partition of British from India became reality when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, leader of the Congress Party declared India an independent nation free from British colonial rule. A few hours previously, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League had claimed the birth of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as a homeland of the majority of India’s Muslim population.

A sordid and hasty retreat from the British Empire saw a forced two-way migration of populations — Muslims and Hindus — one of the largest in history, culminating in unspeakable acts of brutality and violence on both sides and resulting in over a million deaths.

If it had happened today, the British government would have been hauled in front of the International Court of Justice, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.

Contrast this with a decade later on the Aug 31, 1957, when at the stroke of midnight, a proud Tunku Abdul Rahman uttered the words “Merdeka” (Independence) seven times at the packed Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, thus proclaiming Malaya (later to become Malaysia) independent from Britain.

The difference to the chaotic partition of India could not be more stark — a peaceful transition of power following relatively amiable talks between Malayan leaders and their erstwhile colonial masters.

“Today, a new page is turned,” declared Tunku in his historic address. “And Malaya steps forward to take her rightful place as a free and independent partner in the great comity of nations — a new nation is born and though we fully realise that difficulties and problems lie ahead, we are confident that, with the blessing of God, these difficulties will be overcome and that today’s events, down the avenues of history, will be our inspiration and our guide.”

Talking about Midnight’s Children, it just happens that my wife, Leila, is a “Merdeka baby”, not born on the stroke of midnight but a couple of weeks before independence at the main hospital in Singapore, then part of the Federation of Malaya, but who had grown up in Petaling Jaya and schooled at Alice Smith School in Kuala Lumpur, where her English-born mother was a teacher.

Her father, Shaykh Sir Dr Mohamed Zaki Badawi KBE, OBE, was a prominent Egyptian Azaharite scholar, who was despatched to Malaya with fellow Azharite Shaykh Abdul Rauf, to establish a Muslim College that later became Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

In 1956, he moved to Universiti Malaya, then in Singapore, transferring to the Kuala Lumpur campus in Peninsular Malaya, teaching Arabic and Islamic Studies.

His students included scions of Malaya, who later went on to achieve high office in politics, the civil service, academia and business. They include the young Tun Musa Hitam, who went on to become deputy prime minister of Malaysia in the government of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

My wife’s earliest post-Merdeka recollection, I am afraid, was more mundane albeit befitting a toddler of 28 months — her close affinity to her Aya, who was effectively her surrogate mother who taught her the Malay language, and her usurper newborn sibling Faris, who had suddenly dominated the attention of her parents and visitors alike.

Dr Badawi was endeared to Malaya/Malaysia and contributed inter alia with others to the development of Islamic studies and Islamic finance in the decade after independence.

He, for instance, had cooperated with Royal Professor Ungku Aziz, the prominent Malaysian economist, founder of Angkasa cooperative movement and father of Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, when she was governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, to establish Lembaga Tabung Haji in 1963.

Ungku Aziz wrote the concept paper for Tabung Haji, while Dr Badawi gave the fatwa (legal opinion) endorsing the establishment of the institution. Dr Badawi also cooperated with the Islamic Affairs Department at the Prime Minister’s Office, Islamic Development Department and had a close relationship with several Malaysian prime ministers advising them on Muslim affairs especially abroad, and also served on the Syariah Advisory Boards of Bank Negara and Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority.

Years later, he gave a landmark fatwa to Malaysian Islamic bankers endorsing their use of Bay Al-Dayn (sale of debt) in transactions. He defended the differences in syariah opinions relating to Islamic financial law, stressing that if Muslims can tolerate variations in the rules governing their relationship to God, then surely they can accept variations in the rules governing financial contracts.

Indeed, one of the countries that Malaysia has been forging close relations in Islamic finance over the last 35 years is Britain. The two countries have shared a common bond and relationship that first started in the 17th century. But this year’s 60th anniversary of Merdeka also marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Putrajaya and London.

These relations have had their ups and downs. But, there have been more about spats between friends rather than adversaries.

Malaysia is the United Kingdom’s second largest trading partner within Asean, while the UK is Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner within the European Union. UK-Malaysia trade totalled to £2.76 billion (RM15.2 billion) in 2015.

By Mushtak Parker.

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Empower District Education Officers To Handle Minor Issues – Mahdzir.

Monday, August 28th, 2017

KUCHING, Aug 23 (Bernama) — Empowerment of district education officers to handle minor issues, among others, will be discussed at the 19th National District Education Officers Management Conference which began today until Friday.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the move was necessary in order to empower district education officer to provide feedback on certain matters, including posts.

“The ministry will decentralise authority to district education officers and if it can be implemented it means that some matters can be resolved at the district level and decentralised,” he told reporters before opening the closed door conference here tonight.


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Eid Al-Adha Goodies for SIDMA Staff

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Eid Al Adha or Aidiladha celebration is an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as an act of his submission to God’s command. However, God being the merciful, then intervened, and through his angel Jibril (Gabriel) informed him that his sacrifice has been accepted. Muslims around the world observe and commemorate this event; and this year, Muslims in Malaysia will celebrate this auspicious occasion on 01 September 2017 or in Islamic lunar calendar, on 10th day of Dhul al-Hijjah 1438H.

In conjunction with and in honouring this Great Day of Sacrifice, as well as the spreading of the Hari Raya Aidiladha cheers, Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Founder and Chairman, SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah) and SIDMA Board of Management collaborated with SIDMA Staff Welfare Association (PKKKSS) distributed Hari Raya Goodies to SIDMA staff as well staff from SIDMA subsidiary companies on 25 August 2017 at SIDMA Student Lounge.

Goodies of basic festive necessities which comprises of a variety of whole chickens, sirloin beef, cartons of fruit drinks and many more were packed and handed out to the staff by Dr Morni and witnessed by Madam Azlina Ngatimin (Director, Corporate Relations and Business Development), Mr Zain Azrai Bin Mohd Noor (Chairman, PKKKSS), Managers and Heads of Departments.

According to Dr Morni, the distribution of Eid Al-Adha Goodies to all SIDMA staff is one of his Corporate Social Responsibilities to share and celebrate the festival with joy as one big family with all his staff. It’s also one of his opportunities to express his appreciation and recognition to them for their great services and contributions rendered throughout the year; as well as to encourage the spirit of collegiality among all his staff.

During his speech prior to the distribution, he reminded the recipients to understand the meaning of Eid Al-Adha and to instil it in their heart. He reminiscent how much SIDMA have progressed throughout the years and that the staff, especially during the initial years have contributed so much to its growth. He also took this opportunity to inform to the staff that he will be sacrificing two huge cows during 1st September 2017/ 10th day of Dhul al-Hijjah 1438H at Kampung Tebongon, Putatan and invited any interested staff to join the event.

Mr Zain Azrai, on behalf of all SIDMA staff, humbly conveyed his sincere thank you and appreciation to Dr Morni and family for their generosity, the sharing and caring attitudes for the staff wellbeing and happiness, particularly during special occasion such as Hari Raya Aidiladha celebration.

Dr Morni, Madam Azlina Ngatimin, Madam Azizah, Mr Zain Azrai, Managers and Head of Departments shared their warm Hari Raya Aidiladha wishes to all lecturers, staff, students, relatives and friends.

Eid Al-Adha takes place on the 10th of Dhul-Hajj

Where many come together with love and without grudge;

Families sacrifice an animal and feed the poor,

And exchange greetings with neighbours next door,

We go to the mosque in our best clothes,

But first we must make sure we are clean from our head,

To our toes

On this day I am so grateful

To be alive and living in this world that is so beautiful

Eid is always a blessed day,

Filled with joy and blessing I must say!

Eid Mubarak Everyone!

By Sumaira Zaheer & Family.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Happy National Day.

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‘Respect each other online and offline’

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: To be Malaysian is to respect one another online and offline, says HIV research scientist Dr Lyana Khairuddin.

The proponent of the Bring Back the Kebaya movement, who participated in the inaugural #AnakAnak­Malaysia Walk last year – wearing a kebaya – said the National Day season is an important time for Malaysians to reinforce the concept of unity in diversity.

“So much of our interaction today takes place online that we need to teach and allow our children to make friends.

“For instance, if I champion wearing the kebaya, I can’t just post pictures of kebaya online because then I wouldn’t be walking the talk.

“So I wear kebaya every day to work. I also wore one to the #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk last year.

“Offline campaigns like this annual walk are a great time for parents to bring their children along and show them how to represent and celebrate their cultural diversity,” she said.

Dr Lyana, 34, who is pursuing a Master’s in public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, in Britain next month, said she aims to continue with the discourse of a study done by the school on ethnic relations in Malaysia.

“In the study funded by CIMB Foundation, it is found that Malaysians have a lot of distrust among each other solely because of ethnicity.

“This is particularly seen online when young girls are body-shamed when they post pictures of themselves wearing cultural attire of any ethnicity,” she said.

She emphasised the need to teach children not to propagate hate.

“All we have to do is to get to know each other better offline.”

No prize for guessing what Dr Lyana is wearing to #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk 2017 as she joins over 6,000 Malaysians at the event today.

Another influencer who returns to join the unity walk is WOMEN:girls founder-president, and performing arts group Kakiseni president Low Ngai Yuen, who promotes the same values as Dr Lyana.

To Low, 40, the best way to spread the message of unity and diversity is to live by example.

“I don’t personally try to teach about unity and diversity. It is through my actions, my choice to speak the national language, clothes I wear, how I address different people.”

The mother of four sees unity through her five-year-old daughter.

“One day, she came home from kindergarten and recited the different prayers from various religions as taught to her by her friends.

“I was surprised and happy to see her in an environment that I came from. I am so glad she knows what it means to be an #AnakAnak­Malaysia.”

Low, however, lamented that the integration of technology has not arrived at a point that allows it to speak on behalf of diversity.

“At this point, whatever you experience on your computer is singular so it is not shared. Even in the simplest form of communication like WhatsApp group chats, people are unable to take a conversation forward because of the different races in the group.

“They are not prepared to deal with the situation because they do not have enough practice,” she said.

#AnakAnakMalaysia Walk is organised by Star Media Group in collaboration with Eco World Development Group Bhd.

The lucky draw prizes up for grabs include a Proton Iriz 1.6L Premium CVT, a Gintell (M) Sdn Bhd De’Vano S Funtastic Sofa, Goodnite Exec Series 6” Achievement Mattress, Panasonic Merchandise, PNB Perdana Hotel and Suites on the Park stays, Spin Pro B1.3 Exercise Bike from Healthy World Lifestyle, OTO e-Physio Plus EY-900P, Soleus GPS Sole running watch and Kay Kay All Plant Sports Protein Powder by Inno Asia Distribution Sdn Bhd.


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111 gold medal tally is well in sight.

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: With just four days left, the Malaysian contingent is well on its way to reaching its target of 111 gold medals at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

That is the magical number which Malaysia believes will make it the overall winner of the 29th edition of the SEA Games, which ends on Wednesday.

There are 126 gold medals still up for grabs over the next four days.

Silat, diving, cycling (track), gymnastics, sailing and water skiing are all expected to be major gold medal contributors.

More could come from hockey, with two field gold medals in sight, along with football and taekwondo.

At press time, Malaysian athletes have chalked up 83 golds to lead the medal standings with a tally of 83-58-53.

The highly-anticipated challenge from Thailand has failed to materialise as it languishes in fourth spot with a 44-64-63 haul thus far.

Surprisingly, it is Vietnam which is giving Malaysia a fight, having amassed 49-34-43 medals.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary-general Datuk Low Beng Choo said that the contingent has clearly surpassed expectations and is well on the way to achieving the 111 gold target.

“The performances thus far, from all the sports, have been monumental. Every sport is doing its very best and the younger athletes are making history by winning.

“I have to say that OCM is pleasantly surprised. And what caught our attention is the massive support from the fans.

“We are not talking about the so-called big sports. Even sports like volleyball, where our medal chances are slim, have attracted huge crowds.

“We didn’t expect this at all but Malaysians have all come together to make this SEA Games a national affair,” she said.

Malaysia last hosted the Games in 2001 and bagged 111 gold medals to be overall champion.

For this Games, the National Sports Council (NSC) started a two-year “Kita Juara” programme soon after the Singapore Games ended in 2015.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has been at the forefront leading the charge for medals.

He is also a member of the national polo team, which is expected to deliver the gold medal as well.

It is already on record that over RM100mil has been spent on the programme.

Thus, it will be a nerve-racking four days as the Malaysian contingent tries to ward off any late surge by its rival countries

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Sultan flags off #AnakAnakMalaysia walk

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

SHAH ALAM: The #AnakAnakMalaysia walk was flagged off at 7.15am Sunday, with thousands of Malaysians coming together to walk for unity.

The 5km walk was flagged off by Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah at Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam here, overlooking the iconic Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah mosque.

The Sultan was accompanied by his consort Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and his wife, Datin Seri Shamsidar Taharin.

Also present at the flag-off stage were Shah Alam mayor Datuk Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad, Star Media Group Berhad chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow, and #AnakAnakMalaysia organising chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The weather was kind enough for some 6,000 participants, who began gathering at the venue as early as 6am for the start of the walk, which is being organised for the second year running in conjunction with National Day.

Sultan Sharafuddin later participated in a 2.1km walk together with the Mentri Besar and other VIPs, including Eco World Development Group Bhd chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin. They completed the walk at about 8am.

The #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk celebrates Malaysia’s diversity and promotes unity and understanding among its people.

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