Archive for October, 2017

Heartiest Congratulations To Datuk Dr. Amin Senin (P.G.D.K)

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Heartiest Congratulations


Honourable Datuk Dr. Amin Senin (P.G.D.K)

on being appointed as the new

Director General of Education Malaysia

effective 19 October 2017.

It is with Allah’s Will, MOE will continue to excel under his leadership


Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie (Chairman),  Madam Azizah Khalid Merican (CEO), Board of Directors, Board of Management, lecturers, staff and students


SIDMA College.

More Schools inviting Dr Morni to give Motivational Talk to 2017 SPM and STPM students.

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Founder and Chairman of SIDMA College Sabah and Sarawak) collaborated with respective District Education Officers, Secondary Schools Principals, School Counsellors as well as relevant district education agencies (e.g. Yayasan Sabah Regional Centre) to conduct motivational talk to secondary schools students who will be sitting for their 2017 SPM and STPM Public Examination soon, as part of his Corporate Social Responsibility of sharing and giving back to the general public.

This is also part of Dr Morni’s effort to compliment and supplement the various on-going motivational programmes conducted by Education Ministry, State and District Education Departments to enable opportunities for secondary school students, particularly from the rural setting, to communicate and interact directly with the corporate sectors, thus exposing them on related views, matters and issues regarding their secondary education, such as knowledge, skills and attitude that students got to learn, practice, reflect and develop, enable them to dream of a big career and brighter future ahead, as well as to empower them to be relevant and useful citizens of the country.

During his annual  “Gelombang Motivasi Perdana – Persediaan SPM and STPM 2017” Dr Morni mobilised his personnel and asset from the Corporate Relations and Business Development, Property Administration Department, Information Technology and Media Department to the various location where the activities were conducted to ensure that the students can benefit from the event conducted.

Dr Morni’s 2017 Motivational Seminar is as follows:

  1. 7 September 2017 at SMK Merpati Sandakan for students from the District of Sandakan.
  2. 12 October 2017 at SMK Padang Berampah, Sipitang for students from the District of Sipitang.
  3. 13 October 2017 at SM St Martin, Tambunan for students from the District of Tambunan.
  4. Kota Belud – Details to be announced soon
  5. Lahad Datu – Details to be announced soon

During the programme, Dr Morni who was a teacher by profession prior to transforming himself to a successful businessman in the sector of higher education institution; as well as being well known for being a unique motivational speaker; took the opportunity to emphasis to the students that whatever they want to do with their life in future, they need a good education background for every single one of those careers that they can think of. Thus, he reinforces the basic fact that students got to show up to their schools, pay attention and learn from their teachers, listen from their parents, relatives and close friends, and more important is to put in hard and smart work in order to succeed in education. They need to manage and divide their time between study, leisure and play properly to ensure that they have sufficient time for their studies, and thus can excel in their studies.

To motivate students for their upcoming SPM and STPM examinations, Dr Morni shared various skills and effective learning strategies such as priority management skills, creative and critical thinking skills, effective communication skills as well as practicing good and universal values to enable them to approach the examination questions tactfully.

He advised them to them to trust their teacher, believe in what they have taught them, formed study groups, and drew up a revision schedule for each day till the exam. They also need to pay more attention on the topics that they find difficult to grasp and ranked them accordingly. Students are also being advised to obtain and use past years question papers, mock and model bank questions, and set time while practicing answering it as if they were sitting their actual exam.

Dr Morni also advised the students to think of what’s next after their SPM or STPM examination. He advised students that it is very important for school leavers to make the right study choice for further education. “By finding out which field of study you are interested in, you will be able to determine a good career match for yourself”, he added.

Dr Morni also advised students to hope and dream big. “Your hopes and dreams can be the key to understanding who you are, what you want, and even how to reach your goals”. Thus he advised students to start their career planning with dreams. Dr Morni shared his own personal experience from being a humble village boy, selling home-made cakes to villages; and by holding on to his precious dream of earning his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and his strong personality to aim high, and that’s what brought him as he is today.

He described the challenging life he faced when he was young, as his father was then a pensioner and couldn’t sponsor his studies when he was in England doing his PhD in Entrepreneurship from Sterling University, England in 1990. Thus he had to work at a McDonald’s outlet in England to finance his tuition fee prior to receiving his PhD.

Dr Morni hoped that through such humble sharing, it could inspire students to focus on their individual characteristics from different prospective, develop the understanding that they got to develop new strength to overcome adversities and weaknesses faced, and able to progress and concentrate on their strength to overcome their weaknesses. He also advised students to be ready to seize the various opportunities and aids, such scholarships, financial loans, provided by the government and as well as various agencies to further the studies.

The event held at Sandakan, Sipitang and Tambunan was very well received by all the respective school management, teachers and students involved; and due to popular demand, every schools got to find strategies to limit the number of students from attending the function. The function were held in the school hall which can accommodate not more than 300 students during each meeting.

Dr Morni who received warm welcome from all the centres that he have visited, conveyed his special thanks to the respective District Education Officers, district community leaders, school principals, school counsellors, teachers parents and students for their strong support to ensure that such programme is efficiently conducted in order to ensure that it can benefit the students.

He also welcome Education Officers and school who would like to invite him to conduct such seminar to contact the Corporate Relations and Business Development Department of the college at 088-732 000 or 088-732 020. Dr Morni can be reached at 013-810 6201 for more information and enquiries.

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More efforts needed to achieve 30pct target of women on companies’ board

Monday, October 16th, 2017
(File pix) Executive co-founding chairman Anne Abraham said only 95 out of 928 companies have achieved the target of having 30 per cent of women represented on the companies’ board. (pix by SALHANI IBRAHIM)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Chapter of the 30% Club today has called on the corporate sector to increase effort to include more women at the decision-making level to at least 30 per cent by 2020.

To date, its executive co-founding chairman Anne Abraham said only 95 out of 928 companies have achieved the target of having 30 per cent of women represented on the companies’ board.

Out of the remaining 833 companies, 372 have no women on their boards.

She said at a round-table session held recently with the corporate sector, several issues were raised which included the difficulties of sourcing for board-ready women directors or those with specific skills, and the limited profiling of potential women directors.

Anne however believed the target was within reach especially with the government’s help and encouraging participation of public and private learning institutions, corporate boards’ commitment and the availability of qualified women candidates.

“There is a need to bridge the supply and demand of women directors and our club has been setting up partner programmes such as women development and mentorship projects since its inception in May 2015,”

Club Advisory co-chairman Datuk Mohaiyani Shamsudin said all parties should encourage diversity and move towards the nation’s target of having more women in the boardroom.

“We are pleased to have the participation of chairmen of boards and nomination committees such as Genting Berhad Tan Sri Datuk Dr Lin See-Yan and Boustead Heavy Industries Bhd Tan Sri Datuk Seri Ramli Mohd Nor, who are willing to openly discuss with us, their specific challenges in engaging women directors and explore avenues for resolving them.” she said.


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Kedah padi farmers cry rise in operational costs, plea for GST exemption

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Kedah Farmers Association chairman Datuk Abdul Lateh Mohd Saman said the move was to ease the farmers’ financial burden which has escalated due to the rise in the operational costs. Pic by NSTP/ Noorazura Abdul Rahman

ALOR SETAR: Kedah Farmers Association, on behalf of 100,000 padi farmers in the state, will submit a memorandum to the Finance Ministry to appeal for Goods and Services Tax (GST) exemption.

Its chairman Datuk Abdul Lateh Mohd Saman said the move was to ease the farmers’ financial burden which has escalated due to the rise in the operational costs.

He said farmers had to make multiple GST payments, from padi planting process to the shipment of the crops, which sums up to 30 per cent.

He said the memorandum will be submitted as soon as possible, before the tabling of the 2018 Budget by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Oct 27

“We have to pay five types of GST charges, from transportation of the fertiliser, seedlings, ploughing process, harvest process and finally, the transportation of the crops to the rice millers.

“For each of the process, we have to pay six per cent, which brings the total GST charges to 30 per cent.

“Padi farmers especially those who owns small plots do not earn much, as the floor price of padi is fixed by the government and having to pay GST is burdensome to them,” he said after the opening of the association’s 34th annual general meeting by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah at Dewan Kolej Insaniah here.

Meanwhile, Bashah said he backed the association’s move to appeal for the GST exemption as it would help eased their burden.

“The memorandum is vital to address the plight and the wishes of padi farmers and I believe they will be able to improve their yield quality if the federal government agrees to reduce their GST charges even by half,” he said.

By Noorazura Abdul Rahman.

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A simple question could save someone’s life

Monday, October 16th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Genuinely asking “Are you OK?” to a distraught individual – is the first step out of four – in reaching out to a possible suicide victim.

The other three stops are active listening without cynicism or prejudice, encouragement to share their problems and weekly check-ups on their situation.

“This will greatly reduce suicidal thoughts in the depressed,” said Johan Amilan, the Deputy Chairperson of Befrienders Kota Kinabalu, during a talk “Changing the way we talk about suicide” at Bentarakata, an event space here in Damai, on Saturday afternoon.

According to him, one out of four people suffered a form of mental disorder related to depression, body image issues or anxiety, while in a single suicide recorded, 20 suicide attempts happened.

Based on a World Health Organization (WHO) statistic, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds, globally.

In Malaysia, when categorized by ethnicity, the Chinese top the numbers of suicide cases followed by Indians, Malays, and others. Men outnumbered women three to one on the list according to Ministry of Health statistics.

Suicide is a crime and punishable by a years’ imprisonment and a fine under Section 309 of the Penal Code. Johan said that the Ministry of Health suicide statistics are highly understated and the punishment of a suicide survivor as counteractive.

“In Malaysia, the average age of suicide victims is 22 to 44. They might be that student who has just gotten into university, or a person you know who had just started a family.

“Sabah has seen an improvement from one to three government psychiatrist in recent years. WHO recommends a proportion of one psychiatrist to 100,000 people, but with 3.5 million individuals in the State, we are looking at a quietening 1.1 million per psychiatrist,” Johan said.

He added that suicide victims go through a meticulous process of planning their death, disproving belief that all suicide victims are mentally unsound. He gave an example of a suicide case involving a 12-year-old boy from Ranau who hanged himself by stringing shoelaces together back in 2012.


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Is education a journey or a race?

Sunday, October 15th, 2017
In today’s competitive world, the rat race starts early. Excellent grades in academic subjects are the primordial benchmark that sets kids apart from their peers. FILE PIC

UPSR, SPM, STPM, GCE — just a few of the acronyms haunting many young minds at this time of the year. Young minds and their parents alike.

Remember the days when everything was a race? First to reach the bathroom in the morning, first to down their Milo, first to call shotgun for the ride to school. First to sit on the swing at recess, first in line for canteen lunch. First on the school bus to secure the best seat and first to reach the front door and ring the bell. A happy childhood consisted mostly of healthy competition among friends and siblings, a race to be the first in all things that, from an adult’s perspective, don’t really matter.

Most children gladly put their competitive mind to rest between recess and lunch. Pupils used to run out of the classroom, not into it. Hardly anyone pushed and shoved to be the first at the blackboard and try their luck at a complex math formula. Oh, happy childhood days. Not the most ambitious of times, but happy days, nonetheless.

So, what happened? Instead of a rambunctious crowd, today’s pupils march in single file from their parents’ cars onto the school grounds, born down by a school bag so big and heavy that the child who carries it could easily find space to sit in it herself. If Malaysian schools run two sessions per day, a fact that absolutely boggles the outsider’s mind, where are all the students that have the other half of the day off?

Why are they not playing outside, in their front yard, in the neighbourhood park? Why are they not hanging out at the local mall or mamak stall? Where and when are today’s children being children, where are the nation’s teens being pubescent?

Youngsters have no time to be childlike, or rebellious, or sullen, or dreaming, anymore. Youngsters are at tuition. They are at tuition centres that have popped up all over the country like “mushrooms growing after the rain”, to borrow a local saying.

In today’s competitive world, the rat race starts early. Excellent grades in academic subjects are the primordial benchmark that sets kids apart from their peers; the yardstick that determines a parent’s measure of success at their job as a progenitor.

Academic excellence is a must in secondary school; it is even the norm in primary school. Parents and guardians send their scions for after school tuition up to seven days a week. Gymnastics and piano lessons are squeezed in somewhere in between.

The “Asian F” is a very real notion. It is the widespread understanding that an A- is not good enough. The pressure on school children and their parents is growing to unhealthy proportions.

At the same time, many life skills are thrown overboard in a constant effort to be the best among the best. Professors in tertiary education lament the fact that they lecture classes of exceptionally well-instructed students who don’t understand what further education is all about. Students are bright and diligent, but they don’t know how to think critically, how to build an argument, how to debate, or how to work towards a solution as a team.

If parents and schoolchildren willingly submit to the burden of pushing for always better grades, it is in an effort to be best prepared for the real rat race, the demands of modern career perspectives.

However, it seems that academic excellence is not the whole ticket. Employers undoubtedly look favourably upon perfect scores. But, recruiters also look for attributes such as individuality, drive, passion, curiosity. These aren’t skills learned in the classroom, nor in a tuition centre, no matter how well intentioned the teachers and tutors might have been. These character traits are fashioned on the playground, on a football field, in a band, even while playing video games.

At first glance, this argument might come across as irresponsible, dismissive of academic values, rebellious even. It is not. It is simply an attempt at widening the scope of modern education.

A healthy education should be a marvelous journey, not a race. It is a plea for restoring a childhood that leaves space for learning how to fail, in order to better succeed, a childhood that is given the opportunity to grow at one’s individual pace.

It is an appeal, to give children the chance to spend time in a meadow, so that they know how to stop and smell the roses when they grow up.


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Employers value workers with good English

Sunday, October 15th, 2017
NIE Specialist Vincent D’Silva (standing right) with Grand Bluewave Hotel general manager Long Cheow Siong observing the students at the workshop. (pix by VINCENT D’SILVA)

JOHOR BARU: The reality of the workforce today is that employers are looking for qualified workers who are not just skillful in their field, but also competent in English communication.

Grand BlueWave Hotel general manager, Long Cheow Siong told participants at the New Straits Times-Newspaper in Education (NST-NIE), who comprised 95 Form Six students, that prospective employers valued candidates who possessed the soft skills that can carry themselves through in their career progression.

The half-day workshop was co-organised by the Johor English Language Teaching Association (Jelta) and Johor Education Department with support from the hotel.

Jelta president Vincent D’Silva conducted the workshop.

According to Long, English is the major language used for communication in most work places in the private sector. He said the language is a tool used in crossborder business dealings and networking with international counterparts.

“There is a certain benchmark for companies to penetrate the market. English plays a pivotal role in distinguishing which companies have that extra edge against its competitors,” said Long in special talk he gave to the Form Six students.

He told them that it was essential to master the English language not only for the sake of passing examinations, but to ensure they can secure a job later on in the future.

“Many of those I had interviewed in the past possess qualificiations for jobs in accountancy, hospitality and tourism fields, but some of them lacked the proficiency in English. I could see this when they were expressing their thoughts and opinions orally,” he said.

He said most employers these days were looking beyond good grades in English.

“Candidates for jobs must posses a good command of spoken English.

“It is very crucial for our youth, who will be joining the workforce in the future, to be able to speak English professionally. They need to become fluent speakers of the language as they also reflect the company’s good name when they are meeting with potential customers or considering career enhancement elsewhere,” he said.

Meanwhile Johor Baru District Education Office’s English unit for secondary schools officer, Al Mujani Abdul Rahman said an initiative to further increase English proficiency among school students in the state was carried out in the past two years under the Education Ministry’s ‘Highly Immersive Programme’ (HIP), which focuses on the usage of English language in school activities.

“Since the start of the programme in Johor two years ago, 10 schools were made to observed the HIP initiative.

“This year, the number increased to 60 schools statewide. By next year, there will be a total of 150 primary and secondary schools in the state that will be adopting HIP,” he said.

Al Mujani said based on his observations of students in the district, a majority of them are able to write and express their thoughts and opinions in English on paper, but they have difficulties conversing fluently in the language.

“They either do not have the confidence to speak or they do not understand the words they are trying to say which became a limitation for some of them,” he said.

Al Mujani welcomed the advocacy of English proficiency as recently stated by Permaisuri Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah, who is the Royal Patron of the Malaysian English Language Teaching Associaton.

“This is why the Johor Education Department is working closely with Jelta to address this issue with students and teaching professional via platforms such as the NST-NIE workshop.

“We hope to colloborate more in future with Jelta and the New Straits Times in this effort to improve the mastery of the English language among our students,” he said.

Jelta president Vincent D’Silva, an English lecturer who has been conducting NST-NIE workshops for the past 19 years, said students will find the NST to be the best tool in helping them to enhance their command of English.

He said the newspaper was a flexible teaching tool that can be used in all areas of curriculum, in all aspects of the different syllabus in schools.

“It is for every level and age, encompassing everyone irregardless of their level of competency. What is important is the reader must fully understand what they are reading and make full use of the news content in the paper to improve their command in English,” said D’Silva

One of the participants, Syarifah Syafiah Syed Mustafa, 18, from SMK Sultan Ismail she had joined the workshop to get insight on English requirements that employers look for.

“I know English is not just about writing but also being able to express ourselves in the language, as we would be meeting or socialising with others using English as a professional language,” she said.

By Halim Said.

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Raising awareness on violence in early childhood.

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

THE Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Council is organising the National ECCE Week 2017 from Oct 21 to 28.

The theme for the week-long event is “Children’s Well-being Through Violence-free Early Childhood”.

ECCE Council president Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng said: “This year’s theme is chosen in view of the increasing incidence of violence among children in our country, and the vulnerability of children in their formative years to negative experiences.”

“In carrying out the activities to promote a violence-free early childhood, the council is also raising awareness among educators, parents and society of the need to provide young children with environments that were free of such acts for the well-being of the nation and its future,” she said.

These include activities for childcare centres, preschools, art competition for preschoolers, poster competition for college and university students, showcase on violence-free early childhood, walk for violence-free early childhood, futsal competition for ECCE students, and a seminar on the subject in Sabah and Sarawak.

For more information, contact the ECCE Council at or visit
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Police identify 420 schools as high risk for substance abuse.

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: The police and the Education Ministry have identified 420 schools nationwide as high risk for serious drug abuse, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

He said yesterday if the matter was not handled, it could become widespread.

“If the drug menace is nipped in the bud, we will be able to maintain our system and not have to resort to extreme policies,” he said after launching Cipta 2018 at Universiti Malaya.

Nur Jazlan, who is also Malaysian Drug Prevention Association (Pema­dam) president, said random tests on 36,675 schoolchildren in 2015 found 1,475 positive for drugs.

On drug abuse among students in tertiary institutions, Nur Jazlan said the number was negligible.

A screening of 11,000 students in public universities nationwide from January to June showed only 250 tested positive, while 158 of 4,000 students screened in private colleges and universities were also positive.

“One of the reasons they take drugs is to cope with examination pressure and to stay awake at night to study,” he said.

The Cipta 2018 campaign was launched by Pemadam to bring the association closer to youth groups through a competition to create a logo, slogan, songs and videos.
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Children wowed by nature’s wonders

Saturday, October 14th, 2017
A pupil from SJK (C) Hun Bin making friends with a walking stick insect during the Crawlies, Let’s Go activity at Entopia.

A pupil from SJK (C) Hun Bin making friends with a walking stick insect during the Crawlies, Let’s Go activity at Entopia.

NUMEROUS fluttering butterflies welcomed some 100 pupils from three primary schools to Entopia in Teluk Bahang, Penang.

The pupils from SK Tanjong Tokong, SJK (C) Hun Bin and SJK (T) Azad had a wonderful time during their exploration trip.

They connected with nature at the farm’s Natureland living outdoor gardens and The Cocoon indoor discovery centre during the trip organised by Eastern & Oriental Berhad (E&O).

The children were thrilled to be able to get up close with a millipede, bearded dragon, scorpion, sugarglider and stick insect.



“Their response to such learning experiences is a joy to watch.

“We hope to roll out more of such outings under the Think Green umbrella,” she said.

E&O started the Think Green programme four years ago.

It continues to work closely with the Consumers Association of Penang and schools in the vicinity of Seri Tanjung Pinang in Tanjung Tokong.

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