Archive for December, 2017

Congratulations to all graduates of the UNITAR 5TH Convocation Ceremony 2017

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

UNITAR International University (UNITAR), one of Malaysia’s earliest private university, held its 5thConvocation in a one day auspicious ceremony on December 16th 2017, at Plenary Hall, Putrajaya International Convention Centre, Federal Territory of Putrajaya.

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Mohamed Nizam bin Tun Abdul Razak, who was proclaimed as the first Chancellor of UNITAR International back in 2013 had graced the event and conferred the awards to the graduates of UNITAR 2017.

A total of 308 graduates from UNITAR InternationalUniversity Sabah Regional Centre (UNITAR Sabah) had been endorsed by the Senate of UNITAR and thus eligible to received their scrolls during the auspicious ceremony.

Out of the 308 graduates, 45 received their Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons); 118 received their Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) (Hons); 18 received their Bachelor of Hospitality Management (Hons); 86 received their Bachelor of Management (Hons); 4 received their Diploma in Early Childhood Education; 24 received their Diploma in management; 10 received their Masters of Business Administration; and another 3 received their Masters of Education (Education Leadership and Management).

Heading the list of UNITAR Sabah graduates was Madam Nancy Anthony Lidi (Manager of SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah Property Administration Department), who received her Masters of Business Administration. Two other SIDMA staff who also received their scroll during the occasion were Ms Constance Joy J. Moin (Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons)), and Mr. Mohammad Yusof Bin Salleh (Bachelor of Management (Hons)). Congratulations and well done.

Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Founder and Chairman of SIDMA College), Madam Azlina Ngatimin (Director, Corporate Marketing and Business Development), Madam Azizah Khalid Merican (CEO), SIDMA Board of Management, Managers, Heads of Departments, lecturers and staff of SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah extend their heartiest congratulations to the 5th batch of UNITAR Sabah graduates who have just received their scrolls.

“It has been our great pleasure having you with us at SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah, and we take great pride in your achievements. You have work so hard for it, and you’ve successfully conquered it. It’s certainly your success and your achievement, as it will give you the abundant opportunities ahead. May the career you will be entering bring you much happiness to you and your family. You have been our excellent students, and we have no doubt that you will continue to serve as representatives of SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah by building upon reputation for excellence.”

Dr Morni also congratulated and expressed his appreciations to all the graduates family, relatives, friends as well as to all those who shared pride and joy of our graduates success; for their patience, understanding, sacrifices and support during those challenging but rewarding years at the college. He too advised these graduates to be grateful to their parents, relatives, and friends, for their contributions, which have directly or indirectly assisted and brought these graduates to this present level.

To all these graduates Dr Morni added, “Your most incredible, amazing journey to be a professional is in the making. Continue your climb and aspire your excellence. With love and pride, we convey our sincere “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR GRADUATION”

SIDMA College, since its establishment in Kota Kinabalu in 2002 has been working very closely with UNITAR International University Main Campus, Kelana Jaya, Selangor, an university with its strong and significant network of academic collaborations with both the academic and corporate, as well as industrial partners around the region to offer affordable and demanded study programmes which are professionally aligned with the requirement of these major industrial players; both nationally and internationally. Unitar International University grows rapidly after its rebranding since the acquisition by Ekuiti Nasional Berhad (EKUINAS) back in May 2012. EKUINAS is a government-linked private firm which pursues its objective in manner that is market friendly, merit-based and transparent to ensure that the impact is sustainable over the long term.

SIDMA College has prosper jubilantly over the years, and rapidly emerged as the first and largest regional centre in Malaysia running UNITAR programmes, in addition to its home grown academic programmes.

List of Academic Programmes offered at SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah for 2017/2018:

List of Programmes the college offers:

  • Foundation Course
  • Foundation in Management
  • Diploma Courses:
  • Diploma in Early Childhood Education Studies
  • Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health
  • Diploma in Management
  • Bachelor’s Degree Courses
  • Bachelor of Education (Hons)
  • Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education (Hons)
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons)
  • Bachelor of Management (Hons)
  • Masters Courses.
  • Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Masters of Education (Educational Leadership and Management (ELM)
  • Masters of Education (Early Childhood Education)
  • Masters of Education (TESL)

For more information about courses offered at SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah, please browse SIDMA College Website, or like our Facebook Account: SIDMA College. Potential candidates can visit us at SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah, Jalan Bundusan, 88300 Kota Kinabalu; or call the hotline number: 088-732 000 or o88-732-020.

For Online Registration, please CLICK HERE.

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Elite classes – mixed response from parents.

Friday, December 15th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: While some parents are all for the removal of elite or top classes in schools, others think that this will stunt their child’s academic and social development.

Mother-of-two Cecelia Wong said she was for continuing the streaming of students into top classes.

“One of my daughters failed a subject in Year Three and went to the worst class.

“She was traumatised because the kids there were playing and noisy all the time,” she said, claiming that the teacher left the students to do their own thing throughout the year.

Another parent, Zahid Imran, said teachers tended to pay more attention to students in elite classes.

Sharing a similar sentiment is Rajes Mutthusamy, who feels that doing away with elite classes will eventually backfire on students.

“Mixing students with different levels of capacity and ability to absorb lessons into one class is a challenge for teachers and students.

“This will result in different methods of delivery by teachers,” said the mother of two, adding that some students might be left behind.

On Wednesday, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon said the ministry aimed to do away with the culture of “elite classes” in the country’s schools within the next three years.

He said the elite class system was not a ministry’s policy or rule and that schools and parents should focus on developing holistic education for the children rather than being overly exam-oriented.

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) and the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) have come out in support of the decision.

NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan said there should be no streaming as it believed in the democratisation of education.

“However, we understand why schools do it, especially those with overcrowded classes –more than 40 pupils per class – as the teacher is unable to give much individual attention to students,” he said.

“A class should be a mixture. Although the teacher may have to do more work, education is just not about getting As. It is about preparing one for adult life.

“In life, you should be able to mix with CEOs and sweepers in the same breath.”

PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said while it was for the approach, it must be holistic and not ad hoc.

“Much has to be done to make conditions conducive for such an arrangement and for the mindset to be successful. There are techniques which need to be understood, learnt and put into practice by teachers,” she said.

Noor Azimah feels classes have to be smaller or otherwise, teacher assistants should be employed.

There must be a plan to provide special assistance for struggling students like in Finland, she added.

“Our desire is to move towards the Finnish way of formative assessments but our resources and system do not support it.

“Kids will suffer the brunt of the problems when too many improvements are made too soon, without having or knowing the systems in place.”
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What 2018 holds for us

Friday, December 15th, 2017
It has been an eventful 2017, of course, capped by the nation celebrating its 60th Merdeka anniversary. But 2018 should prove to be even more so. FILE PIC

IT is that time of year again when we look back on what the year about to pass had been like and, more importantly, look forward to what the year ahead holds.

It has been an eventful 2017, of course, capped by the nation celebrating its 60th Merdeka anniversary. But 2018 should prove to be even more so.

Perhaps the most significant milestone for Malaysia next year is the fact that we will finally be crossing the internationally-accepted threshold for a nation with high-income status.

Now, there will be those among us — perhaps the perpetual naysayers — who will grudgingly assert that high-income status notwithstanding, we are always not living up to our full potential.

To be sure, there has always been room for improvement and that remains probably even truer with the formal attaining of high-income nation status.

But can we all, for at least one moment, pause to celebrate this signal achievement?

The half-full, half-empty glass analogy, after all, posits two possible outcomes. We are thankfully on the uptrend economically, but we could just as easily have been on the downtrend the past 60 years. Many other nations — the vast majority in the developing world, in fact — have been on the downtrend in the same past half or so century.

Malaysia is thus, in rather elite and exclusive company and a bit of self-congratulation is most certainly in order.

It is observed, after all, that the select few nations that have made most remarkable headway towards high-income status in recent decades are ethnically rather homogeneous nations.

This surely makes it much easier politically for them to be collectively single-minded in pursuit of worthwhile national objectives. Hong Kong and Singapore, on the other hand, are city-states with no urban-rural cleavages to stymie their populations from building and, most crucially, implementing a national consensus.

While overall success, such as what we have now attained, naturally, has its own self-propelling forward momentum to push Malaysia further ahead, our own rather unique political circumstances may still pose challenges yet.

It is, therefore, no surprise that many (Malaysians themselves included, of course) will watch the nation very keenly next year for one reason: our 14th General Elections (GE14).

We have shown that we are perhaps uniquely qualified to lead a hugely heterogeneous nation forward economically. Having done so, the next most important task confronting Malaysians must surely be to adapt politically.

Recent political developments in democracies in Western countries, however, belie such long-held accepted wisdom, especially when durable over-arching national narratives suddenly come into sharp dispute, undercutting the very basic political consensus such democracies had been built upon.

In addition, political populism — always the evil cousin of democratic politics — tends to rear its ugly head most especially during politically-unsettled times. These seem to be the twin challenges confronting Malaysia next year.

Most fundamentally, is the national political consensus that undergirds all that we have achieved for the past 60 years under threat and, if so, is there an alternative consensus that can garner an equal or even greater majority support of Malaysians?

Have Malaysians grown in political and economic maturity in these intervening decades, such that they can more comfortably transcend identity politics, going forward?

Or will such politics lay dormant for a while, only to return with some vengeance later, as it has in Western democracies today?

What about populist political grandstanding? As GE14 approaches, the populist drumbeat is already evident.

The opposition has called for a repeal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) so painstakingly put in place, and just when we have already made the necessary and painful adjustments to what experts accept is a needed economic modernisation move.

Equally populist are calls to reinstate government subsidies, particularly when there is even a small uptick in fuel prices. We had fortuitously dodged a bullet with the removal of fuel subsidies at a time when global energy prices had been depressed.

By John Teo.

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Sekolah Putrajaya Presint 16(1) Among 300 Pilot Schools Receiving Holistic Assessment Result

Friday, December 15th, 2017

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 14 (Bernama) — Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Putrajaya Presint 16(1) was among the 300 pilot schools that received the Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) examination result in a holistic form of assessment, today.

Its principal Ab Aziz Mamat said the Form Three Students Profile Report which was announced together with the PT3 examination result not only showed the students’ academic achievement but also their achievement in physical activity assessment, Sports and Co-curricular Assessment, Psychometric Assessment and Classroom Assessment.

“For the first year of its implementation, parents can know directly their children’s potential and not focus solely on the numbers of As attained.

“I strongly support the ministry in introducing the latest student assessment format as it will produce balanced students in all aspects,” he told reporters after the PT3 result announcement, here today.

He added an individual’s excellence should not only be measured through the academic achievement but also physical fitness and personal character.

Meanwhile, Hatifah Mohamed, the mother of a student, said the new PT3 result format which was introduced this year was better than previously, but it needed to be improved especially for parents and students’ understanding to interpret their result.

“The new result format had been explained by teachers since the PT3 trial but there are several elements that are difficult for me to understand the meaning of each result and I hope it will be better next year,” she said.


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Moulding graduates to meet industry requirements

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
Vocational training comprising of apprenticeship in companies starts at 16 in Switzerland.

TODAY’s job market is highly competitive and feedback from employers tend to show that the potential workforce being produced by the higher education sector are incapable of totally filling up the available vacancies.

If this is true, why is it so and how can graduates be ensured of gaining employment after completing studies at the university or other types of institutions of higher education?

Technology and knowledge today develops at Internet speed so it is not uncommon for things that are learned during the course of a programme to become obsolete once students have graduated from the university, requiring them to be trained yet again by the employers upon joining the workforce.

Faced with this kind of situation, it is best that the education sector and the industry work together closely to produce the workforce required — starting from a pre-university stage, said Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) Board chairman Dr Philippe Gnaegi.

“We have a very long tradition in Switzerland where 70 per cent of students in the upper secondary education system follow vocational training. This starts at 16 where they spend 3.5 days of the week working at companies — large and small — from various industries and 1.5 days at school. The arrangement has worked well and we have a very low unemployment rate — less than three per cent,” he said.

He was facilitating a roundtable discussion on “Is it an institution’s responsibility to build industry relationships?” at the recent BETT Asia 2017 held in Kuala Lumpur.

SFIVET is Switzerland’s expert organisation for vocational education and training. It provides basic and continuous training to VET professionals, conducts VET research, contributes to the development and continuous updating of training plans for specific occupations and supports international cooperation in vocational education and training.

Elaborating further on the Swiss vocational education system, Gnaegi said the students undergoing apprenticeship are paid for the work done at the companies. Employers, on the other hand, have a talent pipeline of skilled professionals who will be potentially transitioned in to the labour market.

“The apprenticeship lasts for three to four years where students are assessed both by the state — for the education part — and also from the private sector. Students have to get two sets of assessment to continue their studies. However, they would move on to our professional universities, not academic-based ones,” he said.

“We think that not everybody has to go to academic universities as it depends on their inclination. In most countries, the very intelligent students go to academic universities. We don’t practice that and don’t believe in discrimination. Very intelligent children are also in the vocational stream,” he said.

Gnaegi remarked that both systems have a curricula and national qualification designed by the social partners comprising state associations, companies and training organisations, and the state invests substantially in research, evaluation and quality control.

“The industry and the state often meet to examine the effectiveness of the vocational education system and solve any problems should they arise. The challenge for SFIVET is to get more companies to buy-in into the programme and match the needs of the labour market, both in terms of professional qualifications and the number of jobs available,” he said.

Malaysia Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, who attended the discussion, said that he was impressed with the Swiss vocational education system, how it works and intends to take a closer look.

“Of course, not everything is applicable here in our country. But the close ties and relationship between the industry and education system is commendable in terms of facilitating graduate employment. We are one in this aim — the public and private sectors — and therefore, must work together,” he said.


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A need for sober minds

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
Tunku Abdul Rahman (left) and Tun Jugah Barieng at the signing of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 in London on July 9, 1963. (FILE PIC)

SARAWAK Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Abang Openg is probably right when he contends that he is not being emotional in pushing for the state’s rights, some of which he claims are in hidden official documents related to the formation of Malaysia recently uncovered.

That being said, there is no denying that there is much noise in the public domain in Sarawak related to the whole subject of state rights and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). The subject matter is, perhaps, intrinsically emotive. It is, therefore, incumbent on all responsible Malaysians, and especially those holding public office, to treat the matter with utmost care, lest it becomes too emotionally charged.

To his credit, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had given his assurance that the government under his leadership would not stop any public discussion on the matter. That necessarily puts the onus on everyone, and in particular, politicians, to be as matter-of-fact as is possible when raising issues related to the subject.

Najib had also made a blanket commitment that if it was found that state rights had inadvertently been taken away by Putrajaya, they would be returned where they rightly belong. The emphasis is rightly on the qualifier “inadvertently”, since suggesting otherwise may give rise to public suspicions (easily fanned by some quarters, one must add) that those rights have been surreptitiously or even deliberately taken away.

The very public commitment given by the prime minister is crucial and may suggest that for the contentious issues related to the subject matter to be resolved to the satisfaction of all involved, sober minds must prevail at all levels and that both the state government and its federal counterpart must always be on the same page over the matter.

It will be needlessly incendiary to pit both the state government and Putrajaya in such a way that it may be interpreted as being in any sort of adversarial positions vis-à-vis the matter at hand. Such interpretations will, in any case, be false and wildly misleading.

The Federal Government, right from the very first day of Malaysia, is composed of strong representations from both Sarawak and Sabah, and the composition of Parliament has been deliberately skewed by the MA63 to afford both states a disproportionate share of members of parliament relative to their respective share of the total national population.

Sarawak’s past leaders, such as Tun Jugah Barieng, Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’akub, Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui and Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, served meaningful and illustrious stints in the federal cabinet and were instrumental in the formulation of national policies, some of which still have direct and far-reaching impact on the state even today.

If anything, the bonds binding Sarawak and the Federal Government today are even stronger. The fact that both have all these years been administered by Barisan Nasional meant that issues and disagreements can be honestly deliberated and resolved with the minimum of fuss or heated public arguments.

It is of utmost importance that we all not lose sight of the reality that we are all in this together. Sarawak’s recent leaders, including the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem, and Abdul Rahman Zohari have, after all, time and again stressed that there was never ever any question of Sarawak being anything but an integral part of Malaysia.

There are signal lessons that can be drawn by everyone in Malaysia from such “black swan” political developments as Britain voting to exit the European Union and Catalonia voting illegally to secede from Spain.

Both developments did not happen in isolation or out of the blue. They were the culminations of long-standing disputes and public debates that had simmered for decades and even centuries (in Spain’s case). In both cases, politicians of the day — perhaps, in the heat of the moment — decided to take on public positions, which painted them into tight corners from which it became almost impossible to retreat without suffering humiliating accusations of a climb-down or a sell-out.

By John Teo.

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Carbon dioxide emissions causing global warming

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

THE earth’s atmosphere contains important greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly in the form of water vapour containing small amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2 ), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). GHGs function as a thermal blanket for the planet, absorbing heat from the sun and keeping its surface warm (on average 15°C) to support life.

Thus, one of the natural causes of global warming also enables life. However, the current expansion of global warming is a serious environmental issue that may affect humans and other living organisms. It occurs when the earth’s atmosphere and surface are gradually heated up because of the presence of trapped thermal infrared radiation that fails to escape into outer space because of the increasing levels of GHGs forming a thick blanket over the earth. This keeps the planet’s surface warm, far above what it would be without its atmosphere. This process is also known as the greenhouse effect.

The existence of past global warming does not necessarily suggest that current global warming is natural. Climate scientists have unanimously agreed that the main cause is human activity; this, rather than any natural phenomena, has expanded the greenhouse effects. In the natural environment, methane is the most potent GHG. However, CO2 is the most significant since it exists in the largest concentration and has a longer lifetime than methane. Recently, human activities have continued to increased CO2 concentrations and have contributed to the emission of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which have heat-trapping potential a thousand times greater than CO2.

CFCs have been banned in most parts of the world because they degrade the earth’s ozone layer. However, since their concentrations are much lower than CO2, they do not add as much warmth to the atmosphere.

It is clear that high concentrations of CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming leading to climate change. Where do CO2 emissions originate from? They are mainly caused by the energy-driven consumption of fossil fuels. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, CO2 emissions mainly originate from electricity production (25 per cent), industry (21 per cent), transportation (14 per cent), commercial and residential buildings (six per cent), sum of agricultural activities, land use and forestry (24 per cent), and other energy uses (10 per cent).

A large proportion of CO2 emissions come from electricity generation, followed by the sum of agricultural activities, land use and forestry. Both sectors — energy production and agriculture — contribute up to half of all global GHG emissions that could lead to global warming and climate change. Moreover, most CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels stem from electricity production, industry, transportation, and commercial and residential buildings, which together make up 66 per cent of global CO2 emissions.

The world, therefore, is in dire need of clean and efficient energy to curb the impact of climate change. The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies, for example, could be the best measure to reduce the greenhouse effect and, at the same time, reduce the impact of climate change. With proper energy and waste management, these clean energies are safe from hazardous elements, economical, and have a stable market price potential and social benefits.

One example of clean energy is solar photovoltaic power, a system that converts sunlight directly into electricity. Solar energy radiates infinitely from the sun; it is clean, free, natural and has zero carbon emissions. It is considered by many as a future energy resource and alternative to fossil fuels. In terms of social benefits, solar energy industries have offered jobs to people in European Union countries, China, Japan, the United States and Malaysia.

Since the climate issue is a shared responsibility of the whole of humanity, Muslim scholars from around the world have made their position clear in the 2015 Islamic Declaration on Climate Change during the Islamic Climate Change Symposium in Istanbul.

The declaration began by calling on policymakers responsible for crafting the comprehensive climate agreement adopted in Paris to come to “an equitable and binding conclusion”. It then asked people and leaders from all countries to commit to 100 per cent renewable energy and net zero emissions as soon as possible and to recognise that unlimited economic growth is not a viable option.

Furthermore, the transition from conventional power resources to renewable energy was highlighted as fundamental to Islamic-based sustainable development, as the protection of life (hifz al-nafs) and the protection of the environment (hifz al-bi‘ah) are predicated upon the assumption that they offer a balance between economic and social development and the environment.

By Dr Shahino Mah Abdullah.

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Kota Belud residents endure 83rd flood

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

KOTA BELUD: Barely recovered from the flash floods less than two months ago, the residents in low-lying areas once again have to face the flood dilemma.

If the last October floods were due to continuous rain over a week, this time it only took a night for flood water level to touch the danger level of 5.83m at Abai river and 3.07m in Tempasuk River.

According to a report by the Malaysian Defense Forces in Sabah, eight major roads and alternatives have also been cut off.

However, only 120 victims from 79 families were rescued and placed at the temporary relief centre at Tun Said Community Hall.

In the meantime, hundreds of the road users had to pull over by the road before the Lebak Moyoh’s roundabout as the road was impassable on Monday night.

According to one of the stranded motorists, Syarifah Norroziana Bataraja, 29, who was returning from work in Kota Kinabalu said that she could not reach her home at Kampung Taun Gusi here.

She rushed home from office as early as 4pm after being informed by family members on the rising water. Unfortunately, it took her almost three hours to arrive at Kota Belud due to traffic crawls along Kota Kinabalu and Tuaran roads which were also affected by flash floods.

“The water current was strong as usually my vehicle can pass through floodwaters. I saw a four-wheel drive vehicle almost slipping into the drain,” said Syarifah who commutes daily between Kota Belud and Kota Kinabalu.

This reporter also experienced sleepless night when she had to pull over and to stay awake while watching the water level rising.

Meanwhile a nearby villager, Adizan Sabdar, 29, said the heavy downpour had inundated the major roads by 8.30pm.

“It was not until two hours, the floodwaters had already reached my knees and this time, the water level was higher than the last floods.

“Some of my neighbors did not have time to salvage their possessions as the water was rising too fast and they were forced to get out of their house,” he said.

Floodwaters began to recede as early as 8am and stranded overnight motorists can finally continue their journey home.


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MOE To Conduct Moral Values Development Programme Next Year

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 (Bernama) — The Ministry of Education (MOE), via the Education Implementation and Performance Unit (PADU) will conduct a comprehensive Moral Values Development programme next year.

MOE deputy director-general (Policy Division) Dr Zainal Alam Hassan said the measures were taken following the rise in the number of bullying cases among school students.

“We do not want our students to focus only on education, and want them to become complete human beings,” he told reporters before the cinema preview of the Education Development Plan 2013-2025, here today.

Meanwhile, PADU principal managing director Khadijah Abdullah said various initiatives were undertaken to improve the standard of education among Malaysians in line with the Education Development Plan.


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Gotong royong still a way of life

Monday, December 11th, 2017


Helping each other come harvest time

TAMPARULI: Mutual help, or gotong royong, may be a dying concept in modern society, but in traditional communities like the Kadazandusuns here, it is still very much a way of life.

They called it ‘mitabang’ and it is most frequently seen in harvesting time, and the practice is called ‘mongomot parai tidong’, or harvesting of hill padi.

According to Geminik Taisin, 47, a farmer from Kg Tomis Mangi Pangi, near here, ‘mitabang’ not only brings the people closer together and enhances the spirit of family, it is also an important way of getting a task done in a short matter of time, like in padi harvesting which must be done quickly to avoid it being ruined by rain.

‘Mitabang’ also applies in preparing the land for hill padi-planting, which takes place between June-July.

“Harvesting usually occurs in December which is just as well because children are on school holidays and they lend a helping hand.

“Planting can be done in a day or up to three days depending on the size of the planting area, and the number of people lending a hand,” Geminik told New Sabah Times in an interview yesterday.

Hill padi comes in the ‘tadong’ variety and is also known as ‘beras merah’ (red rice), tombulaung, silou, lantung, or worok, to folks in the Tamparuli area. Farmers elsewhere in the state have their own names for the wide varieties of rice, which not all are white.

“The hill padi that we plant are under the silou and tombulaung varieties, and they are more fragrant compared to imported varieties. Our rice may not be certified as organic, but we do not use fertilizers at all.

“Normally villagers grow the hill rice for their own consumption and sell only when they have excess, with prices ranging from eight ringgit to 10 ringgit per kilo.”


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