Archive for February, 2019

YS Group to enhance its education program

Friday, February 15th, 2019

Recipients of the Appreciation Award with Shafie (eighth right) and Jamalul (seventh left).

KOTA KINABALU: Yayasan Sabah Group will further enhance its educational development programme, which is the main focus of the Group in ensuring the growth of a generation’s successful future, said Yayasan Sabah director Datuk Haji Jamalul Kiram bin Datuk Haji Zakaria.

Jamalul, who is also chief executive officer of Innoprise Corporation Sdn. Bhd., Yayasan Sabah Group will bring about more educational opportunities for students in creating excellence in education from early childhood to tertiary education,.

“In 2018, early childhood development activities through Taska Ria Nursery, Tadika Ria Kindergarten, Taska Kristal Ria Child Care, Transition Centre and Rural Kindergartens have benefited a total of 509 students.

“To date, 12,882 preschool children have benefited from Yayasan Sabah Group’s early childhood development activities,” he said at the Yayasan Sabah Group annual dinner held at Menara Tun Mustapha on Wednesday, 13 Feb.

“Yayasan Sabah Group in 2018 offered 2,335 new student loans, scholarships and bursaries for secondary school students as well as those studying at Institutions of Higher Learning.

“From 1967 to 2018, Yayasan Sabah Group has spent RM114.3 million on scholarships/bursaries benefiting 72,625 secondary students. Additionally, scholarships/bursaries for Higher Education worth RM334.7 million were spent from 1968 up to 2018 benefiting 18,717 students, while RM228.9 million worth of student loan has been spent for 10,026 students in tertiary education.

“Yayasan Sabah Group also spent RM95 million on the Sabah State Scholarship Award of Excellence (ABCNS) from 1990 until 2018 benefiting 553 students,” he said.

In 2018, a RM10 million One-Off Scholarship Assistance was launched by Chief Minister of Sabah cum Yayasan Sabah Board of Trustees chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd. Shafie bin Haji Apdal on 21 September 2018.

A total of 14,726 students has applied for the fund and the payment process of the scholarship is running smoothly.

“This special fund is the initiative of Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd. Shafie in assisting outstanding and underprivileged students who have just enrolled in Institutions of Higher Learning,” said Jamalul.

“Overall, Yayasan Sabah Group has spent RM772.7 million on scholarships, bursaries and education loans which benefited 101,921 secondary and Institutions of Higher Learning students since 1967 up till present.”

Jamalul also elaborated on the successful academic achievement programmes by both Yayasan Sabah Group owned Sabah Foundation Technical College (SFTC) and University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF).

“In 2018, a total of 821 students pursued their studies at SFTC in 24 certificate and diploma courses. A total of 465 students successfully completed their studies and graduated on 11 October 2018,” Jamalul said.

“UCSF is currently offering a Foundation programme, 10 Diploma programmes and seven Bachelors Degree programmes to potential students. As of December 2018, a total of 587 students have been studying at UCSF and 252 students are graduating from UCSF this year.”

Yayasan Sabah Group staff and their spouses attended the dinner graced by Shafie and his wife Datin Seri Panglima Hajah Shuryani binti Datuk Haji Shuaib.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2019/02/15/ys-group-to-enhance-its-education-program/

Educate the young about human trafficking

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
Traffickers target their victims using tailored methods of recruitment and control to force them into labour or commercial sex. REUTERS PIC

THE increase in the number of human trafficking cases is a huge cause for concern.

Often described as modern-day slavery, it is a scourge in most countries.

The stories are almost the same everywhere. Victims are deceived into accepting job offers that promise a better life.

Instead, they find themselves trapped in a cycle of physical and psychological abuse, as in the case of 47 Malaysians arrested in Cambodia on suspicion of being members of an international online gambling syndicate.

According to the United Nations, more than 130 countries have been identified as transit or destination countries for human trafficking.

Victims come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, with varied levels of education.

Traffickers target their victims using tailored methods of recruitment and control to force them into labour or commercial sex.

Traffickers target poor and marginalised communities with the promise of jobs and a better life.

Traffickers maintain an online presence to lure vulnerable adults and children with the goal of meeting them in person, to take and circulate explicit photos, and coerce them into complying with their demands

Understanding the risk factors for victims can help one to intervene before it is too late.

Many people think that human trafficking is similar to kidnapping, or the sale of women and children by terrorists or domestic helpers turned into slaves in wealthy familes. It is more than that.

It is an issue of supply chain. Traffickers target vulnerable workers to fill labour shortages in a supply chain.

In the electronics sector, human trafficking exist in the extractive stages (where raw material is mined), the component manufacturing stage (where separate pieces are produced or combined) and the production stage (where goods are assembled and packaged in a factory).

Education and creating awareness of human trafficking can reduce cases. Awareness of human trafficking should start in primary schools. If children have age-appropriate information, it will protect them.

Not only the young need to be educated about human trafficking, parents, grandparents, educators and healthcare professionals also need to be roped in.

Human trafficking is a health, security and moral issue. It erodes political systems and harms communities.

It could happen anywhere, any time, in secrecy or in the open. You would not even be aware of it if you don’t know the signs.

By OSWALD TIMOTHY EDWARD.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/02/459660/educate-young-about-human-trafficking

Dealing with addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
Rather than stigmatising addiction we should help addicts. (NSTP Archive)

SUBSTANCE abuse, such as drugs, alcohol and smoking, is easy to define. However, defining non-substance abuse, also referred to as behavioural addiction, is difficult.

Non-substance abuse includes the use of technology, the Internet and social media; photographing; gaming; gambling; sex; bullying; shopping; exercising; and eating excessively.

Every part of our life can make us addicted. This, however, may lead to overpathologising people’s behaviours or broadening the addiction scope.

On the other hand, dismissal of certain activities or behaviours as not being addictive may be counterproductive

Substance or non-substance abuse is a pathology that does not only affect our emotional balance and decision-making but also control of our behaviour.

I see people walking on the road using their mobiles; people driving while making phone calls; people busy with their handphones at meetings; students watching movies, playing games and updating their online statuses in classes; people neglecting their clients, families, and friends to respond to mobile messages or update their status on social media; people taking wefies and selfies in dangerous places; and people recording their “deaths”.

Marc N. Potenza, writing in the Journal of Behavioural Addictions, while commenting on
the work of Billieux et al. (2015) titled “Are we overpathologising everyday life? A tenable blueprint for behavioural addiction research”, noted four elements of addiction:

CONTINUED engagement in the behaviour despite adverse consequences;

APPETITIVE urge or craving state that often immediately precedes behavioural engagement;

POOR self-control over behavioural engagement; and,

COMPULSIVE behavioural engagement.

Pthologising addiction and seeing it as a health problem will make us give priority to prevention and treatment rather than punishment. This is not to relegate or trivialise the power and role of punishment in curbing addiction or deter the rights of addicts though.

As a matter of fact, “battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle”, said actor Ben Affleck following his rehab stints in 2001 and 2017.

Based on scientific studies, we know that addiction is a medical disorder that affects not only the brain, but also culminates in behavioural change.

Not only are our biological and environmental risk factors responsible for addiction, but also our genetic variations and societal pressures.

By DR IDRIS ADEWALE AHMED.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/02/459983/dealing-addiction-lifelong-and-difficult-struggle

Mangrove ecosystem’s importance not understood

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
The Sungai Bukit Tambun mangrove area. Mangroves contribute to coastal protection from erosion and extreme weather changes. FILE PIC

MANGROVE forests are a unique ecosystem which are located between the land and sea.

Mangroves can be found in 118 countries in the world, representing one per cent of the tropical forest worldwide, and less than 0.4 per cent of the world forests. Mangrove swamps provide a very important ecosystem to both human life and the diversity of life that inhabits it.

Firstly, humans are highly dependent on the products of the mangrove forest, which are its timber resources and fishery resources. Mangroves are the breeding grounds and early growth areas of various species of ocean life living on coral reefs.

Next, mangroves contribute to coastal protection from erosion and protect the environment from extreme weather changes. Besides this, the mangrove forest is important in maintaining water quality, trapping sediments and filtering pollutants originating from activities in the surrounding areas. This is compatible with the Quranic verse which means: “He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth; according to His calculations” (Surah Al-Sajdah, 32: 5).

Unfortunately, not many are aware of the importance of the mangrove ecosystem, causing them to be neglected, thus leading to the threat of its extinction. This is evident throughout Malaysia today in which mangroves are becoming increasingly threatened by various unhealthy human activities, such as reclamation of land for aquaculture, agriculture, industry or housing, coastal resort development, ports, roads, airports and oil exploration; widespread logging; and pollution.

It was recently reported that the sole surviving mangrove forest on government land located in the middle of Pekan Baru Batu Maung and adjacent to the Bayan Lepas Industrial Park was being threatened by irresponsible dumping of construction and industrial wastes.

Such activity had harmed the river across the mangrove swamp, turning it brackish and mixed with solids, along with the waste material disposed of at the dumpsite catching fire and scorching some of the mangrove tress that surrounded the open ground.

Such an incident should not have happened. Instead, the Batu Maung mangrove should have been given better protection, and it needs urgent as well as stringent action by all parties concerned be they local, state and federal governments to ensure that the sole remaining mangrove is fully protected and conserved.

All parties should be aware that the mangrove ecosystem is a valuable asset to the country and is among the region’s most productive ecosystems in the world. Not only is it an important area of human life, but it also has benefits to the overall ecosystem and economy.

The survival of the mangrove ecosystem is also important because of its great function in helping to protect coastal areas as well as controlling erosion. As an example, the mangrove ecosystem acts as wind-breakers, protecting against strong winds at coastlines. If the mangrove ecosystems continue to be destroyed, then the affected areas will be exposed to rainstorms, floods and erosion.

Yet, many still do not realise the importance of the mangrove ecosystems. In fact, it was found that the current level of public awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems is still relatively low in comparison to other ecosystems. This has led to conservation efforts of the ecosystem to reach a critical level in Malaysia.

In preserving the mangrove swamp ecosystems, efforts to foster awareness among communities should be done proactively, so that the ecosystems are not marginalised, which can then contribute to their extinction in the future. Perceptions of some members of the community who consider mangroves as idle ecosystems need to be changed.

Such people should be given appropriate exposure in terms of accurate information and knowledge from time to time on the ecosystem which also has its own important role as supplied by other ecosystems.

This effort is crucial in order for the survival of the mangrove ecosystem to be maintained not only for the benefit of humans, but also its survival as an important habitat for plants and animals rarely found in other ecosystems.

For such an effort, all parties need to be committed to ensuring that efficient management of the mangrove ecosystem can be achieved by trying to address the weaknesses of the past management system, enhancing knowledge of the mangrove ecosystem and sharing accurate information with all levels of society.

In addition, the restoration of mangrove ecosystems needs to be the main agenda in the sustainable development of the country. The high commitment at the leadership level towards this effort is necessary to ensure proactive action is taken in order to sustain the sustainability of mangrove ecosystems.

For example, mangrove replanting efforts should be taken seriously by getting the community to be involved in the activity to understand and learn more about the existence of the ecosystem in the future. Their participation in such activities will certainly raise awareness amongst them to safeguard and preserve the mangrove ecosystems.

By Rosmidzatul Azila Mat Yamin.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/02/459981/mangrove-ecosystems-importance-not-understood

Visit Malaysia 2020 – Not by numbers alone

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
Tourism Malaysia may have to work harder to at least maintain the sector as the third highest contributor to the nation’s income. (NSTP Archive / Pexels photo)

MALAYSIA Tourism Promotion Board, or Tourism Malaysia, has big plans. In 2020, it was originally planning to bring in 36 million international tourists and RM168 billion in tourist receipts.

Are we branding and marketing the country rightly? There are about 200 countries vying for the tourist dollar.

Taglines do work for some countries, but is “Malaysia, Truly Asia” pulling in the people? According to Tourism Malaysia, it is.

They argue the “Malaysia, Truly Asia” tagline has positioned Malaysia as a “destination of diversity, with the country showcasing a kaleidoscope of customs, religions, traditions, festivals, heritage, arts and crafts, and cuisines of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, and various ethnic groups”.

But is the tagline doing the trick? Numbers may have the answer. In 2017, 25.9 million tourists visited Malaysia contributing to tourist receipts of RM82.2 billion.

Last year’s first nine months’ data of 19.4 million tourist arrivals and tourist receipts of RM61.9 billion point to a possible decline, posing a tremendous challenge for Malaysia to reach Visit Malaysia 2020’s target of 36 million tourist arrivals (now revised down to 30 million) and tourist receipts of RM168 billion (now revised down to RM100 billion).

The tagline, “Malaysia, Truly Asia,” may not be working as it did before. Looks like Tourism Malaysia has lots of work to do to get the numbers up.

In 2016, tourism contributed RM73.3 billion to the country’s gross national income, making it the third highest contributor.

Marketing Malaysia —or any other country — is all about branding our authenticity. When people think of a country they think of something special, something very unique.

What defines Malaysia? What is the national character of the country? Nation branding experts tell us that we must have two things when we market a country.

One, there must be a strategy. Two, those who are charged with the promotion strategy must be able to marshal the people behind it.

The first may be easier to do than the second, but the two must be there for a country marketing strategy to succeed.

The wisdom behind the latter is to get all Malaysians to act in a way consistent with the national strategy. All we need is one misalignment, and our reputation as a nation will go south.

The errant behaviour of many of our taxi drivers is a case in point. In fact, in 2015, LondonCabs.co.uk placed our taxi drivers on top of the list of the 10 worst taxi drivers in the world. Malaysia can do without such infamy.

Add to this, statistics on road rage, snatch thefts and other errant ways of ours then you will not look elsewhere for the reasons behind the declining numbers.

In this context, it may not be out of place to engage in some introspection of a national kind.

Who are we really? Would our individual conduct find a happy mention in the postcards the 26 million tourists write home? Would they speak highly of our outlook? National or otherwise?

And about our attitude towards others? Do we hasten to help others in trouble?

By NST LEADER .

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/leaders/2019/02/459985/visit-malaysia-2020-not-numbers-alone

Economic crisis can trigger WW3

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
A prolonged economic crisis could spin out of control and morph into military conflicts.

ECONOMIC recovery efforts since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis have mainly depended on unconventional monetary policies. As fears rise of yet another international financial crisis, there are growing concerns about the increased possibility of large-scale military conflict.

More worryingly, in the current political landscape, prolonged economic crisis, combined with rising economic inequality, chauvinistic ethno-populism as well as aggressive jingoist rhetoric, including threats, could easily spin out of control and “morph” into military conflict, and worse, world war.

The 2008-2009 global financial crisis almost “bankrupted” governments and caused systemic collapse. Policymakers managed to pull the world economy from the brink, but soon switched from counter-cyclical fiscal efforts to unconventional monetary measures, primarily “quantitative easing” and very low, if not negative real interest rates.

But while these monetary interventions averted realisation of the worst fears at the time by turning the US economy around, they did little to address underlying economic weaknesses, largely due to the ascendance of finance in recent decades at the expense of the real economy. Since then, despite promising to do so, policymakers have not seriously pursued, let alone achieved, such needed reforms.

Instead, ostensible structural reformers have taken advantage of the crisis to pursue largely irrelevant efforts to further “casualise” labour markets. This lack of structural reform has meant that the unprecedented liquidity central banks injected into economies has not been well allocated to stimulate a resurgence of the real economy.

Instead, easy credit raised asset prices to levels even higher than those prevailing before 2008. US house prices are now eight per cent  more than at the peak of the property bubble in 2006, while its price-to-earnings ratio in late 2018 was even higher than in 2008 and in 1929, when the Wall Street crash precipitated the Great Depression.

As monetary tightening checks asset price bubbles, another economic crisis —  possibly more severe than the last, as the economy has become less responsive to such blunt monetary interventions — is considered likely. A decade of such unconventional monetary policies, with very low interest rates, has greatly depleted their ability to revive the economy.

The implications beyond the economy of such developments and policy responses are already being seen. Prolonged economic distress has worsened public antipathy towards the culturally alien — not only abroad, but also within. Thus, another round of economic stress is deemed likely to foment unrest, conflict, even war as it is blamed on the foreign.

International trade shrank by two-thirds within half a decade after the US passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930, at the start of the Great Depression, ostensibly to protect American workers and farmers from foreign competition.

Rising economic insecurity, inequalities and deprivation are expected to strengthen ethno-populist and jingoistic nationalist sentiments, and increase social tensions and turmoil, especially among the growing precariat and others who feel vulnerable or threatened.

Thus, ethno-populist inspired chauvinistic nationalism may exacerbate tensions, leading to conflicts and tensions among countries, as in the 1930s. Opportunistic leaders have been blaming such misfortunes on outsiders and may seek to reverse policies associated with the perceived causes, such as “globalist” economic liberalisation.

Policies which successfully check such problems may reduce social tensions, as well as the likelihood of social turmoil and conflict, including among countries. However, these may also inadvertently exacerbate problems. The recent spread of anti-globalisation sentiment appears correlated to slow, if not negative per capita income growth and increased economic inequality.

To be sure, globalisation and liberalisation are statistically associated with growing economic inequality and rising ethno-populism. Declining real incomes and growing economic insecurity have apparently strengthened ethno-populism and nationalistic chauvinism, threatening economic liberalisation itself, both within and among countries.

Thomas Piketty has argued that a sudden increase in income inequality is often followed by a great crisis. Although causality is difficult to prove, with wealth and income inequality now at historical highs, this should give cause for concern.

Of course, other factors also contribute to or exacerbate civil and international tensions, with some due to policies intended for other purposes. Nevertheless, even if unintended, such developments could inadvertently catalyse future crises and conflicts.

The people often have good reason to be restless, if not angry, but the emotional appeals of ethno-populism and jingoistic nationalism are leading to chauvinistic policy measures that only make things worse.

At the international level, despite the world’s unprecedented and still growing interconnectedness, multilateralism is increasingly being eschewed as the US increasingly resorts to unilateral, sovereigntist policies without bothering to even build coalitions with its usual allies.

Thus, protracted economic distress, economic conflicts or another financial crisis could lead to military confrontation by the protagonists, even if unintended. Less than a decade after the Great Depression started, World War 2 had begun as the Axis powers challenged colonial powers.

Anticipating and addressing such possibilities may well serve to help avoid otherwise imminent disasters by undertaking pre-emptive collective action, as difficult as that may be.

BJOMO KWAME SUNDARAM and VLADIMIR POPOV.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/02/459987/economic-crisis-can-trigger-ww3

Stateless kids’ plight

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
Siti Masitah’s brutal murder must jolt us into action regarding the plight of stateless children

THEY are called by several names — invisible children, hidden children, stateless children, undocumented children, and lost children. Their existence today makes a mockery of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (CRC), which stipulates that every child has a right to a name, a nationality, and a right to education. Article 7(1) of CRC states that “The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality …”  while Article 28(1) states that “States Parties recognise the right of the child to education…”.

The  Unicef portal revealed that Malaysia had ratified the Convention in 1995 but had made “reservations” to some of its provisions, including Article 7 and Article 28(1). What this means is that Malaysia is not bound to recognise the child’s right to name and nationality as well as his right to education.

Article 12 of our Federal Constitution guarantees “the rights in respect of education” but they are available only to Malaysian citizens.

Siti Masitah Ibrahim, 11, who went missing on Jan 30, was a stateless child. She was a stateless person because her Cambodian mother has no identification document or permanent residency card.

When her mother reported her missing, the Nur Alert system was not activated. “Nur” is the acronym for “National Urgent Response”.

Pekan police chief Superintendent Amran Sidek explained that the system was not activated because Masitah’s parents were foreigners. Although they had settled down in Pekan since the 1980s, they do not have any identification documents.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh clarified that the Nur Alert system is applicable to all children under 12 reported missing, regardless of nationality and regardless of documentation.

Assistant Commissioner Choo Lily (of the Federal Sexual, Women and Children’s Investigation Division) said on the day the police received the report from the child’s parents, the Nur Alert should have been blasted out through the system with the child’s brief description and a latest photograph.

Masitah’s body was discovered by villagers in an oil palm plantation in Kampung Tanjung Medang Hilir, Pekan, on Sunday.

Pahang Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Othman Nanyan later told reporters that police had detained a  Cambodian  on Jan  31, the day after the girl had disappeared.

At first, the suspect (who has no identification documents) did not admit his involvement in Masitah’s disappearance but upon further questioning, he admitted it. He is now under remand until Feb 17 under Section 302 of the Penal Code.

On Feb 12, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim told the media that after this recent incident, police will review the procedure on missing persons and ensure that reports of such incidents were not taken lightly.

An Aljazeera report in 2016 stated there were at least 50,000 undocumented children in Sabah. The Asia Foundation described these “hidden children” as among the country’s most vulnerable. They are offspring of migrant workers from the Philippines, Indonesia, or the Bajau Laut nomadic people. Their families have lived in Malaysia for generations, but their births were not registered by their parents because of the fear of arrest.

In November 2016, former home minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said there were more than 290,000 stateless children in Malaysia. Without any official status, they cannot travel, attend government schools or gain access to the public health system. Without documentation, they risk detention and face difficulty in getting employment.

Last November, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik told the media that undocumented children can be admitted to national schools as long as one of their parents is a Malaysian citizen. This is part of the government’s new “Undocumented Children Can Enter Schools 2019” initiative. Even if Siti Masitah was still alive today, this new initiative would mean nothing to her because both her parents are undocumented.

According to UNHCR, there are at least 10 million stateless people around the world. Every 10 minutes, a stateless child is born somewhere in the world. In 2014,  this UN body started its campaign to end statelessness by 2024.

To achieve this goal, it has urged all states to implement the following measures as part of its Global Action Plan to End Statelessness — allow children to gain nationality of the country in which they are born; reform laws that prevent mothers from passing their nationality to their children on an equal basis as fathers; eliminate laws and practices that deny nationality because of their ethnicity, race or religion; and ensure universal birth registration to prevent statelessness.

By SALLEH BUANG.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/02/459991/stateless-kids-plight

Jobs of the future: Top five emerging careers

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
(File pix) Robotics engineering is a sought-after career pathway for school-leavers.

CHOOSING the right course to study after secondary school is one of the most important decisions in life.

With an array of courses available, the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable education counsellor is invaluable after the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) examinations.

Regardless of whether school-leavers are from the arts or science stream, it is important to select a discipline that matches interests.

Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management human resource adviser Geh Thuan Hooi said the programme of choice must be relevant now and in the future or graduates risk being left behind.

“With the advent of Industry 4.0 where artificial intelligence (AI) will replace many present jobs, anything related to data analytics, information technology and robotics are good fields to venture into.

“Jobs requiring a high sense of creativity and decisiveness will be much sought after. Those with a strong mindset, who are persistent and not afraid to fail, as well as team players will make it in the future,” he added.

Higher Ed looks at the top five emerging careers – data scientist, robotics engineer, physiotherapist, certified account and digital marketer – with a promising future.

DATA SCIENTISTS

Demand for data science skills is growing exponentially as it is crucial to extract knowledge and insight from data captured by companies.

Center of Applied Data Science (CADS) founder and chief executive officer Sharala Axryd said data scientists have always been in demand but, until recently, only large enterprises and digital natives were willing to make the significant investment.

“Corporations know that if they are slow to act, they will become dinosaurs in this digital age and lose competitive advantage.

“Management and executives are now actively utilising data to make business decisions,” she added.

“CADS offers courses such as the Data Star Programme and CADS Certification which teach the fundamentals of interpreting data, performing analyses and understanding and communicating actionable insights.

“The special SPM-Leavers Seminar, which was introduced last year, gives insight into the skills needed in the world of data science as well as job opportunities in the industry.

“Through these programmes, students are better equipped to stand out among their peers by pursuing career paths such as data scientists and analysts in various industries. These are increasingly highly sought-after roles which organisations are eager to fill.”

Data scientists are at the top of the data science career ladder as they possess both theoretical knowledge and technical skills.

“Data scientists should also have excellent communication skills to articulate their knowledge into useful insight that creates value.

Whether it is the field of AI, machine learning, deep learning or analytics, the possibilities are endless.

“A career in data science is considered an extremely broad field, as data scientists are relevant across industries, fitting in both vertically and horizontally.

“Exceptional understanding of all aspects of data, programming and business is highly respected.”

A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Statistics or Social and Physical Sciences is the basis of skills required to process and analyse big data. Relevant fields include mathematics, computer science and engineering.

Arts stream students, who have non-technical skills, can pursue their interest in data science if they have strong communication skills or business knowledge.

For example, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication graduate can rewrite technical jargon into plain English for the easier understanding of the marketing department.

ROBOTICS ENGINEERS

Robotics has been around for decades but current technological breakthrough in areas such as AI, Internet of Things, Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), cloud computing and big data analytics has generated demand in sectors such as food and beverage, logistics and consumer markets.

Multimedia University Faculty of Engineering Technology dean Associate Professor Dr Fazly Salleh Abas said robotics is a discipline that combines knowledge on electronics, electrical and mechanical engineering, and software development.

The “body” of a robot is built on mechanical concepts, the “nervous system” on electrical and electronic components while the software forms its “brain”.

“It is not only the job of the future but is also now in demand. And it is not limited to manufacturing since robotics and automation are widely used in industries such as medicine, agriculture, law enforcement and surveillance.

“Graduates can choose to join the workforce in the industry or become researchers.

“The application of automation and robotics is broad. One may work on single-action robots in plants that automate bottle labelling or work on complex projects such as designing intelligent drones or a full-scale IIOT-enabled assembly system equipped with AI capabilities to predict possible breakdown.

“If one loves solving problems, then robotics is a brilliant choice for future pursuits,” he added.

In just a few decades, industries especially manufacturing are fertile ground for robotics and automation systems to evolve since they open the path to productivity and profitability.

“This technology has a long way to go in disrupting the way we manufacture and distribute products.”

A Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering — Robotics, Computer, Electro-mechanical, Electrical and Mechanical — is the entry-level academic requirement for a career in robotics.

Typical coursework for a robotics engineering degree includes advanced mathematics, physical and life sciences, computer science, computer-aided design and drafting, physics and materials science.

SPM science stream students with a Foundation in Engineering qualification or STPM scholars with three principals including mathematics and physics are eligible to pursue the Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics) degree majoring in robotics and automation.

For arts stream students who wish to become engineers, the pathway may be a little bit longer than for science stream students, whose usual pathway is to pursue Foundation, Matriculation or STPM course followed by an engineering degree programme.

A tip: excel in SPM and enrol in a diploma in engineering course at a polytechnic or public and private university before pursuing a degree in engineering programme.

PHYSIOTHERAPISTS

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said expenditure in the nation’s healthcare industry is expected to reach RM80 billion by 2020.

Industry-spending, which recorded RM52 billion at end-2017, has increased, fuelled by demand for healthcare services and the emergence of new care models beyond traditional hospital settings.

Management and Science University (MSU) Faculty of Health and Life Sciences dean Associate Professor Dr Sairah Abdul Karim said Malaysia is ranked as one of the highest for chronic heart problems and obesity among Asian countries.

There is a need for more physiotherapists to come up with exercise therapies designed to solve patients’ specific therapeutic goals.

Physiotherapists enjoy high employability as their skills are integral to the rehabilitation of patients who have either suffered a stroke, had a knee replacement, heart bypass surgery. In addition, they treat and minimise physical disabilities associated with injury, disease and other impairments.

“On average, a physiotherapist earns an annual income of RM29,500. Depending on experience, one can earn between RM14,000 and RM68,000 a year.

“This is a career that helps people and improves lives – not only alleviate pain – and there’s flexibility to work as a part-timer,” she added.

Physiotherapy courses offer a variety of hands-on skills that can be applied in hospital settings and sports clubs, special needs children’s centres, old folks home as well as rehabilitation centres.

“Physiotherapy graduates can look into becoming an academician, trainer, sports therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor or exercise physiologist.”

With the average ratio of physiotherapists to the country’s population at 1:27,000 compared with 1:14,000 for developed countries, and 1:500,000 for under-developed nations, physiotherapists are in demand.

“There will be some 19,000 physiotherapists in the country by 2020 when the estimated population is 32 million, giving a ratio of 1:1,813.”

In 2016, there were 216 private and 153 public hospitals in the country. The Health Ministry employed 1,373 physiotherapists.

Non-governmental organisations and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry also hired them.

In addition, physiotherapists also able to set up private practices and work in private clinics.

At MSU, prospective students need a minimum C grade for science subjects to enrol in the physiotherapy course, which includes 70 per cent hands-on learning and practice to ensure comprehension of integrated therapeutic approaches to patient care.

The programme encompasses clinical placements in accredited places such as MSU Medical Centre, public hospitals (under the supervision of the Health Ministry), private hospitals, National Sports Institute of Malaysia and healthcare services providers.

The specially designed clinical placements exceed the 1,000 hours requirement by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.

“The curriculum is carefully crafted to ensure students are competent and inventive practitioners later in their career.

“This programme is delivered through innovative, 21st century teaching techniques, which engage students in collaborative, highly focused assessments and projects to build a solid foundation for a career in physiotherapy.”

KPJ Healthcare University College School of Health Sciences dean Mohd Izham Mohd Zain said physiotherapists are sought after in the healthcare industry, in line with changing lifestyle and new healthcare models.

“There is an obvious shift of care from the traditional role of providing rehabilitation and curative care at hospitals to preventive measures, which curb occupational-related disorders.

“Such an extended role requires higher academic qualifications to cater to needs and fulfil expectations,” added Mohd Izham.

To meet demand, numerous higher education institutions offer training programmes at the bachelor’s level instead of diploma.

KPJ Healthcare University College’s School of Health Sciences offers physiotherapy programmes from diploma to master’s.

DIGITAL MARKETERS

With exponential growth of the Internet, firms have more opportunities to communicate with their target audience.

Consumers are also highly intelligent and take well to online marketing as it is the medium most relatable to them.

Digital marketing is becoming a sought after career in a borderless environment.

Taylor’s University School of Media and Communication senior lecturer Dr Nurzihan Hassim said learners who are Internet-savvy can build up a diverse portfolio by mastering their hard and soft skills in both online and existing channels, be it radio, television or newspaper.

Through corporate bodies as well as advertising, public relations and media agencies, the 4th IR brings with it a need for media strategists, creative content creators and event managers to handle integrated marketing communications.

“It is a highly exciting and competitive field, so experience is critical as digital presence is very much relevant and needed,” she added.

Nurzihan said many advertising and branding campaigns integrate the human experience with augmented and virtual reality, and AI.

“Humanising technologies with consumers’ wants puts them first and wins trust. For example, voice searches such as Amazon Alexa see a higher engagement with smartphone users and opportunities for product knowledge and new trends.

“Snapchat won over audiences by allowing them to explore the Nike catalogue through augmented reality at a brand event and purchase Air Jordan III through Shopify.

“In essence, the key is to excite consumers and give insight into a product, brand or firm to gain and sustain attention through creativity and innovation of technology.”

Given that marketing in the future will be device-based, enrolment in a digital marketing course allows youth to enhance tech skills and learn to merge sales concepts into this next generation of marketing.

“Youth today are digital natives born in the era of the Internet and understand it the most. They are the best generation to implement digital marketing innovations that can bring change in society, and increase acceptability, response and practice of new ideas, concepts, products and trends.

“What we teach here is the history of the field and then bring into focus by linking it with digital practices. When students are exposed to the overall context of advertising and branding, they learn key areas such as audience research and the importance of evaluation, planning and creative execution across all major media channels.

“This breadth of knowledge is extremely useful for those interested in careers in advertising, marketing, brand management, audience research and handling big data.”

Nurzihan added that as long as they have the passion for it, students from both the Science and Arts streams can enrol in a Digital Marketing course as it is a mix of creative arts and technology.

“Science students already have the required skill-sets for pursuing the course such as the ability to think objectively and analyse quantifiable metrics.”

CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS

The country is in need of qualified professional accountants to meet the demand for 60,000 by next year.

With the development of digital technology, the role of accountants will be more challenging as they will use sophisticated and smart technologies such as software systems including cloud computing to enhance traditional ways of working.

And it is imperative that they are benchmarked against the highest standards and tested by the rigour of professional accountancy examinations.

UNIRAZAK chief executive officer Amil Izham Hamzah likened a degree in accounting to a key that unlocks a door to a room with a large chest containing a treasure — the certified accounting qualification.

The mental and physical skill-sets and stamina that one gains in the process of unlocking the chest are the greatest rewards for a certified accountant.

“It is by going through this process that sees many opportunities, imaginable or otherwise, open up to certified accountants.”

Therefore, it is crucial to go beyond an accounting degree and pursue professional accounting certification.

Generally, there are two ways of pursuing this certification. One can go the traditional route of obtaining a degree then pursuing professional accounting

certification or embark on a programme that combines both the university degree and professional certification, such as the CPA Australia Accounting degree qualification.

In developed countries, it is rather common for those in the science stream to cross over and study accounting.

“When I was enrolled in a professional accounting programme, a former colleague, who studied geology, was one of the best certified accountants in the firm then.

“You need the smarts and a willingness to go through the journey with perseverance, patience, prayers and lots of caffeine!”

The allure of professional accounting certifications has to do with existing and projected demand for certified professional accountants. Consistent with the trajectory of fast growing economies, Malaysia is projected to continue to need professionals of certain disciplines including certified accountants.

“Unlike certain jobs that are mere fads, the qualification as a certified accountant stands one on solid ground. I was awarded professional certification some 20 years ago and I can safely say that the qualification as a certified accountant is ‘not a destination but a means’ of taking on many roles and responsibilities in many ventures and industries.”

A certified accountant exercises constant judgment in his work, for example identifies and makes a call on substance rather than form; assesses intentions and their consequences; and effectively deals with shades of grey rather than mere black or white.

“It is a discipline that is more of the arts than sciences. The essential traits remain relevant in the foreseeable future.”

Meanwhile in its effort to contribute towards the development of talent in the country, Permodalan Nasional Bhd has introduced the PNB Chartered Accountant (PCA) course.

The programme targets candidates from different entry levels — SPM school-leavers, graduates of Foundation programmes from professional accounting bodies and graduates with a Diploma or Degree in Accountancy.

On Oct 26, 2016, PNB and its programme partners—Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera, UiTM Private Education Sdn Bhd and Ernst & Young Malaysia — signed the Joint Collaborative Educational Partnership Agreement to provide sponsorship covering subsistence allowance and fees (tuition, examination and membership).

By Zulita Mustafa.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2019/02/459776/jobs-future-top-five-emerging-careers

Hot weather till middle of year

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Azemi Daud

KOTA KINABALU: The hot weather in Sabah is expected to prevail until May or until the middle of this year.

Sabah Meteorological Department director Azemi Daud told the Borneo Post that the temperature will not be too extreme.

“The cause is the weak El Nino which is expected to continue up until the middle of this year,” he said.

Azemi also said that this will result in lower rainfall in Sabah by 20 percent to 40 percent from the monthly average.

by Jenne Lajiun

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2019/02/12/hot-weather-till-middle-of-year/

Schools in Penampang, Kota Belud to run their own radio, project sponsored by UNICEF

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Jenifer Lasimbang

PENAMPANG: Primary schools here and in Kota Belud will be involved in a pilot project that would enable schools to run their own radio programme.

Assistant Education and Innovation Minister, Jenifer Lasimbang explained that such projects are already carried out in countries like Australia and the United States, and that using the radio as a form of teaching and learning had been proven effective.

She said that 24 schools in Penampang had been selected for the pilot project.

At the present time of writing, she was not able to provide the number of primary schools that would be involved in the project in Kota Belud.

The cost for the pilot project is also unavailable as they are still working on arriving at the estimation, she said.

by Jenne Lajiun.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2019/02/13/schools-in-penampang-kota-belud-to-run-their-own-radio-project-sponsored-by-unicef/