Archive for July, 2019

Careers for special people

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

MALAYSIA is very short of skilled workers. The government is trying ways and means to reduce foreign workers from working in Malaysia.

While many steps are being taken, it is worth considering the thousands of disabled Malaysians who are not usefully employed.

They may have the skills, but society is often skeptical in employing disabled people.

If only the attitude of employers change, we will have access to another group of employable Malaysians. They can easily fit into our society. At the same time we have the opportunity to provide employment for our own disabled workers.

The word “disability” itself says that one’s ability has been disabled, that is a person cannot carry out all the normal and regular physical or mental tasks. However a person who is suffering from a disability can channel his skills and knowledge in his chosen career.

Disability cannot pull a person down completely and to have a job, he has to be well motivated to support himself to hunt for jobs that he can do well. Most often these people are highly motivated and excel in their work.

If one is confused as to what jobs will be appropriate considering the disability, below is a list of jobs that one can choose as per the interests and ability of one. Delve into the many job openings available to you and work on whatever you are capable of doing.

Different Types of Jobs for People with Disabilities:

1. Accountant:

An accountant is responsible to keep or examine financial records. Financial institutions are considered as the highest employers of job hunters with disabilities.

The accounting opportunity is predominantly promising.

2. Financial Analyst:

Financial analyst has to analyse the capability of finance related bodies for investments. They have to evaluate whether an entity will be stable, solvent or profitable.

Thus one with certain disability can work as financial analyst as financial analysis is another eminent growing field in the financial area.

3. Management consultant:

Management consultant is someone who helps organisations to augment their functioning, performance and working primarily through the evaluation of existing organisational tribulations and the development of plans for advancement.

The organisations believe that these disabilities struck candidates will be able to help them effectively to overcome their challenges as the disabled people have themselves overcome many trials. Hence, with appropriate education one can easily find jobs in this field.

4.  Market research analyst:

Data on competitors and consumers are gathered and analysed to study market situation and to understand the potential of a product or service for sales.

The people with disabilities are able to contribute unique insights to the businesses that are looking up to adapt their consumers’ choices of products.

5. Pharmaceutical sales:

It involves the process of sales of drugs that has been clinically examined for its effectiveness and safety.

Many of the employers of people with disabilities in this sector are specialists in pharmaceutical sales.

6. Pharmacy technician:

Under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, a pharmacy technician works as a health care provider carrying out pharmacy related operations.

This field has encountered high growth. The field has a verified track record for hiring job seekers who have disabilities.

7. Physician assistant:

A physician assistant is one who provides with health care and is inevitable in today’s health care structure.

They have to practice medicine along with physicians or other health care professionals to deliver premium health care to patients. One may encounter aiding others with disabilities.

8. Software engineer:

They are responsible in the development, design and conservation of software. It is a top career and a growing sector for the job seekers with disabilities.

9. Vocational counsellors:

It is a profession in which one assists person who has disabilities to assess their strengths as well as weaknesses with the intention of helping them in selecting the careers or jobs that expands their potentials to become active contributors to the workforce.

The people who themselves have disabilities have the best knowledge and insight to find the right career as they have crossed the path themselves and no one better than them can be able to counsel others with such disabilities.

10. Salesperson:

The role of the salesperson is of someone trying to sell a product or service through his communicating skills.

He has to convince a potential customer about how a product or service would meet their perceived needs.

There is need of salesperson virtually anywhere and is a best job option for a person with disabilities.

11. Self employment:

Owning and running a business, serving as consultant for other businesses, being an independent lawyer, online tutors are all few of the examples from the many self employed jobs available.

One carrying out self employment can work from home or personal office space and in some cases in client’s office.

12. Accessibility consulting:

It comprises of consulting the organisations on how they can improve their offices and neighbouring areas and make them more user friendly for the people with various disabilities.

13. Teacher:

Teacher is someone who helps people of different age groups develop intellectually and specialise in new skills.

The people with disability can help others with disability or without, through their experienced proficiency.

They can be involved in online education too. With the required education or if the disability was struck later in one’s life, they can teach about their former profession to others.

14. Writers:

Writers have to communicate via their written words to the readers. One can write on whatever he knows, possibly about disability. Writing articles in magazines, newspapers, web or eBooks or blogs is possible.

One can be self employed by writing books.

Companies or non-profit organisations also hire individuals to convey their messages to the readers through newsletters, brochures, press releases and other promotional stuff for which one must be a very persuasive writer.

by Krishnan.

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Don’t mind the gap

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
Mohd Nidzam Adzha during one of his activities at the Pusat Sinar Harapan in Jitra, Kedah.

IN September 2017, the then Higher Education Ministry introduced the Gap Year programme to allow undergraduates from Malaysian Public Universities to take a year, or two semesters, off from their formal education to engage in volunteer activities.

An initiative under Shift 1 (Holistic, Entrepreneurial and Balanced Graduates) of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education), there are three streams of the Gap Year programme which are Gap Year National Service Volunteerism, Gap Year Volunteerism, and Gap Year (General).

The Gap Year National Service Volunteerism provides opportunities for students to join the Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police and Civil Defence Department for nine months, while Gap Year Volunteerism allows students to work with government or non-governmental agencies focusing on volunteerism and community activities such as in literacy tutoring, disaster management, youth work, and human and refugee relief.

The third stream enables students to engage actively in activities that interest them. It covers a broader range of activities including work, sports, travel, and others.

Since its introduction, some students from public universities have taken the opportunity to participate in the programme. Higher Ed spoke to three students who have completed their gap year programmes and shared their experiences during that period of time.


While most of her university friends continued with their studies, Noraim Deraman, 25, was determined to take a nine-month break from her studies at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) to join the Gap Year National Service programme in September 2017.

“From my understanding, ‘Gap Year’ means the time frame that exists within a certain period that is used to perform activities unrelated to the course of study.

“The Gap Year is more focused on how we apply the knowledge we have in the working environment. If at university we only learnt, created, and shared among our peers, this time around we did so with different age groups, living standards, cultural and social layers,” she revealed.

Initially she was rather sceptical at the prospect of not being able to graduate along with her coursemates, but she decided that the experience gained would help her fit in better when she enters the working world.

“I wanted to explore new things so I’m better prepared for the future, and what was more important was that my family approved and accepted all my decisions,” she said.

The Bachelor of Science (Decision Science) undergraduate said it all began upon her completing three-year training as an officer with the Reserve Officers Training Unit (Palapes). She said this is a requirement for Gap Year National Service with the Armed Forces.

“I chose to join the Gap Year National Service programme in collaboration with the then Ministry of Higher Education by enlisting with the army. This saw her being placed with the Rejimen 515 Askar Wataniah, the military reserve force of the Malaysian Army — the Territorial Army.

“During the programme, I pushed myself to try new things, especially involving work that requires us to interact with the community.

“So I managed to build my confidence and do lots of things because I have a desire to learn.

The Gap Year National Service programme runs for nine months. “I learnt a lot of things and gained so much experience thanks to the programme. One thing’s for sure though, you have to be open-minded, confident and proactive as well. I am able to control my emotions if my suggestions or views are inadequate for a particular situation.”

Among the challenges she had to face was knowing how to deal with senior military personnel.

“I have no issues when dealing with peers of the same age because we can talk as friends, but I also needed to know how to engage with those who are older. Another challenge I faced was when researching on the Territorial Army. I had to collect data on society knowledge and make an analysis of the study,” she said.

Noraim stressed that volunteering for Gap Year is not coercion but a personal willingness and desire to explore the world. “By the end of the programme, most of my university friends were impressed as I managed to successfully complete my Gap Year.

She continued, “By taking the Gap Year, I learnt to better control my emotions, and learnt how to fit in for certain situations, growing to be more mature in thought and action.

“Today, I am a more confident person thanks to the experience and time with the Territorial Army, where I also learnt to cope with various challenges from society.

“Do not let your weakness be a barrier, instead, use it as a source of strength and as a challenge to become successful.”

Noraim just completed her industrial training last month and is now looking forward to her convocation in October.


UUM counselling undergraduate Azzarina Mohammad Shukor, 23, joined Gap Year Volunteerism under the Volunteer to Institution (V2i) programme in collaboration with the Welfare Department for three months in June 2017, which saw her being placed with the Rumah Seri Kenangan in Cheras.

“I gained valuable experience by managing old folks, by exploring their thoughts and feelings. They actually want nothing but attention, love, and friends to chat with. This is good for my future career as a counsellor.

“For example, if I want to conduct any counselling sessions with senior citizens, I now have the necessary experience to help them,” she said.

Azzarina, who has had to deal with a health issue said that the experience gained in taking care of the elderly has, in turn, helped her in dealing with her own self-esteem issues; and her level of confidence has risen.

During her volunteering stint, she also managed to shed four kilogrammes.

“It’s been a long time coming, but for me, it has always been because of a lack of motivation. But after seeing the fate of the elderly at the old folks home, who are mostly ill or ignored by their families, I’m more motivated than ever to be healthy.

“After the programme, I continued to practice healthy eating habits and exercise. I managed to lose 20kg in just four months,” she shared.

“However, I also faced various challenges. For example, prior to that, during every semester break, I would work. But under the programme, I did volunteer work where I was not paid and had to use my own money.

“The second challenge was to serve and care for the elderly as best as I could, while staying calm and patient with them.”

Azzarina hopes that other university students will participate in such programmes as she believes that the experience gained will make them more resilient while enhancing their survival skills. It would also get them out of their comfort zones because they have to adapt to new environments and surroundings.


Another UUM undergraduate, Mohd Nidzam Adzha Abdul Razak, 21, began his Gap Year experience as a volunteer just this month under the V2i programme as well. He said the programme focuses on the community which requires individuals or groups to carry out activities at selected organisations for three months during their semester break.

The Bachelor of Operations Management undergraduate said that even though he has just begun volunteering, he has already gained in terms of experience that has so far benefitted him in carrying out voluntary activities.

“Before this, the charity and volunteer work that I did was limited to what was being done on campus at my university through various clubs and associations.

“I hope to improve my knowledge in the field of volunteerism under this programme and hope it will become a valuable experience in the future. Who knows, I might end up organising my own community activities,” he said.

For the next three months, Nidzam will be placed with Pusat Sinar Harapan in Jitra, Kedah, which houses disabled children.

He added that among the traits he has acquired is enhancing social networking, as he has to deal with professionals such as physiotherapists, childcare specialists and the administrators of the home.

“Through my exposure with different professionals, I am able to gain valuable knowledge and experience that is not readily available from the university, such as caring for the disabled and how to manage a childcare centre.

“In addition, through such activities, I became exposed firsthand to the less fortunate and a genuine affection for them was nurtured. Before this, I knew little about caring for children with disabilities. But once I got involved in the programme, I got to mingle with them and learnt how to administer proper care while being compassionate at the same time,” he said.

Additionally, he said the programme helped him improve his communication skills and to better interact in the working environment.

No experience comes without having to face challenges , and the same goes for Nidzam.

“I have to use my own pocket money to cover my travel expenses and food costs. I travel to and fro from the centre for some 60km every day. With the busy traffic, this is another challenge to stay cautious while travelling,” he said.

He said they are required to implement at least two activities for the residents.

“We are not provided with any financial allocation for any activity, and we are only allowed to use equipment available at the centre. Therefore, I have to be creative and make full use of the tools available.”

Despite initial protests from his family, Nidzam managed to convince them of the benefits of the Gap Year programme, and they accepted his decision, even encouraging him subsequently.

“It was the same for some of my coursemates, who initially felt that this kind of programme would be a waste of their time. But they did not know much about the gap year then. However, after they saw my experience through social media, they got interested and regretted not joining me.

“My advice for those who want to participate in this programme is to prepare yourselves mentally and physically because in carrying out volunteer activities, things may extend beyond what you expected.


Dr Hendrik Lamsali, UUM’s deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs & Alumni), said that since the programme started in September 2017, two of their students have participated in the Gap Year National Services with the Territorial Army.

“At the beginning, we had six undergraduates who applied for the Gap Year National Service, but then after speaking to their parents, most of them decided to withdraw.

“For this year, there are another two students who will be completing their programmes next month.

“Another student completed her Gap Year (General) with the Roar of the Hopes Organisation, a non-governmental organisation that focuses on poverty,” he said, adding that UUM is the only university participating in the Gap Year National Services for 2018-2019.

Hendrik said the Gap Year National Service programme was less favoured by the students; many opted for the Gap Year Volunteerism programme instead which lasts for just three months.

“Students are more willing to participate in Gap Year Volunteerism as they worry that they will finish their studies later than their friends. This perception has to be changed as we want them to develop a culture of volunteerism and a sense of patriotism, apart from gaining experience through the programme, which most of their friends will not have by the end of their degree programme,” he said.

According to Associate Professor Dr Raja Zuraidah Raja Mohd Rasi, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia’s (UTHM) director of the Marketing and Corporate Communications Office, the programme was first introduced at their university in 2017.

Raja Zuraidah said under the programme, UTHM had been chosen as a pioneer university to offer Gap Year Volunteerism in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare. However, the response from students was lukewarm, mainly due to a lack of awareness on the benefits of the programme.

“We also found out that support from parents was lacking as they were not confident enough to permit their children to leave campus for a long period of time to be a part of the programme.

“In this regard, the university took several initiatives to overcome such obstacles, among others, by introducing the V2i programme as early exposure for the Gap Year programme.

“The V2i programme is in collaboration with the Welfare Department and it has attracted a great deal of students which has ensured the success of the programme.

“We have also started awareness campaigns on the Gap Year Programme to ensure clear information about the programme reaches the students,” she said.

Raja Zuraidah said there are two major benefits of the Gap Year Programme — academic and personal. By taking part in the programme, students will be inculcated with patriotism, unity and compassion, apart from responsibility, which only serves to add to the experience and knowledge that helps broaden minds.

“During the transition time of the gap year, students will also have the opportunity to reflect and explore different career paths and other learning opportunities. The Gap Year programme is an alternative path to help students become mature with a good sense of purpose,” Raja Zuraidah said.

To date, about 100 students have joined the V2i programme.


In order to improve on the Gap Year programme, Raja Zuraidah said the university should include the programme as part of the structure of their course modules.

“One way is to offer a tuition-free year for students who wish to do the Gap Year programme, or financial assistance to fund students’ activities. For example, Florida State University and the University of North Carolina will consider providing financial assistance for students who apply for a gap-year programme,” she said, adding that the students and their parents have to change their misconception about joining the programme.

Her colleague, Dr Elmy Johana Mohamad, head of the university’s corporate communications department, also agrees that a gap year offers students the opportunity to explore other interests and gain valuable experiences which fundamentally improves them to become better persons.

“It helps to empower students with the kind of motivation and purpose that can enhance their entire learning experience at university.

By Zulita Mustafa.

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Deploy science now to reach sustainable growth goals

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
We have about 11 years to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The question is — can we get there? FILE PIC

THE latest Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 (SDGR 2019) should ring alarm bells.

Closer to home, on some goals, Asia and the Pacific region are, in fact, “going backwards”. Unless progress is accelerated, the region is on course to miss all 17 goals.

We all want our world to be a better place. However, in efforts to eradicate poverty, hunger, disease and all forms of inequality, there is also a need to ensure that we safeguard the planet for future generations.

For this reason, discussions on sustainable development have taken centre stage and there is raging debate on issues such as poverty, health and the effects of climate change.

Today’s development has yielded significant progress in these spheres but has simultaneously hurt our environment and caused inequality.

The present need is to eliminate the gap between development and sustainability and ensure that both go hand in hand.

Realising the utmost urgency of this matter, the UN began the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 with eight specific goals; it set to achieve them by 2015.

Indeed, by 2015, several targets had been achieved and the UN called it the “the most successful anti-poverty movement in history”.

The success of MDGs paved the way for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In September 2015, 193 countries of the UN approved the global agenda with a broadened list of 17 global goals and 169 targets, with the aim of transforming the world by 2030.

These goals range from no poverty and reduced inequality to responsible consumption and protection of life below water.

At least once, all the nations came under one umbrella to work together for the shared prosperity of the globe and with a promise of “leaving no one behind”.

As per the SDGR 2019 report, although there has been progress in some spheres, there has been slippage in others. For example, although extreme poverty has declined considerably, ending it by 2030 is a monumental task

Furthermore, our environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate, global hunger is rising and more than half the world’s population still does not have access to essential health services.

In addition, inequality is on the rise.

We have about 11 years to achieve the ambitious 17 goals of the SDGs. The question is — can we get there?

Economic growth alone is not a precursor to meeting the goals. Although this has held true in the past, the next decade would require major intervention through policymaking if that economic growth is to meet social, economic and environmental goals.

Significant policymaking involving science, technology and innovation (STI) is imperative to create synergies within the goals and to reduce conflicts as much as possible. Simply put, STI must be harnessed optimally and should be the driving force of all 17 global goals.

Science and technology drive almost everything in today’s world — from industries and trade to our day-to-day lives. Thus, expecting it to propel efforts to meet global goals should not come as a surprise.

But there is a pressing need to effectively deploy the STI arsenal now. To this end, the UN Technology Facilitation Mission has been conducting regular STI forums to take stock of the actions of member states. STI forums focus on specific goal sets every year.

STI will be instrumental not only in minimising the technology and innovation gap but will also reduce inequality.

For example, in SDG 4 (quality education), the latest technologies for blended learning and making individuals and early learners tech savvy such as in software knowledge and coding, would narrow the gap.

At universities and research institutions, there is a need to further promote research and development. The knowledge generated would help in making better medicines, superior infrastructure and overall connectivity.

Actions would thrive only in an ecosystem that has both fertile national policies and legal environment, which must be linked with national development agendas. For example, Japan has aligned SDGs with its own Society 5.0 agenda and Mauritius has an integrated ocean-based economy.

Malaysia, with its array of national development programmes, has formed alignments with SDGs.

Unfortunately, several developing countries and the least developed countries still lack a national framework of innovation.

At the regional level, Asean Vision 2025 blueprints and the SDGs have several goals in common. Together with the Asean Plan of Action on STI 2016-2025, these could help the implementation of common goals.

However, STI policies must be coherent so that technology transfer and intellectual property protection could occur favourably.

By Dr Sameer Kumar.

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Our rivers are an embarrassment

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
Mounds of rubbish trapped in Sungai Gombak in Kuala Lumpur. FILE PIC

RECENTLY, I went to Melaka for a short vacation.

While planning our schedule, my friend said, “Let’s only have a walk by the river at night so that we would not see the dirty river filled with rubbish”.

True enough, the river was murky but we were enjoying the night breeze along the river.

We could see plastic bottles and other rubbish floating in some parts of the river.

The view was worse during the day as the river looked greenish-brown with more rubbish spotted.

Since it is a popular tourist area, I believe the situation is under control.

But I couldn’t help wondering how Sungai Kim Kim in Johor looked like.

News reports on river pollution have appeared almost every month.

The most severe case is in Pasir Gudang, Johor, where around 1,000 people were affected.

River pollution has also been reported in Melaka and Perak.

Recently, the water treatment plant in Selangor was closed for the second time in three days due to river pollution.

It is sad that river pollution is a common issue in Malaysia. To better protect our rivers, we have to understand their importance.

A report by the Asean Integrated Water Resources Management stated that 98 per cent of the potable water supply comes from rivers and dams.

A polluted river does not only affect the residents nearby but also our water supply.

The closure of water treatment plants in Selangor is the best example of its consequences.

With the issue becoming more serious, a comprehensive plan is needed.

Enforcement should be the key. Haul the polluter to court to deter others.

As the proverb goes, “prevention is better than cure”.

Better surveillance is needed to tackle the situation.

One reason for the frequent news of river pollution is that more people are aware of environmental degradation.

This is important as public pressure will keep authorities on their toes.

As my friends and I strolled along Sungai Melaka, we picked up rubbish on the ground.

It is a simple action but we were satisfied knowing that we have played a part in improving the environment. Together, we can protect our rivers, a vital resource of our lives.


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Learn English in daily life

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
In real life children had little to do with English in Science and Mathematical subjects. Therefore teaching the subjects in English may not be able to assist children to thrive in the language. — NSTP Archive

English literacy is defined as the ability to read and write in the language.

Literacy is often perceived as cognitive, a set of fixed skills assessed at school.

This means a particular way of reading and writing that is predetermined by the education system.

As a result, we sometimes overlook the role of students’ socio-cultural background that can become a “pool of knowledge” that teachers can exploit

In the Malaysian context, the integration of literacy as a set of skills and as a sociocultural practice is recommended by researchers in the field of English curriculum development.

In Malaysia, children are exposed to English at an early age.

They can spot the language easily through songs, cartoons, movies, games, comics, billboards, restaurant menus and other sources.

Educators need to tap into the knowledge derived from what the children experience in daily life.

In real life, children have little to do with English in Science and Mathematics.

Therefore, teaching Science and Mathematics in English may not assist children to thrive in the language.

In fact, using English in Science and Mathematics can complicate the children’s comprehension of the subjects.

I would recommend that English is strengthened through subjects such as information and communications technology (ICT), music and art.

In ICT, for example, children come across many English terms such as “loading” rather than “memuatkan”, “app” rather than “aplikasi” and “CD” rather than “cakera optik” in their daily life when they use ICT tools and gadgets.

In music, teachers can employ nursery rhymes or English songs to teach students.

The media or music room
commonly has a television set, radio or CD player that can be exploited to achieve learning objectives.

The room is also equipped with musical instruments that teachers can benefit from.

They can be used to accompany singing performances.

During art classes, teachers can encourage children to draw comics or cartoon characters and use English words and sentences to complete the drawings.

These activities can be held when teachers are not conducting Bahasa Melayu-based activities that they
normally do as specified in the syllabus.

Such activities are in line with the “learning English in a fun way” concept advocated by the Education Ministry.

Although the practicality of these suggestions may be vague, they can ensure that children’s sociocultural factors are taken into account before any policy is revamped and executed.

The question of “what children do with English in their life?” needs to be considered before any English language policy is implemented.


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NST Leader: King of our hearts

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
Officially, the king of Malaysia is head of state, the supreme commander of the armed forces and head of religion. — Bernama photo

THAT the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is a symbol of national pride and unity for Malaysians is a given. It is more so because Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and one of the oldest in the world. It is in recent years, though, that the role of the king has become more substantiated as the unifying factor, voice of reason and, ultimately, the protector of the people.

Our rulers have been exemplars, among them — the Sultan of Perak is known for his extensive educational background; the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan for his business acumen; and the Sultan of Selangor for his philanthropism.

To a certain extent, the newly installed Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, has made efforts to restore the royal institution’s dignity by rejuvenating the rulers’ image in the eyes of the people.

Breaking away from tradition, Al-Sultan Abdullah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah had joined thousands of people to break fast at the Kuantan Municipal Council field during Ramadan this year. A more recent incident was when he assiduously helped an accident victim in Putrajaya. A few days earlier, he had queued up at the KFC outlet in Temerloh to buy lunch after Friday prayers. Such gestures of humility have endeared him to the people, earning him the moniker, “king of our hearts”.

Contrary to some worldviews that the monarchy is incompatible with democracy, the Malaysian monarchy has evolved over the years from simply being a figurehead to an embodiment of conscience in line with the people’s aspiration for empathetic rulers.

The monarch serves a symbolic purpose, and in a multiracial and multi-religious country such as Malaysia, the monarchy unites socially diverse groups which profess allegiance to the king, just as monarchs can unite a nation in the face of war by inspiring and motivating cohesion in times of crisis and conflict.

Malaysia is probably the most modern combination of a monarchy and democracy — the selection of the king is democratically decided through a rotation system among nine royal households who take turns at the throne every five years.

Officially, the king of Malaysia is head of state, supreme commander of the armed forces and head of religion. He, however, has to act in accordance with the Constitution.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s role is all the more pertinent today on the heels of division among certain segments of the population due to differences in political beliefs, religious understanding and disillusionment with the ideal concept of unity. It, therefore, needs to be stressed that the position of the rulers is not confined to palaces, offices or glitzy galas to officiate ceremonies. From the throne, there lies an influential power to serve as checks and balances in the government, the voice for the downtrodden and to bridge gaps of disunity.

Daulat Tuanku.

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Sabah opens intake for 750 interim teachers this year

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah State Education Department has opened its intake for 750 interim teachers this year to address the shortage of teachers in the state.

Its director Dr Mistirine Radin said that of the number, 130 Islamic Studies interim teachers and 166 interim teachers with other options have already been appointed.

She added that the department was still looking for the remaining 454 teachers to fill the vacancies adding that those with first degrees who have not yet started working, could apply.

Mistirine disclosed this to reporters after a ceremony to present letters of appointment and placement to the primary and secondary school interim teachers.

A total of 166 new interim teachers who had passed the Ujian Kelayakan Calon (UKCG) or the Teacher Candidate Qualification Test and interview, received their letters and will start teaching from Aug 1.

She added the policy was to have 90 per cent local (state) teachers and 10 per cent teachers (from the peninsula) in Sabah which is almost being achieved.


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We can beat handphone addiction by playing games together

Friday, July 26th, 2019
Research shows that Internet and mobile phone addictions are as addictive as drugs. – FILE PIC

FOR some people, using phones has become a psychological disorder.

They can’t stop looking and checking their phones.

Research shows that Internet and mobile phone addictions are as addictive as drugs.

Psychologists and neuroscientists at the University of Southern California, the United States, said “mobile phone addiction has behavioural similarities to hard drug use”.

They said the addiction forces the brain to “release dopamine, the reward-and-pleasure neurotransmitter”.

Hence, this is the reason why we feel good when we use our phones and feel something is missing when we are not using them.

Society must reduce Internet and mobile phone obsession.

One way to do this is to read books and play games with our children.

Before the existence of mobile phones, children and adults played games, such as hand-clap, batu seremban and congkak .

To encourage children to play these games, we need to put down our mobile phones and play with them.

Other than that, we can play board games like snake and ladder, chess, Monopoly and Scrabble.

Playing these games is fun and they stimulate our mind.

They encourage interaction as they are played in pairs or group.

In a jump-rope game, one has to jump in sync with the rhythm of the swinging rope held by two friends.

Most traditional games make us run around.

Playing this way is more fun and improves our social skills.

It also fosters friendship between players.

If it is played by neighbours, the neighbourhood becomes close- knit. However, neighbours are now distant from each other.

A reason of this could our Internet and mobile phone addictions. An activity than can reduce it is embroidery, which improves our brain functions.

Learning a language too engages our mind.

By Dr Megawati Omar .

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Industry 4.0: A new form of inequality?

Friday, July 26th, 2019
When most jobs, both physical and cognitive, are automated, when humans no longer decide for themselves what is right and good, what then, is the meaning of life?

IT seems much intellectual and public discourse in Malaysia today revolves around Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

While many aspects of Industry 4.0 have been debated, allow me to contribute a bit about this issue, by focusing on the possible effects of a new form of inequality in society.

The economic inequality — wealth and income — that is affecting Malaysian society today is a result of the past three Industrial Revolutions which started more than 150 years ago in England.

Now, the fourth wave of the revolution is here with us, hence Industry 4.0.

These new technologies will certainly impact all aspects of our lives.

Imagine being able to live forever. Google has already embarked on this project and is upbeat about its prospects. Google’s Ray Kurzweil believes that by 2029, humans could have a choice to be immortal, thanks to the nanotechnology revolution, where the creation of nano-bots makes it possible to augment our immune system and recognise diseases and deal with them before it is too late.

And mind you, this is not just about living longer, but also having all the health, youth and vitality of life. In other words, it is not just about life extension, but also life expansion.

Imagine the creation of all-powerful algorithms which will take care of all your wants and needs for the rest of your life, as ‘they’ know you much better than you know yourself.

No more dealing with the misery of making wrong decisions in life

From mundane matters like what movie to watch and what books to read, to important decisions such as what to study, which career to take and whom to marry, these algorithms will help you

‘They’ can also be your life companion. No more stress from relationship issues, since the algorithms will be programmed to be focused on you, your feelings and nothing else, one hundred per cent.

Imagine the application in the legal, financial and healthcare sectors.

Perhaps corruption can be easily weeded out with AI taking charge of making decisions in the public service sector.

And in the legal profession, imagine brain scans being used to reveal lies and deceptions!

In the financial sector, even today, most financial trading is managed by computer algorithms.

Why need humans when AI can process and analyse financial data in mere seconds?

Why learn about stocks or foreign exchange markets when AI can do that for you faster and with a higher level of accuracy?

And in the healthcare industry, algorithms will become your all-knowing health service, shielding you from critical illnesses, such as cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Remember IBM’s Watson? An AI which can diagnose diseases?

Imagine, the creation of IoT and its application in the education and security sectors.

Digital teachers not only impart knowledge, but in the process also understand you and know your personality better than you do

They will use a method which suits your personality to optimise teaching and learning.

So, having imagined all these as possible outcomes of Industry 4.0, would life not be great?

On the surface, perhaps yes. But I foresee, if we don’t take the necessary measures today, a major threat could emerge in the form of inequality.

Surely, only a small class of elites would benefit from this new technology, for instance, in terms of ‘upgrading’ humans to immortality.

Then what will happen to the rest of the population?

Wen most jobs, both physical and cognitive, are automated, when humans no longer decide for themselves what is right and good, what then, is the meaning of life?

By Dr Irwan Shah Zainal Abidin

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Prof Dr Morni Hj Kambrie’s Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) in Rural Schools

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

SIDMA College Sabah has expanded its SIDMA Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to complement and supplement the quality of education in Sabah by co-organizing the motivational programmes in rural schools in Sabah.

Prof Dr Morni Hj Kambrie, Chairman and Founder of SIDMA College Sabah and Sarawak; said SIDMA College would continue to reach out to the schooling children of the rural community so the awareness on the importance of education for young children can be increased.

Through such CSR activities, Prof Dr Morni hope that the college could indirectly support the various on-going motivational programmes conducted by the Education Ministry as well as from Sabah Education Department to provide a wider scope of opportunities for the rural secondary students to understand the real purpose and meaning of schooling and education through direct communication and interaction on related views, matters and issues; such as on the importance of developing positive knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to enable them to dream of better career and brighter future ahead; as well as to empower them to be relevant and useful citizens of the country.

Recently at a secondary school in northern part of Sabah, SMK Pitas, Kudat; Prof Dr Morni inspired the students on the importance of them to develop positive learning attitude and discipline by saying “…Schools / students can have the best teachers, the most supportive parents, and are placed in the best schools; but if they, the students; themselves do not have good discipline, are not focused on their studies, as well as lacked the direction to move forward; they will not be able to unleash their best potential and achieve the highest goal that they want to achieve..”

Prof Dr Morni stressed that being from rural setting (kampongs), deprived background and economic status; it should not hinder anyone from achieving / performing well in school. He presented himself as the possible example that the students could learn from, because he came from a poor family and that when he was in primary school, his family do not have their own house, and have to rely on his father’s friend house to reside.

He reminded them that no matter what they wanted to do for their life in future – whether to be a teacher, lawyer, engineer, pilot, police, doctor, etc; they need good education for every single one of those careers. He also advised them to attend classes every day and never drop out of school in order to have a bright future. He stressed that they got to work hard, train, learn from Primary One until university in order to develop their full potentials – talents, skills and intellectual power so they will be able to solve the most difficult problem that they might encounter in future. Thus if they quit schooling for whatever the reason is, they are also withdrawing themselves from their dreamt future career.

Prof Dr Morni who has always been portrayed as a unique motivational speaker, very well-known for his entertaining, captivating, highly interactive and energizing when on stage delivering his talk said that, “Your hopes and dreams are the key to your understanding of who you are, what you want to be, and even on how to reach your goal” he stressed.

Prof Dr Morni shared his own personal experience from being an ordinary village boy selling cakes, which his mother made every morning, from house to house in his village. However, due to his strong personality of always aiming high, plus his precious dream of earning his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), has brought him to where he is today.

During his trip to SMK Pitas, Prof Dr Morni was very warmly received by Principal of SMK Pitas, Mr Awang Seman, Ex Principal, Tuan Hj Abdul Hamid, senior staff and teachers and most importantly the Form Five and Six students. Interested school/ institution wishing to be inspired by Prof Dr Morni can reach him through his hand phone: 013-810 6201.

SIDMA College Sabah intake for new students is still open. All Form Five and Six school leavers are welcomed to enroll at SIDMA College located at Jalan Bundusan, 88300 Kota Kinabalu. Financial assistance such as Education Loan from the National Higher Education Fund (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional – PTPTN) is also available. Potential students can also visit SIDMA Website @ to register. For more information about studying at SIDMA College Sabah, please call SIDMA Hotline: 088-732 000 or 088-732 020.

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