Archive for September, 2020

Hajiji Noor, well-known political figure in Sabah

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Residents of Kampung Mengkabung Tuaran give the thumbs-up in a photo with a poster  Hajiji  when met last week. — Bernama photo

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 29 (Bernama) — Datuk Hajiji Noor has been a household name in Sabah since his foray into the state’s political arena 30 years ago.

Born in Kampung Serusup, Tuaran, it had never crossed his mind to enter politics and become an elected representative for he was more comfortable being a government officer.

“Never have I thought or have ambition to be a politician. I was content being a government officer, but this is God’s will,” he told Bernama in an interview recently.

Among the important positions he has held in the Sabah government were as Local Government and Housing Minister and as assistant minister in various ministries such as in the Arts, Youths and Sports Ministry, Chief Minister’s Department and Finance Ministry.

Hajiji was in his 30’s when he took a dive into politics and was active in championing issues on Sabah politics using the USNO (United Sabah National Organisation) platform and was fielded as a candidate for the Sulaman constituency in 1990, where he won with a majority of 281 votes in the 7th state.

Hajiji, who graduated in politics from the University of New Hampshire in the United States, then forged his political path with UMNO starting in 1993. He has held the same seat for seven terms under UMNO and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

He has held several positions in UMNO and Bersatu such as the divison head for Tuaran UMNO, Sabah UMNO chairman, chairman for the main committee for Sabah Bersatu launching ceremony and is currently the Sabah Bersatu chief and Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman.

In the 14th General Election, Hajiji, 65, obtained 12,966 votes ahead of Abdullah Sani Daud of Warisan, who garnered 5,192 votes and Arifin Harith of Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (467 votes).

Married to Datin Juliah Salag and blessed with four children and 12 grandchildren, Hajiji led the PN coalition in the 16th state election on Saturday.

Hajiji’s charisma, leadership and people’s friendly personality and commitment in discharging his duties as an elected representative in the area continued to win the constituents’ hearts when he garnered 5,919 votes in a three-cornered fight.

He defeated his nephew Datuk Aliasgar Basri from Warisan who obtained 2,820 votes and Parti Cinta Sabah’s Datuk Rekan Hussien (253 votes).

by BERNAMA.

Read more @https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/09/29/hajiji-noor-well-known-political-figure-in-sabah/

Sustainable development is founded on science

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
Indeed, scientists have worked tirelessly to increase understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.Indeed, scientists have worked tirelessly to increase understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.

THE Covid-19 pandemic looms large over this month’s United Nations General Assembly meetings and others worldwide, most of them taking place virtually. Yet, the drive to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) still commands the strong attention of political, government, business, academic and civil society leaders.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is a blueprint for shared prosperity in a world where all people can live productive, vibrant, and peaceful lives. In his recent Sustainable Development Report, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said some progress and favourable trends were evident in several critical areas.

For example, he reports, “extreme poverty has declined considerably, the under-five mortality rate fell by 49 per cent between 2000 and 2017, immunisations have saved millions of lives, and the vast majority of the world’s population now has access to electricity.

“Countries are taking concrete actions to protect our planet: marine protected areas have doubled since 2010; countries are working concertedly to address illegal fishing; 186 parties have ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change, and almost all have communicated their first nationally determined contributions.”

Those along with several other accomplishments noted, Guterres’s report identifies many areas where urgent attention is needed, including the alarming rate of nature’s deterioration (citing the 2019 IPBES report finding that one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction), rising sea levels, and accelerating ocean acidification. And, the past four years “have been the warmest on record”.

Guterres notes “we know what works” and focused his report on areas that can drive progress across all 17 SDGs. A board of scientists advising the then UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon from 2013 to 2016 underlined the centrality of science to decision- making for sustainable development.

I was honoured to be among those scientists, who emphasised science, technology and innovation as the game changers in dealing with most of the most pressing global challenges, providing solutions to poverty, creating jobs, reducing inequalities, increasing incomes, and enhancing health and wellbeing.

Indeed, scientists have worked tirelessly to increase understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. Research communities have convened across disciplines of geoscience, engineering, and social science to address questions at a system level, building first the foundation for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

It is knowledge that will determine the future of the human race. Science and engineering have advanced the efficiency of solar panels and wind turbines, and the capacity and durability of batteries, much faster than many predicted, raising hope where there was once pessimism, that the world may soon reduce its dependence on fossil fuels before it is too late.

What IPCC is to the climate issue, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is to the issue of accelerating nature and species loss. Both IPCC and IPBES are independent intergovernmental bodies established to strengthen the communication between scientists and policymakers.

Instituted eight years ago, IPBES reports have made their mark — from its 2016 assessment of declining bee and other pollinator species vital to the world’s food supply, to its 2018 assessments of global land degradation, and of biodiversity and ecosystem services across four world regions, to its Global Assessment Report last year.

Informed in large part by the IPBES assessments, a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is under negotiation by 197 parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

The draft framework agreement includes a proposal to protect at least 30 per cent of the land and marine areas of the world by 2030. According to the Campaign for Nature, a major proponent of that proposal, 50 per cent may in fact be needed, but 30 per cent is a scientifically credible interim goal.

The impact of evidence-based knowledge assembled by bodies such as IPCC and IPBES should never be underestimated. I am immensely proud to note that IPBES is a contender for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. If chosen, IPBES would join IPCC on the list of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, the latter having shared the award with former US vice-president Al Gore in 2007.

Whatever choice the Nobel committee announces a few days from now, it is a great honour for the biodiversity and nature-science community to be accorded recognition in the form of a well-earned nomination.

By Zakri Abdul Hamid.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/09/628066/sustainable-development-founded-science

Use our hearts to beat heart disease

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
Malaysians have failed to properly acknowledge that heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the country for the past 20 years. - NST/file picMalaysians have failed to properly acknowledge that heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the country for the past 20 years. – NST/file pic

EVERY year on the 29th of September, nations across the world celebrate ‘World Heart Day’. Today, we recognise and raise awareness on the effects of an unhealthy high-calorie diet and sedentary lifestyle on society.

This year in particular is extremely challenging. A slow economy, rising prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and the ongoing battle against Covid-19 pushes the need for a collective effort to curb the rising death rate posed by heart disease.

Malaysians have failed to properly acknowledge that heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the country for the past 20 years. We were shocked by data from the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey showing the high prevalence of diabetes in 1 out of every 5 persons.

Diabetes contributes to the aggressive narrowing of blood vessels in the body as well as weakening heart muscles, increasing the chances of heart failure as well as sudden cardiac death. Compound this with smoking habits and raised blood pressure, we are sitting on a ticking time bomb.

When death occurs in the elderly, it is devastating. But for heart disease to afflict the young, it leaves one speechless. It is no longer uncommon to hear of friends or colleagues in the prime of their careers who would pass out or suffer from heart attacks. They leave a young family, broken and parentless, a scar that never heals. The National Cardiovascular Registry indicates that 25 per cent (that’s one in four!) of all heart attacks happens to those below the age of 50!

The theme for World Heart Day 2020 is ‘Use heart to beat heart disease’. We must embrace the need for change and realise that we must take better care of our heart now especially in times of Covid-19. It is during these challenging times that our heart is most vulnerable.

Many are wary of visiting healthcare facilities, neglecting potential symptoms that could lead to serious heart disease. Many patients experience worsening control of their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar due to stress, caffeine consumption, lack of sleep and the inability to exercise exacerbated by the pandemic.

Today, us heart doctors urge you to listen to your hearts and take the necessary steps to make lifestyle changes for the better.

Use your heart to influence those around you. As individuals, we should lead others by practicing a healthy lifestyle and set a good example to loved ones, especially to younger generations.

As employers, we should invest in the health of our employees as it helps boost productivity and makes for a better work environment in the long haul. Employers could conduct staff health screenings and empower staff to stay healthy by creating incentives to boost physical activity.

Use your heart to make better choices. If you are at risk of developing heart disease, adopt a low-calorie, high-fibre diet and avoid sugary drinks. Make small changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking to the local shops instead of driving.

Use your heart and listen to your body. Initiate conversations with doctors and experts to ensure your risk factors and illness are in control. Know that healthcare facilities are safe to visit for those in need. Take all the necessary precautions to avoid Covid-19 but do not neglect your heart in the process.

We must snap out of this lull and apathy. We must act as individuals and as a society to reduce heart disease and the damages it brings to families and communities. Use your heart to beat heart disease. Now and forever.

By Prof Dr Sazzli Kasim.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/09/628139/use-our-hearts-beat-heart-disease

Is university ranking part of discriminatory systems?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
According to Alex Carp’s Slavery and the American University, from their inception, “the American university and American slavery have been intertwined, but only recently are we beginning to understand how deeply”. According to Alex Carp’s Slavery and the American University, from their inception, “the American university and American slavery have been intertwined, but only recently are we beginning to understand how deeply”.

BEFORE we turn to the latest result of The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education (THE) College Rankings 2021 (focusing only on the US) released last week, it might be instructive to have a glance at the list of nine “Big Name Colleges” that was published by Atlanta Black Star (ABS), posted by Taylor Gordon (December 2014).

It may seem a little dated, but it matters given the context with respect to the current protests involving the youth of university-going age. The ABS listed big university names that “Benefited From Slavery” — an issue that is very much alive despite some of the sordid history that is well camouflaged and gone unnoticed until today. In other words, it will still be relevant for a long time to come as the cry of ‘Black Lives Matter’ gets louder day by day.

What is more, it is claimed that “the US table, which is fuelled by data from THE, measures institutions’ student engagement, student outcomes and learning environments”. So, what about the role of slavery at US colleges and universities as an indicator whose time has come to be “reconciled”, academically speaking. It is significant that the top five are all implicated in slavery.

According to Alex Carp’s Slavery and the American University, from their inception, “the American university and American slavery have been intertwined, but only recently are we beginning to understand how deeply”. Some are promoting “scientific racism”. Indeed, The New York Review of Books, in one sweep, highlighted how rampant the situation was based on surviving records.

“The first enslaved African in Massachusetts was the property of the schoolmaster of Harvard. Yale funded its first graduate-level courses and its first scholarship with the rents from a small slave plantation it owned in Rhode Island (the estate, in a stroke of historical irony, was named Whitehall). The scholarship’s first recipient went on to found Dartmouth, and a later grantee co-founded the College of New Jersey, known today as Princeton.

“Georgetown’s founders, prohibited by the rules of their faith from charging students tuition, planned to underwrite school operations in large part with slave sales and plantation profits, to which there was apparently no ecclesiastical objection. Columbia, when it was still King’s College, subsidised slave traders with below-market loans.”

Still, this is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, with the 90 per cent submerged below the water yet to surface. And this is not going to be plain sailing as illustrated by the case of Princeton in defence of the 28th US president, Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921), who is closely associated with the university until lately.

According to historian Martha Sandweiss, Princeton epitomises “the paradox at the heart of American history: from the very start, liberty and slavery were intimately intertwined”. To this a ABS newsletter noted Princeton raised money and recruited students for the school through rich families, who owned enslaved people in the South and throughout the Caribbean.

Wilson, who has come to be regarded as having a racist view and a history of bigotry, is honoured by having campus buildings named after him, despite protests from the campus community. As late as 2016, the so-called Wilson Legacy Review Committee — charged with deciding what to do with Wilson — while agreeing with protesters, refused to remove the name from the buildings.

The Black Justice League of Princeton University, however, vowed not to stop trying to get the name removed. It took another four years on June 28, before Princeton announced the removal of the name of the former US president from a building on its campus “because of his racist beliefs and policies”.

It took the death of “I can’t breathe” George Floyd to bring about the much- needed change. Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber said in a statement that “Wilson’s racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time”.

He went on to say: “Princeton is part of an America that has too often disregarded, ignored, or excused racism, allowing the persistence of systems that discriminate against black people.”

One begins to wonder, is not ranking part of the same system, thus equally guilty of the same? And is it not time for it to go for good?

By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/09/628064/university-ranking-part-discriminatory-systems

Hajiji, cabinet ministers sworn in at Istana Negeri

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Sabah (Bersatu) chief Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor has been sworn in as the 16th state Chief Minister today. Meanwhile, Sabah Bersatu deputy chief Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun is being appointed as Infrastructure Development Minister.  - Bernama photo. Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Sabah (Bersatu) chief Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor has been sworn in as the 16th state Chief Minister today. Meanwhile, Sabah Bersatu deputy chief Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun is being appointed as Infrastructure Development Minister. – Bernama photo.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Sabah (Bersatu) chief Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor has been sworn in as the 16th state Chief Minister today.

His three deputies are Sabah Barisan Nasional chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam.

Bung, who is also Lamag assemblyman, will also hold the portfolio as the Local Government and Housing Minister.

Tambunan assemblyman Jeffrey will be the Agriculture and Fisheries Minister while Kundasang assemblyman is made the Minister of Trade and Industry.

Meanwhile, Sabah Bersatu deputy chief Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun is being appointed as Public Works Minister.

PBS’s secretary-general Datuk Jahid Jahim will hold the portfolio as the minister of Rural Development.

By Olivia Miwil.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/politics/2020/09/628153/hajiji-cabinet-ministers-sworn-istana-negeri

Penjana KPT-CAP a boost to unemployed graduates

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
This jobless graduates will have an opportunity to seize, in participating for the 20,000 places, which 140 programmes planned involving 100 companies, under the government supported Penjana KPT-CAP (career advancement programme).- NSTP/AIZUDDIN SAAD. This jobless graduates will have an opportunity to seize, in participating for the 20,000 places, which 140 programmes planned involving 100 companies, under the government supported Penjana KPT-CAP (career advancement programme).- NSTP/AIZUDDIN SAAD.

LETTER: Tackling unemployment is tough but the government, led by Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, is seen to be redoubling efforts in pushing for the marketability of our staggering 161,161 unemployed graduates for the last two years.

This jobless graduates will have an opportunity to seize, in participating for the 20,000 places, which 140 programmes planned involving 100 companies, under the government supported Penjana KPT-CAP (career advancement programme).

The initiative must be commendable at a time the Covid-19 pandemic has made it an absolute imperative for the survival of our jobless graduates now with changes taking place in the employment market job expectations, skill sets with great emphasis on job matching and placement, entrepreneurship skill and acquiring freelancing capability in a gig economy.

Potential, capable graduates will be absorbed by the participating companies and those in the entrepreneurship programme who has the business acumen and passion will be financially assisted by accredited agencies to set up their companies and gaining the relevant skills, competencies and knowledge through the programme.

Just as jobs of the future are going to be very different, our universities and colleges must make the relevant changes in curriculum design and development in skills, knowledge and competencies for the future that will enable our graduates to fit in their roles as required by the industry undergoing a sea of changes in the digital future of organisational learning.

With the government setting aside RM100 million for the Penjana KPT-CAP programme as part of the RM2 billion allocated for training and upskilling under the nation’s economy recovery, i want to also proposed that other relevant programmes such as MyBrain15 programme must also be continued.

This is because the programmes are focusing on innovation, creativity, fashion design and artificial intelligence with new learning technologies such as Zoom learning culture a new phenomenon with virtual video conferencing platforms are changing employment landscape.

Overall, these developments has certainly be seen as a morale booster to unemployed graduates as they search for ‘light at the end of the unemployment tunnel.’

by C. SATHASIVAM SITHERAVELLU.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/09/628215/penjana-kpt-cap-boost-unemployed-graduates

No students allowed at UMS campuses until further notice

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
(File pic) Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has barred students from entering its campuses until further notice. - NSTP/File(File pic) Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has barred students from entering its campuses until further notice. – NSTP/File

KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has barred students from entering its campuses until further notice.

According to a statement from the University, the decision applied to its main campus here, its branch campuses in Labuan as well as Sandakan.

“The instruction to postpone the physical entry of students is applicable to all level of studies and categories of UMS students.

“This decision was made to safeguard the welfare of the University’s students and staff,” the statement said.

The university also stated that its management is consistently monitoring the development of the Covid-19 pandemic particularly in Sabah, closely.

“However, students’ registration activities (for both new and senior students), the orientation week, and the teaching and learning activities will proceed as scheduled albeit via online.

“Students are advised to contact their respective faculty, or the Academic Services Division at 088-320 054, or Student Affairs Department at 088-320 060, should they need further information.”

UMS will make the necessary announcement from time to time based on the development of the situation.

As of today, Sabah recorded 98 new Covid-19 cases.

From Tuesday until October 12, the Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO) would be imposed in four districts; Tawau, Semporna, Lahad Datu and Kunak.

The implementation, which involves 962,661 people, will see residents barred from leaving the areas while outsiders will also be barred from entering.

By Olivia Miwil.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/09/628008/no-students-allowed-ums-campuses-until-further-notice

Malaysia to finalise Covid-19 vaccine selection by early 2021

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

 In this file photo three potential coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccines are kept in a tray at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland. - AFP picIn this file photo three potential coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccines are kept in a tray at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland. – AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is expected to be able to decide on the Covid-19 vaccine by early next year, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said this being that the data from several Covid-19 vaccine clinical tests would be analysed at the end of this year.

He said the ministry was currently discussing with the Health Ministry, Finance Ministry and the Attorney General’s Chamber on the legal implication and procurement model for the vaccine.

“We are also in direct discussion with other international pharmaceutical companies for direct supply without having to undergo the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) allocation plan.

“I have also requested for an agreement with China to be finalised as soon as possible as the draft is almost completed,” he said after launching the first wireless mobile phone charger in Malaysia known as METT (Malaysian Energy Transmission Technology).

Khairy said that the negotiation with COVAX on Malaysia’s participation in the facility to obtain the required COVID-19 vaccine was ongoing.

“We are still discussing some matters with COVAX. The facility is for early purchase, so the procurement model is quite extraordinary. We pay for something that still doesn’t exist,” he said.

Among the companies that had started the final COVID-19 vaccine clinical test are Moderna, Pfizer and BioNtech, AstraZeneca, University of Oxford and Johnson & Johnson.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/09/628201/malaysia-finalise-covid-19-vaccine-selection-early-2021

King to return to Palace after undergoing treatment for food poisoning, sports injury (updated)

Monday, September 28th, 2020

PETALING JAYA: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah is scheduled to return to Istana Negara soon after undergoing treatment for food poisoning and a sports injury.

Istana Negara Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the King had food poisoning on Sept 21 night and was admitted to the National Heart Institute (IJN).

He then underwent intervention treatment after a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan done the next day showed that he had suffered injuries while playing sports.

“As it is well known, His Majesty is very active in various sports including polo, football, squash, hockey and golf.

“Intervention treatment done on His Majesty’s knees and ankles went successfully on Sept 24.

“His Majesty’s condition is now stable and not worrisome.

“Following the intervention treatment, His Majesty was advised to undergo follow-up treatment under the observation of IJN specialists.

“Al-Sultan Abdullah is scheduled to return to Istana Negara soon after completing this follow-up treatment, ” said Ahmad Fadil in a statement on Monday (Sept 28).

He said that the King was touched with the rakyat’s concern over his health and wellbeing, and that His Majesty expressed his appreciation and thanked everyone who had prayed for him.

The King also voiced his concern about the rising number of Covid-19 cases and advised the rakyat to always be careful and to adhere to the new normal, said Ahmad Fadil.

“Al-Sultan Abdullah expressed concern over the rising number of Covid-19 cases lately.

“His Majesty is also worried over the increase of Covid-19 positive cases in the peninsula due to returnees from Sabah from Sept 20 to Sept 27 whereby 36 cases were recorded,” said Ahmad Fadil.

He added that the rakyat is urged to pray for the recovery of the King and also for His Majesty to be blessed with long-lasting good health.

By FATIMAH ZAINAL.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/09/28/king-to-return-to-palace-after-undergoing-treatment-for-food-poisoning-and-sports-injury

Covid-19: It’s still three digits

Monday, September 28th, 2020
Malaysia continues to record Covid-19 cases numbering in three digits with another 115 as of noon today. - BERNAMA photoMalaysia continues to record Covid-19 cases numbering in three digits with another 115 as of noon today. – BERNAMA photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia continues to record Covid-19 cases numbering in three digits with another 115 as of noon today.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 112 cases were local transmissions involving 98 Malaysians and 14 foreigners.

Only three were imported cases involving a local and two foreigners.

These new cases bring the total of Covid-19 active cases to 1,011 while cumulative cases are now at 11,034.

Dr Noor Hisham said a total of eight cases are currently being treated at intensive care units and five are on ventilator support.

There were no Covid-19 related fatalities recorded today, keeping the death toll at 134.

Meanwhile, 54 more patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals.

By Teh Athira YusofSafwah Abdul Razak.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/09/628000/covid-19-its-still-three-digits