Get ready for new industrial revolution, says Kedah Sultan

November 18th, 2017
Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah reading his speech during the opening of the 30th Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) convocation ceremony, also present were his consort Sultanah Kedah, Tengku Maliha Tengku Ariff. Pix by Amran Hamid

SINTOK: Graduates of higher learning institutions should brace for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industrial 4.0) as the job market will largely involve robotics and automation technology, the Sultan of Kedah said.

Sultan Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah said the challenges required all quarters to adopt an open mind on the changes and advances brought by the rapid development in technology.

However, the sultan reminded the graduates to embrace the changes based on religious values.

“Perhaps, many are still not aware about the Fourth Industrial Revolution which has been a focus of the government.

“Although the Fourth Industrial Revolution will generally make our life easier, the people have to brace the fact that their life and work will be heavily influenced by with robotics and automation advancement,” he said when opening the 30th Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) convocation ceremony here today.

Sultan Sallehuddin, who is also UUM chancellor, said the Industrial 4.0 was pushing for the current education system to be revamped in line with the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) agenda.

“The Higher Education Ministry is working on a policy to enhance Malaysia competitiveness and as a hub for Industrial 4.0 in Southeast Asia.


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NGOs want gov’t to create anti-discrimination law

November 17th, 2017
Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Melayu (MTEM) chief executive officer Ahmad Yazid Othman (centre) addresses the media during a press conference in Kual Lumpur. Pic by ZUNNUR AL SHAFI

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 16 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are urging the government to introduce an anti-discrimination law to protect the rights of employees at the workplace.

The NGOs, in a joint statement today, said discrimination based on gender, race and religion at the workplace or in economic activities was a serious matter that required government intervention.

Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Melayu (MTEM) chief executive officer Ahmad Yazid Othman said the no-headscarf policy, which placed the hotel industry under the spotlight recently, was just “the tip of the iceberg”.

“In 2015, for instance, there were cases of Muslim men working in factories being denied the right to attend Friday prayers.

“There are also cases of Muslim women teachers not being allowed to wear the headscarf at a vernacular school in 2014.

“Meanwhile, a research in 2003 (by Just Faaland, Jack Parkinson and Rais Saniman) revealed that a Bumiputera may earn about 20 to 30 per cent less compared with other races despite holding the same position and having the same skills,” he said at the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (MCCM) office here today.

Yazid added that there was also a need for the government to conduct a continuous efforts to raise awareness on employees’ rights.

The NGOs also urged the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chairman Samuel Cheah Swee Hee to step down for what they alleged was a bid by him to justify discrimination.

The statement said Cheah had failed to understand that the principles of hospitality in the hotel industry were not related to an employee wearing a headscarf.

The issue concerning the no-headscarf uniform policy came to light following a recent report by the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) that they had received complaints from hotel employees regarding the banning of headscarves or hijab at the workplace.

MAH was reported to have said that the no-headscarf uniform policy for hotel frontline staff was an international practice based on standard operating procedures (SOP) and policy.

Among the 16 NGOs supporting the joint statement were Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra), Concern Lawyer for Justice (CLJ), Malaysian Lawyer Circle (MLC), Young Professionals, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim), Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Ummah), Gerakan 153, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), and Persatuan Patriots Malaysia.

On a similar note, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is also urging for the protection of freedom in practising one’s religion or belief without discrimination at the workplace.

The commission said employment contracts could stipulate specific conditions, but they must not imply any direct or indirect discriminatory actions against freedom of religion and expression.

Suhakam said in a statement today that businesses always have a responsibility towards the promotion and protection of human rights.


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UMS students learn English the Fun-tastic way

November 17th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Much to the surprise of the first year students participating in the Fun-tastic race at UMS recently, learning English tenses and parts of speech actually turned out to be ‘good fun’.

The students were all from Communicative English Grammar, a foundation English course offered by the Centre for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning (CPKLL).

The 35 challengers tried their best to communicate in English as they undertook ten challenges at ten stations located in the vicinity of CPKLL. Examples of the communicative challenges were ‘describe and draw’, charades, relaying a message, and riddles. The participants also enjoyed solving clues to find ten ‘treasures’ and taking wefies with these ‘treasures’ along the way to different stations.

Many of the participants said that they learned more about English language and teamwork from taking part in the race. When asked to comment on the event, one participant responded, “It’s really fantastic! Love it! It can improve our communication skills in English, team spirit, and problem solving skills.”

Judging from the positive responses from the participants, this event evidently transformed the shy low proficiency students into active users of English as the constraints of a formal teacher-centered classroom gave way to experiential learning and gamification strategies.

The fastest team completed the race in 1 ½ hours and won the first prize of RM200. The Chairperson of Funtastic Race 2017 committee, Ms. Loh Yoke Len pointed out that “The Fun-tastic Race made every participant a winner as they all contributed to the challenges and overcame them together as a team.”

The race was jointly organised by CPKLL ‘Say it in English’ Campaign’ headed by Mr. John Mark Storey in collaboration with the Chairperson of Communicative English Grammar Course, Ms. Brenda Margaret Wright. She commented, “Having fun with English in a communicative context can spark motivation for all levels of learners.”

In addition, the collective endeavour of 29 second and third year TESLstudents from the Faculty of Psychology and Education was a key factor in the success of the race.

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1,000 Schools To Be Upgraded With 21st-Century Smart Classrooms

November 17th, 2017

NILAI, Nov 15 (Bernama) — The Ministry of Education will upgrade 1,000 schools nationwide with 21st-century smart learning classrooms starting next year.

Education Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad said each school would have two classes upgraded to smart classes according to the criteria set by the ministry.

“Currently, the 1,000 schools are still in the selection process based on the criteria set, such as Internet access in the region. We are working with the state education department to determine which schools are eligible to be upgraded,” he told reporters after his official visit to the 21st century learning class and classrooms of the future at Tunku Kurshiah College, Bandar Enstek near here, today.


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WISE17:Education System Reform Must Develop Student’s Critical Mind And Skills

November 17th, 2017

DOHA, Nov 15 (Bernama) — Comprehensive reforms in education must include curricula and pedagogies that develop students’ critical mind and their skills in examining various issues away from their stereotypical thinking.

Chairman of Qatar Foundation, Sheikha Moza Nasser said it was vital for the education system to equip students with tools that gives them cultural and media immunity.

“Through media and information literacy in school curricula, students will be empowered to observe media discourse and examine political rhetoric from a critical perspective. It would give them keen insight to differentiate between what is real and fake on the internet,” she said at the opening ceremony of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) 2017, here today.

Sheikha Moza said through education, the current generation will be able to protect the future generation against dangerous mind games from both known and unknown entities that use cyberspace as their playground.

She said the internet revolution had created a virtual world that deals with reality selectively, validating only its credibility.

“This jeopardised truth to a point that begs cross-examination,” she said.

Sheikha Moza also expressed her concern that the social media has become cluttered with organised activities that spread propaganda, rumours and lies to divert people’s attention away from reality and truth, and towards what is propagated as real or true.

“When these practices become common place in our world, the outcome would certainly be fake facts presented as alternative truths, which we accept in this so-called ‘post-truth’ world,” she added.

Meanwhile, at the same event, the Founder of Ashesi University from Ghana, Dr Patrick Awuah, has been named as the recipient of the WISE 2017 Prize for Education Award for transforming education in Africa.

Also present at the opening ceremony was the First Lady of Turkey, Emine Erdogan.

by Anas Abu Hassan


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Shark population dwindles as demand for shark fin soup continues

November 16th, 2017

Sharma shows the Living Planet Report 2016. (File Photo)

SANDAKAN: The lucrative shark fin market continues to drive shark fishing including in Sabah’s waters, leading to a drastic decline in its population with some species becoming endangered from over-fishing.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia Marine Conservation head Dr Robecca Jumin pointed out it was still common to see sharks sold at markets in the state and to receive photographic evidence of shark fins being sold to meet both local and international demand for shark fin soup.

A new report released by Oceana, the largest international advocacy organisation focused solely on ocean conservation, stated an estimated 100 million sharks are killed worldwide each year with reports that 73 million of them are caught specifically for shark fin soup.

This is despite extensive scientific work that shows most shark species keep populations of other fish healthy by removing the sick and old ones, thus stabilising the marine ecosystem.

Species of some sharks sighted in Sabah, such as the scalloped hammerhead, which is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List as ‘endangered’, have been declining in population by up to 90 per cent in some areas.

Hammerhead shark fins are highly valued for their high fin ray count, hence it is the target in some areas worldwide.

Sabah’s civil society groups are carrying out advocacy campaigns, facilitating scientific research and engaging with the government in a bid to expedite processes that would bring about much needed protection for sharks in Sabah.

The groups are Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA), Scuba Junkie SEAS, Shark Stewards, Scubazoo, Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC) and WWF-Malaysia.

The groups are aware that the vast waters of the state may represent the final safe haven for many of the endangered species.

“The groups working collaboratively in Sabah appeal to the public to stop creating demand for shark fins.

The high demand for shark fins is leading to overfishing of sharks, which are also sought for their meat, skin, cartilage and liver oil,” Dr Robecca said.

The groups have previously stated their support for efforts by both the Federal and Sabah Fisheries Departments to list the great hammerhead shark, smooth hammerhead shark, winghead shark, oceanic white tip shark, oceanic manta and reef manta under the Fisheries (Control of Endangered Species of Fish) Regulations 1999, which falls under the purview of the Fisheries Act 1985.

The group also called for more species such as the scalloped-hammerhead, all species of thresher shark and devil rays to be considered part of the list.

The Regulations, which currently only protect the whale shark and sawfish, state that no person shall fish for, disturb, harass, catch, kill, take, possess, sell, buy, export or transport any of the specified endangered species except with written permission from the director-general of Fisheries.

Meanwhile, SSPA chairman Aderick Chong said shark fin itself does not have nutritional value and could potentially be harmful to consumers due to bioaccumulation of toxins such as mercury when consumed in large amounts over a certain period.


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Assessment a bridge between teaching and learning

November 16th, 2017
Idris Jusoh (centre) launching the MEA together with (from left) Noor Azlan Ghazali, UPSI chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin, Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching and Higher Education Department director general Datin Paduka Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir.Pic by MOHD KHAIRUL HELMY MOHD DIN

IN the era of globalisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, English language plays an important role in commerce and technology, and at the workplace on the world stage.

To compete effectively, Malaysian graduates need more than academic qualifications alone.

Today’s employers expect graduates to possess smart social and soft skills, including the ability to communicate effectively.

The industry and talent recruiters say some job applicants lack communication skills and the Higher Education Ministry has taken steps to deal with this in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education).

The country needs a highly educated workforce with the right combination of knowledge and communication skills.

Tertiary institutions play an important role in raising the standard of English of the country’s graduates and future generations.

Recently, the ministry introduced the Malaysia English Assessment (MEA) which is embedded in the Ecosystem for English Language Learning and Assessment in Higher Education to nurture holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates.


The MEA has three development phases. The first phase, which started in September, involves the construction of the Higher Education English Language Test Repository system — a “question bank” — developed by Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI).

This question bank will be used to construct standard Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) exam questions for the English empowerment programme in the public universities at the end of Semester 1, Session 2017-2018.

CEFR was originally developed to improve language teaching in Europe and it is recognised in practice as the international standard worldwide.

The second phase is the construction of test specifications for formal and informal assessments while the third phase outlines the MEA Guidebook and Test Repository Manual for users.

These developments are expected to be completed in stages by end of next year.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said assessment is not only critical to learning as it provides a bridge between teaching and learning, but it can also enhance the latter and drive a student’s educational experience.

“MEA will bring about a paradigm shift in the field of English language assessment,” he said at the launch of MEA in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

MEA consists of two components — formal assessment (MEA 1) and informal assessment (MEA 2).

Aligned with the CEFR, MEA 1 focuses on English proficiency and includes on-going assessments on listening, reading, writing and speaking. MEA 2 involves evaluating students’ ability to complete tasks using English in different situations comparable to those they will face when they enter employment.

CEFR includes a proficiency scale containing six levels from A1 to C2, and undergraduates are expected to improve their proficiency by at least one level, for example from B1 to B2, by the time they graduate.

In simple terms, the CEFR proficiency scale can be described as A1 (can communicate only about self); A2 (can communicate in simple and routine language); B1 (speaks with limited vocabulary); B2 (speaks fluently); C1 (able to teach English); and C2 (native speaker).

“Accomplishing the assessment tasks will require not only knowledge of English but also its appropriate use within a given cultural and social context,” added Idris.

MEA 2 requires students to go through a review of performance in engagement sites such as extra-curricular and co-curricular activities; interdisciplinary collaboration; online resources; community engagement; industry-academia collaboration; and global engagement, which should be regarded as part of learning (see infographics).

“It is to ensure that undergraduates are active participants in the assessment process, which is necessary for student-centred learning.

“This manner of engagement with English requires the use of a full range of capacities including the intellect, emotions, willpower and practical skills.

“In this way, learning English will be part of the student’s preparation for life after graduation. This is why we have to find ways of making more effective use of resources that are already available on campus.

“There are many informal opportunities for learning English on campus. We need to recognise them and make use of them.”

Chandra Sakaran Khalid and Zuwati Hasim


Dr Zuwati Hasim, a senior lecturer at the Language and Literacy Education Department in University of Malaya (UM), said learning and mastery of another language is an advantage, as being bilingual or multilingual opens up opportunities to build a global network.

She added that the mastery of the English language or accomplishing a certain level of English language proficiency is deemed necessary in the wake of globalisation as it is one of the widely used languages, other than German and French.

“Learning another language will not lower the status of the national language. Being able to communicate in English fluently adds value to graduates, especially in the workplace,” said Zuwati.

Various initiatives have been introduced to promote the learning of English at tertiary institutions such as making the language a part of the compulsory university curriculum.

Other projects include the introduction of English as the medium of instruction for content subjects, commonly known as Content and Language Integrated Learning in the European context.

Taylor’s University Centre for Languages and Cultural Studies head Chandra Sakaran Khalid said: “Today’s workforce is a global one and graduates need to converse ably in English and work well with counterparts from across the world.

“The assessment of performance under MEA, reported in the form of profiles, will provide indicators of students’ abilities and offer feedback on how to better empower students.

“The performance assessments will help teachers decide what to focus on and how to effectively guide students,” added Chandra, a member of a committee set up by the ministry to implement the English Ecosystem at public universities.

“Dr Thilagavathi Shanmuganathan from UM and I proposed that the English Ecosystem, specifically the Global Engagement aspect which we worked on, be implemented as a learning tool at public universities.

“Students from public universities will spend time overseas with partner institutions as a result of the introduction of summer programmes under the Global Engagement platform via MEA 2.

“This global exposure allows undergraduates to form connections with fellow students, both at their home university and partner institution, which will enable them to be more socially and culturally aware,” said Chandra.

Thilagavathi and Chandra came up with this learning tool after using Taylor’s University mobility programmes as a case study.

By Zulita Mustafa.

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Over 1,800 teenagers, children went missing last year

November 16th, 2017
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Masir Kujat says a total of 1,803 children and teenagers under 18 years of age were reported missing last year. (Image is for illustration purpose only.)
By Bernama - November 15, 2017 @ 10:59pm

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 1,803 children and teenagers under 18 years of age were reported missing last year the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Of the number, 979 of them were found while 824 others are still missing.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Masir Kujat said the number had increased as compared to 2015 figures when 1,782 went missing, 1,563 were found and 219 are still missing

In 2014, a total of 2,015 people were reported missing, 1,959 were traced and 56 still missing while in the previous year 2,054 people were reported missing with 2,026 people found and 28 still missing.

For the period 2013 – 2016 it was revealed that the main cause of teenagers running away from home was to seek freedom which involved 4,188 cases, following friends (1,330 cases), following lovers (1,025 cases), family misunderstandings (715 cases), not interested in studies (150 cases ), seeking employment (101 cases), custody disputes (64 cases) and lack of family attention (81 cases).

He was replying to a question from Dr Izani Husin (PAS-Pengkalan Chepa) who wanted to know the statistics on children and teenagers running from home from 2013 to 2016.

Masir said the problem of runaway teenagers and children could be solved if parents monitored their children’s movement and friends as well as forbade them from going out with strangers.

He said parents should also monitor their children’s digital use and interactions on social media platforms such as Facebook, WeChat, WhatsApp, YouTube as they could be easily influenced, adding that to steer them away from unhealthy culture, parents should emphasise on religious and moral education.

He added that in terms of gender 1,222 female children and teenagers went missing last year as compared to 581 male children and teenagers.

From 2013 to 2016, 65 cases involved children aged six and under, seven to 12 years old (297 cases), 13 to 15 years old (3,959 cases) and 16 to 18 years (3,333 cases) in the 2013 to 2016 period.


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SMK PITAS II Study Tour to SIDMA College

November 15th, 2017

14th November 2017 was a memorable day for Form Four students of SMK Pitas II as they were given the opportunity to explore SIDMA COLLEGE, one of the leading private Institutions of Higher Learning in Sabah.

The trip which was headed by Mr Amran and assisted by 14 others teachers was planned to nurture, motivate and encourage the 112 participating Form Four students to strive harder for their 2018 SPM Examination, as well as to assist them to plan their future wisely, regarding the availability of tertiary education facilities available in Sabah.

Upon their arrival, the SMK Pitas II guests were welcomed by Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Founder and Chairman of SIDMA College), Mr Terence Boyd Stephens (Acting Head, Student Affairs Department), representative from the Corporate Relations and Business Development, as well as members of the Student Representatives Council (SRC).

Prior to their campus tour, Dr Morni, a motivational speaker, in his welcoming speech highlighted to the students on the importance of achieving good grade during their upcoming SPM Examination. He reminded the students to put in extra effort during their Form Five session in order to score good grade in their SPM next year.

On what’s next after their SPM, Dr Morni advised them to pursue their aspiration and maximise their potentials to enable them to further their tertiary education in their field of interest that will lead them to the top of their dreamt career. He also shared the various opportunities and options available for them to choose from, and advised them to seek further explanation and consent from their parents and school counsellors. They can also consult SIDMA’s very own Counsellor, Ms Melissa Marcus Molijol (088-732 000) for more information.

Mr Rudy Barnabas and staff from the Corporate Relations and Business Development department as well as from the Student Affairs department later introduced to the guests on SIDMA’s background, conducive facilities available as well courses offered. Various motivational activities were also conducted during the session.

During the session, the guests were given the opportunity to enter the gymnasium, Resource Centre, IT Laboratory, lectures and tutorial rooms and all other facilities available at SIDMA College.

SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah invites school leavers with SPM and STPM qualification or its equivalent to pursue their tertiary studies in any of the following programme below:

List of Programmes that SIDMA College offers:

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

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

Online registration is available. Please CLICK HERE

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One-Off Yayasan Sabah Financial Aid for SIDMA October New Students

November 14th, 2017

Fifty Six new students from among those who have registered to further their tertiary education at SIDMA College and UNITAR International University Sabah Regional Centre for the Semester September/October 2017 had their application for the special One-Off Financial Assistance from Yayasan Sabah Group approved recently.

Personnel from SIDMA College Sabah Finance Department have assisted some of the students to collect their RM500 in cash from Yayasan Sabah on the 10th November 2017. Some of the students who did not join the group yesterday have voluntarily chosen a different time to collect their financial aid.

An initiative that was introduced by Datuk Sapawi Hj Ahmad the Director of Yayasan Sabah since last year whereby during the year 2016, similar amount of cash was disbursed to Ronald Piat, a June 2016 first semester student from SIDMA College Sabah.

According to Datuk Sapawi during the launching last year, the RM500 One-Off Financial Assistance form Yayasan Sabah Group is only reserved and will only be approved for first semester students in an Institution of Higher Learning who are from deprived families as the financial aids is meant to relief them of their financial burden especially upon them proceeding to further their tertiary education in an institution of higher learning.

For more information about the Yayasan Sabah One Off financial assistance or any other financial aid available for existing and new students, you may enquire from Madam Nadia Abdullah at SIDMA College Finance Department.  For the Yayasan Sabah one-off, completed application form need to be sent the following address for their approval

Aras 4, Menara Tun Mustapha,

Unit Tajaan (Biasiswa)

Yayasan Sabah

88813 Teluk Likas.

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