Safety first for children

September 17th, 2017
Twenty-one young and beautiful children and two adult wardens met their untimely end in the incident. Pic by NSTP/ROSDAN WAHID

IT is just so sad and mind-numbing to have so many young lives lost in the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school fire on Sept 14.

Twenty-one young and beautiful children and two adult wardens met their untimely end in the incident. Ironically, this would not have happened had the centre been more responsible and put more concern over their safety and security.

This rebuke might sound unfair or premature. But, how else could anyone put it after considering the facts and initial reports on the incident?

For one, the centre’s building had not received a certificate of fire safety and should not have been occupied at all. Then the dormitory floor, which housed the victims, had only one entry and exit.

This exit became inaccessible to the victims when it was blocked by the raging fire. There were no other fire exit as the windows were secured with metal grilles. The dormitory, thus, became a cruel death trap from which the victims had very little chance of escaping.

Investigations into what caused the fire and how it turned into an inferno rapidly are certainly necessary. So should the reason for the inability of the victims to make their escape.

The findings may lead to the prosecution and punishment of the guilty party if there had been gross negligence or criminal intent. It should also draw important lessons on how to prevent such incidents from happening again.

The early findings and observations have caused many to act quickly. There is now need for such private learning centres to be registered with a federal or state agency so that there would be more effective oversight, particularly on the matter of safety of premises and students.

The Fire and Rescue Department has also decided to inspect tahfiz centres in the country for fire safety. Parents who have children studying in similar centres would have also begun to look at the safety standards and features in the places where their children stay and study.

Finally, owners and administrators of such centres must have begun to put on their thinking caps, making “safety first” as their primary guiding principle and to improve.

The grief felt by the victims’ families and friends is unfathomable and can never be adequately described. Time may be the best healer of their pain, but the memories of their loved ones can never go away.

They may get some consolation knowing that their loved ones died as martyrs — as said by some — although deep in their hearts, they wish the victims are still alive and have the chance to grow up, pursue their dreams and enjoy their lives as they grow old.

This must surely be the overarching desire of all parents. It can be realised, as proven
by many other developed countries.

Their success, however, stems from one fundamental attitude which they seemed to have but is deficient in our society — the ability to truly love and care for the young and the weak.

When this feeling of love and care is prevalent in a country, then the young and the weak
are assured of a safer environment.

The stories to describe our situation are abundant. Have we not often cringed or cried reading of incidents of parents abusing and beating their own children? How about the frequent cases of adults leaving their children in locked houses while they work or go out to have a good time?

And those wearing helmets on their heads with their children sitting precariously on a motorcycle with their heads covered only by a thin tudung or a small songkok?

How on earth will children avoid serious injuries if they were to crash or tumble on the road? There is no true love and caring there!

There is also this inherent attitude among many to surrender the whole responsibility for the safety and security of children to others, be it to a helper at home, day care centres or even schools, without so much as some monitoring and checking while they are away.

This is amounting to abandoning them to their own ends when it is known that they are still too young to fend and care for themselves.

By Lt Gen (R) Datuk Seri Zaini Mohd Said.

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The colours of unity

September 17th, 2017
Sarawak Public Works Department personnel waving the Jalur Gemilang in Kuching last year. The mood displayed in the events leading up to Malaysia Day was one of unity.

THESE past few weeks have been eventful for Malaysia. Never have I seen the Jalur Gemilang being displayed in as many events over the past few weeks.

We celebrated our victory at the 29th Southeast Asia Games, we witnessed our 60th Merdeka celebration, we witnessed the celebration of our new Agong’s official birthday. We also witnessed the passing of one of our beloved sultans. But, the mood displayed in all these events was one of unity at all levels and from different sections of society.

I was taken aback by the atmosphere of the Sea Games. I remember entering the stadium being greeted by loud sounds of joy and excitement. I glanced around and witnessed the cheers of not only Malaysians, but Indonesians, Filipinos and Thais, from where I sat when all the athletes entered the stadium to take their seats. I saw the unity of Asean.

The Merdeka parade was a sight to behold. It took me back some 10 years ago when I first witnessed such pomp and pageantry.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force displayed their air-to air aviation skills in the capital city skyline with their Sukhoi jets.

Our soldiers in green marched past the reviewing stand manned by the king and cabinet.

Our men in blue did that, too. They were followed by our volunteer corps in other hues. It struck me then how much these uniformed men and women sacrifice their lives to keep us ordinary folks under the canopy of peace.

I was very blessed to have “witnessed” through my paternal grandmother the country’s first flag-bearers and Navy veterans, Lieutenant Commander (Rtd) Mohd Sharif Kalam and retired chief petty officer Oliver Cuthbert Samuel presenting the Jalur Gemilang to the next generation. My paternal grandmother told me how my grandfather, first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, would utter the joyful words “Merdeka!” “Merdeka!” “Merdeka!”

I can imagine the chorus of the people gathered that morning echoing in unison those three words. She had accompanied her father, the late Almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra, then Tengku Mahkota Kelantan, to the event.

When I watched the celebration of victory at the recent Sea Games, those words of freedom and unity emerged from my memory wherein they were lodged.

I was blessed, too, to witness the Agong’s first official birthday. As I wore my purple songketuniform that morning, I was greeted by the Jalur Gemilang and state flags instead of just the Kelantan flag. This was, for the first time, a federal investiture instead of just a state’s. The investiture ceremony was much more diverse, representing the demographics of the nation, instead of just the state.

People of different hues stood before our head of state. Men and women were in ceremonial attires and uniforms. The diplomats came dressed in their national garments. It was breathtaking.

I observed, too, people of varying ages: civil servants who contributed their years of service to the nation, one of them being my father. The range of attires that was before my eyes was breathtaking. There were songket with tengkolok, as worn by my father, full white navy uniforms and the robes of the judiciary. The green of the army was there, too. It was colour pageantry in some ways

But the celebrations and joyful mood came to a halt as the nation was shocked by the news of the death of Almarhum Tuanku Sultan Kedah, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, who was king for two five-year terms.

The nation mourned the death with flags at half-mast. Many of the Merdeka generation will remember the late ruler fondly. From 12 year olds who received awards to the chef employed in the palace — all had words of sorrow to tell the nation. The late ruler was not just a ruler for Kedahans, but a king for Malaysians. And twice, too.

As we welcome Malaysia Day today with the Jalur Gemilang flying at half-mast, we Malaysians will be united in sadness and joy.

By Tengku Nur Qistina Petri.

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‘Thank the country for our blessings’

September 17th, 2017

Pola Singh (seated, fifth from left) with family members after launching his book, ‘My Reflections of Life’, at his home in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

TARA Singh’s three sons are fine examples of Malaysians who have earned their stripes despite the odds.

Brothers Pola Singh, Lieutenant-Colonel (Rtd) Heera Singh and Lieutenant-Colonel Inderjit Singh are the proud sons of a cowherd from Air Leleh, Melaka, who raised nine children who served the nation prominently.

Paying tribute to his parents, Tara and Ram Kaur, née Chan Yoke Lin, Pola said he and his siblings were grateful for their unconditional love and sacrifice in moulding them to face life’s challenges.

“We have learnt to appreciate life in a meaningful way, thanks to our upbringing.

“From eating scraps for meals, we grew in strength to succeed in our careers and lives,” said Pola, who retired as Maritime Institute of Malaysia director-general in 2011.

After retiring from the army, Heera is now a business consultant, while Inderjit is still in military service and played hockey for the armed forces.

Pola’s other siblings have also shone in their careers, but he declined to divulge details.

Pola is the fourth among nine siblings, — sisters Ajaib, Harcharan, Iswander, Kulwant and Sarjit Kaur, and brothers Heera, Harban and Inderjit.

In a period when the nation celebrated Malaysia Day and its 60th National Day, Pola spoke of how fortunate it was to live in such a wonderful country.

“Through hard work and diligence, people like me are able to become head of a government department after joining the
administrative and diplomatic service in 1972.

“We have to thank our country for our blessings,” said Pola, who turned 68 on July 16.

He remembers well his past experiences and so volunteers at Sikh temples and helps distribute food with his Sikh Soup Kitchen team all around Kuala Lumpur every Friday.

As Friends of Bukit Kiara co-founder and Taman Tun Dr Ismail Resident’s Association committee member, Pola also helps with environmental conservation and community upkeep.

“I know how hard it can be for the less fortunate to earn a living, let alone survive.

“Even many of the residents in my neighbourhood are in dire need of advice and guidance, and I am happy to help where I can,” said Pola, who is probably the first from Air Leleh, or even Melaka, to earn a doctorate in marketing from the University of Alabama in the United States in 1992.

After retirement, Pola was the Initiative for Asean Integration unit head based in Jakarta, Indonesia, for four years until 2006.

He is also a prolific writer, having just finished writing his book, My Reflections of Life, and is a regular contributor on social affairs for local newspapers.

He was a sports stringer with The Malay Mail in the 1980s, under the pen name S. Paul.

Describing his life’s journey as purposeful, Pola said he earned satisfaction in seeing everyday community issues being resolved after being highlighted in the New Straits Times’s “Letters to the Editor”.

“The encouraging feedback from people in voicing their grievances spurred me to write with a greater purpose so that I can help make a difference for them.”

He reminded the younger generation of the importance of family and friends who would support them at all times.

“One can succeed through sheer grit, determination, hard work and fortitude.

“Accepting rejection is part and parcel of life. If you do not make mistakes, you are not trying and will never succeed,” said Pola.

He said since retirement, he had more time to reflect on his experiences — joyful events, friendships, setbacks, rejections, work-life imbalance, beliefs and values.


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RM1.5b centre in KK and RM80m Musang King plantation plan

September 17th, 2017

NANNING: Several investment projects were presented at a recent trade and investment seminar and business matching here which include a proposed RM1.5 billion Bimp Eaga Commercial Development Centre in Kota Kinabalu.

Another is a Musang King durian plantation project in Tawau with a proposed project cost of RM 80 million and a RM 500 million five-star tourism project in Tuaran.

The seminar and business matching session also saw a MoU signing ceremony with a project value of RM 100 million between Medical Supplies (Sabah) Sdn. Bhd. headed by Datuk Nancy Ho and a pharmaceutical Hu Nan Bei Shi Jian Yi Yao Ke Ji Co. Ltd.

The signing highlighted the interest and confidence of Chinese companies in investing in the economic and SME sectors of the BIMP EAGA grouping.

A total of 300 participants comprising Chinese businessmen and entrepreneurs from BIMP EAGA countries with Malaysia with the largest number of participants attended the event held at the Grand Metropark Hotel Nanning in conjunction with the 14th China Asean Business and Investment Summit and 14th China Asean Exposition.

This event was jointly organised by the Asean China Centre and BIMP EAGA Facilitation Centre through the BIMP EAGA Small and Medium Enterprise Development Working Group which is presently chaired by Ministry of Industrial Development Sabah Permanent Secretary Datuk Hashim Paijan.

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Schools With High Risk Of Fire In Johor Should Be Identified – Sultan Ibrahim

September 17th, 2017

JOHOR BAHRU, Sept 14 (Bernama) — The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has decreed that schools at high risk of catching fire in the state should be identified.

He said this following the fire which occurred at religious residential school Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah in Kuala Lumpur at 5.15am today, which claimed the lives of 21 students and two teachers.

Sultan Ibrahim expressed his sadness over the heartbreaking tragedy, and conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims.

/”May Allah give strength and fortitude to the families of the victims,\” he said in a statement issued by the Johor Royal Press Office here, tonight.

His Majesty urged the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department to take immediate action to identify high-risk premises, including madrasahs, tuition centres, boarding schools, primary and secondary schools.

He also called on the authorities to clamp down on centres which were operating illegally.


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Our unique federal set-up always evolving

September 15th, 2017

THIS Saturday will be the 54th anniversary of Malaysia Day. Most Malaysians agree that the new federal union in 1963 between the Federation of Malaya and the Borneo states has brought security, prosperity and development to both sides. Yet, there are simmering tensions about the alleged whittling down of the privileges promised in 1963.

These privileges are explicated in many venerated historical documents and in the Malaysia Act and the Federal Constitution. The Consti­tution was amended significantly in 87 provisions and 10 Schedules. Thirty-five new Articles were inserted to confer on Sabah and Sarawak many special rights in our unique federal set-up.

Legislation: The State Assemblies of Sabah and Sarawak have legislative powers far larger than those of the peninsular states (Schedule 9).

Federal powers: Federal power to enact uniform laws on land, agriculture, forestry and local government is not applicable to Sabah and Sarawak (Article 95D). Under Article 95E(3), Sabah and Sarawak are excluded from national plans for land utilisation, local government and development unless the consent of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri is obtained. Policies of the National Land Council and National Council for Local Government are not binding on Sabah and Sarawak (Article 95E(2)).

Islam: Due to the large non-Muslim population in Sabah and Sarawak in 1963, there was no state religion in the Constitutions of Sabah and Sarawak in 1963. But Sabah amended its own Constitution to make Islam the official state religion. Article 161C (deleted in 1976) provided that if financial support is given by the federal government for Islamic institutions and Islamic education in the Borneo states, the consent of the state Governor must be obtained. Further, an equivalent amount shall be allocated for social welfare in these states.

Article 161D of the Federal Constitution (repealed in 1976) provided that in the Borneo states, a state law restricting the propagation of any religious doctrines to Muslims may not be passed without a special two-thirds majority.

Native law: Besides Syariah Courts, there is a system of native law and native courts.

High Court: The federal High Court has two wings. Appointment of the Chief Judge of the Sabah and Sarawak High Court requires consultation with the Chief Ministers of these States (Article 122B(3)). Judicial Commissioners in the High Court for Sabah and Sarawak shall be appointed by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri on the advice of the Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak (Article 122AB). In 1994, this power was transferred to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong acting on the advice of the PM after consulting the Chief Justice of the Federal Court.

Number of MPs: Sabah and Sarawak are handsomely represented in the Dewan Rakyat. Sabah has 25 MPs; Sarawak 31. Together, they have 56 of the country’s 222 MPs (or 25%). The Sabah and Sarawak MPs also constitute 50% of the 112 MPs required to form a majority government.

Emergency: Even during an emergency, the native law or customs of Sabah and Sarawak cannot be extinguished (Article 150(6A)).

Fiscal federalism: The federal government’s stranglehold over most of the lucrative sources of revenue is not as strong in relation to Sabah and Sarawak as it is in relation to other states. In several areas, Sabah and Sarawak enjoy fiscal privileges that are not available to the peninsular states.

Under article 112B, Sabah and Sarawak can raise loans with the consent of Bank Negara. These states are allocated special sources of revenue like taxes, fees and dues on eight sources of revenue like state sales tax, ports, harbours, import and excise duty on petro­leum products, export duty on timber and other forest produce (Schedule 9, Lists IIA and IIIA and Schedule 10, Part V).

The two states enjoy some special grants (Article 112C and the Tenth Schedule, Parts II and IV). There are special rules about state audits (Article 112A).

Affirmative action: Under Article 153, the natives of Sabah and Sarawak enjoy a special position similar to that of the peninsular Malays.

Immigration: The mobility of non-residents to Sabah and Sarawak is restricted under (Article 161E(4) and Part VII Immigration Act, Act 155).

Lawyers: There is restriction on non-resident lawyers practising before the courts of Sabah and Sarawak (Article 161B).

Language: Sabah and Sarawak enjoy special protection in relation to the use of English and native languages (Article 161).

Malay reserves: There is non-application of Malay reserve lands to these two States (Article 161A(5)).

Sabah Assembly: The Sabah Assembly is allowed six appointed members in addition to its elected Assemblymen.

Fifty-four years down the road, not all is well with the Borneo states’ relationship with the centre. In some areas, Sabah and Sarawak’s autonomy appears to have suffered retreat due to constitutional and political developments.

by Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi
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King with a heart of gold

September 15th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Touched by the plight of an eight-year-old girl with epilepsy, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V immediately donated towards her surgery to treat a birth anomaly in her brain, which is causing her seizures.

Comptroller of the Royal House­hold Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Haji Ab Aziz said His Majesty wanted to help her parents as they cannot afford the medical fees.

Sultan Muhammad V was touched after reading a report by The Star on Sept 3 about Erinna Natashya Mohd Sohaimi, eight, who needs RM48,000 to undergo surgery tentatively scheduled for next month.

“His Majesty was concerned over the plight of the child, who suffers from epilepsy.

“After reading the story, His Majesty was moved to donate and help the child,” he said.

Wan Ahmad Dahlan, on behalf of the King, presented the generous donation to Star Media Group editor-in-chief Datuk Leanne Goh at Istana Negara here yesterday.

Generous contribution: Wan Ahmad Dahlan presenting the donation to Goh at Istana Negara.

Generous contribution: Wan Ahmad Dahlan presenting the donation to Goh at Istana Negara.

Sultan Muhammad V, whose official birthday was celebrated on Sept 9, ascended the throne on Dec 13, 2016, as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Erinna, who developed epileptic seizures when she was eight months old, will undergo the surgery at Ara Damansara Medical Centre in Selangor.

Her father Mohd Sohaimi Shafie, 47, had contacted Star Founda­tion, the charitable arm of Star Media Group, for financial aid.

Sohaimi, who had to quit his job as a lorry driver to care for Erinna, has three other children aged 16 to 22, all of whom are still studying.

His wife works as an assistant at a kindergarten in Kedah.

On behalf of Star Foundation, Goh thanked the King for his kindness and generosity.

Compassionate Ruler: Sultan Muhammad V (right) presenting a zakat donation to an orphan during a breaking of fast event at Istana Negara in June. He has always demonstrated a caring heart for those in need, like Erinna. — Bernama

Compassionate Ruler: Sultan Muhammad V (right) presenting a zakat donation to an orphan during a breaking of fast event at Istana Negara in June. He has always demonstrated a caring heart for those in need, like Erinna. — Bernama

She also thanked all the donors who had contributed to the cause.

Star Foundation would like to remind donors to download and fill in the Medical Fund – Donation Form at­fund-programme/.

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Global cooperation needed in climate change finance

September 15th, 2017
(File pix) Most renewable energy investments needed in developing countries are not profitable enough to attract private investment, especially foreign direct investment.

FUNDING developing countries’ climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts was never going to be easy. But, it has become more uncertain with the United States’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord. As a candidate, the US had pledged US$3 billion (RM12.5 billion) towards the 2020 target of US$100 billion yearly for the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The GCF was formally established in December 2011 “to make a significant and ambitious contribution to the global efforts towards attaining the goals set by the international community to combat climate change”. In the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, developed economies had promised to mobilise US$100 billion yearly for climate finance by 2020.

However, only a small fraction has been pledged, let alone disbursed so far. As of July, only US$10.1 billion has come from 43 governments, including nine developing countries, mostly for start-up costs. The US had contributed US$1 billion. Now that the US has announced its withdrawal from the 2015 climate treaty, the remaining US$2 billion will not be forthcoming.

Moreover, the US$100 billion goal is vague. For example, disputes continue over whether
it refers to public funds, or whether leveraged private finance will also count. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development projected last year that pledges worldwide would add up to US$67 billion yearly by 2020. But, such estimates have been inflated by counting commercial loans to buy green technology from developed countries.

Even if all the pledged finance is raised, it would still be inadequate to finance a rapid transition to renewable energy globally, forest conservation, as well as atmospheric greenhouse gas sequestration. The Hamburg-based World Future Council (WFC) estimates that, globally, annual investment of US$2 trillion is needed to retain a chance of keeping temperature rise below 1.5°C.

Obviously, the task is daunting, especially for developing countries more vulnerable to climate change. Therefore, in adopting the Marrakech Vision at the 2016 22nd Conference of Parties to meet 100 per cent domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible, 48 members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum advocated an “international cooperative system” for “attaining a significant increase in climate investment in public and private climate finance from wide ranging sources, including international, regional and domestic mobilisation”.

International cooperation is necessary, considering developing countries’ limited abilities to mobilise enough finance domestically. Much foreign funds are needed to import green technology. Additionally, most renewable energy investments needed in developing countries will not be profitable enough to attract private investment, especially foreign direct investment.

Hence, two options, proposed by the United Nations and WFC, are worth serious consideration. The UN proposal involves using Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of the International Monetary Fund for a particular kind of development finance, namely climate finance. It involves floating bonds backed by SDRs, not directly spending SDRs. Thus, for example, the GCF would issue US$1 trillion in bonds, backed by US$100 billion in SDR equity.

The WFC has proposed that central banks of developed countries continue “quantitative easing” (QE), but not to buy existing financial assets. Instead, they should invest in “Green Climate Bonds” (GCBs) issued by multilateral development banks, the GCF or other designated climate finance institution to fund renewable energy projects in developing countries.

This should have some other potential benefits.

FIRST, it will not destabilise the financial system of emerging economies, whereas QE has fuelled speculation and asset price bubbles;

SECOND, it is less likely to increase inflation as it will be used for productive investments;

THIRD, for the above reasons, it should not exacerbate inequality;


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The making of an apprentice

September 15th, 2017

IF you’ve just graduated with a diploma or bachelor’s degree, there are many apprenticeship programmes available to kick-start your career.

An apprenticeship programme offers on-the-job training for those entering the workforce. It also helps individuals to put their academic skills to practical use in the workplace.

Such programmes help fresh graduates acquire the skills and knowledge to succeed in the industry; they earn while they learn on-the-job; get access to mentors; and gain confidence as well as a career path advantage.

They may be hired by the company depending on their performance during their apprenticeship.

Most of apprentice programmes involve working full-time and on a rotational basis, from department to department.

Normally a two-year programme, it varies with companies and one will be deployed to a department based on one’s credentials and strength, as revealed by the apprenticeship programme.

Apprenticeship programmes provide a springboard to a future career.

In Malaysia, there are various apprenticeship programmes such as Digi CXO Apprentice Programme, Global Maybank Apprentice Programme (GMAP) and Cement Industries of Malaysia (CIMA) Technical Apprenticeship Programme (TAP) and CIMB Fusion Programme.

The Digi CXO Apprentice Programme is the career kick-starter that has successfully shaped aspiring talent into potential leaders across the divisions of the company.

This year, seven apprentices were selected from a more diverse pool of candidates for a full-year mentorship programme with top management team members from Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd.

GMAP is a specially designed two-year on-the-job rotation programme which includes a three-month international assignment to encourage cross-border exposure and networking among young talents.

Targeting chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering graduates from local and international universities, TAP is an intensive three-year programme on the cement production process at a plant.

It is designed to help graduates chart a career in the cement industry, specifically in cement production technology.

The CIMB Fusion programme with PricewaterhouseCoopers is a four-year joint employment programme designed to give fresh graduates a unique opportunity to gain work experience in banking while also working towards their professional accounting qualifications.

Higher Ed speaks to apprentices from these programmes on their experiences and aspirations.

Building the Foundation:

NINE months ago, Henry Low, 21, applied for the GMAP.

The Bachelor of Business Accounting, Banking and Finance graduate from Monash University saw a great opportunity to develop leadership skills, build a strong foundation in the banking sector, as well as get mentored by some of the best talent in the industry.

“The company looks for candidates who are resilient, adaptive and innovative, and who value integrity.

“I believe I meet those criteria and I’m open to learning new things during my apprenticeship,” said Low.

The programme has exposed him to all aspects of the banking industry and provided him with the chance to specialise in his division of choice, investment banking.

He added that he has been privileged to have a great mentor to advise him and help him to grow.

“To be successful in any industry, you have to be able to work independently and take the initiative. For example, I familiarise myself with the work of the team members and offer to fill in if they need to prioritise another project.

“Working in a team allows me to accomplish more than I can on my own. However, it is important to understand the dynamics of the team and the difference in character and views of others.

“The important attributes of a good team player are communication, empathy and selflessness.”

The opportunity to play a meaningful role within the team motivates Low to work hard for its success.

“To cope under pressure I try to stay focused on the task at hand, and take a breather every so often.”

Low aspires to take on more responsibilities and fill a leadership role in the next three to five years.

Exploring Career Options:

FOR Athirah Azmi, 24, the GMAP allows her to learn about different divisions of the bank.

“It does not only allow me to explore career options but it is also a platform to network with like-minded peers both within the programme and the company.

“The apprenticeship has helped me to shape my career path. Joining the bank after graduation, I wasn’t sure of the area I would like to work in and GMAP allowed me to explore options,” said the International Studies and Political Science degree holder from the University of Chicago in the United States.”

She added: “A good apprentice is driven, passionate, eager to learn and ambitious.

“One needs to be a good team player and produce an outcome greater than what can be achieved individually. It means knowing and playing to each member’s strengths.”

For Athirah, a good team player has respect for others, is a good listener and works within the deadline.

She uses stress as a motivation to strive forward.

“I make a plan with a timeline. Each task lists out what needs to be done. It helps when I know exactly what I have to do.”

In three years, she hopes to climb the career ladder as a senior executive/analyst or assistant manager.

Honing Skills:

Digi CXO apprentice Andrea Ong, 23, prides herself on trying new things and is hungry to learn from a mentor.

“The programme taught me to cope under pressure — take a step back and look at a situation objectively to derive an unbiased and rational solution.

“If we subconsciously channel our negative emotions and frustrations when making decisions under pressure, it may worsen the problem and potentially cause conflict.

“So, I always try to remain calm and composed while under stress,” said Ong.

As Digi’s digital learning academy offers tech nano degrees to help employees learn new skills, Ong pursued a mobile development course while working as a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) Apprentice.

“I spent my weekends on the course. It was challenging to juggle both work and studies but, with hindsight, it was worth it.

By Zulita Mustafa.

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Malaysia Day celebration venue in Likas prepped for big day

September 15th, 2017
The district Sports Complex in Likas here, the venue for the Malaysia Day 2017 celebration, has come alive with stages and booths for the big day being set up. Pix by Mohd Adam Arinin

KOTA KINABALU: The district Sports Complex in Likas here, the venue for the Malaysia Day 2017 celebration, has come alive with stages and booths for the big day being set up.

The full dress rehearsal for the ceremony, attended by dignitaries, also proceeded smoothly tonight.

Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, Malaysia Day celebration main committee co-chairmen Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak and Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, as well as state secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman, were present during the rehearsal which started around 7.45pm.

The Malaysia Day celebration this Saturday will have Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin as guest-of-honour.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will specially fly in for the event.

With the main event set to take place that night, a three-day carnival begins tomorrow from 2pm. The carnival will also feature concerts for the three consecutive nights, with various artistes lined up.


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