A new reality in the global economy

May 24th, 2017
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump takes the stage for a rally at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. on March 20, 2017. REUTERS Photo

RECENTLY, in his first interview as United States president with The Economist magazine, Donald Trump explained and laid down his economic vision for the US and the global economy. This is perhaps his most comprehensive explanation about what he wants to do for the economy, though the United Kingdom-based magazine still deemed it inadequate and incoherent, and considering it more like a business wishlist rather than an economic plan.

Be that as it may, Trump’s grand strategy for the economy, or “Trumponomics”, has three crucial objectives: achieve fairer trade deals; reduce taxes and deregulation; and, spur more infrastructure spending. All these, he believes, will create jobs, promote growth, reduce trade deficits and create an investment boom for the US economy. There are, of course, some issues with his proposal, like how he could get Congress to implement his expansive tax cuts and fund massive infrastructure projects.

Trumponomics is also seen as self-contradictory and has been based on a misdiagnosis of the root cause of the US’s trade deficit. The magazine argues that the focus on addressing trade deficit without improving savings would jeopardise the US economy with the possible reduction in foreign capital flowing into the US in the long run.

While these are issues that can be debated further, I think the crucial takeaway from reading the interview is about his exposition, albeit shallow, on the economic philosophy that underpin his grand economic design. In his own words, it is about “self-respect as a nation”. He further elaborated: “It has to do with trade deals that have to be fair.”

Now, it appears clearer that the US economic policy under his watch will be one that is based on economic nationalism and more of the “America first” mantra, which he had promulgated during his inauguration speech earlier this year. This gives us, at least for now, a very brief vision of what Trumponomics entails, which is expected to tilt more towards protectionist and populist paradigms.

In the Far East, a different vision of the world has been offered. Led by China, it is called the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. The forum on OBOR was held about a week after Trump’s interview.

An initiative that began about three years ago, OBOR is set to transform the 21st century global economy in a significant way. It comprises 65 nations and covers 60 per cent of the world’s population, or around 4.5 billion people, and a third of global gross domestic product (GDP).

OBOR is significant in two fundamental ways. First, it is an affirmation that the gravity of the global economy has shifted from the West to Asia. Second, it is a manifestation of China taking the mantle of leadership on globalisation and free market from the US.

OBOR has captured the “new reality” emerging in the 21st century global economy. And certainly, from this point of view, Malaysia, under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has read the development well and has positioned Malaysia vis-à-vis this “new reality”. It is about having the right vision and foresight to anticipate what might happen and make the right move at the right time. This is reminiscent of a similar move by his late father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was Malaysia’s second prime minister, when he forged diplomatic ties with China in 1974, the first country in Southeast Asia to do so.

During his speech at the OBOR forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping set a refreshing tone of a win-win cooperation in a world where populist, right-wing movements have gained traction following the Brexit referendum and Trump’s presidency.

“We need to seek results through greater openness and cooperation, avoid fragmentation, refrain from setting inhibitive thresholds for cooperation or pursuing exclusive arrangements, and reject protectionism”, he said. At the forum, Xi also unleashed an extra fund of US$124 billion (RM536.61 billion) to connect Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa through infrastructure development to bolster trade and investment under the OBOR agenda.


Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/05/242124/new-reality-global-economy

Science competitions nurture vital learning skills

May 24th, 2017
Ivo Zell, from Germany, won the Gordon E. Moore Award and received US$75,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2017. He designed and constructed a remote-controlled prototype of a new ‘flying wing’ aircraft that has potential applications that range from drone delivery systems to larger aircraft design.​

WHAT are the possibilities of durian seeds, or perhaps the sago starch, being used as an alternative to reduce our dependence on plastics? What if the leaves of the rambutan tree that contain gallic acid — a compound with antioxidant properties — could be effective against cancer?

These were some questions that our secondary school students sought to answer, and later with their research findings, led them to be finalists of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) 2017 all the way in Los Angeles last week.

Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, organised and produced by a non-profit group, Society for Science & the Public, since 1950. In 1997, Intel took on the title sponsorship to further the effort in encouraging youth to embrace STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and highlight the importance these subjects have on future innovations.

Each May, students selected as finalists by affiliated, local competitions from all over the world receive an all-expenses-paid trip and convene in the United States. At the competition, finalists are judged by hundreds of science, engineering and industry professionals.

Last week, 1,778 finalists from 78 countries attended Intel ISEF for five days to compete for nearly US$4 million (RM17.2 million) in awards and prizes. Malaysian students have been a part of this science competition since 1999.

This year, of the 13 Malaysian finalists presenting eight science projects, two teams won third place under the Physical Science category, taking home US$1,000 for each project.

The positioning of these research competitions as science fairs can be misunderstood and misleading. To the uninitiated, they are not all stereotypical images of three-panel display boards and baking-soda volcanoes just because they are high school students.

This international science contest has a rich legacy and its alumni include Paul L. Modrich, a Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry in 2015; Jack Andraka, a prodigy in pancreatic cancer; and, Alex Deans, the inventor of the iAid for the visually impaired.

This year’s first place winner, Ivo Zell, 18, from Lorch, Germany, who won the US$75,000 Gordon E. Moore Award, designed and constructed a remote-controlled prototype of a new “flying wing” aircraft, which has potential applications that range from drone delivery systems to larger aircraft design.

Having attended this science fair twice, once in 2014 and last week, I would liken the finale of the award ceremony to the atmosphere of the Grammy Awards, only that this is for young scientists’ research projects.

Conceptually, a science fair project is straightforward. One applies principles that can solve a problem and see the impact on the real world.

A student chooses a scientific question he would like to answer and then research it before formulating a hypothesis and designing an experiment. After writing a report to summarise this research, he performs the experiment, draws his conclusions and presents the results on a display board.

The research projects can and do fail, sometimes ending up with findings that don’t match initial hypotheses. In going through the process, students not only gain hands-on experience on scientific methods, they must also use critical thinking, experimentation, presentation and speaking skills, and persistence.

At the same time, many science fair participants have few, if any, classmates engaged in research. In that case, attending research competition like Intel ISEF can be an opportunity to find friends with similar interests. They can help students start building a network of scientific colleagues and collaborators that can energise and enhance their scientific work.

In 2014, Malaysian finalists hauled in the biggest win after 16 years of participation, with three science projects bagging awards at a combined value of US$10,500.

Faye Jong Sow Fei, a former student of SMK Batu Lintang in Kuching, Sarawak, received the most wins for Malaysia in Intel ISEF’s history.

She received a First Award of US$3,000 in the Environmental Management Category for her project entitled “Bio-Waste Materials as Eco-Friendly Mordant in Fabric Dye Process”. She also won the Top Winner of the Best Category with prizes consisting of US$5,000, as well as US$1,000 for her school and the affiliated fair she represents. In addition to that, she walked away with an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Warsaw, Poland.


Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/05/242126/science-competitions-nurture-vital-learning-skills

No country for old and sick people.

May 24th, 2017

WE are getting old. The statistics show Malaysia’s inevitable march towards a difficult milestone – that of an ageing nation.

An ageing society is defined as having a minimum 7% of its population aged 65 and older, while an aged nation has 14% or more in that age group.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s 2016 population data sheet shows that as of last year, Malaysians aged 60 and above comprise 9.5% of the population.

This is projected to increase to 14.4% in 13 years’ time and nearly a quarter of the population (23.5%) by 2050. So, it is sooner rather than later that we will become an ageing or aged nation.

In fact, Malaysia’s march towards this milestone has been an accelerated one. Most developed nations take almost a century to reach this mark.

France, for example, took 115 years to move from being an ageing society to an aged one.

For Malaysia, it should take us just 25 years.

In effect, such numbers reflect one of Malaysia’s success stories – healthcare.

It has been 60 years since independence and during that time, we have managed to increase our lifespan by about 20 years.

Improvements in primary public healthcare such as sanitation, food safety and protection against infectious diseases via vaccination have all contributed to this increased life expectancy.

As of last year, the average life span of a Malaysian is estimated at 74.7 years; in 2000, it was 72.2 years.

Unfortunately, living longer has not translated to better quality of life.

The rates of infectious diseases may have gone down, but the number of those afflicted with lifestyle/non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and cancer has risen and more worryingly, continues to rise.

This is evident from the various National Health and Morbidity surveys carried out in the country.

The National Health and Morbid­ity Survey 2015 revealed that obese Malaysians make up 17.7% of the population, while those categorised as overweight make up 30%.

The obesity rate for 1996 was 4.4%, and 14% in 2006.

The same survey found that about 3.5 million or 17.5% of Malaysians aged 18 and above have diabetes. In 2006, this figure was 11.6%; it was 15.2% in 2011.

One thing is clear from these numbers – more Malaysians are having to live longer in ill health.

There may be some spending the last 25 years of their lives having to cope with diabetes and hypertension, and their complications.

All this takes a toll on the healthcare system, with the Government having to allocate increased monies to help provide treatment to people living with such conditions.

Will the country be able to cope with the increasing number of the elderly and ill?

The proposed Aged Healthcare Act is a start, though its aim is better regulation and monitoring of aged healthcare centres in the country.

But more needs to be done.

It is true that we need to look at the delivery of healthcare to the aged. Support services, infrastructure, laws that safeguard elders and community engagement prog­rammes – these are some of the areas that will need to be reviewed.

And while the Government should be fully prepared for the needs of an aged nation, communities need to play their part.

We need to develop an age-friendly culture that embraces the elderly instead of isolating them.

After all, this is a pool of people with a wealth of life and work experience, and we should tap into that.

The Star Says,
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It’s not just about the market

May 24th, 2017
Higher thinking: A university is a diverse place and there has to be autonomy for all these diverse elements to decide for themselves.

Higher thinking: A university is a diverse place and there has to be autonomy for all these diverse elements to decide for themselves.

THE Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs has come out with a report proposing changes in legislation and policy to increase university autonomy.

If you have more free time than you know what to do with, you can take a look at it on its website. I’ve read it and found the points they make quite good, in particular the need to free universities from too much government interference.

There is a tendency for the Gov­ernment to think that since public universities get much of their funding from public coffers, it has the right to totally determine how universities are run.

This line of thinking is misguided on several grounds.

Firstly, public funds are monies that come from the people. There­fore, the primary responsibility of public universities is to the people and not to the government of the day.

Secondly, and related to the first point, universities must be run free from too much governmental interference as instructions by politicians may not be the best thing for our institutions of higher learning.

They are, after all, creatures of the moment and political expediency, and they may not have the necessary philosophical depth to understand what is needed to ensure a good higher education.

I have a couple of points to make about the report though. Its emphasis is on university autonomy, thus focusing on the university as a single entity. But a university is made of many different entities, namely faculties and departments (or “schools” if you want to be trendy).

Autonomy must be given at all levels. There is a tendency for a top-down approach in this country, and this applies to upper university management too. The top people think they know best and can impose their ideas and values on all those below them.

It does not take a rocket scientist to see that rocket science is very different from Malay Studies. Each faculty and department must have the autonomy to decide for itself on questions of academic excellence.

There is nothing quite as frustrating as having a vice-chancellor from a totally different discipline imposing policies on the various faculties and departments.

A university is a very diverse place and there has to be autonomy for all these diverse elements to make decisions for themselves. Let me give a simple example.

It may be that for medical researchers, the publications that are best for them to get their work accepted are international journals. However, for some subjects in law like Civil Procedure, it would probably be much better to be published locally so that your work can be read and used by those that matter: the Malaysian legal fraternity.

Another point I want to make is that there is too much focus on market forces and education, as though the market is the ultimate arbiter on how things should be. To some extent this is true. Some subjects are very dependent on keeping up to date with the realities of the world in order to stay relevant.

But there are some things which, on the face of it, simply do not have market value, but still have very great value. Subjects such as History, Philosophy, Literature, Cultural Studies and the like may not appear to be attractive to the “real world”.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/brave-new-world/2017/05/24/its-not-just-about-the-market-universities-are-not-just-about-training-the-workforce-but-also-about/#REGBZbpz5bPJ22zB.99

Welcoming the blessed month.

May 24th, 2017
A journey of the soul: Observing Ramadan consists of a process which aims at spiritual upliftment.

A journey of the soul: Observing Ramadan consists of a process which aims at spiritual upliftment.

MUSLIMS will be observing the month of Ramadan in three days’ time. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Hijri calendar.

During this month, it is obligatory for all Muslims to fast from fajr (sunrise) to sunset. In an authentic hadith, Sahl ibn Sa’d reported: The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Verily, there is a gate in Paradise called sa­­tisfaction (al-Rayyan) through which only those who fasted will enter on the Day of Resurrection. No one else will enter it along with them. It will be said: Where are those who fasted that they may enter? When the last of them enter, it will be closed and no one else will go through it.”

In another hadith, Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said when the month of Ramadan arrived, “The month of Ramadan has come, a blessed month in which Allah the Exalted has obligated you to fast. In it the gates of the heavens are opened, and in it the gates of Hellfire are closed, and in it the de­vils are chained, and in it is a night that is better than a thousand months. Thus, whoever is deprived of its good is truly deprived.”

From the above, it is vital for Muslims to understand that Rama­dan should not be seen as just any other month or even a yearly routine that only focuses on refraining from food for a certain period in a day. It consists of a process which aims at spiritual upliftment for individuals and, most importantly, how this is translated into one’s character.

Through the act of fasting and all the good deeds mentioned in the above saying of the Prophet Mu­­ham­­mad, the month of Ramadan is a gift from God the Almighty to human beings to embark on a spiritual journey to purify the heart, mind and soul.

Muslims believe that as beings created by Allah the Almighty, we must be perpetually reminded of the purpose of our existence. Ramadan is the best time for us to contemplate the journey of our lives and act upon improvements that would benefit us as individual human beings and also our roles as social beings.

As social beings, the way we treat others and the manner in which we conduct our daily dealings with people around us are also manifestations of what lies within our hearts. It also signifies the quality of our ibadah or religious rituals.

Realignment of hearts and cha­racters through this purification process would mould us into beco­ming better human beings who seek the pleasure of God and at the same time would reflect God-conscious­ness condition in real good actions.

The world, in its current frenzied state, needs these God-conscious peo­­ple who possess the right know­ledge, good hearts and souls and who can help to improve its condition.

When we see around us people who call themselves religious, but whose actions defy values and principles of religion, it shows to a certain extent their failure to understand the religion and their lack of initiative to seek knowledge of the religion.

The panacea to this worrying con­­dition of society is to seek know­ledge which can help to develop the right worldview of the religion. Ha­­ving the right worldview and deve­loping a state of mind that is able to understand the truth would produce individuals who are rational in thinking and action.

To have the right worldview will enable us to deliberate deeply on what constitutes truth and reality about the complexities which surrounds us. From there, our minds are tuned to properly develop the correct reasoning process.

In this cognitive activity we listen to arguments, and we process a mass of information in order to form specific opinions and actions. Positively, when more people in society are able to develop the right understanding of the religion and its values, they will be able to contribute positively to society.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/ikim-views/2017/05/23/welcoming-the-blessed-month-ramadan-is-a-gift-from-god-and-a-chance-to-take-a-spiritual-journey-whic/#4cFyo6JifpeZH8fw.99

Raja Zarith: All schools should have policies in place to protect kids.

May 24th, 2017
Raja Zarith (in pink scarf) at the launch of the TinDAK campaign.

Raja Zarith (in pink scarf) at the launch of the TinDAK campaign.

JOHOR BARU: All schools should have a child protection policy to ensure that children are aware of ways to protect them from sexual predators.

Johor Permaisuri Raja Zarith Sofia Sultan Idris Shah said this was important as it would act as a guideline at school level.

She said that the number of physical and sexual cases against children was worrying.

Raja Zarith added that most sexual crimes involving children were perpetrated by people known to them, including friends, neighbours and people they meet online.

Based on statistics from the Welfare Department, the number of child sexual victims for last year was 1,034 cases, 978 cases in 2015 and 984 in 2014.

Raja Zarith said everyone had a responsibility to safeguard children from being exploited.

She was speaking at the launch of the TinDAK campaign here Wednesday.

The campaign is a state-wide intervention campaign dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse, spearheaded by the Johor Women’s League (Jewel) with the support of the Johor Women’s Development Department.

The first phase of the programme involved a close collaboration between Jewel and the state education department.

From April 9 to 13, the TinDAK team travelled to all 11 education districts in the state to conduct training for school counsellors from 906 primary schools.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/05/24/schools-should-have-policies-to-protect-children/#Vph8DvedFhTBfY0m.99

Health in their hands

May 23rd, 2017
HBB’s first project kick-started in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Pictures courtesy of Hospitals Beyond Boundaries.

Hospitals Beyond Boundaries aims to improve the health of vulnerable communities through sustainable and community-aided healthcare efforts, writes Nadia Badarudin

EARLY in the morning of April 28 this year, a beautiful baby girl was born at the recently set up Maternity Health Centre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Kandura is not only the first-born of her parents Sukry and Sos Fatilas and their pride and joy, her birth was a new milestone for Hospitals Beyond Boundaries, a Malaysian non-profit organisation that runs the maternity centre with a team of local health practitioners.

Hospitals Beyond Boundaries (HBB) is dedicated towards improving the health of vulnerable communities through sustainable healthcare efforts by building hospitals and clinics run by local communities.

What makes HBB interesting is it came into being because of the efforts of a group of energetic, passionate and big-hearted Malaysian youths, all under 30 years of age.

HBB clinic at Phnom Penh was built using recycled industrial containers. Pictures courtesy of Hospitals Beyond Boundaries.

Turning Point:
HBB is run by a team of 13 youths from various professional backgrounds who share the same passion in helping the underprivileged and giving back to society.

The team is led by Dr Mohd Lutfi Fadil Lokman, founder and chief executive officer of the five-year-old organisation. Born into a family of medical practitioners, 30-year-old Dr Lutfi was inspired by the voluntary work done by various organisations such as Mercy Malaysia. However, an injury sustained during his first year as a medical student was the turning point for him to become more involved in voluntary activities, especially those related to healthcare.

“I did my medical degree under a twinning programme between Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung, Indonesia. The incident happened during my first year at UKM. I couldn’t walk for months and it left me with permanent tinnitus in my left ear.

“The incident constantly reminded me of the importance of health and to make the best of whatever we have to help others,” says the government medical officer at the Institute for Health System Research.

“When in Bandung, I was involved in various types of voluntary work and I saw a huge gap between the rich and poor with regard to healthcare. I knew something should be done to help the underprivileged. So, I conveyed the idea to my friend Dr Wan Abdul Hannan, and eventually, HBB was born,” he says.

He was also inspired to set up the organisation after reading the inspirational book Mountains Beyond Mountains by Traci Kidder.

Co-founder and chief operating officer Dr Wan Abdul Hannan Wan Ibadullah, 28, says the journey was not easy initially because they were just students when they started HBB in 2012. “Dr Lutfi and I discussed it during our fourth year after attending a medical conference in Mumbai, India. During the conference, we visited a hospital built in a slum area which was run by the local community. Inspired by what we saw, we too hoped to build hospitals and clinics where they were most needed and to have these facilities operated by locals.

“However, it was a huge challenge to convince people about HBB’s big mission because we were still students,” says Dr Wan. “Without the title of Doctor then, telling people that we needed funds to build hospitals for the underprivileged sounded to, some of the people we approached, to be just too good to be true.”

Dr Lutfi (left) attending to a patient during HBB’s monthly house visits. Pictures courtesy of Hospitals Beyond Boundaries.

Social Health Enterprise:

A firm believer in community empowerment and health equity beyond hospital borders, Dr Lutfi says HBB was born with the realisation that while many NGOs in Southeast Asia respond to wars, famines and disasters, the efforts made in building a society after these periods of turmoil were usually small.

“Rather than offering short-term emergency relief or interventions, HBB focuses on efforts that last a lifetime. Besides building hospitals or clinics where they are needed most, we aim to look at healthcare beyond disease, temporary treatments or curative measures,” he says.

“We aim to look at healthcare by including adequate shelter, nutrition and health education and by becoming part of the community and empowering them to take charge towards making positive changes in their lives.”

HBB’s first project kick-started in Phnom Penh where Dr Lutfi and his team set up a clinic to serve the Cham community, an ethnic minority that mainly live below the national poverty line.

Built using recycled industrial containers, the clinic has been offering general outpatient healthcare services to more than 3,000 people since 2015. The clinic is manned by seven locals trained by HBB. The team also runs the Maternity Health Centre.

“The centre was set up in March and is expected to be fully completed in September. However, since it started, we have had more than 30 expecting mothers coming for antenatal check-ups and have successfully performed our first delivery too,” says Dr Lutfi.

by Nadia Badarudin.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/heal/2017/05/241895/health-their-hands

Sabahans to learn ‘Hands only CPR

May 23rd, 2017


KOTA KINABALU: In order to save more lives, the Sabah Medical Association (SAMA) has resolved to undertake a noble mission to introduce and teach “Hands only CPR” to the Sabah public further this year and next year.

“It is hoped that eventually the local community would become CPR-savvy, like that of Seattle, Washington, USA. In Seattle, if anyone collapses in a public place, he is very likely to get CPR from a stranger,” said its President, Dr. Lily Ng Mooi Hang.

The state anaesthesiologist explained that CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a procedure a person can use to assist another person who is in cardiac arrest i.e. his heart has stopped beating.

“Hands only CPR is CPR without mouth to mouth breathing. Anyone unable or unwilling to carry out “the kiss of life” for fear of contracting infection, can do this for “out of hospital” cardiac arrests in parks, shopping centres, and workplaces,” she said in a statement yesterday.

She went on to note that all over the world, majority of people who collapse in public places seldom get any CPR at all.

Mouth to mouth breathing, however, requires skill to ensure a clear unobstructed airway and a good seal at the mouth. This may take more time to the detriment of the victim. Immediate CPR saves lives and can more than double a person’s chances of survival.

Hence, to encourage an increase in bystander CPR, Hands only CPR is simple, uncomplicated, easy to follow and can be used by anyone.

“Hands only CPR has been found to be as effective as conventional CPR (which includes mouth to mouth breathing) in the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest.

“This is because firstly the lungs and blood still contain oxygen at the time of the arrest, and secondly less oxygen is required during the arrest. Thirdly, interrupting chest compressions to carry out mouth to mouth breathing is equivalent to interrupting the temporary restoration of blood flow to vital organs like brain and heart. Therefore that can offset the benefit of the additional oxygen. However, a person trained to carry out conventional CPR can continue to do so, if he is willing,” she explained.

While noting that Hands only CPR can be used on any adult who collapses suddenly, Dr Lily nonetheless acknowledged that there are cases where it is not recommended. This includes those who are found unconscious and not breathing, or who collapsed due to breathing problems require conventional CPR.

“Hands only technique is also not suitable for babies and small children, victims of drowning, drug overdose or carbon monoxide poisoning. Mouth to mouth breathing or better still using a bag, valve and mask device to deliver oxygen is required in these situations,” she added.


Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/15898

Going green through environmental education

May 23rd, 2017


THE GROWTH … the pupils planting flower cutting on polybags

KOTA KINABALU: The Palace Hotel Kota Kinabalu is supporting SK Puun Tunoh’s green efforts.

Yesterday, the hotel presented 50 kilos of Eco Pure Organic Fertiliser to the school as part of the hotel’s Corporate Social responsibility (CSR).

The team from the hotel led by its Food and Beverage director John Malcom handed over the fertilisers to the school represented by its Headmistress Siti Mahani Mohd Aini.

Siti Mahani in her welcoming speech thanked hotel for presenting them with the organic fertiliser, saying that it would go towards their school landscape and potted plants.

According to her, the school’s landscape is extensive with various plants and trees planted around the school building. Potted plants are also used to beautify the school surroundings.

“In this respect, we are grateful that The Palace Hotel has chosen to present us with the organic fertiliser. We hope that they will keep on supporting us not only with organic fertiliser but on related knowledge as well.”

“We hope to carry out more activities with the hotel,” she said.

John in his turn gave a talk on the hotel policy as a green hotel and environmental protection as well as conservation through waste management.

“Environmental education will ensure that pupils can identify, understand and become engaged in resolving related environmental issues in future,” he said.

Some 250 pupils and teachers of the school attended the talk and presentation.

Meanwhile, the Hotel General Manager Ms Phang Joo See said as a Green Hotel and strong advocate of the 4R policy: Respect, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, imparting environmental knowledge on students are one of the hotel’s CSR.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/15901

Sarawak to set up multimedia authority

May 23rd, 2017

KUCHING: The Sarawak Multi­media Authority (SMA) will be set up by next January to govern the development and management of the state’s digital economy push.

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said he would take charge of the SMA’s formation.

SMA will set policies and stan­dards in key areas such as digital infrastructure, cybersecurity, digital government, e-commerce, talent development, research and development, and start-ups in digital technology.

“It shall be guided by a board of directors who are experts in va­­rious aspects of the digital world,” he told the state assembly in his winding-up speech yesterday.

Abang Johari added that the SMA would set up the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) and Centre of Excellence for Digital Economy.

He said SDEC, which will be fully owned by the state government, would implement policies and programmes for the development of a digital Sarawak.

“It will undertake projects and encourage private sector participation,” he added.

The Centre of Excellence will conduct R&D activities and advise SMA on developments which require a change in policy or standards.

To encourage start-ups, Abang Johari said the state government would allocate RM10mil annually for the Sarawak Digital Start-Up Fund, which will provide allowan­ces for young technopreneurs.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/05/23/sarawak-to-set-up-multimedia-authority/#mIFkM1ielBhzOU1f.99