Msia must take corruption seriously to become Asian Tiger once again: PM

December 7th, 2018
For Malaysia to join the ranks of developed countries and to be the tiger of Asia again, it should take corruption seriously, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said. (Pic courtesy from FAM)

PUTRAJAYA: For Malaysia to join the ranks of developed countries and to be the tiger of Asia again, it should take corruption seriously, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

“I think it is about time for Malaysia to join the list of developed and capable countries and let the world know that we are a strong nation that respects democracy and the rule of law,” he said.

In his speech at the Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award presentation he said it was incumbent upon Malaysians to ensure efforts to improve governance and introduce anti-corruption initiatives intended at bringing an end to corrupt practices and abuse of power.

“We are not proud that at one time that Malaysia was described as a kleptocracy.

“We are today pulling all stops to not only remove the tag but also to remind all in Malaysia that corruption is not something to be tolerated. It should be treated with disgust and anger,” Dr Mahathir said.

Also present was Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani.

The Prime Minister said only by reducing corrupt practices could the government and nation move forward.

“Malaysia and Malaysians can only consider themselves developed when they can resist corruption and put a stop to it.”

Malaysia and Malaysians, he said, had made history in its May 9th election when the coalition that ruled since independence was voted out.

“Without doubt, it was the disgust for corruption that led the majority of Malaysians to stand up and vote out the previous administration,” he said, adding that corruption was an awful thing, one that could bring irreparable damage to society and the nation.

“Therefore, it is not the people who engage in corruption who we should look up to, but instead, we should celebrate the people who are working to fight it every day, which is why we are here today.

“The recipients of this year’s awards have done outstanding work through academic research, creativity, lifetime engagement, and innovation in combating corruption in their respective communities.

” I hope our fellow Malaysians can draw inspiration from your works and that it will lead to increased awareness of the importance of having integrity.”

One of the recipients was Nigerian former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Nuhu Ribadu for the Lifetime/Outstanding Achievement award.

He said such award sent strong message to the corrupt and those fighting corruption.

“When you fight corruption, it fights back,” he said, adding he had lost many of his friends in the fight against corruption.

Nuhu was reported to have “taken” US$15 million that was offered to him. But he used it as evidence to nail the perpetrator.

The award ceremony was organised by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Centre (ROLACC) in Doha Qatar with the support of United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Award is to promote the importance of tackling corruption around the World and encouraging the importance of the decisive measures stipulated in the United Nations Convention against Corruption by collecting and disseminating creative and distinguished related efforts in fighting corruption and present them with awards in a public event.

By Azura AbasHashini Kavishtri Kannan and Zanariah Abd Mutalib.

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Private higher educational institutions need to take part in rating system

December 5th, 2018
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said that the ministry wouldl make it compulsory for IPTS to go through the Malaysian Quality Evaluation System for Private Colleges (MyQuest) and Rating System for Malaysian Education (SETARA) rating systems, which were set up last year. Pic by NSTP/AIZUDDIN SAAD

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will make it mandatory for all private institutions of higher learning (IPTS) to be rated.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said that the ministry wouldl make it compulsory for IPTS to go through the Malaysian Quality Evaluation System for Private Colleges (MyQuest) and Rating System for Malaysian Education (SETARA) rating systems, which were set up last year.

She said that MyQuest was established to rate private colleges while Setara was made to measure the achievement of universities and university colleges.

“What we are looking into is to make it mandatory for all IPTS and IPTA (public institutions of higher learning) to participate in either SETARA or MyQUEST so that we can have a more comprehensive rating.

“It would make it easier for (prospective) students to make the best decision in choosing quality IPT (institutions of higher learning) to further their studies,” she said at the Dewan Rakyat today.

She was answering a supplementary question from Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali (PH-Bersatu-Bagan Serai) on how the government could measure the quality of newer IPTS, among others.

Teo noted that around 206 IPTS took part in MyQuest and 71 universities and university colleges took part in Setara since last year.

Earlier in reply to the main question from Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh (BN-Umno-Besut) over the global ranking of Malaysia’s IPT and how the achievement is measured, she said that the QS World University Rankings 2019 showed that Universiti Malaya’s ranking had risen from 114 to 87.

By Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid.

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Education does start at home

December 4th, 2018
(Stock image for illustration purposes) Parents need to nurture their children emotionally, physically, spiritually and socially.

In my doctoral studies, adolescents were voicing their concerns regarding freedom and empowerment. They wanted their own time, their own group of friends and to be able to decide on their future career. They wanted parents to treat all their children equally and allow each child to grow to their fullest potential.

They did not want their parents to compare them with their siblings, their neighbour’s children or their relatives.

In my opinion, these young people are maturing and know what they want in life. But they are in a tug-a-war with themselves and their parents as well as those around them especially when their thoughts, ideas and opinions do not flow in the same direction. Such a situation gives rise to conflicts and the young ones feel stressed.

I used face-to-face discussions with different focus groups (all girls, all boys, and mixed groups) and found that they loved the space to voice their opinions and resolve real-life dilemmas that they were facing in their daily lives. They had diverse ideas and their moral judgments were based on what they learnt from their parents. They kept repeating that they picked many habits (good and bad) from their parents when they were younger.

The point is that parents are the first teachers in our students’ lives. They bring them to the world biologically and start nurturing them emotionally, physically, spiritually and socially.

Children are innocent and the values they learn at home are then brought to other social spheres like the school, the neighbourhoods etc. When these values match those of society, the children become more confident and reinforce their self-esteem to become part of society.

However, if the young adolescent’s values do not coincide with societal values, then they are at a junction where they have to decide wisely which road they should take. This becomes a difficult task, especially when parents and family norms are the opposite of societal norms.

The parents of my research participants were a mix of everything. But the one commonality is they expected their children to be what they want them to be, and this is where the “cold war” starts.

The adolescents respect their parents for who they are and expect mutual respect from their parents.

Things like asking children to be neat and tidy when parents themselves are not becomes a subject of argument in the house.

Children learn their values through active observation and when they are told to do something which parents themselves are not practising, it is quickly pointed out by their children. Of course, parents do not like that situation.

By Dr Vishalache Balakrishnan.

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Nothing sinister about Malaysia’s Social Contract

December 4th, 2018
(Stock image for illustration purposes) Malaysia’s national identity components on religion, language and socioeconomic matters are incorporated in the Federal Constitution. The incorporation of these components is not to portray the supremacy of the Malays/Bumiputeras.

SOCIETAL security in a plural state is the most delicate sector to manage. Before, this vulnerability was only politicised internally. Today, it is also internationalised, both by domestic and external actors.

European scholars conducted extensive studies on national identity and societal security since the beginning of the post-Cold War era, after the horrific ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia. But national identity and societal issues have always been regarded as one of the major causes of ethnic and religious conflicts in many plural states.

For example, the “Hindu-Muslim riots in India in 1947 killed between 100,000 and 200,000 people and generated about 10 million refugees” (Stuart J. Kaufman [2008] in Ethnic Conflict).

The most recent threat to Malaysia’s societal security was the incident at a Hindu temple in Seafield, Selangor. Fortunately, our police were very efficient. Otherwise, unscrupulous elements might exploit it to become an identity crisis. This incident gained an international dimension when a Hindu politician in India submitted a memorandum to the Malaysian consulate in Chennai, alleging that the Malaysian government “was biased against Hindus in Malaysia”.

Internationalisation of Malaysia’s societal and national identity issues also took place in 2007, when a group of activists sent a memorandum pertaining to alleged discrimination against Malaysian Indians to the British prime minister. They also filed a petition at the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in London, and launched an e-petition whose “main demand is for Putrajaya to repeal Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, which an activist claimed was the ‘mother’ of all Malaysian racist policies for the past 54 years”.

It is the reality. “Societal security concerns the sustainability of traditional patterns of language, culture, religion, national identity and customs” (Barry Buzan [1991] in People, State & Fear). It is also the truth. “State security concerns are about threats to its sovereignty, whilst societal security is about the threats to a society’s identity” (Waever, Buzan, Kelstrup & Lemaitre [1993] in Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe).

The fact is such because societal security is about threats to the national identity of a state. Malaysia’s national identity components on religion, language and socioeconomic matters are incorporated in the Federal Constitution. The incorporation of these components is not to portray the supremacy of the Malays/Bumiputeras. These components already existed in several agreements and treaties between Malay rulers and the British government.

For example, Article 153. “The special position of the Malays was recognised in the original treaties made by His Majesty in previous years, and Her Majesty Queen Victoria and others with the Malay States” (Alan Lennox-Boyd, Secretary of State for the Colonies, in British Parliamentary Hansard, Volume 573,12 July 1957).

“It was reaffirmed when these treaties were revised. It was confirmed in the 1948 Agreement, and reference was expressly made to it in the terms of reference of the Reid Commission.”

The incorporation of components of Malaysia’s national identity into the Federal Constitution was also carried out with careful balancing to protect the legitimate rights of all Malaysian citizens. Hence contents of the Federal Constitution were extracted from the results of 31 town-hall meetings conducted by the Reid Commission.

Additionally, they were derived from 131 proposals submitted to the commission by various ethnic, religious, political and business groups representing the Malays, Chinese, Indians and others.

The draft constitution was vetted by Umno, MCA, MIC and representatives of the Alliance, Malay rulers, Malayan Legislative Council, state assemblies, British government and British parliament.

One particular point to be noted here, are statements by Lord Ogmore who debated the Malaya Independence Bill in the House of Lords on July 29, 1957:

“We must remember that in this Constitution the Malays are making far greater concessions to people of other races than is normally the practice in other countries — I personally appeal to all the races and to all the peoples in the Federation of Malaya, to help wholeheartedly in the working of the Constitution.”

The concessions were granted to the other races after Tunku Abdul Rahman as Umno leader, made a gentle request to leaders of MCA and MIC. Tan Cheng Lock of MCA and V.T. Sambanthan of MIC agreed to the request. Hence, a social contract was sealed.

As such, there is nothing sinister about Malaysia’s social contract. “It refers to the painstaking compromises between the ethnic Malays, Chinese and Indians on their bargains with the Malay Rulers for the creation of a democratic, monarchical, federal and non-theocratic systems of government” (Shad Saleem Faruqi [2012] in the Bedrock of Our Nation: Our Constitution.

By Datuk Dr Ruhanie Ahmad.

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Keeping technology and society in check

December 4th, 2018

THE incident at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple last week shows how fragile the state of social stability in Malaysia is. And it highlighted in a stark way the power of social media, for better or worse.

In other countries, social media has been associated with riots and violence. It played a big role in riots in the United Kingdom in 2011, prompting David Cameron to ask whether it would be right to ban people using Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry messenger “when we know they are plotting violence and disorder”.

In India, mobs killed and attacked some people in May this year after social media messages warned that gangs were kidnapping children. Authorities later said there was no indication such gangs existed.

Social media and the Internet are the more visible part of the larger digital society and economy, in which automation, robotics, big data and artificial intelligence are growing rapidly .

On one hand, there are positive aspects, with advocates praising the Fourth Industrial Revolution for advances in economic productivity, communications, entertainment, healthcare, transport, personal convenience, and so on.

On the other hand are warnings of ill effects on culture and children’s intelligence, of mass unemployment, widening inequalities, and social and political instability.

The digital revolution is both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Most mainstream reports now give a good spin to the business “disruption” caused by the digital revolution. This is ironic, as disruption is a term normally used to describe a negative incident or development.

Yet the “disruption” associated with digital-based firms is now being glamorised as something trendy, advanced, and successful.

While the new services provide new sources of profit and bring conveniences to customers, they also have adverse effects including dislocating existing businesses and jobs.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Apec summit gave local examples of the displacement of taxi drivers, hotels and retail shops by e-hailing taxi apps, home-­sharing platforms and online retailers.

He warned of more upheavals ahead, such as automation causing an employment crisis.

The prime minister said governments can respond to the age of disruptions in four ways.

First, ensure technology is accessible and affordable to citizens, and does not widen inequality, and the key to that is education.

Second, the losers (displaced businesses and workers) must be taken care of.

Third is the need to build developing countries’ capacity to face disruption, through infrastructure and advanced technologies.

Fourth, there must be international cooperation to manage technological disruptions. This includes the re-evaluation of trade globalisation and economic integration to adjust to technological disruption causing sweeping changes.

Mutual agreement must be found to benefit national governments, not just multinational corporations and advanced economies.

Dr Mahathir’s speech was perhaps the first time a leader from a developing country had conceptually laid out the need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the digital age, and to take action in response.

Taking off from there, we need to set up a national agenda aimed at deriving benefits while avoiding threats and minimising costs arising from the digital revolution.

Developing countries like Malaysia should draw up a comprehensive plan to address the digital economy and society that takes advantage of benefits while avoiding or minimising the harm and costs.

First are the social, cultural and ethical aspects.

How to benefit from the easier access to information, while preventing people, especially children, from becoming “slaves” to the handphone?

How to ensure that the quest for knowledge and wisdom is not being replaced by instant gratification generated by the Internet?

Or to prevent direct human relations from being significantly re­­placed by our addiction and relation to the mobile phone?

How can the Internet be used to get information quickly but not to spread false news or generate hatred and violence?

Second is to ensure digitisation does not widen inequality, that the benefits are shared equitably and the interests of the “losers” are taken care of.

Major concerns are the impact on existing businesses and workers. Some studies expect up to half the workforce may become obsolete.

The advent of 3-D printing, which can significantly displace local companies and take the place of trade, should be looked at, as well as the impact of new technologies on agriculture, services and industry.

Third is to establish a national policy on the digital economy that enables the country to best take advantage of the digital revolution.

This plan should include building the digital infrastructure, devising data regulatory policies, regulating digital platforms, developing national marketing platforms, harnessing digital start-ups, developing digital competencies and introducing taxes on global firms.

UNCTAD’s Trade and Develop­ment Report 2018 is a good reference for such a national policy.

Fourth is to cooperate with other countries to set up global or regional governance frameworks that are mutually beneficial.

For a start, developing countries should avoid clauses in trade agreements that prevent or restrict their ability to have a suitable national digital policy.

Such clauses, such as the prohibition of data localisation and revelation of source codes, are proposed by developed countries mainly to benefit their big technology companies.

Global cooperation is needed to provide affordable access to technology and tackle the adverse effects of disruption and the risk of dangerous technologies such as new weapons.

Indeed, a new global agreement on the digital economy and society is needed. But that will take years to take shape, if at all. We should start with a national policy.

Technology can be a monster like Hyde if the companies and scientists that create and operate it are given total freedom.

But it can be a good friend like Jekyll if it is well regulated by carefully thought-out policy and plans.

Policy is thus the key, so that humans decide how to use technology rather than allow unregulated technology to control our lives.

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Ikea completes replanting of three million rainforest trees in Luasong.

December 4th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has completed the replanting of three million rainforest trees at Luasong in east coast Sabah as part of its efforts to rehabilitate the degraded forest since 1998.

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences’ lecturer Jan Faulk, who has been involved since the beginning of the project with state-owned Yayasan Sabah, described it as successful as it involved a focus on rehabilitation with an eye to putting back the diversity of the rainforest.

“It is a unique rainforest rehabilitation project. Today we are seeing the wildlife returning to the once burned down forest,” he told reporters after joining Ikea of Sweden Global Wood Supply and Forestry manager Ulf Johansson in a meeting with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Faulk said a lot of research was done by scientists from Sweden, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and also from Australia.

“It is a gift from Ikea. All over the world, they have shops selling furniture. It is only here in Sabah they are doing rehabilitation. There is no revenue back,” he said, adding that project involved hiring 150 people working round the clock for the past 20 years.

Faulk said with the main replanting exercise completed in the area, it will remain a place for research as the forest was now fully protected.

Johansson, meanwhile, said that during their meeting with Shafie they discussed the downstream timber industry development.

“We would like to see more acacia plantations in Sabah. The more plantations developed on degraded land, the more jobs and happy customers we will have and there will be less pressure on natural forest,” he said, adding that it could lead to furniture manufacturing in the state.

By Muguntan Vanar
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SIDMA College Sabah “Sodop Pisompuruan 2018 Fundraising Dinner”

December 4th, 2018

SIDMA College Sabah KadazanDusun Language Club (SCKLC) organised “Sodop Pisompuruan 2018 Dinner” as a Grand Finale for all the SCKLC 2018 activities and also as platform in the introduction to its 2019 activities. The dinner which was held at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort, (STAR) Kota Kinabalu on 30th November 2018; was one of its many initiatives with the main focus of raising fund to implement its ongoing and future initiatives and activities aiming at the preservation and upholding the dignity the KadazanDusun language in this modern era.

Honourable Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, Deputy Sabah Chief Minister as well as the honourable patron to Sodop Pisompuruan 2018 Dinner, during his officiating address, sincerely congratulated SIDMA College for being the first college to have its own Kadazandusun Language Club and has conducted numerous initiatives to intervene and revive the KadazanDusun language to stronger footing. He praised the college for setting the way forward for other institutions of higher learning in Sabah to follow suit.

He also praised the college for establishing strong linkage with Sabah Education Department and collectively initiated various programmes and activities; involving both the school students and Sabah youths to immerse in the usage of the KadazanDusun language; thus ensuring and maintaining the dignity and relevancy of the KadazanDusun language during the current dynamic borderless world.

Dr Morni Hj Kambrie, Chairman and Founder of SIDMA College during his welcoming address appreciated Honourable Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred for sacrificing his precious time to attend and launch the Sodop Pisompuruan Dinner, and subsequently launched the 2019 KadazanDusun Language Applications Invention Competition.

Dr Morni also conveyed his special “Thank You” note to Datuk Hajah Maimunah Hj Suhaibul (Sabah Education Director) and all related education officers, particularly Mr Abidin Marjan, Mdm. Sitiamah Sahat, and all who have worked very closely with SIDMA College to ensure that quality KadazanDusun Language programmes can be implemented to benefit the students and youths of the country.

He too dedicated his sincere thanks to all the District Education Officers, Secondary Principals, KadazanDusun Language Teachers and all individuals who have contributed their time and efforts during the District Level KadazanDusun Language Speech Contest “Pialaan Raisol Doid Boros KadazanDusun”. The first round of the contest was held in all participating schools in October 2018 whereas the second round was held at the respective District Education Department. Each respective District Education Department then sent two successful candidates to compete in the semi-final round which was held at SIDMA College on 25 October 2018. During the event, five finalists were selected to compete for the championship title at STAR on 30 November 2018.

Dr Morni’s intention to intervene and revive the seemingly rapidly declining in the popularity of the KadazanDusun language among the local ethnics of Sabah were started since the establishment of SIDMA College in 2002. With the formation of the KadazanDusun Language Club on 19 November 2014, SIDMA College collaborated with Sabah Education Department, and collaboratively conducted various initiatives to popularise the language. The major events being the KadazanDusun Language Storytelling Competition 2016 and “Piboi an Mananongon Boros Kadazandusun, Short Stories Writing Competition for secondary school students. These short stories were edited and compiled, and later published in a book entitled: “Inspirasi Anak-anak Sabah” in two versions: version I and II.  The initiative was to complement and supplement the shortage of reading materials in the KadazanDusun language among school children.

The Chairman also conveyed his appreciation to all SIDMA College staff for their full cooperation and collaboration extended to SCKLC, Madam Salumah Nain and her team, to ensure the successful implementation of all the SCKLC activities without compromising in continuing their core business (preparing and teaching their core papers) in class.

Sodop Pisompuruan Charity Dinner 2018 was keenly participated, among others by Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau as well as a host of local leaders and representatives, various levels of officers from both the federal and state government officers, from the private sectors as well as individuals; as an indication of their support towards the good deeds contributed by the college. Dr Morni was really honoured by their presence, congratulated and thanked them sincerely for their participation and contributions towards the success of the college and the club initiatives.

Among the highlights of the Sodop Pisompuruan Dinner was the selection of the winner for the 2018 “Pialaan Raisol Doid Boros KadazanDusun” from the five finalists selected during the semi-final competition. To determine the champion of the event, the following juries were appointed. They were headed by Mdm. Linah Nurlina Bagu from IPG Kent Campus, and assisted by Mr Henry Bating from Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Centre for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning and Mr Aslie bin Sahat Head of Quality Assurance Sector, State Education Department.

The champion of the competition received RM1, 000 in cash and trophy. First runner-up received RM800 in cash and trophy. The second runner-up received RM500 in cash and trophy. Contestant in the third and fourth placing received RM 100 each. On top of that, all the five contestants received their certificate of participation. Below are the details of the winner for the competition:

Champion : Rudolf Yuson (SMK Limbanak, Penampang)

First Runner-Up : Abbylaylena Sitibon (SMK Kemburongoh, Ranau)

Second Runner-Up : Asliana Kaling (SMK Tun Fuad Stephens, Kiulu)

Third Runner-Up : Da Resty Gundang (SMK Narinang, Kota Belud)

Forth Runner-Up : Jessy Ginus (SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin, Penampang)
SIDMA College’s Prima Dansa dance performances added to the colours and delight of the evening. Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu (DBKK) Choir Team that won SIDMA’s first ever KadazanDusun Language Choir Competition recently was given the honour to present their special performance during the event. Other than that, Sabah local artists and individuals also presented their best show amidst loud applauses from the floor. Various lucky draw with spectacular prizes; all of which have contributed to the relaxed atmosphere and enabling the guests of the evening to socialize unreservedly.

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No more Linus programme in schools next year: D-G

December 2nd, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The Education Ministry will no longer conduct the Literacy and Numeracy Screening (Linus) programme in schools from next year, said its Director-General Datuk Dr Amin Senin (pic).Instead, he said, schools will determine their own ways to tackle learning difficulties faced by their students. “The ministry will always support any Linus activity, but the programme package by the ministry will be stopped,” he said after presenting his Executive Talk to staff of the Sabah Education Department, here, Friday.

The Linus programme was first introduced in 2009 under the Education National Key Results Area (NKRA) to tackle the problem of lack of mastery of the 3M skills more systematically among primary school pupils.

On the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) results this year, Amin said more pupils obtained A in all subjects, proving that the ministry was on the right track with its emphasis on minimum mastery and fun learning.”When we stressed on minimum mastery, fun learning and meaningful learning, we found that the number of ’straight As’ increased and many problems were resolved even though before this many people were worried about it,” said Amin.

“This shows that if we emphasises the real learning at the schools and make it fun and meaningful, it will end up solving a lot of our problems that we face. So this is a good sign we are on the right track.”

Amin said as a whole for the State, the number of “straight E’s” students (those who have not achieved the subject minimum mastery standards) had also dropped which was a good indicator.

“This means we have been successful in our strategy to reduce these ’straight E’s’.”Nevertheless, when we zoom in we find that certain subjects need more attention. For example, Maths and English are two subjects that we feel need more of our attention.

“We also have to look closer at districts here as we find there are certain districts that need our attention as we see the mastery of some subjects there are still at a minimum level.

“As such, I have asked the principals and the District Education Officers to give attention to subjects that have not achieved the minimum level and also (to give more) attention to these districts that need attention.”

by Neil Chan.

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UNITAR Sabah Graduands Received their Scrolls

December 2nd, 2018

SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah 2018 graduands totalling 233 students have been endorsed by the Senate of UNITAR International University (UNITAR); one of Malaysia’s earliest private university; to receive their scroll during UNITAR 6th Convocation Ceremony 2018 at Plenary Hall, Putrajaya International Convention Centre, Federal Territory of Putrajaya on 1stDecember 2018

Out of the 233 graduands from SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah; six (6) received their Master of Business Administration; two (2) received their Master of Education (Educational Leadership & Management); 47 received their Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons); 105 received their Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) (Hons); 58 received their Bachelor of Management (Hons); and another 15 received their Diploma in Management.

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Mohamed Nizam Bin Tun Abdul Razak (Chancellor, UNITAR International University) was given the honour to grace the occasion, and conferred the awards to all the graduates of UNITAR International University 2018.

Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Founder and Chairman of SIDMA College) and Madam Azizah Khalid Merican (CEO) warmly congratulate the graduates of the college who were conferred upon with their respective Degrees during the auspicious occasion. “This success is something you have earned through your dedication and perseverance and we too share your happiness in this glorious moment of your life” they continued. May the career you will be venturing bring you much happiness to you and your family. You have been our excellent students, and we have no doubt that you will continue to serve as representatives of SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah by building upon reputation for excellence, they added.

To all these graduates, Dr Morni and Madam Azizah added; your most incredible, amazing journey to be a professional is in the making. Continue your climb and inspire your excellence. With love and pride, we convey our “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR GRADUATIONS”.

Although you’ve graduated, you will always be a member of SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah family. We encourage you to stay connected with the college; join the Alumni Association, and give back by supporting our programmes, involvement in our alumni and the college community.

To parents, Dr Morni took the opportunity to express his appreciation for their active contributions towards their child’s education. A challenge for you as parents, and for us as educators; is to equip our young children with the knowledge, skills; and values for all-rounded and whole-person development. The current vision of education for the 21st century is to enable all our young to develop their potential to the fullest. It’s also the concerted efforts by the government, frontline educator and the community as a whole to translate the vision into reality. We are sure that the graduation ceremony will stay in your child’s memory forever. They also congratulate the students’ school teachers, Headmasters and Principals for their efforts and contributions in promoting the development of basic skills and knowledge among these young graduates.

SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah, since its establishment in Kota Kinabalu in 2002, has been working very closely with UNITAR International University Main Campus, Kelana Jaya, Selangor; a university with its strong and significant network of academic collaborations with both the academic and the industrial partners around the region to offer affordable and well demanded study programmes, which are professionally aligned with the requirement of these major industrial players; both nationally and internationally.

SIDMA College Sabah has prosper jubilantly over the years, and rapidly emerged as the first and largest UNITAR regional centre in Malaysia, in addition to having its home grown academic programmes.

List of Academic Programmes offered at SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah for its 2018 / 2019 intake is as follows:

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

For more information about courses offered at SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah, please browse SIDMA College Sabah Website, or like SIDMA College Facebook Accoun Potential candidates are cordially invited to visit SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah at Jalan Bundusan, 88300 Kota Kinabalu; or call SIDMA Hotline at 088-732 000 or 088-732 020.

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Fulbright ETAs leave lasting impression

November 29th, 2018
(File pix) Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir (third from left) visiting an exhibition booth at the 2018 Fulbright ETA Showcase. Pix by NSTP/Rohanis Shukri

Being a fluent English speaker involves speaking with speed and clarity. There is no better way to improve English communication skills than by engaging in a conversation with native speakers. At the same time, English learners are exposed to the values, customs and cultural nuances of the native speakers.

This is the premise of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) programme where college graduates and young professionals from the United States are sent abroad for year-long assignments as teaching assistants in classrooms around the world, including Germany, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.

The programme was first established in Malaysia in 2005 as a state-level programme between the Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE) and the Terengganu government with only 12 ETAs. The programme was expanded by the US Embassy and the Education Ministry in 2012.

This year, 100 ETAs were deployed to 100 schools in Terengganu, Kelantan, Perak, Kedah, Pahang, Perlis, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak to boost English proficiency and communication skills among students in rural areas.

ETA Nathan Mathai, 23, from Texas, was stationed at SMK Putra in Jerteh, Terengganu.

New to teaching, Mathai said it is a challenging profession, especially when the students are from the rural side of town. “Teachers make a lot of decisions. We are constantly thinking about what’s happening in the classroom, what activities are going to be next and the extra-curricular aspect of the school.

“It was challenging to come up with activities suitable for all students. Lessons should also cater to students’ proficiency level.

“Warming up to the students, I was trying hard to get them not to be afraid of me because they see me as someone who’s coming to test their English. It took them some time to see me as a friend.

“I am a 23 year-old from US trying to figure out what’s cool for teenagers in a foreign country. I had to find ways where they could naturally be comfortable with English and that was probably with music, so my lessons revolved around that.”

The language barrier did not stop Mathai from being committed to his role as a teacher or a mentor to his students.

“We started from nothing. They didn’t speak English at all, even in English class. In Jerteh, they speak the Kelantanese dialect.

“However, when I see my students improving, it makes everything worth it. I am probably going to tear up as I say this now,” he said.

“One of my students decided to participate in a public speaking camp organised by the ETA programme. I am so proud of her.”

Mathai, who graduated with an accounting degree from the Furman University in South Carolina, plans to pursue his master’s degree in the same field once he returns to US.

To some, teaching is one of the most rewarding professions. Despite the everyday challenges, many find great satisfaction in what they do.

This is what ETA Vanessa Avalone, 23, experienced during her 10 months of teaching in SMK Mudzaffar Shah, Perak.

“I love the fact that I am able to share my knowledge. It is a very fulfilling thing to do.

“At the end of the programme, I saw students coming up to me speaking complete English sentences and raising their hands in class. At first, they were too shy to do all. I am proud of them.”

Apart from teaching, all ETAs go through cultural exchange through direct interaction not only in classrooms, but at home and in routine tasks.

“I love community-based programmes. That is something you don’t get to experience when travelling. Here in Malaysia, I have been invited to iftar, visited temples and tasted all kinds of food.

“Being an ETA, I have grown tremendously as a person. It has also improved my confidence as a teacher, and I learnt a lot about religion and culture living in this diverse and multicultural society.”

Avalone, who graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Biology and French, plans to pursue medicine to be a doctor.

After 10 months of teaching and community engagement, the Fulbright ETA programme, involving nine states and 100 secondary schools, came to an end.

At the closing ceremony, students held an exhibition on the activities they have done. Present at the 2018 Fulbright ETA Showcase were US Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, MACEE executive director Suseela Malakolunthu and Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.

Lakhdir said: “This year, we have more national and international camps and activities. I think that this year’s ETAs worked very hard to develop more activities and programmes for the students.


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