Art of getting our education system ready for the 21st century

June 14th, 2018
(File pix) Embrace the philosophy of borderless education so that our children can learn to be resilient, creative and wise.

IMAGINE a faith-based school with spiritual and emotional intelligent students who are multilingual, articulate, nimble in coding, proficient in User Experience design and are strong in recalling skills.

Living in the 21st century is both frightening and exciting. We are living in a world where there is no certainty. Just think about this: we invest a lot of money to send our children to a medical school and yet, there is no guarantee that they might even end up being a doctor due to the stiff competition of training contracts.

Then there is that perpetual “change” aka restructuring removing all notion of jobs for life.

Once, the oil and gas sector was so hot that it attached a ringgit sign as a prefix to the names of its workforce. This person smells of black gold. Now, that person could be on some banks’ blacklists to get a financial loan after oil prices slid to the ditch in a swoosh.

Looking at the attributes of the 21st century side-by-side with our existing education system, we then need to ask: is it fit for purpose to enable us and our children to be adaptive, multi-skilled and extremely nimble?

If I were an accountant now, and will be made redundant tomorrow, can I switch jobs to be a data scientist or digital marketeer in a short time? How do I invest in my children’s education that will enable them to be ready to enter into the job market, either by setting up their own enterprises or getting employed by organisations within 12 months instead of 48 months?

How do I educate my children to learn the holy book by heart, its jurisprudence and master jujitsu negotiation skills at the same time?

Can they be a full stack developer as well?

For me, our education system of the 21st century must match the eccentricity, speed and flexibility of the era. There is very little point of shouting “be creative and adaptive” when we carved our education system out of a tablet of stone with steel structure curriculum.

Over the years we have also piled up the system with dated policies, procedures, processes and practice that keep turning the system into a humongous web of confusion and complexity.

Tinkering with nooks and corners will not be adequate. We need to overhaul it by first drawing a picture of the kind of education system that is fit for the 21st century world.

But, how do we reimagine our education system of the 21st century? Three things need to happen:

Understand the attributes of the 21st century world, understand our own aspirations as a country and aligning the education system to match those aspirations point by point.

And it is so easy to misalign.

How well the “new” education system we present to the public depends on who reimagines it, who is allowed to reimagine it and who sits around the reimagining table ― how conventional or unconventional are they? How bold are they? How well can they inject diversity, affordability and sustainability into the system?

Who executes the plan of action? What kind of monitoring and learning system are we going to put in place to prevent misalignment from the aspirations and principles that we set out in the early stage? (The list is, of course, not exhaustive).

As a learning designer, the essence of the 21st century education system is borderless.

Borderless does not only limit to geographical borders. It also means borderless to children regardless their background, age and ethnicity as well contents, methods, platforms, process and tools.

And the very nature of borderless education is eccentricities, injecting elements of play (activating happy and resilient chemicals in the brain — endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin), cooperation, networking and fun.

These are tactile tools to get children excited about learning. They can help make STEM subjects, often regard as “’difficult subjects”, to be more approachable to them. Imagine children from tahfiz schools reliving historical contents of Ibn Batuta travel or resurrecting the momentous debates between Al-Ghazali and Avicenna through virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality technology. They will learn how these extremely articulate scholars mastered both the Quran and mathematics.

They can visit places using Google Cardboard to access 360-degree videos of the Grand Canyon.

Similarly, children in Keningau and Dungun can collaborate in an open forum to solve physics problems using WhatsApp group and share their learning on YouTube.

It will be fascinating to see if children all over the country can get together to translate learning materials together, replicating ― one line at the time.

What about examinations? Debates of examinations or no examinations are fruitless.

Examinations, for years, have been a nightmare to children, parents, teachers and schools alike. Examinations imprison children and annihilate their creativity and imagination.

Borderless education, on the other hand, eradicates the draconian nature of examinations by using real-time assessments. Children are assessed as they play, not for the coveted badge of, “Hey, I’m a genius”, but to check the obstacles they may face in their learning.

By Suziana Shukor.

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Malaysia universities shine in latest QS Rankings

June 14th, 2018

Maszlee Malik (first row, fourth from left) with university representatives at the announcement of the 15th edition of the QS World University Rankings in Putrajaya. Bernama Photo

THE 15th edition of the QS World University Rankings, released recently by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, sees University of Malaya (UM) achieving its highest rank since the first edition of the rankings in 2004. It now ranks 87th in the world from 114th last year.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) (184th) joins the world’s Top 200, an achievement only narrowly missed by Universiti Putra Malaysia (202th).

Two other varsities which made it to the top 200 are Universiti Sains Malaysia which rises to 207th position from 264th and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, which jumps to 228th from 253rd in the world.

At the Press conference to announce the rankings, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said university rankings have a role to play for tertiary institutions.

“The QS World University Rankings, in particular, provide a reference point for students and universities from all over the world to see whether they are on track with their counterparts across the globe.

“Credit must be given to the hard work of university academics and administrators who have brought our universities closer to the pulse of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” UM vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim attributed its success to the commitment of all the staff and their dedication to achieving the goals set in the university’s strategic plan to strengthen its fundamentals particularly in teaching, research and international collaboration. He added that the work done in the past years has laid a strong foundation that paved the way to the top 100.

“UM’s assiduous efforts in strengthening research, internationalisation as well as industry engagement over the past few years are now yielding positive results.

“These represent global acknowledgement and recognition of UM’s quality in teaching and research.”

Three indicators, namely Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation and Citations Per Faculty, leapfrogged the university into the top 100.

The first two are indicators of the university’s reputation among the academic community and employers respectively, and the third measures the impact of its publications.

However, the results this year saw a continuous drop in the ranking of the international staff indicator.

“The cut in the government’s allocation to the university had adverse implications on its international staff intake and ability to retain productive retired academics on contract. The university’s efforts towards financial sustainability will not yield immediate results to bridge the shortfall due to the drop in government funding.”

However, UM will continue its primary focus on establishing stronger academic fundamentals.

Only through such efforts, said Abdul Rahim, can the university maintain or better its ranking in the coming years. Intensification of international collaborations and enhancing research and industry partnerships are among its top priority.

Ben Sowter, research director at QS, said: “Malaysia shines in this edition of the rankings. Its higher education system has a solid reputation among both international academics and employers. To support this positive ascending trajectory, local universities should continue to focus on increasing the impact of the research they produce.”

The better ranking can be attributed to improved scores in Academic Reputation and Employer Reputation which account for 50 per cent of the overall score.

For UKM, the rise in rankings is a perfect gift for the institution’s 50th anniversary.

UKM vice-chancellor Professor Tan Sri Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali said: “UKM’s achievement does not only reflect its excellence in an overall context but specifically in its contribution to the goals of national development and enhancement of the societal well-being of the local and global community.”

UKM is now within the one per cent category of top universities in the world.

UPM vice-chancellor Professor Datin Paduka Datuk Dr Aini Ideris said the institution is within its target based on the 2014-202 UPM Strategic Plan to be among the world’s top 200 universities by 2020.

“We hope to improve several indicators through strategies in increasing the number of international lecturers and improving academic and student quality.”

UPM jumped 27 places and is now in the 20 per cent category of best universities among the 1,233 evaluated by QS.

USM has moved up 148 places within the past six years: from 355 in year 2013/14 to 207 in year 2018/19.

Its vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Asma Ismail said: “We have been rising steadily since 2014 by concentrating on the fundamentals and we have improved further because we realise the importance of providing the best possible learning experience for the global community.”

USM’s Academic Reputation was ranked among the Top 200 in the world while Employer Reputation and Faculty Student ratio were within the Top 250 in the world.

“USM has always been in the position to view ranking as one of the gauging parameters, rather than be obsessed with it. We are happy with our overall performance, we know that we are on the right track and we have good strategies in place to ensure that USM remains as the preferred university to its stakeholders.”

There are also four new Malaysian universities in this year’s rankings. They are UCSI University, Taylor’s University, Universiti Tenaga Nasional and Multimedia University.

Ranked 481, UCSI is the only Malaysian private university in the top 500. This is also the first time it is featured in the QS World University Rankings.

UCSI vice-chancellor and president Senior Professor Datuk Dr Khalid Yusoff said that its continued rise in global stature was a culmination of university-wide push for excellence and performance with specific strategies to reach out and reach in, a commitment to synergise with the future for its students and staff, and the dedication and hard work of its staff and students in pursuing these ideals and aspirations.

“We welcome this development as it shows we are moving in the right direction,” he said.

“Our focus is to push UCSI further and higher. We are building the strengths of the university. Quality education is our priority and we want to be a standard bearer of thought leadership.”

Khalid added that UCSI’s position in the rankings showed that Malaysian universities can achieve marked improvement.

Over the years, UCSI has focused extensively on improving its research output, curriculum development and delivery, as well as industry partnerships.

UCSI also works closely with the great universities around the world while partnering with newer tertiary institutions in the region.

It has elevated its engagement with the world’s best universities. UCSI students are annually selected by Harvard University, Imperial College London, University of Chicago, Tsinghua University and the University of Queensland for involvement in their various research programmes.

Additionally, the University of Melbourne has arrangements for UCSI’s third-year medical students to pursue the Bachelor of Medical Sciences (Melb.) programme after one year of studies in Melbourne, indicating that Melbourne University recognises the three years of UCSI’s medicine programme.


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Lessons from a student entrepreneur

June 14th, 2018
(File pix) Pitching at the Makerthon Challenge held in conjunction with the Global Entrepreneurship Community Summit.

MANY people have a view of university education as one that will help them gain the relevant paper qualification to get access to the world of employment, preferably launching into professional careers.

While the paper chase instills knowledge seeking skills and proves one’s ability to attain a certain level of intellectual capacity, the university experience provides much more beyond academics and may open doors that lead to the business world, turning job seekers into job creators.

Javendra Kumar, 24, is proof that immersing oneself in the total university experience and taking advantage of the opportunities and facilities on campus have helped him to become a successful student entrepreneur.

Due to graduate this October with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Honours) from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), the lad from Ipoh, Perak founded Javen Global Enterprise — a T-shirt printing services company — in his second year of studies.

From a modest one-man operation, Javendra now has a shop at the university student centre with a team which services not only the community at UKM but also tertiary institutions across Peninsular Malaysia. He has attained many achievements and has been named as UKM’s entrepreneur icon by the university’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and SMEs Development.

Recently, he was part of a group of 30 students from public higher learning institutions in Malaysia who attended the Youth E-Commerce Programme (YEP), a collaboration between the then Higher Education Ministry and Alibaba Business School to produce young ecommerce entrepreneurs. China-based Alibaba is the largest e-commerce organisation in the world with 549 million users.

The stint exposed students to the ecosystem of e-commerce business.


Javendra said his journey has been a series of incidents which has led to his “true calling”.

Coming from an average income family, Javendra’s parents — particularly his mother — harboured ambitions for him to become a doctor.

“After scoring straight As in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations, I was offered a place at Kolej Matrikulasi Pahang to pursue a pure science course. I thought that would be the best choice in order to pursue a degree in medicine at one of the public universities.

“But after matriculation, I was offered to study biology at UKM. I accepted the place in UKM but changed the course to civil engineering to please my mother as she wanted me to pursue a professional course. I wanted to read law and though my father was agreeable, I didn’t want to burden him further as my brother and sister were studying at private institutions,” he added.

With an affinity for science but not so much for mathematics, Javendra struggled hard to be up to mark in his studies.

“I love to memorise things and I hated maths. I am not that IT savvy either. But engineering classes were filled with maths — mainly calculus, statistics, algebra, autocad.

I studied really hard and managed to get an IJM scholarship that is offered annually. In my batch, only two students were awarded the scholarship. It reduced my financial burden and made my parents happy.”

During his semester break, Javendra worked with IJM at various project sites including the Mass Rapid Transit project.

“It was during this time that my dad died and I had to be independent financially. My mum is a housewife and I can’t be dependent on my siblings. So, once my semester started, I decided to look for opportunities to generate extra income,” he said.

(File pix) Javendra Kumar at the closing of the YEP programme with Alibaba Group vice-president Brian A Wong and recently retired Higher Education Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur.


Javendra started looking for part-time jobs on or nearby campus and he toyed with the idea of a carwash business but that did not pan out as he did not have any money to invest.

“It was at this same time I was appointed head of UKM Rukun Negara Secretariat. We organised a few events and programmes, and needed T-shirts. I surveyed the prices of existing suppliers in UKM and found them a bit pricey. Then I compared the prices of other suppliers outside campus and realised that the business has potential,” he said.

“I knew that if I can supply good quality T-shirts to all the clubs and societies at UKM at a cost-effective price, it would be a great venture.” He formed a partnership with several factory operators in Kajang and then took the bold step of registering a company at the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

“I had no idea what to call it so I named it Javen Global Enterprise and listed printing, food and beverage, IT as the company’s services. Then I started marketing on social media as the go-to guy for printing at UKM.”

He saved up the revenue from his printing jobs to set up a physical shop on campus as clients would have more confidence in a brick-and-mortar venture.

“It took me nearly a semester to get a shoplot at the student centre. I worked with a team of seven students to launch my first shop with the attendance of a few VIPs. I gave the team training, set sales targets and business picked up.

“We started getting media coverage and publicity. I had to make this big and provide as many part-time jobs for students as possible.

We have the resources, knowledge and we are young,” added Javendra.

From there, he applied to become a vendor for UKM. “I submitted the documents and after some time, I received an email stating the application was successful. I just can’t describe how I felt at that moment, having brought together a team of friends and giving them hope, and telling them not to depend on PTPTN or our parents for money. Time is not the barrier.

“And let’s start now, instead of wasting time — we can have fun and make some money at the same time.”

Today, Javen Global Enterprise hires freelance designers and bids for big projects at UKM. At other universities, it supplies T-shirts to societies and clubs through fellow students based on commission. It also supplies T-shirts to corporations.

“Our target is for everyone to make RM3,000 monthly.”


Javendra credits UKM for the support and encouragement in his journey to becoming an entrepreneur.

“It gave me the drive to take the business to a higher level. Nobody scoffed at my dream but showed me the way instead and opened doors through the various courses and programmes available.

“I was given the chance to give talks to fellow students attending the university’s entrepreneur courses and at Entrepreneur Day events. UKM is where I realised my calling as an entrepreneur,” said Javendra.

The professors at UKM recommended that he applied for the Youth E-Commerce Programme (YEP) organised by the then Higher Education Ministry and Alibaba Business School earlier this year. Taking place at Alibaba’s global headquarters in Hangzhou, China, Javendra along with 29 other students attended lectures and held discussions with business unit leaders at Alibaba.

They also visited sites, such as Hema supermarkets, to see innovative strategies such as New Retail — the marriage of online and offline retail systems — in action.

The students visited the T-Mall shop and the operations office of Taobao, one of the online platforms under the Alibaba Group.

While the participants were in China, they were also exposed to customer management modules, e-commerce organisation development, online business operations and business communications.

“My training at Alibaba helped me to dream big and see the potential of doing business all over the world, not just in Malaysia.”

At Hangzhou, throughout the programme the students were placed in groups of six to work together and pitch a project to a panel of judges.

“My group won the overall winner prize based on an e-commerce solution targeted at students. As follow-up, Alibaba asked us to come up with an action plan based on the pitch to take e-commerce and trading to a global audience.”

When Javendra returned to Malaysia after the Alibaba stint, he was appointed the president of the National Youth Ecommerce Committee for the Chamber of Digital Entrepreneurs Development 2018/2019.


Javen Global Enterprise is in its third year of business and is reaching a six-figure income.

And on a personal note, Javendra is proud that he is able to give his mother a home of her own — something the family did not have previously.

“In the next five years, I will let my team manage the business. I will monitor the progress.

Meanwhile, I want to work in a company and follow a successful entrepreneur — a mentor — to learn and get more experience in the corporate world.


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Gov’t to boost national food productivity in next 3 years: Salahuddin

June 14th, 2018
Salahuddin said to ensure food security was at a satisfactory level, the country’s food production had to be intensified so that the farmers and fishermen would be able to improve their livelihood. Pic by NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will focus on increasing food productivity and security, as well as minimising bureaucracy over the next three years, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub.

He said the government was committed to mobilise appropriate initiatives in ensuring adequate food supply in the country, as well as to ensure the national food safety index meet the United Nations (UN) standards.

“My focus, in terms of implementation, is to ensure that the rice sector can be revived drastically towards having a more efficient local supply, and to ensure the local meat supply reaches the 30 per cent production.

“The government will improve the technology in the rice industry. We will also make a reform of all the bureaucracy issues related to rice supply, including to think of ways to increase the budget and subsidy for padi planters and farmers,” he said in an interview with Bernama here Tuesday

Salahuddin said to ensure food security was at a satisfactory level, the country’s food production had to be intensified so that the farmers and fishermen would be able to improve their livelihood.

“If national production is efficient, this will reduce the risks in food security as the government is told that food stocks in Malaysia can only last for a maximum of three months if rice imports come to a halt or in case of a disaster or war.

“Compared to Thailand, their food supply can last up to eight months, while China is one year. This is our concern because the ministry is responsible in ensuring that food supplies are enough for the people regardless of any situation,” he said.

By Bernama.

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The value of technical skills

June 13th, 2018
Hanis Syuhada works with cows as it has been her ambition to care for the well-being of large animals since her primary school days.

Hanis Syuhada works with cows as it has been her ambition to care for the well-being of large animals since her primary school days.

ALBERT Einstein once said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

Yet in this corner of the world, many people – the older generation in particular – still do so by holding on to the mindset that achieving high academic scores equates to success.

They deem university education as most prestigious and believe nothing else, including Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), can beat that.

However, TVET graduates Nur Izzati Athirah Mohamad Yusof, 21, and Hanis Syuhada Abd Halim, 21, beg to differ.

Nur Izzati Athirah, now a full time certified underwater welder and trainer, said she chose the tough profession as it presented challenges, which allowed her to improve her skillsets through experiential and practical learning.

Nur Izzati Athirah dressed in full gear as she prepares to carry out her job under water.

Nur Izzati Athirah dressed in full gear as she prepares to carry out her job under water.

“Some misconceptions people have towards vocational training is that it doesn’t offer job opportunities and that it is hard to enter university with it. We all have opportunities, but it is up to us to find and secure them,” said the lass who completed her diploma in welding technology from a vocational college in Taiping, as well as underwater welding training from Weldzone Training Centre Sdn Bhd.

Hanis Syuhada, a full time assistant veterinarian in a dairy farm in Desaru, Johor, said TVET allowed those – like herself – who are not academically inclined to pursue something which they are passionate about.

“The perception whereby academic achievement is deemed as success is wrong. Getting a string of As in exams does not determine our success in the workplace.

“Those who are good in academics are idea contributors, but it is skilled workers who execute the work,” said the animal lover who now tends to the cows on the farm, caring for their every need from feeding, nursing to performing surgery during their labour.

“Caring for the well-being of large animals was my ambition since primary school, even though I knew it wouldn’t be easy and that not all ladies can handle it,” said Hanis Syuhada who graduated from Kolej Vokasional Datuk Lela Maharaja, Rembau, Negri Sembilan in August last year.

Challenges and advantages

Fondly known as “cow girl” due to the nature of her work, Hanis Syuhada – who wants to be the top in her field – said it was tough breaking into the male dominated sector.

“I have faced discrimination where my male colleagues would tell me that I’m doing is a man’s job.

“I turn their negativity into motivation. The more they tell me I can’t do it, the more I’ll do it to prove to them and myself that I can,” she said, adding that no one should be afraid of pursuing their dreams.

“TVET also made me realise that I can do what my male colleagues can do, and this gave my confidence a boost,” said Hanis Syuhada who hopes more females would follow in her footsteps to take up a course of their liking in TVET.

Fortunately for Nur Izzati Athirah otherwise known as the Iron Lady, she did not face discrimination in the workplace. However, her work environment is its own challenge.

The brave lass has to muster her courage to overcome her fear of water and has to risk running into wild marine animals each time she carries out her job underwater.

Hanis Syuhada works with cows as it has been her ambition to care for the well-being of large animals since her primary school days.

On the advantages, Nur Izzati Athirah said it helped her be braver and toughened her up.

“TVET helped me advance in my career and created healthy competition between me and my male colleagues.

“The training is also important to produce skilled workers that the country lacks,” she said.

Hanis Syuhada agreed, saying that the country can gradually reduce its dependence on foreign workers if more skilled and certified workers are produced locally.

“TVET can also help raise the reputation of Malaysia’s skilled workers sector because the country does have talented individuals,” she said, adding that good skilled workers can also venture overseas to make a good living as well as expand their knowledge in their respective fields.

Bright futures for certified grads

Weldzone Training Centre Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Mohd Shukri Mohd Abdul Aziz said he was proud of Nur Izzati Athirah, noting that she is a good role model for the youth.

“She is doing very well. She tries very hard to do her best because she is competing in a male dominated occupation,” said the man who has over 30 years of experience in the field.

Nur Izzati Athirah’s achievement can open the eyes of other youths, helping them realise that underwater welding can provide one with a promising career, he said.

She has a bright future ahead of her as she has had many job offers coming from within and beyond the country, he added.

Former Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon previously said TVET students are highly sought after and are being offered good jobs – with about 90% out of 13,000 TVET students securing jobs even before graduating last year.

He noted that the starting salary of TVET graduates started from RM2,000, reaching up to RM5,000 a month – which is comparable to university graduates.

“Vocational and technical graduates don’t just end up opening beauty salons or bakeries, many of them work for multinational companies like (aircraft manufacturer) Boeing, which has a service centre in Malaysia.

“If your children aren’t interested in academic studies, don’t force them. Let them choose their career paths according to their interests,” he said previously.

More to be done in TVET

Mohd Shukri said TVET enables individuals who are not academically inclined to excel in whichever field they are capable in.

“They are able to gain valuable hands-on experience as well as get good certification upon completing a certified programme,” he said.

However, he pointed out that initiatives to propel TVET are still lacking in the country.

“There are roughly 53 institutions in Malaysia that train welders, but sadly many of them train students using outdated machines and technology.

“I engaged about 100 TVET graduates previously and they didn’t know how to operate the new machines. They had to go through another round of intensive training and that cost time and resources,” he shared, noting that there is a gap between TVET institutions and the industry that needs to be filled.

“Institutions need advisors who are from the industry to keep them updated on what is happening at grassroots level. They also need to be more open to suggestions and should not get angry when issues are brought up,” he said.

He also shared that success stories of TVET graduates as well as those who draw a salary of RM5,000 a month make up a very small percentage and this should change.

For more females to break into male dominated fields, Mohd Shukri said workers’ – the males in particular – need to improve their proffesionalism.

“Some female welders I have trained were prohibited from entering their work premises to carry out their jobs, not because they were not good in what they do, but because the management was concerned on their safety as the number of male workers greatly overshadowed them,” he said.

With only about 8% of secondary students involved in TVET last year, Chong had reiterated to parents to change the outdated view that university education was more prestigious, especially when university graduates were struggling to secure jobs.

He pointed out the country must catch up to advanced countries like Germany and Switzerland, where almost 60% of their students are in TVET.

During the Going Global 2018 international conference held in Kuala Lumpur last month, Asean Secretariat deputy secretary-general for socio-cultural community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee said Asean was trying to give TVET the recognition it deserves and a special working group has been formed “to push TVET to a higher level within Asean.” He added that these are all part of efforts to prepare the region for the fourth industrial revolution.

By Lee Chonghui
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Safety for all

June 13th, 2018
Teachers and Saad (right) with the registration tag for the MOSH event.

Teachers and Saad (right) with the registration tag for the MOSH event.

THE Malaysian Society for Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) celebrated an Occupational, Safety and Health event throughout Malaysia.

They organised the largest safety briefing toolbox talks.

The aim of this event was to advise the workers about safety precautions that need to be applied at every company such as factories, shops, schools, hospitals, clinics and many more.

About 52, 490 participants took part in 800 different locations around the country.

This is listed in the Malaysia Book of Records and each company which took part will be listed too in conjunction with Labour Day.

The event was held from 8am until 11am throughout the country. The command centre was at Universiti Teknologi Mara in Shah Alam.

SMK (P) Bukit Kuda Klang took the opportunity to take part. It was organised by the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) including its president Saad Ismail, committee member Dr Mimita Magendra and school principal Rubiah Hayat.

The teachers, clerks, laboratory assistants and guards also took part as they are the people most at risk of injury while in school. The students were not involved as they are well taken care off.

The World OSH Day celebration was initially celebrated in April 2003 for the first time by the International Labour Organisation.

Each participant was given a tagging number by MOSH. The number was to be held by them and a photo was required to be taken as a group.

The school would be listed in the Malaysia Book of Records and receive a certificate.

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Cheaper rice soon with Bernas monopoly broken.

June 13th, 2018

MUAR: The price of rice will go down soon now that Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) no longer has a monopoly on rice imports, says Salahuddin Ayub.

The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister said the ministry, the National Agriculture Advisory Council and the corporate sector would now have to come out with the best business model to import rice for the country.

“Bernas will still import rice, but there will also be other companies doing that,” Salahuddin said in a press conference here on Wednesday (June 13).

He said this would benefit consumers and that it was important to get feedback from ordinary Malaysians on how to improve the country’s rice imports and distribution.

Salahuddin said the Government’s decision to break the Bernas monopoly would also ensure food security.

“We want to reduce the risk of being too dependent on a single party,” he said.

Salahuddin said Malaysia presently imports most of its rice from China, Thailand and Vietna

By Zazali Musa
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Nation-building needs good ethics, values

June 12th, 2018

PRIME Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad disclosed that the “Look East” policy he initiated in 1982 was more about adopting the work ethics and value system of the Japanese.

He pointed out the Japanese have a very strong sense of not wanting to be ashamed and would strive to do the best they can – something that is lacking among Malaysians.

I couldn’t agree more, and have often written about loudmouthed individuals who do a lousy job yet are not ashamed and are even proud of themselves.

I also concur with the call made yesterday by columnist Johan Jaaffar to place culture and arts under a dedicated ministry and not lump them with tourism (“Keep culture apart from tourism”, The Bowerbird Writes, June 11; online at

The business of tourism could be placed under the International Trade and Industry Ministry without the need for separate offices overseas.

Culture goes beyond stage shows or entertainment for tourists. If we wish to promote our culture, a most effective way is to market the Malay bersanding ceremony for foreigners to celebrate their wedding anniversary in Malaysia; this is something that could be organised in any village, town or city.

Apart from the couple seated on the wedding dais getting married all over again and being treated as king and queen for the day, family members and friends could also wear Malay dress and learn Malay dances. upon returning to their country, they could show others back home what they have learned about Malay culture.

If we are truly proud of our culture, we should be actively sharing and exporting it. The French have done it with the Alliance Francaise, which operates more than 850 language and cultural centres in 137 countries.

It is understandable that those who champion our national language may not have the resources to set up overseas centres, but they could easily do so within the country.

Tens of millions of foreign workers have passed through our borders over the past decades. If we had opened up language centres where they could have improved on their pasar (“market”) Malay, many of them could have become proficient in the language. Some could set up similar centres in their home country to propagate the Malay language, which could also serve as orientation centres for new foreign workers coming to our country.

But many loudmouthed champions took the easy way out by condemning other languages being taught in the country, sadly, while it is the norm for Europeans to master three or more languages.

There is good and bad in every country, society and religious group. We should look up to those who have done well for their fellow human beings, regardless of their ethnicity or religious background.

The Japanese are well-known for being courteous and disciplined, and were unshakeable even in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami – photos of people affected by the disaster queuing patiently for their turn at vending machines for drinking water went viral around the globe. In other countries, not only would the machines have been ripped apart, whole stores would have been looted by people made desperate after a catastrophe.

In Malaysia, what we need most is already enshrined in the fifth tenet of our national philosophy commonly known as Rukun Negara.

But our education system is centred on rote-learning to pass exams. All school children can recite the Rukun Negara but many grew up without practising courtesy, which can only be learned by example, through practise and good examples shown by adults.

Our work culture too leaves much to be desired.

When I used to go regularly to Putrajaya, I noticed the canteen was often crowded during mid-morning, while visitors were kept waiting in the offices.

Some companies in the private sector are just as atrocious. If salary is based on productivity, many office staff getting more than the minimum RM1,000 salary would be overpaid, particularly fresh graduates without knowledge and skills required by the industry.

It is time for all Malaysians, including political parties, to put aside the rhetoric and concentrate on what is good and sustainable for our country and people.

by C.Y. Ming
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Need to enhance safety & health at work sites

June 12th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: A surprise inspection conducted by the Department of Safety and Health Sabah (DOSH) on a construction site at Inanam resulted in the contractor being cited for 14 violations.

The inspection was part of ‘Ops Cegah Jatuh’ which was held simultaneously nationwide.

DOSH Assistant Director, Mohd Khairof Bin Abd Raop, said the focus of the construction safety inspections was on high risk activities at construction sites such as lifting and working at heights, while ensuring employers’ commitment to workers’ safety and welfare.

“Safety is always first priority in construction sites; working at heights and lifting loads pose a lot of risks to workers, public safety and properties,” he told reporters yesterday.

He noted the number of workplace accidents involved 6,215 cases in 2017 which also included 187 fatalities. The ‘Ops Cegah Jatuh’ operation was spearheaded by JKKP Malaysia Director-General Omar Bin Mat Piah and carried out at 70 construction sites nationwide.

State DOSH Enforcement officers issued 12 warning notices and two notices for improvement during the operation at the construction site which saw various offences which includes exposed ledges, unsecured shafts in floors, unsafe work procedures and workers not wearing personal protection equipment such as goggles and helmets.

“Construction project contractors need to improve occupational safety for the health and safety of employees at the worksite, by making the necessary corrective measures to meet the safety standards set by the department,” said Mohd Khairof.

Furthermore, he noted the notices serve as a reminder and to educate employers on their responsibility in providing a safe workplace for workers.

“Risk control measures needs to be implemented in accordance to the law, proper industry practices and standards set by DOSH,” he said, highlighting officers can take action if measures are unsatisfactory which includes issuing stop work orders, fines and prosecution. Contractors who fail to adhere to improvement and warning notices issued by the department are liable for a maximum fine of RM50,000 under Section 49 of the Occupational Safety Act (1994)


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Shafie gets majority support

June 12th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah State Legislative Assembly passed a vote of confidence on Warisan President Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, Monday, endorsing him as the new Chief Minister.

It was an unanimous approval by 43 members, including four Nominated Assemblymen.

The confidence motion on Mohd Shafie was tabled by Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew, who is also State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister in a special sitting. It was seconded by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong, who is also State Local Government and Housing Minister.

In tabling the motion, Christina said the state government led by Warisan had the backing of 37 assemblymen following the decision by a number of Upko and Umno representatives to switch their support to Mohd Shafie.

Four assemblymen Datuk Abidin Madingkir (Paginatan), Phoong Jin Zhe (Luyang), Datuk Masiung Banah (Kuamut) and Jamawi Jaafar (Kemabong) debated the motion before Speaker Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali announced the outcome.

“Congratulations to Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah Tun Juhar Mahiruddin for carrying out his responsibility in all fairness, in accordance with Article 6(3) of the Sabah Constitution, to swear in Mohd Shafie as Sabah Chief Minister on May 12, 2018,” Christina said.

She called on Sabah’s assemblymen to support Mohd Shafie who had obtained the majority vote and mandate to lead the state government.

It was unfair to the people in Sabah, she said, if polemics against the state leadership were allowed to persist and unsettle the state government.

“The voice of the people who desire change should be respected. Chief Minister Mohd Shafie had obtained a clear and strong mandate from the people. In return he will surely endeavour to serve the people to the best of his ability,” she said.

She said Mohd Shafie’s appointment as chief minister was appropriate considering his vast experience in politics and in the government including as a federal minister for nine years. The assembly has 60 elected members while the Sabah constitution allows the governor to appoint not more than six nominated members.

The May 9 general election ended in a hung assembly with the Barisan Nasional (BN) and the Parti Warisan Sabah-led alliance both winning 29 seats. The remaining two seats went to Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) led by its president Jeffrey Kitingan.

Star threw its support behind BN, giving them a majority 31 seats in the 60-member assembly, and state BN chairman Musa Aman was sworn in as chief minister.

However, subsequent defections from Umno and Upko swung the majority to the Warisan-led alliance, and Warisan president Shafie Apdal took the oath as chief minister.

Musa has challenged Shafie’s appointment in court.

Sabah Umno treasurer Hajiji Mohd Noor and Jeffrey earlier said the assemblymen elected under the BN ticket and Star would boycott the sitting which they claimed was illegal.

At the start of Monday’s sitting at 10.30am, the 35 representatives from Warisan and its partners DAP, PKR and Upko and the four nominated assemblymen were sworn in before speaker Syed Abbas Syed Ali.

The four nominated assemblymen were Upko acting president and Tuaran MP Wilfred Madius Tangau, DAP state chairman Stephen Wong, Warisan Secretary-General Loretto Padua Jr and Warisan Treasurer Terence Siambun.

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