Saturday, April 26, 2008

Malaysian don set to soar with fellowship award - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: April 26, 2008 By : Irdiani Mohd Salleh

The first-ever Malaysian to be awarded a fellowship by a prestigious British management research institute has no illusions about herself."I am like a humming bird (the world's smallest bird). Although it has tiny wings, it can fly wherever it wants," said Irene Ng, an associate professor of Marketing in the School of Business and Economics at the University of Exeter, in the UK.Ng was one of five academics in the UK who were recently awarded a Fellowship on Services by Britain's prestigious Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM), which brings academics and business leaders together to develop research of a world-class standard.Furthermore, Ng was appointed the Lead Service Fellow, in which capacity she will join the directorate of AIM to ensure that the institute's activities are well-integrated."I'm really honoured to be selected. This is the dream of every academic in the UK. And to be appointed to lead the research is totally unexpected," said Ng.During her three-year fellowship, Ng's research will focus on the pricing and revenue management of services, value-based service innovation, service capacity and business-to-business (B2B) service contracts.Though Ng's achievement is no mean feat, the Malaysian academic, who is in her 40s, is humble about her accomplishments thus far."I'm not a genius. I'm just like any other person who went to a Sekolah Kebangsaan, failed my Form Two exams and had my research papers routinely rejected."But that never stopped me to keep on learning and trying," said Ng, who is also a mother of three."I don't limit myself. I just do what I want and say what I think. Maybe that's the secret of my success today."Indeed, Ng has had a spectacular career. Prior to joining academia, Ng was a successful business practitioner for 12 years. She was chief executive officer of SA Tours, the largest tour operator in Southeast Asia with offices in Malaysia, Singapore and China.She was also the founder and chief executive officer of Empress Cruise Lines, which boasts an annual turnover of US$250 million (RM795 million).But with her recent fellowship win, Ng may be demonstrating that her best accomplishments are yet to come.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Publish names of errant grads - The Star

April 23, 2008

I REFER to “Grads prefer to stay on overseas” (Sunday Star, April 13) and the countless number of letters from readers that have been published over the past one week expressing their utter disappointment, disgust, dismay and astonishment with JPA and its current weak rules and regulations pertaining to scholars and borrowers sent overseas that has resulted in 230 scholars not returning home to serve the nation.

I am amazed and angry that in spite of all the letters which also outlined constructive suggestions on improving the current inadequacies, JPA has not offered any corrective measures to plug the holes and thus reassure the taxpayers and the general public that it will no longer treat taxpayers money callously and carelessly.

In the first place, it is supposed to have been proactive and should have anticipated these abuses. JPA perhaps has never heard that “preventive measures are far better than corrective actions. But what about corrective measures being better than no measure?

JPA is currently in the midst of selecting scholars for the 2008/09 term, and I hope it will be transparent by publishing in all major national newspapers the details of the successful applicants. If that is expensive, then make it available on its webpage.

May I also suggest that JPA publish in all major national newspapers or on its website the names of errant scholars and borrowers as well as the names of their guarantors and parents.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Graduates to form 33% of workforce by 2010 - The Star

April 22, 2008 By SIMRIT KAUR

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government intends to increase the number of tertiary-educated people in the workforce from 20% to 33% by 2010.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that the challenge in achieving this was to ensure that there is no sacrifice in quality over quantity.

“To merely achieve these numbers would not be too difficult. We have grown our tertiary capacity from only one university in 1961 to 20 public universities, 36 private universities and university colleges, 21 polytechnics, 37 community colleges and 485 private colleges.”

Mohamed Khaled added that academic staff in universities would play a key role in producing quality graduates.

“Every university must create an environment that fosters a culture of excellence to attract the most able as well as motivate existing academic staff," he said in his speech Tuesday at the 12th Malaysian Education Summit, which was delivered by deputy higher education minister Dr Hou Kok Chung.

To build the right culture at universities, the ministry would uplift the profession, provide professional development and training opportunities and celebrate the achievements of academic staff with awards and recognition, he said.

Mohamed Khaled added that the Higher Education Ministry would move away from being a regulator and enforcer of government policies and act as a facilitator and lead partner instead.
“As the lead partner, the Ministry will not only provide strategic direction, but also offer the support necessary to ensure the success of higher education institutions,’’ he said.

“Our role at the Ministry is not to micro-manage the universities but to ensure that all the building blocks that are necessary to promote excellence are put in place and the environment is conducive for competitive academic pursuits.”

Mohamed Khaled also announced that institutions seeking to become apex universities would be submitting their transformation plans by the end of this month.

The ministry plans to select one or two Malaysian higher education institutions to become apex universities which would be put on an accelerated programme to achieve world-class status.

Monday, April 21, 2008

World’s smallest transistor created by experts at University of Manchester - Bernama

LONDON, MON: April 21, 2008

Scientists have created the world’s smallest transistor, measuring a little bigger than a molecule, a feat which they claim could spark the development of super-fast computer chips in the future.

Using the world’s thinnest material called graphene, a team at University of Manchester has produced the transistor which is one atom thick and ten atoms wide, marking the first true electronic nano-component, the Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted the ’Science’ journal, as saying.

Four years ago, they discovered graphene, the first known one-atom-thick material which can be viewed as a plane of atoms pulled out from graphite.

Now, the researchers led by Prof Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov have shown that it’s possible to carve out nanometre scale transistors from a single graphene crystal. Unlike other known materials, graphene remains highly stable and conductive even when it is cut into devices one nanometre wide.

The smaller the size of the transistors, the better they perform, the Indian news agency quoted the scientists as saying.

Transistors made of graphene start showing advantages at sizes below ten nanometres, the miniaturisation limit at which traditional silicon-based technology is predicted to actually fail.However, Prof Geim does not expect graphene-based circuits to come of age before 2025 but argues this technology will probably be the only way to shrink microelectronics after the silicon era comes to an end.

“It is too early to promise graphene supercomputers. (In fact) in our work, we relied on chance when making such small transistors. Unfortunately, no existing technology allows the cutting of materials with true nanometre precision.“

But this is exactly the same challenge that all post-silicon electronics has to face. At least, we now have a material that can meet such a challenge,” Prof Geim said.

“Now one can think of designer molecules acting as transistors connected into designer computer architecture on the basis of the same material (graphene), and use the same fabrication approch that is currently used by semiconductor industry,” added Novoselov.

MQA study to determine mandatory college accreditation - NST

PETALING JAYA, Mon: April 21, 2008 by Eileen Ng

The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) will conduct a study to ascertain the feasibility of having mandatory accreditation for all institutions of higher learning.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin said this was in line with the government aspiration to turn Malaysia into an education hub.“I have directed the MQA to study this matter. We expect to make a decision before the tabling of the Higher Education Bill by year’s end,” he said during a visit to the MQA office today. He was accompanied by his deputy Dr Hou Kok Chung.
At present, only 39 per cent of more than 1,000 courses offered by universities and colleges were accredited, meaning they are recognised by the government.MQA-accredited courses are deemed to have fulfilled its standards. Among the advantages of having accredited courses are that students would be able to apply for the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans and those who passed could apply for jobs in the civil service.

Khaled said mandatory accreditation would solve the problem of students unknowingly taking courses that were not recognised. However, he noted that some employers were hiring graduates regardless of whether their courses were recognised or not.

“This is why we needed to study the matter thoroughly,” he said. He said the MQA would be conducting an academic performance audit to evaluate the standing and academic competency of local educational institutions in June.Fifty-seven public and private institutions with university college and university status will be involved in the six-month exercise.

Preliminary work such as the preparation of documents and training for auditors has started.The MQA has also been urged to establish ties with international bodies.“This will benefit the country especially in terms of cross border education, academic mobility and gaining regional mutual recognition,” he said.

On the rating system for higher education aimed at increasing the competitiveness of local universities, Khaled said this would be announced in two weeks

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Education institutions must be accountable - The Star

April 20, 2008

Higher education institutions must be accountable to the public and to their stakeholders.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Idris Haron said governance went beyond the management of institutions.

“It is a complex system of interactions among structures, traditions, functions and processes characterised by the three key values of accountability, transparency and participation,” he told reporters after opening an executive education programme on governance and university boards in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, recently.

The nature and quality of these interactions, the deputy minister added, lead to sustainable human development, how power is exercised, how decisions are made, how stakeholders have their say and how decision- makers are held accountable.

“Accountability cannot be enforced without transparency and the rule of law,” Idris said.
In the context of higher education institutions, he said the focus was on the connections and interactions between and among university governing personnel, in order to advance professional development.

Idris said it was not an easy task to empower higher education institutions.
“It cannot be done overnight. Our efforts can only be achieved through hard work, patience and strong will.”

On the programme, he said it was the third in a series or-ganised by the Higher Education Leadership Academy of Malaysia (Akept).

“It is a positive and encouraging step forward in the advancement of higher education,” added the deputy minister.

Lower broadband fees, urges tech association - The Star

PENANG: April 20, 2008 By LOOI SUE-CHERN

The Association of Computers and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (Pikom) has proposed that monthly Internet broadband fees for home users be lowered to RM10 for 50 hours of usage.
Its chairman David Wong said the move would help boost the nation's broadband rate to reach 50% of Malaysian households, adding that the most subscribed broadband packages now cost from about RM50 to RM60 a month for unlimited usage.

"We have 1.37 million people in the country using broadband. This amounts to only 15.5% of total households in Malaysia.

"This figure is still low compared to the broadband penetration rate in other countries,” he said at the opening of the Pikom PC Fair at the Penang International Sports Arena here on Friday by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said Pikom’s proposal would be submitted to the International Trade and Industry Ministry on Monday.

Wong said a RM10 fee would make broadband Internet access very affordable to all Malaysians.
Lim said the state government supported Pikom's proposal to fix the broadband rate at RM10.
"The move will promote broadband usage and at the same time make people more ICT-savvy,” he told reporters after the opening ceremony.

In his speech earlier, Lim had said the state government was keen to work with Pikom to boost the state’s ICT industry, with the association playing a matchmaking role to pair local ICT businesses with foreign interests or invite Penang-based ICT businesses in trade missions targeting potential markets.

Earlier, Wong announced that Pikom would set up five state chapters to drive the association’s efforts in the northern, southern and east coast regions as well as Sabah and Sarawak.
“The chapters will be chaired by our representatives who will act as our liaisons with state governments.

“Our representative for Sabah has been appointed. We expect to appoint those for the other four states by August ,” he said.

How to Write a PhD Thesis

How to Write a PhD Thesis - April 20, 2008
by Joe Wolfe School of PhysicsThe University of New South Wales, Sydney

This guide to thesis writing gives simple and practical advice on the problems of getting started, getting organised, dividing the huge task into less formidable pieces and working on those pieces. It also explains the practicalities of surviving the ordeal. It includes a suggested structure and a guide to what should go in each section. It was originally written for graduate students in physics, and most of the specific examples given are taken from that discipline. Nevertheless, the feedback from users indicates that it has been widely used and appreciated by graduate students in diverse fields in the sciences and humanities.

For details, click:

Selain Umno, selamatkan juga Unitar - Siasahdaily

Saturday, 19 April 2008

(Siasahdaily): KUALA LUMPUR,

18 April: Selain menyelamatkan Umno yang sedang hendak karam, para pemimpin Umno juga diminta menyelamatkan Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (Unitar) yang mereka ambil alih dari KUB setahun lalu yang sedang menghadapi malapetaka sekarang.

Rata-rata kakitangan Unitar tidak berpuashati dengan kedudukan mereka bahkan mereka terasa selesa dan aman berada di bawah pentadbiran lama dahulu berbanding dengan pentadbiran Umno sekarang.

Yayasan Tun Abdul Razak (Pintar) yang dimiliki oleh Umno telah mengambilalih Unitar dari KUB Mac 2007 lalu selepas 10 tahun ia beroperasi untuk dijadikan universiti Umno.
"Pada mulanya, kami cukup gembira dengan kehadiran pengurusan baru yang berjanji untuk membawa perubahan yang lebih baik kepada Unitar. Pengurusan baru kemudiannya telah membawa masuk orang-orang baru yang memegang jawatan tinggi.

"Namun setelah genap setahun Unitar di bawah engurusan baru dan setelah beberapa perubahan dilakukan, Unitar kni berada di dalam krisis," tulis seorang kakitangan Unitar kepada Siasah.

Kini, penyakit yang dihadapi Umno juga melanda Unitar.
"Namun budaya mereka sama sahaja. Apa yang hadapi Umno itulah yang dihadapi kami di Unitar," kata pensyarah kanan Unitar kepada Siasah.

Rasuah, penyalahgunaan kuasa, suka mempersalahkan orang lain, memperlekehkan kakitangan, membina kekayaan peribadi dan sebagainya yang berlaku dalam Umno dan telah dihukum rakyat dalam pilihan raya baru-baru ini kini sedang menjalar dalam Unitar.
"Kami tertanya-tanya, sampai bila pengurusan baru ining menyalahkan pihak lain selain daripada mereka sendiri," tulis kakitangan itu kepada Siasah.

Beliau membariskan beberapa gejala yang sedang berlaku dalam Unitar sekarang.
Pembelian bas tanpa prosedur, pengubahsuaian sebuah dapur yang melibatkan wang jutaan ringgit, kekurangan kemasukan pelajar, pembelian kereta mewah untuk pihak pengurusan atasan dan kebajikan kakitangan yang terbiar adalah antara tanda-tanda Unitar sedang ditimpa malapetaka, tulisnya.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Foreign students to make up 10% of college enrolment - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: April 19, 2008

The Higher Education Ministry wants foreign students to make up 10% of student enrolment in both public and private higher education institutions.

Higher Education Management Department director-general Prof Datuk Dr Hassan Said said that this target had been set in the National Higher Education Strategic Plan 2007-2010.

“We want to encourage the internationalisation of Malaysia’s higher education environment by attracting overseas students equivalent to 10% of the total student population at all academic levels.

“We also aim to increase the enrolment of foreign students here from the current 50,000 to 100,000 by 2010,” said Prof Hassan in his speech at HELP University College’s 11th strategy seminar here yesterday.

He acknowledged that it would be difficult to achieve the target but the ministry was intensifying its promotion activities abroad and was seeking to raise the standard of Malaysian universities.
“The setting up of the Malaysian Qualifications Authority last year, which oversees both public and private institutions, would also ensure that quality is maintained,” said Prof Hassan.

Other goals set by the ministry include having at least two Malaysian universities among the best 200 universities in the world; developing at least 10 centres of excellence which are internationally recognised in terms of research output, and ensuring that at least 75% of lecturers in public universities, and 30% of lecturers in private and community colleges possess PhD degrees.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What makes a Grade A? - The Star

By Wong Sai Wah

Making the grade seems to be a lifelong pursuit everywhere, and it is not just in the paper chase but also in everything one does after that.

DANNY Zhong is a tour guide in Shanghai and as such is a wealth of information about China's most dynamic city, especially its people.

His first remarks as our car left the brand new Terminal 2 building of the Shanghai International Airport in Pudong was: “Did you know that in China, Shanghainese men are considered the best husbands in the world?”

My host Liz and I were stunned as well as amused by his remark.
Zhong quickly explained.

“A woman who marries a Shanghainese man does not have to do any house work.
“It is very expensive in Shanghai, and men here do their very best to keep their wives happy. The men will rush home from work to cook dinner, wash the clothes and clean the house.
“The men are worried that if their wives are unhappy they may demand all sorts of things, from new clothes to jewellery, and these things are very expensive in Shanghai.”

Furthermore, he explained, wives of Shanghainese men were doubly lucky because their husbands do not go out at night, as they cannot afford to do so in this expensive city.
He also told us of another urban legend in Shanghai that men and women were also graded based on their position and potential.

Grinning again at our puzzled faces, Zhong said a Grade A woman is one who has married a rich foreigner, obtained a foreign passport, lives overseas, and comes back occasionally.
Grade B is a woman who is married to a rich local man, especially one who owns a public-listed company, and lives the life of a tai-tai.

Women in Grade C are those married to men holding high positions in a multinational company (MNC) in China.

Grade D women are working professionals, and not married.

“The rest of the women do not even qualify to be graded,” added Zhong.

As for the men, Grade A are those who own public-listed companies, while Grade B hold high positions in MNCs, and Grade C the professionals working in local companies.

We had a good laugh at Zhong’s tale and wondered how Malaysians should be graded.
A couple of weeks ago I broached this subject with my “focus group” of girlfriends at a farewell dinner for one who was migrating to Australia.

Before we go any further, I think it best that I describe this group of women. Sam, who is now in Australia, is a marketing person who last year ended a long-term relationship.

Yvette, who holds a senior position in a bank, is single and lives with her family.
Sally is happily married but still finds plenty of time to hook up with her girlfriends.
Laura is in advertising and is about to get married to a Canadian. Pearly is single and has changed jobs three times in the past year.

Expecting to be skewered for even daring to raise such a subject, I was however pleasantly surprised by their response.

“Cheh! Malaysian men are not worth even grading,” was Yvette's initial reaction.
But Sam quickly pointed out there were some men who were of a “certain class”.
After much banter, we came to an agreement that Malaysian women were easier to grade.

A Grade A Malaysian woman would be one who is independent and has enough money to not have to depend on any man. But if she is married, it would be to a doting, RICH husband.
Those in Grade B would be those who married rich husbands and who do not have to work, while those in Grade C would be married, but would need to work.
“There is no Grade D Malaysian woman,” declared Pearly.

How about Malaysian men? Who would fit the Grade A category?
“Those who are married to Grade A women,” said Sam cheekily, to which the others nodded in assent.

Sally pointed to Laura and said: “If there were any Grade A men left she would not be running away to Canada!”

Laura quoted something I wrote not too long ago – “50% of Malaysian men are married, 30% cannot be trusted and the rest are gay!”

Looking at Sam, I told her that she would probably be a Grade A Shanghainese woman “married to a foreigner, holding a foreign passport and living overseas” now that she was migrating.
The group concluded that Malaysia was a diverse country and it would be difficult to come up with a proper grading system.

While they agreed that young women here have difficulty finding life partners, they nonetheless felt that it was just fine to be single.

“It is not as if we need them,” said Sam as a parting remark.

Deputy Executive Editor Wong Sai Wan is too old and too married to be graded.


By Barry W. Hamilton, Ph.D. Northeastern Seminary (Rochester, New York)

*Take the task of writing the abstract seriously. The abstract will determine whether future researchers will read your thesis or dissertation. The abstract needs to bring out the significance of the entire document. When writing the abstract, the author should model the tone and vocabulary of the document’s conclusion. The abstract should accurately and succinctly describe the content and scope of the entire document.

*It is extremely important to stay within the limits defined by the institution/department. Do not exceed the stated limits, or else someone will use a chainsaw to disembowel your abstract to make it fit. You never want to lose control over the composition of your abstract. Keep it within the stated limits. Count each word just to make certain!

*Put your best writing into the abstract, just as you did into the conclusion. Strive for clarity with all that is within you! Make the abstract transparent for researchers in your subject field.

*Within the stated limits, make every word count! Reach for the knife—cut out the unnecessary modifiers. Prefer the active voice, and use action verbs when appropriate. Be ruthless in chopping out phrases that don’t contribute to the abstract’s substance. Avoid unnecessary, unusual terms—padding sentences for an ‘educated’ effect (e.g. “expunge” for “delete”), but prefer highly specialized terms when appropriate to the field (e.g., Centering Prayer, apophatic, anaphora, afrocentrism).

*Mine the document for important keywords and phrases that directly relate to the major concepts in the paper. These terms will be related to your thesis statement and will describe concepts at the level of the whole document. Take into consideration the vocabulary of abstracts from other theses in your field (but don’t merely imitate other abstracts—use these vocabulary terms only if used in your own thesis. You want a high correlation between the vocabulary of your abstract and the vocabulary of your thesis.) For example, a Doctor of Ministry thesis about an African American church concerned about the revitalization of an urban neighborhood will likely use these terms: “economic development” or “community development”; “economic racism” or “environmental racism”; “economic empowerment.” These terms have been used extensively in Doctor of Ministry theses at other institutions, and can be found in their abstracts. An abstract for a Doctor of Ministry thesis on these topics should contain these terms if they are found in the document and describe the chief concepts of the thesis as a whole. Otherwise, the thesis would be at a distinct disadvantage in an online search for theses on these topics. The vocabulary of the abstract should closely match the vocabulary of researchers in the field. The thesis writer should consider online searchers’ research vocabularies when choosing the terms of the abstract. Otherwise, the abstract may never be retrieved, or may be retrieved accidentally, and the thesis is cast into the outer darkness of eternal oblivion.

*Have a colleague read the abstract and offer criticism. Print out a hard copy and ask the colleague to mark it up. Take another hard copy with you on the bus or on the plane. Sometimes it helps if you take it on an out-of-town trip and read it in a motel room in a strange city. The new surroundings might help you read the abstract in a new light (seriously).

*Here are some of the better websites for concrete advice on writing abstracts:

Making ICT relevant - The Star

THE International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) and Open University Malaysia (OUM) are organising a conference entitled ICT and Learning for the Net Generation.

The conference, which will bring together teachers, researchers and administrators involved in ICT and Learning for Youth, will be held from July 7 to 10.

Prof Zoraini: The conference will stimulate discussions on the relevance of ICT in education.
The initiator of the conference, Prof Dr Zoraini Wati Abas, said: “The conference will stimulate discussions on the relevance of ICT in secondary, higher and distance education.
“I find the education system now to be very exam-oriented.

“In spite of numerous efforts, local institutions have few success stories to share on how their learners have successfully engaged themselves with ICT-based learning.
“I believe that the time has come for us to make full use of digital technology when educating students,” she added.

Prof Zoraini, an academic at OUM’s Education and Languages Faculty, said they were expecting about 200 participants from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia to attend the conference.

“This conference will not only be a platform for sharing of knowledge and best practices but also to discuss pressing issues and trends in ICT and Learning,” she said.

The conference will incorporate keynote presentations, technical paper presentations, panel presentations, workshops, plenary discussions and informal exchanges of ideas.

For details e-mail or visit the conference website at

Varsity students for community service - NST

PUTRAJAYA: April 18, 2008

The Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 will be amended to allow students in institutions of higher learning to do community service.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Idris Haron said yesterday the proposed amendments would be tabled in Parliament in the middle of the year."We want to encourage and give freedom to university students so they can be involved in community programmes, not in politics," he said after launching a human rights seminar, organised by the ministry and the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) at his office.Idris said this way, students could contribute to the community and they would also be freer to express their views on communal issues.Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin had recently said the amendments would provide students as well as universities more power and freedom.

A preliminary study by the ministry revealed that the Act, as it stands, could hamper the creativity and achievement of students and university management.Khaled had also said the amendments would give universities more autonomous power to run their respective set-ups.On the proposal for human rights education committees to be established in universities, Idris said these would initially be set up at the ministry's level.

Pindaan Auku - Mahasiswa tetap dilarang berpolitik

PUTRAJAYA, 18 April (Hrkh) - Oleh Salmiyah Harun

Timbalan Menteri Pengajian Tinggi 1 Dato' Idris Harun berkata, pindaan Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti (Auku) 1972 hanya meliputi penglibatan mahasiswa dalam kemasyarakatan bukannya berkaitan politik.

Sehubugan itu beliau menegaskan pelajar universiti tidak boleh terlibat dalam mana-mana politik baik politik kerajaan ataupun pembangkang.

Katanya, pindaan itu akan dibuat dalam mesyuarat penggal pertama Dewan Rakyat di Parlimen pada tahun ini.

Beliau berkata demikian dalam sidang media selepas merasmikan Seminar Hak Asasi Manusia dan Pengajian Tinggi: Hak dan Tanggungjawab di Auditorium Kompleks E, Putrajaya semalam.
"Kita akan meminda beberapa artikel atau fasa yang terkandung dalam Auku yang boleh sedikit sebanyak memberi kelegaan kepada pelajar untuk mengembangkan keupayaan mereka di dalam bidang-bidang berkaitan dengan kemasyarakatan," katanya.

Katanya, pindaan itu tidak melibatkan soal politik tetapi lebih kepada kegiatan kemasyarakatan yang akan memberi kelonggaran kepada mahasiswa untuk membabitkan diri dalam Pertubuhan Bukan Kerajaan yang dibenarkan.

"Kita tidak mahu mahasiswa disalahgunakan seperti menjadi ejen politik oleh mana-mana parti,".

"Apabila mereka keluar nanti menjadi seorang 'korporat structure', kita tidak mahu esok-esok apabila keluar menjadi ceo bank sahaja, tetapi apabila disuruh terlibat dalam Belia 4B dia (pelajar) boleh manfaatkan," katanya.

Dalam pada itu, Idris turut menjelaskan peranan yang dimainkan oleh kementeriannya dalam Kumpulan Kerja Kecil Mengenai Pendidikan Hak Asasi Manusia untuk Institut Pengajian Tinggi Awam yang ditubuhkan oleh Suhakam.

Katanya, dengan wujudnya jawatankuasa ini kementerian bertindak sebagai 'monitor' dalam setiap apa yang dijalankan oleh Suhakam, memandangkan program yang dijalankan bersifat ilmiah bukannya revolusi ataupun demonstrasi.

"Kita akan mulakan dengan proses pengetahuan secara 'small' dulu dengan beberapa analisis yang akan dibuat, wakil-wakil IPTA juga akan membawa idea serta berbincang tentang pembelajaran hak asasi manusia kepada kementerian," katanya.

Turut memberi ucapan dalam seminar sehari itu, antaranya Timbalan Pengerusi Suhakam Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Simon Sipaun dan Pesuruhjaya Suhakam Muhammad Uthman El-Muhammady dengan ucaptama yang bertajuk 'Hak Asasi Manusia dan Institusi Pengajian Tinggi'.

Dalam sesi dialog tiga ahli panel dijemput iaitu Prof Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, Pelajar IPT Danial Abdul Rahman dan Pesuruhjaya Suhakam Prof Emeritus Dato' Dr Khoo Kay Kim.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Engineers of poor quality - The Star

April 17, 2008

I AM a manager in a chemical manufacturing firm in Malaysia. We often have vacancies for mechanical and chemical engineers, and occasionally electrical engineers. We do take in fresh graduates to train and develop for the future of our company.
In recent years, I have noticed a marked reduction in the quality of the engineering graduates. I would like to suggest that our local universities work with professional bodies such as Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) to address the weaknesses.

Some of the courses should be tailored to suit industrial requirements. BEM and IEM would be in the right position to work with the many universities we have here. Alternatively, they could come up with modules to be included in the engineering curriculum at our local universities.
With the advent of computers and simulation packages, another new problem is that fresh engineers seem at a loss to conduct design calculations from basic principles. They are over reliant on such computer packages.

When they start work, they are at a loss to do design work because some companies may not have such computer packages. Hence, even basic engineering calculations to determine the optimum pipe sizing and pump selection are beyond them.

These are basic engineering calculations, and without the necessary skills, we are left with design works that are sub-optimal, resulting in high operating costs for the users.
Alternatively, everyone would be running to consultants to get even the most basic of engineering work done for them.

In many of the plants I have been to, there is much that could be done to improve efficiency by just going back to good basic engineering practice. And in some cases, it’s just using good common sense.
I think there is a need to teach and emphasise on such basics. We should ensure that our young engineers are provided with good foundation knowledge for the future of our country.
After all, it is upon solid foundations that skyscrapers are built.

In this aspect, I must take my hat off to University Technology Petronas (UTP), which has formed an Industry Advisory Panel (IAP), and invites professionals from the industry to review their curriculum and suggest areas for improvement. UTP is serious about this and has implemented many of the suggestions introduced by its IAP.

UTP also has an adjunct lectures series where professionals are called in to give lectures to the undergraduates. I think these are good initiatives that other universities would do well to emulate.


University act amendment to allow student community service - NST

Putrajaya: April 17, 2008 by Hamidah Atan

The University and University College Act 1971 will be amended to allow students in institutions of higher learning to do community service.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Idris Haron said yesterday the proposed amendments would be tabled in Parliament in the middle of the year."We want to encourage and give freedom to university students so that they can be actively involved in community programmes, not in politics," he said after launching a human rights seminar, organised by the ministry and the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) at his office.

Haron said this way, students could contribute to the community and they would also be freer to express their views on communal issues.Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin had recently said that the amendments would provide students as well as universities more power and freedom.

A preliminary study by the ministry revealed that the Act as it stands could hamper the creativity and achievement of students and university management.Khaled had also said the amendements would give universities more autonomous power to run their respective set-ups.

On the proposal for human rights education committees to be established in universities, Haron said these would initially be set up at the ministry's level."We will see from there whether the committees can be formed in the universities," he said. The committee's role is to monitor activities jointly organised by Suhakam and the ministry at all universities.Haron said the committee would help Suhakam's efforts to instill awareness of human rights among university students and staff.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Two PHDs For The Price Of One

PETALING JAYA, April 16, 2008 (Bernama)

University Malaya (UM) and University of Sydney (UoS) on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a Cotutelle Agreement to pave the way for PhD students to earn joint doctorates from the two universities.

This was the first time that such a programme between two such august universities was being undertaken, marking a historical event in Malaysia's academic world, said UM Vice-Chancellor Datuk Dr Rafiah Salim.She said under the agreement, students need only pay their fees to the home institution while they are exempted from paying to the host institution.She said the students would spend a year in UM, and another in UoS, and the rest at a university of their choice.

"By the end of their programme, these students will be receiving two PhDs from both universities, instead of just one."To make things easier for our students, they need only to pay the fees at the home university (UM) and not at the host university."This is in lieu with our vision and mission of turning UM into a world renowned centre of academic excellence and research," Dr Rafiah told reporters after launching the "Enhancing Human Performance" research symposium at the University Malaya Medical Centre here.

At the signing ceremony, UM was represented by the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Dr Ikram Shah and Sports Centre director Dr Ashril Yusof while UoS was represented by Health Sciences Faculty Pro-Dean Associate Professor Martin Thompson."We've had many undergraduate programmes in the country but this is the first time we are doing something like this.

What is unique about this programme is that the students will only pay a single fee at their home university and will receive two PhDs."We are looking forward to expanding our horizons with other universities, as well as our other faculties. Currently, the faculties involved are the sports and medicine faculties," added Dr Rafiah.

July deadline for windscreen tints, xenon headlights - The Star

KUALA KRAI: April 16, 2008

Vehicle owners flouting Road Transport Department (JPJ) regulations on windscreen tinting and xenon headlights be warned – you have until July to comply with the rules.
JPJ enforcement division director Salim Parlan said the department continued to encounter vehicles with heavily tinted windscreens and flashy xenon headlights, particularly the imported luxury vehicles.

"I hope they will adhere to the specifications set by JPJ on tinting windscreens and xenon headlights". SALIM PARLAN “I hope they will adhere to the specifications set by JPJ on tinting windscreens and xenon headlights,” he said.

Meanwhile, Salim said JPJ had begun to install its own automatic camera system (AES) at strategic traffic light junctions and highways throughout the country to track down errant drivers.

He added that the installation of cameras was being done in stages, starting with the North-South Highway.

The AES is primarily to track drivers exceeding the speed limit and disobeying traffic light regulations.

The first stage will also cover strategic traffic lights in Shah Alam, Salim said after attending a JPJ community programme in Mengekebang here.

The cameras will record offences and transmit them to JPJ server computers, which can immediately print out the summons and the type of offence.

Enforcement officers will then track down the drivers and serve the summon notices.
The same computers will then upload the offences to the JPJ online driver demerit system which monitors all offences committed by registered drivers in the country.

Salim said the AES would be installed in other strategic areas throughout the country by December.

Introduce yourself

Hi Fellow Comrades of OUM,

To make this blog an active social network for all of us, kindly introduce yourself such as what course are you taking, which sem now, and where are you attached to. Thank you.

It's the Ivy League for Lee - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: April 16, 2008 by Ili Liyana Mokhtar

Lee Jia Hui is on cloud nine.
The 19-year-old, from Kajang, is the only Malaysian student to be offered a place in Harvard University this year.Lee, who scored 11 1As in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination, will be sitting the international baccalaureate examination next month.He beat six applicants to win a place in the university, ranked first in the Times World University rankings."It felt surreal. But once reality hit me, I was really excited for myself and my parents," said the International School of Kuala Lumpur student.

Besides the Harvard offer, which comes with full scholarship, he has also received offers to study in several other prestigious universities, including Princeton, Dartmouth and Cornell.He has not decided which university to pick.Lee said he had a broad range of interests, but was most interested in gender studies and politics.

"The recent general election stirred my interest in politics. I hope to come back and help shape the future of politics or academia here," he said at the Malaysian American Commission on Education Exchange.

His parents, bank officer Lee Teck Onn and housewife Tai Yuet Kim, were overjoyed that their eldest son had received so many offers. "I am proud of him," said Tai. "He was always curious and asked countless questions ever since he was 3."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

AUKU: Gerakan temui pemimpin pelajar - Malaysiakini

Apr 15, 08 12:24pm

Pemuda Gerakan akan menubuhkan badan petugas khas untuk mengumpulkan maklum balas daripada pemimpin pelajar universiti berhubung cadangan pindaan Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti (AUKU) 1971.Ketuanya Datuk Mah Siew Keong berkata, berasaskan maklumat tersebut, pergerakan itu akan mengemukakan satu cadangan mengenainya kepada Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi.

Katanya, langkah tersebut selaras dengan usaha menterinya Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin untuk menyemak dan meminda AUKU dan membentangkannya di parlimen hujung tahun ini."Kerana Akta ini akan memberi kesan kepada generasi muda kita, maka kami akan menemui para pemimpin pelajar universiti tidak lama lagi.

"Kita akan mendengar pandangan dan maklum balas daripada mereka," kata Mah dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.Menurutnya, pembaharuan yang akan dilakukan itu menunjukkan kerajaan serius untuk meningkatkan sistem pendidikan tinggi Malaysia, terutama piawaian universiti-universiti awam di negara ini.

"Pertimbangan oleh menteri berkenaan untuk membenarkan para pelajar terbabit dalam politik adalah satu langkah ke hadapan yang positif."Pemuda Gerakan berharap ia diberi pertimbangan segera sebagai mencerminkan perubahan suasana berbanding dengan 30 tahun yang lalu," tegas Mah.

Monday, April 14, 2008

SEAAIR 2008 Conference

The SEAAIR 8th Annual 2008 Conference will be held in Surabaya, Indonesia from Nov 4 - 6, 2008.

Important Dates:

Abstract Submission
- 31 May, 2008
Abstract Acceptance
- 30 June, 2008
Full Papers Submission
- 15 August, 2008
Last Date Registration
- 15 September, 2008
Conference Dates
- 4-6 November, 2008
Tour (optional)
- 7-8 November, 2008

Purpose of Conference:
- Increase research quality High Education institution
- Disemination information and change idea about problem and research topic institution
- Increase individual profesonalism engaded in research
- Increase unit and cooperation between individual involved
- Increase outcome quality instituon high education

Conference ThemeTheme :
Institutional Capacity Building toward Higher Education Competitive Advantage

Sub Theme :
- Capacity building through Quality Assurance and Quality Management
- Institutional Research in Higher Education Capacity Building
- Managing and Sustaining Higher Education Competitive Advantage
- Learning and Teaching to Enhance Institutional Capacity
- Industrial Network to Support Higher Education Competitive Advantage

Invitation to Tea Talk

With reference to the above, the Centre for Quality Management and Research & Innovation (CQMRI) is organizing an Academic Tea Talk as part of OUM's Academic Capacity Building efforts.

You are cordially invited to attend the session with our guest speaker, Assoc. Prof Suad Abdul Aziz Al-Furaih , faculty member in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching Methods at College of Education, Kuwait University.

The tea talk is scheduled as follows:

Date : 18 April 2008 (Friday)Venue : Theatrette, OUM Main CampusTime : 2.30 p.m. – 5.15 p.m.

Please find the following details attached for your kind reference:

1. Objective & Background (Tea Talk #0508)
If you wish to join the session, please feedback on your attendance by email to

For your kind information, seats are limited and all requests will be treated on a first-come-first-served basis.
Thank you and regards.


The following registration procedure applies to all SENIOR students. Students must register and submit their online registration. The online registration period starts from 14 April 2008 (1.00 pm) until 4 May 2008.

* Your student’s profile will be displayed as soon as you click the online registration link
* Please check your registration details. You should notify us if there is any discrepancy in your student information.
* Click Register to confirm the courses that you want to register for May Semester, 2008.
* Click ‘Submit’ to send your online registration.
* Click ‘Select Timetable’
* After submitting your registration, click ‘Preview and Print Course Registration’ to view your current courses.
* You are required to print out the course registration slip and bring along with you during the registration to collect your learning materials

The Lonely Journey Blog

Welcome fellow comrades from Open University Malaysia (OUM). This blog was set up specially for all OUM Post Graduate students. Please feel free to contribute ideas and share your experiences in this Lonely Journey blog so that we can help each other accomplish our common objectives.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.