News Cuttings

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

M'sia-Bound Indon Workers To Receive Better Training

JAKARTA, July 28 (Bernama) -- Thousands of Indonesian workers heading for Malaysia in search of a better fortune will receive in-depth and broader skills training that will lead to a higher pay.This is made possible following the joint effort of the Association of Indonesian Manpower Service Agencies (APJATI) and a Malaysian-based educational and training firm, the Infomaya Group of companies (IGC).

Workers from all sectors supplied by agencies under APJATI will be given training by qualified instructors not only in relevant skills but also in other areas like Bahasa Malaysia or English language, Malaysian basic law and culture.

They will be issued with certificates at the end of their training programme in a move that will give them due recognition from Malaysian employers.APJATI and IGC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) early this month to provide a technical framework for the undertaking.IGC managing director Dr Mohamed Fauzi Mohamad told Bernama here Wednesday that two of its subsidiaries -- Alliance Legacy Sdn Bhd and Progressive Skill Development Centre Sdn Bhd -- had been assigned to provide the service.

He said Alliance Legacy would be responsible for formulating training programmes for instructors and selected training assessment materials for the workers.Progressive Skill Development Centre would arrange for the accreditation and certification of workers who had completed the courses, he said.

The two subsidiaries had been officially appointed by the National Vocational Training Council of the Human Resources Ministry as the agency that provides training for trainers of foreign workers and as foreign workers technical evaluation agency.Under the arrangement, APJATI, the umbrella body for some 400 Indonesian manpower supply agencies, will provide administrative and training facilities at all its 130 workers training institutes throughout Indonesia, the world's biggest provider of workers to foreign countries.

APJATI deputy head Idris Laena said about 10,000 workers would be trained every month under the Malaysian Human Resources Ministry-approved curriculum and module, for the training programme.

"With the training, workers' skills will be markedly improved and recognised, which will lead to a better pay for them, at par with the locals or workers from other countries," he said.

He said that currently, manpower from Indonesia for the foreign labour market was also given training but it was not accredited and was too basic to produce skilled workers.

For the past few decades, Malaysia has been home to hundreds of thousands of Indonesian workers earning their living mostly in the construction and plantation sectors as well as housemaids and factory workers, following the scarcity of jobs at home.

Many of them also entered the neighbouring country through illegal means, exposing them to manipulations and fraud by their employers and underground employment agencies.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

It's open source from now onBy RASLAN SHARIF

Friday July 16, 2004
The Star

CYBERJAYA: All Government technology procurement will now have a preference for open source software (OSS), under the Malaysian Public Sector Open Source Software Masterplan made available to the public this morning. 

In what was its strongest show of support for OSS, the Government's masterplan calls for policies to be put in place in several areas, including procurement, that would favour such software. 

The masterplan has been a topic of debate among ICT companies, local and foreign, that supply goods and services to the Government. 

Its objectives include reducing total cost of ownership and increasing freedom of choice in the public sector, as well as reducing the digital divide through the use of OSS, software in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/ or modification free of charge. 
Proprietary software, like Microsoft Corp's Windows, is tightly-controlled by its owners and only licensed to users under strict conditions of use. 

Under the masterplan, OSS procurement "should be based on merits, value for money, transparency, security and interoperability." 

However, it also states, "in situations where advantages and disadvantages of OSS and proprietary software are equal, preference shall be given to OSS." 

The move looks set to generate more controversy, especially as some vendors argue that a preference-based procurement policy would be unfair. 

Asked about the concerns of these companies, Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, Chief Secretary to the Government, said the Government was committed to the masterplan and suggested that suppliers would have to follow its lead. 

He was speaking at the launch of the Open Source Competency Centre (OSCC) that would serve as the focal point of all OSS-related activities in the country, and also part of the masterplan. 
The centre would be "the main reference point, the pulse that drives (the Government's) OSS implementation," he added. 

The masterplan's near-term targets that might have an immediate impact on public sector suppliers include having 60% of all new servers able to run OSS operating systems, 30% of office infrastructure -- like e-mail, DNS, proxy servers -- on OSS, and 20% of school computer labs to have OSS applications such as productivity suites installed. 

All this must be done by next year. 

The masterplan, which was developed by the Government IT and Internet Committee (GITIC), was approved in February and is now being implemented. 
Share and share alike 

The OSCC, operational since June 1, has several core functions, including maintaining a repository or "knowledge bank" for all OSS information and news, and to serve as a platform for sharing and collaboration. 

The centre will also coordinate OSS training and certification programmes for the public sector, conduct R&D with institutions of higher learning, and undertake promotional and awareness activities. 

Samsudin said the centre would also serve as the hub for a local OSS community comprising nine institutions of higher learning, the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) and Multimedia Development Corporation to drive activities at the national level. 

Datin Paduka Nazariah Mohd Khalid, Director-General of the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu), said the centre was a significant effort "to enhance service quality and efficiency in the public sector." 

Currently, a total of 54 government agencies are using OSS, mostly applications such browsers, e-mail clients, file and print servers, firewalls, domain name servers and applications servers, she said. 

Only 10% were using OSS desktop applications such as productivity suites and operating systems, she added. 

The users comprise 14 ministries, 14 federal departments, 16 statutory bodies and 10 agencies at State-level. 

Nazariah also said that a recent survey conducted among government agencies showed that there were many areas in which OSS use could be enhanced. 

"The results of the survey were very encouraging," she said, adding that feedback from the 33 agencies that participated showed many were keen to explore OSS use further. 

The agencies identified over 200 instances in which OSS use could be intensified. These included applications development, distributed enterprise implementation, infrastructure use, high-performance computing, desktop use, and workload consolidation. 

"This showed that there was a need to quickly make available technical training and assistance to enhance OSS expertise in the public sector," said Nazariah. 

"The development of the OSCC is therefore timely." 

She added that in the one month since it became operational, the centre has trained 54 public sector employees, while more than 160 have registered to use its knowledge bank. 

"I'm confident that the number will increase after this," said Nazariah. 

Friday, July 16, 2004

Malaysian medical student swims across English Channel

The Star Online > Latest
Thursday, July 15, 2004

News Update by LEE YUK PENG of The Star

MALACCA: Lennard Lee, a 20-year-old medical student from Cambridge University, has successfully swum non-stop across the 33.6km-wide English Channel in 9 hours and 45 minutes on Tuesday.

Lennard’s father, Dr Lee Siow Ming who was on a boat with his wife Monica Liew tailing his son, said Lennard started at 8.34am (English time) from Dover and completed the swim at 6.19pm in Calais, France.

The weather was good when Lennard started but , the sea was rough during the second half of the swim,” said Dr Lee.

Asked his feelings watching Lennard from the boat, Dr Lee said:
“My heart went for him.

"I see him undergoing a lot of pain to push on," said Dr Lee, adding that the temperature was about 16 degree Celcius.

Lennard is the second Malaysian to swim across the channel after Datuk Abdul Malik Mydin, who made it in 17 hours and 42 minutes.

While taking up the challenge, Lennard also tried to raise fund for the sports complex in the university and also the Christie Hospital in Manchester.

In Malacca, Lennard’s uncle Dr Lee Yew Meng helped him to raise fund for the Seck Kia Eenh Cancer fund from those who supported his feat. Seck Kia Eenh Cancer Fund committee chairman Chan Swee Huat said the temple received RM11,716.50 from donors throughout the country as at Tuesday.

© 1995-2003 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

Friday, July 09, 2004

RM8.5b for high-priority projects

The Star Online > Nation
Thursday July 8, 2004

PETALING JAYA: The Government has announced the approval of RM8.5bil worth of high-priority projects for speedy implementation.

The Prime Minister said the country’s improved economic performance had encouraged the continued implementation of these projects, which would benefit the people.

In a statement yesterday, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the funds would be disbursed as follows:

·RM1.5bil to complete Phase Two of the East Coast Highway;

·RM2bil for small projects through tenders relating mainly to the building of roads and schools; and

·RM5bil for more than 50 projects for which letters of intent (LOIs) had already been issued. They involve mainly infrastructure development, education, housing and flood mitigation.

The RM8.5bil is in addition to the RM4bil worth of projects approved up to the end of June.

Abdullah, who is also Finance Minister, said the projects would benefit the people immensely.

He said the decision to proceed with Phase Two of the East Coast Highway from Kuantan to Terengganu was to fulfil a socio-economic need.

“The project is expected to stimulate economic growth in Terengganu specifically and the east coast generally,” he said.

The first phase of the highway between Karak and Kuantan is expected to open on Aug 1.

“With Phase Two, there will be a seamless connection by highway between Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Terengganu,” he added.

He said Phase Two of the highway project would be divided into several packages with 70% of the contractual value, amounting to about RM1bil, tendered to bumiputra contractors.

The remaining 30% would be awarded by direct negotiation to MTD Capital Bhd, which also completed the first phase. MTD Capital already holds the LOI for the implementation of Phase Two.

Abdullah said to ensure that small contractors, including thos in Class F, would be given opportunities to take part in the project, MTD Capital would be required to appoint bumiputra contractors, especially those from Terengganu.

”Companies which are successfully appointed through tenders will also be required to appoint bumiputra sub-contractors to maximise the spin-off effects,” he said.

Abdullah said the Government would continue with its economic policies to ensure sustainable development.

The economy had showed good performance following increases in domestic demand and exports, he said.

This, he said, included placing emphasis on expenditure to meet socio-economic needs as well as maximising spin-off effects.

“However, we remain committed to a gradual reduction in the budget deficit,” he said,.

When contacted by The Star, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said it took the Treasury and the Economic Planning Unit “a few months to sort out the high-priority projects from the not-so-high priority projects.”

“Now that this has been completed, and the Prime Minister has approved the first tranche of the high-priority projects, the Treasury will take action to ensure speedy implementation.”

Analysts say the new funds for projects would particularly benefit small-time bumiputra contractors who depend on government contracts for a greater part of their business.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Son Of Cop Shot Dead By Al-Maunah To Follow Father's Footsteps
Malaysian National News Agency
July 07, 2004 22:23 PM

By Pilus Abu

IPOH, July 7 (Bernama) -- Despite the trauma suffered when his policeman father was shot dead by members of the deviationist group Al-Maunah four years ago, for S. Baladevan, 24, there is no waning in his interest to become a cop.

The third son of detective corporal R.Segadevan was deeply affected by the death of his father in Sauk, Kuala Kangsar, but this has not made him fear choosing the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) as a career.

"Behind the sadness of losing my father, I also feel proud that he died to defend the country and uphold the peace.

"It is an example for me as I, too, want to contribute to the country by being a policeman, like my father did," he said when met at the Federal Reserve Unit headquarters in Sungai Senam near here Wednesday.

Baladevan, who has a diploma in mechanical engineering from Politeknik Johor Baharu, is currently only two examinations away from becoming a policeman with the rank of inspector.

He said he had applied to become a police constable six years ago but had to shelve the plan after being offered a chance at a tertiary education.

Baladevan, who was facing an examination when his father died on July 5, 2000, said his father's death was not a reason to forget an ambition which he had nurtured from a young age.

"Death is part of life no matter what career we choose. We will definitely die one day," he said pragmatically.