Thursday, July 28, 2011

More partners sought to help the less fortunate

BINTULU: Corporate bodies and non-governmental organisations are urged to collaborate with MyKasih Foundation to reach out to more needy people across Malaysia.

Highlighting this, MyKasih Foundation chief executive officer Jeff Perera said their programmes are very much dependent on the support of all their partners.

Speaking at the launched of MyKasih ‘Love My Neighbourhood’ programme at Parkcity Shopping Mall here yesterday, he noted that the soaring food prices are pushing millions into poverty worldwide and as long as the energy price remains high, the trend will most likely persist.

“Food aid serves as an entry point to address some of the issues related to poverty,” said Perera.

He pointed out that MyKasih Foundation, in carrying out its founders’ philanthropic effort, aimed to make a positive impact in the lives of the poor and needy.

“In April 2009, after a successful eight months after the pilot project was initiated in late 2008, the first MyKasih programme was launched in Selayang with 75 families onboard,” he said.

“In its third year, the programme has attracted many organisations and individuals  to  join on board to bring the programme to more communities across Malaysia,” added Perera.

MyKasih applies ePetrol’s cashless payment system, an innovative way of delivering aid to the target recipients in an accurate and efficient manner through MyKad.

Families are shortlisted based on a set of criteria such as household income and number of dependents, among other factors.

Once the families are selected, only the mothers will be registered as recipients of the aid where they will be given a PIN (Personal identification number) in which will allow them to purchase daily necessities at partner outlets.

When purchasing items, ePetrol’s terminal will first verify the MyKad holder as a recipient of MyKasih programme to activate the MyKad to make cashless payment.

“There is no cash exchange between hands and the aid will reach the recipients in full and securely,” assured Perera.

Apart from assisting in food purchase, MyKasih also provides opportunities for mothers and their children to improve their knowledge and skills.

“With the support of our training partners and volunteers, mothers are given the opportunities to develop themselves so they would be able to improve their household income and become more financially independent.

“Tuition classes for children of MyKasih recipients are also available to motivate them and keep them in school,” Perera said.

Meanwhile, Murphy Sarawak Oil Co Ltd as a main partner had sponsored a total of RM104,000 for the programme that will go to support 100 low income families, consisting of 50 families each in Bintulu and Kota Marudu, Sabah, in their purchase of grocery items for a period of one year.

The programme also received assistance from New World Mart of Parkcity Shopping Mall.

Established in 2009, MyKasih Foundation is a non-profit organisation that aims to help the less fortunate in Malaysian regardless of race, religion and descent.

Dedicated to strengthening the foundation of caring communities under ‘Love My Neighbourhood’ programme, MyKasih works with donors and partners from all sectors of Malaysia to deliver integrated programmes in locations where they operate.

Murphy helps make life easier for poor families

EASY AND EFFICIENT: Perera (second right) explains the efficiency of using MyKad technology to facilitate the distribution of aid as Pointer (left), a representative of Bintulu District Office Kiprawi Mohd Mokhtar and Hoh (right) look on.  >>More

BINTULU: Murphy Sarawak Oil Co Ltd (Murphy Sarawak) has donated RM104,000 to MyKasih Love My Neighbourhood’s food aid and training programme.

The donation helps to support 100 low income families here (Bintulu) and Kota Marudu (Sabah) for a year purchase of essential items.

This is the first time that Murphy Sarawak is partnering with MyKasih Foundation in the programme.
Under this programme, Murphy Sarawak will provide an allowance of RM40 per family every two weeks to purchase items such as rice, sugar, flour, milk, bread, eggs and cooking oil.

The money is credited into the recipients’ MyKad (account).

The families in Bintulu can make their purchases at New World Mart at Parkcity Shopping Mall, while those families in Kota Marudu can make their purchases at Milimewa Supermarket.

Murphy Sarawak director of operations Hoh Swee Chee handed over the donation to chief executive officer of MyKasih Foundation Jeff Perera at a ceremony held at Parkcity Shopping Mall, yesterday, which was also attended by several of the recipients and their family members, and representatives from Murphy Sarawak.

“We are happy to team up with MyKasih Foundation in this initiative and we hope our contribution will help them in some small ways to defray the cost of purchasing daily food items,” Hoh said.

He said that Murphy was inspired with what MyKasih Love My Neighbourhood programme had set out to achieve in reaching out to Malaysian families in need of help.

He said the contribution was part of Murphy’s community outreach activities in Bintulu.

Meanwhile, Perera said: “Most charity programmes take the manual hand-out approach and this normally involves multiple parties or middlemen. From the time aid leaves the donor, to the time aid reaches the recipient, mishandling of aid might occur in the process resulting in aid not reaching the recipients in full.

“MyKasih programme addresses these concerns with an innovative way of delivering aid to the recipients in an accurate and efficient manner using MyKad and all donations are passed in full to the recipients.”

Perera said that close to 8,000 families in 75 locations nationwide, were now able to purchases grocery items at partner retail stores.

Keith Pointer, the CEO of Destiny Properties, the entity which owns New World Mart said: “The system is fair, uncomplicated and gets the funds direct to those in need without any unnecessary administration.

“We believe that with the joint venture and collaboration between Murphy Sarawak and New World Mart, others will take the initiative and be a part of the programme.”

He said that New World Mart would also be a secondary sponsor — contributing another 10 per cent of the Murphy fund for educational programmes for children and adults.

He added that New World Mart was committed to the social responsibility programme and “being associated with Mykasih is without a doubt the way forward”.

Longhouse chief refutes claims of dirty river

WATER SUPPLY PROBLEM: Ado showing the broken pipeline that needs to be repaired as Bugang (right), KTS camp manager Ling Uong Chong (fifth right), Penghulu Sanok (sixth right) and others look on.

BINTULU: The longhouse chief of Rumah Ado, Sg Kakus Tatau yesterday refuted claims that the longhouse residents were forced to turn to the polluted Kakus river as their source of drinking water and for cooking.

The Punan village, located 80km from Bintulu, has been affected by an acute water shortage caused by a defective pipeline connecting it to the main source in Sungai Mepesak.

Ado Bilong, 56, was referring to claims carried by a national daily that the water shortage had forced residents of the longhouse to use water from the river which is polluted by floating toilets and logging activities.

The longhouse with more than 1,000 residents was rebuilt by the government after it was burnt down in 2008.
“After our longhouse was burnt down, the entire pipeline system was destroyed. Nevertheless, we have received assistance from the government and a local logging company operating nearby to rebuild the system.

“The claim made by Suing Sati which appeared in a national daily that the longhouse had no piped water after a fire destroyed more than half of the longhouse in 2008 was incorrect.

“If it is true, how have we been living and where have we been drinking from if we just depend on water from the river?” asked Ado who was accompanied by her husband Bugang Sati, the longhouse security and development committee chairman in charge of the pipeline system.

She stressed that the residents still had ample supply of water especially for cooking although they had to take their bath in the river occasionally.

She said most residents now collect rainwater using storage tanks donated by the logging company and the government.

The only thing that disrupted their plans to find a solution to the problem, she said was the lack of cooperation among the residents who refused to work on a ‘gotong-royong’ to repair the pipeline which is located some 7km up Sg Mepesak.

Not daunted, she said a meeting with all the residents and community leaders would be arranged again to sort out the problem and ask for their cooperation.

She pointed out that the logging company, Pustaka-KTS (PKTS), had given them lots of assistance in terms of rebuilding the longhouse and supply of other necessities like water tanks to lighten their burden after the fire mishap.

Commenting on the river which Suing claimed as not fit for human consumption and use because of pollution, she said it wasn’t true.

“With boats plying the river daily, small amount of oil floating on the river cannot be avoided.”

She denied any large amount of diesel floating in the water caused by logging activities.

Bugang meanwhile said: “It is not a matter of insufficient fund to repair the pipes, but the residents must work together to repair them because we all share the same water supply.”

Currently the longhouse folk depend on rainwater which they collect in storage tanks pending the completion of the pipeline by KTS.

“Once it is repaired, I believe the longhouse folk will no longer experience water shortage, but one thing for sure, we must work together as a team and not just blame other people.”

To date, 65 family units in the new longhouse have been completed, with each given a water tank.

“If possible we hope to get some assistance from the government and local companies nearby to ease our burden in repairing the pipes,” he added.

Chairman of Parent-Teacher Association of SRK Rumah Keseng Lim Meng Chai also denied that there was water shortage in the school as he had not been informed by the headmaster about the problem.

He said if it truly happened, government agencies must take immediate action to resolve it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Continue to improve knowledge and skills

BINTULU: Kindergarten teachers must constantly upgrade themselves by enhancing their knowledge and skills in order to be a quality educator.

State director of National Unity and Integration Department Dirwana Azool urged kindergarten teachers to continue improving their skills and be bold enough to explore more methods in teaching in order to be creative.

He reminded them their roles as an educator who must also keep up with the global changes and not easily satisfied with their current achievement.

“You should be proud of your profession as a kindergarten teacher. But somehow there are some teachers who may feel ashamed of being a kindergarten teacher. It shouldn’t be that way.

“Nowadays, those holding degrees and masters also chose kindergarten teacher as their profession, especially in private kindergarten,” he said when speaking at the opening ceremony of ‘Program integrasi pendidikan tabika perpaduan (Pintar) Selangor to Sarawak’ at Li Hua Hotel here yesterday.

The three-day programme was participated by a total of 98 kindergarten teachers from Selangor and Sarawak.

In realising the importance of roles played by kindergarten teachers, he said various integrated programmes and activities were introduced and implemented, including Pintar.

Pintar programme was first introduced in 2009 in Selangor, Sabah and Sarawak.

He noted the advantages that could be obtained through the programme like exchange of knowledge.

“There are differences of culture in Selangor and Sarawak. Make full use of this three days programme to know each other and foster rapport as we are one family within the department,” Dirwana urged.

He believed through knowledge exchange, the participants would be able to learn new things and latest approaches in ensuring creativity in teaching to entice and engage pupils.

Also present at the function were National Unity and Integration Department state deputy director Delin Liet Blaun and organising chairman Fikri Emir Zulkefli.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Principals have role in shaping human resource

BINTULU: School principals not only manage their schools but are involved in forming disciplined human capital of the future.

Minister of Planning and Resource Management, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the role played by principals is critical as the school is a nursery to produce knowledgeable, competent and high calibre individuals capable of continuing the country’s leadership.

“A principal is not only a leader of a school but also local community,” he said at the opening of the Education Management Conference in conjunction with the 46th annual general meeting of Sarawak Secondary School Principals Association (PPSMS) at ParkCity Everly Hotel yesterday.

He said principals were not only educators but managers, leaders, administrators and consultants.

“The issues they have to tackle are becoming increasingly complex as parents expect quality education and good exam results from their children.

“I think creating a High Performance Schools (HPS) as a sub-field of the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) for education is part of the answer,” he said. His speech was read by Assistant Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Abdul Wahab Aziz.

On disciplinary problems in schools, he said principals had to more effectively address disciplinary problems among students, and parents should be more concerned about their children.

“When the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) held a meeting, only the mothers were present while fathers were said to be busy working. Parents should know that the PTA plays an important role in determining the performance of children,” he pointed out.

The education of children should be shared by parents since education begins at home with parents as role models.

Education state deputy director Jiadah Alek representing state director Abdillah Adam and PPSMS chairperson Mastura Anuar were among those present at the conference themed ‘Holistic Leadership Transforming the National Education’. It was attended by some 183 principals in the state.

Lawyers casting professionalism aside to stay alive

BINTULU: It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the legal fraternity and this has forced a growing number of young legal eagles to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Advocates Associations of Sarawak (AAS) Bintulu chairman Henry Ling lamented that most lawyers in the state were underpaid because legal firms lower their fees to stay afloat due to stiff competition.

“With fierce undercutting, low income and no increase in legal fees, the legal profession has been very stingy towards young lawyers who worked under other lawyers.”

Ling said because of this situation many lawyers only looked good on the outside but are a disappointment financially.

“In Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, the legal fees for providing legal services are revised upwards to meet the high cost of living.

“In Sarawak, the fee scale has stagnated since 1988 despite the rising costs of living. Compounding to this problem is that many lawyers are still undercutting the scale of charges,” Ling said at a `Ngiling Bidai’ (rolling of the mat to signify the closing of Gawai Dayak) here last Saturday. The event was organised by AAS Bintulu branch.

He told those present that in Sabah legal fees had been increased by between 30 and 120 per cent under the Advocates Remuneration (Amendment) Rules 2010 which came into force in October last year.

Ling lamented that some developers and financial institutions had taken advantage of the situation in the state by disregarding what was stipulated under the Advocates’ Ordinance with regards to legal fees.

“They fixed (developers and financial institutions) their own extremely low scale of charges for law firms who rendered service to them in Bintulu.

“Lawyers, in undercutting of legal fees and charging cheap or cheapest legal fees, are usually those who have problems and very desperate for quick money.”

Because of this problem, members of the public now tend to opt for firms which could offer them the lowest fees. Most of these clients are now blind to professional quality, intellectual ability and work standard.

Ling said proposed amendments on the revised remuneration rules and the scale of charges and other matters were “still under discussion” in the state.

He lamented that it was now very tough to operate a law firm because the operating expenditure was high and client’s demand had soared, unlike in the old days.

“The pressing need now is for the Advocates’ Association to enforce the minimum scale of charges and to demand lawyers to adhere to the profession’s scale of charges, which is part of the code of ethics.

“We need to uphold the dignity of lawyers and to provide a good quality of legal service, not discount, to uphold justice without fear or favour. “Law firms charging extremely low fees and undercutting the scale of fees are bad lawyers and the black sheep in the legal profession. They provide a poor and low-class service for various works at cheap fees which had tarnished the reputation of the profession.”

Bintulu High Court to have online payment

BINTULU: Bintulu High Court will be equipped with an electronic system to facilitate ‘e-payment’, which will allow lawyers to make online payment without having to carry large quantity of cash to the court.
Bintulu High Court Judicial Commissioner John Ko Wai Seng said the use of ‘e-payment’ is not only more secure but the safety issues will not arise.

“A fee payment for a case is no longer needed to be paid in cash,” he said at the Gawai Dayak Ngiling Bidai dinner organised by the Advocates Associations of Sarawak (AAS) Bintulu branch at Highland Seafood Restaurant on Saturday night.

“I hope the court staff will provide guidance and ongoing support for the success of all these efforts, thus strengthening the role of the court here,” he said.

He also mentioned about the efforts to expedite the handling of civil cases to three and six months compared with up to one year before.

Sex education vital for teens — SUPP Bintulu

BINTULU: Sex education is vital for teenagers, said Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Bintulu branch chairman Henry Ling.

He blamed poor sex education at home and through the Internet and movies for the rising decay of private and public morality.

“The behaviour of parents, teachers and people or the behaviour of political leaders and the way they talk in public and behave all can influence teenagers and other people alike,” he said when officiating at a sex education workshop for some 300 students at SMK Kidurong yesterday.

He pointed out that today’s teenagers are more mature compared to adults 10 to 20 years ago.

“We cannot blame the teenagers as they are not born with bad conduct, but it is all about the way their parents, teachers and the politicians teach them.

“I am delighted to know that there are still right thinking people who are willing to do this difficult task,” he said when commenting on the efforts of SMK Kidurong Chinese School Alumni Association (PBPC) to organise the workshop.

He pointed out that sexual crimes are increasing in Malaysia.

“A worrying trend is that about 50 per cent of the total number of rape cases each year is against the teenagers or young people.

“For instance, in 2005, there were 925 rape cases against girls aged 16 years old and below. In 2009, this figure raised to a total of 2,048 cases in record against this age group.” Based on studies of the pattern of sexual offences attended to at the One-Stop Crisis Centre of Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia from 2000 to 2003, he said many cases involved those known to the victims.

“Sexual offences constituted by male partners or boyfriends was at 18.9 per cent, by relatives at 27.3 per cent; and by others was at 53.8 per cent of cases respectively,” he said.

Ling also advised teenagers to avoid premarital sex.

“What I can say now is please study hard for the future now. You will have peace of mind on your life and future relationships and marriage, you will have more self-respect, be respected by other people and also more respect for each other if you do not have sex before marriage.”

Ervita is Miss Sarawak Model of the World 2011

BEAUTIES: Ervita (third left) with (from left) Connie Sii, Elaine Kho and Susie Teo.
BINTULU: Ervita Gireen from Kuching beat 15 other finalists to become Miss Sarawak Model of the World 2011 at the grand final held at Bintulu Civic Centre on Saturday night.

First runner-up Elaine Kho from Miri won the subsidiary title of Miss Popularity, Susie Teo from Bintulu was second runner-up and third runner-up, Connie Sii of Sibu. The top three winners will represent the state at the Miss Malaysia Model of the World to be held in Ipoh Perak.

Ervita received RM3,000 plus RM3,000 worth of products and services voucher from Legendary Skin Solution, product voucher worth RM800 sponsored by MPI and watch worth RM600 sponsored by Tien Gine General Store.

Elaine Kho in second place walked away with RM1,000, products and services voucher worth RM2,000 by Legendary Skin Solution, RM500 watch sponsored by Tien Gine General Store and product voucher worth RM500 from MPI.

Susie Teo received RM500 together with RM1,000 worth of product and services voucher sponsored by Legendary Skin Solution, RM400 watch from Tien Gine General Sore and RM300 product voucher from MPI.

Connie Sii from Sibu brought home a RM300 watch sponsored by Tien Gine General Store.

All top four winners also received a sash and bouquet of flowers each.

They will be enjoying a six-day trip to Australia towards yearend, during which they get to visit various places of interest in Australia.

Miss Beautiful Eye subsidiary title was won by Janet Mae Lee from Miri. Mandy Lim from Miri was Miss Model Best Personality, Tracy Wong from Sibu, Miss Best Catwalk and Caroylne Charles Yeo from Miri, Miss Stylo.

The crowning night themed ‘High Fashion Runway & Cocktail Party’ was officiated by Senator Pau Chiong Ung representing Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

The judges for Miss Sarawak Model of the World 2011 were Marie Bibiana Baxter (Miss Malaysia Model of the World 2010), Melissa Wong (Elite Model Look Malaysia 2008 / MSM 2011/ 2012 state director), Jacqueline Ngu (Miss Malaysia World 2003/04) and Sharon Yee (Miss Cheongsam Malaysia 2003).

The event was organised by The Room Production, Star Avenue and Trinity.

Walking the talk on Vasthu Sastra

THE purpose of life is to serve people selflessly and unconditionally, according to author T Selva.

The writer of best-seller Vasthu Sastra Guide (Indian Feng Shui) feels he is on the correct path of helping people via his free talks worldwide.

He has, so far, presented 330 talks in London, Florida, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Chennai, New Delhi, Brunei, Singapore and all over Malaysia on how to create a ‘home sweet home’ using ancient Indian knowledge.

What is amazing about these talks is that they are free or for charity and   Selva, from Kuala Lumpur, believes the service he is doing is divine in nature and cannot carry a price.

“I studied Vasthu science under a seventh generation master in India and now I’m blessed with a valuable knowledge I would like to share with everyone. My philosophy of life is to spread the good values of ancient secrets so that everyone can live in peace, happiness and enjoy good health,” he said after presenting a Vasthu talk in Bintulu.

The talk, organised by the Bintulu Indian Association, was held at Bintulu Kiduorng Club’s Multi Purpose Hall.

Selva said every individual sought peace and    prosperity and to obtain this, one had to be in tune with the universal rhythm of creation.

“When building, staying or working in a building or property, one has to respect the five elements — ether, air, fire, water and earth — which influence our environment.

“Only when we are in harmony with these natural forces will we enjoy wealth and happiness. Failure to do so can bring misery and misfortune.”

He added that the five elements were present in every atom of the universe and needed to be present     in abundance within the home to make it vibrant    and filled with positive energy.

He said a critical study      of fundamental Indian beliefs stated that the elements had an interactive influence on all dwellers of a house.

“Our body comprises the same five elements in the form of the five senses — hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell.

“According to Vasthu Sastra, if a property is built according to the five elements, the internal   energy in the bodies of   those living there will be in tune with the universal energy, thus resulting in good health, wealth and happiness for those residents.”

Selva said the 5,000-year-old science of Vasthu Sastra was the equivalent of architecture plus a result-oriented science to ensure harmony and a person observing it was assured of his well-being.

He added that for centuries, Vasthu Sastra had been widely used in India in the purchase of properties and there was a growing global interest in it as in Chinese Feng Shui.

“Just like Feng Shui, the underlying principle of Vasthu is to live in harmony with the environment so that the energy surrounding us works for rather than against us.

“It’s based on the arrangements and balancing of the five elements in their proper order and proportions. It’s not magic, superstition or a religion although some of its advocates may  consider it part of their religious rituals.

“It also doesn’t work on a belief system — asking someone if they believe in Vasthu is like asking them if they believe in the weather. In short, Vasthu is not a question of faith but a fact of life,” said Selva who has written six books on ancient Indian wisdom.

He pointed out that based on his analysis on the huge number of queries related to health at his talks, a major challenge faced by many home dwellers was maintaining a healthy         life and being free from illness.

“Many want to know how Vasthu Sastra can help them alleviate their medical problems and lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. It’s imperative every house occupant  harnesses the power of Nature and lives in tune with it since we ourselves are evolved by Nature.

“Health is wealth and it’s vital that a couple occupies the correct space in a property and consumes food cooked in a kitchen located, according to the principle of Vasthu, to ensure good health.”

Selva urged dwellers to give their kitchen’s     location priority as food cooked in the southeast or northwest quadrants tasted better and digest more easily.

He said food prepared elsewhere could cause digestive problems and the dweller would tend to eat out more rather than at home.

Moreover, when choosing a plot to build a house, check the surroundings and ensure that the house is not close    to a funeral parlour, burial ground or places that attract large crowds, for example, a stadium or place of worship, he advised.

According to the ancient science of Vasthu, he said, such an environment was inauspicious and could affect the well-being of the occupants.

“If the plot has an extension or is cut in the southwest, it can affect their health too. This is because irregular shapes distort the flow of energy, thus resulting in the dweller experiencing health woes regularly.

“But the southwest is a favourable quadrant for the master of the house. If an occupant is a heart patient, he or she should avoid sleeping in the southeast quadrant of the property which is the fire corner.”

Selva said the southeast location could create       heat-related illnesses like fever, tension and stress.

He added that Vasthu research showed ailments related to the ear, nose and throat affected those who had a kitchen in the northeast — which is the water corner.

“It is possible some people may dismiss Vasthu Sastra as totally fictional and baseless and give it no importance in their life. But it has not been debunked by modern science and continues to yield amazing and powerful results in the lives of many individuals.

“My purpose of writing and giving talks is to share my discoveries and knowledge of this amazing science with people interested in harmony and peace of mind.

“Those who tend not to believe in these things must know that if following Vasthu does not benefit them, neither does it cause harm,” he said.

To get a copy of the Vasthu Sastra Guide book, contact 012-3299713. Selva can be contacted at