30 March 2007
Menarik Hari Ini (Jumaat 30 Mac 2007)
‘Malaysian undergrads shy, not inquisitive’
PUTRAJAYA: Don’t worry too much about As in examinations. Just be articulate, critical and inquisitive thinkers fluent in several languages.
This is Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamad’s advice to undergraduates.He said the future leaders of Malaysia needed these skills to lead the nation into a globalised world.
Mustapa said Malaysian undergraduates were generally shy and not as inquisitive as they should be.
"We acknowledge the need to address this, to make them develop critical thinking, inquisitiveness, innovativeness, to be more articulate and to have a good command of foreign languages.
"In the United States, the system and education culture is different where students can question and disagree with the lecturer.
"Malaysia has a different culture and it may be an obstacle, but this is changing," he told a group of Harvard University undergraduates at a dialogue.
Mustapa said this after being asked by an American student on whether the Malaysian education culture allowed students to express their opinions and debate with their teachers.
The 19 students also peppered Mustapa with various questions about Malaysia’s education system and its relevance to developing a knowledge-based society.
Mustapa fielded questions on the problem of Malaysian students opting to remain abroad, on Malaysia’s move to embrace meritocracy to replace race-based quotas for university admission and on moves to increase the number of research universities, doctors and other professionals.
The students are here on an eight-day programme under the Harvard College in Asia Project (HACP) where they partner with Universiti Tecknologi Malaysia (UTM) for conferences, cultural and educational activities, and staying in foster homes.
Their visit here reciprocates a visit by nine UTM students to Harvard last month.
HCAP president Daniel Mejia said the programme was aimed at developing relationships between students of different countries who were "the future leaders of tomorrow".
"My fellow students know very little of Malaysia, but that’s the point of this exchange programme, so we can learn more," said Mejia, 22, who will graduate in June with a bachelors degree in government.
Third-year Mathematics and Economics major Raymond Yu said he chose to visit Malaysia because of its progress towards developed-country status.
"I think Malaysia is the best example of a developing country trying to achieve developed status," said Yu, an American of Shanghainese parentage.Mejia said his group was eager to learn about Malaysia as it had similarities with the United States in terms of a multiracial society.
Other Harvard students under the same project are in simultaneous exchange programmes with the Peking University in China, Hong Kong University, National University of Singapore, Tokyo University in Japan, and St Xavier’s College in Mumbai, India.
HCAP began four years ago and this is the first time a Malaysian university was participating.
100ml limit for liquids, aerosols and gels in hand luggage
By: NG CHENG YEE
SEPANG: Liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in airline passengers’ hand luggage will soon be limited to 100ml per item for all international flights departing from Malaysia.
“LAGs carried in containers larger than 100ml will also not be acceptable, even if the container is only partially filled,” Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Kok Soo Chon told a press conference yesterday.
He said these containers must be placed in a transparent resealable plastic bag of a maximum one-litre capacity and that the containers must fit comfortably within the transparent plastic bag, which should be completely sealed.
Kok said the transparent plastic bag must be taken along by the passenger and presented to security personnel at the security checkpoint for separate X-ray screening.
The restrictions came about after the International Civil Aviation Organisation recommended them to all its 190 member countries, including Malaysia, following a foiled plot which involved liquid explosives concealed in hand luggage on flights from London to the United States on Aug 9 last year.
Kok said the announcement was to create awareness among passengers travelling on international flights so they would not find themselves in an awkward situation when reaching countries that had started to impose such restrictions.
The Government would announce the implementation date later.
“In the meantime, we are coordinating with the relevant agencies such as Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, airlines and retail shops to get them prepared,” he said.
Kok said countries which had implemented such security restrictions include the United States, Britain, European Union nations, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Exemptions, however, would be given to those who were carrying infants with them. They would be able to bring baby formulae onboard.
“However, the parents should only bring what is required throughout the journey and not anything more than that,” Kok said.
Passengers on medication would also be allowed to bring a reasonable dosage with them onboard but they must prove that the drugs belonged to them by carrying the relevant documents, he said.
He said passengers could still purchase LAGs from duty-free shops, located after security screening points in Malaysian airports, and bring them onboard but these items must be packed in a transparent and sealed plastic bag with receipts attached.
“The date on the receipts must be the day of departure or transit and if the seal is broken, the purchased items will be confiscated,” he said.
Cuba wants its medical degrees recognised
By: PAUL GABRIEL
KUALA LUMPUR: Cuba may boast of amazing medical achievements but there is one “breakthrough” still being pursued – getting Malaysia to recognise its medical courses.
The Cuban Government has been awaiting the outcome of a survey by a Public Services Department team that visited Havana last April to evaluate four medical universities.
Cuban Ambassador Pedro Monzon Barata said that with the bilateral co-operation in the field of medicine and biotechnology on the upswing, Cuba’s medical programmes should get credence here.
“Maybe our hostels and facilities are not as presentable as they are here but in terms of the courses and healthcare system, we are very solid.
“Cuba has the best doctor-patient ratio in the world and about 50,000 of our health professionals are helping out in 73 poor countries,” he said, adding that thousands of students from all over the world have graduated or are studying medicine in Cuba.
Monzon Barata said although the medical courses were taught in Spanish, students were given a six-month intensive language course and this was good enough for them to handle the course.
“Most of the medical course books used in Cuba are in English.”
The envoy said his Government had, on two occasions, offered 100 medical scholarships to Malaysia but none had been taken up so far.
“A student here approached me recently for a scholarship and she is likely to be the first Malaysian to enrol for our medical course in September,” he added.
He said a Cuban scientist would arrive here next week to begin clinical trials on an anti-cancer vaccine.
“Cuban hepatitis B vaccines have been on sale here for the past two years,” he added.
Kekalkan kuota Melayu di WPI – Dr. M
JOHOR BAHRU 29 Mac – Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad mahu kuota orang Melayu dikekalkan dalam merancang pembangunan Wilayah Pembangunan Iskandar (WPI) di selatan Johor.
Bekas Perdana Menteri itu berkata, hak yang sedia ada perlu dipelihara bagi mengelak orang Melayu terpinggir dan gagal bersaing dengan pelabur asing di wilayah tersebut.
Beliau menegaskan, peluang perlu diberi kepada orang Melayu terlebih dahulu dan jika mereka tidak berjaya barulah diserahkan kepada pihak lain yang mampu melaksanakannya.
‘‘Saya yakin jika tiada kuota bagi Melayu, siapa sahaja boleh masuk, maka Melayu tidak ada tempat di wilayah tersebut.
‘‘Kita mesti jaga hak dalam wilayah kita, kalau tidak kita hilang harta yang ada,” katanya.
Dr. Mahathir memberi peringatan itu ketika berucap pada Forum Rakyat – Kepimpinan Melayu di Era Globalisasi di Kelab Putri Kulai, dekat sini hari ini yang dihadiri kira-kira 500 orang.
WPI merangkumi kawasan lebih daripada 2,000 hektar yang sedang dibangunkan oleh Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah) untuk mengubahnya agar setanding dengan Singapura dan Hong Kong.
Sebelum ini, Panel Penasihat Lembaga WPI, Tun Musa Hitam dalam satu temu bual dengan agensi berita antarabangsa berkata, Malaysia patut mengecualikan pembangunan di WPI daripada dasar keistimewaan kepada bumiputera bagi membantu menarik dana pelabur asing.
Musa dipetik sebagai berkata, dasar yang memberikan keutamaan laluan kepada bumiputera terhadap kontrak kerajaan mungkin boleh menjadi penghalang kedatangan pelabur asing ke WPI.
Dr. Mahathir juga melahirkan rasa kurang yakin orang Melayu sudah bersedia untuk bersaing bagi menempatkan diri setanding dengan pelabur asing di wilayah tersebut.
‘‘Kalau benarkan mereka (orang asing) masuk, saya yakin negara akan menjadi maju tetapi ia bukan lagi negara kita,” tegasnya.