12 October 2007

Utara: Isu elaun guru Kafa selesai

Berita Harian

Oleh Azmi Md Deros

Jaik masukkan bayaran dalam buku akaun sejak kelmarin bolehkan mereka buat persiapan raya

ALOR STAR: Masalah kelewatan pembayaran elaun kira-kira 3,500 guru Kelas al-Quran dan Fardu Ain (Kafa) di negeri itu yang tertunggak sejak Ogos lalu, selesai apabila Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) menyalurkan peruntukan, baru-baru ini.

Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, berkata kelewatan itu berpunca masalah komunikasi antara Jabatan Agama Islam Kedah (Jaik) dan Jakim.

"Kerajaan negeri sudah menghubungi Jakim dan masalah kelewatan pembayaran elaun itu sudah diselesaikan apabila Jakim membuat bayaran sebanyak kira-kira RM4 juta kepada kerajaan negeri," katanya ketika ditemui selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat Exco di sini, kelmarin.

Beliau diminta mengulas rungutan kira-kira 3,500 guru Kafa yang lewat menerima elaun mereka sebanyak RM500 sebulan sejak Ogos lalu.

Guru terbabit mendakwa mereka kerap menerima elaun lewat antara dua atau tiga minggu setiap bulan, tetapi kali ini adalah paling lambat kerana lebih dua bulan, sekali gus menyukarkan mereka membuat persiapan Aidilfitri.

Sementara itu, jurucakap Jaik ketika dihubungi berkata, guru Kafa terbabit boleh mengambil elaun mereka yang disalurkan melalui akaun masing-masing mulai semalam dan hari ini.

Dalam perkembangan lain, Mahdzir berkata, kerajaan negeri akan berbincang dengan Kementerian Pengangkutan untuk mengambil alih bangunan Marina Habour di Kuala Kedah yang terbiar sejak beberapa tahun lalu untuk diserahkan kepada sebuah syarikat berkaitan kerajaan negeri bagi diuruskan.

"Ia akan dimasukkan ke dalam komponen pembangunan bandar `water front' yang akan dilaksanakan berhampiran bangunan marina itu.

"Projek fasa pertamanya membabitkan keluasan 14.4 hektar berharga RM60 juta yang terdiri daripada ruang niaga dan siar kaki dijangka siap dua tahun lagi dan bakal menjadi mercu tanda dan destinasi pelancong terbaru di negeri ini," katanya.

Education Ministry announces promotions

The Star

Noor Rezan: Promoted to deputy director-general (Schools)
PUTRAJAYA: Schools Division director Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim heads a list of promotions in the Education Ministry.

Noor Rezan has been promoted to deputy director-general (Schools), replacing Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom who is Education director-general.

“I want to ensure there is a good succession plan at all levels within the ministry, state education departments, district education offices and schools,” she said when contacted.

Noor Rezan said she would encourage a “cross over” of people from all over.

“As an example, a school principal could be posted to the ministry for some time to be exposed to the administrative side of things.

“Then, when she is posted back to the school, she can fall back on her previous experience as principal as well as use what she has learnt at the ministry level,” she said.

She advised heads of departments not to be selfish but to inform her if there were strong candidates within their departments or schools.

“If you are a good leader, you must continually ‘breed’ good people to take over and not just think of yourself.

“Send them for exposure and training at the ministry so we can post them back to the state education departments, district education offices and schools once they have gained the necessary experience,” she said.

This would ensure there was a continual supply of good leaders in all areas, she added.

Noor Rezan, who has previously served as Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur education director and SMK (P) Bukit Bintang (now known as SMK Seri Bintang Utara) principal, would also concentrate on cluster schools.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein had announced the list of the 30 pioneer cluster schools in March where school heads are given autonomy in five key areas – human resources, school funds, student intake, teaching and learning, and examinations and evaluation.

A statement from the ministry named Dr Salbiah Ismail as the new Technology Education Division director, Dr Faridah Mohamed as her deputy, Rozainum Ahmad as Special Education Department director (Schools Management Division) and Hussain Harun as Perak state education director.

Other promotions include Mohd Radzi Abd Jabar as the Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur education director, Dr Julaihi Bujang as Sarawak state education director, Zulkifly Mohd Wazir as Schools Division director and Datuk Dr Adi Badiozaman Tuan as senior consultant to the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate.

Final exam after astronaut returns to Earth

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: He may have passed the vigorous tests to become Malaysia’s first Angkasawan, but Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor still has a final exam before receiving his Masters of Surgery (Orthopaedics and Traumatology).

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, 34, who is heading for the International Space Station (ISS), was in his final year of the four-year programme at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) when he was shortlisted for the Angkasawan programme.

Hospital UKM (HUKM) director Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Abdul Razak said: “He can take his final exam once Mosti (Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry) releases him after he returns and is ready to sit for it.”

Prof Dr Mohamad, former head of HUKM’s Orthopaedics and Traumatology Department, added that he was proud of Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s accomplishment.

He joked that the university initially wanted to give Dr Sheikh Muszaphar his final exam in space but he would only be there for nine days.

The exam requires six months of clinical training.

UKM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin said she was thankful that Dr Sheikh Muszaphar had made it safely into space.

“At UKM, we’re very proud as he is one of our staff members. Now, we can say that UKM is not only internationalised but is also in space,” she said with a smile.

Dr Sharifah Hapsah added that two of the experiments Dr Sheikh Muszaphar would be carrying out at the ISS were conceived and prepared by UKM scientists.

She was speaking to reporters after the signing of world-renowned paediatric surgeon Prof Dr Tan Hock Lim’s four-year service contract with the university yesterday.

Leave frozen for 2,000 officers

The Star

PETALING JAYA: More than 2,000 enforcement officers of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry have had their Hari Raya leave frozen so as to keep tabs on traders during the festive season.

“The ministry’s enforcement officers nationwide are required to monitor markets and retail outlets to ensure traders obey the law,” said minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, adding that leave for the ministry's personnel has been frozen from Oct 4 to Oct 17.

Leave would also be frozen during the Deepavali holidays next month, he told reporters after conducting price checks at the Section 17 morning market here yesterday.

Between Sept 13 and yesterday, 212,392 retail outlets and markets have been inspected.

Two hundred licences were issued to traders for the sale of controlled items, 672 traders were issued compounds totalling RM86,950 and RM119,096 worth of goods were confiscated by the ministry during this period.

Based on statistics provided by the ministry, offences most committed were failure to display pink price tags for controlled items (502 cases) and selling goods above ceiling prices (64).

Selangor, Terengganu and Perak recorded the most errant traders with 82, 78 and 73 cases respectively.

On the price rise of Nestle milk products, Shafie said the increase was done in stages so that consumers would not feel the sudden price pinch.

He said prices of dairy products worldwide had gone up because European farmers no longer received subsidies and it was inevitable that consumers were affected.

11 October 2007

Errant Civil Servants Face Action, Says Sidek


PUTRAJAYA, Oct 11 (Bernama) -- Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Sidek Mohd Hassan, has vowed to take action against civil servants who had flouted rules when discharging their duties.

"Civil servants mentioned in the 2006 Auditor-General's Report and found to have been negligent in carrying out their duties or had committed irregularities will be dealt with without fear or favour if they are unable to provide credible explanations on their actions," he told a briefing at the Prime Minister's office here today.

He said if need be, regulatory authorities like the Anti-Corruption Agency, would be called in to deal with the wrong-doers mentioned in the report.

"In other instances, disciplinary action will be taken at the departmental or agency level," he said.

Asked when action would be taken, Sidek said soon and there was no need to wait until next year until the next AG's report.

He said the government took a serious view of the offences and would not condone the actions of a few who had tarnished the image of the civil service.

He said next year's AG report would contain information on the actions that had been taken against the wrong-doers as well as corrective measures to prevent a recurrence of the mistakes.

The 2006 AG's report, issued in early September, revealed several cases of mismanagement of public funds by a number of ministries involving the purchase of items and equipment costing more than triple their market price.

Sidek said the government was serious in tackling corruption and effecting a better delivery system within the civil service.

He said a number of government personnel had been transferred or demoted for failing to perform their duties satisfactorily.

Sidek said Pemudah (Pasukan Petugas Khas Pemudahcara Perniagaan), a body entrusted to deal with ways to tackle bureaucracy and facilitate a better delivery system, had been helping the government in a number of areas.

He said these included getting more ministries and departments to provide on-line services to help the public and reduce the waiting time.

Sidek said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had been instrumental in initiating various measures aimed at improving the civil service, effecting a better delivery system, cutting red tape and combating corruption.

09 October 2007

New positions, promotions for those teaching Form Six

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: New positions and promotions are in store next year for principals of schools with Form Six classes.

The new positions are for coordinators put in charge of Form Six classes and teachers who will handle co-curricular activities, sources said.

The coordinators would be on two promotional grades – DG44 or DG48 – while the teachers who would only handle co-curricular activities for Form Six classes would be on DG44, they added. The principals would be promoted from DG48 to DG52.

The position of coordinators and teachers handling Form Six co-curricular activities are new positions.

“Teachers are often reluctant to teach Form Six classes because they are examination classes and are much tougher compared with other forms,” they said.

The sources said the Education Ministry was expected to create about 3,000 opportunities for upgrading with these new positions and promotions.

“The ministry is making the teaching of Form Six classes more rewarding because they are tougher,” the said.

National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng said the Government has recognised the difficulty of teaching Form Six classes by offering these opportunities.

“This is a very good move and we fully support it,” she said.

This year, 154,389 students with SPM qualified for entry to Lower Six.

A secondary school principal, who has been on DG48 for the last 10 years, welcomed the news.

“This is long overdue and will certainly motivate everyone to work harder,” he said.

50 lagi lulusan cemerlang matrikulasi ke luar negara

Berita Harian

Oleh Syuhada Choo Abdullah

Pelajar dipilih ikuti ijazah di 5 universiti berprestij United Kingdom

SERAMAI 50 lulusan cemerlang Program Matrikulasi Kementerian Pelajaran akan dihantar melanjutkan pelajaran ke universiti terkemuka luar negara menerusi Skim Latihan Tenaga Pengajar Program Matrikulasi, tahun depan.

Pengarah Bahagian Matrikulasi, Kementerian Pelajaran, Prof Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad, berkata bilangan itu meningkat lebih sekali ganda berbanding hanya 21 pelajar dihantar tahun ini dan 18 pada tahun lalu.

Katanya, pelaksanaan itu adalah salah satu agenda pengantarabangsaan program matrikulasi yang menjadi antara fokus utama bahagian berkenaan dalam Pelan Strategik Jangka Panjang.

Sambil menjelaskan penghantaran tahun ini sudah berlepas pada 21 September lalu, beliau berkata, pelajar terpilih itu mengikuti pengajian ijazah pertama dalam bidang sains di lima universiti berprestij United Kingdom.

Universiti terbabit ialah University of Surrey, University of Nottingham, University of Birmingham, University of Manchester dan King's College, University of London.

"Menerusi jalinan kerjasama dimeterai sejak 2006, universiti terbabit berkeyakinan untuk memberi keistimewaan kemasukan terus kepada lulusan cemerlang Program Matrikulasi Kementerian Pelajaran," katanya.

Peraturan sedia ada di United Kingdom mensyaratkan pelajar tempatan dan antarabangsa menjalani saringan ujian Perkhidmatan Kemasukan Universiti dan Kolej (UCAS) sebelum layak memasuki mana-mana universiti negara itu.

"Pihak universiti terbabit bersetuju memberi laluan kemasukan terus khas kepada lulusan Program Matrikulasi Kementerian Pelajaran selepas meneliti dan yakin terhadap kualiti kurikulum program ini.

"Selain itu, ia juga atas dasar kepercayaan kepada jaminan bahagian ini untuk hanya menghantar lulusan terbaik yang mampu mengikuti pengajian dengan cemerlang.

"Ternyata pelajar yang dihantar berjaya membuktikan prestasi pencapaian tinggi. Malah, tinjauan terhadap kumpulan pertama mendapati seorang daripada empat pelajar yang mengikuti pengajian bidang Fizik di University of Surrey menduduki tempat teratas dalam peperiksaan akhir semester, manakala yang lain memasuki senarai tujuh terbaik," katanya kepada Berita Harian.

Dalam konteks ini, Zainal Abidin berkata, kerajaan membelanjakan hampir RM500,000 untuk setiap pelajar berkenaan yang ditaja menerusi Program Penghantaran Pelajar Cemerlang (PPC) ke universiti luar negara.

Katanya, pelajar dihantar ke United Kingdom akan mengikuti pengajian ijazah pertama selama tiga tahun dan setahun lagi menjalani latihan perguruan lepasan ijazah di sekolah negara itu.

Bangunan lembaga atom bocor

Berita Harian

DENGKIL: Hampir seluruh bangunan baru dua tingkat bernilai RM30 juta yang menempatkan pejabat Lembaga Pelesenan Tenaga Atom di Dengkil, dekat sini kelmarin mengalami kebocoran tidak sampai dua bulan diduduki.

Limpahan air dari bumbung bangunan itu ke tingkat bawah menyebabkan beberapa panel siling runtuh dan sekurang-kurangnya empat komputer rosak

Seorang pegawai yang enggan dikenali berkata beliau terkejut mendapati ruang pejabat digenangi air apabila tiba jam 7.30 pagi semalam.

"Pada mulanya, saya fikir orang terlupa menutup paip sinki dalam tandas tetapi apabila diperiksa saya melihat beberapa keping siling berselerakan atas lantai yang dipenuhi air," katanya ketika ditemui di tempat kejadian semalam.

Bangunan itu adalah antara tiga blok yang menempatkan bahagian penguatkuasa lembaga itu dan rekod mengenai syarikat multi nasional yang terbabit dalam aktiviti nuklear dan bahan radioaktif.

Sementara itu, Ketua Lembaga Pengarahnya, Datuk Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan, berkata kejadian mungkin disebabkan saluran palung bangunan itu tersumbat.