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Voter education: EC’s top priority in 2020

PUTRAJAYA, The Election Commission (EC) is making voter education its top priority this year and is planning to visit 2,400 secondary schools nationwide for this purpose, said EC chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.

“We want to visit schools, engage with Form 4 students and conduct simulation of the election to introduce the system to them, he said, adding that the module for the voter education was ready.

The respective state ECs will conduct the programmes, he said.

We will make public the module so that no party can raise allegations of us trying to indoctrinate students. We are not in the business of indoctrinating anybody but we just want to educate the students,” he told reporters here today.

Earlier, Azhar received a courtesy call from the Special Select Committee on Election and Special Select Committee on Major Public Appointments’ delegation.

On the development of automatic voter registration of 18-year-old citizens, Azhar said the computer system contract has been finalised but he has no further details on the contract, such as the company involved or the contract value.

According to him, the EC expects the lowering of the voting age to 18 and automatic voter registration, to be implemented by the middle of next year.

He said the EC had also manually identified that over two million people were expected to become new voters when the system is implemented.

“When a person is registered as a voter, we have to look at his or her address to determine the locality. The locality will also determine where he or she will vote.

“Though the system and laws are still not in place the EC secretariat has processed this manually to determine the localities.

“When the system is implemented we will be well-prepared,” he said.

On the recommendation by the Electoral Reform Committee to restructure the EC to three independent entities, Azhar said he was willing to accept the proposal.

“If there is a proposal to set up a different agency for the election process or to redelienate the electoral boundaries and so forth, if these could improve matters, I support them.

“For instance should there be an agency to look into the redelienation exercise and its establishment could improve the electoral process, I’m all for anything that could make things better,” he said.

The ERC, in its interim report, submitted 49 recommendations on electoral reform to the government, for the purpose of improving the system and encouraging transparency.

When asked about online voting (e-voting), Azhar said the involvement and views of experts and stakeholders were needed before any decisions could be made.

“We want more engagements and we still need expert opinion.

“We need to satisfy voters that by using the system, their votes are safe. This is something that is difficult for us to prove, and of course we are also afraid of hackers. We need to look into this,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Voter education: EC’s top priority in 2020

PUTRAJAYA, The Election Commission (EC) is making voter education its top priority this year and is planning to visit 2,400 secondary schools nationwide for this purpose, said EC chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.

“We want to visit schools, engage with Form 4 students and conduct simulation of the election to introduce the system to them, he said, adding that the module for the voter education was ready.

The respective state ECs will conduct the programmes, he said.

We will make public the module so that no party can raise allegations of us trying to indoctrinate students. We are not in the business of indoctrinating anybody but we just want to educate the students,” he told reporters here today.

Earlier, Azhar received a courtesy call from the Special Select Committee on Election and Special Select Committee on Major Public Appointments’ delegation.

On the development of automatic voter registration of 18-year-old citizens, Azhar said the computer system contract has been finalised but he has no further details on the contract, such as the company involved or the contract value.

According to him, the EC expects the lowering of the voting age to 18 and automatic voter registration, to be implemented by the middle of next year.

He said the EC had also manually identified that over two million people were expected to become new voters when the system is implemented.

“When a person is registered as a voter, we have to look at his or her address to determine the locality. The locality will also determine where he or she will vote.

“Though the system and laws are still not in place the EC secretariat has processed this manually to determine the localities.

“When the system is implemented we will be well-prepared,” he said.

On the recommendation by the Electoral Reform Committee to restructure the EC to three independent entities, Azhar said he was willing to accept the proposal.

“If there is a proposal to set up a different agency for the election process or to redelienate the electoral boundaries and so forth, if these could improve matters, I support them.

“For instance should there be an agency to look into the redelienation exercise and its establishment could improve the electoral process, I’m all for anything that could make things better,” he said.

The ERC, in its interim report, submitted 49 recommendations on electoral reform to the government, for the purpose of improving the system and encouraging transparency.

When asked about online voting (e-voting), Azhar said the involvement and views of experts and stakeholders were needed before any decisions could be made.

“We want more engagements and we still need expert opinion.

“We need to satisfy voters that by using the system, their votes are safe. This is something that is difficult for us to prove, and of course we are also afraid of hackers. We need to look into this,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Influenza: Selangor still has highest number of cases among schoolchildren

KUALA LUMPUR, Selangor still has the highest number of schoolchildren infected with influenza, with 863 cases of Influenza A and N1 recorded to date.

Selangor State Education Director Dr Mahanom Mat Sam said the cases were recorded in 278 schools involving 10 locations.

She said the district with the highest number of cases was Petaling Perdana with 231 cases, followed by Klang (154), Petaling Utama (113) and Sepang (102).

Gombak recorded 88 cases, followed by Hulu Langat (85), Kuala Langat (27), Hulu Selangor (20), Sabak Bernam (nine) and Kuala Selangor (eight).

All the victims have received treatment at nearby clinics and hospitals and reported to be stable. Those who were warded and monitored at the hospital have also been allowed to return home and were given three to seven days of medical leave, he said in a statement here today.

However, no classes or schools in Selangor were ordered to close.

In PENANG, State Education Director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad said 226 pupils in 110 primary and secondary schools in Penang had been infected to date, compared to 198 cases from 96 schools recorded last Friday.

A total of 181 students from 87 primary schools and 45 students from 23 secondary schools in the state have been infected with influenza to date, seven of them receiving hospital treatment while the others are in quarantine at their homes, he said.

Apart from the students, he said seven female teachers from four primary schools and three secondary schools were also infected, with four of them receiving hospital treatment.

Meanwhile, Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad said a Year Two class at SJKC Kai Chee in Sungai Dua, Butterworth, was closed from today until Jan 26, after four students were infected.

In addition, the preschool class at SK Pinang Tunggal, Kepala Batas was also closed from Friday (Jan 17) to Jan 23, while two Year 2 classes at the SJKC Li Hwa which was closed since Jan 8, were reopened today, he told Bernama.

In PERAK, a State Education Department spokesman said the number of students infected as of today was 103, up from 99 cases recorded yesterday.

He said the Kinta district saw the highest number of cases with 48 students from 29 schools, while Bagan Datuk had 19 cases involving five schools, followed by Larut Matang and Selama with 14 cases from 10 schools, and Manjung with eight cases at five schools.

The Central Perak district recorded three cases at three schools, followed by Kuala Kangsar (four cases at three schools), Kerian (two cases at two schools), Hilir Perak (four cases at two schools) and Batang Padang, (one case).

However, SM Sains Teluk Intan (Semesti) in the Bagan Datuk district was reopened today after being closed since Monday, when 10 students were found to be infected with Influenza A.

In PAHANG, 65 cases of influenza were reported to the State Education Department today, up from 56 cases last week.

Its director, Datuk Dr Tajuddin Mohd Yunus, said they involved 53 pupils of primary schools, five pre-school children, five secondary school students and two teachers.

The area most affected is Kuantan involving 28 students, including one from secondary school and a preschooler.

Cameron Highlands and Maran each recorded eight cases followed by Pekan (six students and one teacher), Temerloh (six students), Bentong (four students) Bera (two students) and one each in Jerantut and Rompin, he said when was contacted here today.

Tajuddin said another teacher in Cameron Highlands had also been diagnosed with influenza, but no classes or schools were closed so far as all those involved had been quarantined at home or were being treated in hospital.

In KEDAH, 65 students and teachers in 39 primary and secondary schools were infected as of today, according to State Education and Human Resources Committee chairman Dr Salmee Said.

She said it involved seven districts, namely Kuala Muda/Yan with 11 schools, Kulim/Bandar Baharu (11), Kubang Pasu (8), Kota Setar (4), Pendang and Padang Terap (two each); and Sik with one school.

The (number of) influenza cases in the state has not reached a level that requires classes or schools to be closed. In terms of school managements, they will act according to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in place, including in the aspects of hygiene, she said, adding that the situation was under control with continued monitoring by the Ministry of Health.

In SABAH, State Education Director Dr Mistirine Radin said 12 primary schoolchildren were infected with Influenza A as of last Friday.

However, everything is under control. They (schoolchildren) are being treated in hospital, she told reporters after observing the implementation of the Enhanced Supplementary Food Programme (ESFP) at SK Kebagu in Kota Kinabalu.

On Dec 29, the Sabah Health and People’s Wellbeing Ministry recorded eight cases of N1 involving children in the state.

In JOHOR, 138 students were found to have shown influenza-like symptoms as of yesterday.

State Education, Health and Human Resources Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan said, however, the situation is still under control with those having the symptoms being advised not to come to school and seek medical treatment.

It is best for children who have fever or cough not to come to school to prevent them from spreading the disease to their classmates and others, he told reporters after launching the Johor Bahru District Schools Influenza Prevention Campaign, at SK Taman Damai Jaya today.

Aminolhuda said so far, all the pupils were only suspected of contracting influenza, and there had been no confirmation from hospitals as yet.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

ESFP recipients grateful for school meal programme

KUALA LUMPUR, To many schoolchildren, starting the day with a hearty breakfast before going to school have long being taken for granted.

Thus it came as a shock for the most obese country in Asia, that thousands of children are going to school on empty stomachs.

However, things are looking better as starting today, about 4,000 poor and hardcore poor pupils in 100 primary schools across the country received free meals before lessons through the Enhanced Supplementary Food Programme (ESFP) initiative, implemented by the Education Ministry.

Bernama talked to some of the recipients who were thankful to the ministry as they came from underprivileged groups who have to suffer hunger at school.

In PENANG, a Year Six pupil of Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Jelutong Barat, Mohd Afiq Danish Azizan said the initiative was a relief for poor pupils like him as he did not have to worry about going hungry.

It is a relief to be able to eat before class starts because my family couldn’t afford breakfast for my seven siblings, said Mohd Afiq, the fourth in his family when met at the school canteen.

A Year Five pupil from the same school, S. Manisha said prior to this she only had bread and plain water before school.

I had lost my mother, so my father could only prepare a simple breakfast before school. Now, I am very happy to be able to eat with my friends before lessons every day, she said.

In SELANGOR, a Year Six pupil from SK Jeram Batu 20, Muhammad Aiman Azlan was excited about the ESFP programme that he came to school earlier than usual.

I had no breakfast at home… but today we had a delicious meal and we also learned to tidy up our food pack and the table after breakfast, said the fisherman’s son.

In PERAK, a nine-year-old pupil from SK Datin Khadijah, Nah Huang Ching, was very happy with her free meal as she usually only had milk for breakfast.

I used to have stomach ache while waiting for recess to eat the meal provided through the Supplementary Food Programme (RMT). There I get to eat food like chicken rice and nasi lemak, she said.

The school’s headmistress, Hamisah Hussain is relieved with the ESFP initiative as pupils from the less fortunate families could have breakfast. Sometimes during the morning assembly, some pupils would faint because they did not have breakfast and most of them were from poor families. I think this (initiative) is very helpful to our pupils, she said.

In KUALA LUMPUR, twins Wong Zhi Hin and Wong Zhi Jun, 7, from the Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJKC) Salak South were thrilled to have the ESFP meal consisting nasi lemak, fried meehon, banana and Milo.

The food is delicious… I hope we can have Milo again tomorrow. Usually, we only had bread at home for breakfast, Zhi Hin said.

In NEGERI SEMBILAN, M.Inthiran, 11 from Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) Batu Hampar was happy for the free breakfast as he no longer needs to stay hungry until recess.

For breakfast, I either have a piece of bread or nothing at all. I only have a 50 cent allowance to buy a piece of cake during recess or after school.

My family is quite poor with my mother working as a security guard and my father is self-employed. So I could not spend much at school, said the third of four siblings.

In PAHANG, a Year Four pupil Intan Nursoleha Roslan from SK Temin said she usually could not have breakfast at home as she had to leave for school at 6.30 am with her father, who would then go straight to work.

It has been several years since I had any breakfast before school… I am used to having no breakfast and bought rice during recess to keep my stomach full.

Today, I received some quite heavy breakfast. I think I’ll still be full during the recess and will only buy a cake. It’s cheaper and I can keep my money in the moneybox, she said.

In TERENGGANU, a ten-year-old from SK Jerong, Nur Khalisah Mohd Noor Azlin, said the meal programme would help her to save her pocket money.

Usually my mother would provide between RM2 to RM5. If I got RM5, I must keep RM1 in my moneybox, so I would only spend RM4… I’m very thankful for the free breakfast. I can save more money, she said.

In JOHOR, SK Pekan Layang-Layang pupil, Afiez Asyraf Asrul Azli, 11, also expressed his joy of having breakfast with friends at school, as he rarely had any breakfast and would only eat during recess.

Today I had nasi lemak with friends and I am looking forward to tomorrow’s breakfast, he said.

Another pupil, J. Jenneyfer, 11 said the teacher in charge explained the benefits of having breakfast and she was lucky to be selected for the programme which enabled her to practice a healthy lifestyle.

In KELANTAN, a Year Four pupil from SK Panggong, V. Tashwin Jay did not expect the meal he received today was delicious.

I believed that I’ll be able to concentrate better in class today, said the eldest of four siblings.

In SARAWAK, a Year Four pupil from SK Tambirat, Nur Fazniey Fitri revealed that she usually only had some bread and Milo to keep her from hungry during lessons.

However, she was thrilled with today’s breakfast of fried rice, omelette and watermelon provided by the school through the ESFP programme.

IN SABAH, a Bernama survey at SK Tanjung Aru, Labuan found that the eligible pupils for the programme look excited when lining up to receive their meal.

According to the headmistress Faridah Amit, the programme is a huge help for her pupils who could not afford to have breakfast to stay focus and energetic in class.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Malaysia’s Education Minister resigns

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia’s Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik today announced that he is stepping down from his post effective Friday, January 3.

In a 4.30pm press conference at his office, that was broadcast live by Bernama TV, he said he had met up with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad earlier today.

During the press conference, Dr Maszlee spoke in details some of the achievements made in the last one year by the ministry during his tenure.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mahathir, who confirmed that he had accepted Dr Maszlee’s resignation, said he will name the new Education Minister soon.

Maszlee, 45, who is Member Parliament of Simpang Renggam, had earlier this morning spent his time visiting schools in the city which had reopened to begin this year’s school session.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

A teacher’s plea for compassion and generosity for suffering husband

PENDANG, Dec 20 Fardhu Ain (Islamic) teacher, Che Puteh Saleh, 37, who earns just RM1,000 per month, is making a plea for donations to her husband who has been bedridden for a year after suffering a stroke and kidney stone complications which have also harmed his liver.

Che Puteh, from Kampung Changkat Nering, said apart from her husband, Khairul Amri Ahmad, 46, her father, Saleh Saman, 88, is bedridden, too, due to a condition related to age.

While financial support is vital, the mum to a two-year-old said she hungers emotional support as well.

My husband was involved in the construction of bunds before the stroke last October affected the left side of his body. He was taken to Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah (HSB), Alor Setar and during treatment there was blood in his urine.

After a scan, doctors discovered stones in both kidneys, and even more dreadful, his liver was impacted, too. He couldn’t undergo surgery because he was too weak and it was too risky, she said when met at her house today.

Although he was released from hospital recently, he has to go back for monthly checks and treatment.

Aside from the adult diapers required by both men costing about RM300 per month, Khairul also needs a special milk which costs RM44 per tin weighing 400gm and finishes in a day.

Che Puteh is feeling sad because assistance with the milk by the HSB welfare office will be over at the end of this month and she will have to find a way to buy the milk herself.

But she is grateful that the Social Welfare Department (JKM) gives her RM350 per month which helps with the cost of necessities for her husband.

Sahabat Charity Balqish (SCB) heard of her plight and its chairwoman, Rukiza Abu Bakar, has presented her with some cash and necessities like adult diapers.

The public can help, too, by contacting Che Puteh at 019-455 3169 or sending donations to her Maybank account:1521 2529 5969.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

499 students in Penang’s Northeast district get financial aid

GEORGE TOWN, Dec 17– A total of 499 students from Penang’s Northeast district received financial aid for enrolment in higher education institutions (IPT) for the September admission session this year.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the financial aid involved an allocation of RM498,700 from the state government.

“This financial aid has cost RM4 million annually to honour the young in Penang who have managed to further their studies at the IPT.

The state government always welcomes all of you to come back to Penang after graduating from the IPT. Penang does not have its own natural resources, therefore we would like to welcome human capital development to this state.

He said this in his speech at the Northeast district-level cheque presentation for the aid held at Dewan Sri Pinang, here, today.

Chow said the financial assistance was divided into three categories, with RM300 given to students pursuing studies at the country’s polytechnics, RM1,000 to students pursuing studies in Peninsular Malaysia universities and RM1,200 to students pursuing studies in Sabah and Sarawak universities.

Prior to this, the state government provided RM645,100 for the same assistance in the Seberang Perai Utara district, RM540,800 in the Seberang Perai Tengah district, RM251,400 in the Seberang Perai Selatan district and RM299,400 for the Southwest district.

The Northeast region was the last to receive the aid for this session. Students who were unable to attend the cheque presentation were represented by their family members.

Erdawaty Azhar, 42, who is from Balik Pulau, represented his eldest son Muhammad Amirul Irfan Zazali, 20, to collect a cheque for RM1,000 today.

According to her, Muhammad Amirul, currently studying at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), was unable to attend the session as he had to take a test at his campus. He had been offered to pursue a degree in Biology at USM.

“As a housewife and mother of four children, I am thankful for this assistance as it should reduce the burden on our family. My son has told me that this would be used to buy books and other study materials,” she told Bernama.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)