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Long-haired students sitting for exams will not be penalised during MCO

Male students who will be attending school to sit for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia or Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia 2020 and 2021 during the MCO will be given flexibility if they sport long hair.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the matter was decided in a special session of the National Security Council (MKN) today which agreed that no action would be taken against long-haired students.

“The Ministry of Education has made a decision as a result of discussions in a special session of the MKN, that despite long hair, students will be allowed to go to school without receiving any reprimands from teachers as barbershops are still not allowed to operate,” he said in a press conference on the developments relating to the MCO, here, today.

Ismail Sabri said the economic sector, involving barber shops, in affected areas was still closed for two weeks, and this (rule) would be evaluated by the Health Ministry depending on the situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same press conference, Ismail Sabri said institutions of higher learning or schools should not impose conditions on students to undergo COVID-19 screening tests in order to enter dormitories or to sit for examinations except for students with symptoms.

He said this after a complaint about the issue that students have to bear the costs of COVID-19 test screenings.

In the meantime, for the operation of optical shops, he said, permission was given by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry after examining the appeal of industry players but they were only allowed to operate with strict standard operating procedures or they would face appropriate action and punishment.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin previously announced the implementation of the MCO in six states — Penang, Selangor, Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan), Melaka, Johor and Sabah for a period of 14 days from Jan 13 to 26.

Some economic activities are allowed throughout the MCO with operating hours between 6 am and 8 pm except for certain activities including restaurants, eateries, roadside hawkers, and open-air (eateries) as well as food courts where dining at the premises is disallowed but only deliveries, packing food and drive-throughs are allowed.

In addition, kiosks, grocery stores, convenience stores and those for daily necessities, as well as laundries except for self-service ones are allowed to open within the same time limits.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

School textbooks now available in digital form – MOE

Perbadanan Kota Buku (PKB) has developed a digital textbook application, known as ‘KPM eTextbook Reader’ on behalf of the Ministry of Education (MOE/KPM) to enable schoolchildren to get their textbooks in a digital form.

In a statement, the MOE said the application would give the school children access to digital textbooks when they resume their school sessions during this Movement Control Order period from today until Jan 26.

“By using the eTextbook Reader, the students can read their textbooks in standard EPUB files which have rich media content and mobile ability.

“This application can be downloaded free of charge via www.textbook.moe.gov.my,” the statement said.

According to the MOE, the application would enable the schoolchildren to access the textbooks using their mobile phones or tablets at any time anywhere.

Internet access is not required to use the application, it added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

UKM to conduct research on Sheikh Abdullah Fahim’s legacy

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) through the Institute of Islam Hadhari has collaborated with the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Legacy Organisation (LEGASI) to conduct research on the contribution of Sheikh Abdullah Fahim in the development of Islamic Education and Islamic Astronomy in the early 20th century.

UKM deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof Datuk Ir Dr Abdul Wahab Mohammad said Sheikh Abdullah Fahim’s intellectual prowess in the field of astronomy through the the determination of prayer times, kiblat directions and the establishment of a star observatory was a legacy and treasure of knowledge that need to be studied in depth for the benefits of the current generation.

“Sheikh Abdullah Fahim is the grandfather of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and an Islamic scholar in the country.

“It was through his leadership on his return from Makkah in 1916 that the development of Islamic Education began to take shape in the country,” he said at the memorandum of agreement (MoA) signing ceremony between UKM and LEGASI, here today.

The MoA was signed by Abdul Wahab, on behalf of UKM while LEGASI was represented by its chairman Datuk Jefridin Atan.

Abdul Wahab said the research which would be led by Institute of Islam Hadhari fellow Associate Prof Dr Ermy Azziaty Rozali would be conducted by six researchers using RM50,000 funds allocated by LEGASI, for a period of two years.

“The findings of the research will also be published in top journals,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jefridin said the research would expose the younger generation to the scholar who had determined Aug 31, 1957 as the date for the country’s independence.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Foreign students can return to campus, international schools from Jan 1

— International students will be allowed to return to their respective campuses to resume their studies for the 2021 academic year, effective Jan 1, except those from the United Kingdom (UK) due to the latest COVID-19 situation in that country.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said also included are existing students resuming their studies and new students who received offers from the country’s public and private higher learning institutions.

“Apart from getting a place at the university, they must have secured an accommodation as well, as we do not want them to come here first then to find a place to stay. Once everything in place prior to their arrival, only then we will allow them to return here,” he said at a press conference on the development of Movement Control Order (MCO) today.

He said the government also agreed to allow foreign students at international and private schools to return here accompanied by a guardian, also effective Jan 1.

However, he said it is subject to existing students whose application have been given approval and obtained a visa from the Immigration Department.

Ismail Sabri said all students and their guardians must comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set, including undergoing a swab test three days prior leaving for Malaysia as well as at the entry point, and undergo 10 days quarantine at the quarantine centre.

“The cost of the COVID-19 test must be borne by students or their guardians. The detailed SOPs and conditions for this will be announced by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE),” he said.

Asked whether Malaysian students will also be allowed to return to campus in January, Ismail Sabri said that the MOHE will make an announcement on the matter.

Meanwhile, on whether the government will ban flights from the UK following the discovery of a more infectious and ‘out of control’ COVID-19 variant, he said that the matter would be decided after obtaining a risk assessment from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“As for the new strain situation in the UK, as mentioned by the director-general of Health (Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah), we are still monitoring. We will get a report from the MOH in a special meeting of the National Security Council.

“If further action is needed, then we will announce it. Let the MOH make a risk assessment first,” he said.

He also stressed that Malaysia’s international borders are still closed except in certain cases.

The media reported that some countries such as in Europe had blocked flights from Britain after the finding of a new strain in London, United Kingdom, spreading out of control.

On the government’s plans towards reopening the country’s international borders, Ismail Sabri said that the government is still monitoring the matter.

“Thus far, we are looking at it. The Foreign Ministry will be involved as well. The situation may change in the near future. There are plans but we will see the current situation first before we announce anything,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

New vice-chancellors for UTM, UPNM

— Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Innovation), Prof Datuk Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail is the university’s new vice-chancellor effective from Jan 1, 2021 to Dec 31, 2023.

His appointment is to replace Prof Datuk Ir Dr Wahid Omar whose tenure ended last Aug 31.

Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad said she believed Ahmad Fauzi would continue the efforts and achievements to ensure UTM remains as one of the best research universities in the country.

“He (Ahmad Fauzi) has served as UTM deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Innovation) since 2015 and has over 25 years of experience in membrane technology development.

“He is also the editor of Desalination, the international journal on the science and technology of desalting and water purification, published by Elsevier UK and is the first Asian scientist to be appointed as its editor since the journal’s launch 50 years ago,” she said in a statement today.

Ahmad Fauzi, 54, has a bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Engineering, a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from UTMb and a Ph.D from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland in Chemical and Process Engineering.

Meanwhile, Army deputy chief, Lt Gen Datuk Hasagaya Abdullah has been appointed as the new vice-chancellor of the National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM), replacing Lt Gen Datuk Abdul Halim Jalal, effective Dec 19, 2020.

UPNM’s Leadership, Corporate and International Affairs Division in a statement today, said Abdul Halim had served as UPNM’s fifth vice-chancellor from May 1, 2018 until Dec 18, 2020.

According to the statement, besides his excellent academic background, Hasagaya fulfilled the criteria set for the post, which included deep understanding of the defence and security field, the regimental aspects of the military, international networking with foreign military, as well as expertise in defence management and logistics.

The position also requires experience in training, understanding of various aspects of military needs and being always relevant and consistent.

The handing-over of duties ceremony was held at the Senate Meeting Room, Chancellery Building, UPNM, here, today.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

PTPTN receives Five Stars in AKKP Award 2019

— The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) has received the 2019 Security Protection Special Award (AKKP) in recognition of its governance in security protection which achieved the Excellence (Five Stars) rating.

The award was presented by Kuala Lumpur Chief Government Security Office (CGSO) director Syarifuddin Palawa to PTPTN chief executive Ahmad Dasuki Abdul Majid at Menara PTPTN here on Dec 18, which was streamed live on the corporation’s Facebook page.

In a statement today, PTPTN said it remained committed to providing security protection not only on documentation and assets but also employees and customers by providing a safe working environment in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994.

“This proves that PTPTN is always committed to practising the best governance in ensuring security protection in terms of physical security, document safety and information confidentiality especially official secret documents and personal security.

“It is also to prevent security breaches such as leakage, theft and unauthorised access,” he said.

Meanwhile, Syarifuddin said the rating was given based on the Security Protection Inspectorate programme in PTPTN which evaluated four criteria, namely, public security, physical security, document security and personal security.

“PTPTN is one out of 10 departments and agencies in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur to achieve a five-star rating,” he added.

The AKKP programme, implemented by the Prime Minister’s Department’s GCSO, aimed at recognising the best governance among government departments and agencies besides fostering a culture of security protection among civil servants and at the same time encouraging government departments to compete healthily to achieve the highest recognition.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

USM awarded UNESCO Chair for SDG6 in Asia-Pacific region

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has become the first university in Malaysia to be awarded the ‘UNESCO Chair on Ecohydraulics for Sustainable Water Infrastructure for Sustainable Development Goal No.6 (SDG6)’ in the Asia and Pacific region.

SDG6 is one of 17 sustainable development goals established by the United Nations in 2015 concerning clean water and sanitation, with the mission to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

According to a statement issued by USM today, the Chair will be hosted specifically at the USM River Engineering and Urban Drainage Research Centre (REDAC) covering a period of four years.

“With USM being selected for the water-related UNESCO Chair, the university is poised to become the international hub for education and research in sustainable water infrastructure. USM will dominantly be serving Asia and the Pacific region, addressing issues related to access to clean water impacting over 663 million people,” it said.

USM Engineering Campus director, Prof Dr Nor Azazi Zakaria, who also leads REDAC, said USM would spur aggressive international collaboration towards water security and sustainable water infrastructure not only for the country, but also the world.

“Water has long been a critical element to any civilisation and all living beings are rightfully entitled to it. Yet, we still have marginalised groups which have been ‘denied’ access to clean water and sanitation.

“By hosting this Chair, we hope to lift the barrier and ensure greater access to it with no one being left behind,” he added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency