Friday, February 24, 2006


English is for everybody Comment by WONG SULONG

HERE’S food for thought for our planners and decision-makers, particularly those involved in education. Within a decade or thereabouts, English will become a near-universal basic skill.
This means employers will regard it as a given that job applicants are fluent in English. The competitive advantage that English-speaking candidates have will no longer exist.
Instead, employers will be looking out for candidates who are bilingual, possibly even trilingual – meaning English plus another language, particularly Chinese, Spanish and Japanese, which are emerging as global languages as well.
This is one of the major conclusions of a landmark study entitled English Next by David Graddol, a distinguished linguist for the British Council, the organisation that promotes English around the world.
Native English-speaking countries and people in Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia have enjoyed a huge economic (possibly running into billions of dollars), cultural and social advantage over the rest of the world, with the dominance of English in the world of commerce, medicine, communications and music.
But the study said this situation was changing fast.
It said that all over the world – from China to Chile, from Japan to Thailand – governments were investing big money to encourage their citizens to learn English.
All new police recruits in Beijing must pass an oral English test; and by 2008, four out of five Beijing policemen will be able to speak English when the city hosts the Olympics. This does not include the tens of thousands of English-speaking interpreters, tour guides and hotel staff.
There are more than 500 million native English-speaking people in the world; within a decade two billion more people will be able to speak English as a second language, making English the language spoken by most people (there are 1.1 billion Mandarin-speakers).
Although the study focuses on the major ramifications of the universality of English on the native English-speaking world – the main conclusion is that native English speakers will lose their economic advantage – the acceleration of English as the world’s lingua franca also has important ramifications for Malaysia, which is struggling to keep pace with globalisation and competition, particularly from our neighbours.
It used to be that east of India, Malaysians and Singaporeans had the best command of English and the language was used extensively. This gave Malaysians an economic advantage over many other Asians – a fact that was unappreciated at that time. Unfortunately, this advantage was frittered away.
Don’t get me wrong. As an independent nation, there is no question that Bahasa Malaysia is the primary language of our nation. It is now a very dynamic language. At the same time, I feel the development of Bahasa can and should go hand in hand with the promotion of English. And if one can pick up a third or fourth language, why not?
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad realise the importance of English as an economic and global language. In the last years of his administration, Dr Mahathir took some bold decisions to reintroduce English in schools, and Pak Lah is continuing this policy of reviving English in schools and tertiary institutions.
The Government has set aside RM100mil to retrain unemployed graduates, and improving English is part of this programme. According to Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn, some 10,600 graduates have taken part in the programme.
The appointment of Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, an economist by training and formerly in charge of the Economic Planning Unit, to the Higher Education portfolio portends well. A lot is expected of him. The development of human capital is critical to the economy.
Education as a trade item has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two decades, and Malaysia has an advantage in the development of education as an export commodity, including the teaching of English to students from China, Indonesia and Thailand.
Within Asia, Malaysia is a pioneer in the provision of private education.
But there is only a limited window of opportunity for us to exploit this first-mover advantage before others, such as Singapore and Thailand, catch up with Malaysia and take this education business away.
When it comes to promotion of English, policymakers and those in charge of implementation, particularly those involved in education, need a huge dose of pragmatism. In this respect, time is of the essence.


Friday February 24, 2006 Retain lecturers in their prime

I AM a lecturer with a local public university and have witnessed the serious “brain loss” – the drain of very highly experienced lecturers when they have to go on mandatory retirement.
It is sad to see such people with a great wealth of experience and knowledge leave due to regulatory short-sightedness.
Most of them are still of sound mind and body.
The brain loss as a result of the retirement of these talented and experienced lecturers becomes even more apparent when fresh young graduates replace them.
How does a new graduate fare when compared to a 56-year-old experienced one?
The teaching is often very much staccato textbook or even worse “past-lecture notes” oriented since there will be little or no personal experiences of events and incidents to draw on to enrich the lectures like what the displaced retiree would have.
Consider someone retiring this year.
He would have witnessed the declaration of Merdeka, the formation of Malaysia, the tragedy of 1969, the great split in Umno and the Vietnam War.
In universities where history, geography, politics, economics and social sciences are taught, these still young-at-heart-and-mind lecturers can be living legends to pass on their knowledge to the younger generation.
The experience of a 56-year-old is discounting all the years of reading and travel that he would have done.
When a university is depleted of experienced people and left with a crop of very young inexperienced lecturers, will it be able to compete with the world’s best universities?
Furthermore, many of the younger lecturers are not proficient in English, to the point that students claim what they say is practically incomprehensible.
With the prevailing copy or cut and paste culture, there is very little merit in the lecture manuals produced by these young lecturers.
Recently, we heard of a local university moving into re-branding and image building by recruiting professors from France, Italy, the United States and England when many Malaysians with a wealth of knowledge and experience are available.
What is sadder is that very experienced academics are sometimes forced to move on to do something totally unrelated to their field of specialisation or expertise.
The Government should find ways to retain this valuable human resource for the sake of the younger generation.
None can be truer than old is gold when it comes to lecturers.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Political parties can help reduce social ills among youths

POLITICAL parties can do a lot to reduce the social ills inflicting our youth, which range from indiscipline and involvement in unhealthy activities to anti-social behaviour.
They have sufficient members –several million in just the ruling Barisan Nasional alone – to do this job at all levels. All they need is the push and commitment to interact more closely with the youth in their respective districts.
The young can be persuaded to do many positive things, which will help them to become more responsible adults if they could be shown how to achieve this goal.
Most of the time, they become wayward because they lack proper guidance since many parents and teachers appear to have little time to discuss problems confronting them.
Once they feel neglected, they may become more rebellious and mix with the wrong company, and there are many people who are out to exploit the situation and mislead them.
If they should be given proper counselling, they will be able to perform much better academically; and this is where the Barisan members can show them the way.
Members of Barisan component parties can play a more active role by keeping in touch with pupils and youth in their respective areas by taking an interest in what these adolescents are up to.
If there are groups out to introduce them to tobacco and drug abuse, for example, the party members can step in and discourage the youth from doing so.
Without proper advice, the pupils will pick up bad habits such as smoking or involvement in petty crime just to avoid boredom.
With the help of the police, the party members can prevent anti-social elements from exploiting and polluting these young minds so that they can concentrate on their studies, be more disciplined and show respect for their elders and observe the law.
One area of particular concern to the MCA and the Government is the high dropout rate of students from Chinese-medium national-type schools, especially if they have not done well in the PMR test.
This is due mainly to language deficiency, as the medium of instruction in national schools is Bahasa Malaysia and not Mandarin or Tamil.
As pupils in vernacular schools are taught mainly in their mother tongue, there is a tendency for them to have a poor foundation in Bahasa or English.
The MCA members, especially those from the youth and women sections, can help such students strengthen their knowledge of Bahasa and English by conducting special classes for them if necessary.
The party has the resources and the numbers to do this, provided there is the political will to ensure that youth from the community will not miss out on good education.
Sports activities can also be arranged so that these youths will be able to spend their spare time usefully instead of mixing with bad hats and ending up on the wrong side of the law.

Friday, November 25, 2005


English plan ‘is here to stay’

PETALING JAYA: Problems and glitches in the implementation of the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English will be continuously addressed by the Education Ministry because the programme is here to stay.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said that while its implementation required fine-tuning, “we will continue the policy as we will not be making any major policy reforms until 2010.”
He said such teething problems were not unique to Malaysia.
“Other countries are facing this, too, and countries such as China and the Middle East are looking at our implementation.
“We should not lose the advantage on something that we had embarked on earlier than them,” he told reporters yesterday after the closing ceremony of the TED-ELTC Conference – Fostering Schools That Learn – in Subang.
He added that all views would be taken into account to improve the programme, including feedback from the ground as well as tips from international experts at conferences such as the TED-ELTC.
Hishammuddin, in his speech at the closing ceremony, reiterated the aim of the programme, which was to prepare Malaysians from young for society in the Information Age.
“Fifty years ago it was still possible to do our productive work within isolated enclaves of knowledge, culture and language.
“This is no longer possible. We must make sure that we are able to operate in the languages of business, science and technology, and 80% of the world’s information is in English,” he said.
At another function yesterday, Hishammuddin told reporters that the Chinese education movement should be realistic when making any appeal to the Government.
He was commenting on news reports saying that about 232 Chinese schools needed urgent repairs due to serious termite infestation.
Dong Jiao Zhong estimated that the repairs and maintenance would cost up to RM5mil and appealed to the Government to include these schools under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
Hishammuddin said Dong Jiao Zhong should also look at issues affecting other national schools, especially those in rural Sabah and Sarawak that did not have water and electricity.


Reef ball project to boost marine life

The coral reefs in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park devastated by the Storm Greg in 1997 will hopefully be rehabilitated with the planting of 200 reef balls in the area.

The RM400,000 pilot project by Sabah Parks is to restore ailing coral reefs and create new marine life in the park, which consists of five islands popular with tourists and day-trippers.Successful in protecting sea turtles in other projects, the reef balls are expected to do the same here, while preventing fishing trawlers from entering the protected area and preventing beach erosion.The reef balls, each weighing about 2,722kg and 1.37 metres high, have sharp and coarse surfaces ideal for coral formation and marine growth. The project was launched today by Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Karim Bujang at Pulau Manukan, the most popular island within the park.Also present were Sabah Parks director Datuk Lamri Ali, assistant director Paul Basintal, Borneo Divers managing director Clement Lee and representatives of related organisations.At the launch, several reef balls were dropped into the sea near the island from a barge.The environmentally-friendly reef balls were first used by the Sarawak Government at Batu Penyu near Pulau Talang-Talang in 1998.A study by the Sarawak branch of the Fisheries Research Institute has shown that reef balls proved to be efficient in preventing trawling activities, especially near turtle nesting beaches. Another private dive resort on Pulau Mataking has also started using reef balls to rehabilitate its corals for the diving industry.But the re-growth may take time depending on the surrounding environment and health condition of the reefs.About half a million of these reef balls are being used in 3,400 projects in 43 countries around the world. "However, the funding for these projects is not cheap, so we hope that more corporate companies and NGOs will offer to help us with this worthy cause," said Karim. An estimated RM1.5 million is expected to be spent on a similar project in the Selingan Turtle islands, off Sandakan, next year. Nevertheless, Karim said, the Government still needed the people’s understanding and co-operation to make such projects successful in the long term.


Mawi: I’m a singer, not Umno or PAS member

PENANG: “I am not an Umno member. I am not a PAS member. I am a singer.”
That was what Akademi Fantasia 3 winner Asmawi Ani, better known as Mawi, said to imply that he had no political connection.
“If I am invited to a political function to sing, my presence there is to sing, nothing else,” said the singer after the Muzika Ekstravaganza 2 media conference organised by RTM and Singapore's MediaCorp at the Penang International Sports Arena (Pisa).
The 24-year-old singer was responding to a question about his presence at a recent UPSR excellence award ceremony in Pasir Mas, Kelantan, attended by Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
When told that certain parties might manipulate him for their own interests, Mawi shrugged, saying: “What can I do about that?”
He declined to comment further on discontentment in the Mawi fan club, saying there was no need to blow up the matter.
Muzika Extravanganza 2 is a two-hour concert at Pisa jointly organised by RTM and Mediacorp that will be simultaneously aired live on TV2 and Singapore's TV12 at 8.30pm on Saturday.
The concert follows the first successful Muzika Extravangza held on April 23 in Singapore to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Among top veteran and new artistes from Malaysia and Singapore performing are Malaysia's Mawi, Amylea, Ning Baizura, Azlina Aziz, Esther Khoo and Samuel Dass and Singapore's Hetty Sarlene and Khairul Anwar.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Parents: Let Adi learn from professors

IPOH: The family of maths whiz kid Adi Putra Abdul Ghani is trying to get him tutored by professors, given his gifted ability.
“He can already tackle calculus and maths problems at university level. Enrolling him in Year One would only spoil his mind.
“We want to train him accordingly. He could be an asset not only to the country but to the world,” said Adi Putra’s godfather Datuk Mohd Ariff Amran Hamdi, who also acts as his manager.
Adi Putra’s parents were trying to get him exempted from Year One and were considering getting professors to tutor him in Mathematics, Science and Islamic Studies.
The six-year-old became a celebrity of sorts after the media highlighted his ability to solve Additional Mathematics problems meant for Form Five students.
Asked if Adi Putra was willing to take part in a quiz with other Maths prodigies, Mohd Ariff said the family was open to the idea.
“However, now is not a good time as he is only six. His father does not want to pressure him,” he said, adding that perhaps Adi Putra would give it a try a year from now.
Mohd Ariff was referring to a suggestion by Perak executive councillor Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir that the boy match his skills against Lee Yong Joo, a Korean Standard Four pupil at the Ipoh International School.
Nine-year-old Yong Joo won the International Competitions for Schools 2005 Malaysia gold medal for Maths last month.
Dr Zambry said the match would encourage other children to excel in maths.
Friendly quiz between two whiz kids proposed
IPOH: Maths whiz kid Adi Putra Abdul Ghani will get the chance to meet a fellow child prodigy.
State Executive Councilllor Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadi, who recently found out about the prowess of nine-year-old Standard Four pupil Lee Yong Joo of Ipoh International School, suggested that a friendly quiz be held between the two boys.

GIFTED DUO: Both Adi Putra and Yong Joo (bottom, left) have proven their prowess in solving complex mathematical problemsYong Joo, a Korean, received the International Competitions for Schools 2005 Malaysia gold medal for Mathematics last month.
“It will be good if we can arrange a friendly quiz between the two boys so that other children will be encouraged to excel in the subject,” he said yesterday.
“We don’t want the event to be treated like a stiff competition but just for the two boys to showcase their talents,” said Dr Zambry who is State Education, Human Resources and Multimedia Committee chairman.
Dr Zambry discovered recently that six-year-old Adi Putra has the ability to solve Additional Mathematics problems meant for Form Five students.
He said he would soon visit Adi Putra to put forward the suggestion.
“We hope the two boys can come together for the friendly event so that others will be encouraged by their capabilities,” he added.


PM: Speed up probe on projects

PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has directed the police to speed up investigation on developers whose work on police housing projects had stalled and resulted in a waste of government money.
The Prime Minister also wanted related government agencies to monitor on a regular basis projects awarded to developers.
“I do not know whether these are old or new projects which have been abandoned. We must take action against contractors who fail to deliver, otherwise this will recur.
“The responsibility falls on the contractors. These projects must continue, otherwise the cost will rise further and the Government will be wasting its money,” he told reporters after attending the Internal Security Ministry’s Quality Day here yesterday.
Abdullah was commenting on The Star’s front-page report yesterday that 11 developers had abandoned or delayed construction of 12 police housing projects costing RM500mil.
The Prime Minister also criticised those who were supposed to keep tabs on the progress of the projects.
“Perhaps there was no monitoring. These projects were not abandoned suddenly, not in one or two days.
“If the projects had been monitored on a regular basis from the start, any sign of them being abandoned could have been detected and the projects salvaged,” he said.
Abdullah said he had repeatedly told government agencies that if any tender or contract was awarded, their responsibilities did not end there.
“Don’t monitor just once. Do it regularly, maybe once a week.
“When there is follow-up on our side, the contractors will know they are being observed,” he said.
Earlier, in his speech, Abdullah, who is Internal Security Minister, commended the police for launching its anti-corruption campaign recently, saying there were too many negative perceptions about the force.
“I hope the public will support the force in its campaign because the police themselves want to change that perception,” he said.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Boy with a head for numbers
IPOH: He has not even started Year One but six-year-old Adi Putra Abdul Ghani is already solving Additional Mathematics problems meant for Form Five students.
Adi has also given talks to students and teachers on mathematical formulas for UPSR, PMR and SPM examination papers at 29 schools in Perak.
The pint-sized boy with a head for figures stands tall when he teaches older boys ways to solve equations.

PINT-SIZED WONDER: Adi posing with his family – (from left) eight-year-old sister Seri Amelia, Abdul Ghani, mother Seri Hana Elias, 30, and brother Amirul Izuan, 10 – who are showing the certificates he has received at his home in Bagan SeraiHe is so popular that he now conducts two hours of mathematics tuition daily at his mother's tuition centre in Taman Seri Permai in Bagan Serai.
According to his father Abdul Ghani Abdul Wahid, Adi began reading newspapers at the age of three.
That was when the Tenaga Nasional Bhd technician taught Adi basic arithmetic.
“We discovered Adi's ability when he pointed out mistakes made by his Year Three brother in his mathematics homework last year,” he said yesterday.
Describing his son as “gifted”, Abdul Ghani said: “The mathematical methods he teaches involve seven-digit figures.”
The boy, who is paid RM5 an hour per student taught at the tuition centre, is saving every sen for his education.
State Education, Human Resources and Multimedia Committee chairman Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, who visited Adi and his family at their home yesterday, said: “I am convinced Adi is a whiz kid.”
Dr Zambry, who also witnessed Adi’s ability in solving mathematical problems for Form Five and Form Six students, said he hoped Mensa could assess the boy’s ability and IQ.
“If it is proven that Adi is a genius, we want the Government to help ensure the boy gets a proper education,” he added.


Less than 30% of public university lecturers have PhDs

Less than 30% of public university lecturers have PhDs
In a report last Saturday in the Star, our Minister of Higher Education Shafie Salleh, announced that 5% of the places in our local public universities will be opened to foreign students. At the end of that article, I noticed Shafie giving an interesting statistic - that only 29.7% of lecturers have PhDs, against the target of 70% which the government has set. I assume that Shafie is referring to lecturers in public universities although that wasn't explicitly stated.This statistic surprised me greatly. My sense has always been that the % of lecturers in the local universities with PhDs is closer to 50% than 30%. Perhaps my impressions have been based on my interactions with faculty in UM, USM and UKM. It might still be true that the % of lecturers in UM, USM and UKM is substantially higher than 30%. But irregardless, this statistic is shocking. How can we expect to have world class universities if only 30% of our lecturers have PhDs? It would be impossible for someone to lecture at a half-decent university in the US or the UK without a PhD qualification. But this seems to be the norm rather than the exception in Malaysia.Granted, Malaysia has a unique system whereby lecturers without PhDs are required to teach in local universities before being sent abroad to get their PhDs. But still, wouldn't one expect this policy, after time, to increase the % of our lecturers with PhDs? My impression is that a university like NUS is drastically ramping up the % of its faculty with PhDs. I won't be surprised if it reaches 100% by 2010. In contrast, our Minister of Higher Education, in the same Star report mentioned above, that we'd have difficulty even reaching the 70% target. Perhaps, our UM VC and our Minister can ask Prof Shih, the president of NUS, for advice on how to achieve this 70% target.But in the meantime, I'd like to offer up my 2 cents worth of advice based partly on my own experience and what I've heard from my friends in Malaysian academia. Firstly, encourage those lecturers without PhDs to apply for private sources of funding to do their PhDs. One of the major impediments to those lecturers who want to go abroad to do their PhDs is the lack of government funding. This is not surprising given that the government pays for both the school fees as well as the living expenses of lecturers who go abroad to do their PhDs. In a good school in the US, this would probably cost 45,000 US$ per year ($30,000 for school fees and $15,000 for living expenses). Hence, there are only a limited number of places available in a year, which explains why some lecturers have to wait 10 years or more before being sent to do their PhDs abroad (if at all).The system does not give incentives for aspiring PhD candidates to seek external private funding. The length of the bond is the same regardless of the amount of the government scholarship. And if one wants to apply for external scholarships such as the Fulbright (US) and the Chevening (UK), one has to go through a government body such as the JPA to apply rather than apply directly. Furthermore, most local universities only provide funding for 3 years which encourages potential candidates to apply to universities in Australia and the UK rather than the US, where private funding is more readily available. In my case, I obtained a school fee waiver ($30,000 per year) plus a yearly stipend from my university (guaranteed for 5 years), Duke, as well as summer funding from a Fulbright scholarship. It is common practice that if you are accepted into a good PhD program in the US, your school fees will be waived and you are likely to receive some form of yearly stipend. You'd be lucky to get your school fees waived in a UK university. Living costs support is almost unheard of.Wouldn't it be easier for our local universities to create a system which encourages aspiring candidates to seek private funding as a way to overcome the local shortage of funds? Doesn't it make sense to create a system which decreases the length of the bond for candidates who manage to find outside funding?The current system in Malaysia ends up having the following consequences:1) Lecturers end up going to get their PhDs when they are relatively advanced in age (more than 30, sometimes close to 40) which limits their productive years in academia2) Lecturers end up going to schools which are relatively easy to get into and who accept these lecturers because of the ability to collect school fees from them rather than on the basis of talent. Usually, this means that lecturers end up forming little Malaysian enclaves in places like the University of Liverpool or the University of Manchester (no offense to the alums of these schools) rather than places like Stanford or Harvard.3) Some lecturers end up not doing their PhDs at all and teach all their lives with only a Masters degreeThe other way of increasing the % of lecturers with Phds in the local universities is to ... hire more lecturers with PhDs! Not exactly rocket science. Shafie mentioned in the Star report that, 'As a short-term measure, the Government would be beefing up the number of academics by hiring more foreign lecturers with PhDs'. If Shafie were to put his thinking cap on, he would realize that there is already a pool of Malaysians with PhDs which he can tap into - Malysians with PhDs who are lecturing abroad! In Duke, I know a full professor in the Medical school who's a Malaysian and another full professor in the Literature department who's a UK citizen but who was born in Malaysia. I know of another professor who's a Malaysian in UNC Charlotte and I was referred to a certain Prof Ho Eng Seng who's teaching social anthropology in Harvard by a friend from USM. Professor Danny Quah, a renowned professor of economics, teaches at one of my alma maters, LSE. The Star featured Dr. Tan Mah Wah in its Global Malaysian series and Dr. Tan is currently teaching in Stanford. Indeed, Dr. Tan's story emphasizes my earlier point - he applied for a British Council scholarship to do his Masters in Cambridge and then applied and got a full scholarship to do his PhD in Harvard!There is a large number of highly qualified Malaysian PhDs teaching in renowned institutions all over the world. I'm not sure what the exact number is but a conservative guess would probably number well into the hundreds (if not thousands). Even if Malaysia could get half of these scholars to come back to teach in Malaysian universities, we'd be well on our way to acheving the 70% mark set by the government. And if the government thinks that these scholars are too difficult to entice back to Malaysia, why not try with younger Malaysians who are currently doing their PhDs on their own in prestigious universities? I'm part of a Malaysian forum mailing list which mainly comprises of Malaysians who are doing their PhDs here in the US. I'm guessing that there are at least 30 people on the list who are in various stages of their PhDs. Why not tap this market?Shafie has to ask himself this simple question - if he or the Malaysian government cannot entice Malaysians who have gotten their PhDs from world class institutions to return to UM to teach, what makes him think that he can entice non-Malaysians of comparable standing to come to Malaysia to do the same? Whatever answer he gives will not be satisfactory.If he says that these foreigners will come because of better career prospects or better pay, is he saying that non-Malaysians will be given a better treatment than Malaysians of equal quality and experience?If he says that these foreigners will only be in Malaysia for a short-term contract, is he saying that faculty on short term contracts would improve the university's standing, provide better teaching and better research than Malaysians of a comparable standard who have an interest in helping to create world class Malaysian universities?The honest truth is that the foreigners with PhDs that local universities manage to employ largely comprise of two categories:(i) Academics (read: White) from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealandwho want to take a break to teach in the relatively undemanding setting of our local universities for a couple of years before returning home (and get paid an expat package for their services)(ii) Academics from developing countries who cannot get a job in the developed world and are attracted to the relatively higher financial rewards from teaching in a Malaysian university. I'm not saying that there are no good academics in developing countries but if they are really of a world class standard (A) they would have gone to teach in a university in a developed country (B) they would have stayed back to teach in their home country because of nationalistic or personal reasons. (There are exceptions to this but very few. Prof Hashim Kamali of the IIU is one whom I can think of)As a final note, let me share something more personal. After completing my PhD, I'll probably return to Malaysia but I won't teach or lecture in a public university. There are many reasons for this but the main one is that I don't see a compelling vision from the leadership of our public universities on how to build a genuinely world class university. If the VC can sell me (and others) a convincing vision of how he or she wants to build UM, let's say, into a world class university (maybe start with being a regional powerhouse first), I'm sure that I (and others) would be excited to take part in this project (even at the cost of making financial sacrifices in the short term). Just don't sell me your vision of erecting billboards and decorating lamposts with shameful banners.It is sad to see that even as the Minister identifies a glaring problem - the low number of lecturers with PhDs in local universities - he cannot come up with a comprehensive plan for addressing this problem but instead has to resort to short term 'gimmicks' like scholarships for foreigners and visa extensions for foreign lecturers.


Kos ubah suai kediaman PM RM15.81j

KERJA pengubahsuaian kediaman Perdana Menteri di Precint 10, Putrajaya yang dilaksanakan tahun ini, membabitkan kos RM15.81 juta.Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, berkata kos asal pembinaan kediaman rasmi yang menjadi tempat tinggal Perdana Menteri dan keluarganya itu ialah RM24.7 juta.“Kos penyenggaraan membabitkan keseluruhan kompleks kediaman Perdana Menteri pula berjumlah RM2.9 juta setahun atau purata RM242,991.50 sebulan,” katanya dalam jawapan bertulis kepada soalan Teresa Kok Suh Sim (Seputeh-DAP).Nazri berkata, kos itu termasuk kerja pengubahsuaian, membaik pulih dan menaik taraf sistem penyaman udara, pendawaian elektrik, landskap dan ruang dalaman termasuk dapur serta bayaran perunding.Beliau berkata, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi sudah berpindah ke kediaman rasmi beliau.Mengenai kos pembinaan kediaman rasmi Timbalan Perdana Menteri, di Precint 16, Nazri berkata, kos asal kontrak pembinaan kediaman berkenaan berjumlah RM13.51 juta.“Kos penyenggaraan tahunannya RM1.46 juta setahun atau purata RM122,267 sebulan,” katanya.Beliau berkata, setakat ini, kos pengubahsuaian kompleks kediaman Timbalan Perdana Menteri bagi tahun ini belum diputuskan kerana masih di peringkat kajian dan perancangan Jabatan Kerja Raya (JKR).


Bakal pengantin larikan diri dipercayai ikut kekasih lain

BANDAR JENGKA 21 Nov. - Sebuah keluarga di Felda Jengka 7 dekat sini terpaksa membatalkan majlis perkahwinan anak perempuannya Sabtu lalu selepas anaknya itu melarikan diri mengikut kekasih lain.
Mohd. Sabri Ahmad, 48, berkata, anaknya, Norsazlina, 23, didapati `hilang' dari rumah pada malam 8 November selepas mesyuarat blok bagi menetapkan kerja-kerja bagi majlis perkahwinan itu.
Katanya, dia sekeluarga amat terkejut dengan kehilangan Norsazlina kerana tiada tanda-tanda anak perempuannya itu melakukan perkara yang boleh mencemar maruah diri dan keluarga sendiri.
``Kami syak Norsazlina mengikut teman yang dipercayai baru dikenalinya semasa mengikuti kursus butik di Petaling Jaya bulan lalu, selepas berhenti kerja di kilang ALPS Bandar Jengka.
``Kami juga masih tertanya-tanya dengan tindakan nekad Norsazlina (menghilangkan diri) kerana tunangnya dari Felda Lepar Hilir 1, Kuantan yang bakal menjadi teman hidupnya adalah pilihannya sendiri,'' katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia hari ini.
Mohd. Sabri menambah, keluarga lelaki dimaklumkan mengenai kehilangan Norsazlina empat hari sebelum majlis perkahwinan sepatutnya berlangsung pada 19 November lalu.
Katanya, dia sekeluarga amat terharu dengan keikhlasan keluarga pengantin lelaki yang sanggup menghadiri majlis kenduri di Felda Jengka 7 Sabtu lalu walaupun telah dibatalkan.
``Kami terharu malah malu apabila rombongan pengantin tetap juga datang ke majlis di rumah kami di Felda Jengka 7 sambil membawa bunga telur walaupun majlis pada Sabtu lalu dibatalkan.
``Mereka datang juga memandangkan jemputan sebelah pengantin lelaki di Felda Lepar Hilir 1 sudah dimaklumkan mengenai majlis itu,'' katanya.
Mohd. Sabri menambah, kehilangan Norsazlina telah pun dilaporkan di balai polis Kampung Awah, Maran pada 19 November lepas.
Menurutnya, dia dimaklumkan majlis kenduri perkahwinan bagi pihak lelaki di Felda Lepar terpaksa diteruskan juga kelmarin tanpa kehadiran pengantin perempuan kerana kad jemputan telah diedarkan.
Mohd. Sabri seterusnya merayu Norsazlina kembali ke pangkuan keluarga kerana ibunya Noraini Daud sering menangis dan termenung mengenangkan nasib anak kesayangannya yang hilang entah ke mana.
Tambahnya, semua ahli keluarga dan tunang Norsazlina yang dikenali sebagai Bahrin Zawawi sedia memaafkan perbuatannya dan berharap dapat menjalinkan perhubungan kekeluargaan seperti biasa.
Sehubungan itu Mohd. Sabri merayu mereka yang mengenali Norsazlina supaya menghubungi mana-mana balai polis terdekat atau menelefon Atan di talian 019-9221911 atau 019-9865635.


Proposal to make errant motorists pay higher premiums

PETALING JAYA: Hardcore traffic offenders, better think twice if you are still bent on ignoring the law.
You may soon find yourselves facing a hefty loading on your insurance policies for joining the ranks of the accident-prone.
And certain groups of repeat offenders may actually be denied coverage altogether.

Road Safety Department director-general Suret SinghThe moves come under a proposal the Government is looking at to force motorists who chalk up summonses blithely or refuse to change their attitude even after being hauled to court to think about safety.
It is learnt that the proposal is targeted at those who commit serious offences such as speeding, beating traffic lights, queue cutting, reckless driving and overtaking on double lines.
Road Safety Department director-general Suret Singh, who confirmed that the Government was mulling over the proposal, said bad drivers must be penalised.
“Eventually, those who flout traffic rules will have to pay the price,” he said, adding that the Government was working with insurers and other relevant groups to implement the proposal as early as next year.
Certain insurance companies now impose loading of between 5% and 150% based on the age of vehicles and frequency of claims but not on the number of offences committed by the insured.
General Insurance Association of Malaysia executive director Lim Chia Fook said the proposal was one of a range of measures being looked at to increase road safety awareness and reduce accidents.
“The insurance industry will support the move as it is a reasonable underwriting procedure to distinguish between high-risk drivers and the safer ones,” he said.
He noted that in the United States, drivers in the high-risk group faced heavier loading if they were involved in accidents.
“Because it becomes expensive if they are reckless, people think about driving safely.”
Traffic offenders who refused to change, he added, must be taken off the road.
According to Lim, underwriters will look at the various types of information available, including the frequency of summonses, the number of compound fines paid and the gravity of the offences.
The proposal, he added, was viable and timely.
“So the various agencies need to sit down and come up with a fair and effective mechanism to implement it to promote a safe driving culture in the country,” he said.
Road Transport Department (JPJ) director-general Datuk Emran Kadir said his department would gladly supply the names of serious traffic offenders to insurers.
“It is the right of insurance companies to impose loading or even deny serious offenders coverage as they are the ones who pay out when an accident happens,” he added.
The JPJ's online link with insurance companies under the e-insurance cover note system, he said, would allow easy exchange of information on offenders.
However, he added: “I will support this move, but a driver who has repented and stopped committing dangerous offences should not be continuously penalised by insurers.”


Bursaries to attract foreign students

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet has approved a scholarship programme for foreign students to pursue higher education in Malaysia, possibly from next year, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh said.
“We will offer 15 scholarships every year,” he said, describing it as a way to attract foreign students especially those from South countries to further their studies here.
This would also help strengthen ties between Malaysia and these countries, he said before attending the International University College of Technology Twintech’s third convocation ceremony here yesterday.
Dr Shafie said Malaysia had the right infrastructure and that the Government was keen to attract more foreign students.
Details of the programme would be released soon, he added.
He said Petronas and Golden Hope had also expressed their intentions to offer scholarships to foreign students from countries where the two companies operate.
On another matter, Dr Shafie said he was also looking into extending the visa of visiting professors from six months to two years.
“We will hire more foreign lecturers to solve the manpower shortage,” he added.
According to private higher education deputy director-general Professor Dr Mahani Zainal Abidin, there are about 40,666 foreign students studying in public and private tertiary institutions in Malaysia.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Hasil kereta konsep ikan buntal

DAIMLERCHRYSLER menggunakan kaedah terbaru dalam menghasilkan kenderaan konsepnya menerusi penyelidikan mendalam terhadap potensi bionik atau pergerakan yang dikawal secara elektronik untuk pembangunan produk masa depannya.Hasil kajian dilakukan syarikat berkenaan kini membuahkan hasil apabila kenderaan dihasilkan mencapai keputusan memberangsangkan dalam penggunaan minyak selain membantu pembangunan teknologi enjin tenaga diesel termasuk kaedah kawalan emisi lebih inovatif.Kajian terhadap kereta bionik Mercedes-Benz itu dipertontonkan pada Simposium Inovasi DaimlerChrysler di Amerika Syarikat, baru-baru ini. Bagi merealisasikan penghasilan kereta bionik berkenaan jurutera di Pusat Teknologi Mercedes-Benz dan bahagian penyelidikan DaimlerChrysler memulakan kajiannya dengan melihat contoh kehidupan laut yang menghampiri konsep aerodinamik, selamat, selesa dan mesra alam. Konsep kenderaan berkenaan diambil daripada ikan buntal (puffer fish). Ikan berkenaan memiliki bentuk badan, garis tubuh dinamik dan seakan kotak serta aerodinamik sekali gus memberi ilham kepada pereka untuk menghasilkan kenderaan ini.Dengan mengambil konsep ikan buntal berkenaan, jurutera di Stuttgart berjaya mengurangkan rintangan angin terhadap badan kenderaan berkenaan menerusi ujian di terowong angin.Untuk meningkatkan potensi kenderaan itu pakar di DaimlerChrysler membina satu per empat (1:4) bahagian model kereta ini menggunakan konsep reka bentuk tubuh ikan buntal.DaimlerChrysler memanfaatkan hasil kajian itu dengan membangunkan kereta kompak bionik secara menyeluruh supaya ia dapat berfungsi dengan baik di jalan raya.Kenderaan sepanjang 4.24 meter ini mempunyai ruang dalaman selesa bagi empat penumpang selain bahagian bagasi yang luas.Jentera konsep ini antara kenderaan aerodinamik dalam kategorinya dengan 20 peratus pengurangan jumlah penggunaan minyak dan lebih 80 peratus lebih rendah pengeluaran nitrogen oksidanya.Selain reka bentuknya yang aerodinamik dan ringan, enjin 103 kW/140-hp diesel dan teknologi inovatif SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) menyumbang kepada penjimatan minyak dan mengurangkan bahan buangan pada ekzos.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Tik Tok Simpati

Di corong-corong radio layar kaca tv
Pancaran satelit parabola siarkan cerita
Salurkan berita bawakan derita sandiwara kisah nyata
Di dada akhbar rencana terkini
Menghiasi ruang muka warkah wadah warta wajah warga dunia
Nanah luka mereka
Gejolak resah kocak dunia
Siksa mereka kita saksinya
Bencana alam melanda tragedi dan petaka
Musibah menimpa kemelut negara dunia ketiga
Lapar dan dahaga panas dan dingin cuaca
Perang meragut jiwa angkara si mesiu peluru tak bermata
Dan kita hanya cuma membisik hiba hanya satu rasa
Tik tok tik tok tik tok tik
Sedetik simpati
Suis listrik pun dimati disitu simpati berhenti
Lain di mulut lain di hati
Cukupkah dengan rasa hiba setakat mudah hulur simpati
Hanyalah mampu cuma bersuara bisa lafaz kata
Pilu sayu hanya sementara
Timbul tenggelam pergi dan datang sekelip mata rasa itu hilang
Sekilas rasa seikhlas mana
Tiada guna apa ertinya
Apalah guna setelaga airmata dan selaput duka
Seandainya tidak dapat mencuci darah luka dan nanah mereka
Apalah guna sejuta kata dan berjilid naskhah kisah duka lara
Seandainya tidak dapat mengisi alas kosong perut mereka
Tiada erti segala sinar pancar optik kaca silau lensa kamera
Seandainya tidak dapat mejadi selimut gebar tubuh mereka
Tik tok tik tok simpati kau datang dan pergi
Tik tok tik tok simpati timbul dan tenggelam lagi
Tik tok tik tok simpati sedih dan senyum kembali
Berulang-ulang lagi tiada henti
Simpati kita semua hanyalah secubit rasa
Tidak mampu berdaya mematah peluru-peluru yang muntah
Dari picul-picul mulut-mulut senjata angkara kita
Simpati polan simpati anu simpati mu simpatiku
Simpati kita semua nilainya hanyalah sekadar secebis SAMPAH!Airmata kita kering semula
Hidup Arbaiyah dirundung malang
Oleh Roslah Othman
SETIAP manusia diberi Tuhan ujian yang berbeza-beza. Baik kesenangan, kesusahan mahupun penyakit yang dideritai, segala-galanya bertujuan menguji ketahanan dan kekuatan hamba-Nya dalam mengharungi kehidupan.
Begitulah juga dengan nasib seorang warga tua, , Arbaiyah Hamidon, 56, yang bukan sahaja miskin harta tetapi juga terpaksa menderita sakit kronik buah pinggang dan asma sejak lebih enam tahun lalu.
Namun sebagai hamba-Nya, beliau tetap tabah melaluinya kerana menganggap itu semua dugaan Tuhan kepadanya.
Pertemuan dengannya pada majlis penyerahan bantuan dari Pusat Zakat Selangor di Masjid Al-Azim, Pandan Indah, baru-baru ini menjelaskan kepada saya betapa wanita cekal ini lebih banyak berduka daripada bergembira dalam hidupnya.
Tidak terkira berapa banyak air mata yang telah tumpah. Melihat ke dalam anak matanya-derita yang ditanggung cukup jelas. Tidak terlerai dengan air mata lagi kelukaan di hatinya dibandingkan dengan warga tua lain yang bernasib baik.
Jika orang lain gembira dan bahagia, Arbaiyah pula sebaliknya. Beliau bukan sahaja terpaksa menghadapi kematian tiga orang anak berturut-turut ekoran penyakit yang tidak diketahui sehingga sekarang, tetapi juga kehilangan tempat bergantung hidup.
Kematian suami, Jamaludin Ahmad sejak 10 tahun lalu menambah derita Arbaiyah sekaligus melenyapkan impian melayari bahtera hidup hingga ke akhir hayat.
Kehidupan Arbaiyah sekeluarga bukan sahaja dilingkari kemiskinan, tetapi penyakit kronik ditanggung membuatkan penderitaannya semakin bertambah.
Ibarat sudah jatuh ditimpa tangga anak kelima, Zulhelmy Jamaludin pula terlibat dalam kemalangan sehingga melenyapkan seluruh impian dan harapannya.
"Hanya Tuhan yang tahu perasaan mak cik ketika itu. Perasaan sedih, takut saling berganti, bimbang akan kehilangan lagi orang tersayang," ujarnya dengan nada tersekat-sekat.
Zulhelmy yang turut berada pada pertemuan itu mengakui kejadian itu benar-benar merentap seluruh hidupnya.
Katanya, ia berlaku sehari selepas menyambut hari ulang tahun kelahirannya yang ke 28 pada 4 Jun 2002.
Menceritakan kejadian kata Zulhelmy, ia berlaku berlaku begitu pantas.
Ketika itu dia hendak turun dari kenderaan awam, tiba-tiba pintu bas tertutup dan menghimpit tubuh kerdilnya.
Ekoran daripada kejadian itu juga, Zulhelmy menjadi orang kurang upaya dia tidak boleh duduk seperti orang normal lain dan terpaksa memakai tongkat ke mana-mana.
Jika berbaring, sukar sekali untuk bangun, begitu juga apabila sudah berdiri terpaksa pula meminta bantuan orang lain untuk bangun.
Keadaan lebih menyedihkan kerana penyakit yang dihidapi juga memerlukannya untuk sentiasa berulang alik ke hospital.
"Mak cik sedih mengenangkan nasib Zulhelmy, tapi mak cik sendiri tidak berdaya. Anak-anak yang lain bukan tidak membantu, tetapi gaji yang diperoleh cukup-cukup untuk menampung diri sendiri," ujar Arbaiyah memandang Zulhelmy.
Sebak mendengar kata ibu, Zulhelmy mengakui adakala hatinya terpanggil untuk mencari pekerjaan, tetapi apakan daya keadaan dirinya itu tidak mengizinkan.
Sesiapa yang ingin menghulurkan bantuan kepada Arbaiyah boleh datang terus ke rumahnya di Lot 37, Jalan 37, Kampung Cheras Baharu atau menghubungi anaknya, di talian 017 2317126.

Siti Aznani dibunuh mungkin kerana cemburu
NIBONG TEBAL 14 Nov. - Polis tidak menolak kemungkinan kes pembunuhan seorang kerani wanita, Siti Aznani Mohd. Azmi, 25, yang mayatnya ditemui dalam guni di sebatang sungai di Ladang Byram dekat sini semalam, bermotifkan cemburu.
Ketua Polis Daerah Seberang Perai Selatan (SPS), Supritendan Khaw Kok Chin berkata, ini berdasarkan maklumat diperoleh daripada keluarga dan rakan-rakan mangsa.
Beliau berkata, hasil bedah siasat mendapati berlaku hubungan seks berikutan terdapat kesan luka dan pendarahan pada kemaluan mangsa.
``Bedah siasat mendapati punca kematian adalah sesak nafas akibat dijerut pada leher kanan. Kejadian dipercayai berlaku antara petang kelmarin hingga pagi semalam.
``Polis masih menjalankan siasatan dalam pelbagai sudut tetapi tidak menolak kemungkinan pembunuhan itu bermotifkan perasaan cemburu,'' katanya pada sidang akhbar di sini hari ini.
Semalam, mayat mangsa yang hanya memakai pakaian dalam ditemui oleh sekumpulan pemancing di sebatang sungai di Ladang Byram dekat sini kira-kira pukul 10 pagi.
Mayat itu dibungkus dengan dua helai guni plastik gula dan turut ditemui di situ ialah enam ketul bata yang dijadikan pemberat untuk menenggelamkan mayat mangsa.
Mengulas lanjut, Kok Chin berkata, mangsa dibunuh di tempat lain lalu dibungkus dan dicampak ke sungai tersebut manakala sebuah kereta jenis Perodua Kancil milik mangsa ditemui dalam keadaan rentung.
Menurutnya, kereta itu ditemui kira-kira pukul 4.40 petang semalam di kawasan terpencil di Jalan Junjung Mati, Juru dekat sini.
Katanya, barang kemas, telefon bimbit dan dokumen peribadi mangsa dipercayai disamun oleh penyerangnya atau dibakar bersama kenderaannya bagi menghapuskan bukti.
Kok Chin berkata, berdasarkan maklumat daripada ibu mangsa, Zaleha Hitam, 49, mangsa bekerja kelmarin namun tidak pulang ke rumah selepas itu kerana pergi makan bersama rakan lelaki.
``Ibu mangsa ada menghubungi mangsa kira-kira pukul 7 malam kelmarin dan mangsa mengatakan dia sedang makan dengan kawan.
``Mangsa berjanji akan balik awal atau sebelum pukul 9 malam,'' ujarnya.
Menurut beliau, Zaleha membuat laporan polis di Balai Polis Seberang Jaya pagi semalam apabila anaknya tidak pulang ke rumah.
Tegas beliau, beberapa rakan dan kenalan mangsa akan dipanggil untuk soal siasat bagi membantu siasatan dalam tempoh terdekat.
Kok Chin berkata, kes tersebut disiasat mengikut Seksyen 302 Kanun Keseksaan dan orang ramai yang mempunyai maklumat diminta menghubungi IPD SPS di talian 04-5824222.


Raja Noor Jan Shah dakwa diri Sultan Melaka

KUALA LUMPUR 14 Nov. - Mungkinkah akan tercipta sejarah baru negara apabila Melaka akan kembali mempunyai Sultan selepas kejatuhan kesultanan Melayunya 477 tahun lalu?
Ini kerana seorang lelaki yang mendakwa sebagai waris kesultanan Melayu Melaka, Raja Noor Jan Shah Raja Tuah telah melakukan istiadat Penganugerahan Watikah Gelar Adat Kesultanan Melaka Ke-44 di Dewan Pusat Komuniti Taman Melati, Gombak, dekat sini, malam tadi.
Melalui istiadat itu, Raja Noor Jan Shah mendakwa beliau sebagai Sultan Melaka yang ke-44 dengan membawa gelaran Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Sementara itu Menteri Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Warisan, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim menolak kemungkinan untuk memberi pengiktirafan kepada mana-mana pihak yang mahu mengembalikan semula takhta Kesultanan Melaka.
Kata menteri itu, pada perkiraan beliau adalah sukar untuk pihak yang mendakwa itu membuktikan kesahihan tuntutan mereka.
Raja Noor Jan mendakwa, beliau adalah keturunan Sultan Melaka, Sultan Mahmud Shah (1488-1511).
Menurut Datuk Kurnia Setia, Datuk Ab. Latiff Daud yang menjalankan `tugas-tugas khas diraja' itu, kemunculan semula takhta kesultanan Melaka adalah satu perkara yang serius.
Dakwanya, perkara itu telah diperhalusi ke Persidangan Majlis Raja-Raja Melayu sebelum ini yang tidak dihebahkan kepada umum.
Beliau memberitahu demikian kepada Utusan Malaysia pada istiadat tersebut di sini malam tadi.
Ab. Latiff berkata, Sultan Mahmud mempunyai putera bernama Sultan Muzzaffar Shah I yang memerintah negeri Perak (1528-1549) sehingga kepada Sultan Perak Ke-22, Sultan Abdullah Muhamad Shah I Marhum Durian Sebatang (1851-1857) dan dari keturunan inilah munculnya Sultan Ahmad Shah Ke-44 yang bakal menjadi Sultan Melaka itu.
Ab. Latiff mendakwa, pihak Arkib Negara juga telah mengiktiraf salasilah Sultan Ahmad Shah ini adalah yang benar-benar berhak menduduki takhta setelah menjalani kajian selama tujuh tahun.
``Zaman pusaka Kerajaan Melaka, Sultan Ahmad Shah ini bermula dengan istiadat pertama sebelum ini pada 30 Oktober lalu,'' katanya.
Henti mengaku waris Sultan Melaka - KM
MELAKA 14 Nov. - Ketua Menteri, Datuk Seri Mohd. Ali Rustam menyifatkan individu yang sewenang-wenangnya mengaku keturunan Kesultanan Melaka sebagai mereka yang suka berangan.
Menurutnya, sehingga kini, keturunan Sultan Melaka termasuk sultan terakhir iaitu Sultan Mahmud Shah gagal dikesan walaupun kajian terperinci dijalankan pada susur galur keluarga kesultanan itu.
Katanya, beliau juga sudah lali dengan pengakuan berkenaan dan menyifatkan negeri ini sudah mempunyai kira-kira tiga individu yang telah membuat pengakuan sebagai pewaris Sultan Melaka beberapa tahun lalu.
Menurutnya, ramai di kalangan mereka gagal untuk menunjukkan bukti berhubung susur galur keluarga masing-masing yang menghubungkaitkan mereka dengan Sultan Mahmud Shah mahupun sultan yang lain.
``Hentikanlah pengakuan keturunan Sultan Melaka. Sesiapa pun boleh mengaku sebagai kerabat Sultan Melaka. Saya pun boleh mengaku sultan kalau saya mahu.
``Saya juga tidak kisah jika selepas ini, lebih ramai yang akan mengaku keturunan Sultan Melaka, mungkin pengakuan itu akan menimbulkan rasa keseronokan kepada mereka, tak apalah,'' katanya ketika ditemui di sini hari ini.
Beliau berkata demikian ketika diminta mengulas mengenai seorang lelaki mendakwa Sultan Ahmad Shah@ Tuanku Raja Noor Jan Shah Ibni al-Marhum Raja Tuah yang mengaku keturunan terakhir Sultan Mahmud Shah.
Semalam, Sultan Ahmad melakukan Istiadat Penganugerahan Watikah Gelar Adat Kesultanan Melaka Ke-44, di Dewan Pusat Komuniti Taman Melati, Gombak.
Dalam pada itu, Mohd. Ali menambah, dua tahun lalu, beliau pernah dianugerahkan gelaran `Datuk Setio Junjungan Dito' oleh seorang sultan yang mengaku sebagai keturunan kesultanan terakhir Melaka di Pulau Pelalawan, Kepulauan Riau, Indonesia.
Katanya, sultan itu mengaku sebagai keturunan Sultan Melaka kerana mengikut Sejarah Melayu, Sultan Mahmud Shah juga mangkat di Riau, Indonesia.
``Selepas saya melawat makam Sultan Mahmud Shah di Pelalawan, saya amat terkejut kerana diberi anugerah berkenaan oleh sultan berkenaan yang mengaku dirinya adalah keturunan kesultanan terakhir Melaka,'' ujarnya.

Man claims Malacca ‘throne’
KUALA LUMPUR: A 48-year-old man who proclaimed himself the Sultan of Malacca at a so-called investiture ceremony here on Monday night is willing to take the matter to court to stake his claim to the state’s “throne”.
Raja Noor Jan Shah Raja Tuah has evidence, and the regal artefacts, to prove the claim, said Azri Safian, who identified himself as the alleged ruler’s organising secretary.
“He is serious about being installed as the 44th sultan of Malacca,” Azri told reporters at Raja Noor Jan’s purported ceremonial hall in Gombak here yesterday.
More than 500 guests attended the “investiture” ceremony at a community hall in Taman Melati, where 150 people were also bestowed honorific titles.
Two of the four wives of the property businessman, who has given himself the title Sultan Ahmad Shah, accompanied him at the Istiadat Watikah Gelar Adan Kesultanan Melaka ceremony, which came ahead of the Rulers Conference in Malacca on Nov 21.
Azri said Raja Noor Jan had claimed he was a descendant of the last known Sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mahmud Shah (1488-1511).
He said Raja Noor Jan would hand over his documents for the rulers to discuss at their meeting. Another ceremonial gathering would be held on Nov 19 in Malacca, he added.
“We have the regalia, like two keris, a silver buckle, a royal crown and brooches from ancient Malacca and authenticated by the Museum and Antiquities Department,” he said.
Letters and profiles relating to the claim had been sent to the Rulers Council, the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Sultan of Perak as well as the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Malacca.
“These items are proof to be presented to the Rulers Council,” he said. ” So far, we have not received any response.”
The Museum and Antiquities Department had authenticated the sultan’s genealogy, Azri said, adding that this further proved his claim.
Azri said the “sultan” had not pursued his claims until the regal instruments unexpectedly turned up two months ago.
“The sultan received some signs from his ancestors on the whereabouts of the regalia and, with the help of a pawang (traditional soothsayer) the artefacts were dug up from a place in Malacca,” he said.

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