Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Merdeka Award RM30000 & PM Outlines 3 Major Hurdles for Malaysia in Conjuction with 50th Anniversary Merdeka

Merdeka Award RM300000 & PM Outlines 3 Major Hurdles for Malaysia in conjunction with 50th Anniversary Merdeka.

ABOVE: Malaysiakini touches on the Pak Lah's Concerns for National Unity, details HERE and he has squeezed the oil companies to make the Merdeka Award in conjunction with the 50th Merdeka Anniversary and announced big plans for an Education Revamp at the Top universities in the Strategic Plan and the National Higher Education Action Plan 2007-2010
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MCA welcomes move to give universities more autonomy

KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA welcomes the Government’s move to give universities more autonomy in a move to transform the face of higher education in the country, said party president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting. He said the National Higher Education Strategic Plan and the National Higher Education Action Plan 2007-2010 would intensify the development of higher education in the country. “The plan is very strategic and will help the country train more professionals and human capital at international level,” he said in a statement. Ong said the Government must create a systematic and comprehensive mechanism to groom more talent to compete in the globalised world and enhance the academic level and competitiveness of the country’s human resources.

“We hope that with this move, universities will be motivated to become world-class institutes or centres of academic excellence in Malaysia,” he added. He said the Higher Education Ministry had shown its determination to make revolutionary changes to higher education and hoped that all the objectives and strategies under the blueprint would be fulfilled and implemented. On the announcement that 20% of the enrolment at apex universities would be open to international students, Ong said it would allow local students and academicians the chance to experience the cultural, linguistic and racial diversity the world had to offer. Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said his ministry hoped to hold a joint convention with the Higher Education Ministry to look into ways to work together in the implementation of their master plans.

He said the newly-launched National Higher Education Strategic Plan and National Higher Education Action Plan 2007-2010 were in line with his ministry’s National Education Blueprint 2006-2010. “I have requested to hold the convention either in November or December so that we can make sure that there is continuity, from pre-school education up to the tertiary level,” he said after launching the Malaysia-Asean School Linkage Programme 2007 here yesterday. Hishammuddin also said he would be chairing an informal meeting with the Asean education ministers on Friday and Saturday, where they would be discussing issues such as core values in the Asean region, mobility and migration.

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No Nation Wishes To Suppress Wages, Says Abdullah;

August 28, 2007 12:33 PM; ALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today that no nation wishes to suppress wages or keep the wages artificially low to attract investment. Indeed, all workers should be paid wages that are commensurate with their productivity and value added, the prime minister said. "Nonetheless, what is fair and appropriate to employers and employees must be dictated by prevailing market conditions and relevant commercial considerations." After all, companies and nations must be bound by the rules of the market economy. Nations can and must establish sufficient protection against an unfettered market such as adequate safety laws and fair workplace condition," he said when opening the 2nd Union Network International Conference for the Asia Pacific Region here.

ABOVE: PM Abdullah addressing the 100 strong delegates from 200 trade union representatives in the Asia Pacific region and BELOW: He declared opened the conference

About 1,000 delegates from 200 trade union representatives in the Asia Pacific region are attending the two-day conference. Abdullah said nations must also understand the law of supply and demand, which means that nations and their workers must ensure that they can offer value to the world's market wages, welfare and well-being. Abdullah said that to ensure decent work conditions and fair labour laws, the nation and workers must find ways to offer greater value added by upgrading and improving incentives for their performances. "This is not only done by the government but also by business owners and their workers, as all of them have a shared responsibility to improve themselves," he said. Abdullah also applauded the Union Network International (UNI) for its constructive engagement with government organisations and hoped that the newly formed UNI Asean Service Employees Trade Union Council would have a fruitful dialogue with the relevant organisations on issues related to the liberalisation of the services within Asean by 2010.
ABOVE: Some of the delegates from the Asia Pacific region are attending the two-day conference

The liberalisation of the services would involve sectors such as information communication technology (ICT), aviation, tourism and health care industries. Abdullah congratulated UNI for working towards establishing a framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers in the Asia Pacific region. With the market liberalisation, they could expect more cross border movement of labour and labour-related issues, he said. Abdullah said governments and workers alike had had to adapt to a rapidly changing world as the liberalisation of markets and sectors, as agreed under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Asean, had had great implications on how work and skills were valued.

"Due to the free movement of investment, work that involves skills will be under the greatest of pressure, whereas work that requires specialised skills will be prized and rewarded," he said. Minimal skilled work would continue to move to countries that had the lowest cost of labour.
"This is the reality faced by many developing countries and their people today," he said. During the function, Abdullah also presented the UNI Apro Outstanding Employer-Partner Award to five organisations from three Asean countries -- Telekom Malaysia and Star Publications Berhad (Malaysia), Banco deOro Universal Bank (the Philippines) and Oversea Chinese Banking Corp and MediaCorp (Singapore

= == = == == = = == = ==== = =anyone for Merdeka Award, RM300,000? in five categories -- education, community, health, science and technology, environment. 1st award next Aug only

August 27, 2007 23:46 PM

PM Outlines Three Major Challenges Ahead For Malaysia

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi launches the Merdeka Award. Looking on is Petronas president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has outlined three major challenges that the country has to deal with despite the many achievements made after 50 years of independence. He said Malaysia needed to tackle issues of economic transformation, the socio-economic balance and the national unity as there was persistent perception that not enough had been done in promoting this issue in particular. "Of course, we are not a perfect country. Like any nation, we are subject to stresses and strains. This is due to external forces, as well as internal tension," he said during the official launching of the Merdeka Award here tonight. On national unity, he said, there were still many discordant voices in the country, fanning the flames of chauvinism and mistrust which aimed to provoke confrontation.

Abdullah said these voices sought to deny the virtues of compromise and tolerance. "We must never allow them to gain ground. We must never give them the room to wreck our most precious identity and national unity as there are many naysayers and detractors, both within and outside Malaysia. "They seek to paint a dark and bleak picture of Malaysia. A Malaysia that is supposedly inefficient and lacking in integrity. A Malaysia that is supposedly torn at the seams. A Malaysia that is increasingly disunited and in decline," he said. However, he said, Malaysia had proven them wrong, time and again as when others predicted Malaysia's doom, the nation had prevailed because our founding fathers held strongly to those values that made us uniquely Malaysian.

"Values such as our decency, our compassion, our tolerance for others, our integrity and our passion and dedication to the nation. He said that according to a survey carried out in April 2007 involving more than 1,000 Malaysians, 81 per cent said that things were favourable with respect to ethnic relations between the different races. On economic issue, Abdullah said the most difficult task would be transforming Malaysia into a developed nation, shifting into higher value-added activities and bring Malaysia into the new knowledge economy in a global environment that had become even more competitive. Abdullah said much still needed to be done although it was fair to say that the country had succeeded in creating an equitable and just Malaysia in the socio-economic balance of the country. "We have all but eradicated poverty. We are still far from our target of achieving income parity.

The gap between urban and rural incomes also continues to be a work in progress," he said. On the award, he said it symbolised and rewarded individuals and institutions for their excellence and lasting contribution and hoped that this award and its recipients would become a source of pride for the nation. The Merdeka Award was initiated by Petronas, Exxonmobil and Shell as the founding members rewarding in five categories -- education, community, health, science and technology, environment, outstanding scholastic achievement and outstanding contribution to the people of Malaysia.

Each award category carries a cash prize of RM300,000 and comes with trophy and a certificate and winners will be selected from a list of nominees on an annual basis. The three oil fraternity, which set up a RM50 million trust fund for the award would give away the award to the first recipients in August next year. Also present was Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah,

Petronas president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican (ABOVE) Exxonmobil Subsidiaries Malaysia chairman Liam M Mallon and Shell Malaysia chairman Datuk Saw Choo Boon.

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August 27, 2007 20:10 PM
Abdullah Chides Opposition For Spinning Out Issues

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today chided the opposition for spinning out issues pertaining to the social contract and Malaysia's status as a Muslim country. Although he had personally given explanations on the issues several times, they were still being raised, he said. "It leads me to conclude that it was deliberately prolonged for the opposition's political interest," he said in a written reply to a question by Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Barat) in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Lim had asked whether the Cabinet, in conjunction with the country's independence anniversary, would make a new pledge on the Merdeka social contract and the Malaysia Agreement that Malaysia was a secular country with Islam being the official religion instead of an Islamic country. Abdullah said he hoped that his reply to the House this time would clarify everything on the issues so that they were not being dragged on to the extent of creating uneasiness among the multiracial citizens of the country.

The prime minister reiterated that Malaysia was neither a secular nor theocratic country, instead it was a Muslim country and governed according to Islamic principles. He said Malaysia firmly believed in the principles of parliamentary democracy guided by the country's highest law, namely the Federal Constitution. The Islamic principles could be seen through the Islam Hadhari approach that was introduced and emphasised on progress skewed on building a civilisation and focused on efforts to raise the quality of life through the mastery of knowledge and human, health and physical development, he said. Abdullah said the Islam Hadhari approach, however, did not mean that Malaysia was a theocratic country. "The government that I lead is a government based on the principles of parliamentary democracy and is answerable to Parliament.

At the same time, the Cabinet comprises ministers who profess Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and others respectively, who reach consensus based on discussions and come out with the national development policies," he said. The prime minister said that this approach in administration had been practised by the Malaysian government for over 50 years, and the unique formula had been tested and its effectiveness had been proven. "I also dismiss the argument that it contravenes the social contract negotiated by our past leaders. We must remember that the Federal Constitution was successfully drafted on the basis of compromise and cooperation demonstrated by the three major races in the country when fighting for independence," he said.He stressed that the adoption of Islamic principles in the country's administration did not in any way change the social contract or the Constitution. On the freedom of speech, the prime minister said the government did give space for various parties to speak out but there was a limit to it.

"We must realise that too many things are at stake here - the economic, political and social stability will crumble if religious or racial sensitivities are not considered. "Therefore, the government will not hesitate to take legal action if there are parties who try to take advantage and abuse the freedom of speech given," he stressed. Abdullah said that in conjunction with the country's 50th independence anniversary, it was more important to give priority to unifying the people instead of raising issues that would only create tension among the communities.

= == =see next POST H E R E ON

PM - No Racial Riots in Pasir Gudang; Irresponsible Quarters create Tension & Animosity; CJ to Explain Failure of Written Judgments; Next Chief Judge to be announce soon


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