Health tips , This is really worth reading! 这篇太值得看了!


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这篇太值得看了!
This is really worth reading!

 

祝身体永远健康,香港伊利沙伯医院临床肿瘤科唐志聪医生编写 :

Wishing you good health always – Doctor Tang from St. Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong wrote this:

 

⛄}《人,只要脾、肝、大肠、肾,四个功能健康,就能永远离开癌症、糖尿病、心脏病、高血压。

We, human being, as long as our spleen, liver, large intestine and kidney are healthy, we will be far away from cancer, diabetes, heart attack and high blood pressure.

 

🌷} 脾,一定要健康。

如果有病,就先恢复脾的功能。

Once you are sick, you must work on the recovery of your spleen first.

 

每天三餐,五谷杂粮一定要占总饮食的 50%,一定要养成这个习惯。

Our daily three meals should contain 50% of grains/wheat/brown rice, must learn to make it as part of our eating habit and diet.

 

🍚} 杂粮就是红豆、黄豆、绿豆、薏仁,这些都是杂粮类,莲子也很好,有了这个概念之后,脾好肝就好。

Grain crops are red bean, soya bean, green bean and Chinese Pearl barley. Lotus seeds are also good. Once your spleen is good, your liver will automatically be healthy.

 

🕙} 脾在造血,一天有两个重要的时间,就是子时24:00和午时12:00,所以,你该休息的时候一定要休息。

..现在的人,大部分都是肝不好,为什么不好?

Spleen is the organ that is manufacturing blood. The important schedules for processing are 12am and 12pm. Thus, when you need to rest, you must rest. Nowadays, they are a lot of people who are having liver problems. Why is it?

 

…晚睡、吃油炸的东西、坏脾气,这三个正是肝的三大克星。

Sleeping late, eating oily and fried foods and bad mood, these are the three nemesis.

 

🐷} 油包肝,你吃油的东西,油把整个肝包住,肝的功能完全丧失了,所以说,我们不要吃得太油腻。

When you eat oily foods, oil will cover up your whole liver, your liver will loss its functions.

 

🚶} 当我们身体感觉不适的时候,此时疾病正在纠正人的过失,用身体的痛苦管教他,有痛苦的时候,代表我们要改变自己的生活方式。

🚽 每天早上,你上厕所感觉很困难,这个表示什么?

When we are feeling uncomfortable, the sickness is coming to rectify our negligence, using pain to educate us, we must change our way of living.

Every morning, do you find difficulty to pass motion? What does that mean?

 

🍃} 你身体纤维素摄取量完全不足。

Your intake of fibre is not enough.

 

…万病之源,都是从你的大肠不能正常排泄开始。

Thousands of sickness main problems are caused by the inability to perform daily passing motion through the large intestine.

 

…如果你的大肠很好,那你早上应该不是自己醒过来,而是被大肠的蠕动叫醒,大肠蠕动在叫你了,为什么?

If your large intestine is good form, in the morning, you will be woken up by the movement of your large intestine calling you.

Why?

 

…因为五到七点就是大肠最活跃的时间,所以为什么我们告诉癌症病人一定要晚上九点睡,因为你的大肠早上六点到七点的时候自然就会蠕动,叫你起床,蹲马桶了。

Because 5am to 7am, our large intestine is most actively performing it’s functions. That’s why we inform cancer patients must go to sleep at 9pm. Because large intestine will automatically wake you up between 6am to 7am to sit on the toilet bowl.

 

💩} 你一天要上几次厕所才够?

How many times you must go to toilet everyday?

 

请记住:如果四、五天才上一次厕所,叫重度便秘;

Please remember, if it’s 4-5 days, you are seriously in constipated.

 

两三天上一次厕所,这个叫中度便秘;

2-3 days once, considered as medium level of constipation.

 

一天上一次厕所,叫轻度便秘。

Once a day is mild constipation.

 

…食物进入体内十二小时,没有排出去,就会形成毒素。

Once the foods is maintained inside our stomach for 12 hours, it became poisonous particles.

 

… 因为毒素没有排出去,我们的大肠壁就会吸收这个毒素,吸收以后,透过静脉又送回肝脏去,糟糕了! 造成肝亏损,这个问题就很严重了。

Because the poisonous particles are not passing out, it will be absorbed by the large intestinal wall, which then will send back to the liver, thus, damaging our liver. This will create a serious problem.

 

💝} 肝不好跟大肠有直接关联,只要大肠一通顺,肝就会好了,免疫系统也跟着恢复,而且送到心脏的血都是干净的,所以什么病都不容易罹患。

There is a direct relationship between our liver and large intestine. Once our large intestine is passable, liver will get recover, and build-up our antibody. Then, blood delivery to heart will be clean and no sickness will attack you.

 

…当一个人感觉到每天很容易疲倦、很容易累,表示你的肝功能已经出现问题了,血已经没有办法回流到肝!

When you always feel tired or very easy to get tired, that means you are having problems with the liver, your blood is unable to return back to your liver.

 

💪} 你身体健康靠的是什么?

What is your health depending on?

 

💤} 睡眠的时间,脾去收集血液,送到肝脏去解毒,解毒以后,干净的血液送到心脏去,心脏再送到全身,就能获得营养,就能获得健康。

While you are sleeping, your spleen is going to collect blood and deliver to the liver for dialysis. After cleaning and filtering up the poisonous particles, it will then deliver to the heart, the heart will then despatch throughout your body. You then received nutrients and get healthy.

 

💨} 很不幸的是,现代很多人脾已经先出现问题,脾本身就不收集血液。

Unfortunately, nowadays people are having problems with their spleen. Spleen itself is not storing blood.

 

只有一个办法最养脾,五谷最养脾,可是现代身体为什么都这么差,身体这么多病?

There is only one method to maintain healthy spleen, eating grains/oat/wheat are the most effective way. Why modern body is so poor, with so many sicknesses?

 

…因为都不吃五谷杂粮,吃汉堡、炸鸡、牛排、薯条,又吃白米饭,所以你要吃造物主原创的食物,一定要吃五谷杂粮,原始的杂粮,比如糙米等。

Because they don’t eat grains/oat, they eat burgers, fried chicken, steak, French fries, white rice. You must eat the source foods like brown rice, oat, wheat.

⛳} 恢复四大功能,永远离开病苦!

Recovering back the functionality of the four main organs, sickness will leave you.

 

😍} 用心多看几次! 好好照顾自己! 》 这周是世界好友周,如果你愿意,请把这条信息发给你所有的好朋友 。

Be patient and read this over several times and take good care of yourselves. This week is “world friendship week”, send this message to all of your good friends.

…当大部分人都在关注你飞得高不高时,只有少部分人关心你飞得累不累,这就是 友情。

Most people are noticing how high you can fly, but very few people are taking note of how tired you are?

 

👯} 再忙,也要照顾好自己, 朋友虽不常联系,却一直 惦念。

However busy you are, you must take good care of yourself. Though friends are not always communicating with you but they have you in their mind.

👕} 天凉时记着多穿衣!

When the weather is cold, you must wear enough to keep warm.

 

☕} 少喝奶茶、远离正在充电的电源。

Drink less milk tea and stay far away from charging port.
☕} 白天多喝水,晚上少喝,一天不喝多于两杯的咖啡。

Day time drink more water, night time drink less. One day shouldn’t drink more than 2 cups of coffee.

 

🍔} 少吃油多的食物, 最佳睡眠为晚上十点至早上六点

Eat less oily foods. Best sleeping times are from 10pm to 6am.

🍸} 晚上五点后少吃大餐,每天喝酒不超过一杯。

Evening time, don’t eat too much after 5pm. Don’t drink more than one cup of alcoholic drink per day.

 

💊} 不用冷水服胶囊, 睡前半小时服药忌立刻躺下。

Don’t eat medicines with cold water, eat medicines half hour before going to bed. Never eat medicines immediately laying down.

 

⛺} 睡眠不足八小时人会变笨。

Don’t sleep for less than 8 hours per day.

 

👍} 午睡习惯的人不易老。

Having nap in the noon hour will keep you young and not age easily.

 

📲} 手机电池剩一格时不要打电话, 剩一格时辐射是平时的一千倍。

Once your handphone battery is left with only one bar, don’t make calls anymore, because the radiation wave is one thousand times higher than fully charged battery.

 

👂} 要用左耳接电话, 用右耳会直接伤害到大脑。

Use your left ear to answer calls, right ear will directly hurt your brain.

 

💪} 2017 新概念 一个中心:一切以健康为中心。

New Concept in 2017, good health is most important, much more than any other things.

 

✌}两个基本点: 遇事潇洒一点, 看世事胡涂一点。

Two basic points: greet everything in life with an elegant and cheerful approach.

 

🙏}三个忘记: 忘记年龄,忘记过去,忘记恩怨。

Three things need to forget: forget your age, forget your past and forget your grievances.

 

👋}四个拥有: 无论你有多弱或多强,一定要: 拥有真正爱你的人, 拥有知心的朋友 , 拥有向上的事业, 拥有温暖的住所。

Four things you must have. No matter how weak or how strong you are, you must have: people who are truly loving you, have caring friends, progressive business or employment and a warm home.

 

✋}五个要: 要唱,要跳,要俏,要笑,要苗

Five things you do: Singing, dancing, charming, smiling and growing.

 

👌}六个不能: 不能饿了才吃, 不能渴了才喝, 不能困了才睡, 不能累了才歇, 不能病了才检查, 不能老了再后悔。

Six things you don’t: don’t wait till u r hungry then eat, don’t wait till you are thirsty then you drink, don’t wait till sleepy then sleep, don’t wait till u feel tired then rest, don’t wait till get sick then go for medical check-up, otherwise will only regret in later life.

 

😁} … 阅读后,将此转发给所有的亲人和朋友。

After reading, do forward this to all your loved ones & friends.

Huge Civil Service Size, Attractive Emoluments and Benefits are costing Malaysia !


Prized job: While long-term security like the pension scheme free healthcare and easy loans have been among the perks of joining the public service, many job seekers now want to become civil servants because it pays well. — Bernama

The attractive emoluments and benefits in the public sector are costing the country, say experts.

THE civil service had never been *Sofea Mohd’s dream job but in the current competi­tive job market, the final year Economics student at a local public university is seriously weighing the option. Especially since she was offered a temporary position at a ministry where she had just completed an internship.

“My seniors advised me to take the offer – one said she had to wait years before she got a job, another said he had to work in a fastfood restaurant and sell pens and children’s books on the street, so I thought I should listen to them and just take it.

“They say my chances of being hired permanently will be higher then,” says the 22-year-old.

The main reason she decided to accept the offer, however, is the pay, she tells, “It’s not as low as people say. I will get a daily wage but I can earn at least RM2,000 a month. The pay for permanent staff is of course better.”

Her friend *Azman Jailani dreams of starting his own business but is also planning to join the public sector after graduation.

“That’s what my parents want me to do. They say there is more security in the civil service. I can start my business later if I want,” says the final year business studies student.

With the academic year coming to a close at most tertiary institution in the country, many graduating students are preparing for the next chapter in their life. And like these two, many are looking at the civil service for a job guarantee.

It was reported recently that the Public Service Commission received 1.56 million applications last year to fill 25,046 job vacancies in the public sector. In 2015, the PSC received 1.63 million applications for 24,606 vacancies.

While the attraction of a government job is well-noted – long-term security; a pension scheme; cheap, if not free, healthcare; easy loans – many job seekers are now drawn to the public sector because of its pay.

Shamsuddin: ‘Duplications impact the private sector. When there are too many agencies, that will bound to cause delays.’

The pay for the public sector, especially for entry-level jobs, is on par with the private sector, says Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan.

“It has to be noted that public sector wages have risen, in some cases outstripping the wages in the private sector. And that is only the basic pay. When you add the different allowances and bonuses, the public sector’s salaries – perhaps except for those at senior management level – could be more attractive than that of the private sector.

“Then there are also many benefits for civil servants such as house loans and healthcare benefits for them and family that continue even after they retire.

“In the private sector, the health insurance coverage ends when you leave a company’s employment or retire,” he says.

But the attractive emolument and benefits in the public sector have come at a price for the country, say economists, one that Malaysia will not be able to afford in the future. In fact, some believe it is already hurting Malaysia’s economy – it has been reported that it will now cost the nation more than 40% of government revenue to maintain the public sector.

Experts have pointed to its sheer size as a reason for the burgeoning bill of the civil service.

In February, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani told a local Chinese daily in an interview that it is a growing challenge for the Government to run the public sector due to the rising costs.

“One of the issues that we have to address is the ever-increasing government operating costs and expenses.

“For example, we have about 1.6 million civil servants, which is one of the world’s largest proportion of civil service,” Johari was quoted as saying.

With a population of 31 million, this means Malaysia has a ratio of one civil servant to 19 people, said the news report, which cited corresponding ratios for other countries in comparison: Singapore (1 to 71 people), Indonesia (1:110), China (1:108) and Britain (1:118).

The reported size of the civil service caused a stir, with the Public Service Department director-general Datuk Seri Zainal Rahim Seman refuting criticisms that the civil service is oversized by reiterating Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa’s statement that the size of the civil service is a matter of definition under the Federal Constitution, which includes the police, the armed forces, and healthcare and education personnel.

 

As Zainal Rahim told the press, the actual size of the civil service would only be 682,790 should Malaysia adopt the same calculation used by other countries. This would make the ratio of civil servant to population as 1 to 44, instead of 1:19, he said.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, meanwhile, put  Malaysia’s employment in the public sector as only 10.8% of the total labour force in 2013.

But as Johari highlighted, the fact is, emoluments make up the biggest portion of the Government’s operating expenditure, and that cost has been and will keep expanding.

“In 2003, the pay of public servants totalled RM22bil but it increased to RM74bil by 2016. In 2003, the pension of civil servants was RM5.9bil and in 2016 the amount soared to RM19bil.”

This year, some RM77.4bil have been allocated in the 2017 Budget for public servants’ pay and some RM21bil for the pension and gratuity payments of retirees, which is about 45% of the allocated operating expenditure of the country.

The challenge to cover the spiking cost is intensified by the declining Government reve­nue, the vernacular newspaper reported Johari as saying.

“In particular, revenues from the palm oil and natural gas industries, which generated profits of about RM65bil in 2014, fell sharply to RM30bil in 2016,” he was quoted.

Concurring, economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng says the rising operating expenditure is also a concern due to its impact on the country’s development.

“Over the last decade or so, we are seeing the operating expenditure in the government budget expand to the extent that we are not able to expand the development expenditure,” says Dr Yeah, who is an economics professor at Sunway Business School.

Some RM214.8bil was allocated for operating expenditure in the 2017 Budget while only RM46bil was allocated for development.

“By right, the development expenditure should be half of the budget if we want a dynamic economy as we see in many countries, especially in the developed countries,” he adds.

“But in Malaysia, the development expenditure has shrunk to as low as 20% of the budget. This will have a multiplier effect on our economy.”

He argues we should be spending more on our development, both in increasing the quantum of development expenditure and at the same time focusing the development expenditure on the right sectors – not just hard infrastructure but also soft infrastructure like social and human capital development.

“This is important in improving the quality of our workforce and their skills, in terms of boosting the talent development that can push the frontiers of growth in the country, especially in science and technology and other emerging knowledge and industries.

“The Government needs to attract investments in these new sectors, so that is why development expenditure is one of the key contributions to spark growth in those sectors and accelerate the growth of the economy towards becoming high end, high value.”

He points out, various studies have shown that the country’s civil service is big, with a low productivity rate.

“Regardless of how we calculate the total, we definitely have more people in the public sector than necessary, and studies have shown that labour productivity is quite low for the public sector.”

Rightsizing the civil service is the way to go, he asserts, but it should be treated as part of the continuous effort of improving the efficiency of its delivery service.

“The key is to be able to provide the services required by the people optimally, which is at the smallest number and lowest cost possible without sacrificing the quality of service,” he says, stressing that the underlying note is that “we should be getting bigger banks for our bucks, that is the taxpayers’ money.”

Crucially, Dr Yeah adds, while rightsizing the civil service is important to sustain growth, it is important that we rightsize without disrupting economic growth in terms of the employment situation in the country.

“We have to ensure meaningful employment for all while sustaining a low unemployment rate so that we can maintain the domestic economic growth momentum.”

Any prudent government would seize the opportunity to rightsize and enhance the public sector efficiency, Dr Yeah says.

“It is important to rightsize gradually and incrementally at a pace that does not disrupt the economy.

“Because the risk is that if we are hit by a downturn and the government is forced to undertake the pending cuts then that would be more painful and damaging to the economy. There would be a loss of productive capital when we face that kind of situation,” he says.

Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, immediate past president of the Malaysian Economic Association (MEA) also believes it is time for Malaysia to rightsize the civil service due to the huge sum of civil servants’ salaries and pensions in the government expenditure.

As he had told the “Economic Governance: Public Sector Governance” forum in February, it could be a problem for Malaysia if it runs into a financial crisis and rightsizing is “better sooner than later” if Malaysia wanted to avoid falling into a Greece-like crisis, where the European country had to cut salaries and state pensions for its civil service.

“It is worthwhile to do it now while we can still afford it.

“I think we should do it gradually. It is kinder to do it now with incentives than to suddenly cut their salaries and pensions at a time when they can least afford it,” he was reported as saying.

Mohd Sheriff, who is also the former Finance Ministry secretary-general and Economic Planning Unit director-general, points out that there are ways of rightsizing in a humane and caring manner including providing free courses on skills development that will make people employable in the right sector like ICT, English, basic accounting, corporate law and others.

He says with the right skills, many would even leave the service on their own accord to improve their lives.

Dr Yeah agrees.

“While their pay is comparable to the private sector, many of the second layer and support jobs in the civil service have low long-term prospect,” he says.

“If their skills are improved, they and their families could get better prospects for the future. And if they are forced to look at other opportunities in the private sector or in entrepreneurship, in the end they could be better off,” he says, pointing to some of the initiatives already taken to rightsize the civil service and improve its productivity and efficiency, especially under Pemandu.

Dr Lee Hwok Aun, senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, says the Government should explore different ways to raise more revenue, such as by introducing a capital gains tax.

As a former lecturer at a Malaysian public university, Dr Lee says he can appreciate the enormous difficulty of rightsizing the civil service.

“The projected increasing burden of civil service salaries and proven continuous increase of operational expenditures in overall federal government spending, at the expense of investment, are major causes for concern. And the size of the civil service matters, but the long-term issues are even more complex,” he says.

For the civil service to be effective, nimble and efficient, it will need to attract and retain talent in certain sectors – which means paying higher salaries, especially for key positions such as teachers, he says.

As he sees it, the main problem is over-bureaucratisation.

“There are various unnecessary administrative posts, which add cost and tend to perpetuate procedures and heavy paperwork. I can attest to this from my experience working in a public university. An overhaul of administrative strategy and operations is probably necessary in many departments, before making any staff reductions. If not, when staff retire or relocate, the same amount of tedious work becomes distributed among fewer people, causing service and morale to decline,” he says, adding there will also be resistance from civil servants who stand to lose their pension if they leave.

“We should be understanding and merciful about this situation. Forms of compensation, or the option to convert from public sector pension to an EPF lump sum, could be explored.”

MEF’s Shamsuddin concurs, pointing out that there are also a lot of duplications of service and work at the federal level and state level and so on.

“A good example is tourism where there is a tourism agency at the federal level while the state has its own tourism Exco and office.

Duplications impact the private sector as it is a problem to deal with different government agencies to get something done. When there are too many agencies, that will bound to cause delays,” says Shamsuddin.

Dr Yeah says it is imperative for the Government to enhance the efficiency of the delivery service and effectiveness of the public sector across the board, such as putting them to work in priority areas and where they will have the highest impact.

“Crucially, when we focus on improving productivity through redeployment, retraining and re-skilling, quite naturally, we will be rightsizing.”

It can even be a win-win situation for the public servants as a smaller number of employees that commensurate with a higher productivity will mean an increase in profit, so the civil servants can receive higher wages, he notes.

Still, Dr Yeah feels the public sector’s emolument bill should be capped.

“We need to ensure that the public sector wages do not exceed the workers’ productivity or rate of inflation, as that itself will lead to a productivity decline.

“We should cascade it so that the wages in private sector could rise in tandem with thepublic sector,” he says, adding that at the same time the size of the civil service needs to be reduced. “If we don’t rightsize and instead create more civil service jobs, it will be a downward spiral.”

The Government also needs to enhance Malaysia’s investment climate and attract more foreign investments, he adds, “The strategy of the country should be to push for private sector growth, especially in new and emerging areas which would boost demand for highly skilled labour.”

Ultimately, says Dr Yeah, the public service sector should not be the job reserve or employer of the last resort in the country.

To achieve this, we need to stop the disproportionate interest in the public sector which is not healthy for the economy, he says.

“We should be steering the workforce towards the private sector or they should become entrepreneurs so that they can raise their income opportunities and create jobs.”

The tightening of the job market can lead to higher investment, higher productivity and higher wages, Dr Yeah notes, “This is the virtuous cycle we need to kickstart to sustain an economic growth for the country at a higher level.”

*not real name

Next: Some of the initiatives already taken by the Government to rightsize the civil service and improve its productivity and efficiency.

Source: The Star/ANN by Hariati Azizan

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CNY 2017, Xi spreads love, inspires nation …


– The President’s latest appeal for diligence and hard work has sparked heated discussion and spread inspiration and confidence across the …

中國國家主席習近平2017年新年賀詞(Chinese President Xi Jinping 2017 New Year Address)

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/o4jS9hLiHUQ

President Xi Jinping (pic) struck a warm tone with his annual Spring Festival greeting calling on the whole nation to love their family and friends.

Love should reach to every family and bring warmth to all Chinese like a spring breeze blowing across the nation, he said on Thursday in his speech ahead of the Lunar New Year.

“The Chinese people have always valued love and high morality,” Xi told his audience at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, which included senior government officials, military officers, renowned artists and ethnic community leaders.

He urged people not to neglect their family, comrades and loved ones, no matter how busy they are with their work. Love means not being hypocritical, not selfish and not outrageous, he said.

“A short greeting of ‘welcome home for Spring Festival’ would warm the hearts of millions of Chinese people,” he said.

Xi went on to wish all Chinese, including ethnic groups, those in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and those living abroad, an auspicious Year of the Rooster, an animal that symbolises good fortune.

China’s economic growth has remained one of the strongest in the world, and people’s livelihoods have continuously been improved, the president said, before calling on the nation to “roll up our sleeves to work harder”.

Xi said he hopes the people “not only have great dreams, but also show a hardworking spirit to fulfil those dreams”. He added, “The progresses in China’s development are achieved thanks to Chinese people’s diligent work.”

Jin Yanlei, a geography teacher in Dongying, Shandong province, said,

“President Xi has told us to roll up our sleeves to work harder, which I think is important not only for ourselves, but also for the nation, especially at a time when the global economy is sluggish.” — China Daily/The Star/Asia News Network

Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak : Chinese New Year TVC 2017

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/8DB9zIlQrh0

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 2017 – expect a bumpy year ahead worldwide 

Goodbye 2016, a strange and difficult year


The year will be remembered for the West ending its romance with globalisation, and its impact on the rest of the world.

JUST a few days before Christmas, it is time again to look back on the year that is about to pass.

What a strange year it has been, and not one we can celebrate!

The top event was Donald Trump’s unexpected victory. It became the biggest sign that the basic framework and values underpinning Western societies since the second world war have undergone a seismic change.

The established order represented by Hillary Clinton was defeated by the tumultuous wave Trump generated with his promise to stop the United States from pandering to other countries so that it could become “great again”.

Early in the year came the Brexit vote shock, taking Britain out of the European Union. It was the initial signal that the liberal order created by the West is now being quite effectively challenged by their own masses.

Openness to immigrants and foreigners is now opposed by citizens in Europe and the US who see them as threats to jobs, national culture and security rather than beneficial additions to the economy and society.

The long-held thesis that openness to trade and foreign investments is best for the economy and underpins political stability is crumbling under the weight of a sceptical public that blames job losses and the shift of industries abroad on ultra-liberal trade and investment agreements and policies.

Thus, 2016 which started with mega trade agreements completed (Trans-Pacific Partnership) or in the pipeline (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and Europe) ended with both being dumped by the President Elect, a stunning reversal of the decades-old US position advocating the benefits of the open economy.

2016 will be remembered as the year when the romance in the West with “globalisation” was killed by a public disillusioned and outraged by the inequalities of an economic system tilted in favour of a rich minority, while a sizeable majority feel marginalised and discarded.

In Asia, the dismantling of the globalisation ideal in the Western world was greeted with a mixture of regret, alarm and a sense of opportunity.

Many in this region believe that trade and investment have served several of their countries well. There is fear that the anti-globalisation rebellion in the West will lead to a rapid rise of protectionism that will hit the exports and industries of Asia.

As Trump announced he would pull the US out of the TPP, China stepped into the vacuum vacated by the US and pledged to be among the torchbearers of trade liberalisation in the Asia-Pacific region and possibly the world.

The change of direction in the US and to some extent Europe poses an imminent threat to Asian exports, investors and economic growth. But it is also an opportunity for Asian countries to review their development strategies, rely more on themselves and the region, and take on a more active leadership role.

China made use of 2016 to prepare for this, with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank taking off and the immense Belt and Road Initiative gathering steam.

Many companies and governments are now latching on to the latter as the most promising source of future growth.

The closing months of 2016 also saw a surprising and remarkable shift in position by the Philippines, whose new President took big steps to reconcile with China over conflicting claims in the South China Sea, thus defusing the situation – at least for now.

Unfortunately, the year also saw heart-rending reports on the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar, and the deaths of thousands of Syrians including those who perished or were injured in the end-game in Aleppo.

On the environmental front, it is likely 2016 will be the hottest year on record, overtaking 2015. This makes the coming into force in October of the Paris Agreement on climate change all the more meaningful.

But there are two big problems. First, the pledges in the agreement are grossly insufficient to meet the level of emissions cuts needed to keep the world safe from global warming, and there is also insufficient financing to support the developing countries’ climate actions, whether on mitigation or adaptation.

And secondly, there is a big question mark on the future of the Paris agreement as Trump had vowed to take the US out of it.

The biggest effect of 2016 could be that a climate skeptic was elected US President.

In the area of health, the dangers of antibiotic resistance went up on the global agenda with a declaration and day-long event involving political leaders at the United Nations in September.

There was growing evidence and stark warnings in 2016 that we are entering a post-antibiotic era where medicines will no longer work and millions will die from infection and ailments that could once be easily treated by antibiotics.

The world will also be closing in a mood of great economic uncertainty. In 2016 the world economy overall didn’t do well but also not too badly, with growth rates projected at 2.4 to 3%.

But for developing economies like Malaysia, the year ended with worries that the high capital inflows of recent years are reversing as money flows back to the US.

The first in an expected series of interest rate increases came last week.

All in all, there was not much to rejoice about in 2016, and worse still it built the foundation for more difficulties to come in 2017.

So we should enjoy the Christmas/New Year season while we can. Merry Christmas to all readers!

Global Trends By Martin Khor

Martin Khor (director@southcentre.org) is executive director of the South Centre. The views expressed here are entirely his own.
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 Global Reset 2016~2017

TPPA in danger of collapse after its biggest critic wins US presidency


KUALA LUMPUR: The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) faces its biggest challenge with the election of its major critic Donald Trump as US president. The agreement will collapse without the participation of United States, said its prime mover in Malaysia, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

The International Trade and In­­dus­try Minister explained that for TPPA to be ratified, it needs at least six countries, accounting for 85% of the combined gross domestic product of the 12 signatories.

“Without the United States, there will be no TPPA,” he said when met in Parliament yesterday.

He added that failure to carry out TPPA may affect the Malaysian economy.

“We went into TPPA for the overall interest of Malaysia. To be a part of this process, to do more trading, as we believe that this will help trade and investment for Malaysia.

“Among the reasons why we joined was to get access to Mexico and Canada, countries that we haven’t gotten access to,” he said.

He, however, was quick to add that it was too soon to make an analysis on the matter.

Trump’s shock victory stunned capital markets around the world with investors seeking safe haven assets such as gold to brace the period of uncertainties.

In an immediate after-effect Asian stock markets fell, with Bursa Malaysia performing relatively better than most other markets, shedding less than 1%.

The US dollar index, which measures the strength of the currency against a basket of currencies, spiked to more than 1,207, largely due to the weakening of emerging market currencies and strengthening of safe-haven currencies such as the Yen and Swiss francs.

The ringgit fell to RM4.224 against the greenback, a nine-month low since Feb 25. Gold spot prices went up by almost 5% to US$1,337 (RM5,645) as investors sought shelter in safe haven assets in the period of uncertainty.

Ministers and chief negotiators of TTPA countries are expected to meet in Peru soon to take stock on the fate of the agreement.

International Trade and Industry secretary-general Datuk J. Jayasiri, who was Malaysia’s chief TPPA negotiator, said there was no indication so far that Washington under President Barack Obama would not table the Bill in the US Congress for ratification.

“All indications from US Trade Representative Michael Froman is that they are working hard to table it. The US has its own domestic process and for Malaysia we will continue the process of amending our laws,” he said.

Peru will host the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperaton (Apec) summit on Nov 19 to be attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Obama is also expected to attend.

American Malaysia Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) executive director Siobhan Das said US business investments would continue to find a home in Malaysia.

“Amcham supports all efforts that enable free and fair trade between all parties, and looks forward to working with the new administration to grow US business interests in Malaysia,” said Das.

Malaysian Association for Ame­ri­can Studies (MAAS) President Prof Dr K.S. Nathan believed that Trump would try to fine tune but would not scrap the agreement.

“They may renegotiate some aspects of it but I don’t see Trump pulling back on the TPPA or even the North American Free Trade Agreement”.

The US Embassy’s charge d’affaires Edgard Kagan explained it was still possible that TPPA would be approved by US lawmakers.

“There are different views on trade in the US. President Obama is committed to the TPPA and we will just have to see what happens,” he said.

In theory, the TPPA could still be ratified by Congress during its “lame duck” session.

This is the session which takes places after the US presidential election but before the inauguration on Jan 20 next year.

BY Razak ahmad, Neville spykerman, Mergawati zulfakar, Loshana k shagar, Hemananthani sivanandam, Rahimy rahim, Martin carvalho, andd. Kanyakumari The Star/ANN

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https://youtu.be/YKIOAMcTuWI NEW YORK, Nov. 9 — Republican candidate Donald Trump was projected by U.S. media to have won the 270 …

Internet addiction on the rise among Malaysian youths, Asians one of the most addicted to the Internet


Enough evidence to show links to anxiety, decreased job productivity, says expert.

CYBERJAYA: A 14-year-old boy loved gaming so much that he did not leave his home for half a year until his parents hauled him to therapy for Internet addiction.

This sounds like a story that happens in Japan, China or South Korea, where teenagers have died from binging on their computers. But this case happened right here in Kuala Lumpur.

At the International Society of Internet Addiction (Isia) Conference here, researchers said they were most worried that Malaysian youth were increasingly using the Internet in excess, with local studies revealing that 37% of Malaysian parents felt their children’s online life was interfering with their home and school obligations while 18% said their children were sacrificing basic social activities.

The research, led by child psychologist and Isia spokesperson Dr Norharlina Bahar, found that males under the age of 24, from the Klang Valley, Ipoh or Penang, were the most susceptible to Internet addiction in Malaysia.

“Most spend time on online games and browsing social media and there is enough evidence to show links to anxiety, depression, physical health problems, school disconnection, unemployment, decreased job productivity and social isolation,” she said.

Studies have also found frequent use of the Internet could translate to low self-esteem, depression, boredom and attention-deficit hyperactive disorder.

“There is no denying that Internet eases our life but when it affects your mental health capacity and interferes with your day-to-day work, then you need help,” she added.

In the case of the young boy, Dr Norharlina said he became irritable and angry when he was cut off from the digital world by his parents as part of the treatment.

“This is becoming a bigger problem now,” she said.

The challenge for the academic community is translating their data into tangible policies, as definitions of Internet addiction are still being worked out, she added.

That is something the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is seeking to address, by adapting research on Internet addiction into guidelines that can be used by school counsellors or pa­rents to identify addiction in adolescents, said MCMC advocacy and outreach senior director Eneng Faridah Iskandar.

“We want to know when is usage going to be a problem. When should I start regulating my child’s use of the Internet? We want to develop self-help tips that parents can use,” she said.

The conference was attended by 200 researchers and psychologists from 10 countries to present their findings on Internet wellness and discuss policies to address the effects of the digital world on users’ health.

Asians one of the most addicted to the Internet

CYBERJAYA: The Middle East, North America and Asia have the highest number of people addicted to the Internet, said Hong Kong University (HKU) Psychology. Department Associate Dean Prof. Dr Cecelia Cheng.

Dr. Cheng, who presented the findings of a HKU study on Thursday said that findings suggest that the more a country experiences traffic jams, air pollution and low life satisfaction, the more likely its citizens will be addicted to the Internet.

She added that out of 31 countries surveyed, European and South American nations had the smallest number of people addicted to the Internet.

“Basically if the life satisfaction of a country is low, the people in that country are more likely to be addicted to the Internet, particularly gaming,” she said.

Speaking at the International Society of Internet Addiction (ISIA) conference here, Dr Cheng added that there was a link between countries that have high levels of air pollution and Internet addiction.

“The study suggests that the problem of Internet addiction could be linked with the external environment that drives people indoors. Low life satisfaction also suggests that people look to the Internet for escapism when they are dissatisfied with the outside world,” she said.

Dr Cheng pointed out that less people are addicted to the Internet in Europe because pollution and crime rates are generally lower.

“In Europe, and people there can afford to engage in more outdoor activities than those in the Middle East and Asia,” she said.

She added that improving the quality of environmental conditions might encourage residents to engage more in outdoor activities rather than relying solely on browsing the Internet at home for stress relief.

Malaysia was not surveyed in the HKU study, but local authorities suggested that Internet addiction was a rising trend here too.

According to the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), 50.4% of children already have a smartphone by the age of 12 and Malaysians have a 100.4% penetration rate for Internet connectivity and a 143% penetration rate for cellular use.

An ISIA study led by Dr Norharlina Bahar also found that the prevalence of problematic Internet users in Malaysia could be as high as 49.2%, with people spending at least five-hours in front of screens daily.

In last year’s World Happiness Index which measures a country’s general wellbeing, Malaysia ranked 61 out of 161 countries, behind Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

By Nicholas Cheng The Star/ANN

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Malaysian Minimum Wage Order forcing establishments to close due to unsustainable fees


PETALING JAYA: Childcare centres could be on their way out by the end of the year, with between 80% and 95% of the 5,421 registered centres likely to close down – no thanks to the rise in minimum wage.

Most of those charging below RM300 are likely to fold by December.

A survey of childcare centres in Terengganu, Pahang, Kedah, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Sarawak showed that almost all of those catering to the low- and middle-income families, are either preparing to close shop or have already folded in the past six months, said Association of Regis­tered Childcare Providers Malaysia president P.H. Wong.

The Minimum Wage Order 2016 was implemented in July.

On average, operators charge between RM250 and RM350 per child. But, to be sustainable, they have to charge at least RM450, Wong told Sunday Star.

A childcare centre in a single storey terrace corner lot is allowed to house a maximum of 20 children. If they charge RM300 per child, the total income is only RM6,000 per month.

“At the very least, you’ll need four personnel. With minimum wage of RM1,000, that’s RM4,000 without EPF contributions. What about other operating costs?” asked Wong.

Under the minimum wage rule, workers in the peninsula are entitled to not less than RM1,000 a month while it will be RM920 for those in Sabah and Sarawak.

Those who flout it will be liable to a fine and a jail term.

“Preliminary results indicate a worrying trend. It’s the same everywhere.

“Those that managed to stay open have adopted ‘creative ways’ to survive,” said Wong, adding that in Malacca, operators had resorted to hiring contract staff and part-timers or cutting back on the work hours, to avoid paying minimum wage.

Some make their staff take on more responsibilities or conduct evening classes to earn more.

“Others only accept older children as they require less attention but the demand is for centres that accept babies,” she said.

Unlike other businesses, a centre’s income was limited by the number of children they were able to take, she said.

She said operators could not raise their fees because parents would move their children to cheaper unlicensed centres or babysitters, putting the chlidren’s safety at risk.

Women, Family and Community Development Ministry Deputy Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the Government was aware of the issues faced by the operators.

“A paper on the minimum wage impact is being prepared. It’s a concern and we’re addressing it holistically,” Chew, who leads a taskforce on early childhood care and education, said.

She said an intensive three-day lab would be held this month to look into making quality childcare accessible and safe.

A report would be submitted to Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim soon, she said. – Christina Chin The Star

Doing Better for our kids

 

Faced with mounting challenges, childcare centre operators are looking to the Government, employers and parents themselves to ensure our children get quality care and education.

NATIONWIDE, there’s a critical shortage of registered childcare centres, or taska, that provide affordable services.

Malaysia’s population, as of July 1 this year, is 30,751,602. More than 40% of the population are children aged below 18 years. And of this group, children aged between zero and four years are the majority.

With an annual population growth of about 3%, there’s a growing demand for childcare centres, says Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia president P.H. Wong.

Wong is also a member of the Ramping Up Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) task force under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, and a Positive Parenting management committee member. Positive Parenting is an expert educational programme for parents initiated by the Malaysian Paediatric Association and various non-governmental organisations.

In almost all states – especially in the rural and semi-rural districts – there are not enough registered centres, says Wong.

Few operators want to run centres in low income communities where parents cannot afford the fees. And existing ones are struggling to meet rising operating costs, especially with the minimum wage ruling effective July this year.

Wong, however, stresses that the minimum wage ruling is long overdue. The problem isn’t that operators don’t want to pay – it’s that they cannot afford to.

“Operation costs are already high because of the strict space and staff ratios, compulsory CCTV and exorbitant local council licensing fees. Minimum wage just makes it worse. It’s tough to break even, what more make a profit,” she says.

And access to financing and difficulties with getting regulatory approvals are big challenges, she laments.

The problem is compounded by the perception parents have of childcare centres and early childhood development. They think it’s the same as sending the child to a babysitter who will, most likely, simply offer custodial care; early childhood development care, on the other hand, has activities for the holistic development of children aged zero to four years.

Parents, Wong feels, are unwilling to pay a fair price for licensed childcare because they think “the-aunty-next-door” does as good a job for much less.

“About 70% of centres nationwide charge below RM350 for 20 days of full-day care. This works out to RM1.75 per hour. It doesn’t reflect the importance of having a qualified professional look after your child,” she says.

There’s a lack of trained care providers and operators as salaries are still very low even after the minimum wage ruling. And, very few youngsters are interested in early childhood care and education because there’s no career pathway.

“Currently, childcare providers only need to finish the SPM and Permata Basic Childcare Course – a compulsory certification under the Social Welfare Department. But as long as qualifications remain at certificate level only, the quality of service remains a challenge and the importance of investing in the first four years of brain development is severely undermined,” Wong says, adding that out of 18,769 childcare providers in the country, only 1,551 are degree holders.

Quality early childhood care and education allows mothers to contribute to the workforce and is a social equaliser, she believes. It provides children with a level playing field to have a head start in life.

The majority of school dropouts and juvenile delinquents come from economically and socially deprived families. They grow up without the benefit of quality early childhood care and education, she shares.

Quoting economist James Heckman, a Nobel laureate at the University of Chicago, Wong says it makes financial sense to invest in early childhood education because it will lead to increased productivity and better outcomes for children in health, nutrition and cognitive development later on.

“Since the inequality begins before or at birth, Heckman believes that the best time to address those issues are during early childhood.

“If investments are not made in the early years, lower earnings, unemployment, healthcare costs and even increased crime will be the consequences for society to bear when the child grows up,” she says, pointing to how we have one of the lowest early childhood and education enrolment rates in the region.

With just 5,421 licensed childcare centres catering for 53,497 children, it’s clear that almost 90% of our children are being looked after by stay-at-home mums or illegal centres and babysitters – which puts the children at high risk of maltreatment and neglect, she sighs.

Many women in low and middle income communities don’t seek employment as childcare expenditure would negate their salaries, she observes.

“The prevalence of single income households increases incidences of poverty and further reduces access to childcare.

“In Singapore, public funding for early childhood and education covers 75% to 85% of childcare costs. But here, even lower income families must bear most of the costs, which can range from RM300 to RM2,000 in the Klang Valley,” she says.

Malaysians, she notes, are already having fewer children because they want to provide the family with a higher quality of life. If childcare service is not made affordable, fertility rates will drop even further, she says. – Christina Chin The Star

But it’s a necessity

CHILDCARE services are a necessity, no longer a luxury.

Regulated childcare centres are a must because, unlike before, both parents are forced to work nowadays to make ends meet, says Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj.

Childcare is a critical service, he feels. And taking care of kids isn’t easy. Minders must be skilled and competent. Leaving kids at unlicensed and unregulated centres is dangerous because a child’s future is at risk, he stresses.

“The Government has to help families cope by ensuring that we have access to affordable childcare services. It’s a basic right. At the same time, operators have to make a profit,” he says, adding that parents cannot expect operators to continue a loss-making business.

Datuk Dr Raj Karim reminds parents that times have changed. She is president of the Malaysian Council for Child Welfare, an umbrella body comprising more than 30 non-governmental organisations that works with the United Nations Children’s Fund to create awareness in Malaysia about child injury and accidents.

Leaving your young child with the neighbour is risky, she insists. Unsupervised care have led to many cases of neglect, abuse and maltreatment.

It’s not like those days when babysitters were sincere in wanting to help. Now, it’s all about the money, she says.

“I was a working mother and a makcik helped look after my family but she was loyal and close to us. These days, most people don’t even know their next door neighbours.

“Is your babysitter mentally sound? Does she have family members who could potentially harm your child? What about accidents at home?” she says.

Urging the Government to regulate childcare fees, Dr Raj says some centres’ fees are exorbitant. If fees are regulated, the Government can subsidise households that don’t earn enough for childcare. Only with accessible quality childcare can a mother return to the workforce, she stresses.

“Quality care during early childhood is an essential, basic right. That’s when emotional, mental and character development, takes place,” she adds. – The Star

It’s a no…

IT’S tough for bosses to help.

Most employers won’t be able to help their staff with childcare benefits, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan says.

Very few employers can afford childcare subsidies as there are no incentive for them to do so, he says.

Under current tax laws, childcare allowance of up to RM250 per month is not taxable, but this only applies to employees. Companies don’t get such breaks, he says.

That’s why, he says, they are not keen on giving childcare subsidies. The Government, he says, should give tax incentives like double tax deductions to encourage companies to give childcare subsidies.

There are 5.18 million working women and about 500,000 babies born yearly. So, based on these numbers, he estimates that there are about three million children aged six and below in need of care.

Of the three million children, 14% are sent to childcare centres, 24% are cared for by maids and 27% are looked after by their grandparents, he says. (The MEF does not have details accounting to the remaining 35%.)

Private companies are reluctant to provide childcare centres at the workplace because of cumbersome bureaucratic procedures in getting approval from the relevant authorities.

The “building cost” tax incentive, he feels, is also not attractive for private companies as it is spread over a 10-year period. Assuming the cost of establishing a childcare centre is RM1mil, an employer can only claim a tax allowance of RM100,000 yearly over a decade, he explains.

“Only 24 private companies have childcare centres for their staff. It’s more common in government-linked companies,” he says.

Cheaper alternatives must be looked at, as high fees charged by registered childcare centres make it tough for working women to send their children there, he feels.

He suggests setting up community childcare centres in residential areas where such facilities can be shared by staff living in the vicinity.

“Community childcare shouldn’t be profit-orientated and the quality standards must be set by the Government.”

Is your childcare centre legal?

To locate licensed childcare centres, report incidents/abuse, join local community-building events and source for early childhood care/ education information, go to asuhan.my. The newly launched central directory and resource platform set up by the Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia and the National Child Development Research Centre is aimed at keeping kids safe.

Holistic solution soon

THE Government is coming up with holistic measures to make quality childcare affordable and accessible.

A multi-pronged solution is in the works, assures Women, Family and Community Development Ministry Deputy Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

Chew, who leads a task force on early childhood care and education, says there are various factors effecting the industry so there is no single silver bullet solution.

“We’re monitoring the industry from a macro and micro level to address all issues comprehensively,” she says.

She says the ministry is working closely with the Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia to improve the service. The ministry has been gathering data in the last two years and is in the midst of compiling everything.

“We need to address this from several aspects, including amending existing regulations. For example, a new rule to allow the setting up of centres on the third to fifth floors will be implemented soon. Currently, childcare centres are only allowed on the first and second floors where rent is high, so the new rule will help lower cost for the operators,” she explains.

The ministry is also looking into online training for care providers so that they can undergo practical on-the-job training while studying. This, she says, will further reduce the operators’ costs.

The problem is that many caregivers treat this as temporary job while waiting to continue their studies or until something better comes along. So operators are reluctant to invest in their training. That’s why we must promote, upgrade and make child-caring a recognised profession, she says.

Urging parents to change their mindset, she says the perception that centres are like traditional nannies must change. Traditionally, a nanny just feeds, accompanies and looks after a child. But a trained care provider has knowledge and skill. They do more, she adds, like provide a safe environment and prepare nutritious and hygienic food for their charges.

“Send your kids to a registered centre because it means that the care providers are trained and the operators must comply with density ratios. It’s also easier for the authorities to monitor and make sure that the centre is up to mark,” she says.

Operators too must learn to balance their accounts by accepting more older kids.

The care provider to child ratio is:

> Infants 0-1: 1 staff : 3 infants

> 1-2 years: 1 staff : 5 children

> 3-4 years: 1 staff :10 children

So centres can accept more older kids if they’re suffering losses, Chew points out. If you want to cover your costs, you should take more of those aged three to four, she says.

“On the other hand, it’s a problem too when centres refuse to take babies because of the costs involved. That’s why the Government has introduced various programmes that allow women to take time off to care for their newborns before returning to the workforce,” Chew says.

Encouraging the corporate sector to set up centres, she says the request for subsidies is being studied. Employers, she says, must realise that looking after their staff’s families will result in higher productivity because parents who have peace of mind will focus better on their jobs.

The Government, she adds, is also engaging with all relevant quarters, including the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia and local councils, to ease the burden of operators.

“We’re lobbying local councils to treat childcare centres as social service providers rather than a business because this will lead to lower costs for them.

“And, we’re requesting that developers include childcare centres when planning townships. If a corner lot can be designated and approved by the local council as a residence/childcare centre, an operator can move in and start the business immediately without having to get the consent of neighbours or applying to change the building’s usage,” says Chew.

This, she feels, would be a win-win situation because the local council will study the traffic flow and safety aspects at no additional cost.

The developer may even get a higher price for that unit because of the dual usage status.

While the Government provides some childcare subsidy to civil servants and those who qualify, operators must improve their service so that they can justify higher charges.

She says monthly childcare fees can range from RM200 to RM2,000 per child but most centres only charge between RM250 and RM400.

“Operators must give good, quality service. And parents must pay more if they can afford it,” she adds.

Cheaper fees, please

QUALITY childcare is expensive.

Zuhainy Zulkiffli, 33, sends her kids to an unregistered childcare centre in George Town because it’s what the family can afford.

Registered centres charge more than RM400 per child, which she feels is too much.

The unregistered centre her four-month-old son, Izz Zaryl Zaharin, and three-year-old daughter, Zandra Zahara, go to only charges between RM300 and RM350.

The working mother was heartbroken when she found out that Zandra had been abused at a previous centre.

However, she disagrees with a fee hike. She thinks it’s unfair to parents.

“One care provider can take care of a few kids. Don’t tell me the operators cannot make a profit. Many of my friends were forced to quit their jobs because centres are charging too much as it is,” she argues.

A father who wants to go only by Tan, 40, sent his newborn to a babysitter until the boy was two. He paid RM1,000 per month to the aunty next door. From age two to four, his son was left at a childcare centre in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

“For RM650, they look after my son from 8am to 7pm. It’s reasonable. I’m not sure if the centre is legal but it’s very popular,” he shrugs.

Like Tan, Jennifer Kong, 40, sends her daughter to a babysitter because it’s convenient and cheap.

Besides the monthly RM700 fee, the aunty gets 14 days of leave, a Chinese New Year ang pow, and a yearly bonus.

“I buy the ingredients for aunty to cook so I’m not worried about what she’s feeding my daughter. Aunty has been caring for her since she was three months old. She’s four now,” she says.

There’s a big difference when your child goes to a good, registered centre, says Koh Chee Khian, 45.

The RM3,000-plus he pays per semester is “not cheap” but he feels it’s worth it because his son gets the best food – like churros – and attention.

The main reason for sending his first born to a centre is so that the child learns to socialise and share.

“My boy started going to the centre in Bangsar (KL) when he was 16 months. He’s there eight hours a day, twice a week.

“This centre is among the best and the environment is really different from the cheaper ones where there are just too many kids,” he says.

But despite coming from a dual-income household, Koh says he will have to look for somewhere less pricey as he’s planning to send his son for full-day care next year.

“No doubt the current centre is very good. My son is disciplined, can colour, sing and dance at such a young age. I would never trust an illegal centre to care for him,” he says. – The Star

Operators’ dilemma 

 

CENTRES still in business have no choice but to up their fees.

Zubaidah Husin, who runs four centres, has raised her fees from RM350 to RM450.

“The profit is not much but most of us continue because of passion. We do this to help working mothers so we charge only what they can afford to pay.

“Since the RM900 minimum wage ruling was introduced, we’ve had problems coping. Now that it’s RM1,000, how can we cope without upping our fees?” she says

Zubaidah, who is also the Association of Childcare Providers Pahang president, has been in the business for 14 years.

Before the minimum wage ruling, RM700 was the maximum operators in Pahang paid their staff so they were able to charge RM350 per child. Most staff, though, were paid an average salary of RM450 but with food and lodging provided.

“Now almost 70% of the operators are not paying their staff a minimum wage because they can’t afford to. If there is a crackdown by the authorities, these centres will be forced to close,” she says.

She does sympathise with parents, and she believes that many – especially those with two or three kids – are already struggling to make ends meet.

Association of Childcare Providers Terengganu president Wan Najmyah Wan Yussof, who has been running her centre since 2009, agrees.

She charges RM400 for babies and RM350 for children one year and above.

The situation is critical, she insists. Many of the 160-odd operators in Terengganu are at their wits end.

“Most who are still in business are using income from elsewhere to keep their centres from going under because they love kids.

“Personally, I’m using profits from my kindergarten to help keep my childcare centre running,” she says.

She says the association has appealed to the state government to subsidise training and salary costs.

A childcare guidebook on quality standards is also in the pipeline. This, she says, will ensure a minimum standard for all centres and help standardise the fees.

Operators want to increase their fees but they are afraid the parents will take their kids home. Previously when operators tried to raise their fees slightly, that’s what happened, she says.

“The problem is, we don’t know whether parents really cannot afford to pay more or they just refuse to,” she says, adding that most families there have two kids.

More centres needed

The Government aims to have a workforce comprising at least 59% of women by 2020. To do that, we must have more registered childcare centres to cater to these women’s children, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said. On Aug 14, Sunday Star reported that Malaysia is far from its target of having 13,200 registered childcare centres by 2020. Currently, there are not enough centres to cater to 3.2 million children under the age of four whose parents are in need of these services.

Number of registered childcare centres nationwide:

5,421

Number of children:

53,497

Number of educators:

17,954

Source: National Child Development Research Centre

Is your childcare centre legal?

To locate licensed childcare centres, report incidents/abuse, join local community-building events and source for early childhood care/ education information, go to asuhan.my. The newly launched central directory and resource platform set up by the Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia and the National Child Development Research Centre is aimed at keeping kids safe.

IN THE RED

Perak

Total private centres surveyed: 14

Income:

RM1,840 to RM9,150

Expenditure:

RM2,740 to RM9,630

Pahang

Total private centres surveyed: 203

Forced to close after paying minimum wage:

36 or 17.8%

Not paying minimum wage:

142 or 69%

Paid minimum wage and either made a small profit or loss:

25 or 12.3%

Terengganu

Total private centres surveyed: 36

Forced to close to avoid fine for failing to pay minimum wage: 95%

Babies and children affected: 2,515

Childcare staff made jobless: 736

Income:

RM1,540 to RM11,000

Expenditure:

RM2,260 to RM17,615

Kedah

Total private centres surveyed: 58

Fee range (babies to age four):

RM220 to RM300

Home

Total income:

RM2,850

Total costs (ie, salary, EPF, Perkeso, food, rental, utilities and telephone bills, Internet bill, cleaning/household items, learning tools, stationery, activities, celebrations, emergency fund, income tax, GST):

RM3,830

Losses: RM980

Institution

Total income:

RM7,800 to RM25,200 (depending on location)

Total costs (ie: salary, EPF, Perkeso, food, rental, utilities and telephone bills, Internet bill, cleaning/household items, learning tools, stationery, activities, celebrations, emergency fund, income tax, GST):

RM15,723.10 to RM27,184.05 (depending on location)

Losses: RM1,984.05 to RM14,059.10 (depending on location)

Note: All survey participants are registered childcare centres.

Source: Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia.
Related:

New minimum wage policy to take effect July 1 The Star

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