Jack Ma Ends 20-Year Reign Over Alibaba Wealth Creation Empire


Stepping down as chairman: Jack Ma waving while standing for a photograph with Alibaba CEO Jonathan Lu (left) and co-founder and vice-chairman Joseph ‘Joe’ Tsai in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Ma is giving up the reins of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd after presiding over one of the most spectacular creations of wealth the world has ever seen. — Bloomberg

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma retires as CEO on 55th birthday

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Planned ‘inclusive education’ endangers our children


I NOTICE the phrase “inclusive education” has become very fashionable these days. From parents to politicians and a fair few of us in the field of early childhood education, everyone seems to be smitten with the idea of achieving equity in education through the supposed magic pill that is mainstreaming “special needs” children.

Let me first state that education is a fundamental human right. The United Nations has codified it as such in its charter, and anyone with an ounce of intellect cannot dispute the starring role of education in raising the quality of life for individuals and society.

Yet I fear that in our missionary zeal to pursue inclusive education, Malaysians specifically and Asians in general risk distorting what constitutes equity and diversity, and grossly underestimate the groundwork and, indeed, sheer grit needed to implement it.

Instead of reducing the discrimination special needs children face at school, such a plan in its present shape and form may in fact backfire and intensify it.

Before I explain why, let us first establish what inclusive education is, since there seems to be much confusion over the definition.

Unesco (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) describes inclusive education systems as those “removing the barriers limiting the participation and achievement of all learners, respect diverse needs, abilities and characteristics and that eliminate all forms of discrimination in the learning environment”.

The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 meanwhile narrows the definition of special needs to students with “visual impairment, hearing impairment, speech difficulties, physical disabilities, multiple disabilities and learning disabilities such as autism, Down’s syndrome, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and dyslexia”.

There are two glaring problems here. First, lumping the above variety of physical and mental challenges under one umbrella is in itself discriminatory, as it equalises the learning ability of all within. 

This is ludicrous.

A child with a physical handicap could be on par with his so-called “normal” peers in keeping up with coursework, something that may be impossible for those with ADHD, autism and especially dyslexia.

How will a blanket policy for special needs children address their highly diverse needs? If the popular notions of inclusive education are made real, will there be multiple streams to the “mainstream”? And if learning methodology, timelines and schedules are stratified for those within the special needs domain, then what is “inclusive” about the system?

Second, I am of the opinion that we have a naïve understanding of inclusivity in the educational context, driven perhaps by our feverish desire to mimic the West. What we perceive as “inclusive” is integrative at best, something writ large in the education blueprint that maps out the closure of special needs facilities and merges their students with general bodies.

Besides bringing everyone under one roof, as the “combined classrooms” envision, there will plainly be separate clusters of students that are physically together yet galaxies apart in terms of academic and support requirements.

Nevertheless, there are positives to inclusive education as an ideal that makes it worth fighting for. I recently read a well-argued piece by Dr York Chow Yat-ngok in the South China Morning Post where he wrote that teething pains aside, combined classrooms will promote empathy and acceptance among all children and additionally raise the self-esteem of those with special needs.

While Dr Yat-ngok and similar-minded experts hold admirable positions on inclusive education, their arguments could go both ways. If we agree that young children absorb information like sponges and are in the process of building personalities, there remains the risk that even one distressing episode with a special needs child, say an autistic one, could internalise in them negative stereotypes about that group for life.

As humans, our concept of “normal” is often far removed from the scientific benchmarks that policymakers use to establish educational guidelines. And young children, especially, judge normality through adequate participation in social rituals as minor as sharing toys during playtime or napping together peacefully.

Also, when comparing Malaysia’s preschool system with developed nations, we must keep two very important things in mind: numbers and attitude.

First, the current teacher-to student ratio in Malaysian preschools is very taxing on educators. Here we have one teacher for 15 to 20 children whereas the ratio is six to eight in the West, excluding support staff like medics and mental health professionals.

And given young children can have wildly diverging personalities, it requires an enormous amount of patience and physical energy simply to teach the “normal” ones.

Therefore, before attempting to consolidate special needs and mainstream preschools, the government must first bridge this gap in terms of teacher numbers and skill-sets or risk pandemonium and even class-action lawsuits by parents if the new school environment endangers their children.

Next, the graver problem of attitude: The majority of Malaysian early childhood educators never wanted to enter the profession. I hear this every day at universities and in the field.

Because of the quota system in public universities, many settled on a major that was not even their second or third choice simply to attend a prestigious institution. And as working professionals, many regrettably do not care.

The greater irony here is how the pecking order of public education programmes cheapens early childhood education. Don’t have the grades to become a doctor, engineer or lawyer? Just go teach preschoolers.

The bottom line is the roadmap to inclusive education in preschools must be put away until both state and civil society awaken to their responsibilities. We cannot keep gambling with our children’s future, nor frustrating the few teachers who actually care about them.

** Jerrica Fatima Ann is a Malaysian early childhood educator and editor of www.imageofachild.com.

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Taking a stand for inclusive education

IN my heart of hearts, I believe that we are all special. No individual is the same as another, not even twins.

We all have little quirks that make us unique, whether it is an obsession with having everything in order, a habit of reading out loud or the urge to sanitise one’s hands after touching any little thing.

In spite of our quirks, we all want to be accepted for who we are, and we are lucky when our family, friends and colleagues do so.

If society can accept “normal” people and their eccentricities, why can’t it extend the same courtesy to those with special needs? I believe the answer lies in our education.

Society is a reflection of our education system. If we learn from young to perceive those who are different from us in an unfavourable light, it is natural that we pass this same mindset on to the next generation. Sadly, this creates a nation that lacks values like tolerance, understanding, compassion and kindness.

Taking a stand for inclusion and diversity is more than a special needs agenda; it is about fighting for a better world where everyone is accepted for who he or she is. And it has to start with education.

As an educator, I believe that we need to make a constant and conscious effort to push for inclusion and diversity. This is why we should continue to emphasise the importance of the special needs programmes.

It saddens me when schools turn down special needs children because they can’t handle them. To me, special needs children are just like any other kids, except that they need time and help with learning.

There are countless studies that advocate inclusive classrooms for both normal and special needs children. In an inclusive classroom, children with special needs are known to learn faster by observing their normal peers and being motivated to keep up.

Normal children, on the other hand, learn important values like tolerance, kindness and compassion through interacting with them.

What can be better than this? After all, we want our children to grow up ready for the real world.

The question is what kind of world do we want? I, for one, want a better world for our children, and that starts with embracing diversity and practising inclusion.

PUA CHEE LING, Chief executive, Dika College Puchong, Selangor

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Spirit of inclusive education

https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/08/01/spirit-of-inclusive-education

Financial education must start at a young age

https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/07/29/financial-education-must-start-at-a-young-age/

Learning to be financially literate begins in childhood

https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/07/31/learning-to-be-financially-literate-begins-in-childhood

 

Undi18: So what’s next?

https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/07/29/undi18-so-whats-next/

 

 

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The pump-prime our financial situation, we need a massive investment to revamp and rebuild our education    https://youtu.be/FVnBpckzi..

A destiny tied to China – Tackling it the British way


Impractical move: China is generally aware that the Hong Kong people cannot sustain any form of protest because rent and bills need to be paid and protests don’t gain a voice, neither by yellow shirts nor umbrellas. — AFP

The future of the Hong Kong people lies with China but the challenge for Beijing is to make Hong Kongers feel that they are a fundamental part of the Middle Kingdom.

If there is a history lesson that the Chinese can learn from British Malaya in handling the Hong Kong protests, it’s that the British administered their colonies well and without the need for any heavy-handed approaches, even they robbed these colonies of their rich minerals.

YOU’VE got to hand it to the British because they are really the masters at the game. Anyone who has studied basic Malayan history would know that officials during colonial times merely identified themselves as advisers.

They were British civil servants, but they called the shots.

Adding insult to injury, the Malay Rulers – as the Sultans were called then – were “led” to believe they still ran the states.

Under British Malaya – a set of states on the Malay peninsula and Singapore under British rule between the 18th and 20th centuries – British colonial officials had the last say on almost everything except religion and customary matters, which they cleverly left to the palaces.

So, in theory, the Rulers held their positions, kept their perks and all royal protocols befitting royalty, but their wings were clipped.

These were the federated states, but in the case of Straits Settlement states, British governors were appointed.

So, the famous Malacca Sultanate, with its rich lineage of Sultans, found itself having a governor, a Caucasian, as did Penang and Singapore.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad put it aptly when he said last week in his speech in Britain that “Malaysia is a member of the Commonwealth, but there is nothing much in common with the wealth dominated by certain countries”.

“The British acknowledged the Malay Sultans as Rulers, but the Sultans never ruled. Therefore, when they criticised us as dictators, I don’t think they really meant it,” he said.

There was more. Under British rule in the 20th century, the British introduced repressive laws such as the Internal Security Act (ISA), used against communist insurgents.

Under the ISA, a person could be held for 60 days in solitary confinement and up to two years’ extension without trial.

Despite this, the British told the world, with a straight face, that they taught us, the natives, principles of justice, democracy and fairness, and that we all cried when they abandoned us when the Japanese invaded Malaya in 1941, and when we gained independence in 1957.

Our first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, kept the law when the Union Jack was lowered in 1957, which marked our independence.

Not many Malaysians are aware that the British imposed the ISA. Of course, during that era, only the radical left-wingers, with communist tendencies, were detained.

One ISA detainee, who was imprisoned under the British and then under the Malaysian government, said: “With the British guards, they would cheerily come every morning and wished the detainees a good day.” That was the difference.

Fast forward to 2019 and the massive turnout in Hong Kong against the controversial extradition Bill, with proposed amendments allowing for criminal suspects to be sent to China, has made international news.

It has prompted concern in Hong Kong and elsewhere that anyone from the city’s residents to foreign and Chinese nationals living or travelling through the international financial hub could be at risk if they were wanted by Beijing.

Basically, Hong Kong residents would rather face HK courts than be deported to mainland China.

Many have no faith in China’s judicial system compared to the British-style HK courts, which inherited the British legal system, and where most of the judges and lawyers are also British-trained.

The HK people can’t be blamed for their anger and suspicion since the international community has read of Chinese nationals being short-changed, or even neglected by the courts in the pursuit of justice.

And we can even read of income tax defaulters, under investigation, being hauled off to undisclosed locations, while dissidents have been taken away, and disappeared without a trace.

This bad press, verified or otherwise, would have scared many people, even though one wonders how many of these HK protesters believe, in their hearts of hearts, that they would ever get arrested and sent to China.

But the irony is that under British rule in HK, like many governments, the British widely used the law as a tool to consolidate control of Hong Kong in the hands of a privileged minority.

Legal expert Richard Daniel Klien wrote that “the British enacted legislation which in some respects instituted two sets of laws – one for the Europeans and another for the Chinese. Laws were passed to ensure no Chinese would live in the most desirable parts of Hong Kong, which the British wished to preserve as their exclusive enclaves.

“In a land in which ninety-eight per cent of the population were Chinese, English was the official language.

“The Chinese language was not permitted to be used in government offices.

“Laws regulating conduct were written exclusively in English, a language which the vast majority of the population could not understand.

“The astonishing truth of the failure of the Hong Kong Chinese to develop a significant pro-democracy or pro-independence movement, while other British colonies obtained independence long ago, testifies to the success of the British laws in accomplishing the goal of continued colonial rule over this land of six million inhabitants.”

MK Chan wrote in a law review report that “to most people in Hong Kong, the preservation of the existing legal system is of crucial importance to the high degree of autonomy the post-colonial Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is supposed to enjoy under Chinese sovereignty according to the “One Country, Two Systems” formula.

“However, this widely shared perception is flawed for one simple reason: the legal system in Hong Kong today has its own serious defects. It is not only alien in origin,” and “markedly different from the legal system in the People’s Republic of China but also defective and inadequate”.

No protest has gained voice, neither through yellow shirts nor umbrellas. And no protests were staged because the British didn’t allow elections during the colonial rule from over a century and a half.

The 1995 Hong Kong Legislative Council election for members of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong was only finally held that year – it was the first and last fully elected legislative election in the colonial period before the nation was returned to China two years later. So much for democracy and freedom.

No HK resident protested that only the white men could hold top posts in government bodies, places where there were many qualified HK civil servants who could speak and write in English better than their superiors.

To put it bluntly, there was not even a squeak – and we know how corrupt the HK police were in the 1970s – about the force being headed by Britons.

To be fair, the British transformed HK from a barren island to an international hub, with a working administration system that has won the confidence of the international community.

However, the responsibility of the British ended in 1997 when HK was handed over to the Chinese. It has lost its right to tell the Chinese what to do.

But what has brought this resentment towards China, from HK Chinese people, and perhaps, even a yearning, for British rule?

Not long ago, it was reported that some localists had taken to thumbing their nose at “China’s heavy-handed meddling” by waving the British flag at football matches, booing the Chinese anthem and chanting “We are Hong Kong! Hong Kong is not China!” in English.

Reports have also surfaced about a small Hong Kong-United Kingdom Reunification Campaign, which angled for a return to British rule but ultimately dismissed as quirky.

Then there are HK people who talk about the “good times” under British rule.

If there is a history lesson which the Chinese can learn from British Malaya, it’s that the Brits administered their colonies well and without the need for any heavy-handed approaches, even as they robbed these colonies of their rich minerals.

Reports of Beijing’s transgressions in the territory, such as the kidnapping by mainland agents of local booksellers, or the National People’s Congress purportedly stepping into local judicial cases, won’t win the hearts of the HK people.

Beijing must put on a softer face and display plenty of patience in dealing with HK. There is really no rush for China, especially with risking an international black eye at a time when it can ill afford to do so.

Yes, China is concerned about how its billion people will react if they see these hot-headed HK protesters abusing policemen.

The lessons from the breakup of the Soviet Union – and the wounded pride and dignity that follows – are always etched in the minds of Chinese leaders.

When CNN and BBC reporters talk about individual rights, they have no idea what Beijing or even the Chinese diaspora think.

But the people of HK must also accept the harsh reality – HK is now China’s sovereignty, and more and more of its independence, or even importance, will slowly fade away.

China doesn’t need HK as much as it used to as a strategic financial hub, because Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have even eclipsed the former island nation. No matter how big or how long these protests run for, China knows the HK people don’t have the stamina, because rent and bills need to be paid, and protest sittings on streets don’t last anyway.

And the other blow is the British government’s refusal to grant citizenship to the 3.5 million Hongkongers born there under the British flag.

China needs to work harder on winning hearts and minds, and to make the HK people feel they are a fundamental part of China, and Chinese culture and pride.

HK people have always been independent because they were brought up differently and under different sets of political and legal systems, and that must be understood. There is no need to ramp through any laws, indicating that the HK people are unhappy.

The destiny of the HK people lies with China, and not Britain, but the challenge for Beijing is to make the people of HK feel those sentiments and be proud of it.

And speaking of extradition, let’s not forget that the US is also seeking to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange extradited from the UK for alleged crimes under the Espionage Act 1917, of which remains unclear.

He is the first journalist to have the book thrown at him for whistleblowing.

That’s not all. The US wants Huawei chief financial office Sabrina Meng Wanzhou to be extradited from Canada over charges which smell suspiciously like trumped up accusations. – by wong chun wai

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How to make living more affordable?


 

 

IN my previous article I asked the question, Do you earn enough to sustain your lifestyle?

The feedback received was consistent. People told me that they worry about the situation, some even wrote in to share their concern.

A reader by the name of Yap wrote me an email about his observation after reading my article.

“I always doubt how a family with a median household income can survive in KL. Based on my calculation, there is no way a family with two children can survive in KL with RM6,275 without accumulating bad debt or spending 4.5 hours to travel on the road. Housing is one of the factors, but not the only one,” he wrote in his email.

Belanjawanku, an expenditure guide launched by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) in early March states that a married couple with two children spend about RM6,620 per month on food, transport, housing, childcare, utilities, healthcare, etc.

However, the median household income for Malaysians in 2016 was RM5,228. While the median income of M40 group (Middle 40%) was RM6,275, which means five out of 10 households in this category received RM6,275 per month or less. This is far below the RM6,620 required for a family with two children to stay in the Klang Valley.

Another alarming fact is… Belanjawanku compiles only core living expenses without including long-term financial planning tools such as education funds or investments. The actual budget constraint can be more severe if we take them into account.

The living cost in major cities is inevitably higher than in small towns or suburb areas.

As such, when we discuss housing affordability in the cities such as Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley, we shouldn’t impose the same benchmark of RM300,000 as everything else is more expensive in the city. Affordable housing should benchmark against the cost of living of the area.

Based on the research for Belanjawanku, even if housing was provided for free, a household of four would still need RM5,750 to sustain their lifestyle.

The transportation cost alone is RM1,040 for a family, higher than the RM870 allocated for housing.

Therefore, if a family is looking to lower their cost of living, moving to suburb areas would allow them to have a more affordable budget.

According to a news report which quoted information from brickz.my, the housing prices in KL are five times higher than in Seremban, with median housing price of RM1mil (RM940 psf) in the KL city centre, versus RM200,000 (RM210 psf) in Seremban.

Suburbs which are nearer to KL such as Klang and Shah Alam also offer attractive housing prices with a median price of RM340,000.

For families who stay in the city centre and plan to reduce their cost of living, they can consider moving to suburbs to enjoy a better quality of life, and leverage on the improved public transportation which offer hassle-free travelling from suburbs to city centre.

Although high living cost is a concern for many Malaysians, KL is ironically found to be the cheapest city to live out of the 11 major cities in Asia, according to the 2018 Wealth Report Asia.

We are “cheaper” or ranked lower than our neighbouring cities, including Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta. KL, Manila, and Jakarta are also the most price competitive cities when it comes to the residential properties segment.

Why are we still facing the challenge of high living costs despite being the “cheapest” city in the region? The underlying factor is because of the low household income earned by most Malaysians, as the previous government failed to transit us to a higher income nation.

In his email, Yap mentioned that “I always imagine what Malaysia can be if there were no leakages. Hundreds of billions could be spent to stimulate various industries. Our GDP per capita could be close to if not similar to Singapore’s”.

That is the vision and sentiment shared by a majority of Malaysians. With the new government that promises to be more transparent and efficient, we hope that one day, we can afford to live comfortably in any city we wish to, with a higher household income.

Datuk Alan Tong has over 50 years of experience in property development. He was the World President of FIABCI International for 2005/2006 and awarded the Property Man of the Year 2010 at FIABCI Malaysia Property Award. He is also the group chairman of Bukit Kiara Properties. For feedback, please email bkp@bukitkiara.com

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We are never too old to work, ole is gold


NASIR Ahmad’s father, Ahmad Ismail or better known by his pseudonym Ahmady Asmara, was a legendary journalist and a sasterawan (man of letters). He used to work for publications like Saudara, Warta Ahad, Majlis and Utusan Zaman back in the 50s and 60s. Among his protege was the late Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin (Zam).

Like his father, Nasir joined the press. In 1973, he started as a repor­­ter with the Utusan Melayu group. Eighteen years later, he joined Berita Harian.

Upon reaching 55, Nasir worked on a contract basis from 2011 to 2017. He has no major financial commitments and all except one of his four children are married.

In December 2017, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. It was devastating news to him and his family. He survived but his life was never the same again.

His close shave with death taught him many valuable lessons. For one, he can’t remain idle. He gets restless not doing anything.

He joined Grab service last August. It was more like an experiment for him initially. He was hooked. He has been driving ever since. In fact, he is one of Grab’s prized drivers, attaining 5-star ratings many times over. He starts around 10 in the morning and finishes around 9 at night, stopping only for prayers and lunch or quick bites.

Nasir is not alone. On May 2, this newspaper highlighted a growing number of Malaysians working well after 60.

For those who have their pension, they can afford to sit back and enjoy what’s left of their life. But things are not easy for others. They have mouths to feed. In most cases, adult children have their own commitments and parents seldom want to bother them over financial matters.

However, it is not easy to join the job market at that age even with experience and the necessary expertise. Nasir was a journalist; driving for Grab was a totally new experience.

As highlighted by this newspaper, based on a report published by the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (Ilma), the supply of workers of Nasir’s age and above currently outstrips the demand for them.

According to the report, by 2030, the number of aged workers in Malaysia would be about 1.2 million but the demand for such workers would be just slightly a third of that.

If you are at Changi Airport, Singapore, most likely the first people you meet after the immigration officers are the ushers to guide you to the taxis. At most food courts, the elderly are employed to clear the trays or clean the floors.

There are certain jobs young people are not interested in. We see less of them here because the foreigners are doing the job for us.

Singapore, understandably, is giving a lot of attention to senior citizens. The republic is seriously looking into what it “needs to do differently in the coming years” as its population ages. In fact, it is considered one of the most urgent challenges for the government today.

The world population is ageing. According to the latest United Nations’ data, the number of those above 60 years globally is expected to more than double by 2050 and triple by 2100.

In 2017, there were 962 million of them, there will be 2.1 billion in 2050 and 3.1 billion in 2100. Shockingly too, according to the data, people aged 60 or above is growing faster than all younger age groups!

This is not just a problem in advanced countries. Most countries in the world have substantial numbers of ageing population. With better healthcare, humans are living longer.

There are loads of other issues pertaining to people of 60 and above. Moreover, living in the 21st century has its challenges.

There are issues about acceptability and competition with the younger generation, and certainly the need for respectability and dignity. But more importantly is coping with the demands at workplaces.

It is the question of how governments are coping with an ageing population.

One way is to make people work longer. We have done that, raising the retirement age to 60. Should we raise that to 65?

It is not a popular policy especially when younger people believe they will be deprived of the chance to climb up the ladder in public service or in the private sector.

The Global Age Watch Index Report shows high-income countries fare better in managing their ageing population. The enabling environment too for ageing people is much better in richer countries.

Like it or not, people of Nasir’s age are transforming society of today and the future. Just like the UN report on ageing says, ageing population is poised to become one of the most dramatic and significant transformations of the 21st century.

Never take Nasir and people his age for granted!

Johan Jaaffar was a journalist, editor and for some years, chairman of a media company, and is passionate about all things literature and the arts. The views expressed here are entirely his own.

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Here’s why you’re never too old for a career change – TheJobNetwork

 

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5G to move Malaysia forward


Video:

https://rightwaysrichard.blogspot.com/2019/04/5g-to-move-malaysia-forward.html?jwsource=cl

5G technology is go­­ing to be the cornerstone of Malay­sia’s march into the new age and a vital foundation for the country to remain relevant and competitive, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Speaking at the launch of the 5G Malaysia showcase here, the Prime Minister said Malaysians can leverage on this technology within the next three years and catapult the national economy towards strong and sustainable growth.

“We have come a long way and yet there’s still a distance to go,” he said, adding that 5G would impact every industry that is vital to the growth of the country’s economy.

“Industries like manufacturing that has contributed 22% to the Gross Domestic Product in the last five years, remains integral to the national economy.

“Through smart manufacturing or massive machine-type communications, the government hopes that it can attract high value-added, high technology and knowledge-intensive investment in areas such as aerospace, chemicals and chemical products, machinery and equipment and medical devices,” Dr Mahathir said.

He was given a taste of the future when he was driven in a driverless car and had a conversation with a hologram.

The Prime Minister was taken on a driverless blue Proton Exora for a 500m ride from the Palace of Justice to the Putrajaya Corporation building on the opposite side of the road.

A safety driver was present and sat on the driver’s seat and showed the prime minister that the car was able to manoeuvre even though his hands were not on the steering wheel.

Dr Mahathir was visibly impressed with this latest technology as he waved at the crowd and media cameramen.

As he entered the function hall, he was again given an experience of how things will be in the future when he had his face scanned to gain entry into the hall.

Later at the launch, the Prime Minister spoke to a little girl by the name of Aisyah, not with her physically but her hologram.

Aisyah or her real name Tengku Zara Eryna Tengku Ahmad Saifud­din is no stranger to Dr Mahathir.

The seven-year-old was featured in an election campaign video with the prime minister last year.

During the short conversation with the hologram, “Aisyah” asked: “Atuk, when you were my age, what G were you on?”

Dr Mahathir replied “Zero G”, draw­­­ing laughter from the audience.

“Aisyah” also asked Dr Mahathir what’s next for Malaysia beyond 5G, to which she answered “Teleporting humans”.

Dr Mahathir told the audience that the government, through the National Fiberisation and Connec­tivity Plan and the National 5G Task Force would create an environment conducive for the growth of 5G.

The 5G showcase event is open to public at the Putrajaya Corporation Complex until April 21.

by mazwin nik anis and joseph kaos jr The Star

Firms racing to be the first to provide 5G

With the government backing 5G in order for the country to get on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, many companies are racing to be the first to bring the benefits of the technology to the masses.

“The 5G technology will enable our industries to fully exploit the power of artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, virtual reality, and software engineering,” said Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo at the launch of the inaugural 5G Malaysia Showcase.

“It will bring innovation which will substantially impact almost every sector, including education, transportation, agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment and public safety.”

The four-day showcase at Kom-pleks Perbadanan Putrajaya features 11 local and international telcos, tech companies and higher learning institutions.

Digi showcased the potential of 5G in emergency services.

Digi chief executive officer Albern Murty said: “It enables the use of 4K video, collection and transferring of data in real-time to respective emergency services such as first responders, hospitals, and the fire department, saving valuable time.

“What is equally important is 5G’s capability to dedicate a portion of the network for mission critical services such as emergencies.”

The system uses a drone which will scout road and traffic conditions, and transmit the data to the a Command Centre Monitoring System, ambulance and hospital in real time.

Celcom Axiata Bhd unveiled its first autonomous car, a collaboration with eMoovit and Ericsson, which uses a combination of sensors, cameras, radar and artificial intelligence to travel without a human driver.

Celcom also showcased its 5G Hologram Call technology which projects people and objects in 3D.

In a demo, Maxis proved that its 5G network could exceed 5Gbps (gigabits per second).

Its chief technology officer Morten Bangsgaard said: “It’s been slightly over a month we started our live trials. What we are doing now is validating how it will perform in real life, under different conditions like what it happens when it rains. These are practical things that will enable us to learn how to build the network, understand expected capacities, cost involved, which are important to allow us to plan for our rollout.”

But he said the nationwide rollout could only be planned after it gets the spectrum allocation.

“The government has indicated that an announcement on spectrum allocation will be made later this year,” he said.

TM One chief executive officer Azizi A. Hadi said the most important element in the 5G race was how it is used to benefit people’s lives and consequently take Malaysia to the next level.

He showed how the Smart Safety Helmet developed by TM can be used to tell the location of the wearer as well as if the person is injured in the line of duty.

Nokia on the other hand demonstrated how 5G could be used for venues, allowing more devices to be connected at the same time, and events streamed in virtual reality for those who could not attend.

It also showed off a virtual reality table tennis game, and how 5G could be used for quality control in the manufacturing field.

ZTE had a demo of a racing game streamed from a remote location to a virtual reality headset using 5G, showing how the technology can be used to make gaming more accessible to those without a gaming machine.

Huawei offered a virtual reality 4K drone for attendees to try out. The drone would pan and tilt according to users’ head movements in “almost” real-time.

It also showcased the use of 5G in agriculture, aquaculture, healthcare alongside its RuralStar technology, which it says will be able to provide cellular coverage to rural and underdeveloped areas.

U Mobile showed tele-surgery, multi stream 4K videos and low latency gaming but cautioned that 5G requires supporting devices for it to take off.

Jasmine Lee, U Mobile chief marketing officer, said: “Even 4G did not really take off until there were devices, and content, so it is really going to be the same for 5G.”

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Steep learning curve


What is meant by “steep learning curve”?

Unfazed, this mass comm graduate overcame all kinds of challenges to make it in business.

SAMANTHA Mah did well on her first business venture but suffered a loss on her second. However, failure did not deter her and her two partners from moving on. They gave it another go until they could see the fruits of their labour.

Mah worked as a company administrator and voice talent for radio commercials before she decided to venture into business.— aNis aBdullah/The star

Mah’s first business received an investment of RM10,000 from her sister, Natasha, 37. She and two investor-partners started an online boutique targeted at young women. After one-and-a-half years, business picked up and was quite good.

Mah, 30, is the youngest in her family. She has two elder sisters and a brother.

Mah, Natasha and a friend Jason Leong, 31, started their trading company on March 8, 2011. Just four months later, it incurred a big loss, prompting them to change the products they were selling – from peanuts and sesame seeds to edible organic products.

A mass communication graduate from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) in Selangor, Mah had worked part-time as a company administrator and voice talent for radio commercials before she venturing into business. She is now the marketing manager/managing director of her company.

After starting Wide Tropism Trading, she passed her online boutique business to a friend.

One of the biggest challenges for Mah, at the beginning, was that neither she nor her partners had a corporate background.

“We handled matters based on our experiences. Sometimes we had to ask friends for advice.

“In the first few years, there were lots of arguments,” she said.

Mah is glad that her relationship with Natasha survived those trying times.

As part of the company’s costcutting measures, each of them had to take on more responsibilities in various departments.

“There were too many things on my plate – human resource, accounts, design and marketing – and I was suffocating. But we did not have enough (finances) to hire staff,” said Mah.

After two months, she “exploded” and cried during a meeting.

“I could not take the pressure and workload anymore,” she said.

Eventually, they could afford to hire new staff.

“Only then did things start to fall into place,” she said.


Cheated by a supplier

Initially, they were importing foods such as peanuts and sesame seeds, and distributing them to local suppliers. Unfortunately, they suffered a huge loss in the first year itself due to unscrupulous parties.

Due to limited cash flow, they could only import one container of stock at a time. Each time, they flew over to the exporting country, India, to check on the quality of the stock and witness the peanuts being loaded into the containers. The first two shipments went through successfully.

However, the third shipment, supposedly of Grade A peanuts, was discovered to contain Grade C stock instead, when it arrived.

She said: “No one in the market would accept the stock. We sought help from the local distributor to sell off the peanuts at a lower price but even then, no one wanted them. After trying for two months, we had to sell off the peanuts to a peanut butter factory at below cost. As a result, we ran into losses amounting to RM40,000.”

The supplier denied it was his fault and instead blamed others. They then contacted the High Commission of India, in Kuala Lumpur, for help but to no avail.

“We wondered how we were going to continue business. My father advised us to pick ourselves up, learn from it, and be more careful. Everyone was very supportive and encouraged us to continue. They believed we could do better,” she said.

Mah then sought help from her uncle, an experienced fruit trader and grocer. He advised her to run a business that’s less risky, such as repackaging and distributing organic products.

She and her business partners promptly took his advice.

In July 2011, her company had its first customer, a newly opened supermarket in Petaling Jaya. In two months, Mah’s team had designed the logo and sourced for products and packaging. And so, their label Love Earth was born.

 Overcoming obstacles

Every day, Mah and her partners packed their products until midnight, and delivered them, working on weekends to selfpromote their products as well.

Said Mah: “Each time a new supermarket called, we’d celeto brate!”

Gradually, it was time start their expansion plan but they were hampered by limited cash flow.

They knew they had to spend more to create brand awareness. That’s when they started their online webstore.

“None of us had any knowledge about marketing. So I attended marketing and e-commerce talks to learn and see what we could do,” she said.

Mah recalled: “The first three years of business were really tough. My salary was only RM1,000 monthly (to cut costs).”

But their efforts paid off. After five years of sheer hard work, they could buy two units of four-storey shophouses.

The company started with 50 products and now has 180.

Currently, it is distributing these products to over 500 outlets throughout Malaysia.


New priorities

Mah, who got married two years ago, plans to expand her family this year. Her husband, C.V. Loh, 32, distributes bio-degradable plates, lunch boxes and bowls as well as health supplements.

She said: “I hope to have financial freedom, and more time for my family. If possible, I would like to be a part-time businesswoman and full-time housewife one day.”

She plans to raise her children herself and not send them to a nanny. She also hopes to travel more in the future. Presently, she travels at least thrice a year. Seeing other countries and cultures opens up one’s mind, she said.

Although she is a career woman, Mah believes in putting family first.

“Women play a role in bringing up the family. If a child is not well taught, he might be a nuisance to society in the future. But if he has a good upbringing, he can be the sun that shines and brings benefits to all. Also, a woman is the pillar that upholds the family,” she said.

Mah explained that even though she studied mass communication and broadcasting, it was during her internship that she realised that she wanted to go on a different career path than she had originally planned.

After her graduation, she thought of going into volunteer work. But her uncle advised against it. He told her to be successful so that she could help herself and others in future.

By Majorie Chiew The Star
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