Pushing blockchain revolution


(From left) World of Sharing business development manager Ice Wong, EUNEX (Asia) marketing director Kyan Lee, MBAEX chief executive officer Sebastian Ionut Diaconu, Lim, International Blockchain Research Club vice-president Sunny Chao and blockchain technology company Milletique OTO Distribution senior manager Jasmond Ng posing at Fintech Blockchain Summit in Kulim, Kedah

OVER 2,000 blockchain enthusiasts and leaders shared the latest ideas at Fintech Blockchain Summit which was held in Kulim, Kedah.

The summit themed ‘Blockchain Era, Connecting Future’ explored the potential of blockchain technology in various economic fields.

Delegates discussed blockchain trends and evolution to various platforms and digital assets.

Held at MBI Desaku Multi-function Convention Centre, the summit was jointly organised by World Crypto Organisation, Makefamous Creative Hub Sdn Bhd, Milletique OTO Distribution Sdn Bhd, Mightficent Global Sdn Bhd, Menbridges Academy Sdn Bhd and Macsintec Social Media Sdn Bhd.

Among those attending the summit was Super Minor Community vice-president Nicholas Lim who is also Chainverses magazine chief editor.

“Various groups joined us at the summit to contribute to the progression of financial technology through discussions and sharing sessions.

“We hope this summit will open up greater opportunities for development,” Lim said.

Lim opined that blockchain had good concepts and ideas.

However, he said the biggest resistance in the current blockchain development was the lack of economic support in terms of adoption.

“To overcome this, we need teamwork, good practical solutions and support from the community to push the adoption of blockchain in the country forward,” he added.

During the summit, four groups signed an MoU, including International Financial Technology Academy, Linton University College, Milletique Technology and Menbridges Academy.

The MoU aimed to promote blockchain financial technology through education with the hope of cultivating more blockchain experts in the future.

By emilia ismail The Star


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China lands on far side of the moon


Rugged patch: The ‘dark side’ of the moon as seen from the Chinese lunar rover after landing. — AFP

BEIJING: A Chinese lunar rover landed on the far side of the moon, in a global first that boosts Beijing’s ambitions to become a space superpower.

The Chang’e-4 probe touched down and sent a photo of the so-called “dark side” of the moon to the Queqiao satellite, which will relay communications to controllers on Earth, China’s national space agency said on its website.

Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022, and of eventually sending humans to the moon.

The Chang’e-4 lunar probe mission – named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology – launched in December from the southwestern Xichang launch centre.

It is the second Chinese probe to land on the moon, following the Yutu (Jade Rabbit) rover mission in 2013.

Unlike the near side of the moon that offers many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is mountainous and rugged. The moon is “tidally locked” to Earth in its rotation so the same side is always facing Earth.

Chang’e-4 is carrying six experiments from China and four from abroad, including low-frequency radio astronomical studies – aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the moon’s far side.

The rover will also conduct mineral and radiation tests, the China National Space Administration has said.

“It’s a very good start,” said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration programme, in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV. “We are now building China into an aerospace power.”

Beijing is planning to send another lunar lander, Chang’e-5, later this year to collect samples and bring them back to Earth.

It is among a slew of ambitious Chinese targets, which include a reusable launcher by 2021, a super-powerful rocket capable of delivering payloads heavier than those Nasa and private rocket firm SpaceX can handle, a moon base, a permanently crewed space station and a Mars rover.

The People’s Liberation Army “looks at space as a new strategic high ground”, said Michael Raska, who studies security and defence issues at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. — AFP

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UEC recognition, unequal wealth distribution between ethic groups, TAR UC funding


 UEC recognition: Malays’ feelings must be respected,  PM. Mahathir says while it is very easy for the governmentSee more: http://www.sinchew.com.my/node/1826751

MCA and DAP voice concerns over Dr M’s UEC remarks

MCA and DAP have voiced strong concerns over Tun Dr
Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks on the Unified Examination Certification
(UEC) recognition.

MCA vice-president Datuk Tan Teik Cheng said the issue must take into account the feelings of the Chinese community too as their sentiments about the recognition of the certification appeared to be ignored.

“The people who supported (Dr Mahathir) include Malays, Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups.

“UEC is not just a Chinese but a national issue, but the government only takes into account the feelings of the Malays and not the Chinese,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Tan questioned why the feelings of the Chinese were not considered in the issue.

“Is it because he considers the Chinese second-class citizens in Malaysia?” he asked.

Selangor DAP secretary and Sungai Pelek assemblyman Ronnie Liu said he read Dr Mahathir’s remarks “with concern” and expressed his disappointment.

“Excuse me but recognising the UEC was part of the Pakatan Harapan pledge. This was a promise made to the voters.

“You can’t just turn around after the election and say you can’t fulfil your promises because you are concerned about how some people might feel about it.

“I’m very disappointed with this and I hope Pakatan leaders will speak up about the importance of keeping promises,” he said.

Dr Mahathir in an interview with Sin Chew Daily said the government needs to address the unequal wealth distribution between ethnic groups before  recognising the UEC. http://www.sinchew.com.my/node/1826751

“Recognising UEC is easy, just sign. But we need time to bring two to three racial groups, including natives in Sabah and Sarawak, onto the same position of economic development.

“They (Malays) feel that they are getting lesser, and this kind of imbalance is getting bigger,” he said. – The Star

Why TAR UC should still receive government funding?

Helping TAR UC will heal the nation – Letters | The Star Online

Private universities have no political interference because their owners are private citizens. TAR UC is an entity created by a political party and in that sense, I see no difference between it and UiTM. The huge elephant in the room is that TAR UC was gracious enough to allow my niece, daughter and my friend Salahuddin to study at an affordable price while the other allows in only one race.

Helping TAR UC will heal the nation – Letters | The Star Online

By Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

I read with sadness that this year, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) will not be getting some of the financial assistance it received over the past 50 years.

The Pakatan Harapan government, on Dec 6, said in Parliament that the government would only provide TAR UC with a development fund of RM5.5 million, not the RM30 million matching grant it had been getting under the previous Barisan Nasional government.

The reason for this retraction of funding was that TAR UC has political ties with MCA. My utmost respect to the principle behind the reason given, as well as to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng who has foiled critics who would like us to think that he favours one race.

But I would like to go on record to say I believe the funding for TAR UC should be continued. My reasons are as follows.

Firstly, TAR UC has never indulged in any extremist activities that would destroy our nation-building efforts to create a harmonious society.

I have read that Universiti Teknologi Malaysia once held a seminar attacking the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, while Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) held a conference attacking our fellow Christian citizens. Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia also held a forum on the conditions to kill Malaysian citizens who are considered, under Pahang mufti Abdul Rahman Osman’s classification, “kafir harbi”.

These three shameful acts of bigotry and extremism have no place in a Malaysia where tolerance and respect for diversity form its two main anchors of co-existence. I do not remember TAR UC acting in this shameful manner, which is a testament to its commitment to producing level-headed Malaysians devoid of a sense of bigotry or racial and religious extremism.

Secondly, TAR UC has been providing high quality education at a most affordable fee that has put hundreds of thousands of young Malaysians into the job market and created a good and tolerant society.

Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub is one such character. A man of strong Islamic faith and commitment, he follows the true path of Islam, not the brand touted by his former party, PAS, which supports leaders who have been tainted with massive corruption and hurtful messages of extremism.

I, too, sent my niece and daughter to TAR at one time. My niece was studying for a certificate in fashion design and my daughter took a diploma in Mass Communications. Both have turned out to be well-rounded citizens. My niece once worked in the office of former Skudai assemblyman Dr Boo Cheng Hau while my daughter became a journalist with BFM and is now a full-time lecturer at First City University College, having obtained a masters degree from Monash University.

Neither of them ever said a word to me about being discriminated against while they were there. Both enjoyed studying there and have no qualms about recommending TAR to other Malay families.

For that, I wish to credit MCA for being a party that has put the interest of the country above any racial ideology, although the party is one which supports a race-based philosophy.

I would like to go on record again to say that I am against any race-based or religious party and would not hesitate to support a law that disallows any political party to be based on religious or ethnic grounds. I would not hesitate to sign a memorandum outlawing the existence of parties like Umno, MCA, MIC, PPBM and PAS.

Although each of these political parties, except for the new PPBM, has made great contributions to its members and the country, we must move on and disregard these entities as we enter a new future. Having said that clearly and in no uncertain terms, I praise MCA for being a moderate party which contributed greatly to nation-building during Malaya’s formative years, and for its sacrifice in setting up and sustaining TAR UC until now.

With respect to Lim’s principle that TAR UC can be given funding if it severs ties with MCA, I would say that while the minister’s principle is most admirable and idealistic, non-political interference in some universities in Malaysia is impractical.

As long as UiTM exists, there will always be political interference. As long as public universities have 80% funding and not 50%, there will be interference simply because these entities belong to the people of Malaysia.

Private universities have no political interference because their owners are private citizens. TAR UC is an entity created by a political party and in that sense, I see no difference between it and UiTM. The huge elephant in the room is that TAR UC was gracious enough to allow my niece, daughter and my friend Salahuddin to study at an affordable price while the other allows in only one race.

I therefore have no problem with TAR UC being “politically connected” to MCA. Has MCA ever raised a sword in the halls of TAR UC, shouting slogans of abuse against Malays and Islam? Have its vice-chancellors spoken to derail our nation-building efforts by uttering statements that would jeopardise national harmony? I seem to recall one vice-chancellor of UiTM indulging in racial statements that, to me, were totally unbecoming of a civil servant of the nation.

Finally, if for nothing else, I wholeheartedly believe that TAR UC’s funding should be continued in memory of the father of our nation, the humble and easy-going but hardworking Tunku Abdul Rahman. The Tunku was a unique individual who did not indulge in building mega projects such as the Petronas Twin Towers, the Penang Bridge or a whole city called Putrajaya. His simple sense of tolerance, compassion and balanced political experience brought him the trust of all communities. There were other leaders during his time but they were too “ultra-Malay” to gain the trust of the whole nation of diverse faiths, cultures, languages and expectations.

The simple concrete building of TAR UC boasts no special architectural characteristics. The landscaping of the campus boasts no requirement of maintenance like Putrajaya. The students drive Kancils and Myvis as opposed to the Vios and Civics seen at other private universities. The whole atmosphere of the campus is compact, full of simple life and gurgling with enthusiasm for study towards an assured future.

The Tunku promised that we would live a life of calmness, dignity and happiness in a moderate existence of financial stability, social respectability and political honesty. TAR UC, in my opinion, speaks volumes of the legacy of the Tunku.

Let us all continue to support TAR UC as a manifestation of the true spirit of Malaysia. – Malaysia Today

 

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Politicising education hurts the Chinese 

 WHEN Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, in his Budget 2019 presented early this month, removed the RM30mil matching grant for Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC), it hurt not just the MCA but also the Chinese community. The government will provide a mere RM5.5mil as development fund to TAR UC.

Hike in daycare & childcare centre fees in 2019


MONTHLY fees at majority of daycare centres in Perak are expected to increase between 15% and 20% in 2019.

Fees between RM300 and RM350 for a child could be increased to RM400.

Perak Daycare Association president Noor Shalina Sahari said the increase was due to the implementation of the minimum wage policy for workers set by the Government.

The minimum wage will be streamlined at RM1,100 nationwide starting Jan 1.

Noor Shalina said the increase at the respective daycare centres would differ from one another, depending on the number of employees and the locality.

“The ratio at a daycare centre is three employees to one child.

“The centre would require five staff to handle children aged one to three while 10 workers are needed for those aged three and above,” she said during a grant presentation ceremony at the Urban Transformation Centre in Ipoh.

“To be honest, the rate in Perak is still considered low.

“Currently, our rates are between RM300 and RM350. Next year, it could be between RM350 and RM400,” she added.

Noor Shalina said the increase would also be based on the respective areas.

“If the daycare is located in an area where majority of its residents are from the low income group, the increase would be minimal.

“It would also depend on the respective daycare operators,” she said, adding that the association has 120 members.

“There will be no drastic increase, it will not benefit us also as we are also competing with those that are home-based and not registered with the Government,” she added.

Source: The Star by Ivan Loh

Childcare centres to hike fees in 2019 – Rates to rise by 10% to 30% to cover costs 

‘Childcare providers are now required to have at least a diploma in early education’. – Norsheila Abdullah

PETALING JAYA: Taska (childcare centres) are expected to charge between 10% and 30% more next year to keep up with the minimum wage and to cover costs.

Association of Registered Childcare Pro­viders Malaysia president Norsheila Abdullah said this is unavoidable as the minimum wage for childcare providers has been fixed at RM1,100 and that they are increasingly becoming more qualified.

She expects the fee hike to affect all states as the minimum wage has been streamlined to RM1,100 nationwide starting Jan 1.

“I think the price increase is appropriate because they are receiving very low salary, between RM800 and RM900, and they deserve the minimum wage.

“Besides the minimum wage, other reasons for the increase include hidden costs such as childcare providers’ qualifications and overhead costs such as rental, electricity and water bills.

“Childcare providers are now required to have at least a diploma in early education and to be certified with the Permata Early Childhood Education Programme (KAP), a government-run course that costs RM900, and first aid training,” she said.

Currently in Kuala Lumpur, the fee per child in taska is typically no less than RM450 per month, said Norsheila.

The increase of taska fees would however vary according to the operating costs in the particular location, said Norsheila.

It is likely that only centres charging lower fees will increase them by 30%.

“How much the increase will be depends on the taska. If they are charging between RM200 and RM250, then maybe they will increase by 30% because they need to keep up,” she said.

Norsheila suggests that parents sending children to registered centres be given rebates by the government and taska which adhere to all the regulations be allowed tax exemption.

Selangor Taska Association president Mahanom Basri said taska operators should not haphazardly increase fees without matching it with quality service.

“We don’t actually want to increase the price without any reason. Most of the childcare providers have either a diploma or a degree and sometimes work more than 10 hours per day but they are lowly paid. So we hope the parents will understand and not be angry with us.

“If childcare providers are paid accordingly, they will take care of the children well and both parties will be satisfied,” she said.

While there are over 1,500 taska in Selangor, Mahanom gave assurance that there would be no standardisation of fees among the operators because they are still bound by the Competition Act 2010.

She said the Selangor state government has been assisting parents in need via incentives such as the Sikembar programme, whereby they subsidise RM100 for every child sent to a taska registered under the Community Welfare Department.

Mahanom added that there are also alternatives to the fee increase.

“Currently, I know of some taska operators who don’t want to charge the parents too much so they work out a compromise whereby the parents, as partners in education, would contribute items like rice and vegetables monthly to the taska so that it takes away a
a bit of the operating cost burden,” she said.
The  Star by fatimah zainal

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Year 2018 review: Huawei and the technology cold war, competition in spheres of influence


The Huawei stand is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Yves Herman / Reuters
Newspaper headline: A true multinational – A Huawei Technologies Co logo sits on display inside an electronic goods store in Berlin on December 17. Photo: VCG
2018 was the year that started the U.S.-China tech cold war. 2019 might be the year that splinters the global technology system into distinct spheres of influence.  

Whatever you call it, the U.S.-China science and technology relationship is being violently remade. While a tightly linked technology system benefited the United States and China over the last two decades, there is now widespread concern on both sides of the Pacific that the economic and security risks outweigh the gains. President Xi Jinping has embraced and accelerated policies designed to increase the  innovativeness of the Chinese economy and reduce dependence on foreign suppliers. The Trump administration has put Chinese technologies policies front and center as a danger to U.S. economic and national security. The eventual outcome of this contest may be two distinct technology systems, with other countries forced to choose if they are going to plug into American or Chinese technology platforms and standards.

Over the last year, the Trump administration has pressured Beijing to roll back Made in China 2025 and worked to prevent the flow of American technology to China. Congress passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, which expands the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ ability to investigate foreign investment in “critical technologies”, and the Department of Commerce is expected to introduce new export controls on “emerging and  foundational technologies.” In November 2018, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a China Initiative to identify priority Chinese trade theft cases and evaluate whether additional legislative and administrative authorities would be required to protect U.S. assets from foreign economic espionage. The Department of Justice indicted two alleged hackers from the Ministry of State Security in December 2018 for stealing secrets from the banking, finance, telecommunications, health care, energy, and automotive industries.

Huawei, the Chinese telecom manufacturer, sits at the center of this new cold war. 5G, the next generation of mobile communication technology, promises greater speed and capacity, and will enable the internet of things, automated vehicles, and other innovations. It will also introduce new cybersecurity vulnerabilities. While U.S. officials have never publicly provided evidence that Huawei equipment has backdoors or been tampered with, they warn that allowing the company to be involved in the build-out of 5G networks raises unmanageable security risks, and they have steadily increased pressure on the company at home and abroad. In January, after scrutiny from U.S. regulators, AT&T walked back from a deal to sell Huawei smartphones in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission proposed making it harder for smaller carriers to use the Universal Service Fund to pay for future purchases of telecom equipment from Huawei. In August, President Trump signed a bill that prohibited any carrier with any substantial amount of installed Chinese telecom equipment from federal government contracts.

Washington has pressured its allies not to use Huawei. In August, Australia effectively banned Huawei from supplying equipment to develop the country’s 5G wireless infrastructure. In November, the New Zealand government rejected a local telecom’s proposal to use Huawei equipment in its 5G network upgrade. In December, a major British telecom announced that it would remove Huawei equipment, and UK intelligence officials have flagged security shortfalls in Huawei software. Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, India, and Japan are reportedly considering banning or limiting Huawei. While not directly connected to the cybersecurity concerns of Huawei products, the detention of CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada on charges she misrepresented subsidiary relationships in order to deceive U.S. banks into conducting business with Iranian telecommunications companies in violation of U.S. sanctions has raised the tensions around the company considerably.

The United States is also working with its allies to slow Huawei’s expansion in third markets. Australia objected after the Solomon Islands signed a deal with the company to explore building a link between it and the Australian mainland, and the government eventually stepped in and will pay for the bulk of the construction to keep Huawei out. Efforts by the United States, Japan, and Australia to stop Huawei in its efforts to build a submarine telecommunications cable to Papua New Guinea were not as successful when the country decided that it could not afford to walk away from a project that was more than half finished. As one minister put it, “Whatever views Australia or the U.S. might have in relation to cybersecurity, as far as Huawei or China are concerned, those are for the big boys to worry about.”

The race for 5G is far from over. U.S. companies hold a strong position in patents and technological development. Chinese telecoms are rapidly developing competing technologies, benefit from government support in roll out and implementation of 5G services, and often offer their products at prices twenty to thirty percent cheaper than their competitors. The challenge for Washington is to create an environment that supports innovation at home and a shared approach to 5G security with its friend and allies. The competition is likely to pick up in 2019, and the end result increasingly looks like separate spheres of technology influence.

Most Chinese feel West’s growing containment of China, but optimistic about future: poll

China-US relations are the most important bilateral ties, and more Chinese listed the trade friction between them as the most impressive international event in 2018, according to a latest survey report on how Chinese people view the world.

China excels in testing year of 2018

After this tough year, China has more adequate policy and mental preparations, no matter how 2019 turns out. China needs to be well-prepared for difficulties. No external force can bring China down and those who try will pay a hard price. This is the confidence that 2018 has brought China.

A true multinational – Newspaper headline: A Huawei Technologies Co logo sits on display inside an electronic goods store in Berlin on

China’s GPS rival BeiDou to go global


 APA
model of the BeiDou Navigation System is displayed during the 12th
China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai earlier
this month.
HONG KONG/BEIJING: China is taking its rivalry with the U.S. to the heavens, spending at least $9 billion to build a celestial navigation system and cut its dependence on the American-owned GPS amid heightening tensions between the two countries.

Location data beamed from GPS satellites are used by smartphones, car navigation systems, the microchip in your dog’s neck and guided missiles — and all those satellites are controlled by the U.S. Air Force.

That makes the Chinese government uncomfortable, so it’s developing an alternative that a U.S. security analyst calls one of the largest space programs the country has undertaken.

A model of the Beidou navigation system satellite. Photographer: Imaginechina

“They don’t want to depend on the U.S.’s GPS,’’ said Marshall Kaplan, a
professor in the aerospace engineering department at the University of
Maryland. “The Chinese don’t want to be subject to something that we can
shut off.’

“They don’t want to depend on the U.S.’s GPS,’’ said Marshall Kaplan, a professor in the aerospace engineering department at the University of Maryland. “The Chinese don’t want to be subject to something that we can shut off.’’

The Beidou Navigation System, currently serving China and neighbors, will be accessible worldwide by 2020 as part of President Xi Jinping’s strategy to make his country a global leader in next-generation technologies.

Its implementation reverberates through the corporate world as makers of semiconductors, electric vehicles and airplanes modify products to also connect with Beidou in order to keep doing business in the second-biggest economy.

Assembly of the new constellation is approaching critical mass after the launch of at least 18 satellites this year, including three this month. On Nov. 19, China launched two more Beidou machines, increasing the number in operation to more than 40. China plans to add 11 more by 2020.

A rocket carrying the 24th and 25th Beidou navigation satellites takes off in Xichang in Nov. 2017. Photographer: Wang Yulei/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Beidou is one element of China’s ambitious campaign to displace Western dominance in aerospace. A state-owned company is developing planes to replace those from Airbus SE and Boeing Co., and domestic startups are building rockets to challenge the commercial-launch businesses of Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin.

Next month, China is scheduled to launch Chang’e 4, a lunar probe that would be the first spacecraft to the far side of the moon. A Mars probe and rover also are scheduled for liftoff in 2020.

“It is classic space-race sort of stuff,’’ said Andrew Dempster, director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research in Canberra.

China started developing Beidou in the 1990s and will spend an estimated $8.98 billion to $10.6 billion on it by 2020, according to a 2017 analysis by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The system eventually will provide positioning accuracies of 1 meter (3 feet) or less with use of a ground support system.

Chinese space-tracking ship Yuanwang-3 monitor the launch of a rocket carrying a Beidou satellite in Oct. 2018. Photographer: Imaginechina

By comparison, GPS typically provides accuracies of less than 2.2 meters, which can be improved to a few centimeters with augmentation systems, the commission said.

“The Beidou system has become one of the great achievements in China’s 40 years of reform,’’ Xi said in a Nov. 5 letter to a United Nations committee on satellite navigation.

The system, named after the Chinese word for the Big Dipper star pattern, is at the core of an industry that will generate more than 400 billion yuan ($57 billion) of revenue in 2020, according to a forecast by the China Satellite Navigation Office.

Beidou Boom

China has increased the pace of satellite launches for its navigation system

Sources: China Satellite Navigation Office, International GNSS Service

*July satellite part of Phase-II

Beidou also has potential for export as part of China’s “Belt and Road’’ initiative to build political and economic ties through funding of infrastructure projects in other countries, the U.S.-China security commission said.

NavInfo Co., a maker of electronic maps that’s backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., wants to begin mass producing semiconductors for navigation systems using Beidou in 2020, said Wang Yan, a project director.

Employees prepare a NavInfo car for data collection in Beijing, June 2018.

Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg

Beijing-based NavInfo, which supplies Tesla Inc. and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, expects annual demand of 15 million Beidou-linked chips for autonomous vehicles. In September, NavInfo started providing Beidou-enabled mapping and positioning services for the Singapore government.

“China needs to have its own satellite navigation system from a long-term, strategic perspective,’’ Wang said. “Beidou is the only option.’’

That carries potential implications for the balance of power between the nations, as Beidou’s deployment likely will fuel creation of a supply network for China’s People’s Liberation Army.

“The PLA will additionally have its own domestic ‘industrial chain’ on which to draw for secure components,” the U.S.-China commission said.

Qianxun Spatial Intelligence Inc., a Shanghai-based venture between e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and state-owned defense contractor China North Industries Group Corp., provides positioning services for cars, public safety and civil aviation using Beidou and other networks.

To help stay competitive against budding Chinese counterparts, foreign companies are including Beidou compatibility in their products. Qualcomm Inc., the biggest maker of chips used in smartphones, has been supporting Beidou “for a long time,” the San Diego-based company said. Those chip sets also are used in wearables and automobiles.

Most smartphones from global sales leader Samsung Electronics Co. support Beidou in addition to GPS, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said, as do handsets from local rivals Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp., according to state media. Huawei is the nation’s top-selling brand.

China also is the largest auto market, and the government wants all car-navigation systems to be Beidou-compatible within two years. Volkswagen AG -– the market leader in passenger car sales — is changing the equipment in its vehicles to enable network access, the company said.

“At the moment, Volkswagen Group China does not sell cars with Beidou-enabled equipment, but the next infotainment system generation for cars in the Chinese market will be rolled out in 2020,’’ the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said. “This system will be ready to receive Beidou information.”

Toyota Motor Corp. is in discussions with companies about Beidou, the Japanese automaker said.

Comac C919 Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

In the sky, a regional jet developed by state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, or COMAC, last year became the first plane to use Beidou.

Avionics-systems maker Rockwell Collins Inc., a supplier to Airbus, Boeing and COMAC, doesn’t offer products that can access the Chinese satellite network, the company said.

That may have to change. The Chinese government eventually will require airlines flying in the country to add Beidou equipment, Kaplan said.

“They will have to have the Chinese system on board,’’ he said, citing the government’s security concerns. “The Chinese will require airlines to have both systems.’’

— With assistance by Bruce Einhorn, Dong Lyu, Jie Ma, Sam Kim, and Ian King

Politicising education hurts the Chinese


As Malaysia tackles a RM1 trillion national debt, it may be wise for Lim Guan Eng to focus on revitalising the economy than to whip up a confrontation with his own community over a RM30mil grant

WHEN Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, in his Budget 2019 presented early this month, removed the RM30mil matching grant for Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC), it hurt not just the MCA but also the Chinese community.

The government will provide a mere RM5.5mil as development fund to TAR UC. The fuming Chinese community is now taking up the issue as TAR UC, along with Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), another institution of higher learning linked to MCA, has provided affordable education to many Chinese students over the past 50 years.

The removal of the matching grant to TAR UC – an annual amount given by the Barisan Nasional government to the university college previously to match the funds it raised – will negatively impact its continued survival.

Hence, emotive comments against Lim have been dominating the vernacular media since the grant issue emerged.

A petition against the Finance Ministry has also been launched.

Notably, though they are two non-profit institutions set up by MCA – TAR UC in 1969 and UTAR in 2001 – they are now seen as part and parcel of the Chinese community, which has been supporting their operation and expansion with billions in cash donations and land.

The late philanthropist of Penang, Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew, told me in an interview in 1991 that he had contributed land and cash to TAR UC. Other Chinese tycoons, too, have privately shared such information with me.

Together with the matching grants from the government totalling RM1.353bil over the last 50 years, MCA was able to expand the reach of the university college, from Setapak to Penang, Sabah and Pahang.

In the last 17 years, MCA also built UTAR campuses in Sungai Long (Selangor) and Kampar (Perak).

In the five decades since TAR UC started, children from poor Chinese families and other ethnic groups, regardless of political leanings, have benefitted from the education offered by it due to its affordable fees.

In fact, TAR UC and UTAR are two of MCA’s best non-political projects which have contributed tremendously to the Chinese society, to compensate for its past failure to safeguard Chinese rights in the Umno-dominated Barisan regime.

Putting into historical context, TAR UC – which started as TAR College before being upgraded to university college status in 2013 – was a product of political compromise when non-­bumiputra student intake into the five public universities then was limited by the introduction of the bumiputra quota. The one-to-one matching grant enabled TAR UC to provide an avenue for higher education for those from the lower-income group as well as performing students denied entry into public universities by the quota system.

Hence on Sept 15, 1972, Datuk Hussein Onn, the then-Education Minister, handed over the Instrument of Government to the institution.

A 77ha plot in Setapak was allocated for the construction of TAR College’s main campus.

Later, UTAR was set up and officially launched on Aug 13, 2002, by then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad after higher education in the private sector was liberalised.

According to MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, some 200,000 students have graduated from TAR UC/UTAR over the past 50 years.

Currently, the student population in the two institutions totals 28,000. Employees stand at 1,500 (60% Chinese, 40% non-Chinese).

These figures show that not just the Chinese have benefitted from the existence of UTAR and TAR UC but the Malays and Indians as well. Among the Pakatan Harapan leaders who were beneficiaries of the TAR affordable education are Cabinet ministers Teresa Kok, Datuk Salahuddin Ayub and Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail as well as Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and exco member Chong Eng.

As these two institutions have become integral to the Chinese community, it is natural that vernacular newspapers are following closely the developments in this issue.

From the writing in the Chinese media, it can be seen that this issue is threatening to become a “Chinese community vs LGE/DAP” confrontation. This may not augur well for Lim.

While there are people who agree with Lim’s argument to separate education from politics, and that MCA must cut its links with these institutions, they form a miserable minority.

In a strongly worded comment piece “Play-killing UTAR”, Sin Chew Daily deputy editor-in-chief Tay Tian Yan points out that in speaking up on the grant issue, it is not meant to support MCA, but to show concern for the future generations of the Chinese community, particularly those from the poorer classes.

In response to Lim’s warning to MCA that the two institutions cannot raise tuition fees, Tay concludes: “UTAR will die an eventual death if it cannot raise fees and is not given a grant. What will be the future of our Chinese youth?”

Generally, Lim is seen as abusing his power to punish his political rivals and in the process undermine the interest of his very own community. Such political gimmicks should be stopped when dealing with taxpayers’ money, given that 80% of the country’s revenue is contributed by Chinese businesses and individuals in the form of taxes.

For many people, it is particularly repugnant when Lim threatened to “take action” against MCA if the institutions raise tuition fees.

In a China Press editorial yesterday, Lim was reminded that last year when he was Penang Chief Minister, he had said education allocations to schools should be given regardless of political backgrounds. And he acted fairly.

“But after LGE became Finance Minister, his statement last year on equality dissipated. Shouldn’t the former Penang CM give a big scolding to the current Finance Minister?” asks the writer mockingly.

The Pakatan government has also been reminded that 95% of Chinese voted them in to oust the previous administration in the May 9 general election. Their support should not be taken for granted and forgotten.

In short, TAR UC and UTAR should not be penalised just because of their parental link with MCA.

Looking at national development, these two institutions have nurtured much talent to serve the country, particularly in the field of accountancy.

File photo of UTAR's Faculty of Business and Finance in Kampar, Perak.
File photo of UTAR’s Faculty of Business and Finance in Kampar, Perak.

In fact, from my own observations, these institutions are more professionally run than many other private colleges and universities.

For this reason, and for their affordable fees, my husband and I sent our daughter to study in UTAR. She graduated last June.

As the country is confronted with a slowing economy and has to tackle a national debt of over RM1 trillion, it may be wiser for Lim to focus on revitalising the economy and other bigger national issues than to whip up a confrontation with his own community over a RM30mil grant.

By  Ho Wah Foon, The Star

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