Celebrating Deepavali in harmonious spirit

The WOU community came together to celebrate Deepavali at the main campus today, with chatter and laughter ringing loudly as staff interacted over a vegetarian lunch meal.


 Enjoying the food and the company.

Enjoying the food and the company.

Guests were greeted by colleagues decked in sarees and salwar kameez outfits, and gifted with bangles and stick-on ‘pottus’ for adornment. A few of the non-Hindu staff wore kurtas and Punjabi suits as well in a show of support and solidarity.

 Senior Lecturer Lalitha Ramasamy placing the ‘pottu’ on her fellow colleague, Kan Wen Huey, from the School of Business & Administration.

Senior Lecturer Lalitha Ramasamy placing the ‘pottu’ on her fellow colleague, Kan Wen Huey, from the School of Business & Administration.

As is customary for any auspicious Hindu gatherings, the event commenced with the breaking of coconuts at the front of Homestead by Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, and the Deans, Prof Santhiram Raman and Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan, who were joined for the first time by Regional Operations & Marcom Director K H Chong.

 Accomplishing their task - (from right) Dr Andy, Dr Nagarajan (hidden), Yeong, Prof Santhiram and Chong.

Accomplishing their task - (from right) Dr Andy, Dr Nagarajan (hidden), Yeong, Prof Santhiram and Chong.

Dr Nagarajan, in his welcoming remarks as Chairman of the organising committee, reinforced the message of Deepavali being a time for cleansing ourselves of negative thoughts and embracing positive ones. He took the opportunity to bid farewell to Prof Santhiram who will be retiring as Dean of the School of Education, Languages & Communications by year end.

 Dr Nagarajan delivers his opening remarks.

Dr Nagarajan delivers his opening remarks.

In her speech, Prof Zoraini noted that Deepavali as the Festival of Lights is the triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and light over darkness, adding that it makes lives richer to celebrate multiple festivals and respect each other’s values.

Prof Zoraini led her colleagues, Dr Kuldip Kaur, Dr Gurdip Saini, Rabikha Hasni Suparman, Lalitha Ramasamy and Fauziyah Md Aris in lighting the traditional oil lamps.

 Prof Zoraini lights the oil lamp as Fauziyah (left), Rabikha (2nd from left), Lalitha and Dr Gurdip (right) wait their turn.

Prof Zoraini lights the oil lamp as Fauziyah (left), Rabikha (2nd from left), Lalitha and Dr Gurdip (right) wait their turn.

Prof Santhiram was invited to explain the significance of breaking coconuts in answer to a query. He said the act symbolises the destroying of our ego and ignorance and avoiding negative tendencies in our inner self, while the early morning oil bath on Deepavali day is for external cleansing.

 Prof Santhiram explains the meaning behind the breaking of coconut.

Prof Santhiram explains the meaning behind the breaking of coconut.

Then was the segment for performances by the full-time students. Asswni Mariappan showed her versatility in the classical Bharatanatyam dance, after which the guests were entertained by a lively Bollywood dance and a Malayalam dance by the duo, Nerroshini Manoraj and Kawesshine Vivegananda.


 Nerroshini and Kawesshine (right) perform as Asswni (far left) looks on.

Nerroshini and Kawesshine (right) perform as Asswni (far left) looks on.

Staff and students feasted on briyani rice with sambar (lentil-based vegetable stew) and dishes like mango pachadi , fried plantains, tovayal and tofu sambal, complemented by Bru coffee and massala tea.

 Helping themselves to a variety of vegetarian dishes.

Helping themselves to a variety of vegetarian dishes.

Staff-student fun engagement at Indian cultural event

The fast-tempo folk music into the night soothed fears and broke inhibitions as many of the senior management staff joined the full-time students to dance carefree, letting their hair down for some energetic fun during the ‘Namaste WOU!’ event.

 What a pulsating start to the event.

What a pulsating start to the event.

The activity held at the main campus today was organised by students from the Comparative Religions course and the Full-time Student Council.

More than 130 people turned up, including Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, School of Humanities & Social Sciences Dean Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan and Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel, School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash V Arumugam, and Educational Technology & Publishing Director Grace Lau.

 Staff and students enjoying a performance.

Staff and students enjoying a performance.

Many of the students and staff of all races came decked in kurtas and salwar kameez with a few even donning sarees.

The night was officially declared open by Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, after which she was garlanded, as per the norm in the Indian culture for bestowing respect.

 Jasmine garlands Prof Zoraini. At right is Full-Time Student Council president Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad.

Jasmine garlands Prof Zoraini. At right is Full-Time Student Council president Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad.

With the official part completed, the event then really picked up in decibels as the Penang Dhol Blasters kicked off the performance with the pulsating beats of the dhol drums. On hand to keep the momentum going and the crowd excited was DJ Sunny from Pdbevents.

 Vesti (far right), lengha (centre) and other Indian outfits at the fashion show.

Vesti (far right), lengha (centre) and other Indian outfits at the fashion show.

Among the thrilling items of the night was a student fashion show showcasing 12 outfits worn by the gentlemen and ladies from various parts of India. For instance, the dhoti/vesti, the men’s garment wrapped around the waist, was modelled by Yeoh Kai Yeng while the ankle-length women’s skirt, lengha, by Yeoh Nien Hin.

 Entertaining the audience with a medley of popular Tamil songs.

Entertaining the audience with a medley of popular Tamil songs.

The guests were entertained by various performances like the semi-classical contemporary dance, the rendition of a medley of popular Tamil movie songs, the kolattam stick dance, and a Bollywood dance.

 A unifying touch as non-Indian students perform the kolattam dance.

A unifying touch as non-Indian students perform the kolattam dance.

The climactic highlight of the evening was the student Bhangra dancers and the open dance floor that drew everyone from their seats and onto the floor to sway exuberantly to the rhythmic music of the Penang Dhol Blasters. The expressive bhangra dance has powerful kicks, jumps and twists, along with sharp movements of the shoulders and hips, stamping feet, and waving arms.

 Prakash (centre) and other academics join the students for the Bhangra dance.

Prakash (centre) and other academics join the students for the Bhangra dance.

Fifty lucky draw prizes were given away, with hampers and a coffee maker machine as the top three prizes. The crowd feasted on a buffet spread that featured rice with dishes, tosai, vadai, murukku and other foods and drinks.

Recognition for captains of industry and 664 graduates at Convocation ceremony

WOU is set to recognise four titans of industry and roll out 664 graduates at its 9th convocation ceremony to be held at Hotel Equatorial Penang on November 24th.

 Press conference in progress.

Press conference in progress.

Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and Dr William Fung Kuok-lung are to be awarded the Honorary Doctor of Letters degree, while Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong and Dato’ Gooi Hoe Soon, the Honorary Doctor of Business degree.

Speaking at the press conference at the main campus today, Wawasan Education Foundation (WEF) chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said WOU will honour four corporate giants who have “exemplified strong entrepreneurial spirit, good business acumen and excellent managerial practices, coupled with social responsibility”.

 Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar.

Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar.

He described Azman as “indeed a truly remarkable and trusted leader, a role model for corporate leaders entrusted with huge funds”. He shared than during Azman’s tenure of 14 years as Managing Director of Khazanah Nasional Bhd from June 2004 to July 2018, the net worth of Khazanah had increased by RM82.3 billion or 3.5 times as of December 2017. 

Azman, 57, an accountant by profession, will be honoured for his sustained effort and outstanding contributions in promoting economic growth, heritage conservation, urban regeneration and social development in Malaysia. 

 Dr Koh describes Tan Sri Azman as a remarkable and trusted leader.

Dr Koh describes Tan Sri Azman as a remarkable and trusted leader.

Dr Koh described Soong, also a Gerakan party stalwart, as an “evergreen” who is still active in business, social, political and philanthropic work, and “is well respected for his self-discipline, honesty and frugality”. 

He said Soong, the oldest Honorary Graduand at 93, is a self-made businessman in the iron and steel industry and director/chairman of a few other corporations, and is known as the Father of SMIs (Small and Medium Industry) for helping to upgrade the SMIs in Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Uzbekistan. 

 Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong.

Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong.

He highlighted that Dr Fung, 69, is regarded as one of a few truly global businessmen from Asia, having won international accolades, who believes in serving and giving back to society.

Dr Fung is presently the Group Deputy Chairman of Fung Group of Companies, the Group Chairman of Li & Fung Limited, and Chairman of Global Brands Group Holding Ltd, based in Hong Kong, “He is being honoured for his great achievements in the global supply chain industry and sponsorship of higher education and research,” Dr Koh remarked.

 Dr William Fung.

Dr William Fung.

On Gooi, 61, Dr Koh pointed out his belief in finding “practical win-win” solutions to benefit all parties, while committed to honesty and humility.  He declared that Gooi, a Director of Bank Negara Malaysia, has contributed immensely to the Malaysian corporate, financial, stock broking and insurance industries.

In her speech, Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas informed that 600 of the graduates will be come from part-time, open distance learning (ODL) programmes and 64 from full-time studies.

 Dato’ Gooi Hoe Soon.

Dato’ Gooi Hoe Soon.

She said WOU will award a posthumous Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons) degree to Wong Vic Tor, from Shah Alam, who died on May 1st this year from ischaemic heart disease. WOU will also have two special needs graduates, including Low Yew Loi who had lost both legs to an industrial accident 9 years ago while working as a construction site manager. He will receive his Commonwealth Executive MBA (CeMBA).

Six programmes will produce their inaugural batch of graduates. Two lecturers will be the first to be conferred a PhD in Arts and Humanities. The remaining are the full-time programmes in the fields of Logistics & Supply Chain Management, Sales & Marketing, and Computer Systems & Networks, and the ODL programmes in Human Resource Management and Mechatronics.

 Top graduate from the ODL postgraduate programmes, Pooonam Devi.

Top graduate from the ODL postgraduate programmes, Pooonam Devi.

Prof Zoraini announced that the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize recipient for best graduate from the ODL postgraduate programmes is Ms Poonam Devi Talissiram from CeMBA, while the Chancellor’s Gold Medal recipient for top ODL graduate from the undergraduate programmes is Paul Goh Yeng Weeh from Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Construction Management.

 Paul Goh is top graduate from the ODL undergraduate programmes.

Paul Goh is top graduate from the ODL undergraduate programmes.

The winner of the Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik Memorial Gold Prize for top full-time graduate is Lau Sheue Wen from Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management.

 Lau is top graduate from full-time study.

Lau is top graduate from full-time study.

WOU awards Scholarship to financially disadvantaged students

In further embracing its corporate social responsibility (CSR), WOU awarded scholarships to 5 students to pursue a three-year full-time undergraduate degree programme at the main campus

 Recipients (from left) Halimatussadia, Haida, Previnan, Hariharan and Siti Khadijah.

Recipients (from left) Halimatussadia, Haida, Previnan, Hariharan and Siti Khadijah.

WOU, through the Wawasan Education Foundation (WEF), offered the 5th Anniversary Grant for the September 2018 intake to commemorate 5 years since the University opened its doors to full-time students in September 2013. The total scholarship value is RM140, 000 to cover the RM28, 000 tuition fee per student for a three-year Bachelor’s degree programme at WOU.

The 5 scholarship award recipients were Haida Baharuddin, Halimatussadia Zaffarudin, Hariharan Daventhern, Previnan Ravindran and Siti Khadijah Azizan.

 Dr Koh presents the scholarship award certificate to Haida.

Dr Koh presents the scholarship award certificate to Haida.

They received their certificates from WEF Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon during a simple presentation ceremony held at the main campus today. Also present to witness the event were Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, Regional Operations & MARCOM Director K H Chong, and Penang Regional Centre (PGRC) Director Ching Huey Ling.

Haida, 20, and Halimatussadia, 22, studied at Methodist Boy’s School.  Hariharan, 21, is a former student of SMK Sg Ara while Previnan, 20, was from Kolej Tingkatan Enam Haji Zainul Abidin, and Siti Khadijah from Bukit Mertajam High School.

 Dr Koh chats with the students following the presentation.

Dr Koh chats with the students following the presentation.

Haida and Siti Khadijah are currently taking up Bachelor of Management (Hons) with Psychology (BMPS) at WOU. Hariharan and Halimatussadia are both enrolled in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (BBLC), and Previnan is pursuing Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management (BBMG).

Earlier in her speech before the award presentation, Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas declared, “More than 12,600 part-time and full-time students of WOU have benefited from the financial awards from WEF. As at 31 August 2018, WEF has given out about RM10.7 million (RM10,700,709.69) through study grants, scholarship, bursary award, and other financial aids.”

 Prof Zoraini highlights the WEF financial assistance to WOU students.

Prof Zoraini highlights the WEF financial assistance to WOU students.

She added that the award of the anniversary grant was in line with “WOU’s corporate social responsibility to reach out to needy and deserving students”.

The grant was given to students on the recommendation of their school counsellor, with the condition that they passed their STPM with minimum 2 Principals and have a monthly family income of RM7,000 or less.

Cheers and Joy at WOU Beach Party

 Staff gather at the start of the event.

Staff gather at the start of the event.

Delicious food, good exercise, a fun game and pleasant company complemented by the nice cool weather and entertaining music added to the enjoyment of 141 staff who turned up for the second Beach Party of WOU this year.

 Fun game at the beach party.

Fun game at the beach party.

The event held today at the alfresco area of the main campus and fronting the sea was in line with the ‘Year of Staff Engagement 2018’ to promote interaction among the different departments and hierarchy. Staff members were divided at random into four different coloured groups upon registration.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas welcomed the crowd which included Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, consultant Wong Hun Heng and the Deans of the four Schools.

 Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoriani Wati Abas welcomes the staff.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoriani Wati Abas welcomes the staff.

The evening kicked off with an aerobics routine led by Penang Regional Centre (PGRC) marketing and admission officer Robin Cheah Kai Yang. Many came all ready to do serious exercise, garbed in sports outfit and comfortable footwear, while others gamely participated in their office attire.

 Doing the aerobics.

Doing the aerobics.

Next was the ‘Kungfu Ball’, a game that required members of the four competing teams to race while gripping a table tennis ball in between two wooden chop sticks. Most participants walked cautiously with the other hand cupped underneath the ball, but there were a few brave staff seen walking nonchalantly with speed or running while their free hand rested by their side.

 Easy going for these two staff.

Easy going for these two staff.

Prof Zoraini presented the champion green team with Oats crackers, and wafer packets to the second placed yellow team.

 Andros Yeap (ITS) receiving the first prize for his team from Prof Zoraini.

Andros Yeap (ITS) receiving the first prize for his team from Prof Zoraini.

The participants delightfully quenched their thirst with coconut water thanks to harvesting of the University’s own coconuts courtesy of the General Services & Administration Department.

 Quenching their thirst with coconut water.

Quenching their thirst with coconut water.

Staff mingled as they feasted on grilled corn on the cob, rojak, apam balik and chapatti which they washed down with coconut water and soya drinks.

There was also chicken burger and drinks courtesy of McDonald’s Malaysia Community Month (October) under the McDonald’s and RMHC (Ronald McDonald’s House Charities) programme.

 Queuing up for soya drinks.

Queuing up for soya drinks.

The event organising committee, led by Human Resources and comprising representatives from each department under Operations and Academic/Academic Support, did a splendid job particularly in the spread of food laid out as well as the activities

Make the most of university life, students told

The full-time students of WOU were encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity to network and also presented a formula for success for living out their dreams.

 Robinson with School of Humanities & Social Sciences Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel (centre).

Robinson with School of Humanities & Social Sciences Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel (centre).

Speaking at the in-house talk titled “Live Your Dreams!” at the main campus today, American motivational speaker/author Wayne C Robinson shared lessons from his own personal journey to success.

Kicking off with an icebreaker to encourage interaction among the first semester students, he declared, “You have to be open to do something different, you have to get to know people, you got to network, you have no idea what that person can do to your life to get where you want to go.”

 Icebreaker - to get to know peers of different gender and culture.

Icebreaker - to get to know peers of different gender and culture.

He stressed that the difference between people who succeed in life and those who fail is that they have goals, are disciplined, motivated and go after what they want. He also advised them to be thankful, adding, “The more you are thankful, the more good things come into your life.”

He repeatedly pointed out the CFA formula for success. “Success equals Clarity + Faith + Action. Be clear about what you want. Have faith and belief that you can get it, and take decisive action to go after it.”

 Reinforcing to the students the importance of networking.

Reinforcing to the students the importance of networking.

He also stressed the importance of networking as “70% of jobs are found through networking. So meeting people you don’t know helps. There are so many jobs opportunities out there you can get with your degree.”

Robinson highlighted the need to have a dream because success starts with a dream. “Have vision boards to write down your goals. The vision board can have pictures of what you want and positive affirmations. It reminds you everyday of what you want to do.”

 Robinson encourages the students to know the dreams.

Robinson encourages the students to know the dreams.

He told them that they can get a lot out of a university besides a degree. “Look at the university as an experience to identify your true dreams, identify your strengths, talents, and skills, and identify your weaknesses” and to learn how to network with other people.

He also suggested the students volunteer in NGOs or work part-time in related fields to “improve social and networking skills, learn how to negotiate, build self confidence, learn team work, learn how to love others, learn how to give back, and increase your job opportunities”.

 Highlighting the many things the students can learn from their university experience.

Highlighting the many things the students can learn from their university experience.

He concluded: “Now is the time to learn what you need to do to get where you want to go. Learn about your dreams. Learn how to network. Learn how to develop new skills and talents. Learn whatever you need, even if have to work part-time or volunteer in the area you are interested in.”

The very inspiring talk - organised by the School of Humanities & Social Sciences along with WOU ODL Alumni and Full-Time Student Council - was interspersed with a few short video interviews to further motivate the more than 200 full-time students and staff of WOU who attended.

 Part of the crowd.

Part of the crowd.


WOU assists visually-impaired students in Malaysia

WOU has entered into a formal collaboration with St Nicholas Home (SNH) Penang to help the blind and visually-impaired (BVI) school students throughout Malaysia to have access to learning resources and to pursue higher academic qualifications.

 Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (standing, centre) witnesses the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement.

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (standing, centre) witnesses the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement.

In line with its corporate social responsibility (CSR), the University inked a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Home during a simple ceremony held at the main campus today. The document was signed by WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas and St Nicholas Home Chairman Rt Rev Dato’ Dr Charles Samuel with witnesses, WOU’s Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) Director Grace Lau and the Home’s Executive Director, Daniel Soon Aik Bin.

WOU’s Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon was the special guest on hand to witness the proceedings. Others present included Dato’ Dr Sharom Ahmat and fellow members of the Board of Directors as well as instructors from the Home and WOU management staff.

 

 Prof Zoraini and Rt Rev Dr Charles exchange documents as Grace Lau (right) and Daniel Soon (left) look on.

Prof Zoraini and Rt Rev Dr Charles exchange documents as Grace Lau (right) and Daniel Soon (left) look on.

The MoA seeks to formalise the development and deployment of a Moodle-based learning management system (LMS) for the Home by the University. Under the agreement, WOU will provide LMS hosting services and technology support at minimal fees.  With the technology support, the Home will be able to use the LMS effectively and efficiently to enhance the students’ learning.

In her speech, Prof Zoraini elaborated, “This will enable the teachers of the Home to share their learning resources with the visually-impaired primary and secondary school students throughout Malaysia. This will also give an opportunity for the visually-impaired learners to enhance their knowledge and skills in attaining higher academic qualifications.”

 Prof Zoraini delivers her speech.

Prof Zoraini delivers her speech.

She stated that the LMS backbone uses an open source platform called Moodle that assists learners to “participate in online threaded discussions with their peers, tutors and course coordinators.  The LMS also facilitates administration of courses, documentation, as well as tracking and reporting of learner behaviours.”

Meanwhile Rt Rev Charles recorded his appreciation in collaborating with WOU and acquiring its support to make educational resources available for the blind and visually impaired people of Malaysia that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. “For nearly 100 years, it has been the mission of St Nicholas Home to provide education, training and employment opportunities to the visually impaired people so that they may be empowered to fully participate and contribute to society,” he stressed.

 Rt Rev Dr Charles Samuel thankful for the collaboration with WOU to support the learning of the blind and visually-impaired.

Rt Rev Dr Charles Samuel thankful for the collaboration with WOU to support the learning of the blind and visually-impaired.

He continued, “Web accessible e-learning allows blind and visually-impaired students efficient and timely access to educational materials that would help them cope with their studies. Web accessible e-learning would be available to everyone no matter their degree of disability as long as they have Internet connection and computer equipped with the necessary accessibility tools.”

“With WOU coming on board as our project technical partner, we are confident that we would be able to achieve the goals we have set to make accessible and equitable education a reality for the blind and visually impaired students so that they can compete on a level playing field with their sighted peers, “ Rt Rev Charles declared.

 

 St Nicholas Home instructor Gomathi Subramaniam demonstrates how the visually-impaired learners can access the learning management system.

St Nicholas Home instructor Gomathi Subramaniam demonstrates how the visually-impaired learners can access the learning management system.

WOU extends faithful support to Relay for Life Penang

WOU offered support as a silver sponsor for Relay for Life Penang 2018 and also participated in the customary walkabout in a show of solidarity and to raise awareness to the plight on cancer.

 Corporate Communications Manager Rasidah Mion receives the Certificate of Appreciation for the University’s sponsorship from the Penang Chief Minister.

Corporate Communications Manager Rasidah Mion receives the Certificate of Appreciation for the University’s sponsorship from the Penang Chief Minister.

A team of 30, comprising staff and family members along with the students holding the University banner, braved the rain while a few held umbrellas as they walked the track at the Athletics Stadium, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), today.

 The University’s students, staff along with family members brave the rain for the walkabout.

The University’s students, staff along with family members brave the rain for the walkabout.

The University has been a longtime, faithful supporter since 2007 of the Relay for Life which is organised by the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) Penang branch and Penang Hospice Society. This year marks the 14th edition of the event.

The statistics on cancer paints a grim picture of the scourge but there was some light shed at the end of tunnel that cancer need not be a “death penalty” during the official opening of the Relay.

 Dr Devaraj welcomes the participants to Relay for Life Penang.

Dr Devaraj welcomes the participants to Relay for Life Penang.

In his speech, NCSM Penang chairman Dato’ Seri Dr T Devaraj welcomed the survivors, a few of whom had come from as far away as Japan and Singapore. He reiterated that this annual event is to celebrate those who have survived cancer and to remember those who lost their lives to the disease.

In his call to the state government, he said he looked forward to better investigation of cancer cases and having access to better treatment for those afflicted. He stressed on early detection and early treatment in the battle against cancer.

 Part of the crowd at the opening ceremony.

Part of the crowd at the opening ceremony.

Meanwhile USM Deputy Vice Chancellor (Student Development Affairs & Alumni) Prof Dato’ Dr Adnan Hussein quoted WHO global statistics that there were 14.1 million new cases in 2012 and this is expected to rise to 24 million new cases in 2035, but highlighted that cancer is not a death penalty.

 “The risk of getting cancer according to the Malaysian National Cancer Registry is 1 in 10 among males and slightly higher in females at 1 in 9,” he said, adding that the 5 most common cancers in females are breast, colorectal, cervix, ovary and lungs.

 Dr Adnan offers some grim statistics on new cancer cases.

Dr Adnan offers some grim statistics on new cancer cases.

“Cancer is on the rise, leading to the fear that it is a death sentence,” he remarked, clarifying that one-third of cancers is curable if detected early and treated.

Prof Adnan stated that 30-50% of cases are currently preventable through measures like practising healthy living, not smoking, a balanced diet, limiting red meat and food intake, and exercising regularly.

 The Penang Chief Minister cuts the ribbon to kick off the walkabout.

The Penang Chief Minister cuts the ribbon to kick off the walkabout.

The Relay was officially opened by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow who then proceeded to walk with the cancer survivors, before they were joined around the track by the corporate sponsors.

Addressing Penang's future water supply needs

The Ulu Muda Forest Reserve should be gazetted as a Northern Region Water Catchment Area to stop logging activities and sustain water supply to Penang, Kedah and Perlis.

 Registering for the talk on water supply sustainability.

Registering for the talk on water supply sustainability.

This was expressed by the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) and PBA Holdings Bhd Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Jaseni Maidinsa in his public lecture on “Water Supply Sustainability for Penang” at the WOU main campus on October 2nd.  In a captivating two-hour lecture, Jaseni traced the historical, geographical, political and economic factors that contributed towards continuous, efficient, affordable and well-treated water supply to homes and industries in Penang.

 Jaseni shares on PBAPP’s accomplishments and the challenges ahead.

Jaseni shares on PBAPP’s accomplishments and the challenges ahead.

Ulu Muda covers 163, 103 hectares of rainforests and is the key water catchment for three northern states, providing 96% of the water supply in Kedah, 70% in Perlis, and more than 80% of the water supply in Penang. Hence, Jaseni called on the Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister to ban logging in Ulu Muda by gazetting the area as 100% water catchment and not 75% timber production as presently. “Logging in Ulu Muda threatens the lives and livelihoods of the 4.09 million people from Perlis, Kedah and Penang who generate an estimated RM115 billion in GDP contributions to the states.”

 Jaseni calls on the people in Penang not to waste but to appreciate and value the water they get.

Jaseni calls on the people in Penang not to waste but to appreciate and value the water they get.

He explained that Penang is the only state that experiences “no water rationing” and its guarantee of the cheapest, 24/7, 365 days of water supply has attracted frustrated industry players from other states and Singapore to move to Penang. “We have the highest water treatment reserve margin of 34.8%, as compared to the national average of 13.2%, to take care of peak demands, dry weather demand and non-reserve water (NRW) lost through leakage or theft.”

On the oft-repeated requests of Kedah to be compensated, Jaseni pointed out that it is the federal government that must compensate the Kedah state government for the water resource. “Penang is one of the most industrialised states and contributes a high GDP and income tax to the federal government, since the more economically-well states pay more to the federal coffers,” Jaseni reasoned.

 Dr Kam Suan Pheng (front row, seated left) of Penang Forum poses a question.

Dr Kam Suan Pheng (front row, seated left) of Penang Forum poses a question.

He also mentioned the challenge of high per capita domestic consumption in Penang which has increased by 8.2% from 1999 to 2017. “The projected water consumption for Penang is going to double from 826 million litres per day (MLD) in 2017 to 1884 million litres per day in 2050,” he warned. Among the steps taken by PBAPP are the water demand management surcharge to encourage people to use less water and the mandatory installation of water saving devices (WSDs) in all new buildings from 2017.

He said another challenge to Penang’s water supply is relying on only one primary raw water resource, Sungai Muda, with its quality and quantity threatened by logging in Ulu Muda. “Our problem is we are too reliant on Sungai Muda. If anything happens to Kedah, we are in trouble,” Jaseni remarked.

 Jaseni stresses on the need to make the water from Sungai Muda safe.

Jaseni stresses on the need to make the water from Sungai Muda safe.

He said one of PBAPP’s strategies is to identify an additional source of raw water, namely Sungai Perak.  He stated that Singapore’s strategy meanwhile is to spend on water recycling, rainfall harvesting and desalination which cost millions. “Penang’s water demand is projected to reach 1884 MLD by 2050.  More than 80% of Penang’s raw water is abstracted from Sungai Muda daily.”

He said projections indicate that Sungai Muda may reliably meet Kedah and Penang’s combined raw water needs only up to 2025, or earlier if threatened by logging and dry weather. He said the Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme, if implemented by the federal government, can supply the raw water needs of North Perak and Penang until year 2050 since it can provide 1,300 million litres per day.

 Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents a token of appreciation to the speaker.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents a token of appreciation to the speaker.

More than 120 people attended, including representatives from local authorities, PBAPP, government agencies and NGOs. The talk was organised by the School of Humanities & Social Sciences and sponsored by WOU’s Institute for Research and Innovation (IRI).

 Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Outreach) and Chairman of IRI, introducing the speaker at the start of the event.

Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Outreach) and Chairman of IRI, introducing the speaker at the start of the event.

Thinking safety and health at WOU

Free basic health screening, free book giveaways and free herb plants were among the highlights at the half-day exhibition held at the main campus today in conjunction with WOU’s safety, security and health campaign.

 Checking out the free books being given away.

Checking out the free books being given away.

Nine exhibitors participated in this annual event. They were Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre, General Services & Administration (GSA) Department, WOU Library, Essential Atlas, Road Safety Department, State Health Department, Northeast District Health Office, National Cancer Society of Malaysia Penang branch, and the Consumers Association of Penang.

 Safety helmets and vests for road safety.

Safety helmets and vests for road safety.

GSA staff gave out 100 bags of Oregano (Mountain Mint) and Misai Kucing (Cats Whiskers) on a first-come-first-serve basis while the Specialists Centre offered free basic health screening, including blood pressure measurement.  Many people signed up at the Essential Atlas booth to take up their offer of free kayaking sessions during the weekends.

 Herb plants courtesy of the General Services and Administration Department.

Herb plants courtesy of the General Services and Administration Department.

Hundreds of books, both fiction and non-fiction, disappeared quickly as staff and students grabbed books on various topics for their studies and for recreational reading.

This exhibition was the culmination of the safety, security and health campaign which had kicked off on September 19th with a briefing session for WOU’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) members. It served to refresh their knowledge and skills on proper ERT measures.

 Ooi Ching Hong of ITS gets his blood pressure measured as other University staff wait their turn.

Ooi Ching Hong of ITS gets his blood pressure measured as other University staff wait their turn.

WOU Safety and Security Committee chairman Andrew Joseph briefed them on the safety measures, namely the emergency escape plans for the Albukhary Building and Homestead, emergency assembly area and the various types of emergency. There was also a site familiarisation visit on the fire-fighting equipment system and the emergency exits.

The fire fighting system in place at WOU encompasses the fire extinguisher, hose reel, sprinkler system, fire break glass, fire alarm, smoke detector, fire rated door, fire intercom system and the fire hydrant.

 Signing up for free kayaking sessions.

Signing up for free kayaking sessions.

The Safety and Security Committee also conducted a university-wide fire drill on September 20th to test its evacuation plan, with the ERT members called upon to perform their role of escorting staff, students and tenants out, and doing the roll call.