Amazing race ala WOU!

Forty students from four institutions of higher learning participated in the inaugural WOUmazing Race held at the main campus today.

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The institutions were WOU; Stradford International College, Prai; InfoGenius Skills Training Centre, Gelugor; and Institut Wawasan, Kulim. Each institution was represented by two teams with 5 members per team.

The students warmed-up with a zumba workout led by Penang Regional Centre (PGRC) marketing & admissions officer Robin Cheah Kai Yang before teaming up for the games.

Students gather in the field before the start of the event.

Students gather in the field before the start of the event.

The participants sportingly challenged each other in four station games, with 10 minutes allotted per station.  The games needed speed, precision, memory and teamwork as marks were accorded for completion of the different activities and tasks.

Blindfolded student, navigating the maze of cups, guided by her team members.

Blindfolded student, navigating the maze of cups, guided by her team members.

In the Mind Your Mines game, one member, blindfolded, must navigate between overturned paper cups to collect the labelled cups in the maze, guided by his/her team members.  The Tower of Breath game required participants to blow balloons placed inside cups to carry and build a 4-storey tower (10 cups), without using their hands.

Using a blown up balloon to build a tower of paper cups.

Using a blown up balloon to build a tower of paper cups.

As for Find Your Pearls, participants were asked to remember a sequence flashed to them for 5 seconds, and then to arrange cards according to the sequence, and also answer a mathematics question.

A Wet Kangaroo saw participants get into a sack, hop to collect balloons filled with water using their mouths, and bring them back to the starting point. The team must collect as many balloons as possible.

Hop to the table in a gunny sack and pick up water-filled balloons with one’s mouth.

Hop to the table in a gunny sack and pick up water-filled balloons with one’s mouth.

Info Genius Team A emerged as champions and they were presented with 5 entry tickets to The Top Komtar by PGRC director Ching Huey Ling. The all-girl Emcee Stradfordian team came in as runner-up and received 5 entry tickets to Entopia for their effort, and in third place was WOU Team B who won 5 entry tickets to Magic World Phantamania.

Thumbs up to the runners-up from Stradford. At right is PGRC director Ching Huey Ling.

Thumbs up to the runners-up from Stradford. At right is PGRC director Ching Huey Ling.

The event was organised by PGRC together with the Full-time Student Council committee members.

The students had a fun time, after which they munched and quenched their thirst, thanks to the food trucks and stalls selling a variety of Western dishes, Indian foods, laksa, cendol, kuih, ice cream and drinks.

The participants pose in front the majestic campus building with the organsing committee and helpers.

The participants pose in front the majestic campus building with the organsing committee and helpers.

WOU offers rebates worth over RM5m to 27 schools

WOU, in line with its corporate social responsibility, is offering a sponsorship worth over RM5 million to the teachers and students of 27 secondary schools in Penang.

Happy teachers! Every participant received 3 vouchers, with each entitling them or their fellow teachers and students to a 30% rebate on total tuition fees at WOU.

Happy teachers! Every participant received 3 vouchers, with each entitling them or their fellow teachers and students to a 30% rebate on total tuition fees at WOU.

All 200 teachers attending the state-level “Form Six Teachers Action Plan Colloquium” hosted by WOU at the main campus today were each presented with three discount vouchers. Each discount voucher entitles the teachers or students of participating schools to a 30% rebate on total tuition fees when they register for any full-time or part-time study programmes at WOU.

Penang State Education (JPN) Deputy Director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad, in an interview, thanked WOU for its support in hosting the event. He also expressed his appreciation for the rebate vouchers from the University that spells huge benefits to the teachers and school kids. “Education is a lifelong learning process, a never ending story. When the kids go for higher learning, they must go for something higher than the first degree nowadays,” he remarked, adding that he himself has a Master’s degree.

Abdul Rashid thanks WOU for helping teachers and students to pursue higher learning.

Abdul Rashid thanks WOU for helping teachers and students to pursue higher learning.

He continued, “So when WOU can chip in with this kind of 30% rebate commitment, I do really appreciate it.  Wawasan is doing its part with this social contribution for the school, for the kids, and we are really grateful for that.

“So hopefully, I would like to see more cooperation between JPN and Wawasan Open University. We really welcome you all to come into the school to promote your products. You can come in to highlight what kind of study programmes you are offering, especially when we have this sort of event or exhibition. Finally, thanks a lot to Wawasan!”

Abdul Rashid (centre) with WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas.

Abdul Rashid (centre) with WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas.

The 27 participating schools are from the five districts in Penang, namely Northeast (11), Southwest (2), Seberang Perai Utara (6), Seberang Perai Tengah (4) and Seberang Perai Selatan (4).

In his speech when officiating at the colloquium, Abdul Rashid reiterated his heartfelt appreciation for WOU’s commitment, adding that the main campus affords a pleasant study environment with its classic building and beautiful architecture.

Form Six teachers must prepare students for University, says Abdul Rashid.

Form Six teachers must prepare students for University, says Abdul Rashid.

He called on the teachers in Form Six to play the role of “mini lecturers” in the way they engage and communicate with the students, instead of being only focused on completing the syllabus, so that the students are ready, mentally, for university.

WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, in her welcoming remarks, stated that the University offers full scholarships to students with excellent STPM results and needy students.

Prof Zoraini briefs the teachers on Wawasan Open University.

Prof Zoraini briefs the teachers on Wawasan Open University.

The Dean of the School of Education, Languages and Communications, Prof Balakrishnan Muniandy, shared about WOU’s educational programmes, such as the bachelor’s degree in the fields of primary education and English Studies, and the Master of Education.

Prof Balakrishnan highlights the educational programmes at WOU.

Prof Balakrishnan highlights the educational programmes at WOU.

Full-time students hold Chinese New Year barbeque celebration

The WOU full-time students had a simple barbeque dinner that afforded them a nice break from studies and the opportunity to relax and get better acquainted over games and good food

Student Activities Coordinator Khoo Geok Ling (foreground, right) helping the students with the barbeque.

Student Activities Coordinator Khoo Geok Ling (foreground, right) helping the students with the barbeque.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, in welcoming the students to the event at the main campus today, advised them to use their time at WOU to make friends and build relationships.

Prof Zoraini encourages the students to make lots of friends while in University.

Prof Zoraini encourages the students to make lots of friends while in University.

Over 40 people turned up, mainly full-time students along with a few lecturers, including School of Business & Administration (SBA) Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam and School of Humanities & Social Sciences Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel.

The icebreaking game requires getting to know their team members.

The icebreaking game requires getting to know their team members.

The icebreaking activity kicked off the informal part of the evening. Four teams participated with 7 members each - six students and one staff – and they were tasked to learn each of their team members’ name, programme and hobby.  A participant caught holding the ball being passed around within each group when the music stopped wasthen called to introduce his/her team members to the others.

Holding the ball while introducing his team members to everyone present.

Holding the ball while introducing his team members to everyone present.

Another activity, the ‘Shake Shake Shake’ game involved 3 pairs of students given a set of bottles with marbles filled inside one bottle for each round. Students had to flip the bottle over using their hands and transfer all the marbles to the other bottle. The winning duo for each of the three rounds of the game received angpows from Prakash.

‘Shake, Shake, Shake!’ the marbles into the bottom bottle.

‘Shake, Shake, Shake!’ the marbles into the bottom bottle.

The students and staff feasted on barbecued chicken satay, chicken wings, corn on the cob, egg plants, sweet potatoes, chicken ham with enoki mushrooms, and fried meehoon which they washed down with orange juice.

(Seated front, from right) Khoo, Jasmine, Prof Zoraini and Prakash pose with the students.

(Seated front, from right) Khoo, Jasmine, Prof Zoraini and Prakash pose with the students.

The event was organised by a group of seven full-time students from the various programmes, under the supervision of the Course Coordinator/Student Activities Coordinator Christine Khoo Geok Lin

Calling for more R&D support for SMEs

Universities are urged to work more closely with industries to spawn research and development (R&D) that can lead to the creation of innovative products to benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The government should also offer more support through grants and financial incentives to promote innovation for a newer generation of technology and products.

Assoc Prof Dr Nualnoi Treerat (3rd from right), Director of the Institute of Asian Studies, CU, and Prakash Arumugam (right) of WOU pose with the speakers and moderator.

Assoc Prof Dr Nualnoi Treerat (3rd from right), Director of the Institute of Asian Studies, CU, and Prakash Arumugam (right) of WOU pose with the speakers and moderator.

These were highlighted by the speakers of the roundtable on “Technological Challenges and Future Opportunities for SMEs in Southeast Asian Region” jointly organised by WOU and Chulalongkorn University (CU) at the WOU main campus today.

The panel speakers were Chief Transformation Officer Dr Supot Tiarawut and Director of Innovation Dr Ronnakorn Vaiyavuth of CU, along with Assoc Prof Dr Shankar Chelliah, School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, and Kalai Selvan Subramaniam, co-Founder and CEO of Infinecs Systems Sdn Bhd.

Event moderator Prof David Ngo, Adjunct Professor at Sunway University, introduces the speakers to the audience.

Event moderator Prof David Ngo, Adjunct Professor at Sunway University, introduces the speakers to the audience.

Dr Supot said, “There is no significant technology transfer from themultinational companies to the local companies, neither is there R&D between industries and university, with most R&D confined within the corporate entity.”

He stated that the obstacles to innovation by SMEs in Thailand include a lack of incentives, obsolete regulations to accommodate start-ups, lack of resources, and not much R&D support from the government. “Even the big corporates do little R&D and rather shop around the world for technology instead of supporting the University to build home-grown technology.The Government should put more incentives to promote R&D.”

Dr Supot (2nd from right) highlights the obstacles to SMEs in Thailand.

Dr Supot (2nd from right) highlights the obstacles to SMEs in Thailand.

Dr Ronnakorn remarked that the governments of each country should allow SMEs easy access to new technology from open source and for close industry-university partnership to create innovative products for commercialisation.

Meanwhile Dr Shankar said that SMEs in Malaysia emerged as suppliers when the multinational corporations set up operations around the 1970s and due to the abundance of local natural resources. He said the Malaysian SMEs lack capital unlike Korea where there is funding support from conglomerates, government and crowdfunding. “So that’s why Samsung, Hyundai, which were SMEs in the past, have now become global players.”

Dr Shankar (centre) traces the history of small and medium-sized enterprises in malaysia.

Dr Shankar (centre) traces the history of small and medium-sized enterprises in malaysia.

He said Korea is now a leading innovator because of the revamp of their education curriculum 20 years ago, stressing on science and mathematics which are fundamentals to technology. He also declared that Malaysian university students should undertake applied research to help solve the problems faced by the community and industry, especially SMEs.

He added, “In developed countries, industries have incubators in the laboratories of universities and work together with students on applied problems, and from there they are able to commercialise the innovation.” He called on universities in Penang to build good working relationships with industry to produce and commercialise innovative products for SMEs.

Kalai Selvan informed that industries like electronics and telecommunications are dominated by MNCs and GLCs, citing barriers for SMEs in Malaysia as the lack of capital and government support, and outdated government policies that support capital expenditure rather than promote knowledge workers.

(From left) Dr Ronnakorn, Kalai Selvan, Dr Shankar, Dr Supot and Prof Ngo.

(From left) Dr Ronnakorn, Kalai Selvan, Dr Shankar, Dr Supot and Prof Ngo.

He said Malaysian universities must change their KPIs from the focus of creating employees to creating R&D which can lead to value start-ups, adding that in US, Finland, Sweden, Korea and Taiwan, most start-ups come up from the Universities.  “One thing glaring in Malaysia is there is no strong connection between universities and industries. In US, most of the lecturers are scientists or engineers working in MNCs. They know what is needed in industry and so lead the research in the universities.”

He also called on the government think tanks, Ministries, and GLCs to open up procurement to help develop the local SMEs.

Prakash arumugam, Acting dean of wou’s school of business & administration, presenting a token of appreciation to kalai selvan.

Prakash arumugam, Acting dean of wou’s school of business & administration, presenting a token of appreciation to kalai selvan.

The roundtable was attended by about 50 people, including WOU School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam.

WOU lunar New Year celebration inspires fun and caring spirit

The WOU Chinese New Year celebration rose to new heights this year with a hilarious sketch and by incorporating a caring element.

For WOU Vice Chancellor Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye and Dato’ Sharom Ahmat (3rd and 4th from right) at the luncheon.

For WOU Vice Chancellor Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye and Dato’ Sharom Ahmat (3rd and 4th from right) at the luncheon.

Guests were offered huat kuih as door gifts and longan tong sui as starters as they sat back to enjoy the entertainment. The event at the main campus today kicked off with three Mandarin songs rendered by a group from Pusat Kesenian Muzik Micico Pulau Pinang.

Everyone given huat kuih as door gift

Everyone given huat kuih as door gift

The crowd were howling with laughter as they viewed a 7-minute in-house video production ‘I Like Lau Juak’ which translates ‘I Like to be Merry’.  Kudos to the team led by QA & Government Relations Director Dr Andy Liew and Public & Student Relations and Publishing (PSR) Director Grace Law for this hilarious production which took 3 hours to produce.

The video, already uploaded to WOU Facebook, offered a satirical look into the contemporary culture of ‘expecting angpow’ during Chinese New Year open houses and of single ladies throwing oranges inscribed with names/telephone numbers to find future spouses.

Grace Lau and Dr Andy Liew… the talents behind the in-house video production.

Grace Lau and Dr Andy Liew… the talents behind the in-house video production.

In his welcoming address, WOU Board of Governors (BoG) chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh  Tsu Koon lauded the production, which also featured the PSR team of Sharon Alice Wiessy, Rasidah Mion, Sharmilah Velaichamy and Rizal Omardin, along with Irmadura Ramli (School of Humanities & Social Sciences), Robin Cheah (Penang Regional Centre) and Magic Khaw  (Instructional Design for Engaging Experiences).

WOU will continue to hold in-house celebrations for the major festivals, says Dr Koh.

WOU will continue to hold in-house celebrations for the major festivals, says Dr Koh.

Dr Koh assured that the University will continue to celebrate all the major festivals, and suggested holding an orange throwing competition since WOU is the only University by the beach.

He said the lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, spells new beginnings and new hope, and looked forward to WOU introducing new programmes and to perform well this year.

The home-made jelly cut by (from right) Mr Yeong, Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and Dr Koh.

The home-made jelly cut by (from right) Mr Yeong, Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and Dr Koh.

The celebration also saw the cutting of a flower crafted jelly by Dr Koh, WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong. The jelly made by Grace Lau incorporated five fishes in the design to denote abundance in relation to health, happiness, relationship, prosperity and career.

Tan Sri Dr Koh and Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng (right) light the firecrackers.

Tan Sri Dr Koh and Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng (right) light the firecrackers.

Then followed the traditional tossing of the yee sang followed by lunch. There was also a lighting of firecrackers by Dr Koh and BoG member Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng, with the celebration culminating with the traditional lion dance to usher blessings.

Tan Sri Dr Koh offers oranges to the ‘lion’.

Tan Sri Dr Koh offers oranges to the ‘lion’.

During the event, a donation box was placed at the entrance to invite collections in aid of Assistant Library Supervisor, Zubaydah Zamri, who is away on unpaid leave to take care of her 21-month-old son, Muhammad Muhaimin Abddulah. Her son is suffering from neuroblastoma, a type of cancer, and he has been admitted to Penang Hospital since January 18th.  A big thank you to everyone as about RM5,000 was collected!

Grace Lau (centre) receives donation from the staff of Heng Lee Group.

Grace Lau (centre) receives donation from the staff of Heng Lee Group.

Welcoming February 2019 full-time students

More than 60 students enrolled for full-time study at WOU during the February 2019 intake, taking advantage of the 50% study grant offered for their 3-year degree programme.

The new students pose with their Academic Advisors and staff of Penang Regional Centre.

The new students pose with their Academic Advisors and staff of Penang Regional Centre.

The highest number of students enrolled in the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management (BMMG) programme followed by the Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons) programme. Other popular choices were the fields of Accounting, Computer Systems & Networks, Psychology, Management with Psychology, and Logistics & Supply Chain Management.

Part of the new students at the Orientation.

Part of the new students at the Orientation.

The orientation held at the main campus today witnessed freshman Raveenesh Chandran, 23, from BBMG, leading in the oath-taking ceremony.

Raveenesh stands tall as he leads the new students in the oath-taking ceremony.

Raveenesh stands tall as he leads the new students in the oath-taking ceremony.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, in her welcome speech, spoke about the importance of the 3Cs, “communicate, collaborate and creative”. 

She added that in today’s world, being able to communicate well is one of the traits of successful people. “You should also be able to present your ideas and collaborate on projects and activities. Be creative as people with creative ideas will succeed.” She encouraged them to be grateful for the opportunity to study and to respect another person’s opinion, time and culture.

Prof Zoraini stresses on the importance of having good communication skills.

Prof Zoraini stresses on the importance of having good communication skills.

Next, Penang Regional Centre director Ching Huey Ling introduced the academic advisors to the students, followed by the presentation of the Dean’s List award by Prof Zoraini. There was a total of 18 recipients of the award for achieving excellent academic results for the May 2018 semester.

Prof Zoraini (centre) and Ching (4th from left) giving the thumbs up to the Dean’s List recipients.

Prof Zoraini (centre) and Ching (4th from left) giving the thumbs up to the Dean’s List recipients.

The orientation also briefed the students on academic matters, IT services, WOU’s learning management system, Wawasan-i, and on the library facilities

 

New students share their dreams and aspirations

Four new students from the February 2019 intake share their story:

* Nicholas Rajoo, 21, from George Town, enrolled in Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons). He holds a Certificate in Mechatronics from the Northern Skills Development Centre (NSDC), Gelugor.

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He often sees information about WOU on flyers, the media, and online.  He also personally heard about WOU from two University staff, a former school mate and a close relative, as well as from a family friend.

“I have always liked engineering since my school days and want to study further, especially software engineering. Many people and industries are using a lot of Internet these days and so I felt it was good to learn computer skills for my career advancement.

“My ambition is to become a software engineer because I love to create things online, and do illustrations and computer programming. I studied engineering in Form Four and took up mechatronics at NSDC.  As computers are becoming more and more advanced, I am challenged to enhance my knowledge even further. “

Nicholas grew up with a single mum - his dad passed away – and she works as a kindergarten teacher.  He has a younger sister still in secondary school.

* Ng Jun Hong, 22, from Bukit Mertajam, enrolled in Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons). He holds a Diploma in Science (Business Information Systems) from Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC), Tanjung Bungah.

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“A college friend told me about WOU, declaring that a few students from TAR UC plan to come here to study engineering, and that he himself was also thinking about it.  So I also came to PGRC to inquire.

“I decided on WOU because it has a February intake, and I can start my studies fast without having to wait a few months until May or June. Another thing is the fees. I chose BSEG because my elder brother, who is working as a computer programmer, suggested I consider this option. Moreover, I had studied IT in my diploma programme.”

Ng’s mum worked as a cashier and has since retired and he has an elder brother. His father passed away when he was 4 years old.

*Nurathirah Mohamed Harun, 20, from Taman Bukit Gambir, Gelugor, enrolled in Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology.

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“I googled the universities in Malaysia and discovered that Wawasan is offering a full-time psychology programme. I chose WOU since it was the nearest to my house because I stay in Penang, making it easier for my parents.

“I also looked through Facebook and saw a lot of positive feedback from students, such as on the environment here, and so that attracted me. When I came to inquire, I liked what I saw, the greenery, the seafront view, and so on.  

“I have been interested in psychology since Form Four because I like to learn about human behaviour, how the brain works, and what makes people act in a certain way.”  

The second of four kids, Nurathirah’s mother is a full-time homemaker and her father works in a contracting firm. She hopes to work as a counsellor or psychiatric assistant and move up higher in the field of psychology.

*Priyasheena Munusamy, 24, from Bayan Lepas, enrolled in Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology.

She had worked in ground operations with Air Asia for a few years and after that, as a cabin crew with Malindo Airlines until last December.  She enrolled at WOU through APEL using her Form Five qualifications and work experience.

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“My dad told me about this University as one of our relatives is actually taking her psychology degree here, part-time. She informed my dad who in turn advised me to come here and have a chat with the Regional Centre staff. We thought why not join here as WOU has all these financial benefits for the students, and is also very welcoming for us who have worked for several years.

“My jobs in the past have been related to dealing with lots of people and all sorts of customers, probably this is what drew me to enrol in psychology. I also browsed through the courses before registering. I want to try a lot of things and hope to pursue any career that involves dealing with people.”

Priyasheena’s father works as a project manager in the manufacturing industry in Bayan Lepas and her mum is a full-time homemaker. She has a younger brother.

WOU hosts delegation from Bodhisastra University

Wawasan Open University hosted the visit of a 33-member delegation from various faculties of Bodhisastra University, Thailand, to the main campus today to foster closer understanding and relationship between the two institutions.

Dr Sak Prasandee (2nd row centre, with glasses) standing beside Dr Changyong Rhee, the speaker of the public talk from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Dr Sak Prasandee (2nd row centre, with glasses) standing beside Dr Changyong Rhee, the speaker of the public talk from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The delegation was led by Prof Dr Sak Prasandee, the Chief Executive Officer and Rector of the University, who was accompanied by Vice Rector, Dr Kanoksak Likitpriwan. They were met on arrival by Corporate Communications (Publishing & Public Relations) manager Rasidah Mion.

Visiting the library facilities at the main campus.

Visiting the library facilities at the main campus.

The visitors attended a public talk at the main campus and interacted with the management and staff of WOU. They were also taken a short campus tour to view the library facilities and enjoy the seafront view from the campus grounds.

Enjoying the seafront breeze and taking snapshots for remembrance.

Enjoying the seafront breeze and taking snapshots for remembrance.

Bodhisastra University, located in the Laksi District of Bangkok, holds graduation ceremonies in small groups every 3 to 6 months, with the last four times in Singapore. However it held its graduation ceremony for the first time in Penang on January 25th at the WOU main campus.

Global economy slowdown in 2019, Asian emerging markets resilient

The global economy is expected to slow down this year after showing signs of robust growth in the last few years, but Asian emerging economies will remain resilient.

Registering for the public talk at the main campus.

Registering for the public talk at the main campus.

This was expressed by Dr Changyong Rhee, Director of Asia and Pacific Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF), during the public talk on “Regional Economic Outlook for Asia” organised by WOU’s George Town Institute of Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS) held at the main campus today.

Dr Rhee shares about the global and regional economic outlook.

Dr Rhee shares about the global and regional economic outlook.

He said the IMF forecasts a slightly weaker global economic growth momentum, and so has revised down the expected global economic growth from last October by 0.2 percentage point to 3.5% for 2019. He noted that investor sentiments in financial markets are deteriorating because of concerns about downside risks.

He elaborated on the key downside risks to the global economic outlook, namely an escalation of US-China trade tension and a further deterioration in risk sentiment amid less policy space for countries to react compared with the 2007 economic crisis.

Highlighting the potential impact of the US-China trade tension escalation.

Highlighting the potential impact of the US-China trade tension escalation.

Dr Rhee added that there are political elements in the US-China trade tension so it is hard to predict how it would evolve. He hoped that the trade tension will not escalate with additional US tariffs on China exports as global economic activity would slow further as it would not only raise direct trade costs but also affect confidence, thus reducing firm’s investment and raise firms’ cost of capital with negative impact on financial markets.

He said although there could be trade diversion with the US buying products from Malaysia and other ASEAN countries, there are no winners as the trade tension escalation will impact the general confidence in the financial market and cause a slowdown in overall economic activity.

Dr Rhee with Tan Sri Andrew Sheng (left) during the Q&A session.

Dr Rhee with Tan Sri Andrew Sheng (left) during the Q&A session.

He noted that China’s growth forecast for 2019 had already been revised downward by 0.2 percentage points to 6.2% last October, partly because of the negative effects of tariff increases enacted in the U.S. and China in early 2018.  He said, while fiscal stimulus packages would help to partially offset some of the impact of the trade tension, this may cause more instability in the medium term given already very high leverage in the system.

Dr Rhee emphasised that there are no winners in the trade war and countries should resolve cooperatively and quickly their trade disagreements and the resulting policy uncertainty, rather than raising harmful barriers further and destabilising an already slowing global economy.

Clarifying that there are no winners in the trade war.

Clarifying that there are no winners in the trade war.

The second downside risk to the global economic outlook, he stated, is tighter global financial conditions despite the slow pace of US monetary policy normalisation.

“Malaysia is actually quite resilient, and so is Thailand, because of the large surplus. If you look at their market fundamentals compared to other advanced economies and emerging markets, the Asian emerging market is in much better shape. I am not worrying about a big crisis in Asia. However we should look at how to improve the market to avoid any potential risks. Asian economies have to fix the roof while the sun is shining.”

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon presents a token of appreciation to Dr Rhee.

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon presents a token of appreciation to Dr Rhee.

He said the third risk is that there is less policy space and resources for many emerging market economies to cope with another slowdown of the global economy compared to 2007, as they had already used their fiscal and monetary resources and dropped the interest rate significantly in coping with the last global financial crisis.

“That is why we ask policy leaders to be reasonable and to resolve this issue in a more harmonious way,” Dr Rhee concluded.


Thai Consul-General General Mr Raschada Jiwalai (2nd from right) chats with Dr Rhee and the other VIPs before the talk.

Thai Consul-General General Mr Raschada Jiwalai (2nd from right) chats with Dr Rhee and the other VIPs before the talk.

Among the over 200 attendees were Thai Consul-General in Penang, Mr Raschada Jiwalai, a 33-member delegation from Bodhisastra University, Thailand, and GIOAS International Advisory Board Chairman Tan Sri Andrew Sheng

WOU collaboration with Chulalongkorn University

WOU hosted a delegation from the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, today to establish and strengthen academic collaboration between the two institutions.

Meeting between the visitors and WOU top management in progress.

Meeting between the visitors and WOU top management in progress.

The visit to the main campus was led by the Director of the Institute, Assoc Prof Dr Nualnoi Treerat, while the other two members of the delegation were the Director of Mekong Studies Centre, Mr Ukrist Pathmanand, and a Researcher of the centre, Dr Mukda Pratheepwatanawong.

From left: Dr Nualnoi, Mr Ukrist and Dr Mukda.

From left: Dr Nualnoi, Mr Ukrist and Dr Mukda.

The delegation held a meeting with WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Outreach) Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam, Director of QA & Government Relations Dr Andy Liew, and Director of Public & Student Relations Grace Lau.


They discussed potential collaboration initiatives, namely the planned one-day joint Regional Symposium on “Connectivity, Mobility and Regional Integration in ASEAN” at the main campus on February 15th and possible joint research topics in the future.

(From left) Prakash, Dr Mukda, Prof David Ngo, Dr Nualnoi, Prof Zoraini, Ukrist and Grace Lau.

(From left) Prakash, Dr Mukda, Prof David Ngo, Dr Nualnoi, Prof Zoraini, Ukrist and Grace Lau.

The objective of the regional symposium is to discuss current issues including economic development, foreign direct investment, business management, industrial relations, labour mobility, tourism, international relations, logistics and infrastructure, digital economy, language, cultural diversity, and education in the ASEAN countries. It will also have a roundtable session on “Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Age of Digital Transformation”.

Welcome aboard January 2019 freshmen!

Some 500 students took advantage of the higher learning opportunity offered by WOU and enrolled for part-time, open distance learning (ODL) mode of study during the January 2019 intake.

Part of the new students attending orientation at the main campus in Penang.

Part of the new students attending orientation at the main campus in Penang.

The highest number of new students came from the Regional Centre of Kuala Lumpur (KLRC) – which also includes those enrolled by its Bandar Utama and Klang Regional Support Centres - followed closely by Penang (PGRC), and subsequently Johor (JBRC), Kuching (KCRC) and Ipoh (IPRC).

An orientation was organised by the five regional centres simultaneously on January 13th to welcome the new students from across the country.

Presentation of Dean’s List award to a student from the Penang Regional Centre.

Presentation of Dean’s List award to a student from the Penang Regional Centre.

The event also witnessed the presentation of the Dean’s List award, with a total of 119 students named to the list for achieving excellent academic results in the January 2018 semester. The Dean’s List honours went to 55 students from PGRC, 30 from KLRC, 15 from JBRC, 12 from KCRC and 7 from IPRC.

In Ipoh, School of Science & Technology Deputy Dean (Academic) Assoc Prof Dr Lee Chee Leong was on hand to speak on the University’s ODL model and present the Dean’s List award.

Dr Lee shares about the open distance learning mode of study.

Dr Lee shares about the open distance learning mode of study.

Accounts clerk Tiang Jia Hui of Sitiawan, who enrolled in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Accounting, led the freshmen in the oath-taking ceremony. The Dean’s List recipient Eunice Chin Shiao Li, who is in the third year of her Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology programme, inspired everyone with her “Secrets to Balancing Work and Study at WOU” speech.

Tiang leads in oath-taking at the Ipoh Regional Centre.

Tiang leads in oath-taking at the Ipoh Regional Centre.

At the main campus in Penang, 109 students turned up for the orientation, and they were welcomed by PGRC Director Ching Huey Ling and Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas. Prof Zoriani presented the Dean’s List award while School of Business & Administration (SBA) Acting Dean Prakash V Arumugam took to the stage to highlight WOU’s study model.

Prakash elaborates on face-to-face tutorials.

Prakash elaborates on face-to-face tutorials.

Soobavarman Baskaran, who enrolled in the Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Computer Systems and Networks programme, led in the oath-taking.

Soobavarman leads in reciting the students’ pledge in Penang.

Soobavarman leads in reciting the students’ pledge in Penang.

The academics from the main campus who represented the University at the orientation in other three regional centres were School of Education, Languages & Communications Lecturer Sean Ooi Li Hsien (KLRC), School of Humanities & Social Sciences Lecturer Irmadura Ramli (JBRC), and Student Engagement Asst Manager Fauziyah Md Aris (KCRC).