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Health Issue

Obesity

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — Malaysia, known as Asia’s fattest country, recorded an


increase in its obesity rate last year, with the latest statistics showing that the overweight
and the obese make up nearly half the its 30 million populace.

The numbers were revealed yesterday by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam
who said according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey of 2015, obese
Malaysians make up 17.7 per cent of the population while those who are categorised as
overweight make up 30 per cent.

“The obesity prevalence have increased drastically from 4.4 per cent in 1996 to 14 per
cent in 2006.

“Then it increased to 15.1 per cent in 2011 and continued to increase to 17.7 per cent in
2015,” he was quoted saying by Malay-language daily Sinar Harian at a calorie
awareness campaign launch in Seremban.

“The prevalence of adults who are overweight is 30 per cent. If added together, almost
half the population of Malaysia are either overweight or obese,”

He had also said that diabetes was also affecting more people, with statistics showing an
increase from 11.6 per cent of the population affected in 1996 to 17.5 per cent in 2015.

It was also revealed that 47.7 per cent of adults in the country has high cholesterol.

However, the prevalence for hypertension saw a decrease from 32.7 per cent in 2006 to
30.3 per cent in 2015.

“If there is excessive calorie intake, or the calories are not utilised through physical
activity, obesity will occur,” the daily further quoted Subramaniam as saying.

“Therefore, awareness for calorie intake is very important for society to be more careful
with their dietary habits.”

In 2014, a study published by British medical journal The Lancet said Malaysia was rated
the highest in Asia for obesity South Korea, Pakistan and China.

Education Issue
Challenge Facing Education in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Janelle Chuah is a soon-to-be college sophomore
studying biology and pre-medical studies at Waynesburg University in
southwestern Pennsylvania. Despite Chuah’s near perfect English and her visible
ease on campus, she is originally from Malaysia, a country struggling with
complex educational problems.

Chuah is from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. In an interview, Chuah


spoke passionately about her parents’ many sacrifices to keep her and her two
older sisters in better educational programs than the nation’s public schools. She
was fortunate to attend a prestigious Chinese public school for a time, but she
says that her parents soon put her into homeschooling programs to better
prepare her for college abroad.

Chuah’s strong desire to attend college is not the norm in Malaysia. World
Education News & Reviews reports that relatively few students in Malaysia go on
to college after secondary school. The World Bank considers funding for
education in Malaysia to be adequate, but students from this country still do not
do as well on tests as other low-income nations in the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The World Bank claims that poor training for teachers and a highly centralized
educational system contribute to Malaysia’s educational shortcomings. Schools
in Malaysia are limited in their ability to respond to local needs as a result of
centralized education policies that hinders schools’ autonomy.

Chuah’s parents recognized the problems in the Malaysian public educational


system. They enrolled Chuah in an educational center and then an eight-year
cyber school program called K12 that teaches in English. Her tuition was
expensive, and Chuah explained that her parents used their income tax returns
to pay for her to stay in this more advanced program.

Chuah’s father was suddenly out of work just before she graduated from high
school. In order to financially provide for Chuah to stay in her cyber school,
Chuah’s parents began to sell their assets one by one. When the time came for
Chuah to apply for her U.S student visa, her parents sold their family’s house so
that Chuah could meet the financial requirements necessary to obtain the student
visa and study in the U.S.

Although problems exist for education in Malaysia, the government introduced


the Malaysia Education Blueprint in 2013 to begin correcting some of these
issues. The Blueprint recognizes the need for closing social gaps, keeping
children in school until upper secondary school and improving test scores to
begin tackling the problems. The Blueprint suggests many reforms that include
making teacher requirements stricter and promoting creative and leadership skills
within schools.
The Blueprint aspires to produce “access, quality, equity, unity, and efficiency”
within education in Malaysia. These goals are ambitious considering the work the
nation still needs to do in order to achieve them, but the Blueprint’s plan provides
the structure in which these changes can occur.

Chuah’s story of sacrifice and dedication to get a more advanced education


came with extreme consequences for her family. Her story shows just how
difficult it can be for someone in Malaysia to get a quality education that
adequately prepares him or her for further studies. Hopefully, the Blueprint’s
acknowledgment of and plan to solve the problems with education in Malaysia
will improve the system for future students in the nation to succeed.
Science And Technology Issue
Students should not bring mobile phones to
schools

I READ with interest a recent article in a local


paper, quoting Kedah state education,
transportation and works committee chairman
Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain, proposing that basic
function mobile phones are allowed to be used
for students in schools.
The report quotes him saying, with the current security situation and danger lurking
everywhere, the mobile phone would come in handy when a student is in need of help.

It further reported him saying that 50% take along their mobile phones to school, even
though it was against the rule. Thus he requested that the Education Ministry to
reconsider the use of mobile phones in schools.

Can the mobile phone solve the problem of the current security situation and
danger lurking everywhere?

To tackle the security situation and the apparent danger lurking everywhere is the job of
police (PDRM), not students.

He should inform PDRM and the MOE, which spends millions of ringgit providing
security guards to schools, about his worries.

After much deliberation, time, money and resources spent, the ministry has decided not to
allow mobile phones in schools. Do not belittle their decision.
If your argument is to communicate with your children at school by calling or just
texting, I would suggest you have a look at your child’s school timetable.

In most schools, lessons start at 7.30am and ends at 1.30pm, with a 20-minute break in
between.

In order to communicate with them, their mobile hones should always be switched on.
Now imagine 2,000 mobile phones, an average school enrolment in most schools around
Klang Valley, ringing intermittently in classrooms while lessons are in progress. This will
surely be a distraction for students and teachers in the classroom.

As a parent with a school-going kid, I urge the ministry to stick to their decision. I
am not denying in today’s technologically advanced society every modern gadget has
good and bad points.

Thus it requires parental supervision and responsibility to weigh the pros and cons to
make appropriate decisions when it comes to allowing kids to bring mobile phones and
other gadgets to schools.
Most urban schools have payphones in their compound thus pupils can use them, if the
need arises.

Most parents feel safe when the children are at school. They only get worried
when their child is home alone.

Statistics reveal that 62% of parents have taken away the mobile phones from their kids
as a form of punishment.

According to AceComm, 95% of the parents in the US prefer taking control of their kids’
mobile phones rather than schools. Most schools around the globe have banned or limited
the usage of mobile phones. Some schools have even installed metal detectors to stop
students from bringing mobile phones to school.

We should not create unnecessary burden for teachers and schools by allowing students to
bring mobile phones to school.