Monday, 11 March 2019

SO WHAT NOW! MOVE UP THE VALUE CHAIN TO WHAT ???

Electronic assembly plants have provided provided thousands of jobs for ordinary Malaysians since the early 1970s and now in Penang - dubbed as "Silicon Island" are downsizing, retrenching workers and have been having periodic plant shutdowns, according to the secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).

This downsizing and shutdowns are blamed on  a slowdown in global demand for electronic products but that's cold comfort for those workers impacted.

So what are the federal government and Penang state government going to do to help these workers who are so affected?

Provide them with retraining to enable them to move up the skills chain to be employable in higher value-added work?

However, even if they all can successfully upskill themselves, are there enough jobs higher up the skills and value chain for them all?

Report of 11 March 2019 carried by Aliran follows below:-
 




Notices indicate downsizing, shutdowns taking place in electronics sector


The Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has seen notices from a couple of multinational corporations involved in the electronics manufacturing sector announcing personnel downsizing, lower wage increases, lower bonuses and periodic plant shutdowns.


Besides these written announcements that we have seen, we have also received reports that other companies are also planning to implement such measures.

These notices that we have read attribute all this to weak global demand, weaker growth and an uncertain global outlook as the underlying causes for the course of actions that are being undertaken by employers here.


The notices that we have seen and the information that we are receiving seem to indicate that the electronics sector employers are initiating downsizing and shutdowns from the end of March 2019. We believe we have only received a tiny bit of information and feel that the uncertainty of the global market would probably affect most of the major players in the sector.


We therefore believe that the Penang state government ought to call for a meeting with the electronics manufacturers in Penang so that the depth of the problem can be appreciated. Such a meeting would also give the state an insight as to the manufacturers' plan of actions in the face of challenges facing the sector. This meeting should include all stakeholders, including the unions.

On the issue of plant shutdowns, Penang MTUC demands that full wages be paid during such periods as any loss of wages would, inevitably, put tremendous pressure on the economic needs of the workers, especially given current rising cost of living.

K Veeeriah is secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysians Trades Union Congress. 


https://aliran.com/civil-society-voices/notices-indicate-downsizing-shutdowns-taking-place-in-electronics-sector/


Yours trully


IT.Scheiss

http://itsheiss.blogspot.com/


Friday, 8 March 2019

U.S. TRADE DEFICIT IN GOODS EXCEEDS SURPLUS IN SERVICES BY MINUS 621 BILLION USD

In all my 20 or so years of writing about the information and communication technology (ICT) and services industry in Malaysia and worldwide, during which time I heard no end from marketers in the industry and from Malaysian government policy makers and officials influenced by futurist paperback writers and CON-sultants, that Malaysia had to "move up the value chain" away from "sunset" industries such as manufacturing and agriculture to "sunrise" industries such as information and services economy if we are to continue to survive and prosper economically and  join the ranks of the advanced economies. 

I never bought into that crap and over the years I have noticed that as "sunset" industries departed Malaysia for our lower wage neighbours, they experienced an economic sunrise, whilst we experienced a sunset as we moved further towards embracing "sunrise" industries.

Well now analyst and statistics firm Statista comes out with figures which show that the U.S. trade deficit in goods (manufactured) reached a record high of minus US$891.3 billion in 2018 during the period 1990 to 2018, whilst U.S. trade surplus in services grew to US$270.2 billion in 2018 and flat at around that level since 2014, with a nett trade deficit in goods and services of minus US$621 billion.

No wonder Donald Trump won in 2016 based upon promises to address this huge trade deficit, the concerns of the U.S. working class who are suffering as a result, with jingoistic promises to "Make America Great Again".

Such chronic dire economic conditions have often preceded imperialist wars, in order to redivide the world, destroy lives, buildings, industries, infrastructure and so forth, after which there will be fresh demand to rebuild and recreate which gives capitalist economies an opportunity to thrive and profit again in the aftermath, such as during the periods after the first and second world wars. 

If you want to understand why U.S. imperialism under Trump is having trade wars with China, imposing sanctions on Russia, North Korea, Iran,  Venezuela, Cuba and so forth, and forever stirring up conflicts in the Middle East either by proxy or directly, look no further than the chart below, courtesy of Statista and Statista's explanation of the trend below it:-


International Trade

U.S. Trade Deficit in Goods Reaches Record High

by Felix Richter, Mar 7, 2019

Despite all efforts by the Trump administration to reign in the country's trade deficit, the gap between imports to and exports from the United States climbed to a 10-year high in 2018. According to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday, the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services shot up to $621 billion last year, the highest it's been since 2008. The increase was mainly caused by a historically high deficit in goods trade, which amounted to a record $891 billion, of which $419 billion can be traced back to trade with China alone.

While Trump has often stated his disapproval of America's large trade deficit, arguing that the U.S. is on the losing side of world trade, there are several factors playing into the growing deficit, not all of which are bad. First and foremost, the U.S. economy is doing very well at the moment, resulting in strong demand for goods, many of which are manufactured abroad. At the same time, economic growth in China has slowed significantly last year, which reduced demand for American goods in the world's second largest economy. The strong dollar also contributes to the deficit as it makes U.S. goods relatively more expensive to foreign buyers while making imports to the U.S. relatively cheaper. 


Meanwhile, on Page 18, The EDGE Financial Daily of 08 March 2019 reports the same, showing the largest portion of the U.S. trade deficit being U.S.$419.2 billion with China in 2018, followed by U.S.$169.3 billion with the European Union, U.S.$ 26.5 billion with Malaysia, followed by U.S.$21.3 billion with India and so forth:-


So, if Malaysia insists on moving away from agriculture and manufacturing towards a "high income, knowledge-based, information rich" economy by 2020 (oops! postponed to 2024), we'll be in the same predicament as the U.S., whilst our leaders proudly proclaim that we are "up there with the advanced countries".

After all, the services sector contributed 68.88% towards Greece's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. so Malaysian ministers and economic planners may want to visit Greece to learn how that country had managed to achieve such a thriving services economy to become of the richest and one of the most affluent countries in Europe, with one of the highest standards of living in the world and an excellent example for Malaysia to emulate and strive towards becoming by downplaying the "sunset" industries in favour of "sunrise" industries.



Welcome to the information and services economy!

Yours truly


IT.Scheiss

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

THERE'S MORE TO THE DIGITAL DIVIDE THAN BROADBAND ACCESS, DATUK SERI !

In principle, I agree with Port Dickson member of parliament and "prime minister in-waiting" , Y.B. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the need for Malaysia to do more to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural Internet users, the need to learn from the experiences in India and China to expand access to information and communications technology to a wider community, rather than look towards the experience of cities in the affluent advanced countries. Also, the need to prioritise the welfare of humanity over technological advancement which was taking place at lightning speed, as per reported in The Star of 5 March 2019 below.

Malaysia has already made commendable progress in making Internet access available to Malaysians, either via fixed fibre and ADSL broadband, and mostly via cellular mobile broadband and recent efforts to make broadband access more affordable by our Communications and Multimedia Minister, Y.B. Gobind Singh Deo.

However, there is much more to Internet access and affordability. A more important question more relevant to what Datuk seri Anwar wants is what are users using their broadband Internet access for and how many are using it for useful and productive purposes. Well, we shall know further down.

According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission's (MCMC's) Internet Users Survey 2018 report, Malaysia's Internet penetration in 2018 stood at 87.4%, up 10.5% percentage points from 76.9%  in  2016. Over the same period, the number of Internet users in Malaysia stood at around 28.7  million in 2018, up from 24.5 million in 2016.

"The upsurge in the number of Internet users in the country was mainly driven by the growth in mobile broadband  segment,  with  wider access  to 3G  and  4G/LTE network  coverage,  improved  network quality,  as  well  as  innovative  and  competitive  new  data  plans  and  promotions  by  mobile  service providers.  Furthermore,  there  was  similar  observation  across  the  globe,  where  the  International Telecommunication Union (ITU) cited that swift advancement of mobile network and mobile devices capabilities has contributed to a more effective Internet access".

However, there remains an issue with the 12.6% who still are non-Internet users, especially the age profile, as per Figure 1 from the MCMC's report below:-

(If you cannot view the image below, please enable 'view images' in your e-mail client)


You can also view and download the MCMC's report in full via the link below.


So Malaysia's Internet penetration is already pretty commendable and thanks must go to the late Tun Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, Minister of Energy, Water and Communications from 27 March 2004 to 18 March 2008, his successors Dato' Seri Shaziman Abu Mansor (18 March 2008 – 9 April 2009) and Tan Sri Dato' Sri Peter Chin Fah Kui (10 April 2009 – 15 May 2013), who during their respective tenures in the portfolio, helped to drive Malaysia's broadband penetration to 53% in October 2010, exceeding Malaysia's goal of 50% by the end of 2010.
Figure 5 of the MCMC's report (not included here) shows that 93.1% of users access the Internet on their smartphones and from my own experience, I know even wealthy urban people younger that myself (I'm almost 65), who know how to access social media on their smartphones backwards but do not even know how to check e-mail on their PC, do a simple Google search or write a simple letter even if their lives depended on it, let alone use e-government services such as even to download and print out a form, to file their tax returns online, do Internet banking or participate in e-commerce.

Some of these more involved online activities need more than a smartphone to perform comfortably and 44.2% of users access the Internet on netbook, notebook or laptop PCs, whilst 28.1% do so on a desktop PC.

I'm proud to say that I'm amongst the 28.1% who mostly access the Internet on a desktop PC, despite me having an Android smartphone an Apple iPad, two working notebook PCs and eight working desktop PCs, including two which I use daily, whilst the rest I use to playing around and experiment. All my notebook and desktop PCs run Linux and I'm writing this on an around 10 year old refurbished, used desktop PC running Linux.

Some, especially marketing and ICT media types, may say that I'm running a "dinosaur". Well I'll continue to use this "dinosaur" until it breaks down, rather than fall for the consumer IT industry marketing and advertising hype and spend my hard earned money running like a hamster on a treadmill after the "latest" and "greatest" version of technology which is released minor incremental improvements about every three months, or as frequently as my neighbourhood stray cats gives birth to a litters of kittens.


Figure 6 of the MCMC's report says it all, with 16.9% of Internet activity being to sell goods and services online - i.e. e-commerce, whilst a mere 9.6% of Internet activity is to maintain blogs and home pages.



Ouch! I did not realise that I'm so "old fashioned" and am amongst the tiny 6.9% who still blog for personal commentaries and have maintained web pages in line of work. 

Check out my three most active blogs below:-




I'm pretty sure that from my blogs above, Y.B. Gobind Singh will know the real identity of this rascal IT.Scheiss

If you Right Honourable still can't figure out my real identity, here's another of my blogs (long dormant) which might help.


And yes, I'm also amongst the 61.9% who access the Internet for work.

According to the MCMC's report:-

"As much as 96.5% used Internet for texting via over-the-top (OTT) messaging platform, while the use of Internet telephony (whether by voice or videocalls) was on the rise, reaching up to 60.6% as compared to 32.0% in 2016. Apart from texting and Internet telephony, social networking was also common amongst Internet users (85.6%)"

Now "texting via over-the-top (OTT) messaging platform" means messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and to a lesser extent WeChat (in Malaysia), mostly accessed on smartphones and I've found that even people who have PCs and are savvy with using productivity applications such as word processing, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, e-mail and web browser on PCs, however become rather limited in their ability or are too lazy to search for information to verify the authenticity of messages or news forwarded to them via an OTT messaging app, so instead believe even fake news forwarded to them virally, which they blindly forward to others without much thought.

Quite frankly, a smartphone screen, however big, is still a limited space which discourages opening of several browser windows and applications to perform more involved searches on, unlike a the 1920 x 1080 pixels flatscreen displays used with PCs. I too find my smartphone screen rather limiting in what I can do on it, which is why I much prefer to use a PC, including for WhatsApp messaging in a web browser through WhatsApp Web

So Datuk Seri Anwar and Y.B. Gobind Singh, if you want more Malaysians, especially the lower income group to be able to use the Internet for more productive applications such as to market their products online, apply for jobs and so forth, you'll have to do much more than provide them with more extensive and affordable broadband access.

For starters, you'll have to get more people accustomed with using PCs, whether desktops or notebooks (and preferably running Linux to save on software costs), and teach them how to search the Internet for information, conduct e-commerce, do Internet banking, set up blogs, websites or Facebook pages to promote their products, use e-mail, WhatsApp Web and so forth.

Anyway. entry-level notebook and desktop PCs are about the price of a mid-range smartphone, with new branded notebook prices ranging from around RM850 to around RM1,100, whilst new branded desktop PCs are going for between RM1,100 to RM1.400.

Whilst I would not recommend second hand notebook PCs, however refurbished, used branded desktop PC sets and be bought for around RM500 or less, inclusive of PC, monitor, keyboard and mouse from used PC retailers. The PC I'm using to write this on is a refurbished, used Dell Optiplex 755 Small Form Factor with a Core2Duo processor which I bought for around RM350 (without monitor) some years back and which costs around RM280 today.

Most of these used branded PCs are disposed of by banks, corporations and government offices in their fixed asset refresh and having been used in an office environment, they generally still are in a decent condition. All but one of my notebook PCs and one of my desktop PCs were bought brand new, the rest were bought refurbished used.

As part of its initiatives to enable computer use and Internet access amongst rural communities, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has financed Pusat Jalurlebar Komuniti (Community Broadband Centres) out of the MCMC's Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund, such as the Community Broadband Centre in FELDA Chini 1, Pahang, featured in the article below from the MCMC's in-house magazine, .myConvergence back in 2009.






Later volumes of the MCMC's myConvergence magazine can be downloaded from here:-
Perhaps your "more people-friendly", "New Malaysia" government may want to set up more of these Community Broadband Centres, a.k.a. Telecenters in lower income communities in rural as well as lower-income urban neighbourhoods across Malaysia, using refurbished, used PCs (and running Linux hopefully).

Just make sure that these centres are professionally managed and supervised like the one in FELDA Chini 1, so that the facilities in them are used productively for work and study, and not misused to access pornography, for frivolous social media access, to play computer games, engage in online gambling and so forth.

Also, the Ministry of Education should consider equipping schools with more PCs and computer labs with refurbished used PCs for students to learn and practice AI (artificial intelligence) and software coding on.

Otherwise, all this talk about including AI and software coding into Malaysian school curriculum will end up like 1Bestarinet.

"Teachers' union says 1BestariNet useless for online learning from home"

Hopefully, this will help you include the "digital have-nots" in Digital Native Agenda 23 (Whatever that fancy, grandiose-sounding term means).

The Star's article referred to follows below:-




PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says for the country to become a digital economy powerhouse, "digital have-nots" must be included in the agenda.

He said the digital gap would not exist if efforts were made to demo­cra­tise technology.

The digital gap is a term to describe a divide between those who have easy access to technological tools and those who do not.

Speaking at the Digital Native Agenda 23 (DNA23) launch at the All Asia Broadcast Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday, Anwar said he had seen efforts to bridge the digital gap with applications that catered to those in the lower-income group.

"I will not share this concern of an increasing (digital) gap if the government and companies involved embark on a reform," he said.

DNA 23 is aimed at recognising challenges and seizing opportunities in the digital world.

Access to technology, Anwar said, could enhance the income and living conditions of rural folk, some of whom relied on selling local items as a source of income.

"For example, the Rungus community in Sabah uses technology to introduce their beadwork to a larger international community," the PKR president said.

He cautioned that ignoring segments of society, especially those living in rural areas, would only invite a backlash.

In order to expand access to technology to a wider community, Anwar said the industry should be looking at efforts undertaken in parts of India and China instead of looking at more developed cities like New York.

Anwar also said although technological advancement was occurring at lightning speed, the welfare of humanity must be prioritised.

Also at the event was Commu­ni­cations and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, who shared tips on how his ministry could enhance the national digital economy.

He said the digital economy contributed to 18.3%, or RM247.1bil, of the national economy in 2017, adding it was expected to rise to 20% next year.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/03/05/include-digital-havenots-anwar-effort-to-democratise-technology-must-be-on-the-agenda/

On another note Y.B. Govind Singh, 5G is a a set of mobile broadband specifications and standards from the 3G Partnership Project (3Gpp), not Huawei.

http://www.3gpp.org/

About the 3Gpp

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) unites [Seven] telecommunications standard development organizations (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA, TTC), known as "Organizational Partners" and provides their members with a stable environment to produce the Reports and Specifications that define 3GPP technologies.

The project covers cellular telecommunications network technologies, including radio access, the core transport network, and service capabilities - including work on codecs, security, quality of service - and thus provides complete system specifications. The specifications also provide hooks for non-radio access to the core network, and for interworking with Wi-Fi networks.

3GPP specifications and studies are contribution-driven, by member companies, in Working Groups and at the Technical Specification Group level.

The three Technical Specification Groups (TSG) in 3GPP are;

    Radio Access Networks (RAN),
    Services & Systems Aspects (SA),
    Core Network & Terminals (CT) 

The Working Groups, within the TSGs, meet regularly and come together for their quarterly TSG Plenary meeting, where their work is presented for information, discussion and approval.

Each TSG has a particular area of responsibility for the Reports and Specifications within its own Terms of Reference (Details available in the Specification Groups pages).

The last meeting of the cycle of Plenary meetings is TSG SA, which also has responsibility for the overall coordination of work and for the monitoring of its progress.

http://www.3gpp.org/about-3gpp/about-3gpp

As a telecommunications equipment and systems developer, manufacturer and supplier, Huawei may have contributed significantly to the 3Gpp's 5G specifications and standards but 5G is not exclusively Huawei's technology.

"MCMC still studying Huawei technology: Gobind"
https://www.thesundaily.my/local/mcmc-still-studying-huawei-technology-gobind-FK639153

I'm pretty sure that you are fully aware of the geo-strategic antagonism against China by the U.S. imperialists under President Donald Trump and other U.S. imperialist poodle countries, so please don't fall for the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) created  and dispersed widely online and on social media by U.S. imperialist propagandists.

Basically, don't fall for their 5G scheiss.

Yours most truly

IT.Scheiss
http://itsheiss.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

CUT THE HIGH FALUTIN CRAP AND DEAL WITH THE BASICS FIRST !

In all my 20 or so years of writing about the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, including in Malaysia,  ICT systems and solutions vendors, government ministers and officials have spoken about how ICT can be used to transform Malaysia's cities and towns into smart cities, in which public facilities, including traffic lights, traffic flow, water, municipal, electricity supply infrastructure, the movements of urban rail, buses and so forth are remotely monitored, managed and controlled by computer from a centralised control room in the city 24 by 7.

Smart city facilities also include intelligent building access systems, such as those in some buildings where the security desk reads visitors' personal details from their MyKAD smart national identification cardt, which are then returned to the holder along with a smart pass which allows access only to the relevant floor and not others, and which visitors must surrender by dropping them into a box at the exit turnstyle when they leave.

Malaysia's first smart cities which I first heard of way back in the late 1990s are the new administrative capital Putrajaya and next to it Cyberjaya, the heart of Malaysia's ICT and multimedia industry development initiative.

These two, especially Putrajaya were said to serve as models of what Malaysia's modern, tech-savvy, efficient civil service, urban planning and municipal management should be for the rest of Malaysia to emulate but 20 years later, it appears that despite its impressive and grandiose looking buildings, with wide public sidewalks along its roads, impressive gardens and landscaping; however at best, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya remain oases of first world urban elegance amidst a wider sea of third world urban mediocrity, and at worst, the mediocrity, inefficiencies, disorganisatiion, poor management and so forth in the federal, state and local authority civil services, poor municipal management, poor urban planning and so forth beyond them, have seeped into these two "model" cities, thus degrading them instead.

For instance, there are way insufficient proper parking facilities, such as covered, multi-storey car parks provided for members of the public who visit the government departments in the impressive buildings in Putrajaya. Instead, vacant plots of land nearby them are used as ad-hoc public car parks, albeit free of charge but still the government should not take the citizens it is supposed to serve for granted and treat us like serfs at the mercy of their "lordships".

Last year and in 2017, I visited the Ministry of Health's Medical Device Authority which was then located in Menara Prisma, Presint 3, Putrajaya, just next to Persiaran Perdana (Premier Drive) a long, straight, wide boulevard which runs from the Prime Minister's Office at one end, all the way past buildings housing Malaysia's major ministries and departments, as well as the Palace of Justice housing Malaysia's Federal Court and Court of Appeal.

When we got to the security desk on the ground floor of Menara Prisma, I found that the security guards asked to hold on to visitors' MyKAD, whilst they would manually record the visitors' details, give him or her a pass to go up to the relevant office and return the MyKAD to visitors when they hand back their passes when they leave.

Also, I had expected that especially in a building in this oh so "smart" city of Putrajaya, they would have had computerised facilities at the security desk which can read and record visitors' details from their MyKAD from its smart chip, as well as read and record visitors' thumb prints if necessary to ensure they match those stored in respective MyKADs and then return the MyKADs back to the visitors, just like they have at public service counters in government departments such as EPF (Employees Provident Fund/KWSP), in bank counters and in some private buildings, but here they did it manually and demanded to hold onto visitors' MyKADs.

On the other hand, perhaps they have such a computerised system but as often happens, it could have been a case of "computer down" at the time. So much for "smart cities" and "smart building management". 

Many of you may not know this, but it is against the law in Malaysia for anyone including security guards to demand to hold onto your MyKAD. They can ask you for your MyKAD to record your personal details manually or electronically and then must return your MyKAD to you before you go up to the relevant office.

In 2013, I was part of a media party which went up from Kuala Lumpur by bus to cover the Malaysian launch of a new PC processor on a cruise ship which and the tour guide on our bus told us that when we board the ship, we would have to surrender our MyKAD to the ships administrative staff, who would issue us with a ship's card and receipt, whilst they will hold on to our MyKAD and return it to us when we disembark, which our this case was the following day.  This overnight cruise was only a joy cruise out into the Straits of Malacca and back to Penang the next day.

I SMS-ed my friend in the Attorney General's Chambers who SMS-ed back the relevant act and clauses as well as the penalties for violation, which I presented to the ships administrative staff whilst boarding and told them that I refuse to let them hold my MyKAD and that it is against the law. They called a more senior staff member who gave me a form on which to fill in my personal details and let me hold onto my MyKAD throughout the voyage. This more senior staff informed me that the ship's administration needed to hold our MyKAD so they could record our details whilst we were on board and present them to Malaysian immigration as was required.

Well, if they had insisted on holding onto my MyKAD, as I was travelling light, I was prepared to walk off the ship, take the ferry across to Butterworth and take the train or a coach back to Kuala Lumpur at my own expense, rather than give in to such intimidation.

This cruise line could have installed a computerised recording system on their ships  to read our MyKADs and even to scan and record our fingerprints for verification upon our boarding, and then return our MyKADs to us there and then and provide a printed or softcopy record of the personal details all passengers who boarded to Immigration. They also could use the same system to record our personal details from our MyKADs when we disembark after the voyage.

I suggested this to the more senior staff who dealt with my complaint, though I don't know whether they have implemented such as system by now. 

So much for all the grandiose talk about "e-government", "smart cities", "smart building management systems" and so forth in the past 20 years or more - all much talk but little action on the ground.

Meanwhile, in the Free Malaysia Today article of 26 February 2019, David Chua, a former member of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Advisory Board advises the Federal Territories Ministry to  deal with the basic problems of public transportation first, instead of fantasising about "smart cities", "sustainability" and so forth.

Kudos to you, David Chua. Thank you for telling the Federal Territories Ministry to stop fantasising about such high falutin stuff such as "smart cities" and to get the basics right first.

Over the past 20 years or so, I've covered more of these conferences and seminars on ICT than I can remember, and more often than not, all the gee whiz stuff described there have remained within the splendid, hallowed confines of the conference and seminar halls, and very rarely have made it into reality on the ground.

Also, 10 years later, I'm pretty sure you will still be hearing the same old "songs" being "sung" about "smart cities", "urban sustainability" and so forth at conferences and seminars, whilst the "song remains the same" on the ground, to paraphrase that early 1970s Led Zeppelin song - The Song Remains the Same.

Let's face it, quite often, conferences and seminars are a great excuse for government officers and business executives to spend a day away from the office in 5-star or 6-star luxury, for systems vendors and marketers to win customers and business, for invited professional speakers to gain further exposure and earn speaking fees or for the organisers make money from paying attendees - or as a public relations consultant once put it to me, "from the number of (paying) bums in seats".

So Federal Territories Ministry, stop talking all this IT scheiss and deal with the basic urban problems first.

This messages goes out to you too - Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and your "PJ a Liveable City" crap, when you have allowed too many high-rise buildings to sprout up in Petaling Jaya and turn it into an unliveable concrete jungle.

This message also goes out to other local authorities and state governments across Malaysia.

Read on:-     
  





Tackle basic issues before dreaming of smart city, FT ministry told



Monday, 25 February 2019

HOW ICT IS HELPING MALAYSIAN WOMEN ENJOY THE HIGH LIFESTYLE

Well, well !! This Kosmo Ahad story carried by The Star online of 25 February 2019 reveals how far Malaysians have progressed towards becoming "high income", "tech-savvy", service workers by the year 2020 (oops! postponed to 2024), thanks to information and communications technology (ICT) tools and social media.

Why learn artificial intelligence (AI) and software coding in school, college or university and then hopefully find a decent job to match, when it's so easy to make good moolah without much effort? 

After all, why do an honest day of productive work in a factory, an office, a workshop, a retail store or anything like that where workers are paid peanuts and oh! so 'old school', when with a few taps on one's mobile smartphone, one can earn up to RM6,000 per month for a few hours of unproductive part-time work.

Heck! I never earned that much in a month as a computer service engineer or later as a journalist, despite burning the midnight oil struggling to find the problem with that office minicomputer or speeding all those sleepless nights researching facts to write an article whilst ruining my eyesight and health.

After all, prostitution is one of the oldest services industries around. Easy money, easy life.

Perhaps our neo-liberal and libertarian "New Malaysia" government should legalise prostitution and our Education Ministry introduce a new subject called Sexual Arts into our educational curriculum.

The sexual service industry will help boost tourism and earn much foreign exchange to pay off our RM1 trillion federal government debt, government guarantees and lease commitments to public-private partnerships.




'Mobile prostitution' the next thing for sex workers

Monday, 25 Feb 2019

Compiled by HANIS ZAINAL, LIEW JIA XIAN and R. ARAVINTHAN 


KOSMO! Ahad reported that sex workers who are using online platforms to look for custo­mers are earning as much as RM6,000 per month.


Bukit Aman Anti-Vice, Gambling and Secret Societies Division (D7) principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Datuk Rohaimi Md Isa said this type of sex work was called "mobile prostitution" as the activity was not confined to one place.


He said the sex workers were women in their 20s to 30s who hold professional jobs or were university students.


Many of these women wanted more money for a luxurious lifestyle.


According to SAC Rohaimi, pimps would advertise the women through social media and they would vet the customers first before allowing them to meet up.

"This vetting process is important to ensure the identities of the women are not leaked, because most of the women are only involved in prostitution on a part-time basis," he said.


He said the "mobile prostitutes" also did not use cheap hotels to meet clients.


This made it difficult for enforcement officers to trace their activities.


https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/02/25/big-money-for-sex-workers-they-use-social-media-to-get-customers/


Yours truly


IT.Scheiss

http://itsheiss.blogspot.com/    

Thursday, 14 February 2019

NICE ONE! FROM VETERAN EDUCATORS

This report in Free Malaysia Today below really spiced up my day, when some veteran educators the Minister of Education what is the point of the Ministry's focus on artificial intelligence (AI) when the standard of Malaysia's education system has sunk so low.

It has been typical under former Barisan Nasional governments for the Ministry of Education to introduce all kinds of trendy or gee-whiz computers and information technology - based learning systems to Malaysian schools, supposedly to improve the quality of Malaysia's education, e-leaning systems such as 1Bestarinet, for instance.

You can read my blog post on 1Bestarinet.

"Teachers' union says 1BestariNet useless for online learning from home"


Well now the Minister of Education under a Pakatan Harapan government is carrying on the tradition and singing about AI.

So the IT scheiss continues under a Pakatan government - same old wine in a new bottle.

I laughed out loud when OutSyed the Box wrote in one of his earlier blog posts:-

"The Pakatan government repainted the toilet but the same shit goes on inside." or something to that effect.

BTW. Mr. Minister of Education, may I suggest you read the book Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins.


Are you sure Malaysia's ministers of education past and present have not been hypnotised by the IT scheiss of IT industry hitmen?

Anyway,without further ado, the Free Malaysia Today article referred to.

SUBANG JAYA: About 200 people attending an education forum that was going at a monotonous pace suddenly perked up when a former school principal stood up to lash out at the education system.

However, after a stunned silence, they clapped and applauded as V Chakaravathy went on to tell Education Minister Maszlee Malik, who was also present, that the system had hit "rock bottom" and that the quality of teachers had deteriorated drastically.

The 200, who had paid RM1,000 each to attend the "Malaysian Education" forum, also cheered when academic Syed Ali Tawfik al-Attas asked why the government was focusing on artificial intelligence "when there is no intelligence in the country".

Syed Ali Tawfik, the former director-general of Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia, told Maszlee the country must face reality and admit that the education system was in shambles.

"The theme for this dialogue is bridging the gaps, (but) these gaps are chasms. It's not a matter of bridging anymore," he said, calling for a complete revamp of the education system.

He also said Maszlee might not understand the minds of pupils as, he said, until Standard Five, the ministry should focus on storytelling and languages.

He said at the end of students' education, they only needed six or seven subjects before going to university.

"Now here, in this country, we are trend-based – everything is a trend. And unfortunately everyone in the system is a political appointee. That is the problem," he said.

He advised Maszlee to get rid of political appointees as "they are connected to an ideology, to inculcate something political".

He said Maszlee often spoke about life-long learning, excellence and success but "these are all political words. Nothing is going to happen".

The academic said if the ministry was to move forward, it had to get the right people, particularly those without any political affiliations.

Syed Ali Tawfik expressed frustration that, in Malaysia, anyone who criticised those in the upper hierarchy or authority were sidelined. "They don't like hearing that; everything must be hunky-dory, everything is good. But it's not good, everything is broken," he said.

However, he applauded Maszlee for being the first education minister to say that he would do away with the arts and science streams.

Chakaravathy, who had earlier changed the tone of the proceedings with his outburst, decried the quality of teachers, saying it was so low that parents were forced to send their children for tuition immediately after school.

He said today's forum was "more on philosophy and does not address the reality on the ground".

Describing today's schooling system as "very, very sad", he said students in primary schools were burdened with subjects that were not worth learning.

At Primary One, Two and Three, he said, they should only learn arithmetic and languages.

"When they come to Level Four, put the History subject in, and put in the value system. If you teach Science to primary pupils, all they do is vomit it out; the pupils do not know what they are learning."

At a press conference later, Maszlee said he would not appoint MPs as vice-chancellors of universities. He also hoped to see more engagements in the future between him and the public so that they could work together for the betterment of the education system and unity in the country.

The one-day forum was organised by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute. Although the entrance fee was RM1,000, education providers were given a 50% discount.


Yours trully

IT.Scheiss

THE STANDARD OF ENGLISH IN MALAYSIA'S ENGLISH LANGUAGE MEDIA TODAY

Do you notice something amiss in the title of this Bernama report carried by The Sun of 13th February 2019?




I.E. - An alleged cable thief is electrocuted and lives to be arrested, charged in court, tried in court and sentenced if found guilty.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, "electrocuted" means:-

"to kill someone by causing electricity to flow through their body"

In American English it means.

"to send electricity through someone's body, causing death"


Whilst the story is sourced from Bernama, however, the onus also rests on the editor or sub-editor at The Sun to ensure that the meaning of words, grammar and spelling are correct.

Full text of the article as carried by The Sun follows below:-



Yours trully

IT.Scheiss
 

Saturday, 9 February 2019

PROPOSAL FOR UNIVERSITI KARI LAKSA

Since having a university degree today is important for one's career advancement and personal prestige, herewith is a proposal to start a distance learning university called Universiti Kari Laksa, which offers courses in a whole slew of disciplines leading to a certificate, all the way up to a PhD, with fees corresponding to the level of qualification awarded.

Oh! Since prestige is important, it must have an address in realspace within the good old U.S. of A. 

As Universiti Kari Laksa will be a distance learning university, there will be no need for students to incur additional expense to physically travel to and stay in the U.S. of A, to sit for their exams, to attend the graduation ceremony and receive the certificate, diploma or degree scroll from the university's e-President. Instead, the certificate, diploma or degree e-scroll, will be e-mailed to graduates in softcopy, which they can download and take in a USB-drive to a good printshop in their area to have printed out.

Universiti Kari Laksa will be a state of the art model of e-Learning which will rapidly propel Malaysia towards becoming a knowledge-based, information-rich, high-income economy by the Year 2020 (oops! postponed to Year 2024) and make Malaysians proud that Universiti Kari Laksa is amongst the top ranks of world class academic institutions.

The name Universiti Kari Laksa, sounds like "Laksa University", oops! I mean La Salle University in Philadelphia, which adds to the prestige of certificates, diplomas and degrees awarded by Universiti Kari Laksa.

Malaysia can award accreditation to qualifications awarded by Universiti Kari Laksa, and perhaps also Cambridge International University, in return for a percentage of commission from fees the distance learning university receives. This will also enable Malaysia to earn much needed foreign exchange.

Yours truly

IT.Scheiss

Thursday, 7 February 2019

CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY, U.S.A. vs THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE U.K.



The Malay Mail wrote:-

"Deputy minister Marzuki reveals he did go to Cambridge... but not that Cambridge"

"In a report by Malaysiakini, Marzuki said his degree in business administration is from the United States-based Cambridge International University — an institution whose reputation has been questioned."

"I think [my critics] misunderstood [my credentials]. I [studied] at the Cambridge International University in the US.

"I was doing logistics [before joining politics]. So I just took that certificate for my knowledge to expand my business. As CEO of the company, I want to expand my knowledge and my business," he was quoted telling Malaysiakini."


Since the United States of America is the richest and most powerful country in the world and e-learning over the Internet is said to be far superior to traditional-style lecture room learning, qualifications from Cambridge International University in the mighty U.S. of A, must be far superior to qualifications from the University of Cambridge in the pre-BREXIT  U.K.

This is what Cambridge International University's website says about its:-

Accreditation:-


Programmes offered:-


Programme Fees:-


The President's Message:-


Yours trully

IT.Scheiss