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KUALA LUMPUR: Hotels in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau experienced a 35% drop in business following the terrorist attacks in Lahad Datu, says Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
She said some 800 tourists cancelled their tour packages to Sabah during the period, when a group of foreign gunmen invaded Lahad Datu on Feb 9 and attempted to lay claim to Sabah.
“I visited Semporna and Tawau last week and can give an assurance that Sabah is safe to visit.
“A task force has been formed to encourage Sabah tourism activities. The ministry and state government will organise a water regatta event in the last week of April,” she said after launching the Malaysia International Shoe Festival at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.
Dr Ng said the tourism industry is the third largest revenue earner for Malaysia and contributes RM60bil annually and provides 1.8 million people with job opportunities.
At another event, Dr Ng urged employers to provide parental care facilities for elderly parents of their workers.
“It is time that employers have amenities for elderly parents, aside from having childcare centres at the workplace.
“My mother is 96 years old. She is lonely whenever I’m at work. I thought how nice it would be if she could come to my workplace and that we have a parental care centre for her,” she said at the Women In Leadership (WIL) Forum Asia in a hotel here.
WIL Forums founder Sophie Le Ray said Malaysia was advanced in terms of women representation in leadership roles.
“Malaysia has set the trend in creating a quota for women to be part of a company’s board of directors. You also see quite a number of powerful female leaders in the public and private sectors,” she added.
Le Ray said only 6% of the board of directors in companies worldwide were women and more must be done to increase the number.
SOURCES: THE STAR – 29 MARCH 2013, FRI
PETALING JAYA: Forbes Online has rated Malaysia as the 10th friendliest country in the world, based on HSBC’s recent Expat Explorer Survey,
“Better quality of life, a satisfying social life, easy local travel and better housing than in their home country helped put Malaysia in fifth place overall though many reported difficulty integrating into the local community (often because of a language barrier),” a recent Forbes Online article stated.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak lauded the article and tweeted yesterday, “We welcome the world”.
Forbes Online listed Cayman Islands, Australia and Britain as the top three friendliest destinations for expatriates.
Referring to the survey, the article stated that the three nations were the “easiest to befriend locals, learn the local language, integrate into the community and fit into the new culture”.
It quoted an expatriate living in Cayman Islands who gave the place the thumbs up for not having any income or payroll tax, hardly any crime and for being pollution-free, besides an all-year summer.
Canada took fourth place in Forbes Online‘s World’s Friendliest Countries 2012, followed by New Zealand, Spain, United States, Bermuda, South Africa and Malaysia.
The HSBC survey, which is in its fifth year, looked into various aspects of an expatriate’s life including economics, namely income, disposable income and a measure of luxury; overall experience; and raising children abroad which took into account childcare, health and well-being and integration of children.
It also noted that expatriates living in Asia such as in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong found it difficult to integrate with the local community compared to many English-speaking countries mainly due to the language barrier.
According to the survey, Malaysia was a top destination for career-driven expatriates and a great quality of life but noted that many looked at it as a temporary base.
A total of 5,339 expatriates from 97 countries took part in the online survey which was carried out from May 11 to July 3.
(Sources: The Star, 29 October 2012, Monday)
KUALA LUMPUR: Of the 14,700 workers retrenched between October and last month, half are women, says Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
As women comprised only 37% of the nation’s labour force, she said the figure was “very high”.
However, Ng said they were not retrenched because of their gender but due to the nature of their jobs.
“What these women should do now is to move forward by going to the Human Resources Ministry for retraining,” she told reporters after launching the new Women’s Development Department logo and the Round-Table Discussion on Women’s Perspectives in the Economic Crisis, here, yesterday.
She said her ministry’s Home Manager and Homebased Childcare programmes had received good feedback.
The two programmes provide women with free five-day training on managing homes and training for those interested in setting up childcare centre at their homes.
Those interested in joining the programmes can call 15999 or visit www.jpw.gov.my.
By PATSY KAM email@example.com
Stepping up childcare services and children’s welfare is at the top of Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen’s list.
WHEN the Women Affairs Ministry was first established in 2001, it spelt a step forward for women in government and a giant leap for women in Malaysia. Helmed by Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the minister promised to propel “women’s issues into the mainstream and not the backwaters anymore.”
After two general elections, the people are now asking whether women’s issues have been adequately addressed. Has there been a stronger participation of women in shaping national decision-making processes or any advancement in the status of women?
Today, the ministry encompasses women, family and community development, and the mantle has been passed on to Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, 61, the former deputy finance minister. StarTwo meets the Wanita MCA chief to find out how she plans to take on her new role.
Making children a priority: â€˜The first thing is to look at the Child Protection Act. There’s an increasing trend of child abuse,’ says Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen.
What was your reaction when you found out you were heading this ministry?
I confess it was totally unexpected. My frame of mind was geared towards health, especially given my background in preventive health.
Although I was stunned initially, I’m happy as I’m very comfortable with this ministry. I started as a social activist, working with various NGOs on preventive health. I’m thankful for this privilege as it’s a culmination of 33 years of work.
It’s the first time in 50 years that a Chinese woman has been made full minister, a watershed in Malaysian politics. It’s been a long, long road for Malaysian Chinese women and a clear indication that traditions are changing. It’s recognition from the Government, and I hope this appointment will encourage more young women to go into politics and participate in MCA.
I’m also happy that Datuk Seri Shahrizat has been appointed special adviser for Women and Social Development Affairs, and we will work closely. There’s no need to change the logo or colours â€“ I will continue her road map, the people come first.
How do you view the role of this ministry?
It reflects the changing social needs of the country and the changing socio-economic, political scenario. In the 1950s to 70s, the focus of the country was on fundamental issues like education, health, economy and agriculture.
As the world changes and new mega trends arise, a ministry (such as this) is needed to speed up women’s participation in the whole national agenda.
Today, we’re looking at a better future â€“ what’s the point if we become so prosperous but women have no place in society?
In the past, we talked about issues like equal pay, non-Muslims asked for monogamy and the Domestic Violence Act. Now, we’re looking at women as a whole in issues like environment, consumerism and safety.
On the issue of safety, how can the ministry help women?
Women should take up self-defence classes. Learn to be more responsible for themselves. But safety also concerns men and families, and it’s an issue for the state government and local councils to take up as well.
What do you have to say about the Government not having 30% women in decision-making positions?
Having 30% women representation is not the be-all and end-all of politics. My question is, do we have the women power and those committed enough? How many are willing to come forward to take on the men?
We must work closely with men to empower them to be our allies. I would like to have all my councils to include male representation.
What are the immediate issues that you’ll be looking into?
The Social Welfare Department takes up almost 70% of the total budget for this ministry and 6,400 out of my 8,000 staff members. At the top of my list is, how do we ensure children are protected and women are given the best opportunities?
The first thing is to look at the Child Protection Act. There’s an increasing trend of child abuse. There’s also the issue of rising teenage pregnancy (hence the increase in teenage marriages) and high divorce rates at a younger age.
These are the root causes of family dysfunction. There’s also a clear need for proper sex education, or I’d rather term it, reproductive health education, in schools.
From the perspective of the Chinese community, the declining rate of marriages and reproduction is a major concern.
And how do you intend to tackle these matters?
Things are going to be outcome based. Issues like children in institutions (or those neglected by parents) who are lost in the home system. We’re looking at basic needs like providing education for them. Children with no birth certificates â€“ let’s clear this group first.
There are 180,000 families on welfare. Do they have a chance in life? We need to help them to walk out of the welfare system. I want to be able to centralise linkage to all my people in Welfare, and monitor every single welfare applicant.
What about addressing the needs of women?
Childcare services, for example, is something that’s close to my heart. But we need women in the private sector to make demands. How hard have they fought for what they want?
In government offices, childcare centres are available. But it’s not policy (to have one). Question is, do we need to go to that extent (make it a policy)?
How do we ensure that the family system doesn’t disempower women, so that she’s not deprived of her own development? We need the support of the private sector.
What does the ministry need most at this point?
The ministry needs system and infrastructure, and strong ICT (information and communications technology) support. Of course, we will also need to look at the budget.
In all honesty, I cannot do everything at once as I need to streamline my resources. I will need to visit the various states to understand the different problems as well.
What is the toughest part about being in this ministry?
Stepping up efficiency. I want things fast and it will be hard living up to my own expectations.
This ministry can only function well with the support of the people and NGOs, and the combined talents and expertise of all. My door is always open and I look forward to listening to anyone who may have good ideas or suggestions.
Success will be (when we become) a gender-sensitised nation where every child is protected, not just by the family, but also by the community.
PARENTS should avoid leaving their children in the care of foreign maids for long period of time or risk losing influence over them, said Wanita MCA chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen.
Describing it as a “very unhealthy trend”, Dr Ng said children raised by foreigners would be exposed to cultures and moral values very different from their own.
“There are children who even speak better Indonesian Malay than Bahasa Melayu,” she said during the closing of a childcare course in Perak MCA headquarters in Ipoh recently.
“Another risk is that the children might be exposed to emotional and psychological abuse,” added Dr Ng.
The solution, she said, was for parents to entrust their children to good childcare centres that stimulated learning in a fun environment.
She pointed out that it would be value-for-money if a child learned manners from an early age.
Speaking to childcare centre operators attending the 17-day course, Dr Ng urged them to put their creative learning techniques to good use.
She also praised Ang Kok Peng, 33, the only male participant, for being brave enough to learn about good childcare.
The course is the first organised in Perak by Wanita MCA and the Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia, with the state Welfare Department.
Earlier, Perak MCA chairman Datuk Ong Ka Chuan stressed that early education was important for a child.
“I once saw a three-year-old child actually smoking a cigarette given by the mother because she was busy playing mahjong,” he said.