Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Alumni Association of MARDI (MASMARDI) - the 8th AGM and its Activities

 1. Introduction.  The 8th Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday March 26, 2015 at the Main Hall, MARDI, Serdang.  Its program was made up of three components - the opening ceremony,  forum discussion and the Annual General Meeting.

 2. Opening Ceremony.  My opening remarks as President of the Association include, among other things:
              (a) remind delegates as to continue leading a balanced life of keeping healthy, active and
                   happy.  The Association has an active program on this with a a training module         
                   developed towards a holistic health and stress management 
              (b) continue to keep in touch with members all over the country with the visit of the 
                    Committee members to the eastern coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang 
                    soon after the big flood.  The Association donated financial contribution to 20 members 
                    in Kelantan, 1 in Terengganu and 2 in Pahang. The Committee members also took the
                    opportunity to visit members who are sick and bed-ridden
              (c) the Bureau of Ekonomy is active in pursuing ways of obtaining funds for the Association                     through the Sustaining Associates and business activities
              (d) congratulated MARDI on its recent restructuring with its activities focus on the                
                    following areas/centres - horticulture, paddy, biotechnology and nanotechnology,          
                    engineering, gene bank and seed, agrobiodiversity and environment, soil and crop 
                    science, economic and social
  Dr. Umi Kalthum, Deputy Director-General of MARDI, who officiated the Meeting, recapitulated
that MARDI wishes to continue to have a strong affiliation with the Alumni members and that the Institute will continue to look after their welfare and at the same time numerated the facilities that 
members can enjoy. She expressed the wish that members of the Alumni will indirectly assist the Institute in guiding young researchers and that the Association, with members of long working experiences in different disciplines could continue to contribute to the nation.                 

At the registration desk
Members of the Committee welcoming members 
View of the participants

  3. The Forum.  The forum discussed 'Culture for Innovation' and the paper was presented by Dato' Ariff Othman.  In my introduction, chairing the discussion, I highlighted the many challenges faced by the global community and the country, among them are food security; depletion of such resources as fossil fuels, land and biodiversity; rapid urbanization; pollution of the environment and the associated climate change.  Accordingly, there is the urgency of generating appropriate technologies and innovations and a parallel strategy to build the culture for innovation among scientists in research institutions such as MARDI.
  Dato' Ariff pointed out that organizational culture, made up of values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes and behaviors, plays an important role in achieving success in an institution.
Among the strategies to enhance this culture in an organisation include training programs that expose new officers to the mission, vision, objectives, plans of action of the organisation; leadership development programs which provide managers with tools for becoming 'better leaders'; and change management initiatives which facilitate the changes in the structure and programs designed to increase organisational effectiveness.  With a strong organisational culture, the researchers and the supporting staff are receptive to the introduction of new ideas, goods, services and practices which are intended to be useful i.e technology innovation covering both product and process development and ultimately the commercialization of the processes and products. A dynamic innovation ecosystem will provide benefits to the stakeholders - the research institutions, knowledge transfer centres, entrepreneurs, financiers and the society.
  Concluding the forum discussion, I emphasize that efforts in inculcating culture for innovation also include lots of reading, interacting with experts in a particular field and recognizing the clientele the technologies are developed for.
Delivering the welcoming address

Committee Members
Refreshments provided at the AGM

3. Annual General Meeting.  The AGM was called to order at 12.00 noon with the attendance of 40 members.
   The Progress Report that was tabled highlighted the following:
    (a) activities of the Association planned and executed were aimed at increasing membership and
         and enhance its finance; strengthen fellowship, interactions and involvement of members in the          Association; promote the culture of balanced living - keeping healthy, active and happy; having          an efficient and professional administrative machinery of the Association.
    (b) the planning and implementation of activities are undertaken by Bureau (Biro), as follows:
          Intellectual & Communication with MARDI - organises forum and encourages members to
          participate in courses, seminars; reading and writing.
          Economy - undertakes business activities and seeks donors for financial contributions
          Sports and Recreation - organises sporting and recreational activities for health
          Spiritual and Religious
          Public Relations

Posted on May 12, 2015
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