Monday, April 11, 2016

Visit of the Maori Delegation to MIHAS 2016 (March 29 to April 2, 2016) Kuala Lumpur

The delegates at the arrival hall of Matrade to start their first activity of the visit
1. Introduction.  A delegation of 10 Maori friends who are members of the Maori Malay Polynesian Society Incorporated from Auckland, affiliated to the Malaysian-based the World Malay-Polynesian Organisation (WMPO) visited Kuala Lumpur to participate at the 2016 Malaysian International Halal Showcase (MIHAS 2016) held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) from March 30 to April 2, 2016.  The secretariat and members of WMPO came in to facilitate their visit by providing accommodation, transport and guide.  The delegation arrived at the KLIA airport on the night of March 28 received by a few WMPO members.

  2. Itinerary of Visit. The first day (March 29) started with the visit to Matrade Exhibition where under the International Sourcing Programme, business matching to promote cross border trade and investments was organised. The delegation then visited the permanent exhibition hall displaying Malaysian products.  Walking across to the nearby MITI Building, the next appointment was a courtesy call on the Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), YB Dato' Seri Mustapa Mohamed.  We were glad that the Minister was able to accord time to the delegates where the WMPO representatives  appeal to the Minister to facilitate the bilateral trade between the Maori companies in New Zealand and its counterparts in Malaysia could flourish. The after noon event was a business discussion with Thinkplus Group of Companies at Ativo Plaza, Persiaran Damansara where the delegates explored strategic collaboration with companies associated with Thinkplus.  The day activity ended up with a lecture by Prof. Dr Mariam Latif on Halal Certification.            

The International Sourcing Programme on business matching at Matrade

The Exhibition Hall displaying Malaysian Products at Matrade

The delegates exchanging gifts with officials of Matrade

Greeting Maori style with the MITI Minister

The Maori delegation and WMPO officials with the MITI Minister

Business meeting at Thinkplus, Ativo Plaza, Persiaran Damansara

3.  The 13th Malaysian International Halal Showcase (MIHAS 2016). The delegates, on the  second day (March 30), spent their time at MIHAS 2016 held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.  It was officially opened by the Hon. MITI Minister with more than 500 stalls showcasing Halal certified products ranging from such food products as canned food, dairy, seafood, meat and poultry, confectionery, biscuits, grain and nuts, health supplements, pharmaceuticals and herbal products.  The non-food include perfumery, toiletries, cosmetics and body care items.  The Showcase is themed 'Experience Halal' and was made up of : a. International Halal Certification Bodies Convention with the objective of strengthening cordial relationship between JAKIM and all the recognised Halal certified bodies all over the world; b. International Sourcing Programme for business matching to facilitate cross border trade and investments; c. World Halal Conference 2016 as a forum for networking and exchanging views and information on the global economic status, Halal economy and trade and Islamic finance.  That night Dato' Seri Kamarudin Kachar, President of WMPO hosted a dinner with the H.E The Deputy High Commissioner, Mrs. Jacinta Gould, gracing the occasion.  It was attended by the Maori delegation and members of WMPO.    

Dato' Seri Kamarudin Kachar, President of WMPO delivering his welcoming address.  HE the New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner was sitting next Dato' Seri

Photo with HE The Dy High Commissioner of New Zealand

Group photo at the dinner

  4. Business Discussions at Selangor Club and SkyRide Festivals Park Putrajaya.  Five members of the delegation was taken to the Royal Selangor Club where I hosted them lunch.  They were then taken to Putrajaya, where the delegates made a short stop at the Sultan Mizan Mosque where a volunteer guide, Tuan Hj Mahmud, conducted a quick tour of the mosque and blessed the books on Islam purchased by one of the members of the entourage. The discussion at the SkyRide Festivals Park revolved around how the development and marketing of tourism products in Malaysia.  To brief the group was a very experienced marketer, Dato' Pam Ghani, CEO of SkyRide Worldwide Sdn Bhd, who has considerable experience particularly in getting in-bound tourists from China, South Korea and Japan to Malaysia. I am Chairman of SkyRide Worldwide Sdn Bhd and glad to have friends from New Zealand to visit the Festivals Park.  The delegates were then conducted around the Festivals ground. The Festivals Park is made up of SkyRide Kid for children with its mini eco-challenge; the Sky Warrior, the eco-challenge type of facility getting popular among sports buff; SkyRide Exhibition and Demo where local handicrafts are shown; the SkyRide Gourmet where various types of food are available; the Helium Balloon, the main attraction at the Park.  The day ended with a simple dinner at my residence in Bandar Baru Bangi.

The delegates being conducted around the Sultan Mizan Mosque in Putrajaya

SkyRide Festials Park Centre with the Helium Balloon

The delegates with Dato' Pam Ghani (in yellow) in the waiting lounge of the Helium Balloon Ticketing Office

Waiting for the turn to take the flight on the Helium Balloon at SkyRide Festivals Park, with the Chairman of SkyRide Worldwide Sdn Bhd

Photo from the Helium Balloon platform overlooking the Putrajaya Lake

Before boarding the passenger enclosure of the Helium Balloon

5. Discussion on Entrepreneural Training with Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).  The effort to meet with the newly-appointed VC was not successful.  However, Dr. Wan Salleh's persistent effort manage to get an appointment to see the officials of the Public Relations Office of the University on April 1.  As previously experienced, the University officials were enthusiastic on the aspirations of WMPO in strengthening ties with the peoples in the 37 ancestral nations of Malay-Polynesia.  Through a tri-partite understanding involving WMPO, the Maori Malay Polynesian Society Inc. in Aucland and UiTM, training programmes could be developed particularly in entrepreneural expertise to meet the needs of the Maori and Pacifica youths.  Trainees could also undergo practical training in UiTM Alumni affiliated group of companies.  

  6. Attending the Wedding Reception for Rosmin and Nur Bertha. I was fortunate to still have a few Maori friends in town when the family had a wedding reception at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) on Saturday April 2, 2016 for our son, Rosmin, who has selected a Kadazandusun girl from Ranau, Sabah to be his life-long partner.  The 'akad nikah' for Rosmin and Nur Bertha took place at the Hibiscus Garden Hall, Pacific Sutera Hotel, Kota Kinabalu on January 2, 2016 (read my earlier posting entitled ' A Four-Day Odyssey in Sabah' in this blog website). This reception was organised for the many friends of Rosmin in the music and entertainment industry, close members of the family and the many friends and members of the community and organisations I am associated with, living in and around Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Langkawi, Kedah, Perak and other parts of Peninsular Malaysia. The Maori friends that could attend the reception were Chief Matutaera Clendon, Mr. Richard Willoughby and Mr. Samuel Noon.  Chief Matu was given the honour of doing the 'merinjis', the traditional blessing of the newly wed followed by being seated at the main table with the newly-wed.  At the later part of the ceremony Chief Matu and the Maori delegation together with the President and Secretary General of WMPO were invited to give away a wedding gift of Maori waka (boat) to the newly-wed, symbolising the long journey across the wide ocean from Aoteoroa (New Zealand) to Malaysia and back, as an expression of the unbroken bond till eternity between the Malay-Polyesian cousins, blessed the couple in the traditional Maori way, a short speech and finally a rendition of a Maori song.                 

Chief Matu blessing the newly -wed

The wedding gift, a Maori waka, presented to the couple

The Maori delegates at the VIP table

  7. Concluding Remarks and Acknowledgement.  We, in WMPO, are greatly honored to play host to our Maori cousins from Auckland and to facilitate the various activities and discussions especially in business partnership and training curriculum for youths in Maoridom and the Pacific Islands.  This trip has indeed enhanced our bond of relationship and trust slowly but surely concrete benefits will emerge from this brotherhood.  I wish to acknowledge the efforts of  Dr. Wan Salleh, the Secretary General of WMPO, who has taken the main initiatives in arranging the many activities and discussions and communicating them through the WMPO Whatapps group, which I have liberally used in the write-up of this article.   

The discussion on the special previleges of the Bumiputras as provided by the Malaysian Federal Constitution, before the  departure of the delegates for New Zealand on April 3 morning.

Posted on April 11, 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Launching of the New Office of the Alumni Association of UPM

YB Dato' Seri Rohani Abdul Karim delivering her official launching address

The entrance of the new office of the Alumni Association

1. Introduction. The new office of the Alumni Association, located on the ground floor of the Canselori of UPM, was officially launched on March 26, 2016 by YB Dato' Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, Minister of Woman, Family and Community Development.  Among the guests present were the many illustrious ex-students, among them were: Tan Sri Rashdan Baba, the first VC of UPM, Tan Sri Mohd Nor Ismail, the ex- Deputy VC, Prof. Aini Ideris, the current VC, YAM. Dato' Seri DiRaja Syed Razlan Jamalullail, President of the Association and members the Executive Committee, senior officials of the University and an estimated 150 members of the Alumni and students. The spacious new office accommodates the administrative staff under a manager, a meeting room that can take an estimated 20 members,  a lounge where the photos of 40 iconic alumni are displayed on the wall (designated of the Wall of Fame) and a corner space at the entrance where souvenir items of the Alumni like T-shirts, necktie and others are displayed.

Directory to the various offices in the Chancellory

View of the office

Corner space in the office displaying souvenir items

The meeting room in the office

The Lounge area

The Wall of Fame displaying iconic personalities of the Alumni

 The Hon. Minister having a brie discussion with members of the Alumni

The banner on the official launching

2. The Official Ceremony.  The guest-of-honor, on arrival,  was escorted to the entrance of the Office and after being blessed with the recital of prayer, cut the ribbon and followed by the signing of a plaque.  She was then conducted on a quick tour of the facilities and had a brief discussion with the Alumni luminaries at the lounge. She was then escorted to the Auditorium on the third floor of the Chancellory, where those present, were assembled and the speeches delivered.

3. Welcoming Address.  The President in his welcoming address, expressed  his gratitude to the management of the University for having generously provided space to accommodate the Office of the Alumni Association in the Chancellory, which is regarded as a recognition that the Alumni and its members are important stakeholders in the management and development of the University.  He emphasized the need for close cooperation between the students, the University and the Alumni. Recognizing that members of the Alumni can play a mentoring role to students, the Association has organised lectures under its program of Alumni Foundation Talk.  He added that the nation is undergoing a difficult economic situation and that the people have to go through high costs of living and accordingly, the Association could play its role to raise funds.  The Alumni is committed to establish the UPM Endowment Fund and appeal to members for their generous contribution as we have all benefited from the education at the University.  He also congratulated Y. Bhg Dato Seri Prof Aini Ideris for her appointment as the new VC and her commitment to continue to accord agriculture as the core area of interest and trust at the University,

4. The Official Launching Address. YB Dato' Seri Rohani congratulated Y. Bhg Dato Seri Prof. Aini Ideris on her appointment as the new VC. She was proud to belong to the 'Serdang Breed' which is associated with toughness and success.  She was nostalgic about her days at the University and narrated the many interesting exploits during her student days. She graduated from the University in 1979. She highlighted that the University has gone through  tremendous transformation, having started first as a humble school of agriculture, then college and subsequently a Research University.  She suggested that members of the Alumni Association should organize talks so that members can motivate and share their expertise and experiences with students, as a show of gratitude and at the same time implement projects that could generate funds that could be contributed towards the financing of various academic activities of the University.  The Hon. Minister then went on to highlight the various areas of responsibility of the Ministry which encompass, among them, women, family, children, welfare programs, the handicapped and the elderly. According to her, Malaysia is projected to be an ageing nation by 2035 where 15 % of its population would be constituted of the elderly whose age is 60 and above.  The biggest problem among the elderly is loneliness and her Ministry has such activities as home help and established recreational centers for senior citizens to overcome this malaise. The Ministry is formulating an appropriate policy to meet the needs of an ageing population.  She ended her speech by announcing her contribution of RM 100,000 to the Alumni Endowment Fund.                                       

The President delivering his welcoming address
A section of the Alumni members present

  5. The Annual General Meeting.  The AGM was called to order soon after the official opening of the new office. As it was not an election year the Meeting was devoted to the presentation and adoption of the Annual Progress Report and the Financial Report.  The 2015 Annual Report was published in an impressive publication with many photographs recording the various activities. The Report detailed the activities of the Association organised under five Committees: a. Liaison with the Alma Mater, Government and Industry; b. Alumni Networking; c. Management and Membership; d. Finance and Investment; and e.Sports, Welfare and Social.  As of February 2015, the total number of members stood at 77 231 made up of two categories: 1698 who applied for membership and 75 533 who became members on convocation.  The latter category became operational since 2004.  The activity of note in 2015 was a series of motivational lectures to students in the various residential halls where members of the Alumni shared their experiences with new students. This program is undertaken under the Alumni Foundation Talk.  In the effort to strengthen the link with members, get-togethers and dinners were organised accompanied with educational lectures.  At the same time the website has 20 265 hits and the blog have attained 8 632 in March 2016.  The Alumni has also continued to publish its Bulletin and the magazine "Serdang Sun".  On the Finance Report ending 31 December 2015, the balance sheet did not appear too good as the balance at RM 22, 564 was considered insignificant in the light of the anticipated expenses. It was suggested that the Committee looked closely of how to generate funds to fulfill the projected operating expenses of the Association.              

The Executive Committee at the AGM

  Posted on April 10, 2016