Isnin, Disember 27, 2010

Many young adults seeking advice on debt management

By SHARIDAN M. ALI
sharidan@thestar.com.my


Financial knowledge crucial for youngsters
PETALING JAYA: Young adults need to be equipped with the essential financial knowledge to avoid them from falling into “financial trap” that usually snares them at a later stage in life.
Statistics from Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) showed that 44% of its debt management programme (DMP) customers were 30 to 40 years old, mainly males (67.9%) and earning below RM36,000 nett a year. Only 16% of the DMP customers were below 30 years old.
Chief executive officer Akwal Sultan said many young adults aged 30 and above came to AKPK when they had lost control of their finances, which might have started at an earlier age.
Mohamed Akwal Sultan says young adults should take control of their finances.
“They could have taken control of things earlier if they were aware of the steps needed to lead a prudent lifestyle,” he told StarBiz.
Akwal said although there was a general consensus that young adults had issues in managing their money, especially when it involved credit card, the overall non-performing loan statistics of credit cards was only 1.9%.
“It is only pockets of young adults that have problems with credit cards, contributed mostly by a lifestyle issue,” he said.
Akwal added that only 9.4% of those under the DMP faced credit card problems while 73.5% faced difficulties in managing a combination of debt, which include car loans, credit cards, personal loans and housing loans.
Thus, Akwal said there was a need for a more effective financial education programme for the young generation.
“Although it is currently being taught in schools, it is still not a subject by itself and thus does not have the desired results. At the tertiary level, the need for an effective financial education programme becomes more critical as having graduates savvy in this area will better equip them to handle their finances.
“In short, financial education is a baseline education that all individuals, especially today's young adults, should have,” he said.
National deposit insurer Malaysia Deposit Insurance Corp (PIDM) chief operating officer Md Khairuddin Arshad said sound financial knowledge, particularly about savings and prudent spending, must be inculcated among the young generation.
“Knowledge about deposit insurance should also be part of this foundation, especially as our youths prepare themselves for working life.
Sound financial know ledge, particularly about savings and prudent spending, must be inculcated among the young generation.
“By the time they take up their first job and start a family, they should already be capable of making smart and informed financial decisions and continue to do so throughout their lives,” he said.
OCBC Bank (M) Bhd head of wealth management Ong Shi Jie said the younger generation needed to obtain basic money management skills which included budgeting, the use of credit cards and accounts checking, and the importance of savings.
“In the course of our lives, we will eventually need a credit card, mortgage or a savings account to manage our finances.
“In this regard, it remains strange that the basic skills of managing finances have not been institutionalised into our education system,” she said.
Ong said most young adults fell into the “financial trap” the minute they landed a job because the first thing they normally did was to apply for a credit card.
“This gets them into the vicious cycle of succumbing to all their wants, not needs. So, before they make their first investment or saving, they're saddled with credit card debts and a loan for a depreciating car value.
“It's no wonder why people worry about retirement plans 10 years too late. They're paying for the sins' of their early years,” she said, adding that such financial traps needed to be pre-empted by instilling sensible money management habits in children.
Although Malaysia has one of the highest personal savings rates in the world, Ong said this had been largely driven by Government policies as opposed to a higher level of financial knowledge like in other countries.
“There is definitely room for improvement as far as the current level of financial knowledge among our young adults is concerned,” she said.
In terms of programmes, AKPK's ongoing focus is to provide financial education to post-secondary and tertiary level audiences where numerous financial education programmes are already in place since its inception four years ago.
These include National Service interactive workshops and module infusion in 31 institutions of higher learning. Bank Negara has also recently announced that a new financial capability programme will be launched next year, to be offered by AKPK.
As for PIDM, it has implemented an education programme for secondary school and tertiary students throughout Malaysia as part of its ongoing initiatives to further enhance public understanding of deposit insurance.
PIDM MoneySmart project seeks to instil the habit of savings and prudent financial management among students in schools and higher-learning institutions.
For OCBC, one of its recent initiatives is the OCBC Mighty Savers. For example, its OCBC Mighty Savers Weekend offers basic banking products and services to children at selected branches on every first weekend of the month.

Khamis, Disember 23, 2010

Spend Wisely Though Consumers Can Expect Some Relief In 2011

Spend Wisely Though Consumers Can Expect Some Relief In 2011
By Melati Mohd Ariff

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 21 (Bernama) -- The year 2010 ends with a fair share of consumerism related issues, starting with a run for sugar at the early part of the year and ending with another round of price hike for fuel and sugar.

Malaysian consumers have a long way to go in learning how to value their money if the number of people declared bankrupt and those who fell victim to numerous ponzi schemes and other trickery are anything to go by.

Throughout the year, hundreds of consumers fell victim to scams and 4,651 of them were declared bankrupt due to credit card debts.

Nonetheless, the rationalisation of the fuel and sugar subsidies in 2010 was the main cause of concern for the average consumer.

RATIONALISATION OF THE SUBSIDIES

The rise in the prices of fuel comes of no surprise as it was already indicated in the 2010 Budget with the initial hike earmarked for May 1, 2010.

The initial plan was to restructure the fuel price based on the engine capacity and foreigners having to pay the market price.

As the plan was impractical to implement, on March 2010 the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism called off the plan and a subsidy rationalisation lab was established to review all government subsidies.

"On May 27, 2010 Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala who is also the chief executive officer for the Performance Management and Delivery Unit tabled the lab's plan to eliminate subsidies in stages over a period of five years.

"This brought some relief to consumers for the time being, with many remaining sceptical looking at the rising cost of living that they have endure due to the inevitable hike in the fuel prices," according to Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman, Group Communications Director, Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca).

As the subsidy bill for consumer necessities has ballooned to RM74.1 billion, with RM23.5 billion for energy and fuel, RM3.4 billion for food, RM42.4 billion for social development and RM4.8 billion for infrastructure, thus the consumers have to foot part of the bill.

BETWEEN SUSIDY AND ALLOCATION

Thus, on July 16 the pump price of the RON95 petrol went up by five sen per liter to RM1.85/liter. A second price hike came into effect on Dec 4 when the subsidies for petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were further reduced.

Thus the pump price of RON95 fuel went up by another five sen to RM1.90/liter. Earlier, effective 2 Nov 2010, the pump price for RON97 was increased 5 sen from RM2.10/litre to RM2.15/litre and on Dec 1 the price was revised to RM 2.30/liter.

The diesel and the LPG too saw the price increasing by five sen to RM1.80/ liter and RM1.90 per kg respectively.

"The subsidy figures provided by Idris Jala was a point of contention as there seemed to be some confusion over the definition of subsidy and the development allocation.

"The allocation for social and infrastructure development is for the well-being of the people and it is the people's right. It is unlike the subsidy for fuel and food to keep their prices at affordable level," said Mohd Yusof.

BITTER SUGAR SUBDIDY WITHDRAWAL

Meanwhile, once again consumers faced sugar shortage early in the year not due to limited supply of the commodity but due to hoarding and smuggling by those who want to make a quick buck.

A rise of 20 sen per kg on January immediately resolved the supply issue and consumers saw another rise of 25 sen on July 16, 2010.

Mohd Yusof pointed out the new price of sugar at RM2.10 sekilogram would not pose a problem for consumers if they practice a healthy diet

"Currently Malaysians are consuming more sugar than they should. If they consume sugar accordingly, the new price poses no impact on their expenses," he added.

No matter what Malaysians should count their blessings as the price of sugar in Malaysia is still far cheaper compared with RM3.50/kilogram in Indonesia, RM3.80 in Singapore and RM2.80 in Thailand.

IMPLICATION FROM PRICE HIKES

While the rise in the prices of fuel and sugar per se is still manageable but its far reaching impact on other daily necessities is what puts consumers in the losing end.

Mohd Yusof noted the rise pushes up the prices of food and beverages.

"It is hoped that the government will take action to reduce the impact.

Past experience show the rise in the prices of both caused the increase in the prices of other items in tandem."

Action to control the prices can be done through the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act.

2011 PROSPECTS

In 2011, consumers can hope for better protection of their rights with several new laws and amendments proposed to the existing ones.

Mohd Yusof pointed out among the new laws to come into effect in 2011 is the Competition Act to ensure healthy competition in business that at the end benefits the consumer through good services and products.

Commenting on the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act, he said the regulations enable the government to take action on businesses that set the prices according to their whims and fancies.

"The National Price Council will set the appropriate profit margins for the respective sectors. In the event the traders sell at very high prices, enforcement action can be taken against them," he said.

On the Advertising Committee under the Consumer Protection Act, Mohd Yusof said it is to monitor the advertisements in the mass media to ensure there is no misrepresentation or violations of consumer laws.

According to Mohd Yusof, the updated National Consumer Policy would be reintroduced as well.

"Fomca hopes that the National Development Plan also takes cognizance of the consumer rights in the country. This has to be integrated with other policies," he added.

HALAL

On issues relating to halal or the halal logo, Mohd Yusof felt that the proposed amendments to Trade Description Act would strengthen the role of Jakim and JAIN as the halal certifying authority in the country.

At present Muslims are confused on the myriad of halal logo and products used by manufactures and traders including the halal logo of Jakim and JAIN.

"Fomca hopes that the amendments will help alleviate confusion among Muslims.

"At the same time Fomca hopes that traders and manufacturers who sell their products to Muslims in Malaysia will apply for the halal certification before marketing their products.

"The same goes to restaurants and hotels. Muslims must put pressure on the manufacturers, restaurants and hotels by not buying or using services that has no halal certification," stressed Mohd Yusof.

CONSUMER OPTIMISM IN 2011

Despite the new challenges awaiting consumers in 2011, Mohd Yusof is optimistic that the government will try its best to avoid further subsidy cuts as there are indications the 13th general election will be held in 2011.

The indications are clear including the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that has been postponed from the original date sometime in the mid of 2011.

Fomca hopes that the government has its own plans and strategy to ensure the low and medium wage earners will not be left out in the government's effort to create a high income society and in withdrawing the subsidies.

"The allocation for education and healthcare needs to be increased so that the public is not burdened by the high cost for both.

"If the government pays attention to both sectors, that the education level of the people could be enhanced to create skilled workers and professionals. This will enable them to earn high income.

"A good healthcare system ensures the people's well-being which in turn ensures their work productivity is not disrupted," said Mohd Yusof.

-- BERNAMA

Rabu, Disember 15, 2010

Bijak merancang jimatkan kos

Oleh Siti Zarinah Sahib
TAMAN TEMA...bagi ibu bapa

yang kurang berkemampuan

boleh memilih taman tema

berhampiran untuk membawa

anak bercuti.
TAMAN TEMA...bagi ibu bapa yang kurang berkemampuan boleh memilih taman tema berhampiran untuk membawa anak bercuti.
RIADAH...ibu bapa perlu babitkan

anak ketika memilih tempat percutian

dan aktiviti yang diadakan.
RIADAH...ibu bapa perlu babitkan anak ketika memilih tempat percutian dan aktiviti yang diadakan.
PERCUTIAN indah keluarga bukan bermakna membawa anak menginap di hotel mewah atau melancong melangkaui sempadan kawasan kediaman, tetapi sebanyak mana masa mampu diluangkan ibu bapa untuk mereka.
Bagi mereka yang berpendapatan rendah, cukup sekadar membawa anak berjalan di bandar, pantai atau pusat perkelahan berdekatan sambil luangkan masa berbual, bergurau senda dan bermain-main dengan mereka.

Menurut pembimbing ibu bapa bertauliah, Zaid Mohamad, ramai ibu bapa berpendapat bercuti perlu ke luar daerah atau menginap di hotel, tetapi sebenarnya tidak.
"Membawa anak bersiar-siar di bandar atau taman sudah cukup menggembirakan mereka. Apa yang penting kualiti masa yang dapat diluangkan ibu bapa bagi melayan anak.
"Bagi ibu bapa yang kurang mampu, bersiar-siar di taman sudah cukup mengeratkan kemesraan bersama keluarga malah boleh dilakukan selalu kerana tidak memerlukan kos yang tinggi," katanya yang juga penulis buku Ibu Bapa Bijak, Anak Hebat.
Zaid memberitahu, terdapat tiga perkara penting yang perlu diberi perhatian dalam merancang percutian terutama bagi keluarga berpendapatan rendah iaitu kos pengangkutan, penginapan, makan dan minum.
Peruntukan bajet antara RM500 hingga RM1,000 tidak sekali-kali menjadi halangan jika ibu bapa bijak menanganinya dan memfokuskan minda untuk mencari jalan penyelesaian.
Daripada aspek pengangkutan, menurutnya, bandingkan kos pengangkutan awam dengan pengangkutan persendirian.
Mana yang lebih murah daripada keseluruhan jumlahnya? Jangan lupa mengira sekali kos petrol dan parkir. Bahagikan jumlahnya dengan jumlah penumpang. Biasanya, untuk sebuah keluarga, pengangkutan sendiri mungkin lebih murah.

Daripada aspek penginapan, cuba dapatkan tawaran murah di laman sesawang yang dipercayai untuk mendapatkan tawaran secara dalam talian.
Di laman sesawang smartparents.com.my, ada satu pautan laman yang menawarkan diskaun sehingga 70 peratus daripada harga biasa.
Pilih apartmen kerana ini adalah cara paling murah untuk keluarga besar kerana biasanya boleh memuatkan lebih ramai penghuni dan lebih murah harganya. Kemudahan disediakan juga sama dengan hotel.
Port Dickson misalnya banyak menyediakan kemudahan berbentuk apartmen. Alternatif lain ialah dengan mencari rumah atau banglo penginapan untuk disewa. Biasanya kos keseluruhan akan jauh lebih murah berbanding hotel.
"Saya sendiri pernah menyewa sebuah banglo sembilan bilik di Cameron Highlands pada kadar RM150 saja setiap bilik.
"Beberapa keluarga dapat menginap beramai-ramai untuk menghasilkan sebuah percutian meriangkan," ujarnya. Alternatif yang paling murah ialah berkhemah di tempat yang menarik. Cuma perlu ada satu khemah dan beg tidur untuk setiap orang.

Daripada sudut makanan dan minuman, jika menginap di hotel, tidak perlu makan di sana kerana kosnya agak tinggi.
Sebaliknya, boleh memandu sedikit dan mencari kedai makan yang agak bersih dan selesa. Jika menginap beramai-ramai, contohnya di banglo Cameron Highlands, anda boleh menempah makanan secara katering daripada warung berdekatan.
Rundingkan harga terbaik kerana anda akan menempah makanan dan minuman dari kedai itu sepanjang percutian. "Daripada pengalaman saya, kosnya hanyalah RM10 sehari setiap orang untuk makan pagi, tengah hari dan malam yang ringkas tapi memuaskan.

"Jika anda tinggal di servis apartmen, ia lebih menjimatkan kerana anda boleh menggunakan dapurnya untuk memasak sendiri. Misalnya ketika sarapan, anda boleh menyediakan roti, telur atau bijirin.

"Dalam hal ini, ibu bapa perlu membuat belanjawan mini khas untuk percutian itu terutama untuk makan minum, tiket dan cenderamata.
Kemudian anda boleh membelanjakannya tanpa rasa bersalah selagi di dalam lingkungan belanjawan itu," katanya.
Menurutnya, bagi ibu bapa yang anak-anaknya sudah bersekolah sebaiknya minta pendapat mereka dalam membuat keputusan.
Bincang bersama tempat yang ingin dilawati dan setelah bersetuju, biarkan mereka membuat kajian melalui Internet atau majalah berkenaan tempat menarik atau aktiviti yang boleh dilakukan.
Di bawah pengawasan ibu bapa, biarkan mereka membuat satu program lawatan yang menarik.
Dengan cara ini, ibu bapa akan mendapat kerjasama penuh anak sebelum dan ketika bercuti. Ini juga memberi peluang untuk mereka mengasah bakat kepimpinan dan bertanggungjawab menguruskan sebuah aktiviti keluarga. Di samping itu, ibu bapa boleh menjimatkan wang tanpa perlu mengambil pakej lawatan.
Menurut Zaid, bagi ibu yang memiliki anak lebih daripada empat orang, semua perancangan bergantung kepada kesediaan mereka untuk berjalan jauh. Jika mereka tidak biasa atau bersedia, ini mungkin akan menimbulkan tekanan bukannya keseronokan. Tetapi jika mereka boleh berkelakuan baik, jarak perjalanan yang jauh tidak menjadi masalah.
"Ibu bapa boleh melatih anak dari kecil dengan mewajibkan mereka memakai tali pinggang keledar supaya mereka akan lebih berdisiplin sepanjang perjalanan," jelasnya.

Kata Zaid lagi, memilih lokasi percutian juga bergantung kepada usia anak misalnya untuk anak di bawah usia setahun, percutian ke taman bunga atau melawat tempat perkelahan yang selamat dan semula jadi adalah sangat sesuai.
Ini kerana mereka dapat melihat langit membiru dan pokok menghijau seperti di Taman Tasik Perdana atau Titiwangsa, namun perlu mempunyai kemudahan asas berdekatan.

Bagi anak berusia dua hingga empat tahun, tempat yang mempunyai kolam air untuk kanak-kanak atau taman permainan yang menarik sesuai untuk mereka manakala pada usia empat hingga enam tahun sudah bijak menilai dan berfikir justeru kawasan yang sesuai seperti pantai, taman tema air, taman tema kanak-kanak atau taman haiwan.

Bagi yang sudah bersekolah, kawasan percutian sesuai ialah taman tema, tempat bersejarah atau percutian berbentuk mencabar. Bagi kanak-kanak berusia di bawah tujuh tahun, sebuah percutian yang mudah dan ringkas, contohnya menginap tiga hari dua malam di pantai peranginan, tanpa program yang terlalu padat sesuai dengan usia mereka.
Bagi anak bersekolah rendah pula percutian adalah masa paling sesuai untuk merapatkan hubungan kekeluargaan dan pembelajaran, sekali gus mendorong mereka menghargai dunia di samping mencipta memori indah yang kekal sepanjang hayat.

Untuk anak bersekolah menengah, amat penting bagi ibu bapa memastikan pendapat mereka diterima dan sesuai dengan minat mereka. Percutian terbaik adalah percutian yang seimbang iaitu terdapat masa bebas untuk mereka melakukan aktiviti kegemaran mereka dan masa indah bersama keluarga.
Tip merancang percutian:
1. Merancang dan menunggu sebuah percutian adalah separuh daripada kenikmatan. Sebaiknya percutian itu dirancang enam bulan lebih awal.
Jadualkan di dalam kalendar keluarga dan umumkan kepada anak-anak. Ini akan memberikan masa untuk kita mencari penginapan terbaik dengan harga berpatutan sebelum penuh.
Jangan lupa membabitkan anak dalam memilih lokasi dan aktiviti.
2. Buat belanjawan untuk menyimpan sejumlah wang contohnya RM100 hingga RM200 sebulan untuk dimasukkan ke dalam tabung percutian.
Pastikan anak juga tahu akan perkara ini dan jika mereka meminta untuk membeli sesuatu akan mengakibatkan percutian keluarga tertunda sedikit. Membuat tabung percutian juga dapat menjamin keseronokan yang maksimum kerana ibu bapa tidak perlu menanggung hutang kad kredit selepas kembali daripada bercuti nanti.
3. Pada saat pergi bercuti biarkan anak menyediakan dan membawa bagasi masing-masing. Ibu bapa hanya perlu memberitahu jumlah dan jenis pakaian (pakaian bersantai, berjalan-jalan atau tidur) yang perlu dibawa.
4. Buat senarai barangan yang perlu dibawa seminggu sebelum tarikh bertolak. Ini akan memastikan barangan penting tidak tertinggal.
5. Kemaskan rumah sebelum pergi. Ini penting kerana apabila balik nanti, keluarga akan merasa tenang melihat keadaan rumah yang kemas dan tersusun.
Untuk maklumat lanjut, Zaid Mohamad boleh dihubungi menerusi laman sesawang www.SmartParents.com.my.

Mensyukuri Rezeki Menambahkan Berkat


Hadith :
Rasulullah s.a.w bersabda, maksudnya:”Makanan untuk seorang mencukupi untuk dua orang dan makanan untuk dua orang mencukupi untuk empat orang dan makanan untuk empat orang mencukupi untuk lapan orang.”
Riwayat Bukhari dan Muslim
Huraian:
i) Setiap Muslim hendaklah mempunyai sifat qanaah iaitu redha dan menerima apa yang ada tanpa banyak menuntut perkara yang bukan keperluannya.
ii) Lawan bagi sifat qanaah ialah tamak yang menjadikan seseorang itu sentiasa cemburu dan dengki dengan rezeki yang diperolehi oleh orang lain.
iii) Kekayaan yang sejati adalah kekayaan iman yang tercermin dari kesederhanaan hidupnya dan kesederhanaan itu tercermin dari sifatnya yang qanaah.
iv) Salah satu cara untuk menanamkan sifat qanaah kepada diri dan keluarga ialah dengan sentiasa mengucapkan "alhamdulillah" di atas setiap perbuatan atau perkara baik yang diterima.
v) Rezeki adalah ketentuan Allah S.W.T. Untuk menambah keberkatannya hendaklah membiasakan diri dengan sifat pemurah dan tidak bakhil untuk bersedekah kepada orang lain kerana hal ini akan memberikan ketenangan kepada diri malah akan lebih disayangi oleh masyarakat kerana sesungguhnya, harta yang kita miliki terdapat hak-hak orang lain di dalamnya yang wajib kita tunaikan.
Sumber : Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia

Money Doesn't Buy Happiness Over Long Term : Global Study

LOS ANGELES, Dec 14 (Bernama) -- Raising a country from poverty to affluence does not necessarily make the nation's population happier, China's Xinhua news agency quoted a new study of 54 countries worldwide, as saying.

The study researcher Richard Easterlin, a professor of economics at the University of Southern California said: "Happiness doesn't increase with the rate of economic growth even in less-developed countries or transitional countries."

"We already know that to be true of developed countries, but now it's been extended to countries of lower levels of income," Easterlin said in remarks published by Livescience.com on Monday.

The researchers collected happiness data between 10 and 34 years from 17 Latin American countries, 17 developed countries, 11 Eastern European countries transitioning from socialism to capitalism and nine-less developed countries, according to the report.

They found no relationship between economic growth and happiness in any case.

Even in a country like China, where per capita income has doubled in 10 years, happiness levels haven't budged, the report quoted the researchers as saying.

South Korea and Chile have shown similarly astronomical economic growth with no increase in satisfaction.

"With incomes rising so rapidly in these three different countries, it seems extraordinary that there are no surveys that register the marked improvement in subjective well-being that mainstream economists and policy makers worldwide would expect to find," the researchers wrote.

"If you look across countries and compare happiness and GDP ( gross domestic product) per capita, you find that the higher the country's income, the more likely it is to be happier," Easterlin said.

"So the expectation based on point-in-time data is if income goes up, then happiness will go up. The paradox is, when you look at change over time, that doesn't happen."

The paradox seems impossible on the surface, but there's good reason happiness and income could be linked in the short-term and not over many years, according to Easterlin.

As people's incomes rise, so do their aspirations. When incomes fall, he said, aspirations don't, he said, adding that no one wants to give up the standard of living they've grown accustomed to.

"The higher your income goes up the more your aspiration goes up. Over time, the change in aspirations negates the effect of changing income."

"Economic growth may not be the way you get happier," he said, adding that there are other avenues that may produce more happiness.

-- BERNAMA

Isnin, Disember 06, 2010

Peruntukan RM2.68b disedia

ARKIB : 02/12/2010


MOHAMED Khaled Nordin melekapkan tapak tangan di atas skrin diperhatikan oleh Abdul Rahim Mohd. Noor (dua dari kiri) di Majlis Pra-Pelancaran Program Pembiayaan Ijazah Lanjutan di Putrajaya, semalam.


PUTRAJAYA 1 Dis. – Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi memperuntukkan RM2.68 bilion bagi melahirkan puluhan ribu graduan di peringkat ijazah Sarjana (MyMaster), ijazah Kedoktoran Falsafah (MyPhD) dan PhD Industri menerusi Rancangan Malaysia Kesepuluh (RMK-10).
Menterinya, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin berkata, dalam tempoh lima tahun, kerajaan optimis dapat melahirkan 5,000 graduan PhD selain 40,000 graduan MyMaster, 500 graduan PhD Industri dan 9,700 graduan untuk Skim Latihan Akademik institusi pengajian tinggi awam (IPTA).
Katanya, sejajar dengan matlamat menjayakan transformasi ekonomi negara bagi mencapai status negara maju pada 2020, kerajaan perlu melahirkan modal insan berpengetahuan tinggi, inovatif dan kreatif.
“Menerusi program itu, kita dapat merealisasikan hasrat menjadikan Malaysia hab inovasi apabila hasil penyelidikan dan kajian dilakukan di IPT tempatan dan bukan lagi di luar negara.
“Dalam konteks PhD Industri pula, ia dilihat sebagai satu pendekatan inovatif untuk melebarkan penyertaan khususnya profesional dan pengamal industri untuk menyambung pengajian di peringkat PhD melalui mod pengajian bukan konvensional,” katanya pada majlis pra pelancaran program tersebut, di sini hari ini.
Katanya, pendekatan baru strategik itu bakal memperkasa lagi hubungan industri dan akademia khususnya melalui penyeliaan bersama, penggunaan kemudahan serta perkongsian kepakaran sesama mereka.
Mohamed Khaled berkata, sebanyak 15 IPT tempatan telah menyatakan kesediaan untuk bekerjasama menawarkan PhD Industri dan jumlah itu akan bertambah dari semasa ke semasa.
Beliau berkata, dari segi kaedah pelaksanaannya, penuntut disyaratkan bekerja dalam negara sebagai syarat kontrak dan perlu membayar balik kepada kerajaan jika didapati bekerja di luar negara.
Katanya, bagi MyMaster pula, tiada syarat dikenakan tetapi jika penuntut gagal menghabiskan pengajian, mereka perlu membayar balik pembiayaan sebanyak RM10,000.
Menurutnya, jumlah maksimum bagi pembiayaan MyPhD ialah RM24,000 manakala bagi MyPhD Industri sebanyak RM50,000 kerana ia melibatkan soal penyeliaan yang perlu dilakukan pihak industri.
“PhD Industri memberi tumpuan kepada profesional dan pengamal industri dalam menghasilkan inovasi dan meningkatkan daya saing melalui penyelidikan berasaskan industri,” katanya.
Permohonan dalam talian yang sudah mula dibuka hari ini dan terbuka kepada pelajar awam, kakitangan swasta dan pensyarah IPTS.
Antara IPT yang menawarkan tempat pengajian ialah semua IPTA dan IPTS berkaitan dengan kerajaan seperti Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Universiti Multimedia dan Universiti Tenaga Nasional.

Strong retirement plan poser

Saturday December 4, 2010

By LEONG HUNG YEE
hungyee@thestar.com.my

How to secure high enough returns in a low interest rate regime

HAVE you started to think about your retirement? Do you have a solid financial retirement plan? Do you know how much you need? Perhaps, you may think that you are too young to retire but any financial planner will tell you it is never too early to think about retirement planning.

According to AXA Retirement Scope 2010, Malaysians have become more concerned about their ability to finance a comfortable retirement experience. Only 37% consider their future income to be sufficient compared with 62% in 2007.

We all know how important planning for retirement is, but how do we plan for it in a low interest rate regime like in our current times.The low interest rate has taken its toll on savings sitting in fixed deposits. These factors negatively impact the retirement planning process, especially if you want to retire and live well.

The alternative way is to invest into unit trusts, bonds, equities or pay for insurance premiums. Financial planners say it is important to make the money work for you and make it work hard as a way to beat inflation in a diversified range of instruments and markets. It may not be sufficient to just save money in a savings or fixed deposit account, especially in this low interest rate environment, as money saved may not grow at the rate necessary to meet one's target, says Jeremy Wong, a financial planner with a local insurance agency.

Wong adds that the interest rate offered by banks' fixed deposits are relatively low. He says, for example, if you deposit RM10,000 for a 12-month fixed deposit, then the return on an annual basis that you are looking at is probably around RM350, which means less than RM30 return per month. RM30 a month is not even enough for your petrol for a week! he exclaims.

For those who save occasionally or regularly but not necessarily for retirement may fail also if they do not take into consideration the inflation and rising medical costs, Wong says, adding that the rate of return from the Employee Provident Fund of 5% to 6% may not be sufficient to offset inflation in the future.
 
Pension fund
Last year, the pension fund declared a dividend of 5.65%. The country's headline inflation rate increased to 1.9% on an annual basis on higher consumer prices. Another financial planner with a foreign bank, Sophie Lee, says fresh graduates who just joined the workforce are in a very good position to start investing. At their age, they have very few commitments and could afford to invest a good ratio of their earnings. And of course they must pick the good yielding investments, Lee says. She adds that those who have just started working will have a longer investing period and could afford to invest in slightly riskier assets such as equities.
She cautions that one should check that one's investments are growing at the rate that one intends, but not panic if there are short-term fluctuations, as this is part and parcel of investing.

Wong concurs with Lee. However, he says they should have some investments in bonds or unit trust in their portfolio in order to be diversified because the equity markets could go up as well as the tendency for the bond market to fall and vice versa. It will help to buffer or stabilise investments even when particular segments of the market are experiencing drastic movements up or down, he says. Both Lee and Wong remind us that while deploying the retirement benefits, one should not only worry about the interest rates but also ensure safety of the investments.