KUALA LUMPUR: Four people, including three foreigners, have been arrested over their suspected involvement in a new Islamic State (IS) cell based in the Philippines, Malaysian police said on Monday (Jan 23).
The suspects are a 31-year-old Filipino man, two male Bangladeshi nationals aged 27 and 28, and a 27-year-old Malaysian woman.
They were arrested in Sabah and Kuala Lumpur between Jan 13 and 19.
The suspects are allegedly involved in a new Islamic State terror cell that planned to make Sabah a transit point for terrorists from Middle East and South Asia to be smuggled into Mindanao in the Philippines, police said.
The cell was formed from an IS cell led by former University Malaya lecturer Dr Mahmud Ahmad, merging with the Abu Sayyaf group under Isnilon Hapilon.
The Filipino suspect is believed to be a member of the cell. He worked as a watch salesman in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah before his arrest on Jan 13.
(Photo: Royal Malaysia Police, Special Branch E8 division)
He was allegedly tasked to recruit new IS members from Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh as well as ethnic Rohingyas, and arrange to smuggle them into Marawi City in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.
He had recruited the other three suspects, including an unemployed Malaysian woman who admitted to police that she planned to marry him.
The woman, who is originally from Selangor, was recruited in January through social media. She flew to Kota Kinabalu to meet him, and the two had planned to sneak into the southern Philippines via Sandakan in Sabah.
(Photo: Royal Malaysia Police, Special Branch E8 division)
The two Bangladeshi suspects were arrested in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 19. The pair were working as salesmen.
Both are believed to have links with IS militant groups in Bangladesh and planned to travel to the southern Philippines.
(Photos: Royal Malaysia Police, Special Branch E8 division)
Malaysian police said that, with the arrests, the Special Branch – its intelligence arm – had succeeded in “debilitating” the new terror cell.
PHNOM PENH: The Coconut School is quite a sight to behold.
Flanked by the traditional stilted homes and lush vegetation of a Cambodian island village, it is a jolt of colour, a flash of inspiration.
And it has been created from little more than garbage.
Used coffee cups form a sweeping shaped roof over the school’s entrance, while coloured plastic has been cut and shaped into flowers for a large mural of the Cambodian flag. Once discarded beer bottles shimmer as the foundations for walls as well as pots for small plants and flowers.
The roof of the entrance to the school is made from discarded takeaway coffee cups and bottles.
Aside from the necessary structures to keep rain out of the classrooms, the whole Coconut School is made from waste products, mostly plastic.
It is the creation and passion project of Ouk Vanday, a former hotel manager who gave up his normal working life to begin a project not only to educate children, but also to inspire change in his country.
Troubled by the amount of plastic waste dumped in and around Phnom Penh’s rivers and streets, he was looking for a spark of inspiration. A bicycle ride around Koh Dach – or Silk Island – near the capital where he saw children playing instead of going to school provided just that.
Ouk Vanday helps a student on computers donated to the school.
“The concept is when we teach the children, we offer them knowledge,” the 31-year-old said. “In Cambodia, even if people have education, they still throw away plastic every day because they’ve learned this from their parents.
“It’s not easy to stop them, so that’s why we show them the benefit of the plastic. When you throw the plastic, you throw the benefit.”
In January 2013, the school opened its doors to children living on the small island, who otherwise had to travel across the Mekong River to the city for their education. It does not replace the state school they are still required to attend, but supplements their learning, particularly at the weekend.
Plastic flanks the classrooms, where the students learn English.
With the help of seven volunteer teachers, Vanday offers three subjects – English, computer studies and recycling. The latter is what sets Coconut School apart from normal schools, and guides the mantra of its founder.
He believes that giving the 230 or so students “ownership” of the school by helping build its walls and keeping its grounds clean will inspire them to enact change in the community.
Education is free for the mostly primary-aged students.
“We teach the children to learn, but (to) learn is not to ‘follow me’,” he said.
“Learn to think. Think for what? Think to create a new thing for the world. We teach the children to wonder. Wonder, think, do, understand, share, be happy.”
The Coconut School is free for the students to attend. The only “fee” is that they bring plastic from their home or community to help build new parts of the school or toys that can be sold to raise money for the school’s operation.
Still, he chooses not to campaign or seek funding from the government or charities. Vanday estimates that his running costs are just US$150 per month – computers have been donated and he is looking to install solar panels to reduce the cost of electricity on site.
Coconut School is aimed at helping children on Koh Dach, who otherwise had limited local education.
“I never go to talk in public, saying ‘I do this, do that’,” he said.
“You ask yourself, ‘are you doing right or wrong?’ When you are doing right, do more. If you have to go alone, you go alone. The bright will let the people in the dark see.”
He admits his project is too small to bring about immediate results on a national scale, but undeterred, he says he will continue to press on and expand where possible. A smaller offshoot of the Coconut School will open soon in Kirirom National Park, where no proper school currently operates, while a similarly themed “Palm School” is also open in Kampong Speu.
This Cambodian flag mural was made by cutting different coloured plastic.
“We are part of global problem so let’s work side by side. Our world needs us to protect it. Not for yourself, not for myself but our children in 100 years. That is our responsibility,” he said.
“Don’t wait for someone to change you, change yourself. And people will join you in the future.”
BEIJING: Toxic smog has found itself in the dock in China, as the authorities are taken to court over a problem that has choked entire regions, put public health at risk and forced the closure of schools and roads.
At the helm is a group of human rights lawyers, who despite increasing government hostility to their work on some of China’s most sensitive cases, say popular feeling is behind them when it comes to pollution that is literally off the charts.
“Chinese people aren’t too concerned about societal problems and things that aren’t happening to them personally, but this issue is different: everyone is a victim and is personally influenced by breathing polluted air,” lawyer Yu Wensheng told AFP.
Yu Wensheng says the Chinese government should bear responsibility for its role in the pollution. (Photo: AFP)
He is among a group of six lawyers who began filing their suits in December after a choking cloud of haze descended on China’s northeast, affecting some 460 million people.
The campaign comes amid growing public anger over China’s bad air, which has fuelled protests and spurred emigration among the wealthy.
Yu, who has defended prominent civil rights lawyers targeted by the government and people detained for supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, said the importance and impact of the pollution suit “far exceeds” his previous human rights cases.
Even acquaintances opposed to Yu’s politics and police at a client’s detention centre had expressed support, he said, noting it was “very unusual”.
However, there are concerns authorities might be trying to muzzle online discussion on the issue and quell discontent by suppressing information on air quality.
In December, a week of thick haze forced cities across the northeast to go on “red alert” for nearly a week, closing schools, factories and construction sites and taking around half of vehicles off the roads.
As visibility dropped and airports cancelled hundreds of flights, people took to social media to vent their rage against a government that had long promised to solve the problem.
But comments about the heavy smog quickly began disappearing from the web.
On Wednesday, the Meteorological Administration also ordered local weather bureaus to stop issuing smog alerts, which authorities said was intended to improve coordination.
A document submitted by Yu’s associate to the Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court accused the government of “severe dereliction of duty” in pollution management and sacrificing human health in pursuit of “toxic GDP growth” by turning a blind eye to the excessive emissions of local companies.
The lawyers have little hope of winning or even successfully filing their cases and are viewing the suits as “mostly symbolic”, Yu said.
The document asked for authorities to publish an apology online and in the local state-run newspaper for a week, and hand over compensation of 65 yuan ($9.50) for the price of his smog mask and 9,999 yuan for emotional damages.
He hopes the suits will help keep the issue in the public eye, adding he wants to inspire others to file complaints.
“Our main goal is to raise people’s awareness of pollution and wake them up to how the government should bear responsibility for its inaction and ineffectual response,” he said.
Notably, China can clear the skies for important occasions such as the 2014 APEC summit or the 2008 Olympics, but does so selectively due to the high economic cost.
“They can do it, but they do not,” Yu said.
‘SMOG VICTIMS OURSELVES’
Another lawyer Ma Wei, who is suing the city of Tianjin, said he has received no official response even weeks after the court was legally required to issue one.
Instead, the public security bureau and other authorities have tried to pressure him to retract his suit.
“I refused and told them, ‘I’m doing this so that you can breathe clean air, too,'” he said.
The lawyers are used to harassment. Since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, the country has cracked down on civil rights defenders.
Though the government initially targeted political activists and human rights campaigners, it has increasingly turned its attention to the legal professionals who represent them.
In 2014, authorities imprisoned and tortured Yu for 99 days for allegedly “disturbing public order”.
Still, he is not afraid.
“We are lawyers,” he said, “but also first and foremost citizens and smog victims ourselves.”
“If we do things according to the law and still get detained,” he added, “it will be just the thing to show people the true nature of our so-called ‘rule of law’.”
Washington – Donald Trump and his chief spokesman launched an unprecedented assault on the media Saturday for a US president’s first full day in office, accusing reporters of downplaying the turnout at his inauguration.
Trump, visiting the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in nearby Langley, Virginia, insisted against all evidence that he drew 1.5 million people to his Friday swearing-in ceremony.
“I made a speech. I looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, million and a half people,” he told CIA staff.
“They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. And they said, Donald Trump did not draw well,” he added.
Trump said one network estimated turnout at 250,000.
“Now, that’s not bad. But it’s a lie,” Trump said. He falsely claimed there were people stretching from the steps of the Capitol, where he spoke, along 20 blocks back to the Washington Monument.
“So we caught them and we caught them in a beauty and I think they’re going to pay a big price,” said Trump.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer doubled down on the accusation, using his first press conference in the White House briefing room to blast the journalists seated before him for “deliberately false reporting” on crowd size.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period!” Spicer said, his loud and abrasive tone catching nearly everyone in the room off guard.
“These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”
Spicer left the briefing without taking questions.
An estimated 1.8 million people flooded the National Mall area in 2009 when Barack Obama was first sworn in as president, according to federal and local agencies at the time.
Washington authorities reportedly predicted 800,000 to 900,000 would attend Trump’s inauguration Friday, about half of the 2009 crowd.
Aerial shots of Donald Trump’s inauguration (left) and Barack Obama’s in 2009, viewed from the Washington Monument. (Photo: Reuters)
Spicer appeared eager to lay down the new law with the press, whom his boss repeatedly criticized on the campaign trail and even branded mainstream media outlets “fake news.”
The intensity of Spicer’s delivery suggested he and Trump were furious at the coverage of the inauguration, which many outlets said fell well short of Obama’s 2009 inaugural in terms of crowd size.
A comparison of aerial photos taken on January 20, 2009 and Friday appear to bear that out.
Washington city authorities do not provide official crowd counts but TV footage clearly showed the gathering did not stretch all the way to the Washington Monument as Trump asserted.
Trump’s latest attack on news organizations came during a rambling aside as he visited CIA headquarters on a fence-mending mission after his public rejection of the assessment by US intelligence agencies that Russia meddled to try to help him win the November election.
Trump, standing in front of a spot sacred to the CIA – a wall with stars honoring employees killed while serving the country – proclaimed he is fully behind the spy agency.
He eventually returned to the issue of media coverage of his inauguration and said the National Mall, divided up into sections for Friday’s ceremony, was uniformly crammed with people.
“You saw that. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field. I’m like, wait a minute,” he said.
The outrage over crowd size came on a day that as many as two million people flooded into streets of cities across the United States in peaceful but passionate women-led protests against the new commander-in-chief.
At the main “Women’s March on Washington,” organizers put the projected turnout at half a million.
NEW CPU cooling fan for HP Home 2000-104CA LV987UA 2000-120CA LP851UA 2000-130CA LP825UA 2000-140CA LP852UA 2000-150CA LP826UA 2000-151CA LP853UA 2000-208CA QC190UA 2000-210US LW365UA 2000-211HE LW368UA 2000-216NR LW430UA 2000-217NR LW431UA 2000-219DX LW428UA 2000-224CA QC192UA 2000-227CL LW370UA 2000-228CA QC191UA 2000-239DX LW433UA 2000-239WM LW371UA 2000-240CA QA076UA 2000-250CA LW372UA 2000-299WM QE282UA 2000-300CA A2Z17UA 2000-320CA A1V20UA 2000-329WM QE334UA 2000-340CA A1V21UA 2000-350US Q
QIAN’AN, CHINA: Day and night, huge chimneys belch out thick smoke into the often-grey skies on the outskirts of Qian’an city, about 220 kilometres southeast of Beijing.
Steel mills around the area have been identified by the government as among the major emitters of air pollutants in northern China.
Songting village lies at the heart of the area. It is dubbed “the source of Beijing’s smog” by some local media and residents have also complained about yellowish ground water.
The seemingly dull village is also closely guarded, tucked between steel mills Jiujiang Wire and Hebei Shougang Qian’an Iron and Steel, as well as a coal chemical plant.
According to Chinese media reports, the pollution is so bad that many villagers have died from cancer and other illnesses.
On Channel NewsAsia’s first visit to the village, we were tailed by a white car so we did not stop until we had left the area. But we went back again in the afternoon.
During our short visit, the village looked abandoned with many houses overgrown with weed and we did not see any residents. When we exited the village, we were blocked by a car whose driver got out to take pictures of our vehicle.
And when we tried to leave Qian’an, there were cars tailing us for almost an hour. It was clear someone did not want the story to be told.
Dong Liansai, a climate and energy campaigner from Greenpeace, said: “This shows that they lack the awareness, and also, the fines for violating emission targets could be too low. So it’s not enough to deter them from polluting the environment and they feel that by spending some resources to chase away people who go there to investigate, it’ll be okay.”
Channel NewsAsia did not get to speak to any villagers in Songting, but residents in the nearby village of Ma’ke showed us the sediments that were left behind after their well water was given time to settle. They also said that no matter how many times they cleaned their house, it was always covered in a layer of dust.
One of them, Madam Wang, said: “The air pollution is not good for the lungs and we don’t dare to … drink the water. If we have the economic means to move away, of course we want to.”
Residents in a village in Qian’an say their well water has been affected by the smog. (Photo: Jeremy Koh)
Other residents echoed her sentiments.
One who did not want to be named said: “Of course we’re worried about our health. Many here have died from illnesses in their 50s. It’s not easy to diagnose. There have been brain hemorrhages and several have died from heart attacks.”
Another said: “I’m worried, but what can I do? No one cares. I want to leave, but if I leave, how can I survive? If I stay on, at least I can work and survive.”
More than three decades of breakneck economic growth has put a strain on China’s air, soil and water. In recent years, China has made fighting pollution a top priority, but that determination seems to have been weakened recently by the need to support growth as the Communist Party gets ready for a once-every-five-years congress later this year.
Just as the government declared stabilising economic growth last year, severe and prolonged smog returned.
Mr Dong from Greenpeace said: “We see that there are supervision mechanisms, but why are such mechanisms unable to effect a positive change?
“Firstly, can such mechanisms give companies a signal, a warning to show them that things are not how they were a few years ago, and that you will be punished if you don’t do a good job in protecting the environment? And also, are such mechanisms insufficient?”
A resident of a village in Qian’an showing the layer of smoke on his windowsill. (Photo: Jeremy Koh)
He added: “Many people still think they can get away with pollution. In other words, they’ll think that there aren’t many cats to catch the rats and everyone’s a rat, so maybe they won’t be caught.”
For residents living at ground zero of China’s fight against pollution, the future is truly foggy.
CENTRAL KALIMANTAN, Indonesia: Palm oil plantations are the single largest threat to the existence of orangutans in Indonesia’s fast depleting forests, according to Orangutan Foundation International.
The foundation, which supports the conservation and protection of orangutans, estimates that up to 5,000 of the animals are killed every year in palm oil concessions – a worrying situation for their survival as a species.
Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, plans to expand its plantations from 8 million hectares to 13 million hectares in four years.
The habitat of some orangutans was destroyed in the process and the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine in Central Kalimantan is one facility that tends to the primates which were either held in captivity or orphaned.
“We’ll take care of them 24 hours a day and try to give them natural food as well as take them out to the forest for training or school or nursing,” the centre’s senior administrator Waliyati said.
Holland, a baby orangutan at the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine in Central Kalimantan. (Photo: Sujadi Siswo)
She added that many of them have stayed in cages all their lives and do not know what it’s like to live in forests.
“Most of the orangutans were brought to the rehabilitation centre when they were still young – between the ages of two and three. They will spend about 10 years in the centre before they are released to the wild,” Ms Waliyati added.
Since it was established about 20 years ago, the centre has managed to release about 300 orangutans back into the wild.
However, finding a suitable site to release them is an increasingly difficult task as 80 per cent of the orangutan’s habitat has been cleared for plantations over the last two decades.
Still, there could be some respite for the threatened species after the Indonesian government launched a programme to restore parts of the country’s degraded forest ecosystem.
Rimba Raya Conservation, an environmental organisation awarded a concession area in Central Kalimantan, said it will lend a hand to save the orangutans.
Its general manager Antonius Jonatan said: “We are carrying out a survey with the Orangutan Foundation and Rimba Raya to pick a site. Our aim is to release some orangutans in Rimba Raya conservation area this year.”
There are several orangutan release sites in Kalimantan. One of the oldest is Tanjung Puting National Park’s Camp Leakey, which was established in 1999.
Camp Leakey has been transformed into a tourist attraction that allows visitors to watch orangutans in the wild. However, these primates are still fed at certain times of the day.
The compromise is crucial as it increases the species’ chances of survival, according to the camps’ chief ranger Faisal. “For the rehabilitated orangutans, there are more now. But for the wild ones it is difficult to ascertain how many there are because they keep moving,” he said.
A rehabilitated orangutan at Camp Leakey, Central Kalimantan. (Photo: Sujadi Siswo)
The Orangutan Conservancy estimates there are only about 45,000 orangutans left in Borneo and Sumatra, down from around 60,000 a decade ago.
At this rate, many experts estimate that orangutans could become extinct in the wild in less than 25 years.
Baaaq Handheld Water Misting Fan with Cooling Mist Humidifier for Beauty, Home, Office and Travel (Green)
[Note: If you find there is some water in the sink, it’s normal and there is NO DOUBT it’s BRAND NEW. Because we will test one by one, and ensure it’s workable before shipping.]Perfect Gift for your children, friends, boss, workmate and so on
1.This small fan comes with the overcharge circuit protection to keep the lithium battery safety and durable
2.Recharge the mini fan if you find the wind force and misty effect not well, it can be charged while using
3.Please use pure water to protect the humidifier, avoiding to use essential oil or other chemical corrosive substances
4. The mode button of the handheld fan has 3 different circulation mode selection: First-Fan Mode/ Second-Misty Mode/ Third-Fan+Misty
5.This personal fan will have a high frequency noise if the water shortage under the Misty or Fan+Misty mode
6.Please Note: This humidifier fan has a slightly larger noise than normal USB mini fans.
There are three reasons effecting the misty effect of the misting fan.
1. Lower power- please recharge the device if you find the wind and misty effect not well.
2. Aqueduct blockage : please shake the water tank a while to make the aqueduct unimpeded.
3. Atomizing transducer blockage: please clean the atomization chip with cotton swab soaked by alcohol or vinegar.
1. Power input: DC5V
2. Working current: 250mA(Fan); 350mA(Misty); 600mA(Fan+Misty)
3. Battery type: 18650
4. Battery capacity:2000mAh
5. Using time: 7 hours for Fan; 5 hours for Misty; 3 hours for Fan+Misty
6. Water tank capacity: 35ml
7. Using time: 45-60 minutes
8. Net weight: 254g
9. Unit Dimension: 91.6 x 59 x 183mm
Humidifier Fan x1
USB Cable x1
User Manual x13 Modes: First-Fan Mode, Second-Misty Mode, Third-Fan+Misty.
Two buttons to Operate: 1) “On/ Off” button to turn on and off the device, 2) “Power” Button is to choose the circulation modes you like.
Functional personal fan, rechargeable USB mini cooling fan and beauty humidifier 2 in 1.
Powered by rechargeable battery with a micro USB port, Light-weight and handle design,convenient to carry anywhere and anytime.
Silica gel plug: more compact and anti-spill water; Sink: larger capacity; The unique design of air outlet.
WASHINGTON: Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of United States on Friday (Jan 20), issuing a staunchly nationalist vow to put “America first” in his opening address to a country – and a world – watching a page of history turn.
“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” Trump said, pronouncing an end to business as usual in Washington.
“Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, DC. And giving it back to you, the people.”
“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first.”
“Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And, yes, together, we will make America great again,” Trump said.
President Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address at the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP)
Just moments before, the 70-year-old Republican billionaire placed his left hand on a bible used by Abraham Lincoln and recited the 35-word oath spoken since George Washington.
Trump’s inauguration caps the improbable rise to power of the Manhattan real estate mogul, who had never before held elected office, served in the government or the armed forces.
A crowd of hundreds of thousands looked on, including outgoing president Barack Obama and Trump’s defeated election opponent Hillary Clinton – who narrowly missed out on becoming America’s first female president.
US President Barack Obama (R) greets President-elect Donald Trump as he arrives at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, before his swearing-in ceremony. (Mandel NGAN/AFP)
Obama and his wife Michelle departed the Capitol by helicopter moments after the swearing-in ceremony, turning a page on eight years of Democratic leadership in the White House.
TAKE THE POWER BACK
When Trump descended the escalators of his glitzy New York tower in June 2015, his run for office was dismissed and even mocked.
His staff, many shunned by friends for supporting a man who has been labelled a racist and bigot by his critics, will become power players in the White House.
In the primaries, Trump dominated a crowded Republican presidential field with smash-mouth rhetoric and star power. He rode that same wave of anti-elite sentiment to victory over Clinton in the November election.
“January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again,” Trump said striking a populist and overtly political tone that is unusual for inaugural speeches.
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now.”
For Trump’s critics, there was disbelief that a man who 19 months ago hosted “The Apprentice” is now leader of the free world.
A short distance from the steps of the Capitol, where Trump was sworn in, police fired gas to disperse protesters. Stones were thrown and windows broken.
Demonstrators hold signs before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, DC. (ZACH GIBSON/AFP)
A 27-year-old financial worker from Tampa Bay in Florida, who did not want to give his name for fear of retaliation by his employer, said Trump’s election victory had left him fearful.
“There is nothing to hope for except for grassroots efforts to oppose him,” he said. A bigger anti-Trump rally is planned for Saturday.
At 70 years of age, Trump is the oldest man ever to begin work in the Oval Office.
He has vowed to tear up Obama’s policies and re-examine decades-old alliances with Europe and in Asia.
“For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military,” he said.
“We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.”
Earlier in the day, Trump had traced the steps of many presidents past, attending a prayer service at St. John’s Church before heading to the White House, where he was greeted warmly by Obama.
“Mr President-elect, how are you?” Obama asked his successor, after having deposited a letter in the Resolute desk and left the Oval Office for the last time.
Later Friday Trump will enter that office. His team plans a rolling series of daily executive orders to roll back Obama’s agenda.
But he arrives to the White House with a 37 per cent approval rating, the lowest on record, according to a CBS News poll.
His inauguration was notably more sparsely attended than that of Obama in 2009 and 2013.
SINGAPORE: Multipurpose port operator Jurong Port launched a new training institute called the Jurong Port Academy on Friday (Jan 20).
Located at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability (e2i), the Jurong Port Academy is part of the port’s efforts to transform the multi-purpose port industry by leveraging new technology and innovation to enhance capabilities, increase productivity and upgrade the skills of port workers.
The academy will cater to about 1,900 workers from Jurong Port and its partner companies, training them with a curriculum that includes classroom based training, simulator classes alongside on-site training and online learning.
Jurong Port – which handles general cargo such as like cement, sugar and MRT trains – has invested around S$2.8 million into the academy, with funding support from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.
Jurong Port chief executive officer Ooi Boon Hoe said on Friday that the port is facing challenges such as an ageing workforce and slow growth in productivity.
The port operator is hoping to change this by introducing new machinery to automate processes and reduce the manual nature of work.
The new 2400sq ft academy will teach workers to operate new equipment. For instance, they will learn to use sideloaders – forklifts that load and unload from the side, allowing them to navigate narrower walkways and spaces than standard forklifts – to make the handling of steel cargo easier.
The sideloader can be driven by one driver, replacing three stevedore workers in loading and unloading cargo from the ship to the shore, Mr Ooi said.
Workers being trained to use the sideloaders at the Jurong Port training yard. (Photo: Calvin Hui)
Training simulators will also give workers the chance to learn how to operate cranes in a safe and controlled environment before progressing to the actual operations.
SHIPPING INDUSTRY FACING “DISRUPTIVE CHANGES”: JOSEPHINE TEO
Speaking at the official launch of the Academy, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said the challenges faced by Jurong Port in training port workers to prepare them for new jobs came amid “disruptive changes” faced by the shipping industry.
“It is inevitable that some jobs will change. Some port workers will have to learn how to operate new equipment, others may have to perform new functions – for example after manual processes become automated,” she said.
“Port workers will need support and help to upgrade their skills and capabilities.”
According to Jurong Port, there are about 18 stevedore companies that employ about 700 workers in Singapore.
The director of operations for one such company, Dockers Marine, said the launch of the academy was timely.
Mr Selva Raj said that he has had difficulties recruiting new stevedores because certification courses vital to stevedore operations, such as for the operation of ship cranes, have not been available in recent years.
The launch of the academy will see the reintroduction of such courses, allowing stevedore companies to recruit new workers.
To ensure that the academy will be relevant, Jurong Port will also form a learning council comprising representatives from the stevedore community and the National Transport Workers’ Union to advise the Jurong Port Academy on its training activities.