Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in Malaysian economy. They are considered to be the backbone of industrial development in the country. However, the developments, challenges and prospects of SMEs in accepting the life cycle thinking perspectives have not been investigated thoroughly. This paper discusses the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) related to developments in Malaysia and identifies the SMEs challenges during implementation of LCA based on publications and self-experience in conducting the LCA studies. There are a total of five main challenges of LCA implementation in SMEs; lack of awareness and participation, lack of government assistance and directive, short life-span of SMEs and the constraints on Malaysian SMEs. In addition, a possible driver of LCA implementation is the development of national life cycle inventory database which may reduce the cost and time of LCA data collection, and promote the implementation of LCA in Malaysian SMEs in a comprehensive and systematic manner.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Life cycle thinking, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
Urbanization is a major planning and policy concerning all spatial scales. This is due to more than half of the world’s current population live in urban areas and overwhelming majority emerges in developing countries. The adoption of industrialization policy has led to rapid growth of urban population in the Asian countries including Malaysia. For an example, in Penang State, urban population growth causes cities to be spreading into the countryside, transforms non built-up areas into built-up areas and creates remarkable changes on the physical landscape as well as on the socio-economic condition of the local community. Thus, it is timely to investigate the impact of urban expansion at the peri-urban areas of Penang State on the local communities. This study gathers data using both quantitative and qualitative methods with 192 respondents, 12 in-depth interviews with senior citizens and village leaders living within areas experiencing intense urban development. The study finds that the local communities have more employment opportunities in both formal and informal sectors and also experience better livelihood generated from urban development. However, the expansion of built-up areas has put pressure on land and caused significant loss of agriculture land affecting the likelihood of the farming communities at the peri-urban area. Agriculture land size diminishes and becomes unprofitable. Consequently, farmers are willing to sell their land in the hope for quick return. The findings from this study show that appropriate planning policy needs to be devised in order to protect agriculture land at the peri-urban areas and ensure that the local communities benefit from the urban development.
Peri-Urbanization,Socio-economic impact, Malaysia, urban expansion
Although computers play a vital role in the field of education, teachers remain as one of the key determinants of the success of any technology innovation and initiative in education. Specifically, teachers’ computer self-efficacy and attitudes towards computers are posited as having an influence on computer use for classroom teaching. A survey method is used in this study to determine ESL or English as a Second Language teachers’ level of computer self-efficacy, attitudes towards computers and classroom computer use, in addition to investigating gender differences and relationships between the three variables. A questionnaire is administered to 102 ESL teachers in ten urban secondary schools in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. The findings of this study show that the ESL teachers have moderate level of computer self-efficacy, attitudes towards computer use and computer use in the English classroom. Male teachers have a significantly higher computer self-efficacy than the female. In terms of teachers’ attitudes towards computers and computer use, there is no significant difference among teachers of different genders. There is a significant low positive relationship between teachers’ self-efficacy and teachers’ attitudes towards classroom computers. It indicates that if the teachers’ computer self-efficacy increases, their attitudes towards classroom computers will also increase. The results indicate that there is a low but positive significant relationship between teachers’ computer self-efficacy and their computer use in Malaysian classrooms. Thus, if the teachers’ computer self-efficacy increases, their use of classroom computers will also increase. However, there is no relationship between teachers’ attitudes towards computers and actual classroom computer use. The findings of the study indicate that computer self-efficacy of ESL teachers is an important factor to consider in enhancing their attitudes towards computers and computer use in the classroom.
Teachers’ Computer Self-Efficacy, attitudes towards computers, computer use
This study was designed to examine the gender differences in children’s mental health. A total of 427 children (205 male and 222 female) aged between 3 to 6 years old were recruited from 29 pre-schools in Malaysia using cluster sampling technique. Children’s mental health status was measured by using Achenbach & Rescorla’s Child Behavior Checklist 1.5–5(CBCL/1.5–5),which comprised of eight subscales. The CBCL is administered to the parents to answer regarding their child over a week’s period. The findings revealed no significant gender differences on the overall mental health score and all its subscale scores, except for aggressive behavior. Boys had a higher mean score on aggressive behavior, compared to girls.This means that boys tended to be more aggressive than girls.Early detection of mental health and identification of the risk factors of mental health is crucial to understand the behavior of children.
This research is conducted to identify a number of factors that motivates an organization to adopt the ISO 14001 standards. This study is conducted amongst the packaging industries within Northern Region of Peninsular Malaysia. The local industries support the adoption of the ISO 14001 Standard as the Malaysian Standard in 1998 and its revision in 2004. However, the awareness on the importance of the ISO 14000 series standards intended for the industries is still limited. The results from the questionnaire survey show that there are 81% of the companies aware of the ISO 14001 standards but only 23% of them are ISO 14001 certified. The mean value calculated indicates that concern of top management to the environment is the main motivating factor to implement the ISO 14001 standards. It is followed by meeting clients’ needs factor, enhancement of corporate image and credibility factor, improving competitive edge factor, overcoming trade barriers factor, conforming to head office environmental practices factor, potential cost savings and benefits factor, improvement of employee welfare in the area of environmental health factor and finally meeting Malaysia’s environmental regulations factor. Among the motivating factors, only meeting clients’ needs factor and conforming to head office environmental practices factor show the significant impact to the ISO 14001 standard certification. It is due to the small sample size of data used in the statistical analysis. Finally, the motivating factors are ranked according to their strengths obtained in the statistical analysis.
motivating factors, ISO 14001 standards, packaging industries
Organizational Effectiveness (OE) is perhaps the most critical dependent variable in all organizational analysis and almost all organizational theories include the notion of effectiveness. Despite its significance, the construct has eluded a clear definition and/or description. Instead, it has emerged as one of the most complex and controversial issues in management. Various models and theoretical approaches have been developed to assess it but nearly none of them are universally applicable. The extant literature drawn on OE indicates leadership as the pivotal force or distinguishing factor behind the organizational effectiveness or success; and emotional intelligence being the key for effective leadership. This article in its effort to identify the constituents of OE, presents obvious theoretical and empirical evidences of its direct relatedness with leadership, emotional intelligence and motivation, and introduces a new ‘leadership based organizational effectiveness model’. It includes the conceptual framework of the ongoing pilot study designed to appraise the validity and applicability of the proposed model in improving OE. The sample of the pilot study consisted of leaders (N=500) and their direct reports (N=1500) belonging to various Indian based IT and Manufacturing organizations.
For centuries, African-Americans have used the oral tradition not merely as a means to communicate, but also as a weapon to resist suppression and discrimination. The paper presents an analysis of the use of orality, or the deliberate suspension of it, as a tool to resist oppression and objectification in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and Dessa Rose. It further discusses how black women used orality and silence as a tool for fortification against the aggressions of slavery and for the assertion of their personal, socio- cultural and political identities. The paper concludes with a discussion of how, in the end, orality and literacy work in harmony to effectively represent the particularities of black slave women’s experiences and keep the memories of their struggles alive.
African- American literature, literacy, orality, resistance, slave- narratives, self-representation
The growing numbers of Arab Muslim women leaving the Middle East to study at Canadian universities may seem to contradict with the Westerners’ perception of inflexible universal cultural norms and traditions. For example, Arab fathers mistreat and discourage daughters in pursuing academic achievement. In this study, a representative sample of Arab Muslim women testify that their families and their Islamic faith are some of the main factors that enable them to move to Canada to complete their education. This paper sheds light on the main factors that enable Arab Muslim women who were born and educated in the Middle East to move to Canada for post-secondary studies. The empirical research comprises interviews with nine Arab Muslim women who have left their respective countries of origin to study at a Canadian university. An analysis of the data reveals that paternal support is the indispensable element that determines whether an Arab Muslim woman born and educated in the Middle East is able to pursue post-secondary studies in Canada. This paper contributes to the literature because it contests a variety of widely held stereotypes regarding Arab Muslim society, Arab Muslim immigrants to Canada, Arab Muslim women– as well as others regarding Islaf. It challenges the stereotype of Muslim women as suppressed by their male guardians. As this study demonstrates, a segment of Muslim women receive significant paternal and other male support and encouragement to pursue their higher education and careers.
Arab Muslim women, Arab Muslim women’s upbringing, parental influence on education.
This study investigates the relationship between the use of language learning strategy and English proficiency of below average Indian ESL students who registered for a summer course in 2012 at a private university in South India. Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) and an institutional version of Test of English for Foreign Languages (TOEFL) were administered to under-achievers of an engineering course who registered for a summer course out of willingness to enhance their academic performance. Results from SILL showed that these below average students’ total average use of strategies fell under medium level. Moreover, the study also concentrated on the difference in strategy use across gender and Board of Studies at school. The TOEFL scores revealed that this sample of under-achievers had low proficiency levels in English. The study found a linear relationship between the low proficiency students and their overall strategy use. This indicated that the most frequent users of language learning strategy among the under achievers scored comparatively higher scores in TOEFL. In addition, the study revealed that the least use of metacognitive and cognitive strategies was the reason for these students becoming unsuccessful learners. Thus, the study concluded that explicit training in language learning strategy use with due consideration to gender and Board of Studies, might increase the English proficiency and academic performance of these below average Indian students.
academic reading, Board of Studies, EAP, Language proficiency, LLS, SILL
Globalization, the information explosion, and technological advancement have gone hand in hand with the spread of English and its use as a lingua franca worldwide, a phenomenon that necessitated the teaching of English as a foreign language in many countries around the world, with the Arab nations no exception. In Oman, English has been recognized as a necessary tool for advancement and the acquisition of knowledge and technology (Al- Issa, 2007; Al-Mahrooqi, 2012; Al-Mahrooqi & Tuzlukova, 2010). In addition, given the multilingual nature of the workforce, which includes around 500,000 foreign workers, English has become a necessary medium of communication in Omani workplaces, especially in the private sector. Therefore, English has been taught in public schools since 1970 and in higher education since 1986. Unfortunately, higher education students continue to graduate with very weak oral and written communication skills, thus making them unfit for employment in many types of jobs. The aim of this paper is to address the issue of communicative competence among higher education students. It focuses specifically on how adequately linguistic, pragmatic and communicative skills are taught in higher education institutions’ language programs. The sample of the study includes 451 students from a number of Omani higher education institutions who answered a 71-item questionnaire on the issue. Forty of the 451 students were also interviewed to investigate the issue further. The results indicate that students are only moderately prepared in terms of all the skills listed in the questionnaire. This calls for a re-examination and revamping of language programs with the intention of integrating more communication skills into their courses. The researchers recommend that these skills be integrated into content-based courses throughout the different majors’ study plans.
Communication skills, pragmatic skills, linguistic skills, higher education language programs, job market
This article studies the portrayal of companies in Malaysian business magazine articles. 8 articles were selected from Business Today and Malaysian Business and they were analyzed using Fairclough’s 3-dimensional critical discourse analysis (CDA) model. This entailed an analysis of text, discourse practice and social practice. Text analysis employs TRANSITIVITY from Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) to focus on Processes and Participants. Certain Processes relate a particular experience about companies. Companies are shown to have positive social agency because they manage their context to ensure profitability through Material Process while their positive traits are shown through Relational (Attributive and Identifying) Process. The discourse practice analysis covers intertextuality and interdiscursivity. Studying intertextuality reveals 2 dominant voices, the writer and spokesperson, where the writer quotes the spokesperson using Mental and Verbal Processes. Quoting the spokesperson enables the writer to substantiate his opinions, which makes his writing seem credible. Studying interdiscursivity reveals 2 dominant discourses, journalistic and public relations, where public relations discourse is conveyed through the reputed objectivity of journalistic discourse. Both text and discourse practice analyses construe a ‘world’ where everything revolves around companies for their benefit to garner economic capital, which implies the social practice of the articles in Business Today and Malaysian Business.
Ethnic conflicts have been one of the biggest single threats for the progress of collaborative human societies. Ethnic issues are common to most multi-ethnic societies. Some of the conflicts are violent and damaging but not all are negative. Owing to the rapid growth of ethnic problems, attempts have been made to overcome them across many nations despite the change in governments or government policies in recent years. However, so far none of the discussions and solutions is able to explain the influence of socio-cultural evolution on the changes in ethnic identities in multi-ethnic society and the effect on the minority. Further, attention is given to discuss the impact of socio-cultural formation topologies of multi-ethnic societies on ethnic issues. In this concept paper, authors explain the socio-cultural evolution process of multi-ethnic societies and the impact of ethnic topologies on ethnic conflicts.
s As a result of the Ministry of Higher Education’s strategic and strong thrust to enhance research and innovation in private universities in Malaysia, the work world of professionals in tertiary education has been redefined, with an emphasis on academic research. To get to grips with the dynamics of the changing institutional practices, policies, purposes and new forms of work demanding new skills, tools and resources, Engestrom’s activity theory with its focus on change is relevant. Activity Theory affords a gestalt view of and a multi-level analysis from the individual, interactional and collective perspectives. It unpacks interdependencies and relations between subjects, objects, tools, community, rules and division of labor. Activity Theory also discusses issues of power, agency and how systemic changes are shaped by history and culture. Such systemic and multi-faceted changes result in tensions described as ‘contradictions’ that is a core principle of Activity Theory which explains and potentially creates new forms of development. Data to mirror the changing research culture of four private universities was obtained from semi-structured interviews with 10 academics. The data revealed many contradictions in the research practices of Malaysian private universities; contradictions in the division of labor, rules, norms and traditions, instruments and policies and among communities. Pointing out the central contradictions of the system can prove to be diagnostic as it may chart the situation, recognize the problems and point to possibilities for development.
activity theory, contradictions, private universities, research culture
The purpose of the present study is to determine the effectiveness of Form Four English language textbooks in preparing students for tertiary reading in English. The data is in the form of reading comprehension passages from the selected English language textbook. In this study, reading instructional design in the English language textbook is analyzed in terms of types and the length of passages with regards to grade-level. Using the data acquired from the review of this mandated textbook, the author argues that the reading of comprehension and instructional design in English language in the national Form Four English language textbook as part of the English language reading curriculum only partially prepares the upper secondary students in meeting the demand of reading in English at the tertiary level.
The discipline strategies used for regulating children’s behaviour were investigated in Vietnamese and Australian mothers using hypothetical child behaviour vignettes. An online survey was administered to 47 mothers from each cultural group. Mothers rated their likelihood of using a particular discipline technique to the different conventional and moral transgressions made by the child depicted in the vignettes. Parenting daily hassles experiences were also assessed using the Parenting Daily Hassles Scale (Crnic & Greenberg, 1990). The key finding was that mothers from both cultural groups did not differ in the discipline strategies selected; both groups favoured inductive reasoning over power assertion. Moral transgressions had higher ratings for both types of discipline techniques, which reflect the greater perceived importance of moral over conventional transgressions. Mothers employed more reasoning strategies with boys than girls and slightly more power assertion with girls than boys. Mothers from both cultural groups experienced a similar level of parenting daily hassles. These results highlight commonalities in discipline strategies and childrearing goals including a concern for longer term socialization goals held by mothers from both cultural groups.
Autonomous learning behaviour is the avenue to improvement in language ability. In the scope of vocabulary, autonomous learning enables efficient learning, which in turn improves students’ ability in the four language skills, namely, listening, speaking, reading and writing. This study was undertaken with the aim of probing how teaching practices affect autonomous learning behaviour in vocabulary development. A case study on 34 students engaged in an English proficiency class at an institution of higher learning was carried out. Data were collected through four rounds of weekly interviews as well as daily journal entries for one month by the students and their lecturer. It was found that the instructor is a crucial mediating variable in encouraging autonomous learning behaviour. Some of the practices which impact students positively are providing the right pedagogical context, teaching according to students’ needs and interest and providing adequate assistance in materials used in class. When teacher is able to set the right learning climate, positive states and mental readiness in learning are witnessed, which are requisites to autonomous learning behaviour. However, it is also important for the instructor not to overburden students with too many words in one lesson. For the students, it is necessary to reduce dependence on the instructor and take greater charge in the learning process to become autonomous language learners.
This empirical study focuses on emotional processes in the supervision of doctoral students. It takes place in the context of an increasing focus on institutional regulation, time to completion, funding and skills development. It investigates emotional boundary work involved in the doctoral student’s experiences, identity formation, and the relationship of this to the supervision process. Through in-depth interviews we aim to capture emotional elements in this identity development process. The research questions asked are: How do doctoral students deal with the fragile borderline between private life and work?; Are conflicts necessarily bad for the process?; and How do doctoral students deal with the emotional aspects of having to change supervisors? The interviews are ongoing, and to date the material consists of 10 interviews with the doctoral students, and these form the basis for this research article. The interviews are performed at different faculties and in different disciplines in a single Swedish university. The results indicate that an important part of the supervision process is connected to the emotional management of the relationship with the supervisor. Students learn how to handle changes in their supervisor’s temperaments and moods, and how to develop skills in emotional management.
In her theory of the melancholic subject, Julia Kristeva asserts that the melancholic subject has a sense of loss, but she cannot share this feeling with others as she considers it as private. Although the melancholic subject is stranger to her mother tongue, she should use language to get rid of her sense of loss. In The Color Purple, Alice Walker devotes herself to the plight of black people’s lives in white society. She believes that the black feel a sense of loss as they are subject to racism, sexism and gender discrimination in white society. These black people, especially black women, should use language to express their sense of loss and deal with their traumatic experiences. This article intends to focus on Julia Kristeva’s melancholic subject and apply it to Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.
Julia Kristeva, the melancholic subject, language, loss, Alice Walker, The Color Purple.
This paper aims to analyse the critical evaluation of microfinance in women’s political affairs; more specifically, it explores to what extent and how microfinance has contributed to any measurable changes in women being more involved at Local Government level. While the available literature substantiates that microfinance does have some impact, either positive or negative, on women’s socio-economic empowerment at the household level, there has been limited research undertaken with regards to its impact on women’s political empowerment. While the current study revealed that microfinance did not bring any significant changes to the involvement of women as candidates in local politics, it did reveal, however, that 10% of respondents reported their political participation was directly affected by their involvement in the microfinance programme. The women reported an increase in their knowledge about voting rights and a greater understanding of Local Government. The paper reveals that in many cases microfinance works as a powerful tool for enhancing women’s political knowledge and, in certain circumstances, their engagement in local politics. The findings outlined in this paper could make a significant contribution to the theory and practice of women’s political empowerment, which could arguably be considered the highest level of empowerment.
Women’s empowerment, local politics, political awareness, engagement in local politics
Despite the notoriously challenging aspects of the English phrasal verbs, these combinations are of high relevance for ESL/EFL learners as knowledge of them is often equated with language fluency and proficiency. They are likely to assume a number of different syntactic patterns, and grammatical presentation of these structures in ESL materials turns out to be a major pedagogical concern. Yet, the body of research dealing with the syntactic representation of these forms is almost missing in the related literature. The present study was, therefore, an attempt to investigate the grammatical treatment of phrasal verbs in Malaysian ESL secondary level textbooks. Although there occurred a total number of 15 different syntactic patterns associated with these multiword verbs, they were almost overlooked as a category of language phenomenon enjoying their own grammatical behaviour. There also appeared to be no guiding principle underlying the selection, presentation and sequencing of different patterns associated with them, bringing further home the observation that the development of ELT textbooks is more intuitively than empirically motivated.
Phrasal Verbs, grammatical patterns, ESL textbooks, corpus linguistics
An article from the Times Higher Education inspired this investigation into the perception of university excellence in Malaysian universities with senior academics. Focus group discussions took place in two private and two public universities with random keywords supplied to facilitate the discussions. Discourse analysis of the transcripts of the tape-recorded discussions revealed the academics in private universities tended to use more lexical items associated with industry and liberal market ideologies, such as “employability” and “brand,” which conform to a newly-identified description of the research university as an academic entrepreneurial paradigm. By contrast, public university academics emerged as intellectual purists, with references to “curiosity-driven research,” “academic freedom,” and “commitment” to the transfer of knowledge, in their discussions. Such terms are reflective of more traditional notions of our oldest social institution, the university.
excellence, Malaysia, public and private universities
The study examined the relationship between familial factors (i.e. number of children, economic strain, marital quality and parental nurturance) and child outcomes (self-esteem and academic achievement) among rural Malay families. The participants comprised 200 parents with a child aged from7 to 12 years. Findings indicated that children with higher self-esteem tended to have parents with positive parental behaviour and come from families with high economic strain. Economic strain also was found to significantly correlate with children’s academic achievement. These findings imply a significant contribution of parental nurturance and economic strain on children’s self-esteem and academic achievement.