Thursday, April 30, 2009

Selamat Hari Pekerja - Happy Labor Day

OUM Perak wishes all learners, staffs and tutors a very "Happy Labor Day" and have a great weekend with your friends and loved ones.

As for the staff of OUM Perak and their family members will be traveling west to Pangkor Island for a 3 days 2 nights retreat. This is the time of the year where we will completely forget our work and de-stress ourselves. It is also the time of the year to reward ourselves and our loved ones.

Swine Flu: What you should do as a precaution

Contributed by Ong May Sin:

Mosquito Trap DIY

Fancy how to make a workable mosquito trap to thwart off mosquitoes and dengue? Recently I received this tips from a friend which I thought will be useful. Here's how you do it:

1. Cut a plastic bottle in half, keep both parts. Can be Coca Cola / Pepsi bottle.
2. Take the lower portion of the bottle. Dissolve the brown sugar in hot water. Let it cool down to ~70 deg F.
3. Add the yeast. Carbon dioxide will form (This will attract the mosquitos)
4. Cover the bottle with a dark wrap and place the top portion upside down like a funnel. Place it in a corner in your house.
5. In 2 weeks you will be surprised by the number of mosquitos killed.

See the pictures below:

And this is the expected result:

Good luck.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu FAQ - Star

April 28, 2009

What is swine influenza?

It is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. It regularly causes high flu outbreaks in pigs but with low death rates. There are four main sub-types of the virus, but the most recent isolated influenza viruses from pigs have been H1N1 viruses.

How does it spread?

Swine flu viruses do not typically infect humans though they do occur through close proximity or contact with infected pigs or contaminated areas. Cases of human-to-human spread have been documented.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are similar to those of regular flu:
- Fever
- Lethargy
- Runny nose
- Cough
- Sore throat
- Lack of appetite
- Vomiting and diarrhoea in some cases.

How common is swine flu infection in humans?

In the past reports of about one human swine flu virus infection had been received every one to two years in the United States. From December 2005 till February 2009, 12 cases have been reported.

Has this strain of flu been seen before?

No. Flu mutates constantly, so it is common for new strains to emerge. Pigs can also be infected with both human and avian influenza, and the current circulating swine flu strain appears to contain genetic elements from all three.

Can swine flu be treated with antiviral drugs and flu vaccine?

The swine flu is resistant to two common drugs – Amantadine and Rimantadine. The H1N1 swine flu viruses are very different from human H1N1 viruses. Therefore, vaccines for human seasonal flu would not provide protection. However, a “seed vaccine” has been specifically tailored to this swine flu and will be manufactured if officials deem it necessary.

Can people catch swine flu by eating pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 70ÂșC and above kills the swine flu virus.

How long is someone with swine flu considered contagious?

People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic; possibly for up to seven days following the onset of the illness. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

What can I do to protect myself from the swine flu?

There is no vaccine available right now to protect against the swine flu.

However, you can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza by:

- Covering your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or handkerchief when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the waste basket after you use it.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also helpful

- Try to avoid close contact with sick people. - If you get sick with influenza, stay at home and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

- Consult your nearest healthcare facility if you think you have any of the symptoms.

Which countries have had cases of the swine flu?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed human cases of swine flu in Mexico, the United States, Canada and Spain. Only Mexico has reported deaths from the new strain.

Are there any travel restrictions or advisories for Malaysians?

The Health Ministry on April 27 advised Malaysians against travelling to certain places in the United States, Mexico and Canada which have been affected by the swine flu.

What precautions are in place in Malaysia?

- The Health Ministry’s operations room in Putrajaya has started a 24-hour monitoring of the situation. The public can call 03-8881 0200/300 for enquiries.

- Those returning from Latin American countries and found to have flu-like symptoms will be quarantined.

- Health Ministry officials are conducting health screenings on passengers arriving from the United States.

- Thermal scanners will be placed at international airports to speed up the screening process for swine flu.

- Public and private medical practitioners have been instructed to report to the district health office any patient with influenza-like illnesses or severe pneumonia symptoms and who had travelled to the affected countries after April 17.

- Owners of the 797 pig farms nationwide have been ordered to immediately contact the nearest Veterinary Services Department office or the Animal Disease Control Centre if their workers or animals show symptoms linked to the swine flu.

Where can I get more information?

For more information, go to the Health Ministry ( or call the Ministry's hotline at (03) 8881-0200/300.

Useful Links:

World Health Organization:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Homeland Security Department:
WHO swine flu page:

Key facts about Swine Influenza (Swine Flu) - Malaysian Insider

NEW YORK, April 27 — Following are facts about Swine Flu that has just broken out in Mexico and the United States, creating fears of another pandemic.

Swine Flu

What is Swine Influenza?

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.

How many swine flu viruses are there?

Like all influenza viruses, swine flu viruses change constantly. Pigs can be infected by avian influenza and human influenza viruses as well as swine influenza viruses. When influenza viruses from different species infect pigs, the viruses can re-assort (i.e. swap genes) and new viruses that are a mix of swine, human and/or avian influenza viruses can emerge. Over the years, different variations of swine flu viruses have emerged. At this time, there are four main influenza type A virus subtypes that have been isolated in pigs: H1N1, H1N2, H3N2, and H3N1. However, most of the recently isolated influenza viruses from pigs have been H1N1 viruses.

Swine Flu in Humans

Can humans catch swine flu?

Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). In addition, there have been documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others. For example, an outbreak of apparent swine flu infection in pigs in Wisconsin in 1988 resulted in multiple human infections, and, although no community outbreak resulted, there was antibody evidence of virus transmission from the patient to health care workers who had close contact with the patient.

How common is swine flu infection in humans?

In the past, CDC received reports of approximately one human swine influenza virus infection every one to two years in the US, but from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported.

What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?

The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

How does swine flu spread?

Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur. This is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu occurs in people, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What do we know about human-to-human spread of swine flu?

In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman was hospitalised for pneumonia and died 8 days later. A swine H1N1 flu virus was detected. Four days before getting sick, the patient visited a county fair swine exhibition where there was widespread influenza-like illness among the swine.

In follow-up studies, 76 per cent of swine exhibitors tested had antibody evidence of swine flu infection but no serious illnesses were detected among this group. Additional studies suggest that one to three health care personnel who had contact with the patient developed mild influenza-like illnesses with antibody evidence of swine flu infection.

How can human infections with swine influenza be diagnosed?

To diagnose swine influenza A infection, a respiratory specimen would generally need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of illness (when an infected person is most likely to be shedding virus). However, some persons, especially children, may shed virus for 10 days or longer. Identification as a swine flu influenza A virus requires sending the specimen to CDC for laboratory testing.

What medications are available to treat swine flu infections in humans?

There are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the US for the treatment of influenza: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. While most swine influenza viruses have been susceptible to all four drugs, the most recent swine influenza viruses isolated from humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.

What other examples of swine flu outbreaks are there?

Probably the most well known is an outbreak of swine flu among soldiers in Fort Dix, New Jersey in 1976. The virus caused disease with x-ray evidence of pneumonia in at least 4 soldiers and 1 death; all of these patients had previously been healthy. The virus was transmitted to close contacts in a basic training environment, with limited transmission outside the basic training group. The virus is thought to have circulated for a month and disappeared. The source of the virus, the exact time of its introduction into Fort Dix, and factors limiting its spread and duration are unknown. The Fort Dix outbreak may have been caused by introduction of an animal virus into a stressed human population in close contact in crowded facilities during the winter. The swine influenza A virus collected from a Fort Dix soldier was named A/New Jersey/76 (Hsw1N1).

Is the H1N1 swine flu virus the same as human H1N1 viruses?

No. The H1N1 swine flu viruses are antigenically very different from human H1N1 viruses and, therefore, vaccines for human seasonal flu would not provide protection from H1N1 swine flu viruses.

Swine Flu in Pigs

How does swine flu spread among pigs?

Swine flu viruses are thought to be spread mostly through close contact among pigs and possibly from contaminated objects moving between infected and uninfected pigs. Herds with continuous swine flu infections and herds that are vaccinated against swine flu may have sporadic disease, or may show only mild or no symptoms of infection.

What are signs of swine flu in pigs?

Signs of swine flu in pigs can include sudden onset of fever, depression, coughing (barking), discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and going off feed.

How common is swine flu among pigs?

H1N1 and H3N2 swine flu viruses are endemic among pig populations in the United States and something that the industry deals with routinely. Outbreaks among pigs normally occur in colder weather months (late fall and winter) and sometimes with the introduction of new pigs into susceptible herds. Studies have shown that the swine flu H1N1 is common throughout pig populations worldwide, with 25 per cent of animals showing antibody evidence of infection. In the US studies have shown that 30 per cent of the pig population has antibody evidence of having had H1N1 infection. More specifically, 51 per cent of pigs in the north-central US have been shown to have antibody evidence of infection with swine H1N1. Human infections with swine flu H1N1 viruses are rare. There is currently no way to differentiate antibody produced in response to flu vaccination in pigs from antibody made in response to pig infections with swine H1N1 influenza.

While H1N1 swine viruses have been known to circulate among pig populations since at least 1930, H3N2 influenza viruses did not begin circulating among US pigs until 1998. The H3N2 viruses initially were introduced into the pig population from humans. The current swine flu H3N2 viruses are closely related to human H3N2 viruses.

Is there a vaccine for swine flu?

Vaccines are available to be given to pigs to prevent swine influenza. There is no vaccine to protect humans from swine flu. The seasonal influenza vaccine will likely help provide partial protection against swine H3N2, but not swine H1N1 viruses.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Have you file up your 2008 income tax return?

April 23, 2009

For those who have not done so the last date submit your tax return is April 30. The e-filing system implemented a couple of years ago ha made income tax submission return very much easier. With all your data around, you should be able to complete it within 30 minutes if you are doing it the first time.

It took me just 10 minutes to complete and make payment via online as this is my second time I have done so with e-filing. On top of that you can choose make payment by installment subject to approval.

For first timer, you need to get your access id from the nearest income tax office before you could use the e-filing system. Once you have done so, go the Internet and type the following website address: You will see the following screen below.

Next click on e-filing on your left and you will see the following screen:

If you are a first timer, click Login Kali Pertama followed by your access code provided by Income Tax office. Next choose e-borang where you select the type of tax return.

The system is user friendly and all you need to do is to key in your particulars accurately.

To assist you in your tax return, here are some tips taken from The Star:


Tips for filling your income tax returns

This first of a three-part ACCA’s Easy Guide to Tax Filing for Employees looks at additional goodies for taxpayers

IT’S tax season again! Employees are required to submit their tax return Form BE for year of assessment (YA) 2008 on or before April 30, where the income assessed is in relation to the basis period of Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2008.

This time around, taxpayers get to enjoy additional tax goodies as part of the Government’s effort to cushion the impact of the economic downturn and higher cost of living on Malaysians.

Specifically, the Government announced via the Budget 2009 proposal and the second stimulus package on March 10, 2009, the following tax benefits for employees, which will take effect in YA2008. These benefits will help reduce taxable income and, consequently, the amount of tax payable.

Compensation for loss of employment

The tax burden is eased for retrenched employees as well as those who opt for voluntary separation schemes.

Employees who are retrenched on or after July 1, 2008 will be granted an income tax exemption of RM10,000 for each completed year of service with the employer or companies in the same group. This also applies to payments for employees who opted for voluntary separation schemes.


A is a salesperson working in Star New Enterprise from April 1, 2006. Due to the economic downturn in 2009, A was retrenched on Nov 1, 2008 and was paid compensation of RM25,000 for loss of employment. The amount to be taxed in YA2008 will be:

Compensation RM25,000

(Less) Exemption

1.4.2006 – 31.3.2007

1.4.2007 – 31.3.2008

(2 completed years of service)

X RM10,000 RM20,000


If the retrenchment was before July 1, 2008, then the amount exempted for each year of service will be RM6,000.

Tax-exempt employee benefits — allowances

The following tax benefits provided to employees from Jan 1, 2008 to Dec 31, 2008 will be tax deductible against business income for employers AND exempted from tax on employees. These benefits are also available for YA2009.

(a) Petrol card/petrol allowance/travel allowance

An employer providing petrol cards, petrol allowance or travelling allowance to employees to travel from home to workplace or office will be allowed up to RM2,400 a year.

(b) Meal allowance for working overtime, travelling outstation.

(c) Parking allowance.

(For (b) and (c), the allowance must be reasonable and justifiable depending on the nature of work and position of employee.)

(d) Medical treatment for employees, spouses and children to include traditional medicine such as ayurvedic treatment and acupuncture.

(e) Interest subsidies on housing, car and education. The total loan amount is restricted to RM300,000.

(f) Childcare allowance up to RM2,400 a year.

(g) Employers’ products or services which can be provided free or at a discount which must not exceed RM1,000 a year.

Employers involved in the manufacture of food and car accessories may consider providing the products to employees to reduce their cost of living in the current economic slowdown.

These allowances need to be disclosed in the Form EA as tax-exempt benefits although they are not taxable on employees.

Official duties – travelling allowance

When employers provide petrol cards, petrol allowance or travelling allowance to salaried personnel, such as reporters and other employees, to carry out official duties, this form of allowance is taxable on the employee and must be reflected in their respective EA Forms.

Employees must keep a record of the actual expenses incurred in relation to official duties and set off the amount incurred against the allowance received. This is an added burden and responsibility on the employee. The records have to be kept for a period of seven years.

Employees may end up paying additional tax under the self-assessment system if they report the employment income as per the EA Form without deducting the actual travelling expenses incurred while on official duty to carry out the employers’ business.

In the Budget 2009 announcement, the Government said petrol cards, petrol allowance, travelling allowance and toll cards for official duties up to RM6,000 a year will be tax-exempt.

This means that the employer will exclude RM6,000 a year from the taxable income of employees as reported in the EA Form. However, the employer needs to disclose this RM6,000 as a tax-exempt benefit in the EA Form.

Employees receiving travelling allowances not exceeding RM6,000 a year will no longer be required to keep the required receipts to substantiate their claims.

This incentive applies from YA2008.

However, if the employer provides, for official duties, petrol card, petrol allowance, travelling allowance and toll card exceeding RM6,000 a year, the employer is required to report in Form EA in two sections:

(a) Tax exempt benefits: RM6,000

(b) Part of taxable employment income – salary, bonus, entertainment allowance – and the petrol/travelling/toll amount in excess of RM6,000

In this case, the employee is now required to keep all receipts to substantiate her claims.


Ming Hui has marketed agricultural products for Duck Rich Sdn Bhd since 2007. She receives a travelling allowance of RM14,000 per year.

For the year ended Dec 31, 2008, the company will provide Ming Hui with Form EA disclosing taxable income of RM8,000 as part of employment income and a tax-exempt benefit of RM6,000.

Ming Hui incurred RM9,000 for travelling expenses to carry out official duties for YA2008. She is required to set off these travelling expenses against the amount received from her employer of RM14,000 (and not RM8,000). The amount taxable on her is RM5,000 (RM14,000 – RM9,000).

Ming Hui is required to maintain the receipts of RM9,000 for a period of seven years.

# Dr Choong Kwai Fatt is a tax consultant and associate professor, Faculty of Business and Accountancy, Universiti Malaya. For further enquiries or feedback please email to


Tips on filing your income tax
This is the second of a two-part article to guide employees on common tax issues

On short-notice payment and child-care allowance

Q: In November 2008, I voluntarily ceased my employment and had to pay short notice of RM2,000 (supported by an official receipt). However, I was compensated with a sign-in bonus of RM6,000 from my new employer.

The problem is the sign-in bonus is stated in my EA form but the short notice of RM2,000 is not deducted from the form. Can I automatically net off the amounts and disclose RM4,000 as my sign-in bonus because RM2,000 is my actual expense?

A: Sign-in bonus is capital in nature and not taxable in the event the salary that you receive subsequently upon commencement/exercising of employment with the new company is at the commercial rate. The amount is not to be included in the EA form.

However, if the sign-in bonus is in lieu of reduced salary, the amount is income in nature and subject to income tax. In this scenario, the amount is to be included in the EA form.

The amount paid by you as compensation for short notice of resignation is not deductible as it is not directly incurred in deriving employment income as you have stopped working in your old company.

My former company did not disclose my travelling allowance of RM1,500 in my EA form as tax-exempt benefits. Upon calling it, the company refused to issue a fresh EA form to me. What can I do?

Travelling/petrol allowance received by an employee for travelling from home to workplace and vice-versa is exempted up to RM2,400 while travelling/petrol allowance received for travelling in exercising employment, is exempted up to RM6,000.

In your case, if the amount is authentic and verifiable, even without a revised EA form, you may straight away deduct the amount from your total income reported in the EA form. The adjustment is at column C1 where, the amount is represented by: Total income (as per EA form) – travelling allowance incurred (RM1,500) = Total income from employment (C1)

I paid RM280 per month for my four-year-old daughter’s nursery in 2008. I understand that child-care is exempted from tax up to RM2,400 per year. Can I claim it (since I paid for it and it’s not an allowance)?

Child-care allowance of RM2,400 is tax exempted if provided by employer to staff. In your case, no deduction is available as such allowance was not paid by your employer. You have only incurred a domestic expense which is irrelevant in computing your employment income tax. Domestic expense is not deductible.

I sought treatment using the “Tui-Na” therapeutic massage for my left leg. The total cost of treatment was RM89.60. Can this sort of expense be treated as a form of medical expense tax relief under the traditional acupuncture and ayuverdic categories?

The medical benefit (including Chinese Tui-Na) is tax exempt provided it is given by the employer to the employee. Benefits cover ayurvedic and acupuncture effective YA2008. However, you cannot claim this expense when computing your employment income, since it is paid by you and not your employer.

If a self-employed person makes a contribution of 12% to the EPF under his firm, is the contribution deductible to the proprietor firm and is there any limit?

If you are earning business income as a sole proprietor, you may utilise the B form to submit your tax return. BE form is for individuals earning employment income. In both cases, the total EPF contribution by the employee or the self-employed person plus the amount of insurance premium paid are deductible up to the aggregate of both amounts (up to a maximum of RM6,000).

Where the employer is concerned, a Sdn Bhd firm is entitled to claim the EPF contributions for employees as a full deduction from their business income and the maximum contribution is 19%, as governed by Section 34 (4) of the Income Tax Act, 1967. However, for the sole proprietor, the amount is not deductible when computing business income.

How do I disclose interest subsidies on housing, car and education loans?

Interest subsidies on housing, education or car loans provided by the employer to the employee are all tax-exempted in full, provided the aggregate amount of loans from all of the above does not exceed RM300,000.

If you qualify for exemption and your documentation is verifiable, you may deduct the appropriate amount from your total income reported in the EA form. The adjustment is at column C1 where the amount is represented by:

Total income (as per EA form) – exemptions entitled (subject to maximum) = Total income from employment (C1)

How do I apply for retrenchment benefits for my husband?

As long as the compensation is given by the employer to the employee (your husband), he is entitled to claim the exemption. No prior approval from Inland Revenue Board is required. The computation is as follows: Employment income as per EA form – (RM10,000 x the years of completed service) = Total employment income (column C1 in BE form)

I understand that the payment of bonus/directors’ fees related to 2008 in year 2009 has the tax savings advantage of 1% if the annual income is RM250,000 and above. Please explain.

If the chargeable income is more than RM250,000, the tax rate is 28% for YA2008. However, the tax rate will be 27% in YA2009. Hence, if your bonus is disclosed in the EA form in 2009, you will save 1% since your chargeable income is assessed on 27% (YA 009) instead of 28% (YA2008).


Easy guide to tax filing
The ACCA Easy Guide to Taxation for Employees published last week drew a deluge of queries. This is the first of a two-part article featuring commonly-asked questions.

Q: As a sales and marketing executive with a financial institution, I am paid a basic salary and sales commission and am not entitled to any claims (petrol, toll, parking and car maintenance). I use my own car to do my job. My average monthly expenses for sales and marketing activities are about RM500.

I understand that with the new provisions under Budget 2009, the employee is entitled to tax exemption for certain benefits. Since my company does not provide such benefits, can I claim marketing and travelling expenses under “Perbelanjaan Keraian”?

A: The actual amount you incurred can only be deducted provided that you received either entertainment or travelling allowances from your company. In your case, the amount you incurred is not deductible.

I understand that meal allowances can only be claimed for tax relief for outstation travel or overtime. I am being transferred to a branch in Klang next month from my present workplace in Puchong, and my employer has agreed to give me an additional monthly amount of RM800 as meal allowance.

Can I deduct my meal allowances since I reside in Subang Jaya and don’t do overtime? My working hours are 9am-5pm and I work six days a week.

Your meal allowance for employment in the Klang branch will not be eligible for deduction as it is not in respect of working overtime or travelling outstation.

What are the tax exempt employee benefits in relation to employees who have been given a fully-expensed company car and a company petrol card? I know that I will be assessed on the Scale Car and Fuel benefits for the use of the company car. For YA2008, am I entitled to the relief of RM2,400 for the tax exempt petrol card?

If so, can this RM2,400 be deducted from the Scale Fuel charge in YA2008 so that the Scale Fuel benefit assessed in the tax year will be lowered by RM2,400?

If (1) above is allowed and my actual petrol card expenses for the year exceed RM2,400, can the balance of actual petrol bills spent under the petrol card be deducted from the Scale Fuel benefit up to the maximum of exhausting the amount of the Scale Fuel benefit?

The benefits in kind with regards to the car benefit and fuel benefit are to be taxed. These cannot be deducted as additional tax exempt benefits.

Monthly parking claims and fixed mobile-phone allowances are submitted to my company at the end of the month and these will be reimbursed into our salary in the following month. These claims are subject to EPF contribution. Therefore, are they tax-exempt for YA2008 and do they need to be disclosed under the tax-exempt benefits in the EA form?

Both parking and phone allowances up to the actual amounts incurred which are borne by the employer are tax exempt with effect from YA2008. The amount is to be disclosed as tax exempt benefits in the EA Form.

Can interest on housing loans and car loans be deducted from gross salary on the EA form? Are medical expenses such as maternity expenses deductible?

Interest on housing and car loans are deductible only if paid by the employer on a total loan amount of up to RM300,000. Similarly, medical expenses are only deductible if the amount incurred has been paid by the employer and this benefit is extended to maternity and traditional medical expenses. However, should these expenses be paid personally by the employee, they are not tax deductible.

My organisation is a resident company and our expatriate Japanese director and technical manager has two types of income – salary from Malaysia and salary from Japan. Please advise whether we have to declare our Japanese director’s income in total (i.e. Malaysia and Japan) or just Malaysia-derived income to the Malaysian government?

All employment income derived by the Japanese expatriate for exercising employment in Malaysia is subject to income tax, including the amount paid in Japan, if it is related to the exercising of employment in Malaysia.

Is the tax benefit on childcare allowance up to RM2,400 a year to be deducted directly from the EA form? Is this applicable if there is no such benefit from the company I work for?

The childcare allowance is only tax exempted if you receive such an allowance from your employer; otherwise the exemption will not be applicable to you.

In the event you do receive the childcare allowance, the amount (the lower of the actual amount received or RM2,400) is to be excluded from the employment income and disclosed in section C1 of the Form BE.

I bought a comprehensive insurance policy (life + medical + investment) and the insurer is unable to split the premium payment into life insurance and medical insurance. Can I treat this totally as a medical premium as I have already disclosed RM6,000 for my life insurance premium and EPF deduction?

In the event that the amount cannot be segregated, the amount is to be disclosed either as life or medical insurance premiums based on the description stated in the insurance premium receipt.

Chewing gum may raise math grades in teens - Bernama

April 23, 2009

An Afghan girl blows a bubble gum in Kabul January 23, 2003. REUTERS/Erik de Castro/FilesBy Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - In a study likely to make school janitors cringe, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday that chewing gum may boost academic performance in teenagers.

Many U.S. schools ban chewing gum because children often dispose of the sticky chaw under chairs or tables.

But a team led by Craig Johnston at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that students who chewed gum during math class had higher scores on a standardized math test after 14 weeks and better grades at the end of the term than students in the class who did not chew gum. The study was funded by chewing gum maker Wrigley.

"For the first time we've been able to show in a real-life kind of situation that students did perform better when they were allowed to chew," said Gil Leveille, executive director of the Wrigley Science Institute, a research arm of Wm Wrigley Jr Co, which is now a part of Mars Inc.

Leveille said Wrigley has gotten feedback from many of its gum customers who say chewing gum helps them stay focused.

So, four years ago the company started the science institute to see if some of these claims have merit.

The researchers at Baylor studied four math classes or 108 students aged 13 to 16 years old from a Houston, Texas, charter school that serves mostly low-income Hispanic students.

About half got free Wrigley's sugar-free gum to chew during class, homework and tests. They chewed at least one stick of gum 86 percent of the time they were in math class and 36 percent of the time they were doing homework.

The other half went without.

After 14 weeks, the gum chewers had a three percent increase in their math scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills achievement test, a small but statistically significant change, according to Johnston and colleagues, who presented their findings at the American Society for Nutrition scientific meeting in New Orleans.

They found no difference in math scores between the two groups in another test called the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement. However, the gum-chewers did get better final grades in the class than their non-chewing peers.

Another Wrigley-funded study found that college students in a lab who were given difficult computer tasks had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol when they were chewing gum compared to when they were not.

Leveille said he thinks chewing gum helps reduce stress so students can do their best work. And while he is aware that many schools have a dim view of students chewing gum in class, he hopes the findings may change that a bit.

"It's not a matter of chewing. It's a matter of gum disposal," Leveille said, adding that that can be overcome by teaching proper disposal behaviors.

"If that fails, he quipped, "We'll have to provide the janitors with scrapers."

© REUTERS 2009

Tahniah - YB Dato' Mohd Tarmizi Idris


Warga OUM Perak mengucapkan setinggi-tinggi tahniah kepada salah seorang pelajar kami iaitu ADUN Kenering, YB Dato' Mohd Tarmizi Idris atas pengurniaan darjah kebesaran DPMP oleh DYMM Sultan Perak pada 19 April 2009.

YB Dato' Tarmizi kini sedang menghabiskan program Ijazah Sarjana Muda Pengurusan (dengan Kepujian) di OUM Perak pada tahun terakhir.

Semoga YB Dato' akan bergraduat pada hari konvo ke-7 OUM pada bulan November 2009.

Tahniah Dato'.

Email Fraud - Warning

Dear OUM GMail Users;

We are aware that fraudulent e-mails are being distributed, requesting users to re-activate their OUM GMail Account by submitting their username and password via email. (As Attachment - Fraud.png)

* Please DO NOT click on any links included in these emails.
* Please DO NOT reply to these emails.
* Mark as SPAM.

Please note that OUM or METEOR will NEVER contact you by email requesting for your Username and Password.
If you have submitted your information, you are advised to change your password.

Google Apps Administrator

Meteor Technology and Consultancy
Open University Malaysia
B Block, 2nd Floor, Zone A,
Jalan Tun Ismail, 50480,
Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Out goes the lecturer - Kosmo

April 15, 2009

A UNIVERSITI Sains Islam Malaysia lecturer who passed only four out of 157 of her law students claims she was forced to resign so that the university could protect its reputation, Kosmo! reported.

Nor (not her real name) said the reason she left was because she could not stand the pressure from the university management on her to give “sympathy marks.”

“How am I to give extra marks if the marks they got is what they should be getting?” she said, adding that her downfall started when she received a show-cause letter on why so many students had failed.

She was then criticised by her superiors, who also wanted her to add marks based on attendance so as to reduce the number of failures.

“I stood my ground. How could I give them marks for that when it is their responsibility to show up for classes?” she added.

The university declined to comment.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Exora to keep Proton sales flowering - Malaysian Insider

Launched today, the Exora is priced at RM69,998 and RM75,998 for medium and higher-specification models respectively. — Bernama pic

Picture courtesy of The Star

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 — With the economic crisis in full bloom, Proton’s seven-seater multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), the Exora, was launched today with hopes that it will cushion an expected double-digit contraction in the local automotive market.

With medium and higher-specification models priced at RM69,998 and RM75,998 respectively, the company hopes that its debut into the MPV segment will give it an instant boost in 2009, with 2,500 bookings already made so far.

Expecting to manufacture up to 3,500 units per month, managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir called the Exora the “right car at the right time and at the right price.”

The 1.6-litre MPV, is manufactured with 90 per cent local parts, and Syed Zainal claimed that this indicated Proton’s success in “not only producing cars but also developing a pool of capable and experienced engineers and skilled workers in the Malaysian automotive industry.”

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Najib announces his cabinet

Apr 9, 09 2:59pm

Prime Minister Najib Abddul Razak today announced his much awaited cabinet.

His press conference to make the announcement started at 3pm. He is flanked by Muhyiddin Yassin.

The cabinet reflects the government's aim to focus of people-first paradigm, Najib said, adding that there would be 28 ministers and 40 deputy ministers.

He said two ministries have been merged and one new ministry formed. A separate portfolio has also been created to oversee unity under the PM's department.

He also said that he would personally look into the performance of each minister every six months.


Prime Minister and Finance Minister 1 Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak

Deputy PM and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department:

Unity: Dr Koh Tsu Koon
Law and Parliament: Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz
Religious Affairs: Brig. Gen. (Rtd) Datuk Jamil Khir Baharum
Economic Planning Unit: Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop


Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Deputies: Datuk Chor Chee Heung, Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussein


Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin Deputies: Datuk Wee Ka Seong, Datuk Puad Zarkashi


Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat Deputies: Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri, Datuk Robert Lau


Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein Deputy:: Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop

Information, Unity, Culture and Arts:

Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim Deputies: Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum, Heng Sai Kee

Energy, Green Tech & Water:

Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui Deputy: Noriah Kasnon

Plantation Industries and Commodities:

Tan Sri Bernard Dompok Deputy: Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin

Rural and Regional Development:

Datuk Shafie Apdal Deputies: Datuk Hassan Malek, Datuk Joseph Entulu

Higher Education:

Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin Deputies: Dr Hou Kok Chung, Saifuddin Abdullah

International Trade and Industry:

Datuk Mustapa Mohamed Deputies: Datuk Muhkriz Mahathir, Datuk Jacob Dungau

Science, Tech and Innovation:

Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili Deputy: Fadillah Yusof

Natural Resources and Environment:

Datuk Douglas Unggah Embas Deputy: Tan Sri Joseph Kurup


Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen Deputy: Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Abdul Taib

Agriculture and Agro-based industries:

Datuk Noh Omar Deputies: Johari Baharum, Rohani Abdul Karim


Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi Deputy: Datuk Dr Abdul Latif


Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor Deputy: Datuk Yong Khoon Seng


Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai Deputy: Datuk Rosnah Rashid Shilin

Youth and Sports:

Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek Deputies: Datuk Razali Ibrahim, Wee Jeck Sing

Human Resource:

Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam Deputy: Datuk Maznah Mazlan

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs:

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Deputy: Datuk Tan Lian Hoe

Housing and Local Government:

Datuk Kong Cho Ha Deputy: Lajim Ukin

Women, Family and Community Development:

Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil Deputy: Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun

Foreign Affairs:

Datuk Anifah Aman Deputies: Lee Chee Hong, A. Kohilan

Federal Territorry:

Datuk Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin Deputy: M. Saravanan

Monday, April 6, 2009

Promosi Pendidikan dan Kerjaya Negeri Perak di Kompleks Sejarah Matang

5 April, 2009

Sdra Ahmad Fahmi, Pentadbir OUM Taiping, telah ditugaskan untuk menguruskan booth OUM.

Booth OUM Perak juga banyak didatangi oleh para pengunjung untuk mengeathui lebih lanjut mengenai kursus yang di tawarkan

Kerajaan Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan telah berjaya menganjurkan Promosi Pendidikan dan Kerjaya peringkat negeri Perak pada julung kalinya pada 4 dan 4 April 2009. Ianya telah diadakan di Kompleks Sejarah Matang, Kota Ngah Ibrahim. Promosi ini yang diuruskan oleh Yayasan Perak telah berjaya menarik lebih dari 20 buah Institusi Pendidikan yang beroperasi di Perak.

Antara yang mengunjungi booth OUM ialah YBhg Dato' Mohd Yusof, Pengarah, Lembaga Air Perak (tengah)

Beginilah keadaan suasana promosi pendidikan semacam karnival

Acara perasmian Promosi Pendidikan sedang dilangsungkan

Antara institusi tersebut termasuk Open University Malaysia, Institut Bitara, Kolej Cosmopoint dan Institut Latihan dan Perindustrian Perak. Menurut Pengurus Besar Yayasan Perak saudara Abdul Jamil Bin Mat Kasa, promosi dua hari itu bertujuan untuk mendedahkan penduduk Bukit Gantang dan kawasan sekitar khasnya para pelajar dengan berbagai kemudahan pendidikan yang disediakan di Perak. Promosi ini berjaya menarik lebih dari 10,000 pengunjung.

Pengarah OUM Perak, Richard Ng, sempat berbual dengan YBhg Dato Wan Hashim Wan Teh (kanan), bekas ahli parlimen Gerik dan bekas Pengerusi Yayasan Perak. Duduk dibelakang kanan ialah Sdra Jamil Mat Kasa, Pengurus Besar, Yayasan Perak.

Menteri Besar Perak, YAB Dato' Dr. Zambry Bin Abdul Kadir telah merasmikan promosi tersebut.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

E-books open new chapter for LCD makers - Malaysian Insider

April 1, 2009

Author Stephen King holds up a pink Amazon Kindle 2 electronic reader at a news conference in New York in this Feb 9 file photo. — Reuters pics

TAIPEI, April 1 — Ask C.T. Liu about future growth engines for his company, LCD maker AU Optronics, and he whips out his Kindle e-book in lieu of an answer.

Strong reception for the Kindle, the brainchild of web retailer Amazon, is attracting a growing number of developers looking to tap interest in devices that let consumers read newspapers, magazines and books in a digital form that updates wirelessly and saves paper.

Sony Corp has joined the paperless wave with its own e-readers, partnering with Google to offer public domain books that are no longer protected by copyright.

Other believers in the dawn of a paperless age include Taiwan’s Netronix, which is making similar models with touch screens, and Dutch Polymer Vision, set to soon introduce a pocket e-reader with rollable displays.

“We see it as a new industry,” said Liu, a senior vice-president at AU, the world’s No.3 LCD maker whose panels are part of Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Apple PCs, as well as Sony LCD TVs.

“It replaces paper, printing, publishing, text books, and so on,” said Liu, in charge of AU’s consumer display business.

The growing number of models could help to bring down prices and boost sales, making these portable readers the next breed of must-have gadgets.

The new Amazon Kindle 2 electronic reader is held by a reporter at a news conference in New York in this Feb 9 file photo.

Weighing less than a typical paperback, e-books use a new generation of light, flexible and interactive display, or e-paper. Once the power is off, its images remain unchanged on the screen as it needs no added light source to read.

Because they require no backlighting like traditional LCDs, e-books consume far less power and are also much lighter. A typical Kindle can be read for days without recharging.

The bright future of e-books is particularly attractive to major LCD makers in Asia, including AU and hometown rival Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp, at a time when they are struggling with sluggish sales of PCs and flat-screen TVs.

AU, which booked a record loss in the October-December quarter, is branching out to the new display sector by buying a 21 per cent stake in e-paper specialist SiPix Imaging Inc.

THE END OF PAPER? Inc’s Kindles have proved a hit since their launch in 2007. Citigroup estimated the US online retailer sold a half-million Kindles in 2008, about one-third more than the number of iPods sold by Apple in its first year.

Some critics argue that e-books could become the victim of their own success if cellphone makers take notice and start to incorporate the newer LCD technology into their own models and include similar reading applications.

Other kinds of devices could also try to incorporate e-book-like applications.

“There will be more low-cost digital reading platforms coming out. Netbook PCs, for example, are much cheaper,” said Jeremy Huang, who tracks the e-book market for the Market Intelligence Centre, a private industry researcher in Taiwan.

Netbooks, low-cost mini-notebook computers, sell for as little as US$299 (RM1076), while a Kindle retails for US$359 and the latest model of the Sony Reader is priced at about US$349.

Market research firm iSuppli Corp forecasts global e-book display revenue will rise to US$291 million by 2012, representing an annual growth rate of 143 per cent from 2007. That is still much smaller than about US$72 billion for large LCDs last year.

To help drive the e-reader market, some analysts say book publishers could subsidise a low-cost e-reader, or even give one away, with a multi-year subscription, similar to how telecom operators subsidise cellphones in return for service contracts.

The use of e-paper displays in other devices, such as signs, could also help to build economies of scale, bringing down costs.

Supporters imagine a day when e-paper versions of portable newspaper and magazine readers might be rolled up or folded, and carried to the beach or read on the train by commuters.

The timing of e-readers seems particularly good as the ink-stained newspaper market is struggling and some papers are cutting their print editions due to the recession and as more people go online to get news for free.

In February, US-based Plastic Logic signed strategic deals with media partners, including the Financial Times, USA Today and Zinio, for its first e-readers to target business users. The devices boast a large display and weigh less than many printed magazines.

In South Korea, LG Display Co Ltd has been developing A4-size colour flexible e-paper among other potential products for the e-reader market.

“Screens will replace papers, that’s given. But I doubt whether e-books will make a sizeable market in the next two years,” said Park Hyun, an analyst at Prudential Investment & Securities.

“They are preparing for the new business, but it won’t mean much for their business or earnings until the market grows in size.” — Reuters