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BUKIT JAMBUL, 28 May 2024 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) through the School of Biological Sciences (SBS), in collaboration with the Asian Society of Ichthyologists (ASI), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) with support from Universitas Syiah Kuala (USK), Indonesia and IPB University, Bogor, Indonesia today joined forces to hold the the 7th International Conference of the Asian Society of Ichthyologists 2024 (ASIIC 2024).

The conference was resumed after a four-year hiatus due to the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the theme “Exploring Species Diversity and Resilience of Asian Fishes in a Changing Environment”, the 2-day conference is particularly pertinent, given the current and future global concerns caused by uncontrolled anthropogenetic activities, such as overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction, coupled with the adverse effects of climate change.

The opening ceremony held at Auditorium Murad Mohd Noor, SAINS@USM this morning was graced by the presence of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Dr. Habibah A Wahab, representing the USM Vice-Chancellor.

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In her speech, Habibah emphasised that this event aligns with efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Climate Action (SDG 13), and Life Below Water (SDG 14).

She highlighted that addressing these interconnected goals not only advances scientific understanding, but also fosters practical solutions for sustainable development and environmental conservation.

“It is hoped that through international collaboration and knowledge sharing at this conference, participants would enhance their understanding of complex issues related to biodiversity conservation,” she said.

Meanwhile ASIIC 2024 Chairperson, Professor Dr. Siti Azizah Mohd Nor in her welcoming speech expressed her confidence that this conference would strengthen professional bonds among ichthyologists working in Asia's biodiverse regions.

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The exchange of ideas and expertise here is poised to drive innovation and inspire groundbreaking research initiatives in this field.

The keynote address was delivered following that by the Curator of Ichthyology, Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore, Dr. Tan Heok Hui entitled “Encheloclarias – A Cryptic Acid-Water Catfish from Sundaland, A Critical Update."

The conference will be held from 28 to 29 May 2024 with the participation of over 180 delegates from 16 countries.

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Also present were the USM SBS Dean, Professor Dato’ Dr. Amirul Al-Ashraf Abdullah; principal officers of universities and head of departments.

Text: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi/Photo: Mohd Fairus Md Isa



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USM PENANG, 28 March 2024 – Throughout the entire holy month of Ramadan, the USM Pusat Islam (Islamic Centre) offered meals for ‘iftar’ (breaking of fast) every day to its campus community (students, staff and their families), as well as the surrounding communities in all three campuses and at the Advanced Medical & Dental Institute (IPPT) in Bertam.

This is a 40-year-old tradition practiced by USM's Pusat Islam, and at the USM Main Campus, around 2,000 to 2,500 people can be seen breaking their fast at the Al Malik Khalid Mosque compound since the first day of Ramadan.

USM Ramadan activities committee chairman cum the Deputy Director of Pusat Islam, Ustaz Zayd Zahari said that the programme is aimed at strengthening ukhuwah (brotherhood bond) among the campus community and with the local residents, including the non-Muslims.

“We have more than 300 volunteers comprising of the campus community and the general public, working together in the spirit of 'gotong-royong' and togetherness according to the daily duty roster, to prepare the iftar meals.

"Our workforce is divided into three teams, which is the team for preparing iftar ingredients, the preparation of raw materials such as the washing of chicken and meat (including cooking), and the team for serving food at the mosque.

"All preparation work starts as early as 10.00 am every day because we prepare food in large quantities," he added.

“One unique feature that has been in practice for many years is the non-Muslim students also volunteered and helped in preparing and packing the food for iftar.

"This is to give opportunities to non-Muslim students to experience the preparing of iftar meals, as well as to strengthen relationships with one another,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the preparation of the menu, Zayd said it was determined by a special committee made up of USM's own staff.

"The menus that are served up are different every day. Among the menu items that have been served are tomato rice, nasi hujan panas, nasi minyak, ayam masak merah, chicken kurma, and meat curry.

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“Alhamdulillah, all the food cooked for the day will be fully distributed so that there will be no wastage," he said.

Zayd said further, those wanting to enjoy the food for breaking of fast can either break fast communally at the mosque or to take home the prepared food.

“For those opting to bring back food to their desasiswa or home, they are encouraged to bring their own food containers to fill in the food prepared.

“This is also part of the Green Ramadan campaign that the Pusat Islam is introducing for the first time this year to encourage the practice of reducing waste and using resources responsibly,” he further explained.  

In terms of funding to run this programme, Zayd said it was made possible through the generous contributions from the public, USM staff and students.

"For staff, they can have their salary deducted every month under the salary deduction system, of which the staff can choose the amount to donate.

"We also receive funds from the public, local residents and the students themselves.

“Every year, the collection is very encouraging and this further strengthens the spirit of our team to continue preparing iftar meals at the Al Malik Khalid Mosque," he added.

Text: Tan Ewe Hoe/Photo: Shahnizam Ab Rahim 


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USM PULAU PINANG, 28 Mac 2024 – Demi menyokong penuh amalan kelestarian dalam mencapai Matlamat Pembangunan Mampan (SDG), Pusat Islam Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) telah mengambil inisiatif untuk melancarkan Kempen Ramadan Hijau bersempena dengan bulan Ramadan pada tahun ini.

Kempen ini dianjurkan untuk mendorong warga USM dan masyarakat mengurangkan pembaziran dengan menggunakan semula barangan dan mengitar semula barangan yang boleh digunakan seperti bekas makanan dan beg kitar semula.

Menurut Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Induk Ramadan peringkat USM, merangkap Timbalan Pengarah Pusat Islam USM, Ustaz Zayd Zhari, inisiatif ini adalah untuk menjaga alam sekitar dengan menerapkan konsep 3R iaitu 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle'.

“Setiap tahun sepanjang bulan Ramadan, Pusat Islam USM menyediakan juadah berbuka puasa kepada kira-kira 3,000 orang setiap hari, yang mana mereka diberi pilihan untuk berbuka puasa di masjid (tempat yang disediakan) atau membawa pulang juadah yang disediakan dengan membawa bekas makanan sendiri.

“Sebagai sebuah universiti yang mementingkan amalan kelestarian, kempen ini dilaksanakan sesuai dengan menggalakkan sifar plastik, iaitu dengan mengurangkan penggunaan produk plastik sekali guna dan menggantikan alternatif yang lebih mesra alam, iaitu dengan membawa bekas makanan sendiri. Pengagihan bubur lambuk juga tidak lagi disediakan dalam plastik.

“Selain itu, kempen ini juga berinisiatif untuk memupuk amalan penggunaan beg kitar semula yang disediakan di Pusat Islam USM, untuk membawa barangan keperluan, mengurangkan penggunaan beg plastik sekali guna, dan memberikan kesedaran kepada masyarakat tentang pentingnya pemuliharaan alam sekitar,” kata Zayd.

Tambah Zayd, kempen ini baru dilaksanakan pada Ramadan tahun ini dan berharap agar kempen seperti ini dapat diteruskan lagi pada Ramadan yang akan datang.

“Idea kempen ini terbit daripada kempen Pejabat Hijau oleh Kampus Sejahtera, yang kemudiannya diolah dalam bentuk program oleh Jawatankuasa Aktiviti Ramadan USM, yang mana kempen Ramadan Hijau ini akan berlangsung sepanjang bulan Ramadan dengan melibatkan pengurusan sumber lain,” ujarnya.

Bagi mereka yang tidak membawa bekas makanan sendiri, Pusat Islam USM menjual bekas makanan yang berharga RM2 setiap unit dan setiap pembelian akan dimasukkan ke akaun Tabung Ramadan yang disediakan oleh Pusat Islam USM.

Teks: Nur Farrah Ezlin Mohd Suhaimi



USM PENANG, 6 June 2024 – The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Student Representative Council (MPP) recently joined forces with Food Bank Mutiara and the USM School of Communication (SOC) to bring aid to students in need at USM SOC through the 'Communication Foodbank' initiative

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The initiative was organised and led by USM MPP representative, Daneswaran A/L Muneswaran Thiagu with the aim to provide essential food and personal care items to Communication students who are in need, particularly those in the B40 category.

A total of 100 packs of frozen food and 50 goodie bags containing items such as toothpaste, shampoo, toothbrushes, and soaps were distributed to students at the C10 Building, on 6 June 2024.

Daneswaran said that the gesture was met with gratitude and appreciation by the students for the support extended, reflecting the positive impact of the 'Communication Foodbank' initiative on their lives.

“The initiative demonstrated the power of compassion and generosity in fostering a caring community,” he said.

Special thanks to the USM SOC Dean, Associate Professor Dr. Bahiyah Omar, Penang State Government and Food Bank Mutiara for their support throughout the initiative.

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This collaborative effort highlights the importance of unity and compassion in supporting those who are in need of assistance.

Text: Thiviyaatharishienee A/P Kaliappan/ Photo: Siti Mashitah Kamarulzaman, Rhema Seng, Wong Suet Ying (School of Communication USM)


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PENANG, 12 June 2024 – The Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Communication recently organised the ‘Digitalization of Penang Entrepreneurs (D.O.P.E)’ programme, as part of the YBP230 Corporate Social Responsibility coursework.

This initiative, under the guidance of Professor Dr. Jamilah Hj Ahmad and Dr. Suriati Saad, was held at the MBPP Makerspace in Balik Pulau, Penang.

D.O.P.E aims to equip small business owners, especially in Penang, with digital knowledge by up-skilling workshops to adapt to the digital era.

The event was launched by Dato’ Seri Syed Mohamad Syed Murtaza, Chairman of the Bumiputera Foundation, Penang.

In his opening speech, he emphasised the importance of a deep understanding of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI).

He further said, "Mastery of these technologies is key to ensuring businesses remain competitive, thereby contributing to the country's continuous and sustainable economic growth."

The event continued with business digitalization sharing sessions by Tan Gaik Tong and Chu Boon, whom were invited by Digital Penang to give the talk.

There were also activities focused on brand positioning entitled “Positioning for Success,” personally conducted by USM students. This session focused on online branding to help these small business owners refine their brand identities, set strategic goals, and develop content suited to their target audiences.

Several small and medium enterprises (SMEs) joined in the programme, namely Saji Warisan Enterprise, Body Secret Home SPA, Kick Coffee, M.E.N.U Tomyam, Gerak Dinamik Enterprise, and Spin Chicken Rice USM.

“I had a great time sharing our stories and picking up new knowledge. I look forward to participate in more programmes by USM in the future,” said Saliyana Shuhaidah from M.E.N.U Tomyam.

According to Jamilah, the programme was held to allow students to connect with the community and the industry, by understanding the needs and provide benefits that will be sustainable in nature for the target audience.

“Additionally, the CSR course has the objective of equipping students with the ability to relate the social needs of the community or target public with that of the organisation (Corporate or NGO),” she said.  

In conducting CSR effectively, the D.O.P.E event highlighted the importance of community efforts to support local businesses and promote economic growth through digital innovation.

By helping entrepreneurs with digital skills, USM students are hoping to create a stronger business environment among the SMEs in Penang.

Source text & photo: Dr. Suriati Saad, School of Communication, USM/Editing: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin

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