Tuesday, March 27, 2012

EU deny Discriminating Muslim Asylum Seekers

europe-violence-fe04-vlBANGI, 29 Oct 2010  -  The Europeon Union (EU)  does not discriminate entry of asylum seekers solely on the basis of their race or religions, the Belgian Ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Frank Van De Craen said.
In a talk on ‘The Belgian Presidency of the Europeon Union: Implications for EU –Asia Relations’ at UKM’s Institute of Occidental Studies’ third Round Table series here yesterday, Dr Van De Craen did, however, admit that things had indeed changed for security reasons after September 11, 2001.
“The EU is certainly more wary to accept immigrants from certain regions, and tighter screenings were done after Sept 11. But the EU does not deny the right to asylum and migration just because of a person’s race or religion,” he said.
Since then Europe had experienced a rise in Xenophobia, especially in France and Germany resulting in the French government’s proposal to ban the use of the hijab in schools initated in 2004.
There was also the campaign to ban minarets at mosques in Switzerland. Though Switzerland is not an EU member it is nonetheless part of the geographic region.
The ambassador claimed that these views were not mainstream but are extremist views which clearly infringe upon the freedom of choice and religion.
The immigrants are by and large different and they find it difficult to integrate into the EU societies. So populist politicians jump on the issue and try to present it as black and white issue but they are not the mainstream, he said.
Responding the questions on whether Europe has failed as a multicultural society he said: “I am afraid the answer is yes. Twenty years ago we never anticipate that we would have a large influx of the unskilled immigrant labours. ”
So the EU sees the only way to tackle the problem of such large influx is by tightening its labour laws.
He also said that Asia and Europe share some common grounds for example in economic and financial relations by rejecting trade or currency wars while upholding socially responsible markets.
Both regions also advocate for improvements in the quality of life of their peoples. 
“Without imposing our views on social security policy, democracy or justice in Asia, we want to share with our Asian neighbours the experiences we went through since the 18th century from the very positive to the very negative,” said Mr. Van De Craen.
They also have a common concern on the global warming phenomena. This, he said, was also a new challenge for Europe and “we have no lessons to advice you. But we are all in the same boat and we expect a strong and honest commitment from Asia (on the issue), he said.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Breast Cancer Biopsy

BANGI , 13 Oct. 2010 – UKM Medical Centre has performed the latest minimally invasive breast cancer biopsy procedure, the breast Sentinel Lymph Biopsy (SLNB), the first public hospital in Malaysia to do so.

The SLNB is a procedure which helps determine if a cancer is contained in a specific location or have spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body.

After performing 35  such procedures successfully, UKMMC has organised the Breast SLNB workshop attended by approximately 50 surgeons from all over the country yesterday. 

Opening the workshop, Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development , Senator Heng Seai Kie hoped the workshop would encourage more centres to advocate the procedure to their patients and thus improve the medical care services in the country.

Later she told a press conference that the government will give a RM50 subsidy to woman earning less than RM 5000 a month, for breast cancer screening.

Breast cancer affects woman irrespective of age, colour or creed with every one in 13 women found to develop breast cancer.   

When breast cancer cells begin to escape from the primary tumor site in the breast they travel to the lymph nodes under the arm, the first lymph node they reach is the 'sentinel' lymph node.

When breast cancer is diagnosed, women (and men) must often undergo axillary lymph node dissection (i.e., removal of underarm nodes) to check for the spread of cancer. This process is part of assessing the cancer location. Unfortunately, the removal of these lymph nodes can lead to lymphedema (chronic swelling) of the arm of the patient.

The SLNB biopsy procedure involves only the injection of a dye to pinpoint the lymph node which is closest to the cancer site. This is better than the conventional method which requires the surgeon to generally remove between five and thirty nodes during a traditional axillary dissection.

Furthermore the lymph nodes has a role in activating our immune system. If we imagine that our immune system as an army which fends of threats of diseases, then the lymph nodes is like an army base which sends out orders and deploys the troops. So it is better to leave them intact as much as possible so they can do their job.

Present at the workshop were Prof  Dato’ Dr Lokman Saim, the Dean of the Medical Faculty and Director of UKMMC, Prof Rohaizak Muhammad, Head of Breast and Endocrine Surgery and Dr Saladina Jaszle Jasmin, the Course Director of the workshop

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Youth told to aim for the outer space

BANGI, 6 Oct. 2010 – UKM’s Institute of Space Science (ANGKASA) has been identified as the secretariat for the proposed Malaysian Association of Young Space Explorers (MyACE) .

Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah said the setting up of the Malaysian Young Aerospace Explorers (MyACE) is to promote interest in space exploration and aerospace studies among youth and students.

Speaking at a gathering of 64 astronauts in the UKM campus today, he said Malaysia’s own astronaut, Datuk Dr Sheikh Muzapahar Shukor will act as advisor to MyACE.

The ministry, he said, was committed to develop aerospace studies by having related courses in various public universities apart from UKM. Other universities involved include UTM, UPM, USM, UIAM, UPNM and UTHM.

Dato’ Saifuddin also said that Malaysia’s involvement in the space programme was not merely the sending of a Malaysian to outer space but more importantly what could be done after the astronaut came back to earth.

Datuk Dr Sheikh Muzapahar Shukor took along with him cancer cells and microbes to see how they behaved in zero gravity. This can help scientists understand cancer cells better and hopefully can lead to finding a cure for many diseases.

UKM played a leading role in the area forging international collaborations in the area of space research.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International Affairs), Prof Ir. Dato’ Hassan Basri said that ANGKASA since its inception in 2003 has been actively involved in setting up an international network of collaborations to further its research agenda in aerospace science.

Presently UKM has collaborations with Antarctic New Zealand, University of Canterbury New Zealand, Science Institute of University of Iceland, National Institute of Polar Research and Space Environment Research Centre of Japan and STAR laboratory of Stanford University USA.

He said the research networks comprise studies in the fields of upper and lower atmospheric layers, meteorology, solar radiation impact on the atmosphere (space weather), radio signal propagation and related space engineering including antenna communication and satellite technology.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Noble laureate : Don't look for a job create your own


By Shahfizal Musa
Pix Shahiddan Saidi

BANGI, 25 Feb. 2012 -Aided by technology, a new economy is
taking shape that enables people to create jobs instead of looking for one.

The National University of Malaysia (UKM) Laureate in Residence Professor Muhammad Yunus in saying this believes that everyone including the poor can be a successful entrepreneur if given guidance.

Giving a talk to a group of women entrepreneurs of small businesses here today, the founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh likened the poor to bonsai trees. There is nothing wrong with the plant. But because the tree is planted in a pot, it can only grow to a very limited height.

His efforts in helping the poor help themselves through the bank earned him a Nobel prize in 2006. His idea of using capitalism to help the poor took off spreading like wild fire engulfing the rest of the world.

Similarly, he said, society never gave the poor the base to grow bigger. They is nothing wrong with poor people, it is not their fault, society never gave them a chance to realise their true potential.

“Sincerity is of the upmost importance even before trying to help the poor with any success.  Their mind set has to be changed first. And usually there are several layers of fears and assumptions that is stopping them from becoming successful. Each one of the layers needed to be peeled off.”

He said that was evident from his experience with the Grameen Bank which he founded for the poor including beggars. It took him quite a while to convince the poor especially the women, that they can generate their own income.

“At first no one wanted to take money from the bank to start an income generating project, because they lack the confidence in themselves. So patience is required”.
Technology gives freedom

Today, he said, technology has made it possible for man and women to be happy. “They can take care of their family without having to be stuck in the office from 9 to 5. They will have the freedom to be with their families and generate their own income without having to depend on a job”.

He said with the help of technology an accountant can become an expert that offers his services not just to his town but the whole world.

Technology has come to a level that we can reach out to the world and not be limited to our towns and villages.

Prof Muhammad gave his talk to a group of women entrepreneurs of small businesses. The event was organised by Centre of Women Leadership to help women realise their true potential.

Prof Muhammad said that he believes that everybody can be a successful entrepreneur if they are given guidance. This holds true even for the poor.
Empowering Women 

He also urged women to take part of the new economy. He said when he first started the Grameen bank it helped the poor to borrow money and create their own income generating vehicle. It was a success with virtually everyone paying back their loans.

Prof Muhammad Yunus said he discovered one major difference on the outflow of income they generated according to their gender. For the women most of the income will go to the family including their children’s need.

But if the borrower was a man, the money generated from the capital, were usually spent on himself first before it goes to the family.

In other words lending money to a woman will give more social benefits than lending money to a man.

Thus the need to empower women with income generating opportunities because their earnings will benefit the whole family.

But when you try to empower women you will definitely step on a few toes. Usually these are men who are comfortable with the status quo of women being subservient.

Prof Muhammad Yunus found it odd that several women rights groups also opposed his idea of lending money to women to enable them to start their own income generating projects.
Challenges in empowering women

In giving women the power to generate their own income, it might be seen as a threat. Despite the rhetoric of women empowerment some people do not want to see women do better than them .

No man would like to be told that his wife is wearing the pants in the house.

But the fears that some men have about women earning more than them was a misconception. He said in many cases the relationship between husbands and wives have improved when the wife can contribute to the family financially.

So it basically strengthen the family institution and not threaten it, he said.
Giving Tradition a new leash of life

Tradition is usually the stumbling block in empowering women. Most tradition originate out of necessity. Harsh and hazardous environment, may have required women to sit and take care of their young ones in caves. While the man go out and hunt for food.

But as the environment is tamed by technology the man’s role has also to change.

Tradition, he said, is a living thing, it is not a set of rules that is carved in stone. It should evolve with time.

If empowering women can lead to thousands of families climbing out of poverty, then it is natural that it should be made the new tradition.

Another subject used to hinder efforts to empower women financially is religion. It is not religion per se that prevents women from being financially capable. But it’s the fear of men losing their status quo of being the dominant one in a family.

He said it is not religion that hampers efforts to help women realise their potential. It is the interpretation of religion from a certain view point.

Islam, he said, gave women the right to own property and inheritance. While before Islam they are not so entitled.

Empowering them, he said, was not about giving women the upper hand over man.  It is about using entrepreneurship and capitalism to solve society’s most pressing problem.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation Affars)  Prof Dato’ Dr Rahmah Mohamed; Director of the Centre for Women’s Leadership, Assoc Prof Dr Madeline Berma; women entrepreneurs, lecturers and students attended the talk.

71 year old surgeon smuggled himself to Syria

PARIS — At the age of 71, Dr. Jacques Bérès, a veteran of war zones, left his comfortable Paris life last month to smuggle himself into Homs, the center of the Syrian revolt, to tend to the wounded and the sick.
Dr. Bérès, a surgeon who was part of the group that founded Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, appears to be the only Western doctor who has been able to enter Homs, where security forces have been carrying out a brutal assault. His account offers a rare glimpse at the medical emergency that has developed as the Syrian conflict rages on.
His journey into Syria began in early February when he crossed the Lebanese border with the help of smugglers, carrying luggage filled with medical equipment. He then traveled by car and motorbike to Al Qusayr, another besieged city that is part of Homs Province, where he worked for a few days with a Syrian doctor. When he finally made it to Homs, he spent about two weeks there.

Working in secret, in a dark, abandoned house, with only one operating table, three beds, four local aides and intermittent electricity, Dr. Bérès operated on 89 people, he said; all but nine survived.

He was forced to move once — “I sensed that the building had become a target for government forces” — and conditions were far from ideal.
“The place was so crowded that we had to walk between the stretchers,” Dr. Bérès said in an interview late last month in his Paris apartment, just days after returning.
“I treated all kinds of wounds, from heavy mortars, shots from long-range sniper rifles, high-velocity rounds, shrapnel,” he said. His makeshift hospital was only a few minutes from Baba Amr, the neighborhood that had some of the heaviest shelling and fighting.
One day, he said, 11 people died in his hospital, some before he could even begin to treat them. “Some of them had brain damage and arrived already dead,” Dr. Bérès said. “Others were so severely injured that they could not be saved.”
Many of his patients were children, he said. At least 400 children have died since the beginning of the uprising, according to Unicef.
He was clearly affected by the death of a teenage boy, “who had pale skin, handsome features, a slightly mischievous look and a cap on his head which made him look like Gavroche in Victor Hugo’s ‘Misérables.’ ” The boy, Dr. Bérès said, “had almost been cut into two.”
Dr. Bérès left Syria before the government began its all-out assault on Homs in late February.
“I was sad,” he told the French radio network RTL after his return to Paris. “I saw useless suffering, cruelty, meanness, the suffering of children, of families.”
But those who worked with him praised Dr. Bérès for his composure and quiet energy in the face of suffering and death.
“We went through very tense moments,” said Nicolas Hénin, a video journalist and a friend of Dr. Bérès who filmed him on the first days of his mission in Al Qusayr. “But while everyone around him got agitated, Dr. Bérès remained extremely calm, as if all this agitation didn’t affect him.”
Dr. Bérès’s trip to Syria was partly sponsored by two associations: France-Syria Democracy and UAM93, a federation of Muslim associations in Seine-St.-Denis, an area in the Paris suburbs largely populated by immigrants. Dr. Bérès said the participation of the Muslim federation was crucial.
But gaining its support was not easy. “I was strongly against this trip,” said M’hammed Henniche, the director of UAM93, who said he thought it was too risky. “But Dr. Bérès insisted so much that we finally paid for his ticket and begged him to keep his mouth shut during his stay.”
Mr. Henniche said that Dr. Bérès left because he could no longer cope with the violence and harsh living conditions in Homs, including the lack of hot water and electricity, and because he was exhausted from treating so many patients. “We also thought that he had to escape before the city was entirely besieged,” he added.

Dr. Bérès described weeks of tension and sleepless nights; he struggled with the noise of bombardments, cold weather, mud in the streets, a lack of food and a shortage of child-size masks for anesthesia. He said there was not enough equipment to allow for anything but the most basic treatments.

But he also emphasized the professionalism of his aides and the character of the Syrian opposition, as well as the spirit of solidarity among the city’s residents.
“The members of the opposition are formidable,” Dr. Bérès said. “They’re very smart, they’re very, very motivated, their morale is very strong regardless of what happens to them.”
Donations of blood, which are often difficult to obtain in war zones, “never caused us any trouble,” the doctor said. “There was almost a line of people ready to offer their blood.”
Born in 1941 and married twice, Dr. Bérès learned battlefield surgery in Vietnam in 1967 at the French hospital in Saigon where he did his military service. Surgery was primitive, Dr. Bérès said, and some doctors had been reluctant to use techniques “often inherited from the First World War.”
He was among the dozen or so co-founders of Doctors Without Borders in 1971 and of a similar group, Doctors of the World, in 1980. He has spent more than 40 years in some of the most dangerous war zones around the world, experiencing conflicts in Vietnam, Liberia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Chechnya, Iraq and most recently Libya.
“In Baghdad, I used to operate on people with an aide hanging an oil lamp over my shoulder,” Dr. Bérès said.
He said he wanted to return to Homs because the need was great and international aid was meager.
“I don’t know what the future of Syria will look like,” Dr. Bérès said. “But I admire the Syrians so much.
Source NYTIMES & AlJazeera

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Shortage of optometerists

By Shahfizal Musa
KUALA LUMPUR, 1 Oct. 2010 - Malaysia currently faces a shortage of nearly 3,000 optometrists if it were to meet the ratio of one optometrist for every 7,000 people. It currently have only 834 registered optometrists, 736 of whom are UKM graduates, against 3,600 needed to meet the ratio requirement.
There is thus a need to increase such qualified eye specialists to meet the need of an expanding demand, said Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin when launching the Malaysian Optometry Day at The Faculty of Health Sciences UKM yesterday.
Measures needed to be taken to increase such specialists is in line with the 10thMalaysia plan objectives which emphasises on intellectual development rather than mere physical developments as in previous plans.
He said: “The shift in priorities is very important and significant in the light of the ongoing transformation process for Malaysia to become a fully developed nation by 2020. This must be supported with a source of talented and qualified human capital needed in all sectors, said Dato Seri Khaled.
It was feared the shortage of optometrists could lead to a brain drain phenomenon because there will not be enough skilled professionals to pass on their knowledge to the younger generations
“Though the issue of brain drain is not that serious in optometry, proactive steps needed to be taken to ensure that the graduates work in the country,” said Datuk Seri Khaled.
UKM was the first institution of higher learning to have the Bachelors programme specialising in Optometry in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region. Optometry graduates produced by UKM are now working in various higher learning institutions in the country as well as overseas in Singapore and Australia.
Also present in at the ceremony was Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dato’ Dr Mohamad Abdul Razak, Professor Dr Salman H. Inayat Hussin, the Dean of the Faculty and Prof of Toxicology, senior members of the optometry faculty and representives from other higher learning institutions which offer optometry courses.
Aug 15th has been chosen as Malaysia Optometry Day to mark the date when the first batch of seven optometrists graduated from UKM. They were the pioneers in the field of optometry studies in Malaysia
This year the celebration was delayed to yesterday (30th September) in deference to the month of Ramadhan.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Distance Learning MA and Phd

BANGI, 20 September 2010 – Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) is   widening its part time executive study and distance learning programmes to include post graduate studies up to the PhD level in Islamic Studies, Education and Economy.

For a start over 100 students have enrolled for the post graduate programmes, said Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof Dato’ Ir. Dr.Hassan Basri (Academic and International Affairs) when representing the Vice Chanellor, Prof Tan Sri Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabuddin at the oath taking ceremony of the new students of the programme for the 2010- 2011 session here on Saturday (18 September).

A total of 914 new students for the part time and distance learning programmes took part in the ceremony.

This alternative learning programme was designed to give opportunities to people already employed to obtain higher qualifications, said Prof Hassan.

As a Research University, UKM has the responsibility to provide opportunities to these group to gain tertiary qualifications.

The availability of this alternative learning programme allow those committed to their work or have family commitments to continue their studies without having to leave their existing obligations.

In line with the 1 Malaysia concept, the Executive learning and distance learning programmes are offered. More information on the program www.ukm.my

Monday, March 19, 2012

Borderless Biotechnology

BANGI 10 OGOS 2010 – Malaysia with its vast  biodiversity resources has an immense potential for research that can be economically beneficial to the people, said newly conferred Prof Emeritus Dr. Nor Muhammad Mahadi.
Speaking when accepting the title at the seventh session of the 38th Convocation of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) here today he said that the research area is vast and could bring great opportunities that transcends geographical borders.
Speaking  on the last day of the ceremony to graduads he said “the biotechnology research world is so wide for you to explore. Urging them to grab the opportunities he asked them to use the chance because the playing ground is not limited by national boundaries as the world is their playground.  
He said that biotechnology is an area which needed various expertise to make it successful giving the genome based research which needed graduates from all the various science disciplines as an example. 
“What is needed is the determination and openness to foster collaboration and synergy which is needed in these multi disciplinary field” said Prof Emeritus Nor Muhammad who is the Director General of Genome Institute Malaysia.  
Nor Muhammad who retired from UKM three years ago advised the graduates to explore opportunities offered in the field of biotechnology which has immense benefit both economically as well as in terms of discovery.  
“The result of the various biological research with the mathematical biology platform will change the equation where two plus two is no longer four” . As a country with mega biodiversity Malaysia has the biological sources that is wide that can benefit the country economically and in terms of knowledge, he said. 
Prof Emeritus Nor Muhammad received his Bachelors Degree in Microbiology from Monash University in 1974 received his Doctorate from the same University in 1978.  
He started his career in UKM in 1973 as a tutor in the Faculty of Science. He was appointed a lecturer in the Microbiology unit in 1978 and made an Associate Professor in 1988 then Professor in 1994. 
He played a significant role in restructuring the science based faculties in UKM into one mega faculty known as Faculty of Science and Technology.  He had been the Dean of the Faculty of Biology and Chairman of Bioscience and Biotechnology Centre, Faculty of Science and Technology  
Internationally he was responsible to coordinate Malaysia’s involvement in International Asia Pacific in health which was headed by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Seattle, America since September 2004.
He also heads the Malaysia-Stanford University International Research Project while being the source of reference and guidance in the field of biotechnology and also the backbone in planning and outlining the establishment of the Biology System Institute (INBIOSIS). 
INBIOSIS was designed to provide a dynamic infrastructure and environment for multi-disciplinary researchers in pursuing challenging fundamental research on tropical biology resources.
A total of1865 students from the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST), Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSSK), Faculty of Economy and Business (FEP), Faculty of Education (FPEND), Faculty Allied Health Sciences (FSKB) and the Faculty of Islamic Studies (FPI) receive their Diplomas, Advance Diplomas, Graduate Diplomas, Bachelors and Masters Degrees in today’s ceremony.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Al Jazari water supply system

By Shahfizal Musa

ASIAN MINDS -- An Islamic engineer and inventor has been discovered to be the first man to successfully developed and built
man’s earliest sophisticated water supply system driven by gears and hydropower to supply water to mosques and hospitals in Diyarbakir, Anatolia in the early 13th century.

A team of researchers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia discovered that, Ismā'īl ibn Al Razāz Al Jazari (1150-1220) came up with the system using water as the power to distribute water to the selected areas. Al Jazari’s machine, consisted of a water wheel, an advanced pump system and gears mechanism,  pumped water from the water source located down at the bottom of a hill to mosques and hospitals in the city using a pipeline system. The city was situated at the top of the hill.

The researchers have successfully modeled the gears mechanism used in Al Jazari’s water system in a modern three dimensional drawing. It graphically demonstrated the working operation of the gears system and the suction pump. 
Graphic of how the water supply system works.

This fact was discovered by the team from three different areas of expertise. Dr Nordin Jamaludin an Associate Professor from Department of Mechanical Engineering reported this in his working paper entitled “Engineering Analysis of Ismail Al Jazari water raising system.” The paper was prepared in collaboration with Dr Salehudin Mohamed Haris and Mohd Nur Khairulnizam Mohd Ghazali.  

The team of Dr Nordin had worked closely with Associate Professor Dr Kamaruzaman Yusoff from School of History, Politics and Strategic Studies along with Associate Professor Dr Wan Kamal Mujani, an expert in Arabic language from the Department of Arabic and Islamic Civilisation Studies. 

While working together deciphering information from two 13th century manuscripts, they delved deeper into the intricate details of Al Jazari’s invention. The finding proposed that Al Jazari’s should have been credited with the invention of the hydraulics and gear system. The manuscripts are Fi Macrifat al-Hiyal al-Handasiyya (The Book of Ingenious Mechanical  Devices) and  “al-Jamic bain al-cIlm Wa al-cAmal al-Nafi sinacat al-Hiyal (A Compendium on the Theory and Useful Practice of the Mechanical Arts)”.

Access to the manuscript was made possible by Institute of Arabic Sciences and Civilisation, Aleppo, Syria as well as the Foundation of Science Technology and Civilisation, a foundation set up to highlight Muslim heritage developed during Europe’s dark ages and its influence during the rennaiscense. 

Al Jazari’s water supply system

This dispelled centuries old belief that it was Leonardo da Vinci (1452 –1519), the much honoured genius, who was attributed to be the first to develop and used hydraulics and mechanical gears. Credit for that invention should rightly go to Al Jazari, who developed the system more than 200 years before Leornado, who was given the credit only because Al Jazari’s writings were in Arabic and not known to the West.

The researchers felt that it was highly likely that Leonardo was influenced by Al Jazari’s writings because there were evidence of interactions between Leonardo da Vinci and the Ottoman Empire where Al Jazari had lived. In 1502, Leonardo produced a drawing of a single span 720-foot (220 m) bridge as part of a project for Ottoman Sultan Beyazid II of Istanbul.

This fact alone proved that there were communications between Leonardo and the descendents of Al Jazari’s employer, Sultan Artuq in Turkey during the Ottoman period. Yet Leonardo’s sketch was rejected because it was too impractical to implement.

Unlike many ancient text which mostly are like a maze of philosophical riddles, Al Jazari’s text was written to serve a practical purpose. It is like today’s Do it Yourself (DIY) guide which focussed on practical instructions on how to construct his inventions. The researchers had to combine three expertise; history, engineering and language to come up with their findings.

Al Jazari Water Raising device

The sophisticated water supply system developed in Diyarbakir included an extensive piping network built to channel water to areas where water was required including irrigations of agriculture. This was a leap in civilisation considering that even today, occupants of remote areas are still complaining about the lack of water supply.

What is so great about Al Jazari’s water system? Today if you open the tap in your house out comes the water. But for that to happen there must be a device that suck the water from its main source, transfer the water to another channel or pipeline that lead to your house. This is the simplest scenario which exist in a water supply sytem. Then naturally these devices need to be powered before they can operate.

At a time when people still relied on wells and rivers as the sources for water, Al Jazari’s invented the mechanical devices needed to create a water supply system. Unlike Leornado Da Vinci who’s greatness is measured in sketches that he made in his notes, Al Jazari’s successfully created a working and functional mechanical system operated by the devices he invented with great precision and accuracy. His water system, comprised of four main devices which formed several basis of mechanical engineering today.

A geared water wheel A water wheel is used to obtain a similar effect of a turbine. The water wheel is usually submerged in a stream to take advantage of the flow of the river. When the water flow hits the blade of the water wheel it will cause it to rotate. Al Jazari’s water supply system used a water wheel with a vertical gear connected to the wheel. The vertical gear rotated together with the water wheel rotation.      


Flowing water from the stream hits the water wheel causing it to rotate

The vertical gear was used to convert the water energy from the rotating water wheel to rotate another gear which was placed horizontally. The uniqueness of the gearing system was such that it not only caused the motion to be transferred but also changed the motion direction from vertical to horizontal. The developed gear system by Al Jazari was probably the first functional gear system which practically transferred the rough movement of water flow to a smooth horizontal motion used  to operate a  delicate suction pump. The horizontal gear was the main gear to operate the central device in Al Jazari’s water system, known as the hydraulic suction pump, first introduced by Al Jazari.  


These gears are made from Mulberry wood so it will stand the test of timeGear connected to the water wheel

The main gear
This main gear will rotate when the water wheel starts to rotate. The challenge was how to change the horizontal rotational movement to a back and forth movement, a linear motion.  Al Jazari had introduced a genius solution consisting of a small knob placed on the main horizontal gear to operate the arm of the pump. So when the main gear rotated it led to a piston like movement of the suction pump, pumping water out from the stream into a pipe which were then channeled to the respective areas of Diyarbakir.

Al Jazari accomplished three things here, firstly, he had succeeded in inventing a gear which channeled water power from a water wheel to operate other devices. Secondly, by using an unique combination of gears he was able to change the direction of the motion from vertical to horizontal.  Thirdly, by connecting the main gear to a suction pump he was able to create a piston like dual motion movements.

               Main Gear                          Gear operating water pump

These gears were made from mulberry wood which is known for its durability and long lasting quality. Mulberry wood is still used today to make hockey sticks.

Double-action suction pump with valves and reciprocating piston.
Al Jazari should also be recognised and credited for his contributions in inventing the suction pump. The pump was a device that used hydraulics power to pump water out into another pipeline system. In simple terms, Al Jazari’s water system, used the water stream to power a turbine which in turn by a combination of gears created a back and forth motion to operate the suction pump.

Al Jazari not only came up with the idea, he also created a working and functional hydraulic pump. The suction pump was the central part of Al Jazari’s water supply system. Because of the invention of the suction pump, water could be supplied to places far away and on a higher elevation from the main water source. He used cylinders and caps to produce a hydraulic effect.

By having a working and functional invention like this, it shows the depth of his knowledge. Al Jazari not only knew how to construct the pump, but he also chose the right material showing he knew about their properties. Specifically, the material used for the suction pump was copper which is known to be rust resistant and does not contaminate the water. It is clear that he was not only a mechanical engineer but also an expert on materials and their long lasting properties.

The miracle of Al Jazari’s water supply system
Unlike today where power is available at a click of a switch, in the 13th century power was non existent. There is not even one single source of power that could power the king’s chamber, let alone to power devices that can supply water miles away from the source.

The ingenuity of Al Jazari’s is clearly seen in his creativity in finding a power source and manipulating it exponentially. He used water as a power source to operate his pump to supply water. He turned the flowing water into useful energy which then was capable of operating a pump automatically and, finally the pump moved water from its source into a pipeline. It is fully automatic without the need of man power turning it on and off, so long as the water wheel was kept moving by the flowing stream.

It is unfortunate that the gear and hydraulics system introduced by Al Jazari’s were not properly recognised in the engineering world, as the engineering world credited several scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci for their theoretical contributions. Based in this finding, it is a fact that in the field of practical mechanical engineering, Al Jazari preceded the well known western scientists by over 200 years.

A Mechanical genius

Beside being the Royal Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Sultan, Al Jazari also had a very refined artistic taste. His intricate artistic character was clearly demonstrated in his inventions like the musical boat. Another outstanding Al Jazari invention was an elephant clock. 
It was the first automatic clock powered by water which accurately recorded time to match the uneven length of days throughout the year. The clock even had automatic features; a humanoid robot striking the cymbal and a mechanical robotic bird chirping denoting the time.  

Al Jazari all together invented, designed and fabricated 50 practical working devices as finished products. Principles applied in his inventions have been utilised in the development of new technology that we take for granted today from the car to the production line in a factory.

Jawi Transliteration software

Shahfizal Musa

BANGI, 9 August  2010 – Researchers from the Faculty of Technology and Infromation Sciences , Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia has created a transliteration search engine that can change Romanised Malay into Jawi  script.
Vice Chancellor,  Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin said the transliteration engine named TERUJA can transliterate any Malay language website that use the romanised alphabets into Jawi without changing the structure of the website. 

 Speaking at the 5th session of the 38th UKM convocation today, she said the faculty has succeeded in bringing a number of its researches for commercialisation .
At today’s ceremony, the third day of the 38th convocation, 2066 graduands receive their respective Bachelors and Masters degrees. They are from the Faculty of Islamic Studies (FPI), Faculty of Information Science and Technology (FTSM), Institute of Islam Hadhari (Hadhari), Faculty of Allied Sciences (FSKB) and Faculty of Education (FPEND).

Islamic Studies 

For the first time this year FSKB also produce 20  undergraduate in forensic science with honours.
At the convocation today Syakirah binti Edrus from the Faculty of Islamic Studies received her Tun Razak Award as best student.
UKM today also awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Islamic Studies)  to Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Abdul Shukor Hj Husin (FPI) in recognition of his contribution in Islamic scholarship in Malaysia.
Prof Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor is Chairman of the National Fatwa Council. He had once served as the Dean of FPI and later the Vice Chancellor of Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). 
Former  RTM Director of Music, Dato’ Johari Salleh was also conferred an Honorary PhD (Arts) for his contributions to the development of music in the country and in UKM.
In her speech the Vice Chancellor said, efforts by the Faculty of Information Science and Technology has benefited the community especially those who are poor and in the rural areas.
She cited the Mytuition project carried out to help slow and weak learners while also further improving the bright students.
UKM was able to achieve them because it constantly make changes and take the best practices and applied them in its quest for excellence.
“UKM constantly bench marks its practices with the best organisations and institutions in the world” she said  
As a result UKM has produced academics who are respected internationally and given the confidence to hold international conferences like the recent International Association for Organisational Innovation.   
She was also proud that Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International),  Prof.  Dato’ Ir Dr. Hassan Basri was awarded the Outstanding Professor award for his involvement in the collaboration.”
Of the achievements, she said the Faculty of Islamic Studies is leading research in the fields of Dakwah, spirituality, Islamic developments, Reveal knowledge, Turath Islam, Religion and Islamic thought, culture, jurisprudence and Muamalat. The faculty had in the last five years received RM10 million of research funds.
Researchers from the Faculty of Education received significant recognition from the Prime Minister when the faculty was selected to implement the PERMATA Pintar programme for gifted children.
“A PERMATA Pintar centre is being built in the UKM campus to be operational next January with grants from the government.
The Faculty of Allied Sciences have carried out programmes aimed at giving new hopes to patients. “These include the Cochlear implant an intervention programme for children with hearing problem and the prosthetic leg labrotary which started its operation on 31st March 2010.