Bahari is First Orang Asli to be Appointed Faculty Dean

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GEORGE TOWN: Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)'s Professor Dr Bahari Belaton created history by becoming the first Orang Asli to be appointed dean of USM School of Computer Sciences (SOCS) effective yesterday.

Bahari, who belongs to the Semai tribe of Tangkai Cermin in Perak, also added another feather to his cap when he was appointed National Advanced IPv6 Centre (NAv6) director.

With these two appointments, Bahari is believed to be the first Orang Asli to be appointed as a dean in Malaysian history and also the first to hold two head of department positions simultaneously in an institution of higher learning in Malaysia.

Known for his expertise in areas of Scientific Data Visualisation, Computer Graphics and Network Security, he has served with USM for more than 24 years and achieved numerous successes throughout his career, especially with regards to academic development and research.

"My aim in life is to serve, provide my expertise and contribute my capabilities to USM, my students, my community and my family," said Bahari, who graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the South Australian Institute of Technology in Australia in 1989.

To fulfil a requirement by the Malaysian Public Service Department (JPA), which specifies that those who intend to serve in the public sector need to have an Honours degree, he then pursued an additional year of study at Flinders University, Australia (1991) to obtain an Honours before completing his Doctoral studies (Ph.D) at Leeds University, United Kingdom (1995).

Bahari, the fifth of seven siblings, lost his father when he was nine. His life became even harder as he had to depend on his mother who struggled to earn a living for the family.

"Around the 1960s, conditions were different than how it is now. Added to the fact that staying in an Orang Asli village that was about 20km from the nearest town, which was Tanjung Tualang, everything was less than rosy.

"In fact, I only came to know in the later years from my late mother that all my other siblings had passed away, leaving only me and my elder sister, without knowing the exact cause of their deaths.

"There was no electricity in our village, and we were fortunate enough to get clean water supply from tin miners, who by chance lived close to the village. It was water from three main pipes that was shared with the whole village.

"Such conditions, however, were not really obstacles for me in seeking knowledge," he said, as he mentioned that his only sister also managed to make a change in her life by being one of the pioneer nurses at a special hospital for Orang Asli in Gombak, Selangor, and had since retired.

Bahari was raised by his mother single-handedly, and being illiterate, education to her was not a priority.

What mattered most then was the means to earn a living and to continue with life. She did all kinds of work, from searching for forest produce to working for farmers in minding their crops, to make ends meet.

However, he was proud of his mother who was very dear to him, because despite her shortcomings, she had always supported him in his pursuit of knowledge and always tried her best to provide for his needs, including school uniform, shoes, pocket money and so forth.

During his secondary school days, his observations of success stories from other communities would fuel his desire to succeed like them one day.

Bahari also acknowledged that the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA) had played an important role throughout his life journey and the lives of other Orang Asli children in providing them with various aids and support.

"External factors were also helpful in giving the right motivation to individuals from minority groups as with me, where support at home was very minimal in assisting and promoting formal education.

"Recognition and support provided by teachers and the school community played a crucial role. In my case for example, the teachers gave me the chance to be the classroom monitor and prefect, among others.

"Honestly, I would say that though it might seem to many as being small or of minor relevance, for the minority groups or those in the bottom billion, such a support would mean a lot; these are the game changers for my life," he said as he shared some tips on his success until now.

Not forgetting his roots, Bahari also shared some insights and advice to the minority groups such as himself, with the hope of encouraging and inspiring them to also attain success.

He said what was important was that those out there needed to persevere what they hope to achieve, as the challenges faced by this group in whatever area or at whichever level would be twice as hard compared to the general society.

"For the Orang Asli specifically, the challenge to adapt, the dominating sense of togetherness (being different from others) and other aspects are among the 'unwritten' issues which need to be dealt with simultaneously along with other challenges faced by the general society.

"The Orang Asli community also need to live with tolerance and be humble, while embracing the need to befriend as many as possible from the general society," he added.

Credit: New Straits Times

Appointed as SOCS Dean, Bahari Belaton Is Truly an Icon Of Excellence For The 'Orang Asli' Community

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USM PENANG, 2 June 2020 – Professor Dr. Bahari Belaton is no stranger at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). He is well known for his admirable achievement and all the more coming from the ‘Orang Asli’ (indigenous people) minority community, it is truly a remarkable feat.

He added another feather to his cap recently when he was appointed Dean of the USM School of Computer Sciences (SOCS), effective from 2 June 2020, taking over from Professor Dr. Rosni Abdullah @ Mustafa, and also Director of the National Advanced IPv6 Centre (NAv6).

With the two appointments, it is believed that Bahari is the first Orang Asli to be appointed as a Dean in Malaysian history and also the first to hold two head of departments’ position simultaneously in an institution of higher learning in Malaysia.

Known for his expertise in areas of Scientific Data Visualisation, Computer Graphics and Network Security, he has served with USM for more than 24 years. He has achieved numerous successes throughout his career, especially with regard to academic development and research.

Bahari who belongs to the Semai ethnic subgroup from the 'Orang Asli' village of Tangkai Cermin in Perak, is highly-experienced and has travelled abroad to study, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the South Australian Institute of Technology in Australia in 1989. In fulfilling a requirement made by the Malaysian Public Service Department (JPA) which specifies that those who intend to serve in the public sector need to have an Honours degree, he then pursued an additional year of study at Flinders University, Australia (1991) to obtain an Honours before completing his Doctoral studies (Ph.D) at Leeds University, U.K. (1995).

Easy as it may sound, the challenges faced and sacrifices made by this second youngest child of seven is no mean feat. 

Bahari lost his father at a young age, when he was nine. His life became even harder as he had to depend on his mother who struggled to earn a living for the family. 

“Around the 1960s, conditions were different than how it is now. Added to the fact that staying in an ‘Orang Asli’ village that was about 20 kilometers away from the nearest town which was Tanjung Tualang, everything was less than rosy. 

“In fact, I only came to know in the later years from my late mother that all my other siblings had passed away, leaving only me and my elder sister, without knowing the exact cause(s) of their deaths.

“There was no electricity in our village, and we were fortunate enough to obtain clean water supply from tin miners, who were by chance lived close by to the village. It was water from three main pipes that was shared with the whole village. 

“Such conditions, however, were not really obstacles for me in seeking knowledge,” he said, as he mentioned that his only sister that has survived until now has also managed to make a change in her life by being one of the pioneer nurses at a special hospital for 'Orang Asli' in Gombak, Selangor and has since retired.

What's interesting about Bahari was that, ever since he was little, he has been blessed with a highly inquisitive mind. This was among the starting point of his success, as he was observant of his surroundings and his mind would then start to formulate questions.

He added that, while growing up especially during his school days, his settlement by coincidence, was located next to an area housing engineers (including expatriates) who worked with a mining company, the Malaysian Mining Corporation (MMC). 

“Daily, I would take the opportunity to help and tag along with the fish and vegetable seller, a Chinese man, who also drove the school bus fetching me and my friends to school.

“The reason I followed him was none other than to satisfy my curiosity to see the bungalow houses of the engineers, aside from helping him to sell fish and vegetables,” he said. 

He also stressed that, much of his success was also due to the envious feelings of the success of others he had seen. 

Bahari was raised by his mother single-handedly, and being illiterate, education to her was not a priority. What mattered most then was the means to earn a living and to continue with life. She did all kinds of work, from searching for forest produce to working for farmers in minding their crops, to make ends meet.

However, he was proud of his mother who was very dear to him, because despite her shortcomings, she had always supported him in his pursuit of knowledge and always tried her best to provide for his needs including school uniform, shoes, pocket money and so forth.

Thus, during his secondary school days, his observations of success stories from other communities would fuel his desire to succeed like them one day. 

Bahari also admitted that, the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA) played an important role too throughout his life journey and the lives of other 'Orang Asli' children in providing them with various aids and support.

With mathematics being his favourite subject in school, ever since then he had been deeply interested in learning new things and he would be thrilled when learning and completing an exercise. He added that, he would be able to finish and complete all the exercises and homework given by his teachers on his own.

“External factors were also helpful in giving the right motivation to individuals from minority groups as with me, where support at home was very minimal in assisting and promoting formal education. 

“Recognition and support provided by teachers and the school community played a crucial role. In my case for example, the teachers entrusted me and gave me the chance to be the classroom monitor and prefect, among others. 

“Honestly,  I would say that though it might seem to many as being small or of minor relevance, but for the minority groups or those in the bottom billion, such a support would mean a lot; these are the game changers for my life!,” he said as he shared some tips on his success up till now.

Not forgetting his roots, Bahari also shared some insights and advices to the minority groups such as him, with the hope of encouraging and inspiring them to also attain success. 

He said, what's important is that, those out there need to persevere in what they do or hope to achieve, as the challenges faced by this group in whatever area or at whichever level would be twice as hard compared to the general society. 

For the 'Orang Asli' specifically, the challenge to adapt, the dominating sense of togetherness (being different from others) and other aspects are among the 'unwritten' issues which need to be dealt with "simultaneously" along with other challenges faced by the general society.

“The 'Orang Asli' community also need to live with tolerance and to be humble, while embracing the need to befriend as many as possible those from the general society.  

Other additional advices would be those commonly shared in order to achieve success, such as to work hard, to be diligent in doing work and to give nothing but the best,” he said further.

He began his career at USM in November 1995, and has referred to the former Dean of the School, Professor Dr. Zaharin Yussof as his 'mentor' and a highly-respected icon. 

He also considered Zaharin as a unique individual, "always sharp" in his thinking and actions and more importantly, cares for those 'under' him well. 

“I wish I could emulate these excellent leadership qualities,” that was his hope in aspiring to be a highly respected leader. 

He further said that, if I were to assess and reflect upon myself now, I would say that what I had 'envied' of during my schooldays I have now achieved, and that is to become an individual who has excelled in his own field. 

“My aim in life is to serve, provide my expertise and contribute my capabilities to USM, my students, my community and my family,” he said.  

In quoting the words of the current USM Vice-Chancellor, Bahari is truly grateful for being able to 'escape' from the restrictions of the B40 group and would now provide his best to assist those in the B40 group to leave or escape from the same lifecycle.

Translation: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin/Photo: Dr. Mohd Asyiek Mat Desa (School of the Arts)/Ebrahim Abdul Manan

Credit: USM News Portal

CSICE 2019 Aiming to Mould Future-Ready Industry Talents

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15 November 2019 - The recently concluded Computer Sciences Industry and Community Engagement Week (CSICE) 2019 organised by the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Computer Sciences (SCS), comprised of four sub-events, namely:

1. The Computer Science Internship and Recruitment Fair (CSIRF) - an internship and career fair targeting SCS 3rd and 4th-year students respectively. It was also opened to the public and was attended by students from SEGI College, INTI College and UiTM Merbok. A total of 350 students and 14 companies were involved in this sub-event.

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Terima Ijazah, Konvokesyen Usm Ke-57

28 September 2019 - Tahniah dan Syabas buat saudari Fatini yang berjaya menamatkan pengajian dan menerima ijazah beliau pada Upacara Konvokesyen ke-57 USM. Tahniah juga kepada ibu dan bapa saudari Fatini.

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International University Carnival On E-Learning (IUCEL 2019)

23 August 2019 - Congratulations to Dr Nur Intan Raihana Ruhaiyem for winning Silver at the International University Carnival on E-Learning (IUCEL 2019) @ UNIMAS, 21-22 August 2019, under the category of Invention, Innovation & Design on e-Learning (IIDEL).

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Monsoonsim Enterprise Resource And Management Competition (Mermc) 2019

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12 August 2019 - Tahniah kepada Pasukan Frozeneko (USM) telah memenangi tempat kedua dalam MonsoonSIM Enterprise Resource and Management Competition (MERMC) 2019 Regional Final yang diadakan di The Hong Kong Polythenic University, Hong Kong pada 10 - 11 Ogos 2019.

Sebanyak 30 buah pasukan dari 8 buah negara (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Filipina, Singapura, Australia, China dan Hong Kong) telah bertanding dalam pertandingan kali ini. Pasukan USM yang telah mendapat tempat kedua dan membawa pulang wang tunai bernilai HKD16,000, sebuah trofi dan medal.

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