News for Malaysia

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Cancer Cluster near Telecommunications Tower, says study
Malaysia Created: 29 Apr 2008
HARIAN Metro front-paged a report that more than eight per cent of residents interviewed in Taman Subang in Kelana Jaya were found to be suffering from cancer compared to under one per cent for Malaysians in general -
The cases were reported after a telecommunications tower was put up in the residential area 10 years ago.

The study was done by UiTM medical faculty Associate Professor Dr Adlina Suleiman and 10 university students.

Dr Adlina, who is a Taman Subang resident, was prompted to do the research after her son was warded in hospital because of a growth that recurred after treatment while her daughter began to suffer herpes zoster.

The research carried out on 170 respondents showed that 8.23 per cent of them were suffering from cancer compared to not even one per cent of the country's population.

Most of the cases appeared after the telco tower, with more than 50 antenna and satellite or transmitter discs, was built.

Dr Adlina wanted to ascertain the effect electromagnetic radiation had on the residents at the cellular and molecular level.

“According to a study by the European Union, exposure to extremely low-frequency and radio-frequency electromagnetic fields could damage chromosomes, alter gene activity and accelerate cell proliferation,” she was quoted as saying.

She said the study indicated that there was a possibility that anyone with cancer cells at an early stage risked having cancer proliferated on entering Taman Subang and being exposed to EMF.
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Source: Malaysia Star, 29 Apr 2008

Cell phone towers to be dressed up
Malaysia Created: 11 Mar 2008
The wireless industry is looking at “prettifying” cell-phone towers by powering them with wind turbines or solar panels.

Antennas and computer equipment will be able to get backup energy from hydrogen fuel cells and geothermal cooling.

Cell phone companies are experimenting with the new tower designs to reduce complaints about their adverse environmental impact.

The average cell tower requires four to eight times as much power as a typical household and cell companies say power from conventional supplies is still cheap compared to alternative sources.
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Source: Malaysia Sun, 10 Mar 2008

Malaysian health official: WiFi tech no threat to human health
Malaysia Created: 6 Dec 2007
A senior health official of Malaysia said here Wednesday that radio frequency (RF) signals emitted from wireless fidelity (WiFi) equipment posed no threat to human health.

The level of RF signals emitted from wireless fidelity (WiFi) equipment in the country was within the guidelines issued by international institutions and posed no threat to humans, particularly children, Malaysian Health Ministry parliamentary secretary Lee Kah Choon said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had stated that there had been no proof that non-ionising radiation would adversely affect human health, he said in the parliament.

No evidence proved that exposure to RF below the permitted level would pose health risks, he noted.

There was no compelling reason to halt the development and usage of the technology in the country, he added.
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Source: Xinhua, Yan Liang, 05 Dec 2007

Darker side to technology?
Malaysia Created: 21 Oct 2007
IT is good to know that there are public and private smart schools in our country which try to provide a stimulating educational environment for students by giving them access to the Internet and state-of-the-art ICT tools.

It is also interesting to note that some private schools have implemented the MacBook system, which requires students to purchase an Apple notebook although this is quite exorbitantly priced.

Of course, not all private schools require their students to do this. Some provide desktops for students. In our public smart schools, computers are provided by the Education Ministry.

While I agree that there is nothing wrong in using computers as teaching aids or tools to facilitate learning, I feel students should not use them to do assignments or homework. Laptops cannot replace the role of teachers, especially those who have years of experience and valuable “chalk and talk”.

There is another negative side to getting students to buy notebooks – it means parents are also expected to learn to use computers so as to be able to guide their children. Some schools even organise ICT training programmes for parents. Unfortunately, many parents hold demanding jobs and find it difficult to meet such demands by the school.

As a retired, Kirkby-trained teacher, I find some of the “smart” teaching methods introduced today rather daunting. Schoolchildren have to struggle with so many things and are expected to understand concepts and topics taught at lightning speed.

Learning today is also very research-based. This is good if there are proper guidelines to ease children into this mode of knowledge acquisition but this is not always the case.

Sometimes, I wonder if the constant use of computers in the classroom may result in health hazards for children such as bad eyesight, repetitive strain injury, chronic fatigue syndrome, convulsions, migraines and headaches.

I strongly urge schools, policy makers and parents to hold frank dialogues before embarking on the use of high-technology teaching aids.

It is the country’s vision to produce a knowledge-based society by 2020. I agree that we now live in an age where computers are necessary but we should, at the same time, take steps to protect our young from the perils of progress.

Are we endangering the lives of our young by encouraging them to work long hours in front of unprotected computer screens emitting electromagnetic radiation? The risk of this “electronic fog”, though low, is real.
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Source: Malaysia Star, DATIN JM & DR MAT, 21 Oct 2007

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