IFOCA Student’s Platform To Express Ideas, Creativity And Build Self-Confidence Before Facing Real World | Alumni Relations Centre
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IFOCA Student’s Platform to Express Ideas, Creativity and Build Self-Confidence before Facing Real World

Translation: Siti Nur'Ain Feisal

Editing: Nik Hafzaini Nik Hassan


SERDANGInternational Forum COVID-19 Aftermath (IFOCA) 2021 has proven to be a platform for UPM students to exploit their hidden talents. This forum enhances their capabilities and credibility in event and program management.  

Series 1 IFOCA 2021 took place last March entitled Special Tribute to Frontliners: The Unsung Hero of COVID-19. The second series discussed Hardest Hit Industry during Pandemic and Recovery Strategies. The success of the first two series stated that IFOCA is a thoughtful idea for students in making it a platform to discuss current issues in the country. Accompanied by their capability to invite guests of honour from various departments and ministries together discussed current issues is an added value to the program. 

The third series of IFOCA which talked about Building COVID-19 Aftermath New Norm in Malaysia: Strategic Actions for Health, Economy, and Education has gathered three renowned panelists. They were Deputy Director-General of Health (Research and Technical Support) Ministry of Health Malaysia, Datuk Dr. Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim, Director Economic Research and Data Analytics, Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera, Nik Nazree Nik Abdul Rahman, and Deputy Dean of Graduate, Research and Innovation Faculty of Food Science and Technology, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Norhayati Hussain.    

COVID-19 pandemic has affected three main issues in a country namely health, economy, and education. All three major sectors are affected due to the Movement Control Order (MCO 1.0) which is seen to severely affect the economy and complicate the education system to continue as usual.



On health issues, according to Datuk Dr. Hishamshah, COVID-19 not only changing the health scale in Malaysia but the whole world is affected. 

“As Malaysia struggles to break the COVID-19 chain, we are demanded to adjust our lifestyle pattern to a new routine. The beginning of the first movement control order was seen to be somewhat successful in curbing the spread of the virus, but cases soared with the occurrence of mass gatherings which triggered the spread of the second wave. Hence, new norms and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) need to be imposed. It may be a strange routine to this day, but the new norm is seen as a successful preventive measure. The introduction of 3S which is to avoid narrow places, close distance conversation, and physical contact is a new norm that we are practicing now and is capable to curb the spread of the virus in the community. Therefore, this new norm is seen as a successful SOP in breaking the chain if we continuously abide by the SOP,” he said.       

A question may raise, while the country is already undergoing vaccination, are the new norm still relevant?

As stated by Dr. Hishamshah vaccine is indeed one of the solutions but the new norm is to be maintained. Numerous research is conducted in the old and new methodology. Clinical studies are continuously conducted in hospitals in treating COVID-19. Cooperation by the community is expected in breaking the chain.

Even before the emergence of COVID-19, the country’s economic landscape was unstable. The emergence of COVID-19 triggered a megatrend that blocked and required time for many sectors to survive.   


“Today, the use of technology is a way to shape the economy. Every business needs to adapt to technology during the movement control order period since all services are done online. Some economic sectors are seen increasing but for the tourism sector is seen to be the most affected. Yet, with rapid aid by the government, the economic sector is still running despite some decline in certain sectors. COVID-19 has given a new design of economic growth which is holistic technology use. Probably developing countries may still compete but the economy of the world countries are most affected.” Nik Nazree reviewed.

Apart from health and economic issues, the education sector is affected as well. In IFOCA Series 3, Dr. Norhayati Hussain represented the education sector shared her opinions, ideas, and personal views related to education.    

“The implementation of online Teaching and Learning at Home (PDPR) by using Google Meet and Zoom application has become a talk among the community. Challenges for lecturers and educators increased. We have to absorb many new and creative teaching to ensure the continuity of education for students. Initially, it is becoming a problem when classes are put on hold at the beginning of MCO. Then, problems turned into a challenge and now it is getting easier. Initially, the first-year students’ emotions are indescribable. Unlike their seniors, they meet their friends and lecturers online. The emotions are indifferent. Lecturers play a role by making online learning enjoyable. Passing challenging moments in 2020, in 2021 online learning is increasingly well received. A positive perspective after being hit by COVID-19 is it brings changes that increase our exploratory in various areas. Researchers continuously researched what is the best for students in facing this current situation,” she said.        

IFOCA 2021 gave high merit to campus residents as well as a knowledge transfer medium. It proved that online sharing medium should be widely used. IFOCA 2021 can be watched through Alumni Relations Centre's official Facebook.   



Date of Input: 19/04/2021 | Updated: 13/08/2021 | sufian.ismail


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