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Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for an Increase Fee in Biodegradable Plastic Bag Use in Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Excessive and persistent use of plastic bags has caused severe environmental impact in many developing countries and the significance of biodegradable plastic bags as an alternative solution is uncertain. Bandar Baru Bangi, the second township in the Selangor state in Peninsular Malaysia, has also been plagued with problems of plastic bag use where plastic bags cover 56% of the household waste. Selangor has introduced a plastic bag fee of MYR 0.20 to shoppers who requested for it, albeit the effectiveness of such policy in changing consumer behavior is still unknown. The objectives of the study were to assess consumers’ plastic bags consumption behavior in Bandar Baru Bangi, and determine factors influencing their willingness to pay (WTP) for an increase fee in using biodegradable plastic bags. A questionnaire survey incorporating Contingent Valuation Method was conducted to elicit the consumers’ WTP. The results indicate that majority of the respondents (83%) requested one to three plastic bags per shopping trip. They moderately agreed that their tendency for plastic bag use was influenced by other consumers in the surrounding and highly agreed on the impact of environmental campaigns. The WTP for biodegradable plastic bags was estimated at MYR 0.43 which was influenced by their age and education level. The findings suggest there is a need to revisit the effectiveness of the policy and revise proper intervention measures to reduce plastic bag use.

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Development and Validation of the Artificial Intelligence Learning Intention Scale (AILIS) for University Students

As artificial intelligence (AI) permeates almost all aspects of our lives, university students need to acquire relevant knowledge, skills, and attitudes to adapt to the challenges it poses. This study reports the development and validation of a scale called the Artificial Intelligence Learning Intention Scale (AILIS). AILIS was designed to measure the different factors that shape university students’ behavioral intentions to learn about AI and their AI learning. We recruited 907 Chinese university students who answered the survey. The scale is comprised of 9 factors that are categorized into various dimensions pertaining to epistemic capacity (AI basic knowledge, programming efficacy, designing AI for social good), facilitating environments (actual use of AI systems, subjective norms, access to support and technology), psychological attitudes (resilience, optimism, personal relevance), and focal outcomes (behavioral intention to learn AI, actual learning of AI). Reliability analyses and confirmatory factor analyses indicated that the scale has acceptable reliability and construct validity. Structural equational modeling results demonstrated the critical role played by epistemic capacity, facilitating environments, and psychological attitudes in promoting students’ behavioral intentions and actual learning of AI. Overall, the findings revealed that university students express a strong intention to learn about AI, and this behavioral intention is positively associated with actual learning. The study contextualizes the theory of planned behavior for university AI education, provides guidelines on the design of AI curriculum courses, and proposes a possible tool to evaluate university AI curriculum.

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Anti-Corruption Efforts in the Healthcare Sector During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Malaysia

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an irreversible impact on the global economy and industries, particularly in the healthcare sector. The rush to respond to the pandemic, particularly in terms of getting treatment and vaccines and technology to market, has created a huge opportunity for undisclosed corruption and misconduct in the research and development and procurement processes. Effectively responding to current and future global health corruption threats is critical if the world is to provide health care to all. Due to a lack of research in preventive corruption measures in the healthcare industry, this paper aims to provide an overview of anti-corruption efforts among healthcare companies listed on the main board of Bursa Malaysia. The disclosure index is made up of 47 items derived from a review of previous literature and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act. The content analysis research method is used to analyze information from 13 companies listed in 2020’s anti-corruption policies and procedures published on their website, board charter, whistleblowing policy, code of ethics and conduct, annual report, sustainability report, and corporate governance report. According to the findings, Malaysia’s healthcare industry has demonstrated a strong commitment to fighting corruption, with 76.9% of companies scoring higher than average on the disclosure index.

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Understanding the Unique Factors Affecting South Asian International (SAI) Student Transitions into PhD Programs in the US: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

International students comprise over 50% of the graduate student population in the life sciences in the US, over 70% of whom are Asian. Research that aims to understand international students’ experiences has often treated Asian students as a monolith, discounting significant cultural and historical differences between regions in Asia that may affect students’ motivations for pursuing graduate degrees, their experiences in graduate school, and their identities as scientists in training. To begin to understand the experiences of SAI students as they transition to PhD programs in the sciences, we conducted an exploratory study in which we interviewed 10 SAI students and 12 US native students during the first six months of their doctoral programs. We performed a content analysis of the interview data with the aim of identifying factors that shaped students’ doctoral transitions. We then selected factors that were distinctive to SAI students. Finally, we carried out an interpretative phenomenological analysis to understand and describe the following factors that SAI students experienced as influencing their doctoral transitions: prior exposure to research; opportunities for networking; challenges with and affordances for acculturation; attitudes toward and understanding of mental health issues; financial affordances and constraints of pursuing a PhD, and barriers to communication. The results of this work have the potential to be useful to graduate programs seeking to ease SAI students’ transition to doctoral programs.

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