Wednesday, May 7, 2008


99 % of Sukau constituency without treated water

SUKAU Assemblyman Saddi Abd Rahman told the House that about 99 per cent of the constituency has not been supplied with treated water since Sabah gained independence in 1963. He said this is despite the fact that Sukau constituency is located near to the water treatment plant in Kinabatangan with daily production capacity 105 million gallons catering for the consumers in the Sandakan township. According to him, water supply to Sandakan town is expected to increase further with the completion of a second water treatment plant at Kampung Segaliud. “Unfortunately, most of the people in Sukau constituency are still being denied of treated water supply,” said Saddi. With an area of 6,000 square kilometers, he said Sukau constituency had the potential for agriculture, livestock, fisheries and tourism development. Saddi said that the lack of treated water supply was among the main reasons why investors avoided the area. He said the constituency is also still lacking adequate electricity supply with 60 per cent of the population there still without electricity supply after 45 years of gaining independence from the Colonial rule. Among the villages still without power supply are Kg Abai, Kg Mumiang, Kg Pitas, Kg Bougon, Kg Tg Aru, Kg Tg Batu, Kg Sipinung, Kg Lubukan, Kg Domondong, Kg Semayan, Kg Tudun Buhagin, Kg Litang and Kampung Tidun located along the coastal areas. “All this while, the residents are relying on generator sets which are inadequate,” said Saddi, who suggested that Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) and the State Government find ways to set up independent power plants (IPPs) using solar energy. He also urged the State Government, in particular the Land and Survey Department, to resolve the land ownership problem of the local residents in the area. Saddi proposed that an integrated approach should be adopted in resolving land application problems involving the Land and Survey Department, Forestry Department, Agriculture Department and the District Office. He said the Government should take immediate steap in surveying the villages located along the Kota Kinabatangan Lahad Datu Road such as Kg Sentiosa Jaya, Kg Perpaduan Datu Ugi, Kg Batu Putib and Kg Paris as the residents have submitted their applications for their areas for a long time now. “The leaders from the Barisan Nasional (BN) have been promising the people during the past two general elections but until now their applications for the village areas have not been processed yet,” Saddi said.


Six roads in Tandek constituency need urgent repair, upgrading

THE Government has been urged to expedite the peojects to repair and upgrade the roads in the Tandek constituency which has 10 Mukim with a total of 166 villages. Tandek Assemblywoman Anita Baranting said in Mukim Ulu Bengkoka alone, six roads require urgent repair and upgrading. One of them is the 32km Kg Samparita Kampung Magandai Road which cuts through at least seven villages, namely Kg Sungai Magandai, Kg Sonsogon Suyad, Kg Binontungan Suyad, Kg Sonsogon Magandai, Kg SonsogonPaliu, Kg Sonsogon Makatol Darat and Kg Sonsogon Mogis and SK Sungai Magandai. The other six are Kg Bombong 4-Kg Bombong 2 Road (3.5km); SamparitaSamparita Road (7km); Kg Botition-Kg Monguwou Road (4.2km); Kg MonguwouKg Bombong 3 Road (3km) and Kg Salimandu-Kg Minttampak-Kg Malatol Laut-Kg Lingkabungan Road (12km). Anita said these roads are very important for the people from the areas, comprising school children, teachers and farmers. She said the farmers are relying on the roads to transport their agriculture produces to the town and for the children to reach the nearest schools at SK Samparita and SK Salimandut. “There were cases where the sick and pregnant women died along the road to Kg Bombong 2 before they reached the district hospital in Kota Marudu for treatment,” said Anita. She said the roads would be badly damaged and muddy during the rainy seasons and become totally 4passable to vehicles, forcing the residents to walk for hours and even days to reach their destinations. “The condition the roads was so bad that at times school children and teachers were forced to slip in makeshift camps by the roadside overnight to reach their schools,” Anita added. She said the roads in Mukim Gana, Mukim Marak-Parak, Mukim Simpangan, Mukim Taritipan, Mukim Talantang should also be upgraded for the convenience of the residents. Anita also urged the Government to expedite the construction of the power plant project in the constituency which was approved last year. She said when completed the power plant could supply electricity to some 16 villages. “It is important to continue and speed up the implementation of the integrated development programmes for the constituency aimed at alleviating the livelihood of the people there who are still living in poverty,” added the Assemblywoman.


Merotai to have wildlife rehabilitation centre

MEROTAI is rich in tourism products which can be exploited to attract tourists and at the same time open up opportunities for the locals to generate incomes. Its Assemblyman, Pang Nyuk Ming, said it is his intention to see his constituency and Tawau be developed into important tourism areas as both are slightly lagging behind in the development of the State’s tourism sector. Other than having the world’s tallest tropical tree at 88.34 metres, the area also has beautiful and breathtaking waterfalls such as the one in Tawau Hills Park and the yet-to- be-explored one at Kampung Ulu Iban. “We also have endangered animals here such as the pygmy elephants and proboscis monkeys, both are huge tourist attraction,” he said when debating on the State Governor’s policy speech on the fourth day of the State Assembly sitting yesterday. Pang said he is in the midst of setting up a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Merotai with the main aim to serve as a sanctuary for the pygmy elephants which are losing their habitat to logging activities and oil palm plantations. “A World Wildlife Federation (WWF) survey in 2003 discovered that the pygmy elephants in Borneo are a sub-species which is the smallest in the world and they number less that 1,000. I am confident that with the rehabilitation centre at Ulu Kampung Iban Iandau, the pygmy elephants will be synonymous to Merotai and Tawau just like the orangutans in Sepilok which is world famous for its rehabilitation and protection of the animals,” he said. Pang said he would also be developing the homestay and ‘one village one product’ programme in the constituency for tourists to learn more and enjoy the culture of the people here. Through the ‘one village one product’ programme, he said it would provide the locals with the opportunity to generate an income from the handicrafts and traditional cakes that they made under the programme. “I hope the relevant authorities, especially the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry and the Federal agencies will support me,” he said, adding development of the tourism sector would be the catalyst to the socio-economy development of Tawau and its residents. Pang also touched on the youth development in his constituency as Merotai also has its share of problems affecting the younger generation such as drugs and unemployment. He quoted the problems faced by residents in Taman Semarak where youths there have been reported to be involved in drugs and fighting. “Of course there are other areas in Merotai which have the same problems but it cannot be denied that Taman Semarak which has 3,000 houses, is facing challenges because of these social ills. Those involved were hauled up by the police but many were released,” he said. He pointed out that parents are to be blamed because they always defend their children’s actions. “Parents should realise that the action taken on their children by the law enforcers is for the good of their future,” he said. Pang suggested that deterrent action should be taken against these delinquents. First- time offenders can be left off with a warning but repeat offenders must be sent to juvenile centres so that they can be rehabilitated. He also urged the Youth and Sport Ministry to consider setting up a park for extreme sports near the Tawau Sports Complex with facilities for activities such as rock climbing, paintball and skateboarding so that youths would not get involved in unbeneficial activities. Pang also pointed out to the House about the daily traffic congestion from the old airport and Jalan Kuhara/Hot Springs roundabouts to Jambatan Putih. He suggested the Government look seriously into widening the roads in the affected areas into dual carriageways. “There are not less then 10,000 houses in the area and the existing road is the main route for parents to send their children to the 10 schools located in the vicinity. The problem will get worse as the number of housing estates along the road increases,” he said. Pang also appealed to the Government to repair the 20-kilometre Jalan Merotai/ Landau which is always flooded during the rainy season and this causes a lot of inconvenience to smallholders along the road as they are unable to transport their produce to the town. About 300 families in the area will stand to benefit from the upgrading of the road which would also help realise the setting up of the rehabilitation centre in Ulu Kampung Iban Landau. On the issue of disrupted water supply in Merotai, Pang stressed that factors such as water theft and damaged pipes had contributed to the problem. “I don’t think that I am wrong when I say that those who steal water are usually people residing in squatter colonies and this activity should not be allowed to continue as it is not fair to consumers who are paying for water,” he said, adding that water theft also contributes to low water pressure. “Deterrent action must be taken on water thieves so that those with intention to do so will have second thoughts,” he said.


Sabah to be among Asia’s top five liveable places


Sabah will become among the top five liveable places in Asia by 2025, said Sabah Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Executive Director Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakub Johari. He said with the implementation of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC), making Sabah as one of the most preferred places to live in, was among the goals to be achieved under SDC over a three-phase period. “Phase one will focus on addressing the basics to support tourism development and laying the foundation for future growth. World-class tourism infrastructure and services will be put in place including nurturing a vibrant arts and culture scene. “Phase two will focus on strengthening Sabah’s position as a premier eco-adventure destination through conservation, research and sustainable development of new tourism products anchored by signature resorts. “Phase three will see Sabah being transformed into one of the most liveable places in Asia, a bustling metropolis within a tropical paradise,” he said when 30 foreign and local journalists visited him at IDS here, yesterday. Mohd Yaakub also told the journalists the agriculture sector would play a major role in eradicating poverty in the rural areas of Sabah under SDC. The journalists were on a week-long familiarisation visit to Sabah as part of a six-week course organised by the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) and Universiti Malaya. Leading the group was Sabah Journalist Association President Datuk Jonistan Bangkuai.


Rice self-sufficiency target cannot be met
Lack of suitable land and funds among factors, says

SABAH will fall short by 15 per cent from its initial target of 60 per cent self-sufficiency for paddy production targeted to be met within two years time. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin said there had been several factors that hindered the Government from meeting the target. Disclosing the shortage of suitable land, the lack of funds, proper drainage and irrigation as among the contributing factors, Yahya, who is also the Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, however stressed that the Government will do its level best to ensure that there is sufficient supply of food to meet the demand. Currently, he said the State is producing 30 per cent of the country’s overall rice production. “The least we could meet is 45 per cent self- sufficiency for paddy production by 2010. We may have abundant idle land but many of these land are developed for other purposes such as housing or road projects,” he said. These rapid developments have somehow affected the natural flow of drainage and irrigation. Therefore, the Government has no choice but to find a solution to the problem, Yahya added. “We are also faced with more problems when some farmers are unwilling to sacrifice some of their land for drainage and irrigation projects, fearing that their farming areas will be affected,” he explained. He stressed that in most cases, a new problem emerges before the Government could find a suitable solution to the previous one. Speaking to the media after receiving a delegation of eight members from the Indonesian Higher Learning Alumni Association led by Sabah President cum Liaison Chief Awang Rahim Awang Ramli, Yahya added building man-made drainage and irrigation was also costly. But he explained that it was considered as a ‘cheap investment’ when taking into consideration what it could do for the future generation. “If we invest today, we may not be able to have total benefit of our investment but our children and grandchildren will. The infrastructure is all ready for them and in the long run, they will be the ones to enjoy our sacrifices,” he said. Describing rice as a ‘rich man’s food’, Yahya called on the private sector to work closely with the Government to overcome the current global food crisis. “We may even consider identifying suitable land and develop it strict1y for agriculture or paddy for that matter. It is being done in developed countries where millions of hectares of land are being developed solely for food production. “We will not allow any kind of development such as housing projects on these land. That way, I believe we will be able to maintain food supply for our people,” he said. Meanwhile, at the courtesy call yesterday, Yahya was briefed on the Association’s project which includes a talk by Indonesia’s rector, Dr H Herry Suhardiyanto, who will be talking on global food crisis at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah at l0am on May 10 and a seminar on education opportunities in Indonesia at 2pm on the same day at the Yayasan Sabah’s Tun Hamdan theater hail.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Expensive properties won’t slow down Keningau’s growth


Escalating prices of building materials have resulted in expensive properties in the interior areas but this will not slow down Keningau’s growth and development. District Officer Zulkifli Nasir is confident with Keningau’s potential to become the interior area’s commercial and housing hub as development of shop houses and residential properties in the district has been mushrooming. “With the District Council’s rating area increased from 500 acres to 3,000 acres, Keningau will be the centre of economic activities in the interior and this will lead to migration to the district,” he said. “Even though the cost of living is high because of the hike in goods, it has not prevented residents in the district from purchasing houses,” he said and predicted that property prices will continue to increase, especially in the District Council’s rating areas. Zulkifli who is also the Keningau District Council Chairman, also believed that the Government will ensure infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity supply in the district will be in tandem with its rapid growth for the comfort and convenience of the people. The Government, he said, will carry out its responsibilities in this aspect and this will encourage more investors to the district. He assured residents that the District Council will ensure that any development carried out in the district will be planned properly so that there are no cases of congestion and the town will be able to grow properly. Zulkifli said presently there are 3,175 units of houses in 43 residential estates in the district which were developed since 1983 by several private developers and the Town Planning and Housing Board. The National Housing Department also constructed 300 units of houses at Mile 27, KeningauTenom Road. Some of the houses are occupied while some have been completed and waiting for the Occupational Certificate (OC) to be issued. There are 723 commercial units in the district, most completed and some are also waiting to have their OC issued. “The road links between Keningau-Kimanis, Keningau Tenom-Sipitang,Keningau-Tambunan–Ranau-Sandakan, Keningau-Nabawan, KalabakanTawau will also attract and encourage more investors both local and foreign to come to this district and the interior,” Zulkifli added. He however said that the district needed more development, especially housing estates, commercial shopping complexes, hotels, recreation centres, agriculture and industrial estates as this would open up more job and business opportunities.


Keningau Unduk Ngadau participants make charity visits


Twelve district- level Kaamatan Festival Unduk Ngadau participants visited the Sabah Society for the Deaf home and Children Ward of the Keningau Hospital here on Wednesday. The visit was organized by the Sabah Women Association, Keningau branch led by it Chairwoman, Nancy Datuk Angian. The participants will compete in the beauty contest on May 4 at Arked hail here. The winner will represent Keningau at the State- level Kaamatan Festival on May 30 and 31. Also with the group during the visit was last year’s District Kaamatan Festival Queen, Alcy Muji, 22. In conjunction with the visit, two occupants of the Home, Jaydan Corllos Jamal and Neily Josplay, celebrated their birthday. At the Keningau hospital, the Unduk Ngadau participants and the organizing committee distributed food and drinks to more than 20 children.


Tower collapse affects life of 3,000 villagers


Three thousand villagers are having difficulty going to the City after the closure of a road to allow investigations into the collapse of a power transmission tower at Suang Parai here. The road linking Kampung Kibagu, Numbak and Selimbangun was temporarily closed by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) and the police to make way for investigations into the collapse of an emergency repair tower (ERT) on Tuesday which killed a technician and seriously injuring three others. Sabah Umno Youth Secretary Mohd Joh Wid said the villagers were given two alternative roads, but both of them were now inaccessible. “When the SESB and police closed the usual route, the villagers were diverted to an alternative road but it has become very muddy and inaccessible. “We then sought approval from Universiti Malaysia Sabah to allow the villagers to use another alternative route and they agreed. But that road is also now damaged and could not be used by ordinary vehicles,” explained Joh, who is also the Sepanggar Umno Youth Chief. Joh said that the villagers were now totally cut off from the City and were seeking help from the relevant authorities to overcome the problem. “The villages are still considered within the City area but the road condition is very bad. It is even worst than the roads in the interior areas,” said Joh who blamed the iron thieves for the collapse of the tower. “They stole the steel pieces causing the tower to collapse. And now a young man was dead while fixing the ERT ... the iron thieves should be blamed for all this. “Besides affecting the State’s economy, SESB for the materials and consumers for power disruption, it is also disrupting the life of the 3,000 villagers who are having problem getting to the City,” he pointed out. “The relevant authorities must take immediate action to help these people as they have nowhere to turn to,” he added.


Preserve culture to maintain unity : CM


History has proven that any race that practised and preserved their own culture could maintain unity among themselves. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman pointed this out when launching the Kaamatan Festival 2008 at Dewan Pa’ Musa here yesterday. “Therefore, all Sabahans should practise their own culture so that we are able to keep the peaceful and harmonious lifestyle, and able to build a better future,” he said. According to Musa, Sabahans should be thankful as they are still able to hold various cultural events. “We should use the opportunity to promote and preserve our cultures that have been inherited from our ancestors,” he said. The Chief Minister added the people from the various ethnic groups in the State should be given the opportunity to contribute and directly involve to ensure the success of any event or festival. “The Government intends to give all the districts in Sabah a chance to host the State- level Kaamatan Festival so that they can expose their tourism potentials. “It is in line with the Sabah Development Corridor which is to focus the effort to turn the State into, an interesting and appealing tourism destination. I believe that such effort can attract more foreign tourists to come to Sabah,” he said. Musa added he feels proud the cultural identities of the State were being emphasised in this year’s celebration which were shown by people wearing their own traditional costumes. “Therefore, to choose Beaufort as the host for this year’s celebration is very symbolic to the chosen theme which is ‘Peace Through Culture’, as the people come from different background and culture and live in peace and harmony,” he said. Meanwhile, the Organising Chairman of the event, Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan, urged all Sabahans to bequeath their skills and heritage from their ancestors to their children so the invaluable experiences and knowledge will not disappear. Pairin, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister, said that it is a loss to the future generations if the skills that they inherited such as the ‘puisi sundait’ and ‘tangontangon’ disappeared. “I am thankful to the State Government for making the Kaamatan Festival one of the important celebrations in this country,” he added. During the launching of the celebration, guests were entertained by traditional performances by the Sabah Cultural Board, Unduk Ngadau and (Sugandoi competitions and Hominodun show.


Check all power towers: CM
Something is not right after collapse of third structure, says Musa


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday directed all related agencies to conduct a thorough examination on power transmission towers in the State to prevent further collapses. The directive came after another pylon along the Kayu Madang Universiti Malaysia Sabah power line came crashing down on Wednesday evening, bringing the total number of tower collapse along the same line to three in just 10 days. Just a day before the 132kV tower in Kampung Lokub, Kuala Menggatal collapsed, an emergency pylon in Suang Parai, Inanam, toppled to the ground while being installed, killing a technician and severely injuring four others. The first incident occurred on May 21 when a Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd’s (SESB) high tension cable tower in Suang Parai crumbled to the ground after some of its support crossbars were carted away by thieves, causing hours of blackout to 90 percent of the State. “This is the third time this has been happening. It looks like something is not right. It is important for the relevant quarters to conduct an examination. “We will know whether there is any criminal element involved because people may be stealing the structural members of the towers. I want the police to keep a watch on these areas,” said the Chief Minister when met after launching the State- level Kaamatan celebration in Beaufort. Musa said that since the areas where the towers collapsed were occupied by squatters, the police should investigate whether those people had a hand in the theft of the structural members. “Stealing structural members of towers is unhealthy and can result in loss of lives (when the towers collapse). This is most disappointing,” he said and expressed his regrets on the chain of incidents that have caused over a million Ringgit in losses to the State’s sole electricity provider, SESB. Musa said the Government was viewing this matter very seriously and would discuss it at the next State Cabinet meeting to seek the best approach to address the problem. Meanwhile, SESB Managing Director Jr Baharin Din said the second pylon located near the UiTM campus in Menggatal also collapsed due to missing structural members of the tower. “We estimated over 60 steel crossbars were taken from the lowest part of the tower, causing it to be unstable and collapsed under the weight of the cables,” he said to reporters when visiting the latest collapse site located just over a kilometer from the one in SuangParai. “SESB realised the structural members were missing during an examination of power transmission towers after the April 21 tower collapse and had lodged a report,” be said. Baharin added SESB workers immediately started to replace the missing structural members of the tower and had installed 40 of the 60 missing members by yesterday afternoon. However, the tower was found to be unstable and it was deemed dangerous to continue the repairs. “As expected, the members were unable to hold up the tower and it collapsed. However, there was no disruption in power supply as power to that line had been de-energised since the April21 incident,” he said. He urged the public who came across anyone behaving in a suspicious manner to make a police report or contact the SESB at 088-282455r the emergency line 15454. There are a total of 39 towers along the Kayu Madang-UMS power line that stretches for roughly about 16 kilometers. Some of the other towers were vandalized, but their damage were minimal and they had been fully repaired, according to SESB.

Monday, April 28, 2008


CM: Political tsunami can happen here if BN parties failed to do job


It is not impossible for a political tsunami like the one in Peninsular Malaysia to also happen in Sabah, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. This could happen if the Barisan Nasional component parties failed to fulfill the aspirations of the people, he said in his speech at the Sabah Progressive Party’s (SAPP) 13th delegates’ conference here yesterday. Musa called on the leaders and members of BN component parties to double their efforts to ensure that “BN remains relevant and is still the best platform for political struggle for the people”. He said they should not easily feel comfortable and satisfied with what had been achieved. The Chief Minister also cautioned Sabah BN not to be influenced by the Opposition’s empty claims that a number of State BN leaders would cross over to Pakatan Rakyat. He reiterated that the claim by Keadilan Adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that a number of RN leaders from Sabah are leaving the Coalition to join the Opposition pact is nothing but a big lie. In rejecting the claim, Musa who is also the State BN Chairman, said the Opposition pact comprising DAP, PAS and Keadilan is very ambitious and dreams of taking over the State from the BN. He reminded BN members that the solid political stability in Sabah would be easily undermined by the Opposition if they let their judgments clouded and influenced by such empty claims. “The fact is that RN has won the last election with a solid majority and has been given the mandate by the people to continue to govern the State and the country,” he said. As such, he said it is important that State RN members continue to trust and have faith on the ability and sincerity’ of the Coalition’s leadership led by RN Chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Radawi. “Today is the time for us to struggle more and give our commitment fully to strengthen the RN. “Standardizing the BN image and popularity is our responsibility and commitment and the people are observing our effort for the ‘walk the talk’ by implementing the task given even though the Opposition have been trying to follow the concept that we have been practising,” said the Chief Minister. He said the situation now demand us to apply the concept of power sharing that had been the formula of unity among the races and the development of the nation. “The spirit of BN through cooperation, unity and consensus are position of the Sabah Development Office and other changes sought. “Surely the changes cannot take place with the blink of an eye. It will take time. What is important is that the Prime Minister is seriously looking into the matters raised. “For example, the Government had taken immediate action by ordering the building of additional temporary detention centres for illegals in Sandakan and Tawau to deal with the problem of illegal migrants in Sabah,” he said.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Japanese giant firm picks Sabah
Yanmar opens R&D centre for biomass-derived fuels


Well-known Japanese giant company, Yanmar Co Ltd, has chosen Sabah to be the centre of its global research and development (R&D.) network for developing biomass-derived fuels. The Oasaka-based company established in 1912, is the first to develop Japanese practical small size diesel engines. It has a strong footing in research and development in various countries, including UK, India, Indonesia and Thailand particularly on alternative fuels such as FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester), waste cooking oil, rapeseed oil and palm oil. Taking advantage of the State’s rich biomass source, it has recently opened its Yanmar Kota Kinabalu Research and Development Centre in the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP). The centre which officially opened end of January, is poised to be the research and development centre for the region as well as the hub for environmental technology and information. Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia, Masahiko Hone earlier this week visited the facility which has already started researches and working on developing a 100 percent pure biomass derived fuel. “The centre will be overseeing the activities and collaborating with other Yanmar Research and Development Centres throughout the world. It will monitor and supervise biodiesel projects in India and UK,” he told reporters here last night. He said Sabah’s ecosystem is one of the most important mega biodiversities in the world and the Japanese, being a close partner of Malaysia, is interested in continuing to take an active part in activities promoting environmental conservation, such as developing an environmental friendly fuel. With increasing environmental awareness among companies and consumers and clean energy is rapidly gaining prominence, he said bio-diesel is offering an interesting prospect as the fuel of the future. Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil, which is the main feedstock for biodiesel. In 2005, the country formulated the National Biofuel Policy (sometimes known as the National Biodiesel Policy) to call for production of a biofuel blend of five percent processed palm oil and 95 percent diesel known as B5. The policy encourages the use of this blend by the public, establishes an industry standard for palm biodiesel quality and promotes the setting up of biodiesel plants in the country for export purposes.


Lightning may have caused Sandakan blackout


The power interruption that hit the district on Monday afternoon occurred after a bout of heavy rain followed by lightning. Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) East Zone (Sandakan) Manager Ir Magdalene Chu Wei Quan said that the SESB is still investigating the actual cause of the power interruption. “From our initial findings, lightning may have caused a circuit of the 33kV line at Batu Sapi to trip which subsequently caused the generation set at Gantisan Power Barge Sets 1 and 2 and Libaran Sets 1 and 4 to trip,” she said yesterday. Chu said this resulted in a generation loss of 61MW and the transmission system was automatically cut off from the Grid to protect against the sudden high generation cost. The blackout had affected 90 per cent of the consumers in Sandakan, with the exception of some areas along Labuk Road which was supplied by the Labuk Power Station, she told The Borneo Post. “Power supply was gradullay restored but due to some generating sets encountering problems, the process took longer than usual,” Chu explained. In addition, she said the Teluk Salut and Tenom Pangi Hydro Power Stations in the West Coast encountered forced outages in the same afternoon that day, forcing the utility company to implement load shedding. “Industrial areas were the first to load shed but due to the critical situation, the town and residential areas were also affected,” she added.


Anwar questions PM’s Commitment


Parti Keadilan Rakyat Adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has strongly questioned Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s commitment to rid the civil service of corruption. He said even the Prime Minister’s latest move to restructure the Anti- Corruption Agency (ACA) to step up the battle against graft by proposing to turn the Agency into a full-fledged commission is not convincing to the people. “The idea to transform the ACA into an independent body answerable to the Parliament is great, but it should have been done years ago since Abdullah took over the premiership from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” said Anwar yesterday. “Many are questioning the commitment of the Prime Minister in effectively combating corruption,” he told reporters at the end of his two-day visit to Sabah yesterday. Anwar cited a few major corruption allegations as example which he said were brushed aside without proper investigation. According to him, there is no need for the setting up of the Commission as the country has enough laws and mechanism that are already in place to address corruption, if they are optimally enforced. However, the Keadilan de facto leader said the Opposition Front would nevertheless support the establishment of the Commission, provided it is backed up with strong and good laws to ensure its effectiveness. “Malaysia is a fortunate country as it has a loyal Opposition in the Parliament to keep check on the decisions made by the Government legislators. “We will support (the setting up of the Commission) and we will monitor its implementation closely. Our stance is very objective to support what is good and never to stop questioning what is not,” he said.


USS Fiztgerald, first foreign ship berthed at Sepanggar Naval Base


The United States navy ship, USS Fitzgerald, has become the first foreign navy ship to berth at the Royal Malaysian Navy’s second largest base in Sepanggar Bay. The destroyer, which berthed at the Sepanggar Bay Navy Base here, yesterday morning is here with The 1oyal Brunei Navy and French Navy ships to participate in the Freedom of Entry To The City, jointly organised by the Malaysian Navy and Kota Kinabalu City Hall this Saturday. In the past, all visiting foreign navy ships including the Austalian HMAS Leeuwin’s surveyor warship which visited the Sepanggar navy base in May last year were berthed at the Kota Kinabalu Port. “I am very impressed with the beauty of this area. When we entered the Sepanggar waters, we can clearly see Mount Kinabalu afar from here,” said Commander Daniel Dusek, the USS Fitzgerald Commanding Officer, to reporters here. “Even, I myself had dived into the sea from this ship with about 20 metres height for fun yesterday and I have planned to go to the nearby Pulau Sapi (Sapi Island) on Sunday for scuba-diving,” Dusek added. He said the 13-year-old navy ship with 300-crew members, including 32 officers, is based in Japan and will leave Kota Kinabalu for undisclosed destination on Monday. He said besides participating in the Freedom of Entry To The City, some of the crew members also planned to climb Mount Kinabalu and join a Proboscis monkey tour in Klias. The USS Fitzgerald is equipped to operate in a high density, multi-threat environment as an integral member of a carrier battle group, surface action group or underway replenishment group. In addition to her own self decense capabilities in anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and anti-surface warfare (ASUW), the USS Fitzgerald can effectively provide local area protection to the battle group, surface action group and other ships. Dusek, who started his carreer as a US navy officer in 1989, also paid a courtesy call on the Naval Region Two Commander, First Admiral Syed Zahiruddin Putra Syed Osman,


CVLB looking for mechanism to solve pirate transport operation


A long-standing problem concerning pirate public transportation maybe a matter of the past if the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) has its ways. “Pirate taxis or minibuses are a big problem to us, especially in the East Coast of Sabah such as Lahad Datu. We are looking for a mechanism to overcome the problem,” CVLB Chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said at a press conference here yesterday. He stressed that the lack of enforcement officers is also hampering their efforts to fight against the illegal operation. “We do not know how to curb the problem. Sometimes when some of the drivers are caught, they would tell the police or our enforcement officers that their passengers are their relatives or from their village. “We have carried out a lot of enforcement work but they continue to carry out the illegal operation the next day. It is a never- ending issue ... so if anyone has an idea to put a stop to this, please come forward and help us,” he said. On the employment of unqualified drivers by the public transport operators, Bung Moktar said they would compound the operators. He believes that the public transport operators may not even know their drivers personally. “This month alone, we have compounded six to seven operators for failing to comply with our regulations. We are calling on them to employ only qualified drivers. “It is also important for them to train their drivers to be disciplined and knowledgeable, as they are not just dealing with locals, but also foreign tourists. “I would also like to urge public transport operators to know their employees ... have good rapport with them and check their background. We do not want criminals to drive passengers around,” he said.


Sabah not ready to introduce Flying Squad


Sabah is not ready to introduce the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) Flying Squad proposed by Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar. “We welcome the idea but unfortunately, we do not have enough enforcement officers to carry out the work. We have only nine enforcement officers, with two each in Tawau and Sandakan, and the other five here. “So unless we increase the number of enforcement officers, we cannot carry out the Flying Squad. We also hope the Ministry will look into our needs first,” CVLB Chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said. The Flying Squad will conduct major checks on express buses throughout the country to ensure they comply with the Safety, Health and Environment regulations, according to Noh. Meanwhile, Bung Moktar announced that with the expansion of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport and the increase in the number of tourists entering Sabah, CVLB will be opening applications for premier taxi services. “The application for premier taxis with 2,000cc and above at KKJA will be opened from May 1 to July 31. Currently we have received 130 applications and only those who meet the criteria will be given the opportunity to fill up the 40 empty slots,” he said.


Lifespan of public transport vehicles reviewed: CVLB


In an effort to ensure the safety of commuters in Sabah, the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) has reviewed the lifespan of public transport vehicles in the State. Its Chairman, Datuk Bung Moktar Radin, said the lifespan is set between 10 and 30 years, depending on the type of vehicle used for the public transportation services in Sabah, and an additional five years for those in Labuan. “We believe it is important to revoke the licences of public transport vehicles after a certain age because we want the operators to provide only the best services to their passengers, and to ensure that the commuters are comfortable throughout the journey. “Besides with higher trust on the public transport services, it would also encourage the people to take the bus or taxi, thus reducing traffic congestion in the State,” he told reporters yesterday. Bung Moktar added that the lifespan for vehicles in Labuan is longer because of the size of the area and the road condition on the island which is better compared to Sabah. Giving express buses as an example, he explained that for new applications, the operators are only allowed to use the vehicles up to 20 years (25 years in Labuan), while new applicants wishing to venture into the industry can only purchase cars that are not more than five years old. “In Sabah, the lifespan for school buses is higher compared to our counterparts in Sarawak and West Malaysia. “We, however, allow school buses in Sabah to be used up to 30 years, which is higher compared to other states in Malaysia. Sarawak only allows school bus drivers to use their vehicles up to 25 years and in West Malaysia, 20 years,” he said. Bung Moktar explained the rationale behind it is because the school bus operators in Sabah are earning less than their counterparts in the other states. Bung Moktar meanwhile called for the setting up of an integrated station for all public transport vehicles, at least one in each district. “Through an integrated station, all public transport vehicles will have a place to park while waiting for passengers. Currently they are everywhere. In other states, their integrated station is very sophisticated and arranged well, he said.


Lengthy jail, cane for duo
Locals who abducted, raped, hurt UMS student get up to 61 years, 25 strokes

•Mohd Sahrizal and Mohd Ariffin charged with abducting UMS student
•Sahrizal charged with raping, forcing student to perform oral sex in car
•Ariffin charged with raping student two times in car at different places
•Sahrizal and Ariffin charged with causing grievous hurt to the student
•Ariffin charged with stealing three Kancil cars, including two with Sahrizal


Two local men who abducted, raped and caused grievous injuries to a Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) student, as well as forcing her to perform oral sex were yesterday sentenced to lengthy jail terms and up to 25 strokes of the cane plus hefty fines. Mohd Sahrizal b Suhaili 20, and Mohd Ariflin b Bidin 29, pleaded guilty to all the charges against them, of three Perodua Kancil cars. Sahrizal, from Kampung Pirasan, Kota Belud received 49 years and eight months’ jail, 20 strokes of the cane and RM 1,000 fine, in default, 19 months’ jail. As some of the jail terms run concurrently, he will only have to serve 28 years behind bars. Ariffin, from Kampung Tarap, Bongawan, was sentenced to a total of 61 years and 11 months’ jail, 25 strokes of the cane and RM16,000 fine, in default, 23 months’ jail, but he will only have to serve 32 years and three months. The two accused who were represented by Counsel Hamid Ismail appeared pensive during the proceedings which started at the Magistrate’s Court in the morning and continued in the Sessions Court during the afternoon. Sessions Court Judge Duncan Sikodol sentenced them to five years plus five strokes of cane for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to the 22-year-old UMS student. They committed the offence between April 15 and April 16 and 6.50pm and 5pm from the roundabout in Taman Kingfisher, Jalan Bangka-Bangka here to Kampung Rompon in Tambunan. The charge under Section 325 of the Penal Code carries a jail term up to seven years and a fine on conviction. Sahrizal and Ariffin were jailed another five -years and fined RM1,000, in default, five months’ jail for abducting the student with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine her. They abducted the woman at the Taman Kingfisher roundabout in Jalan Bangka-Bangka about 6. 50pm on April 15. The charge under Section 365 of the Penal Code provides a jail term up to seven years and a fine. The Court ordered the sentences to run concurrently. Sharizal was jailed 20 years plus 10 strokes of the cane for raping the woman and jailed 15 more years plus five strokes of cane for forcing the victim to perform oral sex on him. Both offences were committed between between 6. 50pm and 10pm on April 15 at a place along the old Kota Kinabalu-Tambunan Road. The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently, but consecutively with the sentences for causing grievous hurt and kidnap. Ariffin was jailed 23 years and ordered to be given 10 strokes of the cane for each of the two rape charges. However, the sentences run concurrently, but consecutively with Ariffin’s sentences for the causing grievous hurt and kidnap. Ariffin raped the woman between 6.50pm and 10pm on April 15 at a place along the old Kota Kinabalu Tambunan Road. He raped the victim for the second time at another place along the road between 2am and 4am on April 16. The rape charges under Section 376 (2) of the Penal Code provides a jail term of between eight and 30 years and whipping of not less than 10 strokes. In mitigation, Hamid, who was a duty counsel for both accused, told the court that his clients had regretted of their actions. By pleading guilty, they had saved the court and prosecution’s time from a lengthy trial, he said. He said some of the injuries sustained by the victim were not caused by the two accused but the accident. Hamid said the second accused, during the entire period, had also been kind to the victim by giving her food and medicine. Asked by the court why they committed the offences, Sahrizal and Ariffin claimed that they were influenced by alcohol and syabu. Meanwhile, Senior Federal Counsel Suhaimi Ibrahim urged the court to impose a deterrent sentence on both accused. He said it is true that by pleading guilty, the court and prosecution’s time had been saved but this cannot bring back the good time of the victim. She will be traumatized for the whole of her life. Even a maximum sentence meted out to the accused cannot bring back what she had; she was a virgin, Suhaimi said. “If the second accused was kind enough, why he committed the offences in the first place and why they did not send the victim to hospital as requested by the latter?” he asked. According to the facts of the case, about 6.50pm on April 15, the victim together with her friends disembarked from a van at a roundabout in Taman Kingfisher as they wanted to take a shortcut to a shop to buy things. At that time, a Perodua Kancil car driven by Ariffin approached the victim while the first accused, Sahrizal pulled and dragged the victim into the vehicle before speeding towards Kota Kinabalu town. The victim’s friends who saw the incident could not do anything and later made a call to the emergency line 999 and was redirected to Kota Kinabalu Police Station. The Police later received further information that the Kancil car which was used to kidnap the woman was bearing registration number SAA4558N and with this information, a manhunt was launched all around the west coast of the State. On the following day about 4am, April 16, they spotted the vehicle in Keningau area and a chase ensued between the patrol police vehicle and the vehicle used by the two men. During the chase, the Kancil car crashed and rolled down a slope at Kampung Rompon, Tambunan. When they approached the vehicle, the Police found the victim inside it in a traumatic state with grievous injuries. The Police later arrested Shahrizal in a farm after receiving a tip-off on April 16, while Ariffin was arrested at a roadblock near Keningau Golf Club on the following day. The victim was later sent to Keningau Hospital and examination on her found that the woman suffered injuries on her hands, right and left sides of her abdomen, large bruise bite marks and several other injuries on her body. There were also fresh tears on the victim’s hymen on 2’5’7’ o’clock. Further police investigation revealed the two persons had planned before committing the offences. It was further stated that in the car, the victim was kicked, bitten and punched when she tried to fight. Her hands were tied while she was brought to Keningau from Kota Kinabalu. While in the car, Sahrizal cut the victim’s clothes and undressed her before raping the woman. Sahrizal later forced the woman to perform oral sex on him while using his finger to poke the girl’s vagina. After that, Ariffin changed his seat with Sahrizal without stopping the vehicle and raped the woman twice on April 15 and 16. They also ignored the woman’s request to send her to a hospital after she was raped. The two accused were first brought to the Magistrate’s Court to answer two joint charges of stealing vehicles and a single charge of similar offence faced by Ariffin. Both pleaded guilty to the charges under Section 379A of the Penal Code, which carry a jail term of between one and seven years and a fine. They were jailed for 20 months and fined RM5,000, in default, four months’ jail each for stealing a blue Produa Kancil bearing number SAA795P and worth RM20,000, which belonged to Zainal b Tahir. The offence was committed between March 2 about 9pm and March 3 about 2.45am this year at a car park behind Rain Forest Cafe, Jalan Pantai here. Magistrate Marlina Ibrahim who presided over the case ordered the 20 months’ jail sentence to commence from yesterday. Sahrizal and Ariffin were sentenced to 36 months’ jail from the date of their arrest and fined RM5,000, in default, 10 months’ jail each for stealing another Perodua Kandil vehicle worth RM20,000. Marlina also ordered the two accused persons to be placed under police supervision for 12 months after serving the sentence. Sahrizal and Ariffin admitted to stealing the light green Perodua Kancil bearing number SAA8151B, which belonged to Florita @ Nurul Awatif bt Laji worth RM20,000 between 12.30am and 8.50am on Feb 6 this year at a car park, Taman Bukit Setia, Jalan Sepanggar in Menggatal. Ariffin was also jailed 15 months for stealing another Perodua Kancil bearing number SAA9577J worth RM25,000. He admitted to stealing the vehicle which belonged to Voo Tze Hiung at a car park in Block A, Taman Pun Warisan in Inanam between lam and 6.15am on Sept 27 last year. The court ordered Ariffin’s 15 months’ jail sentence to run consecutively with his two previous sentences of the earlier two charges. Suhaimi was assisted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Zaizul Faridah Raja Zaharuddin, Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) Hasmizulizam b Hamidon and APP Effizah Ernie Idris.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Party hopping not unethical: Anwar


The act of party hopping to respect the wishes of the people who are demanding for a better Government is not unethical or immoral, said Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. He said the people are demanding for a shift in the country’s governance towards better heights where the rights of everyone are equally guarded and respected with no single race monopolizing politics. “There is nothing wrong in respecting that,” he told a press conference here yesterday. Anwar in commenting on the Barisan Nasional’s move to tie the issue of ethics and morals to their members’ loyalty to the Party, said there is no reason why any Member of Parliament in Peninsular or Sabah and Sarawak cannot cross over to the Party of their choice. Speaking to the media shortly after arriving here yesterday, Anwar said his visit to Sabah was not to answer issues brought up by Umno as he believes it is Umno that has a lot to answer in regard to moral and ethics. “The issue of ethics and moral should be clear. I think those who brought up this issue have a lot to answer themselves. “The wealth of the State is being monopolized by a handful of people, unfair election, Judiciary system that is not free to have its own way as admitted by the Prime Minister himself, control over the media. Now, these are the things we should talk about when we talk about ethics and morality,” he said. Anwar said his visit to Sabah was to look at the latest issues and political sentiment of the people and to further explain to the grassroots level the agenda of PKR. “I come to explain why the PKR agendas are special, what are their strengths, why it is attractive to the people of Sabah and Sarawak. “I am also here to explain that if the last election was conducted freely and fairly — if the use of ink was not cancelled, no clear cheating, no massive misuse of postal votes — we are confident that we could have achieved victory,” he said. Following the press conference, Anwar delivered a talk at KDCA in Penampang in the evening. Some 7,000 people showed up to listen to the former Deputy Prime Minister speak for more than two hours. There, he spoke about the need to give enough assurance to all the communities as well as fair and equal treatment, regardless of their race. He also spoke about Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) which according to him, should be replaced with Ketuanan Rakyat (Citizen Supremacy) to end political monopolization ofa single race against the rest of the citizens. He said the State Government, including Sabah; should be given enough room to decide important issues without the intrusion of the Federal Government. “No race should have or should consider themselves as having the monopoly of leadership of the State. We do it together, if it means taking turns, having consensus, that is for the leaders to decide. “The duty of the Federal (Government) is only to ensure good governance and accountability, not to dictate every single move and measure taken by the State as what the Umno and BN are doing,” he said. He also elaborated on the other main agendas the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat have for the people of Sabah. Among others were about tackling main issues in the State such as the illegal immigrant problem, the unfair distribution of the State’s oil royalty and the high poverty rate. PKR State leaders present at the talk included National Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, State Liaison Chief Ansari Abdullah and Deputy State Chairperson Christina Liew.


Complaints over demolition of Karamunsing roundabout


The Member of Parliament here Dr Hiew King Cheu said he had received numerous complaints about problems arising from the demolition of the existing roundabout in front of Karamunsing Complex and the SESB Building. He said the complaints were brought to his attention by tenants and owners of the Karamunsing Complex since the SESE started demolishing the roundabout and converted the area into a parking bay for the sole use of the utility Company. He said SESB management had claimed that since the roundabout was within their boundaries, they had the right to do what they wanted with the area. After the conversion was done, the parking area would be fenced up and tenants and lot owners at Karamunsing Complex were prohibited from using the area, even at the roundabout, said hew yesterday. Speaking to reporters during an inspection at the site, Hiew said there was a meeting between the SESB management, Karamunsing Complex management and City Hall to discuss the likely problems arising from conversion of the roundabout into a parking bay and fencing off the access road there to cut off the traffic flow into the area. “The central roundabout area with green plants has been there since the completion of the two complexes some 25 years ago and it has been like a public place shared by the two complexes. “Why did SESB suddenly decide to put in their boundaries and claim the right over this roundabout?” Hiew, who is also the DAP KK Branch Chairman, asked. According to him, the fence will actually cut off the traffic flow for the two buildings and caused a great amount of inconvenience to the public as converting the area into parking bay will merely accommodate 32 car parks. As such, Hiew suggested that in the interest of the public, it would be better not to fence up the area and the proposed car park can still be constructed. “This way motorists can still use the area as a roundabout,” he said, adding that if the SESB management wants to have more parking lots, they can always make use of the front space of the building facing the new Karamunsing flyover. There are not less than 10,000 people using the two complexes and in this regard he urged City Hall to intervene.


BN defection not a joke, says Anwar


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman does not have the support of all of his BN MPs as he had claimed, according to Parti Keadilan Rakyat Adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar who arrived in Kota Kinabalu for a one-day visit Wednesday afternoon, reiterated his claim that a number of BN leaders from Sabah had stated their intention to cross over to Keadilan, led by his wife Datin Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. “He should know that not all his MPs are still with him. If he wants to know who and who, he can discuss with me in private,” the Keadilan de facto leader told a press conference late yesterday afternoon ahead of his talk in KDCA last night.“It may sound like a joke, but it is true. They (the MPs) have actually made their decision,” he added Anwar who is scheduled to leave for Sarawak today, said his visit to Sabah was not to campaign but to allay the concerns of some parties and deny the unfounded claims that some PKR leaders were involved in unethical means to gain support from BN Members of Parliament. “We are not here to do that as they (BN MPs) have already made their decision and given their assurances. And we are not here to make any sort of deal involving money. “We are here based on the fact that we are supported by Malaysians of all races who want to shift from the traditional politics to a new dawn for Malaysia. Because of that, we want to seek the understanding of our brothers and sisters in Sabah,” he said. According to him, it is just a matter of timing before the MPs involved make their announcement to switch parties with Keadilan which is also not rushing the matter. “We are waiting for the right time to make their final move to form the alternative Government,” he said. He said the MPs are holding back as Parliament is not yet in session and they are not yet officially an MP until they are sworn in when Dewan Rakyat convenes its first sitting at the end of this month. “When do I hey go out, hat needs to be discussed because Umno and BN are known to be very rough in their methods. They are using all sorts of threats and intimidation. “I am, for example, being monitored, more closely now. But we have our own ways of discussing the matter. I may discuss with them in Hong Kong or Singapore, although it may sound like a joke but it is true,” he said. “When, is when we believe it is the good for the country. For now, let Parliament resume first and like I said, we are not in rush. But I assure you, God-willing, we will be there. If not next month, then the following month or maybe July or Merdeka or Hari Malaysia (Sept 16), but I think we should not exceed beyond that,” said Anwar. In the meantime, he said the Opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat comprising Keadilan, DAP and PAS would welcome any other Party to join’them. He said the alliance has not made an official decision on the matter yet but had agreed in principle that any BN member or party would be welcomed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Hospitals could be badly affected


Hospitals would be among the first establishments to be adversely affected by a prolonged power failure, especially those who have their family members and loved ones seriously ill and requiring urgent medical treatment. Pointing this out, Suhakam Vice President Tan Sri Simon Sipaun said that without a good back-up system, the lives of patients who are in critical condition could be endangered. He said TNB and SESB should consider emergency situations in the hospitals and clinics when dealing with disruptions. Simon stressed that it is high time the authorities concerned put an end to the perennial problem. “I remember in Tambunan, my hometown, it is really a hassle to the residents, as they cannot see their way around without streetlights, and have problem with their fridges with food turning bad, and so on. “Blackout is very regular these days and I wonder why the authorities could not solve the problem effectively. “What would the tourists say? I am sure most of them would say they have bad experiences in Malaysia. They would bring with them the stories. “When the State Government handed over the power supply to TNB, we the people had expected the service to be much better, but what happened today? “I suggest the authorities look into this problem seriously rather than any other mega projects or Sabah Development Corridor.”


Blackout affects studies, works of students


Students of higher learning institutes here were among those who were affected by the statewide blackout on Monday night. Most of them were in the midst of studying and completing assignments when the blackout occurred. Those who did not save their assignments on the computers were frustrated as they had to do it all over again. According to Mohd Afis Hissein, a college student, he and some friends were busy studying for their examination when the electricity supply was cut off. “Some of my friends were doing their work on the computers while others were doing research on the Internet. When the blackout happened, we were frustrated as we could not continue with our studies,” he said. A trainee from the Politeknik here also had the same experience and frustration as their studies had to be stopped because of the blackout. “We had to leave our homework unfinished and went to sleep early,” the student said. An officer from the Kota Kinabalu City Hall felt the same as she had some materials to prepare for a function today. “I was typing the materials when the power supply was cut off. It affected my preparation for the function today,” she said. For Siti Ning, a Legal Advisor, she thought the blackout was caused by some illegal activities. Rocky Mabin, a Government officer for the Inanam District - Court, pointed out that electricity disruptions are common in Sabah and should be rectified by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) as soon as possible. “These disruptions are a burden to consumers and business proprietors, thus the need to rectify the problem,” he said. Benjamin Basintal, a part-time lecturer from UMS, said the relevant authorities must look into the matter very seriously. “I have said earlier, do not wait for structures to collapse; be proactive and do frequent checks. Replace what needs be and solve the problem at the root. Other states in Malaysia do not have frequent electricity disruptions but why it happens in Sabah? “The State Government must look for other alternatives to solve the problem immediately and permanently by postponing other unimportant mega projects. Blackouts are adverse occurrences as they affect the entire fabric of a community. They cause chaos near traffic lights, security problem to home dwellers, endanger the lives of patients in hospitals, disrupt studies, business trade and most of all, tarnish the image of a nation when foreign tourists are affected,” he said. A few restaurant operators along Gaya Street when asked about the situation on Monday night, said it was a hectic time for them when the electricity went off. Most of their customers got up to leave the premises so their staff had a busy time collecting money from them before they left. Some of the business operators said they closed early to avoid any untoward incidents. The blackout also affected bus commuters who had a hard time seeing their stops as the streetlights were not functioning.


Collapsed tower cannot be sole reason for total blackout: Hiew


The Member of Parliament here, Dr Hiew King Cheu, has expressed great regret over the total blackout and power cut all over Sabah on Tuesday evening that lasted for a few hours from 6.30pm.He said the blackout not only brought inconvenience to the people but also losses involving a great sum of money to business operators in many districts, including Tawau, Sandakan and the State Capital. “My cellphone was inundated with calls for three hours and this indicated the seriousness of the power disruption,” he said. Hiew said that he could not contact the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) personnel during the power failure. He only managed to get through them yesterday for more details. “Their explanation for the statewide blackout was merely due to the collapse of a high tension tower near UMS, which is believed due to some of the metal strut or component of the tower been stolen and removed from the tower. “This caused the tower structure to collapse. The collapse of the tower caused the whole power grid to trip and cut off the power in the whole State. As SESB explained, it will take time to reassume and to feed power to the various parts of Sabah,” said Hiew who also heads the KK DAP Branch. H said the power failure was abnormal and indicated that the power management by SESB and the State Government is highly inefficient. He reckoned that the SESB supply system should be equipped with “fail safe system” to cut off or to link up in case of power generator failure happened in a certain area. “In this case, if the power generator or the line linking or supplying to the State grid failed, there should be an immediate cut off from the main grid and not affecting the whole system in supplying power to the other areas. There must be something seriously wrong in the system technically or there is a design fault. Therefore, the collapsed tower cannot be the sole reason for the total blackout.


Outage a wake-up call; time to have back-up: Masidi


The biggest power outage in Sabah history that left 90 percent of State in darkness on Monday night clearly signalled the urgent need for a back-up power system to be set in place, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun. He said it was also a reminder to the Government, in particular the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB), to immediately enhance the monitoring system of vital equipments in the electricity supply system to ensure they are all in reliable condition. “Clearly, we can’t rely on a single source. It’s time for SESB to seriously consider setting up a backup system to ensure we are prepared in case of similar incidents happening in the future,” he said when speaking to reporters after opening a seminar on Understanding of Environment Requirements at Pacific Sutera Harbour here yesterday. Stressing that he was not pointing a finger at anyone over the incident, Masidi said such a major power disruption could really hurt many businesses and cause huge losses to the State, including the tourism industry He said the impact of such a blackout on the State’s commercial and industrial sectors could be severe as it affected the operation of many businesses and factories, as those with no back-up power system were forced to stop production until the power was restored. In the tourism industry for instance, though most of the resorts and big hotels have their own generators to power their lights and some of their essential electrical equipments, their guests could have been uncomfortable throughout the Monday outage as the air conditioning system was shut down. Acknowledging power outages as a major problem in the State, Masidi said serious attention from everyone and a lot of money are needed to effectively address the issue. “The effect is huge. It goes beyond just households having uncomfortable night without TV, fan or air conditioner. Hotels, factories, traffic lights, just to name a few, are all affected. This is not good for our image, especially among the tourists,” he said. He said SESB’s quick action in rectifying the problem and ability to restore the electricity supply in considerably short time was commendable, considering the magnitude of the outage. But the incident should serve as a wake up call and a lesson to SESB that they cannot assume everything will always go well, he said. “Similar incidents may even happen again in the future. And when that happens, it’s better if we are prepared,” he said. “I believe with the current management of SESB, they would be able to do something to improve our readiness to face such such power trip in the future. Give them (SESB) time to rectify the problem, I believe they can,” he said, adding, the previous and current GM had done well in managing the State’s sole power provider. Asked if the incident would cause a change in the Government’s stance on the cancellation of a coal-fired power plant project in Lahad Datu, he said SESB has a compelling reason to build the plant and the power outage on Monday has further highlighted the State’s need for additional power source. However, he said, the State Government has a very strong reason not to go ahead with the construction of the power plant, taking into consideration the potential harm it could cause to the pristine environment in the area. “Sabah is noted for its serene and beautiful nature; the moment we destroy it, nobody will come. Thus, continuing the project would seem to be foolish. We may save some money now but lose a lot more in the future. It doesn’t make sense,” he said. He noted that water discharge from coal-fired power plant operation would cause an increase in the temperature of surrounding seawater by up to two degree Celsius.


Help fight vandalism, SESB urges


Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd has urged consumers to join them in combating vandalism. “There may be only 2,000 SESB staff throughout the State but we believe we have three million supporters out there... we are calling on our consumers to support us in our fight against vandalism,” said SESB Managing Director, Baharin Din, yesterday. The major blackout on Monday, which affected some 300,000 consumers in the State, was the last straw for SESB. Baharin said initial investigation showed signs of vandalism which led to the collapse of the transmission tower at Suang Parai, near here. Accompanied by City Police Chief ACP Ahmad Sofi Zakaria in an inspection visit to the site yesterday, he said about 20 section members (pieces of steel) that held the transmission tower up were removed and probably sold off as scrap metal. The barb wires fixed around the transmission tower had also failed to stop suspected vandals from committing the act. Baharin yesterday said close surveillance of any digging activities in the area (Tuaran Road, Jalan Kampung Likas, Likas Coastal Road, Jalan UMS) is being intensified. “Cooperation from everyone, including the public, is sought,” he said. Meanwhile, Ahmad Sofi said full investigations are being carried out and the police are also checking the scrap metal dealers’ premises in their effort to track down the culprits.


SESB blames vandals
Steel theft causes transmission tower to collapse, triggering domino effect, says MD

Vandalism has been blamed for Sabah’s worst power failure that affected some 300,000 consumers in most parts of the State on Monday. According to Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) Managing Director, Baharin Din, the collapsed transmission tower at Suang Parai area here showed obvious signs of vandalism. About 20 section members (pieces of steel) were removed from the 132 kilovolt (KV) transmission tower, thus resulting in the collapse and massive statewide outage that lasted for about six hours from 6.4lpm on Monday, he said. Baharin told a Press conference yesterday that this was the worst blackout in the State since the commissioning of the East-West Power Grid in November last year. The transmission line between Kayu Madang and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) collapsed, leading to a power trip that caused a domino effect, tripping all SESB at independent power plants connect to the various grids, he explained. “Then the RM400,000 transmission tower collapsed; all the lines lost connectivity and power cannot be transmitted to all area And since the frequency dropped the system could not sustain, an crashed as well,” he said. As a result, SESB lost about 50 megawatts (MW) of power, affecting, consumers in the West, East and Northeast, West and East coasts of Sabah, as well as part of Labuan. Luckier consumers residing in Beaufort, Keningau, Tambunan Tenom, Telupid and Ranau were no affected by the blackout as they are not connected to the grid system and have their own power generation. Baharin said SESB’s 15454 hotline number had been ringing non-stop with the number of calls shooting u from the average 500 a day to at least 50,000 within the six hours. Power restoration was carried out in stages at the affected areas, starting from 7. 15pm (Monday) and supply was fully restored by 12. 15am on Tuesday,” he said. “We believe the vandals had stolen the section members, hoping to make some money but at the expense of many consumers in the State,” he said. “They could have probably earned RM40 in scrap value but caused huge losses and inconveniences to the people of Sabah, and probably even to themselves. The State’s economy also suffered.” Asked whether the act of vandalism was committed overnight, Baharin said: “This activity could not have been done in one night or for a long period. Our guess is that it had taken the suspects a few days. Currently, steps are being taken to build a temporary tower with the help of SESBs parent company, Tenaga Nasional Berhad and : Armed Forces personnel,” he said. The tower will be sent down and set up within three weeks before a permanent tower is erected in four months, he said. “Right now, the situation is fragile as we are using an alternative underground 66KV cable to channel power from one of the generation plants here,” Baharin said. The West Coast of the State is providing most of the power supply to the east coast areas where the generation capacity is low due to the use of old diesel-powered generators. He said SESB might implement load shedding, depending on the peak demands between 11am and noon and 3pm and noon, and if the situation warrants. Asked why there was no mechanism to stop the power supply but right now, there is just enough power domino effect of the tripping, Baharin replied: “Such a to meet the demand. Sabah does not have that luxury mechanism can only be done if there is an excess of yet.”


Abduction suspects rearrested over rape


The two suspects remanded over the recent abduction of a Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) student were yesterday rearrested as soon as they were released on police bail. The two men were rearrested and brought to Karamunsing Police Headquarters, where they will be investigated under Section 376 of the Penal Code for a rape case in Keningau, according to Inspector Jakariya Jupakal, the Investigating Officer of the abduction case. The rape case under Section 376 of the Penal Code provides a jail term of between five and 20 .years and whipping. Earlier, Magistrate Marlina Ibrahim released the suspects, aged 20 and 29, following an application by Prosecuting Officer Chief Inspector Lim Swee Beng on behalf of Jakarya. The 20-year--old man from Kampung Pirasan, Kota Belud was first remanded for four days on April 17 but his remand was extended by three days on Sunday. The older suspect was also first remanded for four days on April 18 and the remand expired yesterday. Both were initially remanded under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code to assist in police investigation into the abduction case under Section 365 of the Penal Code, which provides a jail term up to seven years and a fine. The two men had allegedly abducted the UMS student in a Perodua Kancil car while she was walking to a church in Taman Kingfisher, Likas.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


SLA to play permanent role in protecting environment


The Sabah Law Association (SLA) through its newly formed Sub-committee on Environment and Climate Change will have a permanent role to play in the State Government’s drive to clean, conserve and care for the environment. The chairperson of the newly launched Sabah Law Association Sub Committee on Environment and Climate Change (SLA ECC),Nilakrisna James, said both parties have created history through the smart partnership. “We created history today by cementing a smart partnership between SLA and the State Government of Sabah through the Environmental Action Committee (EAC) under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment,” she said. According to her, the idea of creating a special sub-committee in SLA to deal specifically with environment and climate change laws came about as a result of her involvement in the EAC Steering Committee and Management Group. “I was made aware of the devastation in our local environment from pollution in our rivers and monsoon drains to the devastation at the Mamut Copper Mine. “On the global front there is a concerted effort to try to comprehend and implement the Kyoto Protocol because of the very real concern for climate change that is predicted to change the world’s environmental landscape unless proper control mechanisms are enacted in individual countries,” she added. According to her, in the absence of proper implementation and enforcement of any laws to prevent pollution and damage protect and conserve the environment and penalise those who deliberately cause damage and pollution, people can simply complain about the obvious and get nowhere. Therefore the decision by SLA to set up the SLA ECC. SLA President Datuk John Sikavun said the Association and its members have played their role in society and would continue to do so. “We have many able and committed lawyers in SLA who despite their heavy work schedules, are ever willing to play apart in society to make it a better place to live whether by writing books or articles not only on the issues at hand but on other important issues that arise,” he said. According to him, by speaking up on important issues, SLA members have also created awareness among the public as well as educating them. He also disclosed that SLA had participated in the Government’s decision making process, provided legal aid and advice to the public. “I believe that we may even be the first Bar in the country to create a special sub-committee dealing specifically with environment and climate change. Our overall aim is to be a driving force and a leading voice in the creation of new legislations relevant to this field and to act as the advisory body to the Government when it comes to the revision of the existing laws to make them ore relevant to the present times,” he said. “There is a huge difference as to what comprises the Federal jurisdiction and State jurisdiction when it comes to environmental laws and in the context of Sabah and Sarawak, some of those rights are entrenched in the Federal Constitution such as forestry, land matters, agriculture and water,” he added. John also said that SLA is indeed committed in its efforts to continually review, refine and make relevant the local legislation. “The 3Rs as I would call them, are to study new existing legislation, review them, provide advice to the Government if necessary, refine such laws and make sure they are relevant in the context of Sabah and also Malaysia as a whole,” he said.


Shortage of environmental law experts in country


Environmental Action Committee (EAC) Chairperson Suzannah Liaw hopes environmental law experts and activists will join the Sabah Law Association Sub-Committee on Environment and Climate Change (SLA ECC) and contribute effectively to the EAC. Speaking at the launching of the SLA ECC at the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry yesterday, Liaw said the EAC was set up when environmental laws were gaining global recognition. She also said that there are so few lawyers specialized in environmental laws that in many ways it could be said to have been hampered in the progress for legislative change. “Even now there are only a handful of real environmental law experts in this country. It is through legislation that we can find the solution to the problems. The laws act as both as a deterrent to polluters and also as a punishment,” she said. “The establishment of the SLA ECC is apt as it is time for the EAC to enter into a smart partnership with SLA by inviting them into their Steering Committee and core management group to join a selected distinguished individuals from various relevant Government agencies, NGOs and the media,” she added. “We welcome the SLA on board the EAC Steering Committee and Management Group to together recognize the need to be responsible to all of humanity. If we must develop our State, we must do so without destroying our environment and to practise proper sustainable development,” she said. Liaw who is also the Chairman of the Environmental Action Committee Management Group, said that the key phrase, “human capital”, therefore must start from a young age thus the EAC’s initiative in instilling a sense of responsibility towards the environment through projects such as recycling in school. “The pristine and natural environment that we have here, should be the focus of our tourism development. There is a serious need to develop products and ideas which will allow ecotourism to flourish in this State. We need to educate our people to learn to protect their own turf and understand that Sabah is one of the most perfect places on earth to put that into practice,” she said. “That is why we must balance the ideas of our ecotourism against the ideals of sustainable development,” he added. She also said that it is one of the many ways in which EAC hoped to nourish interest in the field and they will in turn pass on their knowledge


Major checks on express buses in Sabah
Flying Squad to team up with Institute, Council


The Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board’s (CVLB) Flying Squad will be teaming up with officers from the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety and Road Safety Council to effectively carry out spot checks on express buses throughout the country. Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar in announcing this yesterday, said the CVLB, which comes under his Ministry, would be conducting major checks on express buses throughout the country, including in Sabah to ensure they comply with the Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) regulations. “There have been so many tragedies involving express buses and the number of fatalities is high. This has given this mode of public transportation a very bad image and everyone is now worried about travelling via buses. “This is part of our preventive measures to avoid more unwanted incidents and to protect the safety of the passengers,” said Noh after meeting with officers from agencies under his Ministry here yesterday. Speaking at a press conference, he said that among the important things to be checked is the compliance of bus companies with the eight-hour limit regulation. He explained each bus driver is only allowed to drive for eight hours a day. Buses for destinations that take more than eight hours such as Kota Kinabalu-Tawau, must have two drivers. The eight-hour regulation also states that there must be a break for every four hours of driving. “This applies to all areas — Peninsular as well as Sabah and Sarawak,” he said, adding, the main target for the operation are big companies which have a lot of bus permits. He said action could be taken against companies found neglecting the SHE, including suspension of their permits. On another development, he said the Ministry would be studying if there is a need to reintroduce the issuance of Class F Contractor license to small contractors which have been temporarily frozen. “We will see if there is a need for more small contractors in the market. If yes, we may review the existing inactive Class F license and open it to new applicants” he said. According to Noh, the latest figure shows there are some 31,000 Class F license holders throughout the country but only around 17,000 of them are really active. Of this figure, 2,450 are in Sabah. In his dialogue with the officers of the Ministry’s agencies earlier, Noh stressed on improving the Ministry’s delivery system by enhancing communication and cooperation between agencies at the grassroots level and between the Ministry and the target groups.


Taxpayers find e-filing not that easy


Long queues at the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) counters here has made taxpayers frustrated, especially with the deadline to submit their return forms looming nearer. They said the description, “Easy, accurate and safe” used for thee-filing system was inaccurate, especially the “easy” part of the description. A check at the IRB headquarters here showed that the taxpayers were frustrated with the process of the e-filing system as it took a long time just to get through the first step, obtaining the pin number to accessing the system on the Internet. There was a long queue of taxpayers waiting to get their pin number and those interviewed expressed their disappointment over the slow process as according to IRB, the e-filing system can only be used until end of June. According to Mohammad Yassin, a marine police personnel from Sandakan, he thought it was easier to get the pin number in the State Capital. “In Sandakan, the queue is always long which is why I decided to come here to get my pin number. I did not expect to it to be the same here,” he said. Citi Bank Credit Card Sales Executive Moh Yung Chuaon, 30, said she obtained her pin number early but then she had to queue for the computer. “I had to wait for my turn to use the computer to access to the e-filing system. After that I had to go downstairs to see the officers there and find out if what I had done was right and all the information keyed in was correct. “As this is the first time for me to file my returns via the e-filing system. I did not really mind the hassle as the officers were very nice and helpful,” Moh said. A Government officer who preferred to remain anonymous, said he is not very well versed in the e-filing system and therefore has to seek help from his family members or friends “I could not ask for help from the officers here because they are so busy assisting so many people. I also have limited time and need to go back to the office otherwise, my boss will be wondering where I am,” he said. An elderly couple, who also did not want to be named, expressed their appreciation to the IRB officers for helping them as they are not computer literate and had problems getting a grasp of the e-filing system. For Puan Nurati binti Saman, in her 40’s, the system was confusing and also time consuming, especially for those who do not have a computer and have to wait for their turn to use the computers at the IRB headquarters. “However, the IRB officers here are very nice and helpful,” she said. Nurati’s husband, Arian bin Japudin from the Education Department, expressed his relief to be able to file his tax returns before the deadline. “Even though it took a longtime, I am just glad to be able to finish doing it with the help of the IRB officers here,” hesaid. An officer of IRB said there were many reasons why taxpayers were reluctant to use the e-filing system among which were that they do not own a computer or are not computer literate. “For some, the process takes a longer time as they did not bring the necessary documents, especially in the case of exemptions.


Cops tracking down ‘kidnap’ SMS source


Police are tracking down the source of a short messaging service (SMS) on another ‘kidnapping’ case, which proved to be untrue. “This is the work of an irresponsible person. This is not a laughing matter ... no one should make fun of it,” said District Police Chief, DSP Zahari Mohamed, when contacted by The Borneo Post, yesterday. SMSes urging people to be on a lookout for a car bearing plate number SA6385F which had allegedly kidnapped a 16-year-old girl from Taman Adika here on Sunday, circulated widely yesterday. “After receiving the information, we have mobilised our people to carry out investigations and at last, the report was found to be untrue and the plate number does not exist. “We fear that such an irresponsible act would cause fear among parents they would not even dare to send their children to school,” he said. In addition, Zahari said soon it would be a case like the boy who cried wolf. “There will be a time when there is a real kidnapping but people would no longer believe and no one would pay any attention to the real distress call. “So please stop this nonsense as it will not bring any good to anyone. It is a waste of everybody’s time ... we were chasing nothing,” he said. He warned those caught responsible for spreading the rumour can be charged under Section 233 of the Multimedia Act which carries a fine of RM50,000 or not more than a year’s imprisonment, or both, if found guilty. Last Wednesday, a real abduction case involving a Universiti Malaysia Sabah student at Kingfisher Park in Kota Kinabalu came to an end When the two abductors were finally arrested here separately just within 48 hours after committing the crime. Information on the incident as well as the abductors’ car number were quickly spread via SMSes and blogs, which kept people on the alert for the vehicle passing through their areas. Those who spotted the car had alerted the Police and soon after a high speed chase, they skidded at Kampung Rompon, along Tambunan-Keningau Road.