Monday, March 31, 2008


Be wary of fake UK qualifications
Bogus institutions offering dubious degrees, claim


Malaysians seeking UK qualifications, either offered in the UK or in Malaysia, should be wary of bogus institutions that claim to offer so-called ‘certified UK degrees’. There are irresponsible parties operating in Malaysia that use various means to entice students to enrol for programmes that claim to offer UK qualifications, according to a press release in conjunction with the tour of the Education UK exhibitions organized by British Council in four Malaysian cities. The first exhibition was held on March 18 where Penang became its first venue followed by Kuala Lumpur (March 22 and 23) and Kuching on March 26. Kota Kinabalu was its last venue and it was held at Le Meridien Hotel yesterday. The people could get up-to-date and accurate information about UK study at this exhibition, said Guy Perring, the British Council project manager, transnational education, when met at the Education UK exhibitions held at the Le Meridien Hotel from 1pm to 7pm. “This program provides Malaysians with accurate and reliable information about UK qualifications and more choices for those interested to further their studies,” Guy said. “They can also meet the representatives from the UK institutions which also enable them to get the information they need about studying in the UK,” he added. Guy said more than 800 people attended the expo. “The response from the public is very encouraging,” he said, adding that a total of 15 institutions from the UK participated in this exhibition. Among them were University of Hull, University of Portsmouth, University of Reading, Bellerbys College, BPP College of Professional Studies and Bosworth Independent College. These institutions providing several programmes such as for postgraduate student, undergraduate student and A-levels. Idora Imran, 22, and Alvina Damit, 22, both final year students of Universiti Malaysia Sabah said the expo had given them a lot of information. “It is good to be here at this expo as it gives us much information that we want,” said Idora who is pursuing a degree in Banking and Finance. “We can also learn about the cost of living in the UK,” said Alvina, who is pursuing a degree course in Hotel Management. “We have still not decided what programs we want to take. We are just look around and getting information as much as we can,” Idora said. Asked what courses interest them in a foreign university, they said they want to take management courses.


Let us work together, MP urges Opposition supporters


Kota Belud Member of Parliament Datuk Abdul Rahman Datuk Dahian has urged those who had supported the Opposition in the recent 12th general election to join hands with the BN supporters in developing the district. Speaking at the Kota Belud BN thanksgiving at the community hail here yesterday, Rahman said unity among the people should not be sacrificed, and it is for the good of everyone to work together anti fully support development projects to be implemented here. “I sincerely hope the Opposition supporters would discard any prejudice and cooperate with BN; we would be able to find common grounds to work together in developing our town,” he said. “I am opening my door to the Opposition supporters and I hope we can exchange views and work things out together.” Abdul Rahman, who is also Umno Youth secretary, said the mandate given by the people here is a heavy responsibility which he would strive to carry out. He thanked all BN members and supporters for supporting him in the recent e1ection


Musa tells reps to serve people humbly


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has warned elected representatives in Sabah not to let pride go to their heads to the extent that they neglect the people. “We were chosen by the rakyat to be their elected representatives, therefore we must give them the best service we can and carry out our responsibilities,” said Musa, who is also Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman. Speaking at Libaran Umno thanksgiving here on Saturday, he said he wants all the elected representatives in Sabah to always make time to visit the people in their respective constituencies and hear out their problems and grouses. This, he said, is the way to express their gratitude to the people for giving them the mandate to represent them, he said, adding that elected representatives must not be proud and haughty when meeting the people. “Elected representatives must be humble and responsible. We must also fulfill all promises made during the election campaign as we don’t not want the rakyat to accuse BN Assemblymen and Members of Parliament of lying,” he stressed. Musa said resounding victory of the Barisan Nasional (BN) in Libaran is proof that the people want the overall continued development by the coalition. “BN’s victory in Libaran is the people’s victory,” he said at the gathering which was attended by more than 5,000 people. He said more thorough development will be implemented in the State for the benefit of the people. “I an very grateful to the rakyat of Sabah for supporting the BN candidates in the State and for giving BN the mandate again,” he said, adding that the loss of one parliamentary constituency and a State constituent will make the coalition work harder to regain the seats. “This is a repeat of the 2004 scenario but it does not mean we were defeated. BN will continue to provide the best service for the rakyat,” he said, adding that he will not disappoint the constituents in Libaran as he will ensure the area will develop alongside with other constituencies.


Revise RM150 pension, call
Amount way below poverty line: Association


In the face of escalating prices of goods, many members of Sabah Government Pensioners Association (PPKS) who receive as little as RM150 pension a month are struggling to stay afloat and have asked the Association to appeal to the Government to revise their pensions. Pointing out that the RM150 pension is well below the poverty line, PPKS President Dr Florentius Epin Banaik said he hoped the Government would seriously take into consideration the changing situation and adjust the pension payments made to many pensioners. Florentius, who was returned unopposed at the annual general meeting of the Association here on Saturday, noted that repeated pledges had been made by the Government in the past to eradicate poverty among Malaysians and provide a minimum pension of RM500 to those who receive very low pensions. But to date, there is still no sign of the pledges being fulfilled, he said. “How could one survive on this meagre RM150 monthly pension even after the latest adjustment was made in 2007 with today’s spirailing cost of living?” he asked. Florentius also urged the Government to look into the plight of those few hundred government employees who have served for between 30 and 40 years, and consider absorbing them into the permanent and pensionable establishment. “Many of those affected have come to PPKS to ask for our assistance. Unfortunately we feel so helpless and sad for being unable to help them,” he lamented. “All we could do now is to appeal to the Government to find ways to assist them via a pension or retirement allowance to end the suffering of these employees who had dedicated the most productive time of their lives of some 30 to 35 years serving the Government and the nation.” The AGM saw all the incumbent committee members returned unopposed while the vice- president, assistant secretary and treasurer posts were earlier also returned unopposed at the close of nominations. The new line-up comprises Dr Florentius Epin Banaik (President), William Tham Peng Loi and Ms Wang. Tsai Siah (Deputy Presidents), Jemon bin Jali, Pang Kon Hin and Philip Wong Kui Fah (Vice Presidents), Dennis H. L. Lim (Secretary), Fredoline Bilison (Assistant Secretary), Michael Ng (Treasurer), Liew Kim Fatt (Assistant Treasurer), Joseph Jominol, Aloysius Labi, David Lo, Catherine Lee Moey, Hj Matarsad bin Ibrahim, Fredoline Moris Sipaji and Charles Andau (committee members).


Unfair policies make Sabah poor
Palm oil export via Peninsular ports causes. State to lose RM300 mm revenues a year, says Tham


It is high time for the Federal Government to review some of the current policies that are extremely unfair and impoverishing Sabah. This includes the present requirement for Sabah to export its major changes in the demand and commodities such as cocoa and palm oil through ports in Peninsular Malaysia besides paying higher prices for consumer goods, said’ Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) State Science Adviser Datuk Tham Nyip Shen. He said the State is currently estimated to be losing about RM300 million in revenues from palm oil export of an estimated six assumed the million tons per annum, based on the current market price of between RM40 and RM50 per ton. “ With such an unfair policy, how can we not be poor?” Speaking to reporters yesterday, Tham pointed out that the revenues that are lost are enough to increase the development fund for each MP in the State to RM3 million for them to help improve facilities in their constituencies. While welcoming the recent statement made by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahir Ahmad that consumers in the country can expect major changes in the demand and supply mechanism, including the scrapping of price in control on essential goods, he reiterated his previous call to implement a ‘uniform pricing policy’ for goods across the nation in order to be fair to the people of Sabah and Sarawak. Tham, who is a former Deputy Chief Minister, said : “ When Datuk Shahrir assumed the post of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, he made a few interesting announcements and this certainly gives new hope to Malaysians, Sabahans included. This, I say syabas! ( well done) to Datuk Shahrir. But, I am particularly keen to pursue an old topic – uniform national pricing policy acroos the nation. It is never the fault of Sabahans and Sarawakians that we are being separated by the largest sea in the world – the South China Sea. “Unfortunately, we are severely punished as a result i.e. paying a higher price of between 20% — 50% for consumer goods.” He cited the case of America, which is about 28 times larger than the size of Malaysia, to further illustrate his point. “To put it in perspective, travelling from the east to west of the United States of America requires five hours compared to just 2+ hours in Ma1aysia,he said. “Yet, there is no price differences in most items between New York and Los Angeles when they are 2,462 miles apart compared to that of only 1,000 miles between Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. “I can quote a few other countries having no price difference. In Malaysia, even national newspapers are more expensive in Sabah, compared to Kuala Lumpur.” Tham said the renewal of his call for a ‘uniform pricing policy’ is timely, especially when the people of Sabah and Sarawak have given so much support to the BN Government. “Sabah is still being recognized as the poorest State in Malaysia, we are not asking for special privileges, what we want is not much, we just want a fair price, the same price that a Malaysian should pay! We hope to live like a Malaysian,” he said. “I am confident that something positive can be done to give fair treatment to Malaysians residing in Sabah. I would also like to reiterate my call for the Federal Government to equal the export price of commodities from Sabah too. “Without a fair treatment and a level playing field, Malaysians in Sabah would always be at the losing end and perhaps it is also part of the reasons why today Sabah is still being widely recognized as the poorest State in Malaysia. Why must we suffer all these injustices?” Tham also expressed utmost regret that Shahrir’s predecessor, Datuk Shafie Apdal who hails from Sabah had failed to champion such a pressing cause when he was in position to do so.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Another wake-up call to national leadership: Yong


The sudden resignation of Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh as Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister should serve as another wake-up call to the national leadership to re-look at Sabah and Sarawak’s representation in the central administration, said SAPP President Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee yesterday. He said that the veteran politician from Sabah who won the Kalabakan parliamentary seat uncontested in the recent general election, must have good reasons for quitting from his post. Yong recounted that when .Ghapur was a Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Finance in the State Cabinet in 1996-1998 when the former was the Chief Minister, Ghapur also abruptly resigned. Although Ghapur did not announce the reasons (which in that case was not related to governmental duties), Yong said that Ghapur normally had good and sound reasons for resigning. “Although he latter retracted his resignation from the State Cabinet then after meeting the then Prime Minister, this time it looks like Datuk Ghapur will not retract his resignation. “I guess that he also has good reasons. He has served in various capacities in the State Government and is a veteran and senior politician, having been an assemblyman ever since the Berjaya era in the 1970s. In Parliament, although he is a second term MP, he commands much attention from other MPs,” said Yong. According to the former Chief Minister, Ghapur’s resignation reiterates the growing view even in Kuala Lumpur and among Umno circles that Sabah deserves more recognition and respect from the national leadership and the BN. “Although it is sad to see Datuk Ghapur resign, and hence Sabah has lost yet another post in the Federal Government, I hope this latest resignation will be another wake-up call to the national leadership to relook Sabah and also Sarawak. “This is a once in a life time for Sabah and Sarawak to prove themselves in the national coalition,” Yong added.


Surveyors delegate work to freelancers
MP urges Board to revoke licences of registered surveyors


Putatan Member of Parliament Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh yesterday urged the Sabah Surveyors Board to revoke the licences of surveyors registered with the Board but are no longer operating in Sabah. He said the situation is akin to cheating, as the surveyors are delegating the work to “freelance technicians” when they are supposed to personally oversee whatever work they were engaged to carry out. “These people are not here but their plans are already signed. It is doubtful that they are signing the plans, so my question is who is signing the plans?” he said when met at the First Surveyors Congress at Pacific Sutera here yesterday. “This situation is not fair to their clients because when the clients go to their office seeking advice, they are not around and are instead referred to whoever has been assigned to handle the work. “These people are also depriving the local practitioners of contracts, which are becoming scarce,” he said. Marcus, a former chairman of the Board, explained that the Board’s constitution states that a surveyor must have a minimum of six months of residency in Sabah every year before the issuance or renewal of a licence to operate here. “However we find surveyors who are no longer based here but are still getting contracts. I am not happy with what the Board is doing at the moment, giving licences to people who are not operating in Sabah. “There is a need for corrective measures and for the Board to do its job in ensuring the licences are issued to surveyors who are truly qualified and meet the residential requirement,” he said. Marcus believes that nine out of the 22 surveyors registered with the Board are no longer operating within Sabah. “All surveyors must make a statutory declaration before a Commissioner of Oaths saying that they have fulfilled the six months residency before they can be issued with a licence. “The onus is on the surveyors to prove to the Board that they have fulfilled the residential requirement. These people (surveyors) are my friends, but my contention here is that they must be, professional and not cheat… it is a crime to cheat,” he said


Umno sending sign as if BN ship sinking: Tham


Umno’s move to send a recee team to Sabah and Sarawak to spy on the Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Barisan Nasional (BN) is not only an insult, but also sending a panic sign as if the ‘BN ship’ is fast sinking, according to a senior leader from Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP). Datuk Tham Nyip Shen, who heads the SAPP’s think-tank, said that the recent statement by Umno Secretary- General Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor to send a recce team to the two States to check on. the MPs inevitably reminded one of the dramatic scenes in the blockbuster epic movie — “Titanic”, where its crew started fleeing as it sank. “While I cannot guarantee this (jumping ship) will not happen, I presume there are many ways to prevent this from happening, but definitely not by sending spies as this is no different from telling others that our own friends and allies are deserting us like the crew fleeing the Titanic. What about the voters who are the ‘passengers’ of the ship? How can we convince them to continue to support us?” he asked. The former Deputy Chief Minister also contended that there should be no such fear of BN MPs in Sabah and Sarawak defecting, if the Central Leadership treated Sabah and Sarawak with more respect and fairness. He added that BN should perhaps take a cue from the just-concluded Taiwan Presidential Election in which the once very powerful ruling party, Kuomintang which was voted out of power in 2000, was overwhelmingly voted back into power again by the people of Taiwan. In the recent election inTaiwan, Tham said the KMT won 2.21 million votes which were more than the ruling DPP, representing 58.45 per cent and 41.55 per cent respectively. “BN has much to learn from the Taiwan Koumintang. A temporary setback is normal but first and foremost, BN should take its poor performance in the last general election seriously as a wake-up call. It must work hard to bounce back stronger at another time,” he said. Tham reckoned that the BN should immediately organize itself, set up committees and sub-committees to study every issue that affects the nation and its people. Every single step taken must be carefully thought out and every statement made must be ‘politically and emotionally’ correct. “The BN should work hard to win back all that has been lost. The leadership should really make an effort to lead, at the same time groom new, young leaders to continue,” he asserted. Tham also reckoned that the BN component parties must strive to strengthen the BN spirit, stressing that it must be seen to be done. He explained that this was because apart from Umno, MCA and MIC, the rest of the component parties are treated as mere “followers” — or associate, members — who really have no say in major issues. While noting that the BN power sharing is a good concept worth keeping, he nonetheless reiterated that it must be practiced in its true spirit.


Harris demands apology, compensation from IRB
Board has allegedly published defamatory statements on ex-CM


Former Chief Minister Datuk Harris Mohd Salleh has demanded for a public apology and compensation from the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) for allegedly publishing defamatory statements relating to the disposal of his property in Labuan. A letter containing the demand for an apology and compensation from the IRB was made through his solicitors, Messers Maringking & Co, two days ago to the Board. Senior lawyer Yunof Maringking, a senior partner from the legal firm, has confirmed that they were acting for Harris and had written to IRB, demanding for a public apology and compensation from the Board. Harris has also given a standing instruction to institute legal action against the IRB for alleged negligence and defamation, he said when contacted yesterday. It is reliably learnt that Harris, who was the Chief Minister of Sabah during the Berjaya Government from 1976 to 1985, is asking for RM10 million compensation from the IRB. The IRB has allegedly issued an order through the Kota Kinabalu IRB office early this year, barring Harris from leaving the country until he has paid a sum of RM419,715.62 in Real Property Gains Tax to the Board. A certificate dated Feb 22, 2008 purportedly signed by the Kota Kinabalu IRB Principal Assistant Director (Collection) Shahril Jalinus had been issued under Section 22(1) of the Real Property Gains Tax Act, 1976 to compel Harris to fully settle the amount or furnish security to the satisfaction of the Director—General. Copies of the certificate and ban letters had been extended to the Inspector- General of Police and Immigration Director-General requesting them to take necessary action to prevent Harris from leaving the country unless he has settled the tax arrears. On Wednesday, Harris said he had been served with the ban letters both in Bahasa Malaysia and English and described the whole matter as a mistake on the part of the authorities which bordered on malice or was politically-motivated. He said the matter had been referred to his lawyers and instructed them to convey his demand for a public apology and appropriate compensation from the IRB. Harris clarified that he vas not liable to pay the Real Property Gains Tax and the IRB had issued him a letter in 2005 stating that the land involved in the transaction was not subjected to tax. It was stated that the letter of demand for apology and compensation from the IRB that submission of forms with all relevant particulars for tax assessment on the disposal of Harris’ property in Labuan was done professionally through a firm of accountant. In fact one officer from the IRB branch in KualaLumpur had expressly confirmed in a letter dated Oct 24, 2005 that the disposal of the said property is not subject to any tax under the Property Gains Tax.


Better to hold Umno polls this year: Masidi


It would be better for Unmo to hold its party elections sooner than later to ensure the party can get back on track as soon as possible, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun. He said whether the party elections will be held this year or the next, whatever perceived problems within the party will still be present until a move is made towards finding solutions. “Whether we have it now or later, we will still need to make our selection. We cannot deny that something is wrong (in the party). Something is seriously wrong and it would be better to settle these problems now,” he said yesterday. Masidi, who is also Umno Ranau Chief, said he understands the fears of division within the ranks if the party elections are held as scheduled this August but expressed his faith in the maturity of the party members. “There are some whose views are perceived as going against the party leadership, but I don’t think we should interpret their views as such. I interpret every opinion as a manifestation of the desire to see the party get better. “We should look at it positively, rather than just looking at the negative aspects. I believe the party should sit down, discuss the problems and weaknesses that we obviously saw in the past elections and take brave steps towards solving these problems,” he said. When asked to comment on calls by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for an EGM in May, Masidi said it may not be needed. “If we are going to have the elections this year, I believe there is no necessity to have an EGM because all issues can be exhaustively discussed at the normal AGM. “Perhaps what they may want to do is to have a longer period for the AGM to give ample time for everyone to air their views,” he said. Masidi added that Umno leaders and members should wait until the AGM to make their opinions known as it would be the proper forum for any discussions regarding party matters. “As far as possible, we should not wash our dirty linen in public. There is a proper forum for Umno members to discuss ... if you have an opinion, keep it and say it out in the normal forum provided for in the party,” he said.


Give Umno time before polls: Yahya


Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin said Umno should be given time to examine its weaknesses and regain its strength before holding its party elections. In supporting a suggestion to postpone the party elections to next year, Yahya said there is no need for Umno to rush into holding its elections when it should be giving attention to more urgent issues. “The rationale is that we just concluded the general election and are busy establishing the new Governments both at the Federal and State levels. Moreover, we feel that there are some weaknesses in Umno as seen in the election results,” he told reporters after presenting assistance to SRJK Hwa Shiong and Hwa Shiong Kindergarden in Putatan near here yesterday. The State Umno Liaison Secretary argued that the shocking setback in the general election showed there are some weaknesses in Umno that must first be rectified. However, he said Umno and BN remained strong in Sabah as it won all the contested seats except for Kota Kinabalu and Sri Tanjung which was lost to the DAP. But, Umno as a whole needs to emphasise on understanding and resolving these weaknesses first before having its elections, according to him. “We could wait for calm and a more appropriate time to hold the elections. There should be no problem on that,” he said. Yahya who is also the new Agriculture and Food Industry Minister presented electrical equipment comprising 10 units of computers, a projector, LCD and printer to the schools. “The Supreme Council has decided to have an 18-month extension period and there should be no problem for the Party to hold the elections next year which is still within the extended period. The Council has the right and it is up to it to decide the date for the meeting.” On Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s proposal for Umno to hold a special extraordinary general meeting (EGM) this May, he said if the motive is for the good of the party then it should be considered but if it is more towards worsening the situation, then it is inappropriate and should be rejected. “This is a country that upholds the freedom of expression which gives people the right to express their thoughts and make suggestions. “If we think what we are about to do could split the party then we maybe we should think about it,” he said. He urged all Umno members to ensure that whatever action they take would only further strengthen the Party and not the opposite. Tengku Razaleigh in proposing his idea said the EGM is for members to discuss the Party’s poor performance in the general election. He has received support from many quarters including former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who strongly backed his suggestion saying the meeting would give all parties opportunities to voice their opinions and resolve the problems face by Umno.


Focus on projects that improve life of rural citizens: Yong


The Government will continue to place emphasis on projects that increase the quality of life for rural citizens and are education related as well as to improve the Government’s service delivery system. This is to build capacity and increase the resilience of the nation’s economy, Assistant Local Government and Housing Minister Edward Yong Oui Fah said when officiating the Home and Decor Sabah and Buildcon Sabah Exhibition 2008 at the Sabah Trade Centre here yesterday. It is forecasted that more contract works for the construction industry will be awarded in the early stages of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) which is expected to unveil many growth plans involving physical and non- physical developments aimed at preparing Malaysia to become a developed nation by 2020. A ceiling expenditure of approximately RM150 billion for 2006-2010 is expected from 9MP, he said. “In the past, to boost the Malaysian construction industry, the Government had used the construction sector as an instrument to pump prime the economy. However, the construction industry in Malaysia has matured and our nation is about to enter into the next stage of economic development in facing the current economic challenge,” he added. Yong said the Government is devising a separate economic strategy to promote growth giving priority to new potential sectors, but not lessening the importance of construction to sustain growth in a highly competitive market. He also urged the industry players to be proactive in managing their construction business by becoming less reliant on Government projects. Instead, they are encouraged to initiate viable private driven projects. The exhibition is a one-stop sourcing hub for buyers, contractors, developers, interior designers and building professionals in the building business. It offers a wide range of products and services from building material, construction, equipment, interior furnishing products and building intelligent technology.


Ghapur quits but stays on in BN


Kalabakan Member of Parliament Datuk Ghapur Salieh has relinquished his post as Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister. He told Bernama yesterday that he submitted his resignation letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya on Wednesday morning. He said he had also informed Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman about his resignation. He dismissed talks that he would be hopping over to the Opposition, which is said to be trying to lure several MPs from Sabah and Sarawak since the conclusion of the 12 general election which saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) lose its two-thirds majority in Parliament, and five states to the Opposition. Ghapur, who won the Kalabakan seat unopposed in the March 8 polls, said he would continue to be the elected representative and Kalabakan Umno division head. “All that talks are not true as I have my own principles. Even before, when Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) came into power (1985), all the State Assemblymen from Parti Berjaya (which was then a BN component) except me, crossed over to PBS. So based on this, people should be able to gauge my stand,” he said. Ghapur is the second MP from Sabah and the third person to resign as a Federal Deputy Minister in the aftermath of the BN’s election debacle. Immediately after Abdullah announced the Cabinet line-up on March 18, Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman rejected his appointment as Deputy Transport Minister while Datuk Seri Tengku Azian Sultan Abu Bakar, the MP for Jerantut, turned down the post of Deputy Foreign Minister. Asked why he decided to quit eight days after accepting the post, Ghapur, 64, said: “I don’t want to be tied down to the duties of a Deputy Minister because I want to concentrate fully on the residents of Kalabakan.” He has many children studying overseas and being a Deputy Minister would curtail his time to visit them, according to him. Earlier, Ghapur told reporters at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport that in his resignation letter, he thanked the Prime Minister for selecting him as a candidate in the recent general election and for appointing him as a Federal Deputy Minister. “Initially, I did not want to accept any Federal post, including a minister’s post, but since I got to know about the appointment from the TV, I did not have the chance to inform about my intention of not accepting any Federal post. “On that announcement, I respected the Prime Minister’s decision and after having taken the of office) I forwarded my resignation letter.” Asked whether Abdullah accepted his resignation, Ghapur, a former Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, said he had explained at length why he resigned and believed that the Prime Minister would accept it. “But my decision is final, and I did it in the interest of my family, especially, my children who are studying overseas. “I feel the Deputy Minister’s post carries a huge responsibility and I do not want to be tied down to Government regulations where I cannot be actively involved in business and do a lot of other things ... so I think it’s better for me to be a Government supporter instead,” he said. On the Kalabakan people’s reaction to his resignation, Ghapur said it was not a problem because “what is important to them is development for the benefit of the people”. Asked whether he would be replaced by another Umno MP from Sabah, he said it is up to the Prime Minister. Ghapur’s resignation added pressure on Abdullah in this politically difficult time for the BN and Umno. Sarawak ensured BN’s cling to power in the elections, which gave Umno the fright of its life. De facto Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told Reuters last week that ruling-party lawmakers were willing to defect to the Opposition, threatening to drag down the Government. The Opposition said it was not certain why Ghapur resigned. “One reason might be that he is dissatisfied with the post. What other plans he has I really don’t know,” said Syed Husin Ali, the Deputy Chief of Anwar’s People’s Justice Party (Keadilan). “So far he has not applied.”.


Father and daughter drown, three rescued as vehicle falls into river


A father and daughter were found drowned while three others survived when the four-wheel drive vehicle they were in fell into the Mahandoi River here, on Wednesday night. The driver, Justin Diit, 49, and his nine- year-old daughter, Adriana Dositin, wet missing in the 9.30pm incident after the vehicle ended in the river, while his three sons, aged between five and 11, were rescued by villagers. District Police Chief DSP Madang Usat, in disclosing this, said thevictims were on their way home to Kampung Mahandoi after visiting relatives from the same village. “It was learnt that Justin had lost control of the vehicle before it skidded and fell “However, three of his four children were saved by villagers,” he said. Justin’s body was found still intact in the vehicle, which was washed away 30 metres from where the car had dropped, close to midnight while search and rescue operation for the daughter went on until yesterday. The girl’s body was recovered at 9. 30am yesterday, close to where the vehicle was found. Madang said the three survivors are being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Their conditions are reported to be stable. Both bodies were sent to the hospital for a post-mortem.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Harbour Town to transform Lahad Datu


Despite being the gateway to the world renowned Danum Valley Conservation Area, the abundant flora and fauna of Tabin’s wildlife reserve and the mysterious Madai Caves, for a long time there has been little public interest in the east coast town of Lahad Datu, especially as a retail and commercial hub for Sabah East Coast. At present, the township of Lahad Datu is lacking of a popular venue for leisure or shopping activities due to the absence of a suitable environment that encourages the trendsetting lifestyle enjoyed by residents of the West Coast. All this is about to change with the emergence of a new retail and commercial development, called Lahad Datu Harbour Town, which is poised to transform Lahad Datu into the prime destination for avid shoppers and trendsetters residing on Sabah’s East Coast. This new development promises not only to buoy Lahad Datu up to par with other up market retail and commercial development in Sabah, but will also introduce Sabahans to a brand new form of shopping experience and lifestyle. According to Datuk Chin Kain Sim, one of the Directors of Tower Lodge Sdn Bhd, the developer of the development project, the name Harbour Town was coined as a tribute to the origins of Lahad Datu and the maritime exploits of the early seafarers who came to settle in this area. “The origins of Lahad Datu’s settlement as a early trade port and the past maritime activities of the locals, was the impetus for our idea. We wanted to incorporate an appealing brand name for a retail and commercial development that relates back to Lahad Datu’s history, but with a modern and contemporary feel for the 21st century,” he explained. Tower Lodge Sdn Bhd is managed by Chin, and his two other partners, Datuk Christopher Lim and Fong Sin Lon. It is a subsidiary of the Seng Group of Companies based in Kuala Lumpur led by Datuk Dr Lim Lee Seng. The Group has recently expanded its interests in Sabah through its subsidiaries, Tower Lodge Sdn Bhd and KOPORIM Marketing Sdn Bhd, whose most recent project has been the development of KK Taipan Commercial Centre in Inanam New Township, a 14-acre commercial development comprising of 117 units of shop-office. It is currently under construction and is slated for completion in the end of 2008. The official launching of the Lahad Datu Harbour Town project is at 9am today at the project site office.


Bureau to help students to further studies


MCA Silam division’s Life-Learning Bureau has extended its assistance to PMR and SPM leavers who want to further their studies in local colleges. Divisional Secretary Chai Foo Loi said the bureau would particularly help students from poor families in their application for scholarships. “Poor parents need not be anxious about the future of their children as scholarship or loan is available for application,” he said. According to him, students with good results may apply directly for the scholarship or study loan. “Parents who are unsure about the application process can always come to the MCA office for assistance,” he said and added that they can also call him at 019-8435651 for any further inquiry.


Better district delivery system
Programs must reach target groups to overcome poverty, says Pairin
Greater commitment and dedication from civil servants at the district level are needed to ensure the Government’s development progrm.exe properly implemented, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan. He said it is necessary for the programmes to reach the target groups so that they can achieve the main mission of minimising the poverty rate, particularly the hardcore poor by 2010. “To achieve this, Government staff at the implementation level bear the same responsibility as the leadership in serving the community, by pooling our resources and working together,” he said. Pairin, who is also Rural Development Minister, said this at a briefing for heads of Federal and State departments at the Tambunan District Council meeting room here, recently. He said that apart from efforts to promote economic development for rural communities, the Government has also embarked on infrastructure development programmes to establish road networks and water and electricity supply to the entire district. “In this respect, the delivery system at the district level must be upgraded to ensure the ability and efficiency of the staff are at optimal level. This involves continuous effort in ensuring the projects achieve their goals,” he said. Pairin stressed that the Government, under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) and the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC), aims to create a . metropolitan centre in the interior through activities based on agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and human capital development. During the briefing, Pairin was informed of the progress of various road and electricity supply projects currently being implemented. Pairin, who is also Tambunan Assemblyman, urged the various villages involved n the Rural Electricity Supply development programme to ease the process of acquiring the access permit to ensure smooth implementation. For that purpose, he said officers from the District Council and the project implementor will hold a meeting with the Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) chairmen from the affected villages to discuss the matter further.


Three more held over illegal lottery operation


Three more people have been arrested here for involving in illegal four-digit lottery operation. District Police Chief Mohd Isa Yusof said the three local men in their 20s, were arrested during a raid on a premises in the town area around 1pm yesterday. He said police found a few documents believed to be containing four-digit gambling records at the premises and have detained all the three suspects for investigation. Police also confiscated a few notebooks and a small amount of cash. On Sunday, police arrested a 41-year-old woman in connection with their investigation into the alleged illegal lottery ticket operation in Pekan Baru. Police seized a few items together with RM1,193 cash and detained the woman for investigation under Section 4A(a) of the Common Gambling House Act which provides a fine of between RM20,000 and RM200,000 or a jail term up to five years, if found guilty. The police also warned the public not to buy illegal four-digit tickets as action can also be taken against them.


793 litterbugs compounded


A total of 793 people have been compounded since January this year under the Anti-Litter by-law 1984, said City Hall Enforcement Director Abdul Mukti Hj Muchlish. He said the total figure included 53 people who were compounded for littering during the Ops Litterbugs carried out by City Hall from March 24 to 26. Abdul Mikti said the operation was carried out in various locations around the City and involved a total of 13 enforcement officers led by Sub Inspector Hambali Jami and monitored by DSP Ernest Mojikon. “Each offender can be slapped with a RM100 maximum compound” he said in a statement yesterday. Abdul Mukti said they hoped the public would cooperate by not dirtying their surroundings and stop littering as it would badly affect the City’s image.


UMS students to work part-time in Resort
Shangri – La’s Tanjung Aru Resort to provide in-house training to Hotel Management Programme students


Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has sealed a smart partnership with Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa (STAR) to provide in-house training for its Hotel Management Programme students. UMS yesterday signed an MoU with STAR to allow the students taking the programme to experience real life exposure of the hotel industry through in-house training at the Resort’s facilities during their final year. Under the agreement, STAR will provide training in three critical areas, namely banquet service, restaurant and housekeeping. Upon completion of the training sessions, students would be employed on a part-time basis to serve at banquet functions. “It is vital for the final-year students to be exposed to and gain real-life training as well as practical training experience during their final academic year in addition to their practical training attachment. “The training is regarded as beneficial for our students and serves as a way to overcome the shortage of skilled human resources inthe hotel industry,” said UMS Vice Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin at the signing ceremony at STAR yesterday. He said the signing of the MoU is timely and pertinent to the tourism industry in Sabah, particularly the hotel sector which is enjoying a continuous growth of demand from tourists but faced with difficulties of finding sufficient trained and skilled workers. “This MoU is regarded as the first strategic smart partnership between the hotel industry player and higher learning institution. It is also the first in Sabah and at the national level. Indeed, we hope to have more such MoU with other industry players for the mutual benefit of our students and the hotel industry,” said Mohd Noh. Apart from the training programme for UMS, STAR is also carrying out research developing sustainable resource framework for tourism and hospitality from the practitioner and academic perspectives. Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun in witnessing the signing of the MoU, said such collaborative move between the higher learning institution and the hotel industry players is a great way towards improving human capital to support the rapidly growing tourism industry. “Hopefully, with more training being provided for our workers such as through this collaboration between UMS and STAR, the quality of the State’s human capital would be further improved,” he said. He said workers from Sabah are highly sought after by hotel operators in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia due to their high professionalism and dedication. Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony, Masidi said most of the hotels in Sabah, including the major-ones, are offering comparably good salary packages to their employees but there are still rooms for improvement. Answering a question, Masidi defended the hoteliers against allegation that they are more keen on hiring foreign staff compared to local and practises double standard in giving out managerial position, saying over 95 percent of the staff in all major hotels are local people. On another note, he said Sabah last year Sabah received more than 2.34 million tourists, contributed to more than 14 percent of the State’s Gross Domestic Product for 2007.


MP meets Minister over palm oil cess


Following a call by Malaysian Estate Owners Association for the abolition of oil palm cess imposed since June 2007 to subsidise the prices of cooking oil, Tawau Member of Parliament Datuk Chua Soon Bui met Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Chin Fah Kui recently, urging the latter to find an alternative to the cess. Chua said she met Chin on March 10 in Kuala Lumpur to raise the grouses of estate owners over the cess as palm oil producers are also paying 7.5% tax imposed by the State Government. The double taxation is a big burden to many among them, and they hope the Federal Government will abolish it as soon as possible, she said. Chua regretted that no alternative to the imposition of cess in subsidizing cook oil prices has been worked out despite several meetings, dialogues and correspondences between the Minister and the industry players, especially in Tawau and Lahad Datu. She said she would follow up on the good efforts by former Tawau MP Shim Paw Fatt in pursuing the matter in Parliament. “I hope the Minister and his Ministry would seriously consider the proposal made by the industry players in Sabah, especially those in Tawau. It is very unfair indeed to penalize them after they have contributed a lot in promoting the industry in Sabah,” she said.


UPKO won’t give up People Devt Leader post


UPKO will be keeping the Bingkor People Development Leader (PDL) post which was held before by Bingkor Assemblyman Justin Guka even though the other Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties are vying for it. A reliable source from UPKO said the present Community Development Officer (CDO), Baidi Ariffin, will take over the Bingkor PDL post which was held by Justin for one term. “I believe UPKO will maintain this post instead of surrendering it to the other BN components,” said a reliable source from UPKO here yesterday. Last week, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) had urged the Government to appoint someone from the other BN component parties for the Bingkor PDL post. PBS also wanted the elected people representative to practise power sharing among the components by giving PBS a bigger role and responsibility for the interest of the people in the area. “All the posts in the Bingkor area, especially in the PDL unit, must be shared equally through the BN spirit among all the component parties,” said PBS Bingkor Chief Majabin Dalinus. “Through the power sharing concept, the Ninth Malaysia Plan and Sabah Development Corridor can be implemented successfully,” he said. Meanwhile, it was learnt that people in Bingkor want the ‘Pemaju Mukim’ post to be increased to seven from the current three as the current political scenario warrants an increase.


Sabah Art Gallery workshops getting popular


In its effort to stimulate a greater interest and participation among members of the public in the visual art, the Sabah Art Gallery continues to organize various forms of art activities. Among them are the popular painting workshops conducted at the Gallery’s compound every weekend. Presently at least four different workshops are being organized every Saturday and Sunday morning from 9am till 12.3Opm. There are two painting workshops and two caricature or comic workshops being conducted by tutors. The workshops are free of charge. All the participants need to do is to bring along with them the necessary painting equipment and materials such as pencils, pens, brushes, crayon, pastel and water colour. Drawing cartoon or comic and caricature are new activities at the Sabah Art Gallery. However the activity is becoming enormously popular, particularly with the younger generation who are attracted to the present Japanese cartoon craze. As a result the members of the local cartoon association (Pakatun) with the help of the Sabah Art Gallery, have positioned themselves at various venues where they draw and sell their quick sketches to the public. As the workshops are conducted free of charge, the attendance at these venues fluctuates greatly. However most of them show great interest and eagerness in participating in the quarterly exhibition especially organized for them.


11 houses destroyed after lightning strike
100 people in Kampung Inanam Laut made homeless


Some 100 people from 11 families in Kampung Inanam Laut were made homeless after a fire destroyed their houses early yesterday evening. The fire, according to the residents in the village, started after lightning struck one of the wooden houses. All the 11 homes were burnt to the ground in less than an hour. Three fire engines and a tanker from the Kolombong, Sembulan and Penampang fire stations rushed to the village to stop the fast spreading fire from destroying the other houses. No casualties were reported and the Fire and Rescue Services Department had yet to confirm the actual cause of the fire. Meanwhile, ten squatter houses were razed to the ground when a fire broke out in Kampung Bersih, near Semporna yesterday. However, no casualties were reported in the incident. Semporna Fire and Rescue Chief Abdul Kadir Abdul Halalan said 11 firemen in two fire engines extinguished the flames at 1. 35pm after receiving a distress call at 11.03am. He said the cause of the fire and losses had yet to be determined.


Plastic use in making pisang goreng crispier: No reports in Sabah


How about some plastic shreds to make pisang goreng (banana fritters) and keledek crispier and tastier? There is no evidence to suggest Sabah’ own pisang goreng hawkers, popularly sought after for the snacks they are producing, are doing that dangerous and unbecoming thing here. But in Peninsular Malaysia, that is exactly what some pisang goreng hawkers are doing, having borrowed the idea from Thailand where the popular snack is common too. Consumers Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH) President Datuk Patrick Sindu said he has personally - received similar complaints about the matter from consumers here. “This is an unhealthy practice and is hazardous to the health of consumers,” he said, adding that the Government must take action against unscrupulous hawkers for causing such health hazard to consumers. In fact, stern action must be taken against these hawkers, he said when asked to comment on a report by New Straits Times on Feb 29 that consumers’ demand for crispy snacks like pisang goreng and keledek has caused some hawkers in Peninsular Malaysia to use plastic in making banana fritters crispier. Meanwhile, the Sabah Health Department and Kota Kinabalu City Hall, when asked to comment on the report, said they haye yet to receive any complaints from the public about hawkers in the State resorting to the unhealthy practice. They however urged the public to report to them if they come across hawkers doing that as banana fritters produced that way are detrimental to the health of consumers. A number of pisang goreng stall operators in Kota Kinabalu who were approached in a random survey said they were not aware of such practice by hawkers in Peninsular Malaysia and also they did not know of any hawker doing it here. Nor Selina of Kepayan, who has been selling pisang goreng for more than five years, said it is irresponsible of the hawkers involved and their action could affect the business of innocent hawkers. “I love my business and would not do anything to harm it. The pisang goreng I make is not only for sale but also consumed by my family and myself, so why should I endanger their health,” she said. Nor Selina said she had never thought of adding plastic or any inedible stuff in making her pisang goreng crispier. “A good goreng pisang businesswoman knows what to do to make it crispy and delicious. For me, I have a secret recipe to make it delicious and crispier than normal,” she said. Nor Selina prepares her pisang goreng in full view of her customers so that they know that the popular tea-time snack for Malaysians is prepared inawholesome and hygienic manner. “I have heard my customers complaining about not being able to see the food being prepared in some other stalls. So I appeal to those in the same line of business not to follow what is being done in Peninsular Malaysia as it would not only harm their business but also other people’s business,” she said. Another pisang goreng maker, Mina, said she would never do anything harmful to the health of her customers. She said using plastic shreds to boost one’s business is just unthinkable. A consumer who declined to be named said she has yet to come across such a practice by pisang goreng hawkers in the State Capital. “I hope this will not happen in Sabah,” she said.


No hoppers from UMNO
Middlemen just frying to do business: Masidi


No Umno leaders in Sabah are crossing over to the Opposition, said State Umno Liaison Committee Assistant Secretary Datuk Masidi Manjun. He said although there are no laws that prevent them from hopping, Umno leaders in Sabah would not leave their course and will continue their struggle under Barisan Nasional for the benefit of the people they represent. “I don’t believe they would cross over simply because the Opposition invite them to do so. Politicians today are much smarter,” he said. Masidi was commenting on the claim that some Umno leaders had met Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Adviser Datuk Sen Anwar Ibrahim and expressed their willingness to cross over to the Opposition party. “I don’t think so lah; I think this is just about Malaysian politics being full of emotion. People can claim what they want,” he said. “The middlemen can claim anything they want, but basically they are just trying to do ‘business’. That’s all. They see a business proposition in the game of politics. That’s is they are claiming that they can arrange for people to ‘lompat’,” he said. On whether the Anti-Hopping Law should be enacted to legally prevent elected representatives from switching parties, Masidi said it is inconsistent with the freedom of choice and therefore unconstitutional, but it can still be done as seen in Bangladesh. He said the issue has been exhaustedly discussed in the media with some people harshly shooting down the idea while some others giving a more supportive view. The main argument lies with the question of whether it is consistent with the principle of freedom of choice, he said. “Legally, any law that stops people from hopping is unconstitutional as it goes against the principle of freedom of choice. But if you look at Bangladesh, the only country which practises Anti-Hopping Law, this idea can actually be done,” he said. “But what is important is that whatever law to be enacted, it has to be in line with and not against the principles enshrined in the Constitution. In this case, the freedom of choice.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


75 summoned in illegal racing operation


Seventy five summonses were issued by the district’s traffic police during the three-day Ops Lumba Haram operation here which started last Friday. On the first day of the operation aimed at curbing illegal motorcycle racing, police mounted road blocks at several main roads around the City,namely Jalan Lintas,Jalan Tun Fuad and Jalan Tuaran. Six motorcycles were stopped and checked during the two- hour operation which saw three summonses issued to motorists for various traffic offences. On Saturday, the law enforcers continued their operation and focused their attention along Jalan Kepayan where they stopped and checked 35 motorcycles. Twenty- two summonses were issued. The operation ended on Sunday with road blocks being mounted in Jalan Coastal, Jalan Pasir, Jalan Lintas and a few other strategic locations in the City centre. The operation which started at 9pm, lasted for five hours and of the 80 motorcycles inspected, 50 were slapped with summonses.


Penampang to have new District Office building


A RM9.8 million new Penampang District Office building to accommodate more than 100 workers will be built to replace the one which is already 33 years old. The ground breaking ceremony for the new building site was yesterday officiated by Assistant Information Technology and Resource Development Minister Donald Peter Mojuntin who represented Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Haji Hajiji Haji Mohd Noor. Speaking at the event, Mojuntin said that the plan to build a new office was proposed in 1995 which was included in the Ninth Malaysia Plan as the old building was no longer safe for use. “Because of the worst condition of the building, the Local Government and Housing Ministry had approved the proposal to build the new office in December 2007 since the Penampang District Council can afford to pay for the costs,” he said. Penampang District Council Chairman William Sampil said that the cost to build the new four-storey building was RM6.9 million. “The new building will be used by one third of the 383 workers of the Council. “The existing building cannot accommodate all the workers where some 50 workers from the Enforcement Division have to use the rest house at the back of the hall as their office while the workers at the Evaluation Division and Poverty Eradication in Town Division have to use the empty spaces in the hall as their office,” he said. According to Sampil, the costs for the new building will be RM9.825 million where the amount will be used to .build the office and another RM600,000 will be donated to Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, Telekom and Water Department. Sampil added that the new building is expected to be completed in 18 months. Also present at the ceremony were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok, Deputy Chief Minister cum Food Industry and Agriculture Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Yahya Hussin, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Edward Khoo and Assistant Local Government and Housing Minister Edward Yong Oui Fah.


Sandakan, Keningau, Lahad Datu police receive commendation certificates

Ninety-three police officers and personnel received commendation certificates from State Police Commissioner Datuk Rashid Noor in conjunction with the nationwide Police Day yesterday. Another 48 officers and nine members of the public received commendation certificates from District Police Chief ACP Rosli Md Isa during a ceremony here which was attended by Youth and Sports Minister Peter Pang, Batu Sapi Member of Parliament Datuk Edmund Chong, Sekong Assemblyman Datuk Samsudin Yahya and ElopuraAssemblymanAuKam Wah. Meanwhile, at a similar ceremony held at the 15th Battalion of the General Operation Force (GOF) at Karamunting, 25 officers and five individuals from the Police Family Association received commendation certificates from Commanding Officer Superintendent Lee Moh Lee. The District Marine Police also held a similar ceremony officiated by State Marine Police Deputy Chief Superintendent Wan Shazali Haji Wann Abdul Rahman. In Keningau, 27 police personnel, public services staff, Perkep members and media representatives here received appreciation certificates at the district police headquarters. The three media representatives were Johan Aziz (Borneo Post), Marutin Ansiung (New Sabah Times) and Francis Andin (Berita Harian). District Police Chief DSP Zahari Mohammed presented the certificates to all the recipients. Earlier, Zahari inspected a parade involving 28 police personnel and read the message from the Inspector General of Police followed with the Police Day pledges. In Lahad Datu, District Police Chief Superintendent Kamis Damina presented certificates of honour to 30 policemen for their excellent performances. The spouses of the police led by Puan Kamzilah Sharuddin, the Deputy Chairperson of the Lahad Datu Police Families Association, went to the general hospital and gave away goodies to the patients at the children wards


DCP: No cop in Sabah held for graft


No police personnel or officer has been arrested or charged with corruption in Sabah since July last year, said State Deputy Commissioner of Police Datuk Ab Razak Ab Ghani. “To the best of my knowledge, since I became the State DCP in July, no personnel or officer in Sabah has been arrested for corruption,” he said during a press conference in conjunction with the police parade and blood donation drive at the Kepayan Police Headquarters here yesterday. However, he reminded police members not to take bribe or involve in any other illegal and unethical activities that may jeopardize the image of their Department. Ab Razak said the police must also ensure quality in their services and be professional when upholding the law or dealing with the people. He pointed out that everyone is now aware of their rights and expects nothing less than a good service from the police. In order to keep the police force relevant, he said every police member must play their part and deliver their duties to the best level. To another question, Ab Razak without going into details, said police had investigated and forwarded to the Anti- Corruption Agency some alleged corruption cases in connection with the recently concluded general election. On the current hot topic of opposition parties buying Government elected representatives, he said police would be monitoring any unlawful activities and would channel information to the ACA should corruption take place. However, he said all information or tip off channelled to the police would be thoroughly scrutinized to avoid false allegation that could cause unnecessary inconveniences to anyone.


Landslide cuts off new Keningau-Kimanis Road


The new Keningau-Kimanis Road is no longer passable to traffic after a landslide at Km 16 early yesterday morning. The landslide which occurred at 4am, left a 50-metre gap on the road. District Public Works Department (PWD) Engineer Edward Lingkapo said it would take some time to repair the road and he advised motorists to use the Keningau-Tambunan-Kota Kinabalu Road for the time being. “I was told by the contractor that the repair will take some time, depending on the weather. However, a temporary bypass will be created as soon as possible,” he said. Signboards would be put up at both the Keningau and Papar ends of the road to warn road users of the landslides, he said. Meanwhile, a motorist in his 60’s cheated death when a Vigo four wheel drive vehicle he was driving, ploughed onto the mud and slid down the hill early yesterday. The motorist said he was on his way from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu and was taking the Kimanis-Keningau Road. “The vehicle got stuck in the mud and slid down. There was nothing I could do except to get out of the vehicle and watched it sliding down the hill,” he said. Confirming the incident, Keningau OCPD DSP Zahari Mohamad said the vehicle was found about 100 metres from the road, and had been pulled out by a crane at 11am yesterday. Zahari advised the public not to go to the affected area because the risk of another landslide occurring is high with the continued rainfall. He also said they should use either Tambunan Road, Sipitang Road or Ranau Road to get to the West Coast. Meanwhile, District Officer Zulkifli Nasir urged the PWD to put up the road closure signs at strategic locations before the affected area. One of the locations is Kampung Bulu Silou, he said. It was learnt that the road which was opened to road users about two years ago has yet to be handed over to the PWD. The road is preferred by going to the Keningau, Tenom and other districts nowadays as it reduces travelling time by at least one hour.


Japanese to name, document Mt Kinabalu’s unknown climbing route


Way back in 1975, a Japanese mountaineer used several unknown routes to scale Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s highest summit. While most mountaineers might have been proud of such an achievement, it was not so with Tsutsumi Nobuowho. He felt that in scaling Southeast Asia’s highest summit, he might have forgotten something more important — to name and document the routes he took 33 years ago, when he reached the World Heritage Site’s highest peak — Low’s Peak. That might be one of the reasons why the man is back on a mission. Tsutsumi, now 57, wants to revisit his old rock-climbing playground, Mount Kinabalu to complete that mission to further promote the world heritage in the eyes of the mountaineering fraternity. Tsutsumi is also here to try the Mountain Torq Via Ferrata, a mountain path (via ferrata is Italian for ‘iron road’) opened on Dec 15, last year and was certified by the Malaysia Book of Records as the world’s highest and Asia’s first to be built on Mount Kinbalu. “I am very happy to be here again. Mount Kinabalu has a lot of potential to attract rock climbers all over the world. However, its potentials were not fully documented,” he told reporters here yesterday. “Some attractive potentials of the world heritage site were not fully developed and not popular among rock climbers. I think the unpopulr (unknown) routes will attract more climbers,” he added. According to Tsutsuix mission was to identify the unknown routes he made in 1975,name them and subsequently compile the routes as a document which might prove useful to promote Mount Kinabalu climbers in the world. Tsutsumi, who has also climbed various other popular summits the world, including Everest, said in 1984, he had an unexplored gully on Kinabalu, known as ‘Commando Cauldron’. The 400-metre deep gully located right of Low’s between the Tunku Abdul Rahman peak and another unnamed peak down the Donkey’s Ears on Mount Kinabalu. Tsutsumi, who is now president of Rope Rescue Association of Japan, said during the expedition he and two other Japanese climbers failed to conquer the 1. 2km Low’s Gully, and had to stop at Commando Cauldron due to weather factors.


Nine suspension bridges damaged or swept away


Nine suspension bridges at Sungai Meligan, Sungai Ibul and Sungai Laugon, located about 82 kilometres from here, have either been damaged or swept away by severe floods. A spokesman for the villagers, Samson Imui, said the floods that hit the area last Wednesday also destroyed crops, particularly paddy. He said five suspension bridges were swept away by strong currents at Sungai Ibul, three at Sungai Meligan and one at Sungai Laugon. “It’s the second time the villages were badly hit by floods; the first time was about 15 years ago,” Samson told The Borneo Post yesterday. He said since the affected villagers were relying on the suspension bridges to carry out their daily activities, the Government should build new suspension bridges as soon as possible. The villagers are willing to build the new suspension bridges through gotong royong effort, if the Government provides the funds for them to buy the materials. The villagers had brought the matter up with Sindumin Assemblyman Hj Ahmad Bujang during his inspection visit to the villages, according to Samson. Some 1,000 residents were affected during the last bad flood that hit the area 15 years ago, he said.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Danish Govt keen on biofuel projects in Sabah : Ambassador


The Danish Ambassador to Malaysia, Borge Petersen has described the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) Blueprint as an impressive initiative that addresses many areas of concern in the State, including environment. Petersen made the remark after he attended a briefing on the SDC given by IDS Executive Director Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakub Haji Johari at the IDS Conference Room here recently. The Ambassador was pleased to note that environmental conservation is one of the three key principles of the SDC and remarked that it augurs well for the sustainable development of Sabah for future generations. He was also pleased to know that the State Government has been collaborating with philanthropists, the corporate sector and NGOs to provide technical expertise, technologies and funding vital for protecting and conserving Sabah’s natural resources. He said Denmark is interested in supporting clean development mechanism (CDM) projects in Sabah. The CDM is one of the systems introduced in the Kyoto Protocol to assist countries in achieving their greenhouse gases (GHG) emission reduction targets. The Kyoto Protocol, under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is an international agreement to reduce the emission of GHG binding industrialised countries to specific reduction targets. The Kyoto Protocol came into force in February 2005. “We are interested in supporting projects that turn biomass, particularly oil palm waste, such as empty fruit bunches (EFB) into biofuel,” be said, adding projects that utilise enzymes to transform biomass into biofuel. Petersen said that the Danish Government not only buys certified emission reductions (CER5) from owners of CDM projects but also assists companies in developing CDM projects. CDM allows emission reduction projects that contribute to the sustainable development objectives of the host country to capitalise on the emission reduction through the sale of CERs from the project. Projects that have been recognised as CDM under the Kyoto Protocol will qualify for CERs. In the case of the CDM project supported by the Danish government, the project owner can sell back the obtained CERs to the Government of Denmark. “We will be talking to palm oil millers in Sabah about CDM projects and we plan to sign agreements with CDM project proponents,” he said. Petersen disclosed that Danish Government had already supported the development of a number of successful CDM projects in Malaysia since the establishment of the Danish CDM Project Development Facility (PDF) in 2003. They included the Lumut Biomass Energy Plant and Jendarata Steam and Power Plant in Peninsular Malaysia. In Sabah, the Ambassador noted that the Sandakan Edible Oils (SEO) Sdn. Bhd. Biomass Steam and Power Plant uses biomass boiler manufactured by ENCO Systems, a Malaysian company based on a design developed by a Danish company, B&W Volund. Petersen said other potential CDM projects include those involving the utilization of wood residue, solid waste management and landfill gas. Landfill is a potential energy resource. Garbage decomposing in landfills creates landfill gas. This gas consists of methane, which can be used as fuel for industrial heating or converted into electrical power. Methane is among the greenhouses gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol. Although the Danish government will phase out funding for Malaysia by 2O1O Mr Petersen said it is not leaving Sabah yet. He pointed out that the Danish government has supported several environmental projects in Sabah by way of funding and transfer of environmental technology and know-how since 1 996 through the Danish Co-operation for Environment and Development (DANCED). The projects included the Sabah Biodiversity Conservation, Maliau Basin Management Plan, Integrated Coastal Zone Management and a peat swamp forest project with support from Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA), the ‘successor’ to DANCED. Petersen said that with the implementation of SDC, he expected more Danish companies to come and invest in Sabah. Earlier in his briefing to the Danish Ambassador, Dr Mohd Yaakub gave an overview of the SDC goals, implementation phases, key principles and sectoral focus. Dr Mohd Yaakub ended his presentation by highlighting the SDC initiatives on protecting and conserving the environment. They included key environmental issues and challenges, strategies to enhance the conservation and protection of the environment in Sabah, and main programmes and ongoing projects that contribute towards the preservation of Sabah’s environment for future generations.


Painting demonstration and exhibition at Kadaiku


Kadaiku, Sabah Tourism’s souvenirs and handicraft retail outlet managed by its subsidiary, Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd, will be holding a month-long painting demonstration and exhibition starting this Thursday. Sabah Art Gallery’s Awang Fadillah bin Ali Hussein, whose works are dedicated to abstract art, will be painting and exhibiting pieces with the central theme of nature until the last week of April. Awang Fadillah has been involved art for 10 ears now, participating in local and international art exhibitions and competitions. Besides earning several Choice Awards at the annual Sabah Choice Arts Competition and at the Labuan Art Festival, Awang Fadillah’s achievements also include a third placing in the UNESCO Asia Pacific Noma. Concours for Picture Book Illustration art competition in Japan in 2006. The public will have the chance to observe and gain tips from the artist at work, as well as from another artist, Husman bin Razak whose specialties are in portrait and airbrush painting. The demonstration and exhibition will run three times a week for four weeks, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm. This event is the first of its kind to be held at Kadaiku, with the purpose of promoting and increasing public interest in local artists and their works.


Fish bombings and encroachment reduced


A concerted drive among the authorities in Sabah against fish bombings and encroachment to offshore oil installations has gained reasonable successes, with a reduced number of incidents in the recent months around the waters off the oil- producing operational areas of Shell Malaysia’s Exploration & Production (SM-EP) in North Sabah. These efforts will continue in the form of engagements with local fishing communities in Kota Belud, Tuaran and other districts to disseminate information and awareness on the dangers of fish bombings and encroachments, just as the fishing season has begun again in earnest. One such engagement was conducted last Saturday at Kampung Baru-Baru, Tuaran, by the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency MMEA), Tuaran District Office and Shell Malaysia. MMEA’s Director of Operations for Sabah and Labuan, Captain Mohd Amir Haji Hamzah who led the awareness session, reminded fishermen to observe existing laws, especially on fish bombings and encroachments to offshore oil installations. He also briefed the villagers on the role and responsibilities of MMEA, which incorporates enforcing the existing maritime laws as well as being the coordinator for any search and rescue operations at sea. Speaking at the gathering, Tuaran Assistant District Officer Anyi Mahmud advised the fishermen on the need to co-exist with the natural environment to ensure a sustainable livelihood from the marine resources. “Fish bombings not only endanger the lives of those working in nearby oil installations and the infrastructure, it also destroys the corals which are fish-breeding grounds,” he explained. Shell Malaysia EP’s Head of Security, Mohd Kassim, also briefed the gathering regarding the danger of fishing around the offshore installations, giving a few highlights of past instances of such occurrences. At the same gathering, Shell Malaysia EP’s Sabah Asset General Manager, George Ling, commended the concerted efforts by the authorities in addressing the fish bombing and encroachment issues together with Shell and promised to step up this sort of engagement in other districts as well, particularly during the fishing season. “We are pleased with this close cooperation and support and from the engagements that we had with the fishing communities in Mantanani and Tuaran, there has been a good awareness regarding the risks around our offshore oil installations,” Ling added.


Need for smart policies to realise SDC objectives: State Secretary


Much needs to be done to better formulate the State Government policies, especially with the addition of Sabah Development Corridor to the list of main agendas for Sabah. State Secretary Datuk Sukarti Wakiman said that apart from the optimal use of resources, smart policies need to be in place before the development goals under the development plan can be achieved. Further stressing the importance of formulating smart policies in shaping the halatuju of the SDC, he said government policies must reflect two main characteristics. Firstly, it must be based on the idea of fulfilling the main needs of the community and secondly able to be a driver that leads the community towards prosperous and progressive life. Apart from that, he said the determination of objectives, form, steps and implementation of a certain policy must be based on the set long-term vision and planning. “With the formulation of policies that support and drive us towards the objectives (under the SDC), I am confident and even more optimistic that we will not only be able to place ourselves on par with the other states, but also capable to become a ‘benchmark’ in terms of effective management and administration,” said Sukarti at the opening of a Research and Evaluation of Policy Workshop at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort (STAR) here yesterday. “An effective administration also starts from the efficient formulation of policies. Filling the policy is also the same as important as implementing it in which both must be clear and parallel. Fine-tuning can only be made when we are willing to learn about each other so that in the end the end- product enjoyed by the ‘external clients’ that is the rakyat will only be the best,” he added. Apart from looking for room for fine-tuning, the workshop organised by the Cabinet and Policy Unit of Chief Minister’s Department also aims to provide for a learning process for the participating government officers. A total of 35 officers from randomly selected ministries and departments that are directly related to the implementation of SDC as well as State halatuju attended the two-day workshop. Unit director Haji Yusof Abd Abbas and principal assistant director Dr Ismail S. Charles, were also present. The workshop, which is the second in the series on policy analysis organised by the unit, involves scrutiny and evaluation of the policies of randomly selected state ministries to enable the participants to identify room for fine-tuning and then absorb what they have experienced from the process.


Basic necessities needed to eradicate poverty: UNDP


It is imperative for the Government to build basic infrastructure in rural areas if it hopes to eradicate poverty, said United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Representative Dr Richard Leete. He said projects aimed at developing the economy of poor villagers would be unsustainable if they are not provided with basic necessities such as sealed roads, clean water, electricity and communication. “For example in Mangkuwagu, if the community produces a large quantity of high-quality rubber but the roads are so bad that the middlemen are more worried about fixing their vehicles, how will they move their produce? “We must have movements to seriously develop the roads ... it is a human right to have good access,” he said at a press conference yesterday. Leete said this to reporters after launching the UNDP’s advocacy report, “Sustainable Community Forest Management in Sabah”, at the State Forestry Department’s Kota Kinabalu office in Lok Kawi here. He explained that the report is based on the Mangkuwagu Social Forestry project, jointly developed by the UNDP and the State Forestry Department, which is a “demonstration project” on sustainable conservation and rural economic development. “What, is important is to balance the two sides of the equation, to conserve the vast biodiversity and try to make a difference in the lives of those who live in the margins of the forests. “The community in Mangkuwagu don’t have pens to write with, they don’t have the basic tools that we have when we wake up in the morning or go to sleep, things like electricity which we take for granted here ... they are yesterday’s world living in modern Malaysia,” he said. State Forestry Department Director Datuk Sam Mannan revealed that a total of RM7.2 million has been allocated for the two-year Mangkuwagu project, including RM3 million each from the State and Federal Governments and RM1.2 million from UNDP. “Mangkuwagu is part of FMU 17, and the focus is purely on social forestry. A management plan has been prepared for the area, to ensure that we can make a difference for the residents and it is sustainable,” he said. Earlier in his speech, Leete highlighted the lack of equitable distribution of development that has contributed greatly to Sabah’s poverty rate of 23 percent, which is the highest in the country. “The problem in Sabah is not one of economic growth. It is quite high compared to other countries in the world. The problem is the inequality in the distribution of growth. “The UNDP would also like to appeal for the localisation of basic infrastructure as a key prerequisite for poverty eradication, and this includes paved roads, water supply, electricity, communication and safe sewerage. “Without these infrastructure, development projects become unsustainable in the long run. We still have people who do not have electricity, and this is a blight on the excellent record of development in Malaysia where development is brought to the people but rural communities in Sabah and Sarawak are largely ignored,’’ he said.


Foreigner Claims kept Sharlinie in Sabah


Police have detained a foreigner for sending an SMS claiming that he had abducted five-year-old Sharlinie Mohd Nashar and demanding RM25,000 for her release. They picked up the 26-year-old IT expert at 2pm on Saturday in Kajang after the person he forwarded the message to informed the policesSharlinie went missing after going to a playground near her PJS2 home in Taman Medan on Jan 9. Selangor CID chief Senior Asst Comm II Mazian Mansor said the man, who has been in the country with valid documents since Jan 29, had sent the SMS claiming that he was keeping the girl in Sabah. “The person who received the SMS contacted the police and we picked up the suspect immediately,” he said here on Sunday. SAC Mazian said he man would be remanded until Wednesday. He cautioned the public not to send false messages about the girl’s disappearance.


Businessman in drive against coal-fired power plant project


A local businessman had written to Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd with copies to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman on 18 March calling for the proposed RM1 billion coal-fired power plant project at Darvel Bay in Silam to be scrapped. Tio Chee Hing, who described the setting up the power plant as akin to dropping a hydrogen bomb on the people in the district, said the operation of such a plant would cause extensive irreversible damage to the surrounding ecologically sensitive environment and pose a serious threat to the livelihood and health of thousands of people. He said it would severely affect marine life in Darvel Bay and the people living here, and even their future generation would have to pay the potentially enormous price. Tio strongly suggested the power plant project be relocated to a more suitable place with the least environmental impact. He insisted that the welfare, health and future of the people must be protected at all costs, and he is prepared to take his fight to the court for an injunction to prevent the project from being implemented.


25,000 applying for 1,500 RTD enforcement posts


The Road Transport Department (RTD) is vetting some of the 25,000 applications received from across the country for the posts of assistant enforcement in the department. Sabah RTD Director Haji Wan Idrus Wan Sharif said out of the total figure, only 1,500 applicants would be recruited after the interview and physical test were carried out. “The recruitment of additional enforcement personnel will further strengthen the RTD enforcement, in particular the RTD Sabah, in ensuring vehicle owners and public transport operators comply with the RTD rules and regulations,” he said yesterday. Wan Idrus was speaking to reporters after paying a courtesy call on the Head of State Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah at the Istana Negeri here. He was accompanied by Sabah RTD Assistant Director Abdul Rahman Datuk Hj Zakaria and Public Relations Manager Ahmad Zaky Mokhtar. Wan Idrus commenced his duties in Sabah on Feb 18 this year, replacing Yahya Basimin who has been transferred to the Pulau Pinang’s State Federal Secretary Office. He said the RTD would continue to monitor the services provided by the public transport operators in the State. “This is to ensure the operators comply with the rules and regulations as stipulated under the Road Transport Act 1987,” said Wan Idrus, adding that the department is giving priority to the safety of the public who is relying on public transport. During the meeting, Wan Idrus presented a memento to Ahmadshah.


Razaleigh: I’m not taking advantage of situation


Gua Musang Member of Parliament Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah said he offered to play a role in restoring Umno for the sake of the Malay race and the party’s own survival. He said he was not in any way taking advantage of the situation following the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) dismal performance in the March 8 general election. The former Finance Minister said his suggestion that a special Umno assembly be convened to evaluate the poor performance in the election, and his offer to contest the president’s post, was made to enable the party to get back on its feet and not stumbled further. “I stated my readiness to lift the spirit of Umno members which has been weakened after the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) defeat in four states and the failure to wrest Kelantan from PAS in the general election. It’s my sincere wish to see the party regain its strength. “I feel that I’ve been called forth to help restore the party,” he told Bernama at his residence here on Sunday night. Earlier he met several grass root leaders from Johor who came to see him to get further clarification about his suggestion that a special Umno meeting be held to discuss the BN’s defeat in Penang, Kedah, Selangor, Perak and Kelantan. Tengku Razaleigh said the special assembly was appropriate so that grass root leaders of Umno can voice out their views about the poll results. He said Umno members wanted to see the party regained strength and remained the umbrella for the Malays, whom he said were feeling disheartened because certain party members were only fighting for personal gain. -Bernama