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.


Blackout caused by power trip: SESB


A power trip at the IPP SBPC station and two l32 kilo volts (KV) high-tension cable between Karambunai and Inanam had caused massive electricity disruptions in Sabah yesterday. Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) Corporate Communications Senior Manager Chendramata Sinteh disclosed in a statement yesterday that power disruptions were reported in Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Beluran, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu, Pitas and here since 6.40pm. “The power disruptions covered 90 per cent of Sabah yesterday. The trips at the power station and two power lines had affected the transmission of at least 500 megawatt of power to these locations. “Initial investigation showed that the under- frequency power due to the loss of 500mw affected the Sabah Grid System, causing power disruptions in many districts in the State,” she explained. SESB had restored power supply in stages since 7. 30pm, while Sandakan and Tawau are considered as islanded mode, as the two districts operate individually. “However, we had to continue power ration in the East Coast areas as the power capacity there is low. “For now, our priority is to restore power supply in all the affected areas and would be announcing the real cause of the disruption soon,” she said. SESB’s hotline number 15454 was congested with calls from customers all over the State. “We regret any inconvenience caused and would work hard to ensure power supply will be returned to its normal capacity soon,” Chendramata said.


Massive and extensive POWER FAILURE in many parts of Sabah


A massive and extensive power blackout hit various parts of Sabah last night - the worst affected being the State Capital City, where activities slowed or stood still and businesses including shops, malls, restaurants, bars and night clubs were disrupted. The extensive and virtual statewide power failure was reported in almost all major towns and districts in both East and West Coast areas. The Borneo Post’s contacts in Tamparuli, Ranau, Inanam, Likas, Penampang, Menggatal, Keningau, Sandakan, and Tawau all confirmed the blackout in their areas, with residents voicing frustrations and anger over the situation, one of the worst power failures in years. In Kota Kinabalu, the power cut occurred shortly before 7pm and continued for hours, while in some areas like Penampang, the power was restored around 8pm. Traffic flows in the State Capital were affected with vehicles moving bumper to bumper in dark streets. With traffic lights down at main intersections, the congestions worsened with impatient and discourteous motorists honking at one another and compounding the situation. City Police Traffic and Public Order Chief DSP M Chandra when contacted informed that Police personnel were dispatched and deployed to help control traffic flows in and around the City. Along pedestrian walkways, tourists and visitors alike were seen straining and struggling for directions. ATM machines and many chain stores, including 7-Eleven, were closed as their servers were also down. Those at homes complained of missing their favourite TV shows while children’s school work could not be done effectively. “SESB has to be made accountable to this incessant problem of power failures in the history of Sabah... for decades, the officials had got away scot-free for the inability and failure to ensure a satisfactory supply of electricity. When is this unacceptable situation going to end,” said a resident of 28 years in a Kota Kinabalu’s suburb. Another resident said: “Heads at SESB must roll to placate the great amount of public dissatisfaction at this state of essential utility. How long is the Sabah public to tolerate such inefficiency.” Several restaurants, unless they had their own power back ups, either closed early or took advantage of the darkness to set a romantic candlelight dinner mood in their outlets. Some eateries even said they have a much better business with seats all taken by diners who opt to have their meals in semi-darkness while waiting for the traffic congestions to ease. Upon being informed about the incident, Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman who was in Kuala Lumpur attending the rulers conference immediately contacted SESB General Manager to find out the source of the power failure. “He was made to understand that it was caused by a power drag at the IPP Plant in Sepanggar Bay,” said his Press Secretary Afeiza Khan. Musa who was briefed and updated on the progress of restoration measures throughout the evening directed the power company to rectify the problem as soon as possible to avoid further inconvenience to the people. He said he was closely monitoring the situation.

Monday, April 21, 2008


STIHL also cares for environment


The STIHL not only focuses on environmental friendly technology but the environment as well. Hans Peter Stihl, the Chairman of the Advisory Board of STIHL Holding AG & Co KG and Chairman of the Supervisory of STIHL AG, stated this in his message for the tree planting campaign organised by KTS-STIHL in collaboration with the Kota Kinabalu City Hall here yesterday. STIHL has been the world’s biggest selling chainsaw brand since 1971. Sustaining forest is one of the Company’s essential interests. “For this reason we, for example, support organizations and projects throughout the world which protect rainforests. STIHL advocates sustained forest management. For example, with the Tropical Forest Foundation’s programs, we teach the utilization of ‘reduced impact logging’ that is to say, techniques for more caring and sustainable forest management. He also said as a manufacturer of chainsaws and power tools for gardening and landscaping, forest and agriculture, the Company is reliant on an intact environment and is therefore committed to running its business in such a way that any harmful effects on the environment are kept to a minimum. “The reduction of emission from manufacturing processes and our products are therefore one of our main priorities. We claim to be the technology leader in the development of environmentally compatible engine technology,” he said. The theme of the 40th anniversary of cooperation between STIHL and KTS is “STIHL Cares’. “For we, as a Company, have also stood by our responsibility vis-a-vis mar nature. We respect the cultural, social and political diversity of societies and nations,” said Hans. According to him, within the framework of applicable laws and regulations and the Company’s sphere of influence, the Company strives to harmonize commercial goals with social and ecological requirements. “Today this is expressed by the modern term, ‘Corporate social responsibility; a responsibility we have assumed ever since our family- owned Company was founded more than 80 years ago. Our principles of social responsibility are a constituent part of our corporate culture ... and business partners such as KTS were also asked to introduce comparable principles,” he said. Hans also said in his message that the Tree Planting Day is a small but visible sign of the Company’s efforts to protect the environment. “May this symbolic act encourage others to treat their surroundings with care and make a contribution to effectively protecting your country’s wonderful forests,” he added. Meanwhile, Datuk Henry Lau Lee Kong, the Managing Director of KTS Group of Companies, in his message for the event said that all of us must care and protect the environment so that the next generation will continue to enjoy a good environment like what we are enjoying now. “To all of us, Sabah and Sarawak are our only homeland which we must care and protect so that our children and their children will continue to enjoy the good environment like we do. This planting day will play a part in our effort to contribute and take a further step closer towards a sustainable environment. In this regard, we must commend the Kota Kinabalu City Hall for its efforts in organizing this planting programme. Let us hope that more will join and plant more trees,” he said. In conjunction with KTS-STIHL’s 40th partnership anniversary, KTS has organised three activities which are colouring has reached 40 years this year. The relationship bears fruits on the foundation of mutual trust, integrity and business sustainability and very importantly on quality products of great value to both companies’ customers. contest for primary schools, recycling and slogan design competition for secondary schools and tree planting for the public. KTS and STIHL business partnership which started in 1968, has reached 40 years this year. The relationship bears fruits on the foundation of mutual trust, integrity and business sustainability and very importantly on quality products of great value to both companies’ customers.


Hong Leong Foundation donates to Sabah Cheshire Home


Hong Leong Group Malaysia, through the Hong Leong Foundation, presented cash donations amounting to RM30,000 to the Sabah Cheshire Home here. The cheque was presented by Johnny Tann, Chairman of Regional Management Committee, Sabah jand Labuan Region to Roland Chin, President of the National Council of Cheshire Homes Malaysia, witnessed by both the members of Cheshire Home and Hong Leong Group representatives. Every year, Hong Leong Foundation donates to elected charities nationwide in an effort to help improve the lives of the less fortunate through its Community Welfare program. The Foundation also donates toward the education of the underprivileged through its Student Assistance Program. “Our aim is to help those in need. Hong Leong Foundation gives us the opportunity to reach out to the poor people in our community,” said Johnny Tann. This commitment to corporate social responsibility has long been, and will continue to be, an important tradition for the Group.


Resort hosts Family Day for the blind


A recent Saturday saw 120 members from the Sabah Society for the Blind gather at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort for a Family Day outing which culminated in three rounds of exciting tug-of-war competition between the Society’s representatives versus the Resort management. The day-long event included a fun telematch for all attendees, with games such as the plank walk, water transfer relay race and whistling cookies, just to name a few. The skilled individuals too were not left out of the festivities as a basket weaving competition was organized for them while a colouring competition was held for the younger children. The Family Day is an annual event for the Society and Shangri- The elitire event has been dominated by fun, laughter, happy La’s Rasa Ria Resort has been their extremely rewarding for everyone smiles and true family spirit and happy host for nearly a decade, at Rasa Ria as the whole day was atmosphere.


22 intellectually disabled athletes conquer Mount Kinabalu


Twenty- two intellectually disabled (ID) athletes successfully conquered the majestic Mount Kinabalu during the 4th Special Olympics Mount Kinabalu Challenge on April 18-19. They reached the summit of the highest mountain in South East Asia at 4,095.2m on the first daybreak on April 19. The remaining 18 of the 40- member group settled at Laban Rata at 3,314. 3m a day before. Organising Chairman Dr Liaw Yun Haw was pleased with the encouraging achievement since it was the first time all the athletes had at least reached Laban Rata. In the last three attempts, according to Liaw, some athletes changed their mind and turned back midway through the journey. “All the athletes were very excited about the trip and I think they have pushed themselves to the limit. Some of them could not continue the trek to the summit because they had run out of steam,” he said when met during ! the closing ceremony of the event on Sunday night. He said that all the participants did not encounter difficulties despite facing drizzle on the first day “Except for the occasion of mountain sickness but it is very common,” he added. Liaw went on to say that no new record was set because of the small group of athletes sent due to limited accommodation in Sabah Parks. “I was also made to understand that some of the overseas teams could not come because they were having some financial constraint since a lot was spent to take part in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China last year. “Furthermore, they need to seek sponsorship as well to come here,” he said. During the trip, the athletes were accompanied by more than 50 volunteers, including invited observers from Australia and Special Olympics Malaysia, as well as three VIP guests from Total Sports Asia Ltd. “We hope to have more foreign delegates to join us in the next three years. We have an Australian with us this time and we hope next time more of them will come,” he said. Dr Liaw also expressed his gratitude to the donors, contributors and supporters of the event because without their backing the trip would not be possible. Event Coordinator Raymond Epun said the fitness of the athletes had improved year by year which saw all of them reaching at least Laban Rata this time. “The athletes took their stride 1 very fast and all of them arrived at Laban Rata before the cut off time at 12. 30pm. After taking a night rest, we continued our ascent to the mountain in the wee hours at 2am and all of them arrived at the summit between 6am-6.40am and by 7am we started to descent from the mountain,” he said. “The weather was very good on that day and we did not have to use torch light because it was full moon and it was not so windy too,” he said.


Pairin to meet reps on SDC implementation


Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan will be meeting with elected representatives of the interior constituencies to discuss the implementation of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) at the mid sub-regional level. The constituencies in this area comprise Pensiangan and Keningau parliamentary as well as the Tambunan, Keningau, Tenom, Nabawan, Pensiangan, Sook and Kemabong state constituencies. Pairin who is also the Rural Development Minister, said among the important steps to be taken in developing the mid sub-region under the SDC is to strengthen Keningau’s role as the main ‘agropolis’. “During the meeting, the elected representatives can give and exchange ideas and views as well as point out what needs to be given priority and serious attention,” he said at a thanksgiving celebration held at Kampung Ronggom here recently. According to Pairin, it is the Government’s and people’s wish to see development in the interior area as this will ensure that residents there will be able to enjoy all benefits from the country’s progress and prosperity. Focus, he said, will be given to improving the income of rural folks by getting local folks involved in agriculture activities and the setting up of a support system for farmers such as infrastructure, collection and research centres. “To ensure SDC’s success, leaders and the rakyat must work together by supporting the implementation of SDC as well as contributing ideas and proposals to ensure that it reaches the target groups,” he said. The people, he added, must also not be solely dependent on the Government for the success of SDC and pointed out that grassroots leaders can ensure SDC’s success by providing information on the potential in the areas as well as what is lacking in terms of infrastructure. “This is important so that problems can be addressed by those responsible for the planning and implementation of the SDC,” he said, adding that this way, agencies responsible for the implementation can build infrastructure according to the needs of the target groups. “All this while we have allowed the planning unit to focus on developing the urban areas which is why we need the input of those in the rural areas as this is necessary in the planning of development for them.” he stressed.


More drastic actions needed to fight drug menace: SAPP


The Government must address the social and economic impact of illicit drug abuse on our society by allocating much more resources in clamping down on the drug trade and tackling crimes in Sabah, said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee. He stressed this in a statement issued here yesterday, in response to the recent kidnapping of a female Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) student from the Kingfisher Park in Likas near here. “It is of great concern that the two suspects in the kidnapping incident were under the influence of illicit drug. I am truly concerned because the incidence of drug abuse in Sabah has been on an upward trend. “This means that drug-related crimes will become more frequent unless drastic action is taken as soon as possible. Drastic actions are needed to fight the illicit drug menace before more innocent people become victims of such crimes,” he stressed. He pointed out that the State police force is in need of more manpower, funds, high-tech equipment and vehicles to do a proper and better job. He said he was made to understand that Kota Kinabalu City alone needs an additional 1,000 policemen and the Customs and Excise Department too is currently desperately short of enforcement personnel to cover the many districts and landing points. “Even with the back-up of RELA (People’s Volunteer Corp), our law enforcement agencies are still short of manpower. The public is obviously worried whether there are more copy-cat criminals lurking out there to strike at innocent passersby. A parent of another UMS student has repeatedly expressed concern to me whether the UMS and Taman KingFisher areas are safe,” he said. Yong added that to be effective and to gain public confidence, the Police, Customs Department and other law enforcement agencies must also root out any bad apples in their midst. “Towards this aim, it is also best not to be distracted by talk of ‘Hong Kong movies’ but to focus on eliminating drug abuse as a cause of crimes. For example, to what extent are violent crimes committed by drug addicts who rob to pay for their drugs? How many crimes have been committed by persons who were high on drugs and therefore more daring in their acts to kill, rob or rape? “What is the performance record of the law enforcement agencies such as the Police, Customs Department and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in curbing smuggling of illicit drugs, particularly syabu, into Sabah? How is it that we rarely hear of drug busts in the entry points such as airports and seaports?” he asked. Yong believed that the authorities are aware that cheap syabu is manufactured in Taiwan and the Philippines and then smuggled into Sabah via the Southern Philippines. “So how come we never heard of drug busts at the Sandakan port with incoming ferries from the Philippines? Or are the illicit drugs smuggled into Sabah by illegal immigrants using covert landing points along our coast?” he questioned. He believed that illicit drug trafficking has always been associated with illegal immigrants. “Illegal cigarette vendors, like street kids, have long been suspected as couriers of syabu. “The time is long overdue for the authorities to clamp down hard on this drug trade which is a serious cause of violent crimes. We must not underestimate the scale of illicit drug trafficking,” he underscored. He cited for instance, the arrest of a brother of a recently promoted Federal Minister for drug trafficking a year ago could mean that the illicit drug trade is no longer confirmed to low rung couriers but has become lucrative enough to attract businessmen.


Devena wins another beauty pageant trophy
Unduk Ngadau 2006 crowned Miss Sabah-Malaysia-World


Unduk Ngadau 2006 winner Devena Jaikob added another beauty pageant trophy to her collection after she was crowned Miss Sabah-Malaysia-World on Saturday. The 20-year-old civil engineering student also stands a chance to win even bigger titles as she earned the right to contest in the Miss Malaysia- World Beauty Pageant in Kuala Lumpur which will choose the country’s contestant for the 58th Miss World final to be held on October 4, at the Ukraina National Palace in Kiev, Ukraine. In the State-level final held at Magellan Sutera here on Saturday evening, Devena who competed with 14 other finalists, was among the most outstanding contestants and the favourite to win the title. In addition to the main title, the five-foot-six-inch Kadazan beauty with a 35-24-35 figure, also bagged theMiss Body Beautiful and Designer Best Evening Gown subsidiary titles, taking home a total prize of more than RM17,000. The Kota Kinabalu Polytechnic student is currently in the second year of her diploma course and hopes to become a lecturer one day. She obtained her secondary education at vernacular school SM Lok Yuk,Likas and can speak Chinese, in addition to her mother tongue, Malay and English. She loves listening to music and enjoys reading love story novels in her spare time. In her pageant biography, Devena stated that she is often described as a quiet person but likes to think of herself as a happy and cheerful individual. Winning two different Miss Sabah titles, she said, is not just a recognition for her beauty as a woman, but also a privilege and responsibility to play a role for the betterment of the world and uplift the image of the women. To honour the spirit of the Miss World Beauty Pageant, Devena said she would be involved in as many positive activities she can such as voluntary and community works to help those in need and to promote compassion among human and towards the environment. As for her personal ambition, she said she would work hard not only to gain the academic qualification but also the knowledge and valuable experiences, to become a good lecturer. On her chances at the national level of the Miss Malaysia-World, she said she would not put her hope high but just do her best for Sabah. “Representing Sabah is already an honour. I would not expect much at the national level and just do my best,” she said to reporters after the crowning ceremony. Joanne Kimberly J Majalap, 18,who was also a favourite to win the pageant, finished second behind Devena followed by Audrey Marylyn Ambrose, also 18, at third. Two other finalists who made it to the last five were Rounah Beb Robert Sylvester, 18,at fourth place and Emily Majil, 20, at fifth. The first runner up, Joanne, was named Miss Crown Glory while Audrey won the Miss Friendly subsidiary title. Two other subsidiary titles, Miss Photogenic and Miss Congeniality, were given to Magdeline Poh Siew Chern, 25, and Julylen Liew Ei Ling, 18, respectively.


Hotel Seri M’sia to ease room shortage in Semporna


The Government will build a Seri Malaysia hotel in Semporna to reduce the shortage of hotel rooms here, especially during the festive seasons. Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Afdal said the site for the hotel had been identified and construction would begin this year. “We are confident that the hotel would meet the needs of local visitors and foreign tourists, especially during the festive seasons and the Lepa Regatta held each year here,” he said after presenting prizes to the winners of this year’s regatta. He said there had always been a shortage of hotel rooms here since the regatta was organised in 1994, adding that many of the local and. foreign tourists were forced to stay in Tawau or Lahad Datu, about two hours’ journey from Semporna. Mohd Shafie said he would discuss further the problem with the Tourism Ministry so that it could be overcome as soon as possible. On the 15th Lepa Regatta, he said he was happy that there were more visitors this time while the accompanying cultural programme was more organised. He said for next year’s event, it should be further improved in line with its status at the National Water Festival in the Malaysian tourism calendar. Maman Indangan, 45, from KampungTampi-Tampi Kibayan emerged champion for having the best decorated boat at this year’s regatta. He received his prize from Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah.


Semporna to have centre for arts and culture


Semporna is to have an arts and culture centre for research and reference on the local community’s culture, history and heritage. Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal said the proposed centre would promote the culture and heritage to both local and foreign tourists. “Establishment of the centre is important to ensure the existing culture does not whittle just like that. Like the ‘Lepa’ Regatta that has its own history. ‘Lepa’ or in the Bajau language, boat, is a heritage that is slowly disappearing and it has to be nurtured as a treasure “Therefore, in appreciating the importance of the ‘lepa’, the Lepa Regatta is included in the National Water Festival. As such, we propose the setting up of the arts and culture centre so that the heritage we have is safeguarded,” Mohd Shafie said at the launch of the 15th Lepa Regatta 2008, here on Saturday night. The Lepa Regatta 2008 was launched by the Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri, Tun AhmadShah Abdullah who was accompanied by his wife Toh Puan Dayang Masuyah Awang Japar. Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun and Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Nasir Tun Sakaran. Mohd Shafie, who is also Semporna member of parliament, hoped the Sabah State Government would raise the status of the Lepa Regatta as the event could unify the races and bring in additional income to the state and country. He said the regatta was watched not just by the locals but also by people from Tawau, Lahad Datu, Sandakan including those from Peninsular Malaysia. “They gather here for the regatta and get a close feet of the ‘lepa’ heritage. So efforts to enhance the event must be more pro-active along with the aid and support of the State Government,” Mohd Shafie said.