Friday, March 7, 2008


Water supply for Apas villagers by next year


For many years, villagers in Apas have been yearning for clean water supply, as they grapple with the discomfort and inconvenience of carrying out their daily activities without it. But this will be a thing of the past by next year after the much-awaited water treatment plant here is completed to benefit 30,000 people. Incumbent Apas Assemblyman Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan said this is the BN’s commitment to ensure the people of Sabah will not be left behind in terms of development. “Water is very important as the lack of it would restrict the people’s daily activities. We have responded to the people’s grouses and this shows that the Government is concerned and cares for the rakyat... We hope the people would continue to keep their trust in us and there would be more development projects to come in the future,” he said. Tawfiq, who won the seat uncontested in the 2004 general election, is challenged by Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s Vun Kon Pau @ Henry Vun and independent candidate, Ardi Arsah @ Samsi in the Apas constituency. Apart from the water treatment plant, he said the ruling coalition’s greatest achievements in N56 Apas are the setting up of low-cost houses for lower income groups, upgrading of roads, new mosques and multipurpose halls, as well as repairs on damaged bridges. “This may seem small but it means a lot to the people of Apas. Our mission here is also to improve the people’s socio-economy and hope that with the many development projects carried out in the constituency, the constituents would be able to improve their well-being,” he said. The Sabah Development Corridor, which was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in September last year, will also benefit the people in Tawau in general and Apas in particular, as many have the opportunity to be involved in the many downstream industries offered through the mega 18-year project. “Tawau is known as the agriculture and food zone, therefore many of those involved in the industry would have opportunities to improve their living standard. We are also rich with cocoa and oil palm,” he said. Tawfiq, 45, who is the Assistant Rural Development Minister, said he normally spent four days to do his ministerial work while the rest of the week would be spent with his constituents. “It is very important to be with them and listen to their grouses. It is a responsibility which I have accepted the day I became a YB (Yang Berhormat)... I would like to continue serving the people if given the opportunity to do so,” he said.


Penampang independent fighting the system


Dr Anthony Tibok sat calmly while savouring his warm Chinese tea at a coffee shop at Hilltop here after a long day of campaigning as an independent candidate for the Penampang parliamentary seat. With a thoughtful look on his face, he listened intently to a question about his political struggle and what made him decide to contest as an independent. “I am fighting the system. We are like beggars sitting on a pile of gold on our own land and it is this BN (Barisan Nasional) system that is depriving us of our rights,” he said frankly. Anthony, who holds a doctorate in bio-technology, admitted that he cannot match the massive campaign machinery employed by national parties such as the BN or opposition front Parti Keadilan Rakyat. He however stressed that what he lacks in numbers, he makes up for with conviction and staunch support from the few who share his beliefs. “Where I can, I help cover the costs for carrying out my campaign, but for the most part my team are all with me on a voluntary basis and we are self-financed. “We may not have the money but we are together because of a strong grounding and direction in what we stand for. “Parties like BN may have the money, giving out allowances to their supporters simply for sitting at their election headquarters at night but if you ask them what the party stands for, how many can actually give a clear answer?” he questioned. And his campaign has been far from conventional as far as Malaysian politics is concerned, visiting the strongholds of his very opponents to speak to their supporters. “For example a few days ago, I went to the BN headquarters in Kapayan to speak to the people there and I managed to win over a few people. “People find it strange that I shake hands with Tan Sri (Bernard Dompok) when I meet him, knowing full well that he is my opponent in the elections, or even Datuk Edward Khoo (BN State candidate for Kapayan). “I respect them because they are still people. I am contesting against them in the elections but there is no malice behind it ... I think we in Malaysia must learn to agree to disagree before we can move forward,” he said. On his chances of winning the Penampang seat, Anthony said while he is “always optimistic”, it is best left to the electorate to decide. As he said in an interview a few days earlier, “it doesn’t matter if I win or lose, as long as I can convince a few people to make a stand for themselves, I am a winner.”


Kuala Penyu among recipients of most devt funds: Ghani


Independent candidate Datuk John OT Ghani, who is defending the Kuala Penyu state seat, has dismissed claims by certain quarters that he has failed to bring development to the constituency since he was elected in 2004. “The people of Kuala Penyu have enjoyed more development and progress over the past three years than the 18 years before 2004 when the constituency was represented by Datuk Wences Angang,” he said. Contrary to claims by certain quarters, John said Kuala Penyu has received an annual allocation of RM750,000 from the Government and it was among the state constituencies that received the biggest amount of development funds. “I have also brought up the Kuala Penyu people’s needs and aspirations in every sitting of the State Legislative Assembly,” he said during a meeting with a group of voters from the constituency at his residence here yesterday. John, who defeated the then incumbent BN-UPKO candidate Datuk Wences Angang in 2004 with a 2,018-vote majority, is locked in a three-cornered fight with BN-UPKO candidate Teo Kwan Chin Teo Mau Sing and Guandee Koh Hoi from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). In another development, John urged the constituents in Beaufort parliamentary constituency to vote for BN-UMNO candidate Datuk Lajim Ukin as the latter is a good leader who has excellent ties with federal leaders. He said Lajim is a leader who serves the people irrespective of their race and religion. “On one occasion, Lajim gave financial assistance to a church in Kuala Penyu to enable it to buy a van,” he recalled.


Positive, response for BN in Semporna, says Shafie


Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal has reminded the Barisan Nasional (BN) election machinery here to continue working hard despite all the positive response from the voters. Shafie, who is the incumbent Semporna member of parliament, said BN machinery should not take the contest lightly because in politic, “anything can happen”. “We are confident of winning this election. What is important is for us to step up efforts to win the people’s support,” he said after meeting the Semporna traders yesterday. Shafie, who is locked in a straight fight with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate Ab Aziz Ab Hamid, also believed that the BN would have no problem retaining the state seats here, namely Sulabayan and Senallang. -Bernama


Bersekutu’s election director for Kota Marudu joins BN


The election director for the Bersekutu candidates contesting in the Kota Marudu parliamentary seat, Yain Abag, has walked out of the party and joined the Barisan Nasional (BN). He and 6,ooo other Bersekutu members from the constituency also thanked the BN incumbent for the seat, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, for opening the door for them to join the coalition. Yain, who is also a Bersekutu supreme council member, said they took the decision because of their disappointment with the party and felt only the BN could guarantee the future of the people of Sabah. “I hope our action is not misinterpreted but the opposition (in Sabah) is only good at making empty promises whereas the BN has a proven track record,” he said. Meanwhile, Maximus in welcoming him and his supporters into the BN, said that they made the right decision as only the BN could assure the people, peace, security and prosperity. Bersekutu candidates are contesting the Kota Marudu parliamentary seat as well as the two state seats in it — Matunggong and Tandek. -Bernama


MAS extends Project PINTAR to Sandakan


Malaysia Airlines (MAS) yesterday adopted Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Merpati here for its Project PINTAR programme. This is the first school in the Sabah Development Corridor and the eighth in the country adopted by the national carrier for this project since its participation in the PINTAR project last year. The launch of the adoption, held at the school in Sandakan, was officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman and attended by MAS Chairman Datuk Dr Mohammed Munir Abdul Majid as well as teachers and parents of the school children. In his address during the launch, Dr Munir said MAS had always been committed to its corporate responsibility objectives towards the people of East Malaysia. “Until 2006, we operated the rural air services providing subsidized airfares for the community in their efforts to improve the overall economic situation in these areas. This responsibility was taken over by our wholly owned subsidiary, MASwings on October 1,2007,” he said. “Last year we organized a charity gala show and donated proceeds to the Sabah Child Welfare Association and this year we are back again to launch Project PINTAR, yet another corporate responsibility initiative. “We started Project PINTAR by adopting two schools in Pulau Pinang last year and other Government-linked companies also participated in this project. This programme has shown encouraging result on its first anniversary with 397 students from 34 primary schools under the project obtaining 5As in the recent UPSR examination,” added Dr Munir. In terms of percentage, he said the number of students who obtained 5As from these schools is 12.7%, which is significantly higher than the national average of 9.7%. It is also a marked improvement over the 2006 results whereby 9.4% of the students who sat for the UPSR examination obtained 5As.” “We are indeed very encouraged by the academic progress of the students in these adopted schools. This year, we are expanding our Project PINTAR adoption to cover needy schools in the various economic regions announced by the Malaysian Government. Through this coverage, we reaffirm our partnership and commitment to support the Government’s many initiatives to reduce the economic imbalance in our society.” “Our objective in this project is to complement the work of the teaching staff in all the adopted schools in guiding students to excel in education - which is an important determining factor in our quest towards becoming a developed nation by the year 2020,” he added. Through this commitment for the next three years, MAS will facilitate several initiatives for the students needed to raise their motivation to learn and also to ensure they have a conducive learning environment.


Liew cries after school function


Tears rolled down Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Liew Yun Fah’s cheek as he walked out of the Sekolah Kebangsaan Pasir Putih hall here yesterday. What was supposed to be a happy day for many proud parents and pupils turned sad almost immediately after the Students Excellence Awards event ended. Liew has been the guest of honour of the event for the last four years. Several parents and school staff could not hold back their tears as the incumbent Merotai assemblyman walked out of the hall. Many stretched their hands out to shake his hand, wishing the man who had represented them for the last four years, the best of luck. Liew was replaced by Pang Yuk Ming to contest for the N58 Merotai State seat under the Liberal Democratic Party for Barisan Nasional in the 12th general election. He won with a 4,305 majority in the 2004 general election. Parents who were approached, described Liew as a friendly, approachable and dedicated YB (Yang Berhormat). Earlier, Liew in his speech urged the people, especially youths, to work hard and improve themselves to reach greater heights. He thanked the people for the tireless support given to him during his one term as their representative, adding that he would continue to render his service when needed. “I am willing to help the people because I believe that there is no end in my struggle for the good of the Merotai people. I am determined to work hard for you !! and have no intention of retiring. My door is always open to you if you need help,” he said. At the event, Liew presented the Education Ministry’s Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pelajar Miskin Poor Students Trust Group) assistance to 154 students.


Kadazan singer urges KDMs to vote PKR


Veteran Kadazan composer and singer Justin Stimol has urged the Kadazandusuns and Muruts (KDMs) to vote Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to power to replace the ruling Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) Government Speaking at a meet-the- people gathering in support of PKR Kepayan candidate Datuk Chau Chin Tang at Kampung Hungab here, Justin said the well being of the KDMs would be properly and effectively guaranteed under a new Government that will be formed by the PKR. He felt that the KDMs have been sidelined, and neglected in the present Government due to the inability of the leaders from the KDM communities to protect their interests and rights related to land ownership under the Native Customary Right (NCR) and appointment of native chiefs, Justin, who contested under Pasok in Penampang in 1982 losing only by a slim majority against the then Berjaya candidate, the late Datuk Clarence Mansul, cited the large tracts of land being grabbed by big companies and the burning of crops and houses of the natives to substantiate his call for the people to replace the BN. “A win by the PKR would be most meaningful for the Sabahans and is the only chance for us to regain our rights that had been surrendered or taken over by the Federal Government through previous State Governments,” he said. Justin deeply regretted the Kampung Maang issue as a classic example of the lethargic performance of KDM leaders. Kampung Maang was initially earmarked as a resettlement area for the Sri Tanjung illegal squatters who were affected by the expansion of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.


Three held for distributing leaflets which defame Liew


Three street kids, believed to be foreigners, were arrested by the police last night for allegedly distributing leaflets which defamed Keadilan State liaison committee deputy chief Christina Liew. Another group of children, numbering around 50, fled when they saw the three were detained. They were distributing the leaflets at the roundabout near the SAPP headquarters in Luyang around 10.30pm when members of the public and PKR supporters who received the leaflets, called the police. Liew who expressed shock over the incident, had lodged a police report.


PKR has no direction, says ex-vice president


A former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president said yesterday the opposition party was directionless and as such cannot guarantee the people’s future. Datin Saidatul Badru Tun Said Keruak said PKR members only knew how to follow its leader blindly in criticising others but never fulfilled promises made to the people. “I cannot bear to see them run others down as they are not any better. We should be working towards a united Muslim community and not cause disunity. “PKR leaders are subservient to their adviser while the others are just blind followers. Those with opposing views are sidelined. “Is this the democracy or freedom of speech that is being championed by the party,” she said in a statement here on Thursday. Saidatul, who was with PKR for seven years, said she quit the party in 2006 as her views on Sabah were neglected and considered trivial. -Bernama


Hospital proposed for Penampang


The Health Ministry is considering building a hospital in the district, said the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for N19. Kapayan, Datuk Edward Khoo. Khoo said that the proposal is now with the ministry and awaiting its approval. “Once it is approved, the hospital will be constructed,” he said at a luncheon held at Restoran Wong Kwok here yesterday. Khoo also said that the hospital is just one of the many development plans he has for Penampang and Kepayan. “It is given priority because health is very important,” he said, adding that the district hospital is needed to help out Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) which is getting busier by the day. According to Khoo further, the Health Ministry has approved the construction of a clinic along the old Penampang-Papar road. At another function here on Wednesday night, Khoo urged the constituents to ‘confirm’ him as their wakil rakyat. “The last four years was my probation as your wakil rakyat so I hereby am appealing to all the constituents to vote for me and make me your permanent wakil rakyat,” he said. Khoo made the appeal during a campaign rally organised by Umno Penampang for the BN Moyog, Kapayan and Penampang candidates, Donald Peter Mojuntin, Khoo and Tan Sri Bernard Dompok. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman was also present at the event and he also spoke to the thousand odd crowd who turned up at the Dewan Tun Fuad here. According to the Sabah MCA chief, he has worked hard to bring development to the constituency so that the residents’ socio-economy and standard of living will improve. “I hope you will all support and give me the mandate once again to be your elected representative so that I can continue serving the rakyat,” he said.


All strata titles for Sri Kepayan issued
Remaining 603 titles given to owners of housing units


Residents of Taman Sri Kepayan yesterday became full-fledged homeowners with the issuance of strata titles for all 603 units in the housing estate. Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Edward Khoo, in announcing this yesterday, said the release of the titles was the result of close cooperation between the Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (LPPB) and the Land and Survey Department. “With the issuance of these 603 titles, it brings the total number of titles issued to 1,829 for 11 separate phases of development of the housing estate by LPPB,” he told a press conference at the LPPB office in Likas here. Khoo said prior to this, they had worked non-stop to facilitate the issuance of strata titles for homeowners in the area starting with 842 titles issued on March 21, 2005 for Taman Rumah Murah and Taman Kepayan Ridge. “This was a promise to the people made by myself when campaigning during the 2004 elections, to help them get their titles and it was a promise fulfilled but we continued with our work even if the residents didn’t ask us to do so,” he said. Over a year later, Khoo said he alongside the LPPB and the Land and Survey Department helped in issuing another 384 strata titles for house owners in Taman Selesa and Taman Ridge View on Sept 20, 2006. “Now there are only 279 more titles not issued for Taman Austral, but be assured that we are still working. The title offer has already been given to the Land and Survey Department, and I am sure they will be out soon,” said the Barisan Nasional (BN) State candidate for Kepayan. LPPB general manager PS Wong meanwhile advised house-owners in Taman Seri Kepayan to refer to their respective lawyers to acquire their strata titles. For more information, she urged house-owners or their lawyers to contact the LPPB’s legal office at 088-287777 ext. 408.


Vote BN for prosperity and stability: Musa


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has called on the 807,862 voters in Sabah to vote for Barisan Nasional (BN) in Saturday’s polls, reminding them that the country’s political and economic stability was due to the coalition’s hard work. Musa said unlike in some countries where the rule of law was virtually non-existence, in Malaysia, the leaders were constantly looking for ways to improve the people’s standard of living. “The political and economic stability is due to the hard work put in by the present Government, which has a clear and sincere desire to make the nation stronger as it moves into a developed nation status,” he said in a statement. Saying that the BN Government had the resources and the drive to meet its development objectives, Musa said, the BN had also proven that it cared for the people. “The BN spends billions of ringgit on subsidies, which allows us to buy petrol at rates cheaper than that of our regional neighbours,” he said. The people had also been enjoying excellent health and education facilities, he said. “The BN Government also absorbs high costs of training our children at public institutions of higher learning so that the nation can continue to churn out graduates who will bring Malaysia to greater heights,” he added. Musa said security was another aspect that the ruling Government had spent millions on, including to safeguard Sabah’s porous border, thus increasing the investors’ confidence towards the state. “As a Government that cares, we have built better roads so that rural areas can be connected to urban centres of growth. “New links such as the Semporna-Kunak bypass, the Paitan-Pitas road and the Kimanis-Keningau link has opened up opportunities for rural people to market their goods and for the younger generation to explore opportunities in towns,” he added. Musa said it was the BX responsibility to keep on building and upgrading roads for the benefit of the people, especially those living in rural parts of Sabah, and “this is one pledge that we intend to keep”. On the Sabah Development Corridor, which is expected to increase the state’s .gross domestic product to RM63.2 billion in 2025. Musa said it would have been impossible for the Government to formulate this ambitious blueprint if it did not have the resources, the commitment and cooperation from the people of Sabah. “Ours is a Government with a vision. We have clear and sincere desire to make the nation stronger as it moves into a developed nation status. “A lot has been done, but there is so much more that we still need to do for the people, for Malaysia and Sabah, and it is the only Government that has the resources and drive to meet goals that have been set,” he said. -Bernama


Polls betting on hot seats


Do not bet on the outcome of the general election. That is a warning from the Sabah Police who said several irresponsible people are using the elections as a way to make money, illegally. And their customers are putting in their bets from as low as RM5O to thousands of Ringgit on which candidates they think would win and who would lose their deposits and votes majority. State Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim in disclosing this yesterday described the betting as unbecoming and shameful which should not be happening. “We believe the activity could have been started by some habitual gamblers who would put their bets on anything. Based on the information we received, most of the bets are made on the hot seats throughout Sabah. “How can you gamble the future of your nation?” he told reporters during a press conference at the Kepayan Police Headquarters, yesterday. He said the Police are monitoring the situation and would catch anyone involved in the illegal activity. “We will not hesitate to take action against them under the Betting or Gambling Act,” he said, adding that to date, there has been no arrest made. Touching on the elections, Noor Rashid said the Police are ready for tomorrow’s polling. According to him, 2,853 police officers and personnel, including the General Operations Force and Marine Police, would be placed at all polling centres throughout the State. “Of the figure, a total of 1,974 would be put at the polling lanes, 688 to monitor the security and safety aspects at all centres while 491 to handle traffic flows,” he said. Noor Rashid said since Nomination Day on March 24, the police had received 2,008 applications from political parties to hold talks throughout the 13-day campaign period, and of the figure, only 1,924 had been approved. Of the approved figure, 1,647 talks had been organised while the rest would be done until the campaign period ends midnight today. “Police have also, so far, received 48 reports during the campaign period since Mar 24 all concerning small offences such as lost and damaged posters and failure to publish the company’s logo on posters, among others. “Of the figure, we have opened 36 investigation papers while three other cases have been referred to the Anti-Corruption Act,” he said. Apart from this, he said the Police are also preparing for any eventuality of floods on polling day. “There have been flash floods in the last couple of days of which 162 villagers were affected in Tuaran. We are on standby at flood prone areas should the water level rise on polling day. My commitment is to ensure that the election period goes on peacefully,” he said. Noor Rashid said if ‘phantom voters’ appear in any of the polling centres, the polling officers in the respective locations or the public should notify the police immediately. “Do not take the law into your own hands let us deal with the phantom voters,” he said. Police would also be manning its operations room round-the-clock on polling day. “It would probably operate till Sunday, we will see how things go,” he added.