Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Choice of candidate for Matunggong right move


Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) decision to field new face Sarapin Magana in Matunggong in the just- concluded general election has been proven to be a right move as the party won the state seat with a doubled majority, said Matunggong PBS Youth chief Marius Basin. He said Sarapin, a former senior accountant in the Department of Veterinary Services, won by a 2,982- vote majority, which is more than twice higher than the 1,274-vote majority secured by the previous candidate in the 2004 election. “Voters in Matunggong also contributed to the increased majority for Kota Marudu parliamentary seat winner Datuk Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, who won by 4,198 votes compared to 3,189 votes in 2004,” said Marius. Rejecting the assumption by certain parties that BN was facing difficulty in retaining the Matunggong seat due to a last-minute change of candidates, he said the election result showed that the people welcomed the move through their votes. Marius urged everyone in the constituency to forget about their disagreement and dissatisfaction over the decision on the choice of candidate for Matunggong, and focus on collaborating their efforts for mutual benefit. “Now is time for us to work together for the people who have given BN the mandate to continue to govern the State and the Country. Our responsibility is to ensure that all development programmes that the Government has planned are successfully implemented.


New Matunggong Assemblyman to focus on power, water, roads


New Matunggong Assemblyman Sarapin Bin Magana, whose eleventh hour nomination as a PBS candidate in the just- concluded election sparked a controversy, has expressed his gratitude to the BN leadership and PBS President Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan for placing their trust in him. “With the trust, I would ensure Matunggong receive infrastructure development, especially clean water supply, roads and electricity,” he said. “I just want to bring progress and development for the people and villages in Matunggong.” Sarapin, a father of four whose wife works as a teacher, said he will work with the government agencies concerned in reducing poverty in the communities through agriculture, fishery, tourism and small industries. “I want to ensure that the people under these agencies earn a better income,” he said. Sarapin said he is also grateful to all BN parties’ members and supporters for helping him win the Matunggong state seat. “It is very important for me to say here that my victory is based on all individuals’ support, especially leaders and supporters from the BN components - PBS, UMNO, PBRS and UPKO,” he said. “While campaigning, these BN leaders were always with me and I fully appreciate their support. “I hope they would continue their support for me to enable me to serve the rakyat (people) efficiently. “I also feel very thankful to those who have voted for me; I would not forget their struggle and their efforts. “While campaigning, I received so many messages supporting me. Because the messages were too many, I was not able to answer all and I feel sorry, but I am here now to serve as best I could.” Asked to comment on the reaction of Jornah to the PBS leadership’s decision to drop her in favour of him, Sarapin said: “Jornah? Yes, I read on the front page of The Borneo Post. I have no comment on her statement before the election. I hope the election result could be the answer for her comments. I am just a simple person, and I am here to serve the rakyat now.” Sarapin, 46, who was born in Kampung Kumbatang, Kudat, served as an auditor in the State Department of Corporative Development for three years before furthering his study in Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah. After his graduation with Bachelor of Accounting, he worked for the Sabah State Treasury Department on placement as an accountant in the scholarship division for almost ten years. He remained with the Department for five more years before being promoted to an Assistant Director for the Account Management and Finance Division in the Sabah Veterinary Services and Animal Industry Department on 1 September last year.


Maximus conveys thanks to Kota Marudu people


Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Deputy President Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili thanked the people of Kota Marudu constituency for supporting the Barisan Nasional (BN) in all three seats contested. He said this was despite a massive negative propaganda carried out by the opposition, including character assassination and derogatory campaign tactics. “Thankfully, the voters did not fall for the opposition tactics. For the Kota Marudu parliamentary seat, we increased the majority by over 1,000 votes to 4,198 votes, as compared to 3,189 in 2004. “This is a victory for the people of Kota Marudu. The task now is to move forward and implement our programs of eliminating Kota Marudu from the list of poor districts in Sabah, and make it an economic growth centre of the north over the next five years,” he told Bernama, here yesterday.


LDP, PBRS affirm support for PM to lead country


The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) have affirmed their undivided support to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to helm the Barisan Nasional (BN) and the country. LDP President Datuk VK Liew said the party would stay loyal to the BN’s leading man as it had been since the party was admitted into the coalition in 1992. “LDP has stood alongside BN through thick and thin since day one and now we have proven ourselves in this election and LDP has a wide range of support from the people. “It is perhaps appropriate that due consideration be given to our winners who are all qualified to be in both the state and federal cabinets,” Liew told Bernama yesterday. PBRS also declared its undivided support for Abdullah to continue leading the BN. Its President, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, said the country had been proud of Abdullah’s leadership over the past five years since he took over the reins from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad in 2003. “Notwithstanding that the recent election result highlighted many issues that need to be addressed, we in PBRS and as a member of the BN wish to affirm that we will be behind the Prime Minister and to offer our services to Datuk Seri in his new administration. “The commitment and loyalty of PBRS to the BN under the leadership of Datuk Seri is evident in its history and PBRS will continue to do so now and in the future. PBRS is ready to share in Dato’ Seri’s responsibility of administering our country and bringing it to greater heights,” he said in a statement yesterday. Kurup is one of the two PBRS members who won seats in Sabah during the 12th General Election on Saturday, with the party president taking the Pensiangan parliamentary seat uncontested. The Sook State seat, which he previously held in the past term, was won by party deputy president Datuk Ellron Angin. Kurup’s victory however was marred by violent protests at the nomination centre in Nabawan on nomination day on Feb 24, when he was punched in the head as he was about to leave following discontent over the nomination proceedings.


Hazards, Changing Marine Environment


The Borneo Marine Research Institute of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) will be hosting a major symposium on ‘Natural Hazards and Changing Marine Environment in the Western Pacific’ at Sutera Harbour Resort on May 21-25. The symposium, to be co-organized by Western Pacific (WESTPACT) chapter of the Intergovernmental oceanographic Commission (IOC), will be attended by leading scientists from 20 countries in the Western Pacific who will be discussing essential topics on natural disasters caused by oceanic process. UMS Vice Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin told a press conference yesterday the symposium, which is sponsored by the National Oceanography Directorate of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), represents a significant event in the context of collection of valuable scientific opinion vis-a-vis a major issue that affects the Western Pacific region. Topics to be discussed will include effects of climate change on the Western Pacific, its coastal and offshore .processes and their measurements, marine environmental forecast and data management and marine ecosystem health. “Climate change is mounting a serious challenge. Natural Hazards are growing in frequency and strength. Tangible solutions are needed to save human lives, scarce land resources and properties,” said Mohd Noh. “Natural disasters involving oceanic processes - torrential rains, tropical storms, tsunamis, storm surges, bloom of toxic algae and so on - are influenced by long-term climate variability, and therefore, this variability should be given due attention,” said the Vice Chancellor in a joint statement with Mosti in conjunction with the symposium yesterday. Numerous natural hazards ranging from rip currents to rogue waves and generalized coastal erosion are affecting our coastline and with human population continuing to migrate towards coastlines, the societal impacts of hazards are expected to grow, he said. “Many countries are affected by events such as El Nino and La Nina which are perhaps the most powerful phenomenon on earth that alter the climate across more than half of the planet. “We need accurate modeling and prediction as to be able to take steps to protect the people from floods and drought. Attention will be given to such topics in this symposium,” he added. In inviting participation from oceanographers and those who can contribute to the symposium, Mohd Noh said the event is expected to produce a very intense and thought provoking discussions among the participants.


Indonesian varsity keen to expand collaborative programs with UMS


Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), the youngest public university in Malaysia, has become a well known higher learning institution not only in the country but also in neighbouring Indonesia. Impressed with the growing popularity of UMS among students in the country, Universitas Andalas (UNAND), Indonesia’s oldest university outside Java, is eager to expand collaborative programmes with the first university in Sabah. Its rector Prof Dr Jr Musliar Kasim, who led a delegation to officially seal the first collaborative agreement between the two universities, said UMS is currently one of the top choices among students in Indonesia who are looking to study in Malaysia. “Despite its young age, UMS is university that is well known in Malaysia and Indonesia due to its high quality education and beautiful modern campus. It has become even better known specially among students in UNAND after staff from the university were given the opportunity to further their studies and give lecture here,” he said when speaking in a ceremony in conjunction with the signing of the MoU in UMS yesterday. Apart from formalising the UMS-UNAND long-established relationship, the MoU marks the commitment of the universities to combine force and expertise towards enhancing their potential in various disciplines and researches. Through the agreement UMS and UNAND, among others, will promote exchange of information and materials of mutual interest, conduct visits and participate in each other’s teaching and research programmes, as well as jointly organize international conferences, cultural and sports activities. “We are committed to combine our potential in academic and research by having, for instance, visiting programmes for both student and professors, joint publication of academic and scientific materials, joint researches and collaboration in organising other activities that promote development of knowledge,” added Prof Musliar. In addition to the existing collaboration in a number of fields, he said UNAND is seeking to expand partnership with UMS by developing dual degree programmes in social politics, socio-culture, engineering and technology, and medical studies. Following the UMS-UNAND agreement, a group of students from Sabah will be visiting Sumatera soon where they will be taking part in a home-stay programme and conducting social activities. UMS Vice Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin said while UMS’s vision for the future is clear and its academic focus is on track, the collaboration with UNDAND would help the University to meet challenges more effectively. Expressing his hope more strategic initiatives and greater joint-resources between UMS and UNAND will be born through their collaboration, he said the MoU has charted a new stage in further enhancing both parties’ strategy to raise the quality of intellectual capital in their respective countries.


PKR calls for Commission of Enquiry to probe poll irregularities


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah, which failed to win a single seat in the just concluded 12th General Election, has urged the Government to form a Commission of Inquiry to probe on various irregularities during the election. The party’s Liaison Committee Chairman, Haji Ansari Abdullah, said they had conducted a preliminary post-mortem and discovered that the election was marred with various alleged irregularities that had somewhat caused the defeat of PKR candidates. “The formation of the Commission of Inquiry is important so that the new Government in Sabah in particular, and Malaysia in general, can gain the public trust and confidence in running the State administration with a clean mandate through a clean and fair election,” he said in a statement yesterday. Ansari also thanked the electorates for their support and added that the election results showed a big increase in PKR’s votes. “The support from the masses to the PKR will encourage us to work harder. The PKR accepted the votes of the people but not of ‘phantom voters’ in deciding the fate of the State and its people,” he added. In another development, Ansari reiterated that they were saddened by the fact that Sabahans were still not prepared to make the change in the State’s administration. He noted that PKR Sabah was assured by the strong ground support, but the last three days of the campaign period showed that money and other types of inducements were allegedly distributed to the voters all across the State by the BN. According to him, the manipulation of time of voting which was on Saturday, the Sabbath day of the voters belonging to the Seventh Day Adventist church, had somewhat caused hardship for them to exercise their duties because the closing time was 1pm which was before their activities ended. Ansari said that PKR workers also discovered instances of vote counting being done at the tallying stations, and not at the polling stations as required under the election rules and regulations. ‘In Kota Belud, the PKR Sabah’s candidate reported a win but because of a small winning margin, the BN candidate requested for a recount and it ended with the BN candidate’s win of about 3,000 votes. “The double standard practice of the Election Commission was blatant whereby the opposition’s request for recounting was rejected outright but the BN’s request was entertained,” he lamented. Ansari also accused the BN of exploiting religious and racial issues against the PKR Sabah’s candidates, namely PKR vice president Datuk Dr Jeffery Kitingan and him. “PKR’s counting agents were not allowed into the polling stations in some other places and the non-delivery of Form 14. And, in the Keningau parliamentary and Bingkor state constituencies, the EC officers took seven hours to count only 700 votes cast at the polling station,” he said.


Find out why opposition won so many seats: Rosnah


A thorough study must be conducted to find out why the opposition won so many seats in the just concluded General Election, Papar Member of Parliament Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said. “We must find out why the change in the way the people voted,” said Rosnah who retained her seat with 9,574 majority votes. She added that while the results and outcome of the election were unexpected, they must be accepted with an open mind as it was the decision of the people exercising their rights as voters. “It is a bitter pill to swallow but we have to accept the rakyat’s decision. It is therefore imperative that we find out our weaknesses and the reasons why the seats fell to the opposition so that in the future we can recover what we lost,” she stressed.


Pairin proves his critics wrong

PBS President retains both seats in polls


Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) President Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan proved his critics wrong and won both the Tambunan state and Keningau parliamentary seats in the just-concluded 12th General Election. His victory quashed calls for him to retire as his critics said that he has been too long in politics and is too old to be an effective elected representative. Political observers here said Pairin’s support from the constituents showed that the people still need him and he is still relevant to them as their leader. In fact all the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates contesting in the state and parliamentary seats here won and the political observers said the people still supported the BN Government because they want continued development and stability. The political observers here described the BN victory was due to the coalition’s strong commitment to continue all developments planned under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), National Budget 2008 and the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC). Pairin was predicted to be one of the casualties of the election. The opposition saw Pairin as “a politician who has been around too long and is too old” and called for him to retire. Their views of Pairin were not heeded by the people as they still needed him because of his vast experience in the State’s politics. His position as the Kadazandusun Murut communities’ “Huguan Siou” (Paramount Leader) is another reason why he is well loved and supported by the people. Reliable sources here said some quarters wanted to retain Pairin only in the Keningau parliamentary seat and let the opposition win the Tambunan state seat but it was not to be so as Pairin’s votes were the highest in all the 16 polling stations in Tambunan. This victory therefore shows that the people still feel that after eight terms, Pairin is still the best person to be their elected representative. Pairin who polled 5,601 votes, defeated his closest challenger Moses Michael Iking from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (P1(R) with 2,820 votes and won with a 2,781 majority. In the Keningau parliamentary seat, many predicted PKR Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who is Pairin’s younger brother, to be victorious but again, they were wrong as Pairin won with a 4,264- vote majority. A political observer pointed out that Jeffrey had made the wrong choice in seats he wanted to contest in. “I believe PKR could have won seats in the interior if Jeffrey contested in the Sook state and Pensiangan parliamentary constituencies as his influence in these areas is still very strong,” he said. The observer also said that the people in Keningau also wanted Jeffrey to contest in Sook and Pensiangan as they wanted to see him meet his old adversary, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup but because he was confident of winning in Keningau and Bingkor, he chose to contest against his elder brother and lost. In the Bingkor constituency, BN candidate Justin Guka was retained by the constituents with a very slim majority of 171 votes. He polled 4,589 votes against Jeffrey’s 4,418. However, some PKR supporters were of the opinion that the results would favour Jeffrey if it was a straight fight between the two candidates. They believed that the 291 people who voted for the two independent candidates would have thrown their support to Jeffrey. Jeffrey’s loss in Bingkor, they said, was caused by the two independent candidates. Meanwhile in Liawan, incumbent BN candidate Datuk Haji Sairin Haji Karno was retained with a 2,044 majority. In the four-cornered fight, Sairin garnered 4,661 votes while his nearest challenger Jius Awang polled 2,617 votes.


DAP’s victory is people’s victory: Hiew


Sabah DAP Election Committee Chairman Dr Hiew King Cheu yesterday thanked the people of Sabah forgiving their support to all its 15 candidates in the just concluded 12th General Election, especially for electing him as the Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu and his colleague in Tawau, Jimmy Wong as the State Assemblyman for Sri Tanjung. In a joint statement issued here together with Jimmy yesterday, Dr Hiew also considered their hard- fought victory as the “people’s victory” and a clear demonstration of their (the people) aspiration to have a ‘trustworthy voice’ in the Parliament and State Legislative Assembly. “We realize that we owed our position to the people and we would not let the people down,” he pledged. Hiew was convinced that with the strong presence of 82 opposition members in the Parliament now, things would not be the same as in the past when the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government could easily pass laws and policies that were unfavourable to the people, at their whims and fancy.


Lobbying on for Sabah Cabinet


The Barisan Nasional (BN) won landslide victories in Sabah, sweeping 59 of the 60 state seats and 24 of the 25 parliamentary seats at stake in the State in the just- concluded general election. Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is Sabah Umno chief and BN chairman, was sworn-in as the Chief Minister for the second term at Istana Negeri yesterday. Now the guessing game is on as to the personalities who will make the Sabah Cabinet lineup. After his swearing-in yesterday, Musa told reporters that he would be discussing the matter with Sabah BN component parties before meeting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on the Sabah cabinet lineup. He said the lineup would be announced at the latest by next week, but it could be as early as this Friday. However, the lobbying has already begun with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) openly asking for two posts - minister and assistant minister. In the previous state cabinet, the LDP was given Deputy Chief Minister (DCM) and Tourism, Culture and Environment portfolios,which were held by Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat. When Chong resigned from the State Cabinet last April 13 following the Ma Zu statue controversy, the LDP was given the Youth and Sports portfolio, which was filled by the party’s vice president, Datuk Liew Yun Fah. The DCM’s post was filled by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Deputy President Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah. It should be interesting how the cabinet posts are distributed this time around. If the 2004 status quo is maintained, Umno, apart from the CM’s post, will get six full and seven assistant minister posts while Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), will get one of the DCM posts, two full ministerships and four assistant minister posts. The SAPP and United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organistion (Upko), meanwhile, will each get a minister and assistant minister posts while the MCA an assistant minister post: However, if the 2004 status quo is maintained, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) will again be left out of the cabinet although its candidate Datuk Ellron Alfred Angian defeated Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) Paul Bunsu Gitang and three independent candidates for the Sook state seat by a 2,131-vote majority, a massive increase over the 395 vote majority obtained in the 2004 election.


Abdullah sworn in as PM
Next task ahead is to form the Government following huge election losses


Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was sworn in for a second term as Prime Minister Monday, as he rejected calls to quit after presiding over the ruling Barisan Nasional’s worst ever election results. Dressed in a traditional costume and matching ‘songkok’ hat, Abdullah was sworn in by the Yang diPertuan Agong (Malaysia’s King) Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, in a solemn ceremony at Istana Negara (the royal palace) here. Also attending were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and other senior Ministers. The Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Nur Zahirah, and Abdullah’s wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah were also present. At the 20-minute swearing-in ceremony, Abdullah, 68, signed the instrument of appointment before Chief Justice Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamad, which was witnessed by the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan. The BN won 140 of the 222 parliamentary seats in Saturday’s general election, enabling it to garner a simple majority and form the Government. Abdullah retained his Kepala Batas seat in Penang by defeating Subri Md Arshad of PAS with a majority of 11,246 votes but his home State saw the DAP taking power. The BN’s was badly mauled in last Saturday’s general election, losing its crucial two-thirds majority in Parliament for the first time since 1969 and conceding four states to the resurgent opposition, which now controls five in all. Voters punished the Government for rising inflation and its mishandling of racial tensions, leading to a backlash from Malaysia’s minority ethnic Chinese Indians as well as Muslim Malays who form its powerbase. But Abdullah told supporters he would not quit. “Why should I step down?” he told a cheering crowd outside his home late Sunday. “Our party has won. I do not fear anyone except Allah. I will stay on, I will not give up. “We have to continue our struggle, our agenda is far from over. We want our country to be progressive and successful and for you, the people, to be happy,” he added. Abdullah’s task now is to form a new Government under the Barisan Nasional coalition, dominated by his United Malays National Organisation (Umno) “I give you my word, ladies and gentlemen, that I will continue my efforts to strengthen Umno and Barisan Nasional, to launch the manifesto that we have promised so that our country will be safe, peaceful and prosperous,” he said. Veteran leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled for two decades before handing power to Abdullah as his chosen successor in 2003, accused the Prime Minister of “destroying” the coalition and led calls for his resignation. “I think he should accept responsibility for this. He should accept 100 per cent responsibility,” Mahathir said Sunday, adding: “I am sorry, but I apparently made the wrong choice.” However there was support for Abdullah from abroad, with the United States signalling it was ready to keep up close cooperation with the Government and saying he remained a viable partner. “We have seen the preliminary election results and we look forward to working closely with Prime Minister Abdullah’s Government on a wide range of issues of mutual interest,” State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper told AFP. The Opposition, led by former Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim - who has made a stunning political comeback after his sacking and jailing a decade ago - was getting down to business. The Opposition parties - Anwar’s Keadilan, the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Islamic party PAS - won an unprecedented four states in the polls. PAS also extended its margin in northern Kelantan state, which it already held by a thin majority. Apart from Kelantan where Tan Sri Nik Aziz is the incumbent Chief Minister, Kedah and Perak are also to be headed by PAS chief ministers while DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng will be sworn in as the new Penang Chief Minister today. The prosperous state of Selangor will be headed by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim of Keadilan. Anwar said late Sunday that the coalition parties would be able to put aside their ideological differences and govern effectively. He said they would “focus on the economic issue and trying to resolve some of the problems affecting the masses, particularly in the issue of poverty and the normal needs of an average citizen. “What was promised will be enforced with the best of ability.” Anwar is banned from holding public office until April due to a conviction for corruption, and had said before the vote that he would enter Parliament in a by-election in a Keadilan-held seat. However, he said there were no immediate plans to do that as he had a full workload rallying the newly elected Keadilan lawmakers. “I’m not rushed to prepare for a by-election,” he added. — AFP, Bernama.


Keadilan to file petitions over 4 MP seats


Parti Keadilan Rakyat will be filing election petitions to challenge the results of at least four parliamentary constituencies in Sabah following the conclusion of the 12th general election. State Liaison Committee Chairman Hj Ansari Abdullah said the petitions, which they are expected to file after the results are gazetted, will challenge the validity of the results in Pensiangan, Papar, Tuaran and Kota Kinabalu. “We are still in the process of collecting evidence, but it will be more than sufficient,” he said when contacted yesterday. Keadilan first announced that they would file an election petition for the Pensiangan seat on Feb 25, a day after Nomination, following alleged unfair treatment by the returning officer (RO) at the nomination centre in Nabawan. Their claim was that their intended candidate, Danny Andipai, was disallowed from registering as a candidate on grounds that he was late despite Danny having already paid the RM15,000 deposit. Ansari also claimed that pamphlets were issued in both Papar and Tuaran, which depicted Keadilan vice president Datulc Dr Jeffrey Kitingan with a graphic of a Christian cross placed over his face. Ansari noted that the petitions will only be for parliamentary seats and not State seats, which he said they are “not interested” in pursuing as the voters are “not ready for change”.