Friday, March 14, 2008


Anti-drugs drive to intensify in State


PEMADAM KK will carry out more anti-dadah programmes across the State this year, according to its chairman Dr Chua Kim Heng. Last year, PEMADAM KK organized various anti-drugs activities including its Outreach programme. exhibitions and talks to increase awareness on the danger of drug abuse. In line with its “Drug-Free Workplace” campaign, it has organized three preventive programmes, involving some 1,000 staff from the City Hall. For this year, PEMADAM KK is planning to, among others, collaborate with elected representatives in Sabah to organize an Outreach programme in each state constituency. “This Outreach programme will involve residents’ committees and liaison committees. To successfully implement this, participation from the City Health and Services Department, Landscape and Sub-Urban Management Departments is required,” he said when speaking at the 11th Annual General Meeting of PEMADAM KK here yesterday. He said densely populated areas, including Taman Keramat and Taman Jaya Din, have been identified for Outreach programme next month. Meanwhile, Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim, in opening the AGM yesterday, expressed happiness that the City Hall’s PEMADAM has been successfully playing a very active role in fighting drugs and participating in the State and National PEMADAM programmes. He said PEMADAM’s efforts towards achieving Drug.-Free Country by 2015 is in line with the City Hall’s vision to turn Kota Kinabalu into a cleaner, healthier and safer city.


Serious traffic obstruction at Taman Southern

A resident of Taman Southern in Luyang has again urged action to be taken to stop inconsiderate motorists from causing obstruction by parking their vehicles along the roadside leading to the housing estate. Joe said the obstruction along the stretch of road from Lorong Unta 9 to Lorong Unta 14 is causing much inconvenience as it leaves the two-lane road only passable to one car at a time. The narrowed passage forces motorists to give way to oncoming vehicles on the road designed for two-way traffic flow, he said. Joe said the lack of action to prohibit such practice has only encouraged an increasing number of motorists to park that way and cause inconvenience to others. A spokesman for Kota Kinabalu City Hall’s Public Complaints Unit, when asked to comment on the matter, said those causing obstruction to others could be summoned. He said the enforcement unit would be informed as a similar complaint on the matter was already received previously.


Fierce stray dogs a danger to pedestrians

Resident of Lorong Sang Kancil 1, Kota Kinabalu has voiced safety concern over the presence of fierce stray dogs at the area. Man told Public Hotline that the stray dogs pose a threat to the large number of pedestrians there. “Even though we have lodged numerous complaints to the authorities, the situation persists. I am afraid someday the stray dog will attack pedestrians who use the road daily,” he said. “I myself also fear the dogs. Every time I pass by them on my motorcycle, one of the dogs would chase after me. This could cause a motorcyclist to panic and fall off the machine,” he said. Man said the stray dog could also be seen roaming the neighbourhood, especially at night, and making noises that disturb the residents in their sleep. “These dogs also urinate and defecate everywhere, including in our house compound and also at the children playground. I hope the authorities will do something about the problem before something bad happens,” he said. A spokesman for City Hall’s Public Complaints Unit, when contacted over the complaint, said the matter would be looked into seriously as the dogs pose a threat to public safety. “We will forward the matter to the unit concerned for action to be taken immediately,” she said.


Top SPM achiever aims to be doctor


Maneesha Kaur A/P Gurcharan Singh, the top SPM achiever from SMK Agaseh here who scored 12As, said the outstanding result came as a surprise to her. Now doing her A Level in Science Course at Institut Sinaran in Kota Kinabalu, the student said she never expected to be the school’s top scorer. Maneesha, who aspires to be a doctor, said concentration in class was the key factor in her success. She said she took tuition for Science and Maths before the examination. Meanwhile, Goh Ser Yee, who scored 11As to become the second best student from the school, plans to further her study in Taylor College, Subang Selangor and then complete her degree program in pharmacy in Australia. After completing her studies, she will assist her father in running his drugstore here.


Maktab Nasional scores 100pc passes in SPM


Maktab Nasional scored 100 percent passes in last year’s SPM examination, an improvement from the 97 percent pass rate in 2006. Michael Baikan, the principal of the school, said the top students from the school included Lin Kaisheng who scored 11As, Marilyn Manson (9As, 3Bs), Nasharudin Shaharuddin (8As, 2Bs), Sherynne Tan (8As, 2Bs), Jenneth Lim H.S (7As,3Bs), Daniel Saw (7As, 2Bs, 1D) Brendan Fabia (7As, 2Bs, 1C) and Khoo Boon Hee (7As, 3Bs). Michael said the students from the school scored 100 percent passes in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Science, Additional Mathematics, Arts, Principle Account, English Literature, Pendidikan Islam, Physic, Chemistry, Biology and English for Sience and Technology. He thanked all the teachers who had shown commitment, dedication and personal attention, love and care for each student. “I also wish to congratulate the parents who have given their cooperation, dedication and support to the school in monitoring their children’s studies, as the parents are our co-partners in achieving academic excellence. Without their support and encouragement, our students would not be able to excel,” he said. “This school has always stressed the importance of self-discipline, conscientiousness and determination to excel in studies while giving emphasis to character formation and ensuring that students are motivated with the right values and positive attitudes towards life.”


Peter to entertain at Miss Sabah final


Sabah veteran singer Peter Dicky Lee will be the main guest artiste in the finals of Miss Sabah Malaysia Universe beauty contest which will be held at the Magellan Sutera Harbour Resort here on Saturday. part from him, two rising singers from Sabah Shone Majimbun and Mark Lawrence would also perform as guest artistes during the event. Shone and Mark were among the top five finalists in the recently concluded second edition of the “One in a Million” reality show in Kuala Lumpur.


Defeated PKR candidates vow to soldier on


The three Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidates who lost here in the just- concluded general election have thanked their supporters, and vowed to continue with their struggle in championing the interests of people. “We would like to extend our appreciation to all the residents here who supported and voted for the PKR candidates in the just- concluded elections,” said lawyer Jonathan Yasin yesterday. Jonathan and PASOK candidate Vitos Mark Koding lost to BN-UPKO candidate Datuk Siringan Gubat who obtained a 7,251-vote majority by polling 14,074 against Jonathan’s 6,823 and Vitos’ 619. BN-UMNO incumbent Datuk Masidi Manjun retained the Karanaan state seat in a straight fight against Atin @ Attin Naisin of PKR with a 5,116-vote majority, while BN-UPKO incumbent Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin retained the Paginatan state seat in a four- cornered tussle with PKR’s Paul Kerangkas, Johumin Ampadong of Bersekutu and independent Mat Jaili Samat, with 3,457-vote majority. Jonathan said the PKR would strengthen the party’s machinery at the grassroots level in preparation for the next general election. “The political scenario in Sabah has changed and PKR will continue with its struggle in fighting for the rights and interests of the Sabahans,” he added.


Best service pledge by Sabah Customs


The State Customs Department is giving more focus to improving its human resources and providing better and more customer-friendly services, said its Director Datuk Yusop Mansor. Yusop said the department is adopting a new concept in which all customers would be treated not just as clients but also as guests, where they will be given the best service and treatment possible. “Under this new concept, we term all those dealing with us as guests. It stresses on giving the best service and hospitality to our clients as if they are guests visiting our houses,” said Yusop. To enable the department to deliver this better service quality to the community, extensive training is being conducted for staff and officers to improve their knowledge in related disciplines, he said. “This year, our focus is to work on how we can better assist our customers, the private sector and business players, reduce their working process when dealing with us. We want to make it easier for them,” he told a press conference here yesterday. “The department is striving towards improving its delivery system to provide a faster, friendlier and more effective service,” he added. Yusop said that apart from providing business-friendly service, the department is also emphasizing on increasing awareness among the public on anti-smuggling activities. “Our focus is not to increase the number of cases detected and the amount of smuggled items confiscated. Our focus is not to catch criminals but to prevent the crime,” he said. He explained that the department is aiming not just to intensify the effort to combat smuggling but also to encourage the public to work together with the authority to curb the criminal activities. He said more preventative activities such as educating the public on the negative impact of smuggling on the State’s economy and how they, as the citizens of the State, are directly affected by it.. In addition, he said, the Department will continue improving its, intelligence to gather more accurate and reliable information on smuggling. He said focus will be given on breaking smuggling chain at its source and not just crippling its distribution end. At the same time, preventative operations to deter smuggling of contrabands, especially the critical items such as alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and drugs will be continued. Anti-smuggling activities will be strengthened with priority to be given to main ports in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau. Monitoring of other main entry points, both on land and at sea would also be intensified. “Effort to intercept delivery of smuggled items will be continued and strengthened at all identified routes, including those used for bringing in contrabands from Labuan. “Sea operations would also be multiplied to detect and stop smuggling from the duty free island,” he said.


Goods with RM1.9 mln unpaid duties seized


Various types of smuggled goods with unpaid duties amounting to RM1.9 million were seized by the State Customs Department in January and February. Its Director Datuk Yusop Mansor said a total of 325 cases involving confiscation of critical items were recorded during the first two months of this year. Of the total amount of unpaid duties, he biggest contributor was cigarettes of various brands followed by alcoholic drinks. The latest case was on Feb 16 where 6,200 cartons (each containing 10 packs) were confiscated after a raid on a warehouse in Kolombong Industrial Estate in Inanam. The RM62,000 cigarettes comprised 1,200 cartons of Gudang Garam Surya and 5,000 cartons of Era weighing a total of 1,169.5 kilogram and with a street value of RM112,000. The unpaid duties on the cigarettes amounted to RM436,540. Four persons were being investigated in connection with hidden in three vehicles in a house in the seizure under Section 135(1)(D) of the Kampung Tulung Pogunon, Penampang. Customs Act 1967. The seizure, including the unpaid taxes, In a separate case early this month, the was worth a total of RM195,644. The Customs Department found 1,500 cartons department also seized all vehicles, of cigarettes of various brands and 45 including a Proton Gen2, a Nissan Urban cartons of beer (each containing 24 cans) van and a Rusa van.


FEDERAL POST? Pairin says only PM has a clear idea of new line-up


PBS President Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan yesterday denied rumours that he had been offered a Federal ministerial post. He said the rumours were part of a mass of speculations on the new Federal Cabinet under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is expected to unveil the line-up after meeting with leaders of all Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties. Pairin, one of three candidates to win parliamentary seats under the BN-PBS banner in the just concluded general election, noted that there is not one person aside from the Prime Minister himself with a clear idea of the new Cabinet line-up. “I cannot comment on this issue, otherwise I would be pre-empting something I do not know.., it is now a waiting game and we will all have to wait until tomorrow (today),” he said at a press conference at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on his return from Kuala Lumpur. Pairin was in Kuala Lumpur yesterday for a meeting of BN component parties with Abdullah and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, where he presented the PBS’ list of Members of Parliament. When asked if the Prime Minister gave any indication of PBS’ inclusion on the Federal Cabinet, Pairin avoided a direct answer, only saying that Abdullah was in a “very good mood, a jovial mood”. On a separate issue, Pairin said the statement by newly-appointed Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to “do away” with the New Economic Policy (NEP) was unwise. “It (the effectiveness of the NEP) all depends, you must not forget that the NEP has had some changes and to just simply say do away with the NEP may not be a wise statement. “We have PAS President (Datuk Seri Abdul) Hadi (Awang) talking of doing away with corruption, cronyism and everything that is not good. Whatever the present Government has reached at whatever level, if it is for the good of the community, I think that program should be continued,” he said, adding that whatever the economic program should lead to equitable distribution, fair results and prosperity for all. When asked to comment on the new Penang Government’s move to waive old parking fees and summonses in the Island State, Pairin said it is not fair to compare states and their administrations. “Every state has its own approach, and the respective Governments will look at the scenario and deal with it as it should…you can’t compare here and Penang,” he said.


New Sabah Cabinet today


The new Sabah Cabinet will be sworn in before Yang diPertua Negeri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah at Istana Negeri here today. The Chief Minister’s Department said in a statement that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman would hold a news conference at his official residence, Sri Gaya, to announce the portfolios of the Cabinet Members after the ceremony at 3pm. At least three new faces-two from Umno and one from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are tipped to assume full Minister posts. Several new faces are also tipped to be appointed as Assistant Ministers, including Tanjong Batu Assemblywoman Datuk Hamisah Samat, Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali (Balung), Datuk Ghulamhaidar Bahadar Khan (Kawang), Ahmad Bujang (Sindumin), Bolkiab Ismail (Pitas), Datuk Ramlee Mirhaban (Bugaya) Datuk Zakaria Edris (Gum Gum), Anita Baranting (Tandek) and Datuk Ellron Angin (Sook).


Cautious optimism over polls outcome
Business sector hopeful of economy staying strong


The business fraternity seems to be reacting with cautious optimism to the stunning result of the just-concluded 12th general election, as they remain confident the political change would not adversely impact on the country’s economic health. Chambers of commerce and industry believe there may be no major change in the implementation of economic development plan, particularly the Prime Minister’s brainchild - Development Corridor programmes - despite the marked change in the country’s political landscape. In Sabah and Sarawak, the general election brought about little change as BN managed to retain almost all of its seats. In sharp contrast, the alliance of Democratic Action Party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and PAS captured five states and denied the ruling Barisan Nasional the crucial two- thirds majority to form a strong Federal Government. “There may be some changes in the implementation of development programmes due to the change in the Parliament which decides the yearly budget to be allocated,” said Lawrence Kimkuan, Corporate Planning Manager of KKIP, one of the partners in the implementation of Sabah Development Corridor (SDC). “There would probably be some minor changes in terms of funding, approach and implementation,” said Lawrence, adding there are no strong indications whether the whole Development Corridor plan will be drastically changed. He noted that the Federal Cabinet would still be formed by BN and while the line-up would not be the same as the previous ones, the main leader who steers the Government would be the same — Pak Lah. Putting the political differences aside, the business players echoed the same view and expressed their continuous support and trust in the ruling coalition, stressing that there is always room for improvement. Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Frederick Lojingki said that they have great expectations in the ruling coalition, but guided with positive thinking, the business players do not foresee any major obstacles in the long run. “There may be hiccups initially but once everything has settled down and the situation stables, everything will be just fine, it will just be a matter of the past. We are lucky to live in a very fundamental country,” he said when contacted, yesterday. When asked whether the twist in the political scenario in Malaysia will shy away investors, Lojingki added that apart from looking at stability in a country, one will also look for someone who is rationale to work with. “The recent result is a shock to many but it is sending a message to the Government, this is the time to look into matters which need to be improved, such a the delivery system there is room for improvement. This is the concern of many people, some things are not well delivered although there is an existing Government policy. “Having said this, I still believe in the ruling coalition. The lower majority wins is not an excuse look at Kelantan, it has been winning on simple majority for some years, but it was still able to bring development to the state. Only minor readjustment and realignment need to be done, otherwise, the business scenario is well,” he explained. KCCI is also hoping that they would not be left behind in terms of development, stressing that their tireless trust on the ruling coalition is proven in the recent general election. “We also hope that it would bring greater awareness on the need for better cooperation by the Kadazandusun community in business, and we are confident that we have a good Government to draw a just policy that would benefit all quarters,” he said.


All BN parties included in Cabinet


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman remained tight-lipped yesterday on the State Cabinet line-up, saying that everything will be revealed at the swearing-in ceremony later this afternoon. In a five-minute interview at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on his return from Kuala Lumpur, Musa only revealed that all Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties in Sabah will be represented. “Tomorrow (today) everything will be known,” he told reporters after arriving at around 8.30 last night. Earlier in the day, Musa attended a meeting between Prime Minister Datuk’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and leaders of the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties in Kuala Lumpur where they were believed to have discussed appointments for the new Federal Cabinet.


Riparian reserves to be rid of oil palms
Industry responsive to sustainable devt initiatives: CM


The State Government has instructed all players in the oil palm sector to stop planting at riparian reserves and to remove all the palm trees that have already been planted in such areas, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. He said it was part of the Government’s efforts to safeguard the quality of rivers where thousands of people depend on for their daily needs, and to provide corridors for wildlife to move about. Musa said that under the recently launched Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) blueprint, promoting and enforcing sustainable palm oil production and food traceability is necessary to ensure continuous access to markets in developed countries. “This means that the process of certification and enforcement needs to be strengthened once standards are published by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil ( RSPO),” he said in a speech at the opening of a conference on “Progress and Challenges” organised by the East Malaysian Planters Association (EMPA) here yesterday. Musa, who was represented by Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, said that evolving global trends have to a certain extent opened doors for stakeholders affected by the sector to put pressure on the palm oil industry to take positive measures in mitigating impact. He noted that in Sabah, the players in the industry had taken nature- friendly steps based on principles of sustainable development. According to him, the Malaysian palm oil industry is not only economically strategic and well- planned, but the industry also responds in a positive manner to the many environmental challenges it faces. “This is proven by the many steps taken to address environmental and health issues. The industry has a long history for adopting sound environmental practices such as zero burning, adherence to good agricultural practices, the use of biological agents to reduce pests and the utilisation of palm oil effluents as fertilizer. “As such, Malaysia strongly believes in taking a responsible approach and is always committed to respond to the sensitivities and needs of the environment,” said Musa. In another development, Musa noted that the significance of the Malaysian palm oil industry is reflected in terms of its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GOP), and for Sabah, the sector contributed almost RM3. 4 billion in 2005 to the state’s GDP. “It is also a key sector in employment, revenue from export, as well as economic and rural development. The popularity of palm oil is reflected through its versatility in various applications as well as reliability in terms of supply. “At global level, palm oil has assumed importance in catering to demands of the world’s oils and fats requirement and accounts for 52 per cent or the largest share in the oils and fats trade,” he said. According to him, increase by major palm oil importing countries and positive sentiments owing to rising demand for bio-diesel are expected to bring a domino effect on crude palm oil (CPO) rates. “It has been predicted that CPO will hit the RM4,000 per tonne level faster than we think, due to these factors. Another reason for this rise is the projected higher growth worldwide for oils and fats, given the tight supply of soy oil following an increase in corn usage for ethanol in the United States and soybean for bio-diesel production in Latin America.” Musa said that the Government is also actively encouraging the industry to explore downstream opportunities if palm oil and its products are to expand abroad. “Non-food sectors such as biomass, oleo-chemicals and biofuel are all undergoing rapid development and have great potential to increase the country’s revenue,” he said, urging EMPA to support and participate the Government’s efforts of developing Sabah. “The surplus 2008 State Budget of RM2.3 billion is comprehensive and focuses on developing the State’s infrastructure, eradicating poverty and bringing more progress to rural areas. “At same time, the Government is committed to enhancing public service delivery system and human capital, which will give further boost to players in the industry to explore new opportunities,” said Musa, citing the recently launched SOC holistic blueprint which covers the eastern, middle and western regions of Sabah. He assured that the SOC is set to bring maximum development and economic gains to Sabah and its people and also accelerates the growth of Sabah’s economy and bridge the rural-urban divide while ensuring sustainable management of the state’s resources. “In addition to the RM2O billion that has been allocated by the Federal Government to Sabah under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, an extra RM5 billion has been pledged to kick-start the SDC blueprint that envisages agriculture, driven by palm oil as the main driver, to turn Sabah into a centre of excellence and trade for agriculture products in Asia by 2025.,” said Musa.