Monday, March 17, 2008


Mukhriz‘s statement disrespectful, says Japlin


Sabah Umno Youth has taken the party’s National Youth Exco member Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir to task for asking Prime Minister and Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resign. The movement’s chief, Datuk Japlin Akim, described Mukhriz’s statement as “disrespectful and uncalled for” as it does not reflect the stand of an Umno Youth leader and urged the latter to withdraw the statement. Japlin in a statement pointed out that its was strange that Mukhriz had earlier openly expressed his support for Abdullah’s leadership but then sent a letter to him calling for his resignation. “I don’t understand how he can stab Pak Lah in the back... this is not the Umno Youth’s way,” said Japlin who is also the Usukan State Assemblyman. He also reiterated Sabah Umno Youth’s stand of undivided support for Pak Lah as well as State Umno Liaison Chief Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. “Sabah Umno Youth has confidence in Pak Lah’s leadership and administration of the country and he can do better with the support of the rakyat, Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties and Umno leaders,” he added.


Melanie finds new post more challenging


Newly appointed Assistant Finance Minister Melanie Chia Chui Ket said the new post would be more challenging than her previous position as Assistant Resource Development and Information Technology Minister. “It is more challenging if compared with my previous post as it deals with the policy and development of the State and covering all the other ministries,” she said when contacted yesterday. However, Melanie who is the Luyang Assemblywoman, said that the new post is actually a new experience for her. Asked to elaborate on her new role, Melanie said she had yet to be given any specific task. “I have just been appointed to this post. Normally, the task will be given after the first State Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. I will know what is my role in this ministry after the meeting,” said Melanie who thanked Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman for giving her the trust in holding the post. “I thank Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman who is also Finance Minister, for giving me the opportunity and trust to play my role in another ministry. It is an honour for me and I will give my best,” she said. Melanie added that appointing her to the important post was also a recognition of women’s contribution to the development of the State. Meanwhile, Melanie and Likas Assemblyman Datuk Liew Teck Chan have called on the people to continue to give them the necessary feedback, suggestions and advice so that they could better improve their service to them. They made the call after making their rounds at the Sunday Gaya Street fair here yesterday, to thank their voters and supporters for retaining them in the 12th General Election. Melanie who has been appointed as Assistant Finance Minister together with Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan in the new State Cabinet, reckoned that the people’s cooperation is absolutely crucial towards improving the living condition in their constituency. She vowed to do her best to improve the communication system between the relevant authorities and the people, so as to better improve the delivery system of the relevant authorities. Both she and Liew also promised to fight for greater attention from the relevant authorities to better improve the infrastructures, especially the drainage system in and around their constituencies, so as to effectively address the perennial flash flood problem which had been affecting the residents for many years each time when there was a heavy downpour. Melanie was convinced that the delivery system of the relevant authorities can be improved, if they are really committed to their tasks of serving the people as demonstrated by the Immigration Department in expediting the issuance of passports. Meanwhile, Liew who is also the Deputy President of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), also pledged to improve the traffic situation in Likas and its vicinity, especially the stretch along the All Saints Secondary School. He also called on his constituents to look for him either at his office at the Progressive Centre in Inanam or at the SAPP weekly mobile service booth in Gaya Street, every Sunday if they need any assistance.


UMS students complete workshop organised by Shell


In its effort to promote better industrial safety management, Shell Malaysia Gas and Power has held a two-day workshop for University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) students on the importance of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) in the workplace. The workshop held under Shell Malaysia’s capacity building programme PRESTIGE (Practical Environmental, Safety and Industrial Guidance for Engineers), was participated by 50 final-year students from UMS Faculty of Engineering. The interactive workshop organized in collaboration with the Department of Environment (DOE) and the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) Kota Kinabalu covered practical Shell HSE knowledge, tools and best practice aimed to help these future engineers identify HSE risks at workplace and manage them accordingly. “Our objective is to share the importance of health and safety in the workplace with these future engineers using Shell’s HSE tools and best practice to enable them not only to see its importance in the workplace but make it part and parcel of their work culture,” said Shell MDS Malaysia Manufacturing General Manager Mark Pattenden. “At Shell, health, safety and environmental issues are managed as critical part of our business activity. We are committed to pursue the goal of zero harm to people, to protect our environment and to manage HSE matters so that we achieve continuous performance improvement. This is our commitment as a responsible company to our staff, contractors and the communities we operate in,” he added when speaking at the workshop closing dinner here last night. During the workshop, participants were given lectures by speakers from DOE, DOSH, UMS and Shell. Towards the end of the workshop, the group were divided into small groups and given a case study that required them to apply the HSE knowledge, tools and best practice that they were taught over the weekend to various real life scenarios. Three teams who provided the best solution to the problem given to them received the PRESTIGE Award and prizes from Shell, including a study trip to the world’s first commercial Gas-To-Liquid (GTL) plant in Bintulu, Sarawak. UMS Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Kamaruzzaman Ampon who witnessed the presentation of prizes, said the programme allowed the students not only to enhance their awareness on HSE issues but also their understanding on Shell’s business operations and its commitment to sustainable development. “It also presented the scholars with an overview of the job opportunities available in the company and within the energy industry,” he added. According to Kamaruzzaman, UMS is on the final stage of providing industrial training to its students that directly attaches them with the industry. Shell is the first company to offer its professional staff to give lecture to UMS students under the industrial attachment programme, he said.


CASH to bring consumers issues to new minister


The Consumer Association of Sabah and FT Labuan (CASH) would forward and highlight the issues of consumers to the new Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Hajah Azizah Mohd Dun. Its Deputy President, Nordin Thani, said CASH is looking forward to working very closely with the minister to resolve the consumers’ problems. He hopes that Hajah’s Ministry would be more effective in solving the disputes between business owners and consumers after the Barisan Nasional (BN)’s landslide victory in the 12th General Election in the State. Nordin was asked to comment on the appointment of Azizah who won the Klias State seat under a BN ticket. “I would address the important roles of the consumers who are actually voters that involve everybody in the country,” he said. “I am certain that Datuk Hajah Azizah realize the roles that empowering consumers can play and I am certain of her capability in helping not only individuals but the economy, businesses and the general well-being of our society. “With her appointment, I congratulate her on being appointed as the new Minister of the Community Development and Consumers Affairs,” he said. Nordin added CASH would also ensure that the less informed and vulnerable consumers are always protected from unscrupulous traders and businesses and the role of enforcement and the right regulations and systems are in place for this. “With Azizah’s ministerial experiences obtained and achieved at the federal level, I am confident she could deliver and contribute towards the future development of Sabah. “I have read her statements too in The Borneo Post that she would want to really help the consumers with the complaints and single parents issues,” he said. Nordin pointed out the ministry’s role as a whole is so broad. However, it is expected by many to be transparent and effective. When asked for the worst complaints received before the election which has become one of the major issues in Sabah, he mentioned illegal money lending by a long who impose unbearable interest on their customers.


Beauty pageant helps to promote KK: Mayor


Staging of the Miss Sabah Malaysia Universe can help further promote the Nature Resort City of Kota Kinabalu as a hub for international activities. Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim said this in his welcoming address during the beauty pageant’s State-level final here on Saturday night. Wishing the best luck to Borneo Events who is bidding to stage the national level Miss Malaysia! Universe here in Sabah, he said the competition is seen as one way of promoting the State tourism. “One of the criteria required from the contestants is good knowledge of their State tourism industry. As such this event is also in line with the Visit Malaysia Year 2007/2008. “For the contestants themselves, I am sure they will be promoting the uniqueness of Sabah through this event, while at the same time, build their self-confidence and prepare them as future ambassadors for the State,” he said. Iliyas witnessed the crowning of Miss Sabah/Malaysia/Universe Cassey V Pilos who will be representing the State at the national level expected to be held in Kuala Lumpur in April.


Penampang wants John to be appointed as Senator


The district wants Datuk John Ambrose Dumpangol to be appointed as a senator due to his immense contribution to the Barisan Nasional (BN) victories in the Penampang parliamentary constituency and two state seats. The parliamentary seat was won by Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (BN-Upko) while the state seats of Moyog and Kepayan were retained by BN through Donald Datuk Peter Mojuntin (Upko) and Datuk Edward Khoo (MCA) respectively. “But their victory would not have come easy without the help rendered by John and his Umno election machinery which was fine-tuned months prior to the March 8 general elections,” political analysts said. According to them, it could not be denied that before the elections, many voters in Penampang were divided. “A few days before the campaign period, BN’s chances were shaky in the three areas. But John exercised his ability to help the BN candidates and the situation improved tremendously, and to prove that victory wasn’t easy, look at the election results in Penampang,” one of the analysts said. A random survey conducted in Donggongon town here showed that many people wanted John to be given a political position at the Federal level. “It would be nice for John to get a Federal post because he could use it to serve the people well. It doesn’t matter which party he belongs to as long as it is from BN,” they said. Meanwhile, the Penampang Umno division headed by John fully supports the leadership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and wants him to remain as the Prime Minister. John said Umno has more seats compared to the other BN component parties. “The recent general election has shown that Umno still commands the support of the people, and there is no reason for Pak Lah’s resignation as advocated by the MP for Jerlun, Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir,” he said yesterday. Mukhriz, the son of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had written a letter to Abdullah asking him to step down as the Prime Minister.


Patrick calls for people-oriented State Government


Consumer Association of Sabah and FT Labuan (Cash) President Datuk Patrick Sindu yesterday urged the newly- appointed State Cabinet to become a people-oriented Government. Calling the new Cabinet an “old batch of milk in a new container”, he said the onus is on the new line-up of Ministers to deliver equitable and sustainable development for all Malaysians in Sabah. “There has not been much change (in the Cabinet line-up). They really must work hard to meet the needs of the electorate and ensure the rights of the people are safeguarded,” he said in a telephone interview. “The main issue should be empowerment of the people, so they are not marginalised and to also alleviate their sufferings. “There has been an increase in poverty here, and I believe the Government needs to change its (delivery) system. It needs to reevaluate what it has done before, why there is poverty and why basic infrastructure in rural areas is not in place. “We must remember that two- thirds of the rural population is still without good roads, electricity or water ... the system has to change to meet the dire needs of the people,” he said. Patrick, who contested the Papar parliamentary seat as an independent in the recent elections, also urged for transparency and accountability on the part of the State Government, especially in its implementation of development programmes. “I have spoken to the people and they want the Cabinet to publicise what (programmes) they want to do, such as the SDC (Sabah Development Corridor). “It looks like the SDC will only benefit a few people in the business sector but not the people, who are still faced with a lack of basic needs,” he said. Patrick added that the State Government needs to address issues such as progress with the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah, land issues pertaining to Native Customary Rights (NCR) land, corruption and the rising cost of living due to increasing oil prices. “I urge the new State Cabinet to intensify efforts towards becoming people-oriented and I call upon the Ministers to ensure their development plans meet the needs of the people ... five years is not a long time,” he said.


Set up ministry to improve situation in Sabah: Liew


Sabah PKR Deputy Chairperson Christina Liew has called on the State Government to set up a special ministry to improve the situation in the State and welfare of the people, especially in handling the illegal immigrants (PTI) issue. “The Government can set up a special committee it if they really want to help the people of Sabah. All the Government need to do is to change or amend the constitution,” she said when met by reporters here yesterday. “I have noted that a few elected representatives are a little bit more vocal in speaking on the PTI issue in the State Legislative Assembly. I also hope that Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai will also bring this issue up as it affects the Api Api constituency. “The street kids issue is also a big problem?” she said. Liew, who lost in the Api Api state seat to Yee and Kota Kinabalu parliamentary seat to DAP Sabah Chairman Hiew King Chiew, also suggested to the local authorities such as the Immigration and Police to study the matter. The PKR leader also hoped that all the BN candidates will fulfil their promises to the people of Sabah. “The BN manifesto stated that the bridges will be built and the poverty will be taken care of,” she said. Christina also hoped all the elected representatives will maximize their capacity and ability to implement whatever programmes under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC). Commenting on the results of the just completed general election, she said half of the winning seats for BN were from Sabah and Sarawak. Liew also urged the State Government to include professionals in the implementation of SDC and conduct open public forum so that the people can have a better understanding of the development programme. “The State Government must now focus on their election manifesto and handle the job with responsibility. Even though I was not elected but I am watching from outside the State Legislative Assembly whatever is happening. I am also monitoring the implementation of the promises that. BN had made to the people of Sabah,” she added.


PKR to challenge BN wins in all seats: Jeffrey


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) will challenge the validity of the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) victories in all the State and parliamentary seats in the State through petition and justice in court. Its Vice President, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, claimed that there were elements of offence committed under the Election Offences Act during the campaign period and on polling day. “PKR also reported to the Anti- Corruption Agency (ACA) four days ago on money politics claim and fault committed under the Election Offences Act,” he told reporters at his residence here after chairing the post-mortem meeting on the loss of all the PKR candidates contesting in the State and parliamentary constituencies in the State. Jeffrey urged the ACA to investigate the reports lodged by PKR under Section 10 of the Election Offences Act 1954. Jeffrey who lost in the Bingkor State seat and Keningau parliamentary seat, claimed that 30 voters who received money during the election had come forward to report to PKR. “I believe many involved do not dare to come forward to make report to us on this matter (money politics),” he said. Jeffrey also accused the BN candidates of misusing the Poor Student Trustee Fund Group (KWAPM) by distributing the assistance to school students in all areas during the campaign period. He said that such action had influenced the parents to vote for BN. “Ten of my polling agents in 10 polling stations in Bingkor constituency except the polling station at SM St Francis Xavier’s were not given Form 13 and 14 by the Election Commission (EC),” he said. He also claimed that a polling station, which was a secondary school here that was not listed in EC, was opened for voters to cast their votes. “I believe the polling station was not for the local voters but for foreigners to cast their votes,” he alleged. Jeffrey also disputed the use of postal votes which he claimed could be brought home and passed around. He said the postal Votes should be given on polling day and counted together with the normal votes. He also alleged that the EC had disallowed the re-counting of votes with a difference of less than four percent. “PKR will take legal action, including making petition and lodging report with the ACA, urging the agency to investigate the matter under Section 10 of the Election Offences Act,” he said. Jeffrey also urged the voters in all the election areas throughout the State who accepted money during the campaign and polling day to report to PKR so that action could be taken by bringing the matter to ACA and the court.


Birthday girl crowned Miss Sabah Malaysia Universe


It was a very special birthday present for 21-year-old Cassey V Pilos after she was crowned Miss Sabah Malaysia Universe here on Saturday evening. As the State winner, Cassey who turned 21 on Saturday, will represent Sabah in the Miss Malaysia Universe contest in Kuala Lumpur on April 13 and will stand a chance to represent Malaysia in the 57th Miss Universe beauty contest to be held in July. The accounts clerk from Semporna was stunned when her name was pronounced as the winner to thunderous applause and whistling from the floor. Looking almost in disbelief, she still managed to put on a lovely wide smile and waved to the crowd as resigning Miss Malaysia Adeline Chin Ai Nee placed the coveted crown on her head. “I really didn’t expect to win as I didn’t do very well in the question and answer session. I was very nervous and got my answers all wrong. I really screwed it up and I thought I have lost my chance to win the title,” she said when met back stage after the crowning ceremony. The Tawau Unduk Ngadau and State Miss Hotlink Popular said the whole competition was a gruelling process and nerve racking for her, specially the interview session which was the final judging stage before deciding the winner. The second eldest among six all-girl siblings said she had taken part in a number of traditional beauty pageants before and this was the first modem one that involved cat walking in swim wear. “I was a little bit uncomfortable and shy. I got very nervous every time I walked around the stage. It was very tough,” she said. But thanks to her healthy workout routine, her stunning body accompanied by her winning smile captured the eyes of the audience and the heart of the judges who gave her the Miss Body Beautiful subsidiary award and picked her as one of the top five to go through to the final stage. Cassey and four other finalists — Edna Walker, Teah Su Yin, Chloe Nicole Majimbon and Bianca Lim Zie Kuan - made it to the interview session where each of them had to answer a different question. Initially 14 finalists were selected from across the State. The Malay and Kadazan speaking Cassey was asked what beauty means to her and she answered nervously but sincerely. Her words were blurry and not well organized but good enough not to cost her the competition. Teah perhaps gave a better and more thought provoking answer. Asked how to keep Sabah greener, she said the Government is not just about power, money and corruption but it should also be about protecting the environment. The Government, she added, given the power and position it has, must play an active role to lead and be right at the very forefront of the conservation efforts. However, standing at 1.7 meters tall with a 32”-25”-37’ figure, Cassey came out winner beating Teah and the rest of the top five. She is currently taking a pedicure and manicure course and planning to open her own beauty saloon. The Kadazan girl who speaks fluent Mandarin, hopes the Miss Sabah title will help her business in the future. Apart from the title, she bagged RM12,000 cash prize, a trophy and beauty products from Marie France worth RM8,000. Finishing first runner-up was Chloe. The 19-year-old who stands at l67cm with a 34”-26”-36” figure, also won the Miss Popular subsidiary award. She walked away with RM8,000 cash, a trophy and beauty products worth RM5,000. Bianca, also 19, who took four subsidiary titles, Miss Elegant Tawau, Miss Friendly Big Apple Donut, Miss Popular Shaninigen and Miss Photogenic, was the second runner- up. She received RM5,000 cash, a trophy and RM3,000 worth of beauty products. US billionaire Donald Triumph, owner of the Miss Universe contest, will attend the final of Miss Universe 2008 to be held at the Diamond Bay Resort in the coastal city of Nha Trang, Vietnam.


Fresh faces to dominate new Cabinet


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is set to announce his new Cabinet, albeit a relatively smaller one, by Tuesday, which will likely see a host of new faces who emerged victorious in the just-ended general election. Early indications show the line-up may consist of between 26 and 28 ministries from the previous 31, with some ministries to be merged. Abdullah has for the past few days held meetings with all the Barisan Nasional (BN) component party heads to 4vork out the finer details before making up his mind, a reflection of the need to adhere to the power-sharing concept of the BN and take all communities into consideration. There has been much speculation over the last few days as to who are the Ministers to be retained by Abdullah. The Prime Minister had made it clear that ministers, who were defeated in the March 8 election would not be re-appointed, which means there would not be “backdoor” entries into the Cabinet via senator-ship. BN won 140 seats to gain a simple majority in Parliament, just eight seats short to secure a two-thirds majority, while the Opposition has 82. In some countries, such a result would be considered a landslide win. Sources told Bernama that several Umno and MCA Deputy Ministers in the former Cabinet are set to move up as Ministers. MCA is likely to have four new representatives and MIC will feature a new Minister for the first time since 1979. “The MIC Minister would be the sole Indian representative in the Cabinet,” said a source, who hinted that party Secretary-General and Segamat Member of Parliament Datuk Dr S Subramanian may get the job. The source also said that MIC is likely to be given two Deputy Ministers and two Parliamentary Secretaries. There is also a possibility of one more Deputy Minister’s post reserved for the Indian community. Some in the MIC are speculating that Datuk M Saravanan (newly elected Tapah MP) may be made a Minister. Another source told Bernama from the Umno side that among the likely candidates to be promoted are former Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, Deputy Information Minister Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad and Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shahzinian Abu Mansor. Sources are speculating that Shahziman is tipped to head the Information Ministry, which may see the communications component taken out from the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry. The move is to streamline the information and communication portfolios under one umbrella. MCA has submitted four names for ministerial positions, comprising party Secretary-General Datuk Ong Ka Chuan, Vice-President Datuk Ong Tee Keat, Youth Chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai and Wanita Chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen. Ka Chuan is expected to take over from younger brother Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting at the Housing and Local Government Ministry while the others may assume portfolios traditionally apportioned to MCA, with the Transport portfolio going to Tee Keat, Human Resources to Liow and Health to Dr Ng. If elevated, Dr Ng will be the party’s first woman Minister. “We are likely to get only four ministers and five Deputy Ministers’ posts as we have decided to give up the Parliamentary Secretaries’ posts and opted for fewer Deputy Ministers,” a party source said. Prior to the election, MCA had four Ministers, eight Deputy Ministers, four parliamentary Secretaries and one Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s post under the “4:8:4 + 1 arrangement”. Gerakan, which managed to retain only two parliamentary seats, is likely to lose its place in the Cabinet, as Acting President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had said the party was not asking for any ministerial position. BN components from Sabah and Sarawak, which had performed exceptionally well, having won 24 of the 25 seats and 30 of the 31 seats at stake, respectively, may see a higher Cabinet representation this time. Sources said Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) had asked for additional Ministers after they won most of their seats. PBS won two of the three parliamentary seats, United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) retained all three parliamentary seats and SAPP won all its two parliamentary seats. Other component parties such as Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) also won their sole parliamentary seats in Pensiangan and Sandakan, respectively. The victorious candidates are PBS Deputy President Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili (Kota Marudu), UPKO President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (Penampang), PBRS President Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (Pensiangan) and LDP President Datuk V K Liew (Sandakan). Previously, Sabah had three Ministers, one each from Umno, PBS and UPKO. This composition is likely to be maintained, with several new Deputy Ministers given to other Sabah BN component parties. “UPKO is likely to get one Deputy Minister’s post apart from the existing one Minister’s post,” a Sabah BN source said. SAPP, LDP and PBRS are expected to get a Deputy Minister each. Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) had also requested for two more Ministers instead of one in the previous Cabinet. Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) had only asked for their status quo in the Cabinet and the administration to be maintained. PBB won all 14 seats it contested, SUPP six out of seven, while PRS and SPDP retained all six and four seats, respectively. PPB would at least get two ministerial positions and either PRS or SPDP would get another Minister’s post to better reflect the Dayak community, the sources said. Prior to the dissolution of Parliament, PBB only had a sole representative in Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi, who did not contest in the polls, while PRS was represented by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Joseph Entulu, and Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Joseph Salang, while SPDP by Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe. SPDP had recommended Dr Tiki Lafe (Mas Gading), Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan (Baram), Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (Bintulu), Jelaing Mersat (Saratok) and Senator Paul Chek Nyuk for federal postings. The Orang Ulu community had lobbied for fourth-term Baram MP Jacob to be considered for a Minister’s post on the rationale that he would be able to facilitate development in the rural constituency, which is as big as Pahang, but the country’s least developed due to its remoteness and vastness. - Bernama