Thursday, April 10, 2008


Ronald may be made Deputy Speaker


While the search continues for the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, the Barisan Nasional (BN) has nominated two Members of Parliament, one from Sarawak and another from Sabah, for the posts of Deputy Speakers. A well-placed source said five-term MP Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (Santubong, Sarawak) and three-term MP Datuk Ronald Kiandee Beluran, Sabah) were being considered for the posts. “Both were picked as the main choices for the post of Deputy Speakers while the search for the speaker’s position continues,” the source told Bernama here yesterday. The speaker may be an MP or non-member who is qualified for election into the House. The Deputy Speaker must however, be an MP. The functions of the Speaker include maintaining order in the Dewan Rakyat, ensuring that relevancy is observed during debates and interpreting the standing Orders, in case of disputes. The Deputy Speakers assist the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and chair proceedings by rotation in the absence of the Speaker. Wan Junaidi when contacted, confirmed that he was informed unofficially on the matter and expressed his willingness to serve in the position, if given the chance. I still have to go through the process of being elected in the Dewan Rakyat first. For the moment, I don’t have anything to comment,” he said. Sources said Wan Junaidi was informed of the plans to name him as the Deputy Speaker by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during their meeting in Kuching last Friday. The same goes for Ronald who was also told informally on the matter, two days ago in Kota Kinabalu. Ronald, when contacted, confirmed that he had been informed about the matter informally, but refused to reveal more information. “I prefer to wait for the official statement if they decide to nominate me. “Informally, yes, they have told me but not officially,” he said, without elaborating. If elected, Ronald will follow the footsteps of former Kinabatangan MP Datuk Juhar Mahiruddin who was elected Deputy Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat from Dec 5, 1990 to Nov 10, 1999. Nominations for the new Speaker are expected to be known in the near future as speculations are rife that the post will be given to an elected members from Sabah or Sarawak. But there is also speculation that the post might be filled by a non-parliamentarian, particularly from the Judiciary like a former judge. It has been reported that the Prime Minister wants to reward Sabah and Sarawak BN with the above- mentioned posts due to their excellent performances in the recent general election. For the Speaker’s post, there is talk that veteran politician and former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia is the main contender after he was reported to have agreed to the post. - Bernama.




Jividol Thadeus may never drive another train again following the tragic accident at Lubang Batu, about three kilometres from here yesterday. The train incident which claimed two lives, three seriously injured and 23 escaped with just minor bruises and cuts, has now become his worst experience. “This is my first and last experience ... I will never drive the train again,” said the 49-year-old from Kampung Sugud, Penampang. Jividol joined the Sabah Railway Department 30 years ago and was assigned to drive the train nine years ago. “I have been going through the route all this while. We would take passengers to and from Beaufort and Tenom twice daily. “We left the Tenom Station at 2.5Opm (yesterday) for Beaufort. At around 3.O5pm, the soil suddenly fell and the locomotive and one of the two carriages plunged into the water,” he said when recalling the incident. All he could do was pray and tried his very best to save his life. So were all the other passengers. “I never expected this to happen.. I cut my forehead and had a few bruises on my buttock and chest while trying to get out of the locomotive.., this by far is my worst experience,” he said. His three minutes under water seemed to take forever, but he used all his might to swim up. “There was nothing anybody could do but to save themselves. I just sat on the railway after the incident, everything seemed numb at that time,” said Jividol from his hospital bed. Meanwhile, Sabah Fire and Rescue Services Department Deputy Director Laupen Nuar said they would be going to the site today to investigate on the incident. “We believe there was a landslide that caused the accident. It was raining heavily when we reached there,” he said when contacted. Laupen said a distress call was received at 3.15pm and firemen were rushed to the scene where the train plunged 20 feet into the water. “The water level subsided after the Pangi Dam was closed, allowing us to carry out search operation for the two victims. “We managed to pull out the first victim, a woman, from the wreckage at 6.3Opm, and the second body of a man, who was trapped under the train about four minutes later,” he said, adding that identity of both bodies could not be determined as no documents were found on them. The bodies were sent to the district hospital for post-mortem.


Two passengers dead while 26 are injured; 13 escape


Two passengers were killed and 26 others injured, three seriously, when the train they were traveling in, derailed and plunged into Sungai Padas here during a wet weather late yesterday afternoon. The dead, a man and a woman in their 40s have yet to be identified as the Police wanted to contact their nearest kin first. District Police Chief DSP Mazlan Lazim said the tragedy occurred near Kampung Tenom Lama, four kilometers from the town here shortly after the train departed from the station at 2.5Opm. Mazian who was met at the scene said the train was carrying 41 passengers in two passenger carriages. It was drizzling when the train left the station for Beaufort and the area where the accident occurred was water-logged. The condition of the ground caused the earth to soften and gave way when the train was passing through the area, apparently unable to bear its weight. The train cab and first carriage plunged into the river. The second carriage was seen still hanging precariously on the damaged tracks, saving the remaining other passengers from possible injuries and death. Mazian said the woman’s body was recovered at about 6.3Opm while the man’s body was found at 6.3Opm. Both bodies have been sent to the District Hospital for a post mortem. The train driver only sustained minor injuries but his assistant suffered a broken leg, according to him. All the injured victims including one suspected to have fractured his hips were sent to the District Hospital for treatment. A search and rescue team comprising 16 firemen and 20 police personnel were immediately dispatched to the scene when the report was received at 3.15pm. Some of the shocked survivors of the tragedy said when interviewed by Borneo Post reporters that the whole thing happened very fast, describing it as frightening. Those who survived unscathed, said it was like being given a new lease of life. “The whole thing happened in just seconds. Before we knew it the train started to list to the side and plunge into the river,” said Jesilau Sarawah, from Kampung Pangi. Jesilau who was in the front carriage with three of his siblings related that when the train started to fall into the river, passengers started screaming in fright and that caused everyone to panic. “In a blink of an eye, the train cab and the first carriage were already in the waters of the swollen river. So I jumped out of the window and started to pull my siblings out one by one. After that we went to help other passengers,” he said. A regular train commuter, Jesilau said the train was travelling at its normal speed but it started to slide down when it reached the area. Another survivor Suriah Tukit, also from Kampung Pangi, could not remember how she sustained her head injury as the whole thing happened really fast. “I was sitting in the front carriage and was not aware of what happened. The train jolted to a stop and all I heard people screaming. My son was trying to pull me out of the window,” she said, adding that she was thankful that the other family members were unhurt. Siawon Anditom, from Kampung Ponotomon, said she managed to crawl out of the window before the carriage started to slide into the river. “Only after I was out of the carriage did I realise the gravity of the accident especially when I noticed how swift flowing the river was,” she said, adding that she was travelling with her sister Elou. The train service is their regular transport to Tenom Town and they have yet to experience any as frightening as yesterday’s incident. “We did not hear anything prior to the incident... it was so fast. We only realised that something had happened when the train stopped suddenly,” she said. Meanwhile at the train station in Beaufort, anxious and worried family members were waiting for news from their kin who were travelling on the train. A man who did not want to be identified said his brother-in- law was on the train which should have arrived at Beaufort at 4.2Opm, “I have tried calling his handphone but was unable to get through and I am very worried as to his fate,” he said. Beaufort Station Master, Brahim Ag Besar, when met said, the train service between Tenom and Beaufort had been stopped temporarily. According to him, normally about 100 people use the train service daily but the number increases on weekends, public holidays and during festivals. Brahms who has been in service with the State Railways Department for 28 years, said this was the first time a train had plunged into the river. “In the past we had derailments and trains jumping off the tracks but never anything like this,” he said. The route from Beaufort to Tenom takes about two and a half hours with several stops at small stations along the way such as Saliwangan Baru, Halogilat, Rayoh and Pangi, the starting point for white water rafting.


Pensiangan seat: Candidates file petitions


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate Danny Anthony Andipai and Independent candidate Saineh b Usau have separately filed an election petition at the High Court here to challenge the validity of the result of the Pensiangan parliamentary seat in the 12th General Election. Danny, 41, filed his petition through Counsel Ansari Abdullah at the High Court’s Registry at 3.07pm yesterday, naming Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Tan Sri Joseph Kurup and Election Commission Returning Officer Bubudan OT Majalu as the first and second respondents respectively. Saineh filed his petition about 4.3Opm through his Counsel Arthur Borine, naming Sabah State Election Officer Bubudan and Joseph as the first, second and third respondents respectively. In their respective petitions, Danny and Saineh are seeking among others, an order from the Court that the election of the first respondent, Joseph Kurup as null and void under Section 32(b) of the Election Offences Act 1954. Saineh is also asking the Court to declare the conduct of the said nomination election as unlawful, null and void. Kurup, who is Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) President, won the Pensiangan seat uncontested after the nomination papers of the other candidates were rejected by the Returning Officer. In the fact of the petition, Danny said he arrived at the nomination centre at the Nabawan District Council Hall about 9.35am on Feb 24 this year and gave his personal details together with that of his proposer and seconder to the police counter in front of the entrance to the said hall. He then entered the nomination centre and was given a piece of paper bearing number 10 and proceeded to pay his deposit of RM10,000 and also paid the sum of RM5,000 required as deposit for campaign materials. About 9.55am, one of the Election Officers closed and locked the entrance to the nomination centre. Danny was then asked by Election Officer Rose Sufi to hand over his nomination papers to the second respondent (Bubudan) and he did it accordingly. However, he was shocked when he was informed by the second respondent that he was late in delivering his nomination papers and refused to accept the same. He tried to explain that he was unable to hand over his nomination papers as the second respondent was occupied with another candidate but the second respondent was adamant in his refusal. Danny then contacted his advocate, Ansari who advised him to lodge a police report at the police counter. As he was proceeding to lodge a police report, he was advised ‘not to do so by Assistant Returning Officer Osman Aganduk @ Fendi who said to the second respondent, “Tuan boleh daftar, saya sudah called SPR” (You can register sir, I have called the Election Commission). After that, the second respondent accepted Danny’s nomination papers and subsequently that of the other candidates, Paul Bunsu b Gitang @ Paul Gitang and Saineh b Usau, and posted all the three nomination papers for objection. The second respondent closed the period for objection to nomination papers about 11am and went on to accept the nomination of the first respondent for the above election and the other nominations, including that of Paul for N37 Sook. Danny was shocked when the second respondent announced that the first respondent (Kurup) was returned unopposed and declared him as being duly elected for the election as the nomination papers of him and Saineh were rejected. He further said that no reason was given by the second respondent in the announcement made for the nomination and election of the first respondent and the rejection of the nomination papers of the petitioner. Danny later went to lodge a police report on what had transpired during the nomination at the Nabawan Police Station about 4pm on the same day. He claimed that the second respondent (Bubudan) had planned to make available only one counter for delivery of nomination papers for the three constituencies of P182 Pensiangan, N37 Sook and N38 Nabawan. He further claimed that the second respondent had purposely delayed the process of delivery of nomination papers by making himself unduly busy attending to the purported independent candidate, Fatimah Agitor, and answering telephone calls on his hand phone during the period of nomination and had failed to delegate the Assistant Returning Officers the duty and/or power to accept the delivery of nomination papers during the period of nomination to enable the first respondent to be returned unopposed in the election. Saineh meanwhile claimed that he approached the second respondent (Bubudan) for an explanation as to why was his nomination was rejected but the second respondent did not entertain him. The second respondent also refused to show the register book that recorded the submission time of his nomination paper. Saineh stated that there was no objection at all for his nomination documents and/or at least if there was any, of which he was not made aware of, the second respondent should have notified him so that he could accordingly clarify or defend himself against any so-called objection. He claimed that he was never late in submitting his nomination documents having been accepted and pasted on the notice board. If at all (which is denied) he was late in submitting his nomination documents, then the second respondent should not have accepted the documents. He further claimed that by pasting his nomination papers on the notice board, it clearly indicated that the nomination papers were submitted within the time period provided by Rule 6(2)(b) of the Election (Conduct of Election) Regulations1981. Saineh added there was no objection received from any other candidate against the nomination documents for Pensiangan. He further claimed that the second respondent not only did not comply with the provision of any written law relating to the election but the election was not conducted according to the principles of such election in that the election/returned unopposed of the third respondent (Kurup) was decided by the second respondent and not decided by the electorate of Pensiangan constituency.