Friday, April 25, 2008


Japanese giant firm picks Sabah
Yanmar opens R&D centre for biomass-derived fuels


Well-known Japanese giant company, Yanmar Co Ltd, has chosen Sabah to be the centre of its global research and development (R&D.) network for developing biomass-derived fuels. The Oasaka-based company established in 1912, is the first to develop Japanese practical small size diesel engines. It has a strong footing in research and development in various countries, including UK, India, Indonesia and Thailand particularly on alternative fuels such as FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester), waste cooking oil, rapeseed oil and palm oil. Taking advantage of the State’s rich biomass source, it has recently opened its Yanmar Kota Kinabalu Research and Development Centre in the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP). The centre which officially opened end of January, is poised to be the research and development centre for the region as well as the hub for environmental technology and information. Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia, Masahiko Hone earlier this week visited the facility which has already started researches and working on developing a 100 percent pure biomass derived fuel. “The centre will be overseeing the activities and collaborating with other Yanmar Research and Development Centres throughout the world. It will monitor and supervise biodiesel projects in India and UK,” he told reporters here last night. He said Sabah’s ecosystem is one of the most important mega biodiversities in the world and the Japanese, being a close partner of Malaysia, is interested in continuing to take an active part in activities promoting environmental conservation, such as developing an environmental friendly fuel. With increasing environmental awareness among companies and consumers and clean energy is rapidly gaining prominence, he said bio-diesel is offering an interesting prospect as the fuel of the future. Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil, which is the main feedstock for biodiesel. In 2005, the country formulated the National Biofuel Policy (sometimes known as the National Biodiesel Policy) to call for production of a biofuel blend of five percent processed palm oil and 95 percent diesel known as B5. The policy encourages the use of this blend by the public, establishes an industry standard for palm biodiesel quality and promotes the setting up of biodiesel plants in the country for export purposes.


Lightning may have caused Sandakan blackout


The power interruption that hit the district on Monday afternoon occurred after a bout of heavy rain followed by lightning. Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) East Zone (Sandakan) Manager Ir Magdalene Chu Wei Quan said that the SESB is still investigating the actual cause of the power interruption. “From our initial findings, lightning may have caused a circuit of the 33kV line at Batu Sapi to trip which subsequently caused the generation set at Gantisan Power Barge Sets 1 and 2 and Libaran Sets 1 and 4 to trip,” she said yesterday. Chu said this resulted in a generation loss of 61MW and the transmission system was automatically cut off from the Grid to protect against the sudden high generation cost. The blackout had affected 90 per cent of the consumers in Sandakan, with the exception of some areas along Labuk Road which was supplied by the Labuk Power Station, she told The Borneo Post. “Power supply was gradullay restored but due to some generating sets encountering problems, the process took longer than usual,” Chu explained. In addition, she said the Teluk Salut and Tenom Pangi Hydro Power Stations in the West Coast encountered forced outages in the same afternoon that day, forcing the utility company to implement load shedding. “Industrial areas were the first to load shed but due to the critical situation, the town and residential areas were also affected,” she added.


Anwar questions PM’s Commitment


Parti Keadilan Rakyat Adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has strongly questioned Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s commitment to rid the civil service of corruption. He said even the Prime Minister’s latest move to restructure the Anti- Corruption Agency (ACA) to step up the battle against graft by proposing to turn the Agency into a full-fledged commission is not convincing to the people. “The idea to transform the ACA into an independent body answerable to the Parliament is great, but it should have been done years ago since Abdullah took over the premiership from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” said Anwar yesterday. “Many are questioning the commitment of the Prime Minister in effectively combating corruption,” he told reporters at the end of his two-day visit to Sabah yesterday. Anwar cited a few major corruption allegations as example which he said were brushed aside without proper investigation. According to him, there is no need for the setting up of the Commission as the country has enough laws and mechanism that are already in place to address corruption, if they are optimally enforced. However, the Keadilan de facto leader said the Opposition Front would nevertheless support the establishment of the Commission, provided it is backed up with strong and good laws to ensure its effectiveness. “Malaysia is a fortunate country as it has a loyal Opposition in the Parliament to keep check on the decisions made by the Government legislators. “We will support (the setting up of the Commission) and we will monitor its implementation closely. Our stance is very objective to support what is good and never to stop questioning what is not,” he said.


USS Fiztgerald, first foreign ship berthed at Sepanggar Naval Base


The United States navy ship, USS Fitzgerald, has become the first foreign navy ship to berth at the Royal Malaysian Navy’s second largest base in Sepanggar Bay. The destroyer, which berthed at the Sepanggar Bay Navy Base here, yesterday morning is here with The 1oyal Brunei Navy and French Navy ships to participate in the Freedom of Entry To The City, jointly organised by the Malaysian Navy and Kota Kinabalu City Hall this Saturday. In the past, all visiting foreign navy ships including the Austalian HMAS Leeuwin’s surveyor warship which visited the Sepanggar navy base in May last year were berthed at the Kota Kinabalu Port. “I am very impressed with the beauty of this area. When we entered the Sepanggar waters, we can clearly see Mount Kinabalu afar from here,” said Commander Daniel Dusek, the USS Fitzgerald Commanding Officer, to reporters here. “Even, I myself had dived into the sea from this ship with about 20 metres height for fun yesterday and I have planned to go to the nearby Pulau Sapi (Sapi Island) on Sunday for scuba-diving,” Dusek added. He said the 13-year-old navy ship with 300-crew members, including 32 officers, is based in Japan and will leave Kota Kinabalu for undisclosed destination on Monday. He said besides participating in the Freedom of Entry To The City, some of the crew members also planned to climb Mount Kinabalu and join a Proboscis monkey tour in Klias. The USS Fitzgerald is equipped to operate in a high density, multi-threat environment as an integral member of a carrier battle group, surface action group or underway replenishment group. In addition to her own self decense capabilities in anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and anti-surface warfare (ASUW), the USS Fitzgerald can effectively provide local area protection to the battle group, surface action group and other ships. Dusek, who started his carreer as a US navy officer in 1989, also paid a courtesy call on the Naval Region Two Commander, First Admiral Syed Zahiruddin Putra Syed Osman,


CVLB looking for mechanism to solve pirate transport operation


A long-standing problem concerning pirate public transportation maybe a matter of the past if the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) has its ways. “Pirate taxis or minibuses are a big problem to us, especially in the East Coast of Sabah such as Lahad Datu. We are looking for a mechanism to overcome the problem,” CVLB Chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said at a press conference here yesterday. He stressed that the lack of enforcement officers is also hampering their efforts to fight against the illegal operation. “We do not know how to curb the problem. Sometimes when some of the drivers are caught, they would tell the police or our enforcement officers that their passengers are their relatives or from their village. “We have carried out a lot of enforcement work but they continue to carry out the illegal operation the next day. It is a never- ending issue ... so if anyone has an idea to put a stop to this, please come forward and help us,” he said. On the employment of unqualified drivers by the public transport operators, Bung Moktar said they would compound the operators. He believes that the public transport operators may not even know their drivers personally. “This month alone, we have compounded six to seven operators for failing to comply with our regulations. We are calling on them to employ only qualified drivers. “It is also important for them to train their drivers to be disciplined and knowledgeable, as they are not just dealing with locals, but also foreign tourists. “I would also like to urge public transport operators to know their employees ... have good rapport with them and check their background. We do not want criminals to drive passengers around,” he said.


Sabah not ready to introduce Flying Squad


Sabah is not ready to introduce the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) Flying Squad proposed by Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar. “We welcome the idea but unfortunately, we do not have enough enforcement officers to carry out the work. We have only nine enforcement officers, with two each in Tawau and Sandakan, and the other five here. “So unless we increase the number of enforcement officers, we cannot carry out the Flying Squad. We also hope the Ministry will look into our needs first,” CVLB Chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said. The Flying Squad will conduct major checks on express buses throughout the country to ensure they comply with the Safety, Health and Environment regulations, according to Noh. Meanwhile, Bung Moktar announced that with the expansion of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport and the increase in the number of tourists entering Sabah, CVLB will be opening applications for premier taxi services. “The application for premier taxis with 2,000cc and above at KKJA will be opened from May 1 to July 31. Currently we have received 130 applications and only those who meet the criteria will be given the opportunity to fill up the 40 empty slots,” he said.


Lifespan of public transport vehicles reviewed: CVLB


In an effort to ensure the safety of commuters in Sabah, the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) has reviewed the lifespan of public transport vehicles in the State. Its Chairman, Datuk Bung Moktar Radin, said the lifespan is set between 10 and 30 years, depending on the type of vehicle used for the public transportation services in Sabah, and an additional five years for those in Labuan. “We believe it is important to revoke the licences of public transport vehicles after a certain age because we want the operators to provide only the best services to their passengers, and to ensure that the commuters are comfortable throughout the journey. “Besides with higher trust on the public transport services, it would also encourage the people to take the bus or taxi, thus reducing traffic congestion in the State,” he told reporters yesterday. Bung Moktar added that the lifespan for vehicles in Labuan is longer because of the size of the area and the road condition on the island which is better compared to Sabah. Giving express buses as an example, he explained that for new applications, the operators are only allowed to use the vehicles up to 20 years (25 years in Labuan), while new applicants wishing to venture into the industry can only purchase cars that are not more than five years old. “In Sabah, the lifespan for school buses is higher compared to our counterparts in Sarawak and West Malaysia. “We, however, allow school buses in Sabah to be used up to 30 years, which is higher compared to other states in Malaysia. Sarawak only allows school bus drivers to use their vehicles up to 25 years and in West Malaysia, 20 years,” he said. Bung Moktar explained the rationale behind it is because the school bus operators in Sabah are earning less than their counterparts in the other states. Bung Moktar meanwhile called for the setting up of an integrated station for all public transport vehicles, at least one in each district. “Through an integrated station, all public transport vehicles will have a place to park while waiting for passengers. Currently they are everywhere. In other states, their integrated station is very sophisticated and arranged well, he said.


Lengthy jail, cane for duo
Locals who abducted, raped, hurt UMS student get up to 61 years, 25 strokes

•Mohd Sahrizal and Mohd Ariffin charged with abducting UMS student
•Sahrizal charged with raping, forcing student to perform oral sex in car
•Ariffin charged with raping student two times in car at different places
•Sahrizal and Ariffin charged with causing grievous hurt to the student
•Ariffin charged with stealing three Kancil cars, including two with Sahrizal


Two local men who abducted, raped and caused grievous injuries to a Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) student, as well as forcing her to perform oral sex were yesterday sentenced to lengthy jail terms and up to 25 strokes of the cane plus hefty fines. Mohd Sahrizal b Suhaili 20, and Mohd Ariflin b Bidin 29, pleaded guilty to all the charges against them, of three Perodua Kancil cars. Sahrizal, from Kampung Pirasan, Kota Belud received 49 years and eight months’ jail, 20 strokes of the cane and RM 1,000 fine, in default, 19 months’ jail. As some of the jail terms run concurrently, he will only have to serve 28 years behind bars. Ariffin, from Kampung Tarap, Bongawan, was sentenced to a total of 61 years and 11 months’ jail, 25 strokes of the cane and RM16,000 fine, in default, 23 months’ jail, but he will only have to serve 32 years and three months. The two accused who were represented by Counsel Hamid Ismail appeared pensive during the proceedings which started at the Magistrate’s Court in the morning and continued in the Sessions Court during the afternoon. Sessions Court Judge Duncan Sikodol sentenced them to five years plus five strokes of cane for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to the 22-year-old UMS student. They committed the offence between April 15 and April 16 and 6.50pm and 5pm from the roundabout in Taman Kingfisher, Jalan Bangka-Bangka here to Kampung Rompon in Tambunan. The charge under Section 325 of the Penal Code carries a jail term up to seven years and a fine on conviction. Sahrizal and Ariffin were jailed another five -years and fined RM1,000, in default, five months’ jail for abducting the student with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine her. They abducted the woman at the Taman Kingfisher roundabout in Jalan Bangka-Bangka about 6. 50pm on April 15. The charge under Section 365 of the Penal Code provides a jail term up to seven years and a fine. The Court ordered the sentences to run concurrently. Sharizal was jailed 20 years plus 10 strokes of the cane for raping the woman and jailed 15 more years plus five strokes of cane for forcing the victim to perform oral sex on him. Both offences were committed between between 6. 50pm and 10pm on April 15 at a place along the old Kota Kinabalu-Tambunan Road. The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently, but consecutively with the sentences for causing grievous hurt and kidnap. Ariffin was jailed 23 years and ordered to be given 10 strokes of the cane for each of the two rape charges. However, the sentences run concurrently, but consecutively with Ariffin’s sentences for the causing grievous hurt and kidnap. Ariffin raped the woman between 6.50pm and 10pm on April 15 at a place along the old Kota Kinabalu Tambunan Road. He raped the victim for the second time at another place along the road between 2am and 4am on April 16. The rape charges under Section 376 (2) of the Penal Code provides a jail term of between eight and 30 years and whipping of not less than 10 strokes. In mitigation, Hamid, who was a duty counsel for both accused, told the court that his clients had regretted of their actions. By pleading guilty, they had saved the court and prosecution’s time from a lengthy trial, he said. He said some of the injuries sustained by the victim were not caused by the two accused but the accident. Hamid said the second accused, during the entire period, had also been kind to the victim by giving her food and medicine. Asked by the court why they committed the offences, Sahrizal and Ariffin claimed that they were influenced by alcohol and syabu. Meanwhile, Senior Federal Counsel Suhaimi Ibrahim urged the court to impose a deterrent sentence on both accused. He said it is true that by pleading guilty, the court and prosecution’s time had been saved but this cannot bring back the good time of the victim. She will be traumatized for the whole of her life. Even a maximum sentence meted out to the accused cannot bring back what she had; she was a virgin, Suhaimi said. “If the second accused was kind enough, why he committed the offences in the first place and why they did not send the victim to hospital as requested by the latter?” he asked. According to the facts of the case, about 6.50pm on April 15, the victim together with her friends disembarked from a van at a roundabout in Taman Kingfisher as they wanted to take a shortcut to a shop to buy things. At that time, a Perodua Kancil car driven by Ariffin approached the victim while the first accused, Sahrizal pulled and dragged the victim into the vehicle before speeding towards Kota Kinabalu town. The victim’s friends who saw the incident could not do anything and later made a call to the emergency line 999 and was redirected to Kota Kinabalu Police Station. The Police later received further information that the Kancil car which was used to kidnap the woman was bearing registration number SAA4558N and with this information, a manhunt was launched all around the west coast of the State. On the following day about 4am, April 16, they spotted the vehicle in Keningau area and a chase ensued between the patrol police vehicle and the vehicle used by the two men. During the chase, the Kancil car crashed and rolled down a slope at Kampung Rompon, Tambunan. When they approached the vehicle, the Police found the victim inside it in a traumatic state with grievous injuries. The Police later arrested Shahrizal in a farm after receiving a tip-off on April 16, while Ariffin was arrested at a roadblock near Keningau Golf Club on the following day. The victim was later sent to Keningau Hospital and examination on her found that the woman suffered injuries on her hands, right and left sides of her abdomen, large bruise bite marks and several other injuries on her body. There were also fresh tears on the victim’s hymen on 2’5’7’ o’clock. Further police investigation revealed the two persons had planned before committing the offences. It was further stated that in the car, the victim was kicked, bitten and punched when she tried to fight. Her hands were tied while she was brought to Keningau from Kota Kinabalu. While in the car, Sahrizal cut the victim’s clothes and undressed her before raping the woman. Sahrizal later forced the woman to perform oral sex on him while using his finger to poke the girl’s vagina. After that, Ariffin changed his seat with Sahrizal without stopping the vehicle and raped the woman twice on April 15 and 16. They also ignored the woman’s request to send her to a hospital after she was raped. The two accused were first brought to the Magistrate’s Court to answer two joint charges of stealing vehicles and a single charge of similar offence faced by Ariffin. Both pleaded guilty to the charges under Section 379A of the Penal Code, which carry a jail term of between one and seven years and a fine. They were jailed for 20 months and fined RM5,000, in default, four months’ jail each for stealing a blue Produa Kancil bearing number SAA795P and worth RM20,000, which belonged to Zainal b Tahir. The offence was committed between March 2 about 9pm and March 3 about 2.45am this year at a car park behind Rain Forest Cafe, Jalan Pantai here. Magistrate Marlina Ibrahim who presided over the case ordered the 20 months’ jail sentence to commence from yesterday. Sahrizal and Ariffin were sentenced to 36 months’ jail from the date of their arrest and fined RM5,000, in default, 10 months’ jail each for stealing another Perodua Kandil vehicle worth RM20,000. Marlina also ordered the two accused persons to be placed under police supervision for 12 months after serving the sentence. Sahrizal and Ariffin admitted to stealing the light green Perodua Kancil bearing number SAA8151B, which belonged to Florita @ Nurul Awatif bt Laji worth RM20,000 between 12.30am and 8.50am on Feb 6 this year at a car park, Taman Bukit Setia, Jalan Sepanggar in Menggatal. Ariffin was also jailed 15 months for stealing another Perodua Kancil bearing number SAA9577J worth RM25,000. He admitted to stealing the vehicle which belonged to Voo Tze Hiung at a car park in Block A, Taman Pun Warisan in Inanam between lam and 6.15am on Sept 27 last year. The court ordered Ariffin’s 15 months’ jail sentence to run consecutively with his two previous sentences of the earlier two charges. Suhaimi was assisted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Zaizul Faridah Raja Zaharuddin, Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) Hasmizulizam b Hamidon and APP Effizah Ernie Idris.