Wednesday, May 7, 2008


99 % of Sukau constituency without treated water

SUKAU Assemblyman Saddi Abd Rahman told the House that about 99 per cent of the constituency has not been supplied with treated water since Sabah gained independence in 1963. He said this is despite the fact that Sukau constituency is located near to the water treatment plant in Kinabatangan with daily production capacity 105 million gallons catering for the consumers in the Sandakan township. According to him, water supply to Sandakan town is expected to increase further with the completion of a second water treatment plant at Kampung Segaliud. “Unfortunately, most of the people in Sukau constituency are still being denied of treated water supply,” said Saddi. With an area of 6,000 square kilometers, he said Sukau constituency had the potential for agriculture, livestock, fisheries and tourism development. Saddi said that the lack of treated water supply was among the main reasons why investors avoided the area. He said the constituency is also still lacking adequate electricity supply with 60 per cent of the population there still without electricity supply after 45 years of gaining independence from the Colonial rule. Among the villages still without power supply are Kg Abai, Kg Mumiang, Kg Pitas, Kg Bougon, Kg Tg Aru, Kg Tg Batu, Kg Sipinung, Kg Lubukan, Kg Domondong, Kg Semayan, Kg Tudun Buhagin, Kg Litang and Kampung Tidun located along the coastal areas. “All this while, the residents are relying on generator sets which are inadequate,” said Saddi, who suggested that Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) and the State Government find ways to set up independent power plants (IPPs) using solar energy. He also urged the State Government, in particular the Land and Survey Department, to resolve the land ownership problem of the local residents in the area. Saddi proposed that an integrated approach should be adopted in resolving land application problems involving the Land and Survey Department, Forestry Department, Agriculture Department and the District Office. He said the Government should take immediate steap in surveying the villages located along the Kota Kinabatangan Lahad Datu Road such as Kg Sentiosa Jaya, Kg Perpaduan Datu Ugi, Kg Batu Putib and Kg Paris as the residents have submitted their applications for their areas for a long time now. “The leaders from the Barisan Nasional (BN) have been promising the people during the past two general elections but until now their applications for the village areas have not been processed yet,” Saddi said.


Six roads in Tandek constituency need urgent repair, upgrading

THE Government has been urged to expedite the peojects to repair and upgrade the roads in the Tandek constituency which has 10 Mukim with a total of 166 villages. Tandek Assemblywoman Anita Baranting said in Mukim Ulu Bengkoka alone, six roads require urgent repair and upgrading. One of them is the 32km Kg Samparita Kampung Magandai Road which cuts through at least seven villages, namely Kg Sungai Magandai, Kg Sonsogon Suyad, Kg Binontungan Suyad, Kg Sonsogon Magandai, Kg SonsogonPaliu, Kg Sonsogon Makatol Darat and Kg Sonsogon Mogis and SK Sungai Magandai. The other six are Kg Bombong 4-Kg Bombong 2 Road (3.5km); SamparitaSamparita Road (7km); Kg Botition-Kg Monguwou Road (4.2km); Kg MonguwouKg Bombong 3 Road (3km) and Kg Salimandu-Kg Minttampak-Kg Malatol Laut-Kg Lingkabungan Road (12km). Anita said these roads are very important for the people from the areas, comprising school children, teachers and farmers. She said the farmers are relying on the roads to transport their agriculture produces to the town and for the children to reach the nearest schools at SK Samparita and SK Salimandut. “There were cases where the sick and pregnant women died along the road to Kg Bombong 2 before they reached the district hospital in Kota Marudu for treatment,” said Anita. She said the roads would be badly damaged and muddy during the rainy seasons and become totally 4passable to vehicles, forcing the residents to walk for hours and even days to reach their destinations. “The condition the roads was so bad that at times school children and teachers were forced to slip in makeshift camps by the roadside overnight to reach their schools,” Anita added. She said the roads in Mukim Gana, Mukim Marak-Parak, Mukim Simpangan, Mukim Taritipan, Mukim Talantang should also be upgraded for the convenience of the residents. Anita also urged the Government to expedite the construction of the power plant project in the constituency which was approved last year. She said when completed the power plant could supply electricity to some 16 villages. “It is important to continue and speed up the implementation of the integrated development programmes for the constituency aimed at alleviating the livelihood of the people there who are still living in poverty,” added the Assemblywoman.


Merotai to have wildlife rehabilitation centre

MEROTAI is rich in tourism products which can be exploited to attract tourists and at the same time open up opportunities for the locals to generate incomes. Its Assemblyman, Pang Nyuk Ming, said it is his intention to see his constituency and Tawau be developed into important tourism areas as both are slightly lagging behind in the development of the State’s tourism sector. Other than having the world’s tallest tropical tree at 88.34 metres, the area also has beautiful and breathtaking waterfalls such as the one in Tawau Hills Park and the yet-to- be-explored one at Kampung Ulu Iban. “We also have endangered animals here such as the pygmy elephants and proboscis monkeys, both are huge tourist attraction,” he said when debating on the State Governor’s policy speech on the fourth day of the State Assembly sitting yesterday. Pang said he is in the midst of setting up a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Merotai with the main aim to serve as a sanctuary for the pygmy elephants which are losing their habitat to logging activities and oil palm plantations. “A World Wildlife Federation (WWF) survey in 2003 discovered that the pygmy elephants in Borneo are a sub-species which is the smallest in the world and they number less that 1,000. I am confident that with the rehabilitation centre at Ulu Kampung Iban Iandau, the pygmy elephants will be synonymous to Merotai and Tawau just like the orangutans in Sepilok which is world famous for its rehabilitation and protection of the animals,” he said. Pang said he would also be developing the homestay and ‘one village one product’ programme in the constituency for tourists to learn more and enjoy the culture of the people here. Through the ‘one village one product’ programme, he said it would provide the locals with the opportunity to generate an income from the handicrafts and traditional cakes that they made under the programme. “I hope the relevant authorities, especially the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry and the Federal agencies will support me,” he said, adding development of the tourism sector would be the catalyst to the socio-economy development of Tawau and its residents. Pang also touched on the youth development in his constituency as Merotai also has its share of problems affecting the younger generation such as drugs and unemployment. He quoted the problems faced by residents in Taman Semarak where youths there have been reported to be involved in drugs and fighting. “Of course there are other areas in Merotai which have the same problems but it cannot be denied that Taman Semarak which has 3,000 houses, is facing challenges because of these social ills. Those involved were hauled up by the police but many were released,” he said. He pointed out that parents are to be blamed because they always defend their children’s actions. “Parents should realise that the action taken on their children by the law enforcers is for the good of their future,” he said. Pang suggested that deterrent action should be taken against these delinquents. First- time offenders can be left off with a warning but repeat offenders must be sent to juvenile centres so that they can be rehabilitated. He also urged the Youth and Sport Ministry to consider setting up a park for extreme sports near the Tawau Sports Complex with facilities for activities such as rock climbing, paintball and skateboarding so that youths would not get involved in unbeneficial activities. Pang also pointed out to the House about the daily traffic congestion from the old airport and Jalan Kuhara/Hot Springs roundabouts to Jambatan Putih. He suggested the Government look seriously into widening the roads in the affected areas into dual carriageways. “There are not less then 10,000 houses in the area and the existing road is the main route for parents to send their children to the 10 schools located in the vicinity. The problem will get worse as the number of housing estates along the road increases,” he said. Pang also appealed to the Government to repair the 20-kilometre Jalan Merotai/ Landau which is always flooded during the rainy season and this causes a lot of inconvenience to smallholders along the road as they are unable to transport their produce to the town. About 300 families in the area will stand to benefit from the upgrading of the road which would also help realise the setting up of the rehabilitation centre in Ulu Kampung Iban Landau. On the issue of disrupted water supply in Merotai, Pang stressed that factors such as water theft and damaged pipes had contributed to the problem. “I don’t think that I am wrong when I say that those who steal water are usually people residing in squatter colonies and this activity should not be allowed to continue as it is not fair to consumers who are paying for water,” he said, adding that water theft also contributes to low water pressure. “Deterrent action must be taken on water thieves so that those with intention to do so will have second thoughts,” he said.


Sabah to be among Asia’s top five liveable places


Sabah will become among the top five liveable places in Asia by 2025, said Sabah Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Executive Director Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakub Johari. He said with the implementation of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC), making Sabah as one of the most preferred places to live in, was among the goals to be achieved under SDC over a three-phase period. “Phase one will focus on addressing the basics to support tourism development and laying the foundation for future growth. World-class tourism infrastructure and services will be put in place including nurturing a vibrant arts and culture scene. “Phase two will focus on strengthening Sabah’s position as a premier eco-adventure destination through conservation, research and sustainable development of new tourism products anchored by signature resorts. “Phase three will see Sabah being transformed into one of the most liveable places in Asia, a bustling metropolis within a tropical paradise,” he said when 30 foreign and local journalists visited him at IDS here, yesterday. Mohd Yaakub also told the journalists the agriculture sector would play a major role in eradicating poverty in the rural areas of Sabah under SDC. The journalists were on a week-long familiarisation visit to Sabah as part of a six-week course organised by the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) and Universiti Malaya. Leading the group was Sabah Journalist Association President Datuk Jonistan Bangkuai.


Rice self-sufficiency target cannot be met
Lack of suitable land and funds among factors, says

SABAH will fall short by 15 per cent from its initial target of 60 per cent self-sufficiency for paddy production targeted to be met within two years time. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin said there had been several factors that hindered the Government from meeting the target. Disclosing the shortage of suitable land, the lack of funds, proper drainage and irrigation as among the contributing factors, Yahya, who is also the Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, however stressed that the Government will do its level best to ensure that there is sufficient supply of food to meet the demand. Currently, he said the State is producing 30 per cent of the country’s overall rice production. “The least we could meet is 45 per cent self- sufficiency for paddy production by 2010. We may have abundant idle land but many of these land are developed for other purposes such as housing or road projects,” he said. These rapid developments have somehow affected the natural flow of drainage and irrigation. Therefore, the Government has no choice but to find a solution to the problem, Yahya added. “We are also faced with more problems when some farmers are unwilling to sacrifice some of their land for drainage and irrigation projects, fearing that their farming areas will be affected,” he explained. He stressed that in most cases, a new problem emerges before the Government could find a suitable solution to the previous one. Speaking to the media after receiving a delegation of eight members from the Indonesian Higher Learning Alumni Association led by Sabah President cum Liaison Chief Awang Rahim Awang Ramli, Yahya added building man-made drainage and irrigation was also costly. But he explained that it was considered as a ‘cheap investment’ when taking into consideration what it could do for the future generation. “If we invest today, we may not be able to have total benefit of our investment but our children and grandchildren will. The infrastructure is all ready for them and in the long run, they will be the ones to enjoy our sacrifices,” he said. Describing rice as a ‘rich man’s food’, Yahya called on the private sector to work closely with the Government to overcome the current global food crisis. “We may even consider identifying suitable land and develop it strict1y for agriculture or paddy for that matter. It is being done in developed countries where millions of hectares of land are being developed solely for food production. “We will not allow any kind of development such as housing projects on these land. That way, I believe we will be able to maintain food supply for our people,” he said. Meanwhile, at the courtesy call yesterday, Yahya was briefed on the Association’s project which includes a talk by Indonesia’s rector, Dr H Herry Suhardiyanto, who will be talking on global food crisis at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah at l0am on May 10 and a seminar on education opportunities in Indonesia at 2pm on the same day at the Yayasan Sabah’s Tun Hamdan theater hail.