Thursday, January 31, 2008

THURSDAY-31 JANUARY 2008- US HOPES CONCLUDE FTA WITH MALAYSIA BEFORE AUGUST



US hopes to conclude FTA with Malaysia before August


KOTA KINABALU:



The United States Government is hoping to conclude the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Malaysia before August, ahead of the formation of the new US administration to replace Bush’s administration currently at the final year of its term. US Ambassador to Malaysia, James Keith, said yesterday that teams from both countries had completed another round of negotiations two weeks ago in Kuala Lumpur where they achieved some significant improvement but more works needed to be done as the Americans were trying their best to complete negotiation by summer. “We hope that Malaysia, in between its election, will find time to complete the FTA by this summer, if possible,” Keith said at a Malaysia-US Relations Talk at Universiti Malaysia Sabah yesterday. “It is an ambitious goal but we are trying very hard. As a new administration is coming in, new objectives, standards, new agendas would be set in place and we would not know whether the FTA with Malaysia will be higher in priority with the new administration or not. So we hope to complete it now, so as not to let this opportunity slip away.” The negotiation is seeking to bring down barrier, expand trade and increase investment in Malaysia, said Keith, adding the US-Malaysia FTA negotiation, which among others, is also aiming to seek ways to add value to the Malaysian economy could be the answer to the Malaysia’s government which is currently pushing hard in global discussion on trade such as the Doha Round to try to open up and expand the country’s trade potential, he said. US engagement in Asia is very much driven by market oriented engagement, with important market being not only in Asia but also Malaysia. With a population of 300,000, US is an important trading partner as reflected by the large export from Malaysia to US in recent years. In 2006, Malaysia exported USD36.5 billion to US and imported USD12.6 billion worth of goods and services from the country, one of its top trading partners since 1999. “US is likely to be Malaysia’s number one market as Americans are looking forward to buy high- end and value-added, products it produces such as computers,” said Keith who was on his first official visit to Sabah since he was sworn in as the Ambassador to Malaysia on July 24 last year. “Ninety-five percent of computer notebooks produced by American computer giant, Dell Computer, that are sold in America are built in Malaysia.” Expressing his hope for positive outcome on the negotiation, Keith recalled the successful FTA between US, Mexico and Canada and assured that such a free trade understanding helps solve even the most difficult problems facing the trading partners. He also said the agreement had been instrumental, for example, in overcoming immigration and illegal immigrants problems between the three countries. “This, for some people, is controversial. Some people may don’t like it. But in my quarter century experience, I am absolutely convinced and determined that free trade is good for both parties. “Through times it uplifts the standard of living in all three countries, creates jobs and values, opportunities, choices for workers and consumers,” he said. From the American perspective, at least, the economical ties between the two countries is inseparable from every other aspect of their bilateral relationships, said Keith. “If you put it most simply, it would be along the line that we are in it together whether it is economic environmental, or security perspective. The issues cut across all lines now,” he said. Apart from economic perspective, the goal of negotiation is to include environmental objectives, promoting sustainable development, particularly with states in Malaysia as Sabah has a world heritage rainforest right at the centre of its vast and richly diversified terrain and located close to the Sulu-Sulawesi coral triangle, the richest marine ecosystem in the world. Keith at a press conference later, said his visit to Sabah was mostly due to some serious profound interests America has towards East Malaysia. The ambassador said he would like to come back to seek ways to encourage collaboration between Sabah and US to have more local students from the State studying in US universities. He said the US Government would look forward to further strengthen relation with Malaysia regardless of the outcome of the AFT negotiation as there are still many unrealized bilateral potentials between the two countries. The next round of the US-Malaysia AFT talk is not scheduled yet.

THURSDAY-31 JANUARY 2008- COMPENSATION PROPOSAL WILL DETER KATAK CULTURE: DAP

Compensation proposal will deter katak culture: DAP


TAWAU:


Making elected representatives pay compensation if they change parties will deter the unhealthy political culture of party hopping, DAP divisional chairman Jimmy Wong said. This move is especially necessary for Sabah which is famous for the ‘katak’ party hopping culture, Wong said in support of the proposal by DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng. Lim had suggested that elected representatives be obliged to compensate RM5 million to their party if they decide to switch allegiance. This is a necessary move to prohibit the unhealthy political culture of party hopping, especially in Sabah, and is important for a potential candidate to show its commitment and loyalty to the people and party. Wong said potential or selected candidates must sign a contractual agreement consenting to pay the RM5 million compensation should they change party. “They must also agree to relinquish their parliamentary or state seat if that happens,” he said and assured the voters in the parliamentary constituency here and the state constituency of Sri Tanjung that the DAP candidates, if elected, will not betray the mandate given and will do their best to fight for justice and equality. Wong also disclosed that DAP does not have any hidden agenda as it has the people’s interest at heart before adding that the people are always wary about the consequences they face if they elect an opposition party. “Rest assured that DAP will continue to give the people the best. We hope that Sabahans will give DAP their fullest support and the opportunity to serve the public. If we are given the opportunity, we will do our best for the rakyat,” he said.

THURSDAY-31JANUARY 2008- SEBATIK FAMILY ROBBED BY SIX ARMED MEN FARMER LOSES RM8,800 WORTH OF PROPERTY

Sebatik family robbed by six armed men
Farmer loses RM8,800 worth of property


TAWAU:


A 54-year-old farmer and his family were robbed by six men at Kampung Sungai Pisa-Pisa, Begosong in Sebatik Tuesday morning. District police chief ACP Jaafar Yusof said the robbers aged between 20 and 30 years old, entered from the back of the house and armed with a Samurai sword, a gun and an airgun. The victim was in the toilet while his wife was folding clothes in the living room. The couple’s son was refilling a boat engine with fuel outside the house. Jaafar said the suspects hit the victim’s head twice and pointed the Samurai sword on the neck of his son. “The victims were relieved of RM780 in cash, important personal documents, a shotgun and jewellery worth RM2,000, five sets of chain worth RM5,000 as well as CD and VCD players worth RM500. The estimated losses was about RM8,800,” he said yesterday. “The six suspects escaped to the border of Indonesia which is about 20 minutes away from the victim’s house. We will contact the Indonesian police and ask them to track down the suspects,” he added. Jaafar also said the police had received a report from a 39 year woman who found her house at Taman Semarak here was burgled on Monday evening after she came back from her mother’s house. She lost a computer, a watch and jewellery worth a total of RM12,000. The burglar entered the house through the main door and fled from the back door of the house. The victim is staying alone at the house. Commenting on the coming Chinese New Year, Jaafar advised the public to be careful when withdrawing money from the banks. He urged them to contact the police if they see any suspicious characters. He disclosed that the police are keeping an eye at banks and financial institutions. Jaafar also said that the police were carrying out Ops Limau and Union Operation now while Ops Sikap would begin from January 31 until February 14. “Motorists should be careful when going back to their home town for this coming festival season. There will be no discount for any compounds issued during the Ops Sikap period,” he said.

THURDAY-31 JANURAY 2008- TIGER PLATOON KEEPS SABAH WATER SAFE

TIGER PLATOON KEEPS SABAH WATER SAFE

SANDAKAN:


Malaysia’s very own Tiger Platoon was established in 1993, and the elite team has since been involved in several operations, including search and rescue. Formed as a Special Force team from the General Operations Force (GOF), the Tiger Platoon is to carry out specific duties as well as covert and overt operations. In Sabah, the platoon plays a role in keeping pirates away from the State’s borders as well as effectively curbs the attempts of militants trying to sneak into the State. A Tiger platoon is posted in every GOF base throughout the country. Sabah’s Tiger platoon’s expertise was recently displayed in a ‘hostage’ drama staged during the handing over of the Sungai Manila police booth to the GOF 15th Battalion in Sandakan. The event was officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and witnessed by Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim and State GOF Brigade Commander Datuk Paramasivam Arunasalam. In the demonstration, six Tiger platoon members stormed the house where a hostage was held and after a short gunfight, the elite force ‘killed’ the criminals. Two armed criminals who managed to flee the houses were ‘fatally shot’ by snipers outside. At the same event, the Sabah GOF brigade’s Public Order Riot Unit (PORU) also demonstrated the method used to quell violent demonstrators. Other than the Tiger platoon, the Royal Malaysian Police also has an anti-terrorist team as well as its special forces, Gerak Khas, which is responsible in curbing violence and dangerous crimes. Before Gerak Khas was formed, the police has two special teams namely VAT 69 and the Unit Tindakan Khas (UTK) to fight terrorism. VAT 69 was set up in 1969 to fight communists while the UTL was established to implement urban war tactics practised by CO 19 Britain and SWAT in the United States of America. After the Malaya Communist Party surrendered in 1989, the VAT 69 faced problems on their role with the end of the confrontation. Then in October 1997, the VAT 69 and UTK were merged to form the special force team. Meanwhile the GOF which was previously known as the Jungle Company, has been specifically trained and equipped to maintain the peace during emergencies. Its personnel are also trained to seek out criminals who are hiding in the jungles as well as conduct patrols along Malaysia’s coastal borders, islands within Malaysian waters and remote areas. Each GOF personnel has to undergo police training and indoctrination before being accepted into the force. They also have to undergo and successfully complete a basic jungle warfare course which means that a GOF personnel is not only an infantry personnel but can also do police work if needed. GOF personnel are also trained in anti-demonstration duties and the Force will send its PORU unit to assist the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) when the need arises. With their training in special warfare in the jungles, coastal and urban areas, close range combat and guerilla warfare, GOF personnel can be deployed in all situations and terrains. Following the handing over of the Sungai Manila police post two days ago, the GOF’s duties and responsibilities will increase. IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan said the Sungai Manila police post was just the beginning as the GOF 15th Batallion will be taking over command of all police posts in Sabah’s interior areas. These include the ones in Pegalungan, Nabawan and Kanibongan, Kota Marudu. Musa also disclosed that the marine police will be taking command of two island police posts, namely Bait in Semporna and Jambongan in Beluran. The move is necessary as the posts are located far from the city centre and by being so close to the State’s borders, they are exposed to higher outside threats and risks, he said adding that the GOF and marine police with their special training will be able to carry out their duties more effectively and consistently. He also disclosed that the GOF posts in Inderasabak, Tawau, Tronglit, Sandakan, Gum-Gum, Sandakan, Inderason, Kudat, Sahabat 16, Lahad Datu and Tanjung Labian, Lahad Datu will be upgraded to police posts which will function not only as a border post but as a normal police post with facilities to receive reports.

THURSDAY-31TH JANUARY 2008- RM25 MILLION TO CONSERVE HOME OF ORANG UTANS SIMEDARBY MAKES HUGE COMMITMENT FOR ULU SEGAMA, MALUA



RM25 million to conserve home of orang utans SimeDarby makes huge commitment for Ulu Segama,Malua


KOTA KINABALU:



Ulu Segama and Malua, home for the orang utans in Sabah, will be better conserved, With a
RM25 million commitment from Sime Darby, one of the largest private companies in Malaysia. The allocation, which is spread over a period of 10 years, would encompass the rehabilitation of the forest, besides protection of the orang utans and other wildlife found in the forest reserve. “Conservation is a subject that is close to my heart, and is part of Sime Darby’s sustainable development policy,” said the company’s president and group chief executive, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid. Speaking at a press conference here yesterday, he said the long-term partnership is a contribution to 50 per cent of the Sabah Forestry Department’s (SFD) budget for the restoration of degraded forests. The reserves which are almost five times the size of Langkawi, are located within the SFD’s Ulu Segama-Malua (USM) project that covers several other forest reserves, including the world-famous Danum Valley. The Ulu Segama and Malua reserves cover 250,000 hectares, of which 160,000 hectares are badly degradable due to logging. As pledged by the State Government almost two years ago, logging ceased end of last year at both areas measuring 236,825ha. Ahmad Zubir added that apart from conservation works, Sime Darby would also be focusing on research and development, which they hope would add value to the project. “We will second people to work on the project, so this will raise awareness of the need to conserve and protect the environment. “Such project needs huge commitment. We may not be able to see the results tomorrow but it would definitely do good especially for the next generation,” he explained. SFD director Datuk Sam Mannan described the Sime Darby’s contribution as ‘a dream come true’, stressing that it was beyond his expectation. ‘Ulu Segama and Malua have the highest concentration of orang utans in Borneo, numbering 5,000. They are often referred as the umbrella species, meaning that if you look after them all the other species in the forest like the pygmy elephants, chimpanzees and other wildlife would be taken care of,” said Sam, adding that the project is a ‘legacy plan’. Sam, who also disclosed that the project was also part of the Sabah Development Corridor, further stressed that if the work was left to nature, it would take a long time to recover. “But with the intervention of man, it will speed up works. A bulk of the RM25 million will be spent primarily on greening the area, while some would also be allocated to improve the infrastructure and recruitment,” he said. On the business perspective, Sime Darby’s executive vice president, Plantation and Agri-Business Division, Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid, said the company has 45,000 hectares of plantations mostly in Sandakan and Tawau. The company is currently looking for ways to expand its investment in Sabah in the areas of bulking activities where the State may become a staging point for exports to countries in the Far East like China and Japan. In addition, the company is also looking at the setting up of downstream activities such as refineries, oleo chemical and biodiesel plants. There will also be investments in agricultural-related education programmes.

THURSDAY-31TH JANUARY 2008- CORRIDOR TO FURTHER BOOST POIC: NASRUN

Corridor to further boost POIC: Nasrun


LAHAD DATU:


The Sabah Development Corridor is set to further boost the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) here. Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur, in disclosing this, also described that SDC as one of the best approaches to develop the district. The POIC project, carried out on 5,000 acres of land, was established in 2006 stretching to the year 2021, with the first phase covering 1,150 acres of land. At the same time, about 101 hectares from 323 hectares of POIC land have been sold to 15 companies for RM1 billion. Two Korean and Australian-based biodiesel companies have started operation at Lahad Datu POIC. Nasrun is confident that once the project is completed, it would not only lure foreign investors to come in but also provide job opportunities and boost economic development by offering businesses. In the effort to beef up economic development here, the Lahad Datu Airport would also be upgraded and expanded, providing a more comfortable terminal to passengers, adding that the long-term plan is to build a new airport in the Sandau area soon. “In line with the growing development through POIC, we are also planning to build a sports complex, including weekend recreation centre which would benefit locals as well as our visitors,” he said. A 300-megawatt power station worth RM 1.2 billion that uses coal would also be set up at the Pacific Hardwood Silam factory site. Overall, Nasrun said the development projects under SDC through POIC had helped improve the infrastructure and basic necessities, which would benefit the locals, including those in the rural areas.

THURSDAY-31TH JANUARY 2008- KKJA APPOINTS RMC AS MEDICAL ADVISOR

KKJA appoints RMC as medical advisor


KOTA KINABALU:

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The Kota Kinabalu Journalists Association (KKJA) has appointed Rafflesia Medical Centre (RMC) as its medical advisor. RMC executive chairman Dr Roland Chia Ming Shen said RMC’s role is to assist the media fraternity partners in advancing public understanding on health care issues. The simple partnership understanding ceremony was held at the RMC yesterday. KKJA was represented by its chairman, Wong Bak Kion, while Dr Roland represented RMC. It was witnessed by MCA Penampang divisional chairman Datuk Paul Kong as well as KKJA supreme council members and RMC manager Liza Estolas. Under the partnership understanding, all members of KKJA and their families are given special privilege when getting treatment at RMC. Meanwhile starting this year, RMC will subscribe to the concept of corporate social responsibility in response to the call of the Prime Minister to all Malaysians to be a giving and caring society. He said corporate social responsibility is a concept whereby organizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, employees, shareholders, communities and the environment in all aspects of their operations. “Organizations are voluntarily taking further steps to improve the quality of life for employees and their families as well as for the local community and society at large,” he said at a press conference on the RMC blood donation drive and obesity screening on February 2 at the centre, starting from 9am to 3.3Opm. RMC will be one of the first few private hospitals/private healthcare providers in Malaysia joining the ranks of other conglomerates in embracing the concept of corporate social responsibility. In this respect, Dr Roland said RMC had committed to embark on a quarterly blood drive. “An understanding has been made with the Blood Bank of Queen Elizabeth Hospital that Rafflesia Medical Centre is committed to anchor a quarterly blood drive in our premises,” he added.

THURSDAY-31JANUARY 2008- 3,000 IN TRADITIONAL COSTUMES AT KAAMATAN FESTIVAL






3,000 in traditional costumes at Kaamatan Festival



KOTA KINABALU:




The state- level “Kaamatan” or Harvest Festival this year will focus on infusing cultural values in efforts to strengthen unity among the various ethnic groups. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is also the festival’s main organising committee chairman, said the theme, “Peace Through Culture”, is aimed at making the people realise the importance of ensuring a peaceful and harmonious society. “The Kaamatan Festival is a cultural occasion where love and affection can be forged for one another, resulting in peace and unity in this multiracial society,” he said. “With the close rapport built through such events, we can all feel like we’re in one big, happy family,” he told reporters after chairing a committee meeting yesterday. Pairin said the annual celebration is part of the State Government’s efforts in preserving the various cultures of the people. He said the celebration would be launched by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman at Dewan Pa’ Musa in Beaufort on May 1. According to Pairin, some 3,000 people will be donning the traditional attires to represent the various ethnic groups that are found in Sabah. “The 3,000 people wearing the traditional attires of the various ethnic groups in Sabah is a new feature added to the programmes and will be entered in the Malaysian Book of Records,” he said, adding that the organiser is appealing for additional funds as the RM600,000 allocated by the State Government is inadequate for making the event a success. - Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah will close the month-long celebrations at the Hongkod Koisaan KDCA Hall in Penampang on May 31. The highlight will be the Unduk Ngadau or beauty contest. Pairin said district-level celebrations will also be held throughout, namely Tambunan (May 3), Keningau May 4), Lahad Datu (May 4), Tawau (May 4), Kunak (May 4), Kudat (May 6), Kinabatangan (May 8), Tongod (May 8), Inanam (May 8), Tenom (May 10), Banggi (May 10), Kota Kinabalu City (May 11), Nabawan and Pegalungan (May 11), Kota Belud (May 11), Sook (May 11),Telupid (May12), Paitan (May 12), Matunggong (May 15), Sipitang (May 15), Sandakan (May 17), Beluran (May 17), Penampang (May 7), Labuan (May 17), Semporna (May 17), Pitas (May 18), Kota Marudu (May 18). He said Tamparuli and Kiulu would be included in the Tuaran district celebration to be held on May 20, while Menumbok district would be held on May 21, Kuala Penyu (May 21), Membakut (May 21), Ranau (May 22) and Putatan (May 22).

THURSDAY-31 JANUARY 2008- ILLEGAL CAR WASHERS PESTER MOTORISTS

Illegal car washers pester motorists


A number of men, believed to be foreigners, are pestering motorists with illegal car wash service at Beverly Plaza in Jalan Bundusan, Penampang. Sherly said these people are operating around the parking ground behind the Milimewa Superstore. She said that as they cannot be trusted to do a proper wash, most motorists would reject their service but these people are persistent. This makes her and her friends fear they may vandalise their cars, she said. Sherly, who stays at Beverly Hills, Phase 5, hoped the enforcement unit of the local council, together with the police, would monitor the activities of these people as they are a public nuisance. “We fear that if the authority does not take any action to curb these activities, they may even commit crime,” she said. A spokeswoman for Penampang District Council, when informed of the matter, said this is the first public complaint about illegal car wash activities at Beverly Plaza said area. “I will forward the matter to the unit concerned so that they can take the necessary action to curb this kind of activities,” she said. She told Public Hotline that enforcement officers will monitor the situation to keep the activities under control. Meanwhile, a spokesman for City police, when contacted, said there are police on the beat there everyday, especially at night. “We will forward the information to them so that they can look into it,” he said.

THURSDAY-31 JANUARY 2008- ERRANT BUS DRIVERS TARGET OF ANOTHER COMPLAINT

Errant bus drivers target of another complaint


Buses that stop indiscriminately to drop and pick up passengers have drawn another public complaint. A motorist from Kampung Chenderamata Dua in Likas told Public Hotline that these buses are causing traffic obstruction in the village where the roads are narrow. Sham said the drivers of these buses simply stop anywhere they like even though there is no bus stop. “This is not only happening in Kampung Chenderamata Dua but also the entire Kampung Likas area. The situation became better a couple of months ago after I made a complaint to the authority concerned, but it is back to square one now,” he lamented. “Their action is causing inconvenience and posing safety hazard to other motorists as the buses often occupy more than half of the road.” Sham pointed out that the roads there are not only very narrow but also very busy with heavy traffic, especially in the morning. A spokesman for Kota Kinabalu traffic police, when contacted by Public Hotline, thanked the complainant for providing them with the information. He said he would bring the matter to the attention of the team concerned so that the area could be monitored. “Bus drivers should know their task and responsibility on the road. We hope they will follow the rules because once they are caught, they would be compounded,” he added.

THURSDAY-31 JANUARY 2008- D JUNCTION TO DONATE TO ASSOCIATION

D Junction to donate to association


KOTA KINABALU:


D Junction, a sports and recreation outlet, will be presenting donation to the Palliative Care Association of Kota Kinabalu as part of its social obligation today. Its senior manager, Kenneth Yap, said it was part of their way of giving back to the community, besides helping the needy and easing their burden. The association is a charitable organisation founded in 1994 to provide palliative and hospice care to patients with incurable diseases such as cancer, he said.

THURSDAY-31 JANUARY 2008- BLIND MUSICIANS TO LAUNCH DEBUT ALBUM

Blind musicians to launch debut album


KOTA KINABALU:

As a street musician plying his trade in the city, Des has never thought that he would one day have an album to his name. An avid fan of rock ever since he first discovered music in his primary school years, he eventually turned his passion into a profession, becoming a regular fixture at the weekly Gaya Street fair on Sundays. Des, who goes by one name, however, had to make his career choice based on necessity, after he lost both sights when he was a boy. “I used to be able to see, but then I had a blackout in the 1980s,” he said when met at a press conference to announce the launch of the debut album for blind performing troupe Seniman Penglipur Lara (SPL), of which he is a member. The lack of sight, however, did not take away the 39-year-old’s enthusiasm for music and life or dashing his dreams of meeting his musical hero, nationally-renowned composer A. Ali. “He’s a big name in Malaysia and when I could still see, I only saw his face on an album cover and posters I’ve dreamt of meeting him and today I shook his hand and exchanged greetings with him,” he said. A. Ali is one of the two composers engaged to produce the album, which is a joint effort between his production company Karya Cipta A. Ali, Tanjung Puri Sdn Bhd and City Hall, which brought the SPL into being two years ago. The other composer is Ampuan Zainuddin Sulaiman. The album will feature four of the seven members of the SPL, which is the brainchild of Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim, singing some 20 songs including a “killer song” which Ali said he would pen himself. “This will be the first album produced by our studio here and I have composed about half of the songs selected. The songs will all be music that the artists can sing on the street ... we are just giving it a touch of quality in the recording. “Blind people are just like everyone else, they need income and I am very proud to have the opportunity to compose and produce this album. “I have to admit that it will be a bit different from my usual work because I will include Bajau and Kadazan songs aside from Malay songs,” said the 59-year-old music industry veteran. City Hall Research and Coordination Division director Mario Ngasio said the album project is part of their sustainable development plan under their Local Agenda 21 (LA21). “The LA21 focusses on solving social, economic and environmental problems in the city and the album launch is geared towards the social aspect of the plan, which includes poverty eradication. “Two years ago, we went around the city and found no less than 10 people begging on the streets. A few of them had musical talent so the Mayor decided to bring them together and play music. “We have given them training and also around RM5,000 worth of equipment, courtesy of Music Mart and they are now playing at various venues around the city such as the City Park, Cocoon and Gaya Street. “Now we have the opportunity to help them record an album and this is part of our long-term process in sustainable development. Sustainable development is not only for buildings, people also need development,” he said. While no exact date has been set for the album launch, it is expected to be done at a gala event sometime this March and to be officiated by Iliyas.

Monday, January 28, 2008

MONDAY-28TH JANUARY 2008-WWF-MALAYSIA SABAH GIVES FEEDBACK ON CORRIDOR

WWF-Malaysia Sabah gives feedback on Corridor

KOTA KINABALU:

WWF-Malaysia Sabah has given its feedback on the much talked about Sabah Development Corridor (SDC). According to its chief technical officer for WWF-Malaysia Borneo Programme, Dr Rahimatsah Amat they were consulted on the mega project in September last year and had given their response. “There were a few empty pages which needed our input. We did not want to have just a chapter on environment and believe that it must be cross cutting,” he said to reporters when asked to comment on WWF-Malaysia’s view on SDC during the luncheon dubbed “An Afternoon with WWF—Malaysia” here, yesterday. Rahimatsah however said that they have yet to see documents pertaining to the project and declined to comment further. “I do believe that the Government has consulted every people concerned over the project, and as the Chief Minister (Datuk Seri Musa Aman) has promised, it would be beneficial to Sabah,” he said. SDC is set to be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Jan 29 here. The 18-year development project is set to bring Sabah out of its poverty cocoon and is destined to accelerate the State’s economic growth and catch up, if not at par, with other states in the peninsula. Three principles have been lined up to guide all the development projects in Sabah under SDC which are eradicating hardcore poverty, ensuring environmental conservation and capturing higher value activities in industries. SDC, according to Musa, is in line with the State Government’s halatuju. “We want to make Sabah, through SDC, one of the most livable places in Asia with its diverse cultural offerings, heritage, quality of life and a clean environment. It would offer something unique to both the local residents and also foreigners,” he said.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

SUNDAY-27TH JANUARY 2008 - ACA TO HELP SCREEN ALL SABAH POLLS CANDIDATES

ACA to help screen all Sabah polls candidates

KOTA KINABALU:

The Anti Corruption Agency in Sabah will assist their headquarters in Putrajaya in screening all candidates from political parties who are expected to stand in the coming general election. Its Director Puan Latifah Mohd Yatim, said the screening process is important to ensure that only those who are free from any corruption charges or abuse of power would be nominated as candidates. In this respect, the ACA hopes that the Barisan Nasional as well as the opposition parties would submit lists of names of their potential candidates, which would be referred to the ACA headquarters. “To date, we have yet to receive any list. If we have, we will help our headquarters to carry out the screening process,” she said at a press conference, here, yesterday. Asked whether the ACA has their own list of potential candidates from political parties in Sabah who might be standing in the coming elections, Latifah said she would discuss the matter at the right time. Barisan Nasional has 59 seats in the 60-seat State Legislative Assembly. The other seat (Kuala Penyu) is held by an Independent. At the parliamentary level, BN has 24 seats while the Sandakan Parliamentary seat is held by an Independent too. Last week, ACA Investigations Director, Datuk Shukri Abdul announced that the ACA is ready to screen the lists of candidates, as given by political parties, standing in the coming elections.
Before, the ACA would only wait for the lists of candidates before studying their backgrounds and ensuring that they are eligible to stand in the parliamentary and state constituencies as set by the Election Commission and the ACA. The screening process is the
ACA’s responsibility to ensure only those eligible would stand, which is similarly done in officers promotion exercises in the Civil Service. Under the procedure, the candidate lists can be submitted to the ACA Headquarters through the ACA offices in the respective states. However, to date, no one has submitted any list.

SUNDAY-27TH JANUARY 2008 - MODEL POLICE TRAINEE INSPIRED BY THE UNIFORM AND HIS BROTHER

Model police trainee inspired by the uniform and his brother

KOTA KINABALU:

It was his fascination with the dark-blue uniform that drove 21-year-old Emmanuel Ganggau to join the Police Force. In fact, the Tuaran-born lad was greatly inspired when his eldest brother joined the force, and is now serving as a detective at the Kota Belud Police Headquarters. “I have always been interested in joining the police force. My parents, who are both farmers, had encouraged me throughout my six-month training and my eldest brother is my inspiration,” he said. Not surprisingly, Emmanuel made his parents proud when he was named the Best Outdoor Training Trainee award. The eighth child among nine siblings shared the proud moment with two other trainees, who were’ awarded the Overall Best Trainee and Best Academic Trainee, namely Yogenthiran Nair a/l Vasudenam and Mohd Khairulnizam Hamzah respectively. “My parents are both worried that I might be posted far from home but as a policeman, Jam prepared... that is what is expected of us; to work and protect the country for the good of the people,” he said.
Yogenthiran, 25, agreed with Emmanuel, stressing that the job poses challenges for each and every policeman, but he is determined to show a good example to his younger siblings and to live up to his father’s wishes. “I am the eldest among five siblings. My father is a policeman and is attached to the Criminal Investigation Department in Perak. He is my biggest inspiration and I hope to be as good as him one day,” he said. The Perak-born man said he never expected the training exercise to be tough, but he was determined and was ready for any challenges. “It is tough and tiring, but it is worth it.. .1 have lived my dream and I hope to be a good policeman,” he said. Khairulnizam, from Jengka, Pahang, on the other hand, has no police background. None of his family members are in the force, but the 25-year-old was so interested that he became an auxiliary policeman prior to the training. “My father was the most excited person when I was accepted to join the force. He was the one who drove me for my interview and sent me off to Sabah for the six-month training,” said the fifth child in a family of eight children. He described his passion to learn new things as the strongest point, adding that thanks to that, he was able to go through the challenging process and brought the honour to his family by receiving the special award. The three model trainees were among the 249 new constables, comprising 45 Sabahans and 204 West Malaysians who underwent the training at the Police Training Centre (PULAPOL) at the Kepayan Police Headquarters, yesterday. Among them, six are degree holders, 19 diploma holders, 39 (Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia), 136 (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) and 49 with Skills Certificate. Since PULAPOL started operation in 1994, it has produced 2,868 trained policemen. Special Branch deputy director from Bukit Aman, Datuk Othman Ali, who witnessed the trainees’ passing out parade yesterday reminded them to be disciplined at all times. “Remember the Royal Malaysian Police motto, friendly (mesra), quick (cepat), right (betul) before you step out from here (training ground), you must prepare yourself with the right skills and knowledge. “It is important for you to upgrade your skills, focus on improving yourself and be a good human capital. Respect the people and be friendly always so that every individual in the country will feel safe and protected,” he said.



Saturday, January 26, 2008

SATURDAY-26TH JANUARY 2008-TECHNICIAN LOSES RM1,000 TO BOGUS COP

Technician loses RM1,000 to bogus cop

KOTA KINABALU:

Police are looking for a man who impersonated as one of them and fled with RM 1,000 belonging to a technician here last Saturday. The bogus policeman, believed to a local in his 30s, apprehended a 28-year-old IMM13 holder at Centre Point Sabah around 2pm on Jan 19 and demanded to see the latter’s documents. “After pretending to check, he asked the victim to hand over his wallet. The victim obliged. “Seeing the cash, he took it out and returned the wallet to the victim before fleeing,” said City Police Chief ACP Abmad Sofi Zakaria yesterday, adding that the victim had then lodged a police report. Ahmad Sofi said it was important for the public to demand for the authority card of the police when they were approached by them. “Each policemen carries an authority card. If you are approached, it is always good to be suspicious, so demand for the card. “This is the first of such case this year and we hope that public would not be cheated by such bogus policemen in the future .. be careful and wary the next time someone approaches and introduces himself or herself as a police personnel,” he advised. He said police were tracking down the bogus policeman and would not hesitate to take action against those who pull off similar act in the future. In an unrelated case, police arrested two men after a 21-year- old local reported his ├žellphone was stolen on Jan 11.
Ahmad Sofi said the victim was waiting for transport at a bus stop in Karamunsing around 5.2Opm when two men approached him. “The two men told him they were armed and demanded him to hand over his valuables. After taking the cellphone worth RM800, they fled the area and the victim lodged a police report,” he said. Following a public tip-off, one of the suspects, a 24-year-old local was picked up four days later. He told the police that the stolen goods had been sold for RM280. Police also arrested the buyer, a 32-year-old local man, for possessing stolen goods. “We are not just arresting criminals but also those who are involved. When you buy stolen goods, you are considered an accomplice, and that gives us the right to arrest you as well. “Avoid buying things which are offered to you cheaply, or you may get yourself into trouble,” he said.

SATURDAY-26TH JANUARY 2008-STRENGTHEN DEEPEN KENINGAU RIVERS-SAYS PAIRIN'S MINISTRY

Strengthen, deepen Keningau rivers, says Pairin’s ministry

KENINGAU:

Ministry has urged the District Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to straighten and deepen rivers which threaten the safety of the people and Government properties.
“I wanted the department to act more proactively in handling the problem of rivers in this district,” said the ministry’s political secretary, Daniel Kinsik after he visited several flood-hit rivers here yesterday.
Daniel said he had been directed by Deputy Chief Minister and Rural Development Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan to look into the problem. “Datuk (Pairin) also wanted Government departments to go down to the ground to do inspection and estimate the maintenance cost of the rivers, including the amount of damage caused to Government projects by the recent floods,” he said.
The rivers visited by Daniel were Bariawa, Pampang and Liawan which overflowed and damaged the nearby roads, houses and public facilities.

SATURDAY-26TH JANUARY 2008-RUBBISH IN FOH SANG NOT MAINTAINED


Rubbish centre in Foh Sang not maintained properly

A member of the public has expressed his frustration over the poor maintenance of the Foh Sang rubbish centre by the authorities which made the area smelly. “I have been observing the rubbish bins at Taman Foh Sang in Luyang, and it really disappointed me that they were not properly maintained,” said Mat. He also noticed that a new shelter had been constructed but the position of the old bins remained unchanged and the stench from the seepage was utterly disgusting and unbearable due to decomposing food remains dumped inside there. “I believe the stench is the result of the failure of the seepage to flow into the drain along the road but even if it flows, I think it is also very unhygienic and will attract rats and other pests,” he said. He said the new rubbish centre is conveniently placed for shop operators in the area but the authority concerned should constantly monitor its use so that indiscriminate dumping is controlled. The centre should also be fitted with an appropriate gate to prevent dogs from scattering the rubbish. “We hope the authority will look into the matter immediately for the convenience of all parties,” he said. Meanwhile, Laudin Zaman of Kota Kinabalu City Hall said they were aware of the matter as they had received a similar complaint. “We have tried our best to maintain the cleanliness at the place, including setting up a new garbage centre. To maintain the cleanliness there we need cooperation from the public. It is not only the responsibility of the Kota Kinabalu City Hall to maintain the cleanliness of the place. “We have provided proper facilities, so we hope the public and s.├žerators at the area will dispose of their rubbish properly,” he said. “Regarding the position of the old bins, we will forward the matter to the unit concerned. If we find that the old bins are still in the existing position, we will take the necessary action,” Laudin said. “We thank the complainant for highlighting the matter to us. We will monitor the matter frequently,” he added.

SATURDAY-26TH JANUARY 2008 - FOUR PLANTS TO RAISE WATER SUPPLY

Four plants to raise Sabah water supply

KOTA KINABALU:

Water supply in Sabah is expected to rise from the current 760 million litres per day (MID) to 1,180 MLD once water filtration plants planned under the Ninth Malaysia Plan 9MP) come on-stream. Allocations have been made under the 9MP to build four large plants — in Telibong (Tamparuli), Papar, Sandakan (second phase) and Kudat — and several small ones in places such as Sipitang, Kota Belud, Pulau Banggi, Kunak, Balung, Tenom, Kanibungan (Pitas), Kalabakan and Sukau.
Sabah Water Department Director Ag Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib said the Telibong plant had a capacity of 80 MLD and was expected to begin operating in March, the Papar plant (40 MLD) sometime this year, the Sandakan plant (125 MLD) in September and the Kudat plant (55 MLD) at the end of the year. He said the increase in supply would enable the state to meet the needs of not only the fast- developing industrial sector but also more people in the rural areas. The plant projects were being implemented with 9MP allocations of RM1 .3 billion from the Federal Government, RM600 million from the State Government and RM370 million from the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, he told Bernama. Ag Mohd Tahir said Sabah now faced a water shortage of about 180 MLD as demand was 940 MLD compared to existing supply of only 760 MLD. Papar, Tuaran, Sandakan, Kudat and Kota Kinabalu had been identified as places which faced a serious shortage of water supply, he added. He said the Telibong plant would ease the shortage of water supply not only in Kota Kinabalu but also in Tuaran while the plant in Papar would help solve the water shortage in Papar and Kimanis and have a 30 per cent surplus. A small plant, of about 12 MLD capacity, has gone into operation in Papar pending the coming on-stream of the big plant, he added. Ag Mohd Tahir said the department was implementing an emergency project in Sandakan to supply more water pending the completion of the second phase of the Sandakan plant in September, - Bernama

Friday, January 25, 2008

FRIDAY-25TH JANUARY 2008- KK CENTRAL MARKET TO UNDERGO RM2M REPAIR

KK central market to undergo RM2m repair


KOTA KINABALU:


The central market located in the heart of the City centre and its surrounding areas will undergo upgrading works once allocation from the State Government is received. Repair works, estimated at RM2 million, will among others include repairing of leaking roofs and damaged ceiling, and replacing broken tiles on floors and walls at the two storey wet market and the fish market. The road divider at Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, between the central market and KK Plaza that were damaged by motorists who parked their vehicles illegally, would also be improved and widened for public convenience. Mayor Datuk Iliyas bin Ibrahim who was doing his rounds at the central market area on Thursday, noted that the central market and fish market, which were built in 1975, are badly in need of repair and upgrading works. Hence, he is hoping that the State Government would approve City Hall’s requests for the renovation and upgrading allocation. Iliyas, who was accompanied by Director of Engineering Jr. Lee Tet Fon, Director of Health and Services Alfred Gonsilou and officers, also inspected the landing point for small boats plying to and fro the mainland to the nearby islands, as well as the work progress at the Hyatt Waterfront development project. Earlier, he accompanied Api-Api Assemblyman and Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai to meet with the hawkers at the central market to extend his Chinese New Year greetings.

FRIDAY-25TH JANUARY 2008- SHAOLIN WUSHU SQUAD TO PERFORM AT LIKAS STADIUM

Shaolin Wushu squad to perform at Likas Stadium


KOTA KINABALU:

A performance by the Chinese Shaolin Wushu squad from Henan, China is set to enthrall the crowd at Likas Indoor Stadium on Saturday at the Cultural Exhibition of Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Year 2008. Organised by the United Sabah Chinese Communities Association of Kota Kinabalu (USCCA), the event to be opened by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman, will also feature local dance troupes comprising 10 dragon dance teams, 15 Unicorn teams and 45 lion dance teams. “The purpose of staging the exhibition is to provide opportunities to the people to exchange knowledge of cultures, besides strengthening the relationship between the residents of People’s Republic of China and Malaysia,” said USCCA of Kota Kinabalu president Datuk Lau Kok Seng. The free-admission event which begins at 2pm, will also see the presence of the Consul-General of the Republic of China, Mr Xie Fu Gen. “As we usher the new lunar calendar, we want to share the joy of celebrations with other races of people in the State,” Lau said in a statement.

FRIDAY- 25TH JANUARY 2008- SELLERS OF CONTRABAND CIGARETTES INCREASING

Sellers of contraband cigarettes increasing


Another complaint has been received about the activities of contraband cigarette peddlers in Inanam town. It came from Mat who claimed that the number of youngsters involved in the illegal activities are increasing. He said these people are seen day and night openly pestering passersby to buy the cigarettes. “Every time I go there in the evening, these people would be there and I think they are illegal immigrants,” he said. “The fact is young children are involved in activities that are prohibited by law and such activities are encouraging young people to smoke as they make cheap cigarettes easy to obtain.” Mat pointed out that the illegal activities if tolerated by the authorities could make these people more daring and carry out more serious illegal activities like drug peddling. He said the activities defeat the purpose of the government in raising the prices of cigarettes and discouraging people from smoking. A spokesman for Kota Kinabalu City Hall’s Public Complaints Unit, when asked to comment on the matter, said many operations have been carried out to curb the activities. He said such operations are usually carried out together with the Customs Department and Immigration Department. “We are currently conducting operations every evening to curb the activities, and those caught would face action,” he said.

FRINDAY-25TH JANUARY 2008- JOHN LAU NEW PRESIDENT OF SANDAKAN JUNIOR CHAMBER

John Lau new president of Sandakan Junior Chamber


SANDAKAN:


The Sandakan Junior Chamber in its recent annual general meeting elected John Lau as the new president for 2008. The other office bearers elected are Immediate Past President Mike Yap, General Legal Counsel Anne Chong, Vice President for Business and Community William Chu, Vice President for Individual and International Brian Chui, Secretary Davina Khoo and Treasurer Audrey Wong. President-elect John Lau said with the presidential theme of ‘Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Associate, Development’, the new board is looking into areas of youth training, members’ self development, extending business networking for members and service to the community.

FRIDAY-25TH JANUARY 2008- RM500 MILLION FOR PAVING VILLAGE ROADS IN SABAH

RM500 million for paving village roads in Sabah



TUARAN:



More village roads in Tuaran parliamentary constituency will be resurfaced when the Federal Government provides a RM500 million allocation for the purpose in Sabah under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. Tuaran Member of Parliament Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said the allocation will be spent on resurfacing village roads this year. Although not all village roads could be improved with the allocation, there will be marked improvement overall, he said. “In Tuaran, there are 199 kilometers of roads under the Public Works Department (PWD) which have not been paved, and the cost of paving a kilometer of road can reach RM1 million to RM2 million. Tangau was speaking when launching the paved Kampung Lampung Lapai-Dato-Rondoggung road in Tenghilan at the Kampung Lapai community hall yesterday. Also present were Assistant Youth and Sports Minister cum Tamparuli Assemblyman Jahid Jahim and Tamparuli People Development Leader Jefferson Jonathan. The one-kilometer road which has been used by about 100 people in the villages was paved under a project by the Sabah Federal Development Department (JPPS) last month. Tangau said the need for additional funds to pave roads in Tuaran has been conveyed to the Economical Planning Unit (EPU) besides being brought up in the Parliament.

FRIDAY-25TH JANUARY 2008- MEGAT JUNID LAID TO REST AT BUKIT KIARA CEMETERY

Megat Junid laid to rest at Bukit Kiara cemetery


KUALA LUMPUR:


Former domestic trade and consumer affair Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayob, was laid to rest at the Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery here yesterday, attended by about 500 people. His remains arrived at the cemetery in a Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) hearse at 2.15pm. The funeral rites, performed by Sub-Insp Mohd Tahir Malik of the Bukit Aman Police Headquarters, ended about 40 minutes later. His wives, Puan Sri Faizah Shuaib and Norzilah Jalil, were seen sitting side by side during the ceremony. They and Megat junid’S five children later poured scented water on the grave in turns. Among dignitaries present were Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali, Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid, Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Aziz Shamsuddin and Deputy Education Minister Datuk Noh Omar. Megat Junid, 65, died of cancer at 5.25am at the Pantai Medical Centre in Bangsar. His remains were later were taken to his residence at No. 2, Jalan SS733 in Kelana Jaya. Among those who paid their last respects at the house were the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Others included Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam and former, inspector-general of police Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar. Before the burial, Megat Junid’s remains were taken to the Nurul Yaqin Mosque in Kelana Jaya for prayers led by DSP Ghazali Daud of the RMP’s Religious and counseling Division and joined by about 300 people, at 1.50pm. Faizah told reporters later that she was grateful for having her husband last wish, to have his funeral arranged by the RMP fulfilled. Bernama

FRIDAY-25TH JANUARY 2008- MEGAT JUNID'S DEATH A LOSS TO NATION, SAY LEADERS

Megat Junid’s death a loss to nation, say leaders


PUTRAJAYA:



Several leaders yesterday described the death of former Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayob as a great loss to the nation. Megat Junid died of cancer in Kuala Lumpur early Thursday. He was 65. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he was saddened by the demise of ”a close friend and colleague”. He said Megat junid had contributed a lot to the Government and country. ”he was known for being a jovial character,” Najib told reporters officiating the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Public Service Commissions here. In PETALING JAYA former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the nation had lost a leader of quality. “Megat Junid was hardworking, honest, and a minister of quality’ he told reporters after paying his last respects at the residence of Megat Junid in Kelana Jaya. Dr Mahathir, who arrived at the residence with his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali at 9.15am, described Megat Junid as a spirited individual and said that when he met Megat Junid three weeks ago, he was talking about politics despite being ill. Megat Junid had served for nine months as the political secretary of Dr Mahathir when the latter was education minister in 1976. Megat Junid, who launched his career in politics in 1972, had served for 13 years as a deputy minister and four years as a minister. He had also served as the Umno information from 2OOO to 2003. Former deputy information minister Datuk Khalid Yunus, who also paid his last respects at the residence, said Megat junid had served Umno and the country well ‘We have lost a good leader and I have lost a friend,” he said, adding that he came to know Megat Junid when both of them joined Umno Youth in the 1970’s.

FRIDAY-25TH JANUARY 2008- COMPOSTING CENTRE LAUNCHED IN LUYANG

Composting centre launched in Luyang

Landfill to be closed if composting program successful


KOTA KINABALU:


A composting centre set up to compost garden waste has been launched at Taman Luyang Timur here yesterday. The centre is a joint project of the resident committee in the housing estate and Local Agenda 21 Kota Kinabalu City Hall led by Director General Dr Chua Kim Hing. Assistant Minister of Resource Development and Information Technology Melanie Chia, who officiated the launch, said the program had been planned since three years ago and the setup of the centre is a first step towards a sustainable environment management. “Hopefully this program will be successful and as a start, we hope the residents here can commit to this project,” she said, adding that it should encourage people from other areas to set up their own composting centre. During the launch, a demonstration of a Viking shredder, a RM1,800 machine sponsored by KTS Trading, was conducted to shred thick garden waste such as branches and leaves. Meanwhile, Chua said residents from any area can send their waste to the Luyang centre instead to the Kayu Madang landfill. “If this program is successful, the Kayu Madang landfill will be closed and turned into a material recovery facilities,” he said. “Kayu Madang will produce a new type of garbage without leachate to be transferred to other landfills,” he said. Chua said the program might be hard for people to follow but hopefully soon it will be accepted. Chairman of Luyang Timur Residents Committee, Chia Shee Yung said the community should reduce the burden of City Hall. “We can contribute to the environment by segregating the waste for recycling and composting,” he said. Chia urged the public from Kota Kinabalu area, especially Taman Luyang Timur, to send their garbage to this centre. The composting centre has received contributions from various individuals and companies, he said.

FRIDAY- 25TH JANUARY 2008- FOCUS OF PROMOTING QUALITY LOCAL PRODUCTS

Focus on promoting quality local products: Musa

KOTA KINABALU:

Domestic market for agricultural products will be further strengthened to ensure the agriculture sector continue to grow as planned, said Chief Minister Datuk Sen Musa Aman. He said focus will be given to promoting local products that are high in quality and competitively priced to enable them to compete with imported products. For this purpose, he said both the public and private sectors would be encouraged to provide marketing infrastructures and to efficiently manage their daily operations. Construction of marketing infrastructures such as collection centres, warehouses, cold storage facilities, wholesale markets and Pasar Tani would be expedited, Musa said in a speech at the signing of a MoU between FAMA and KKIP yesterday for the purchase of land to build a RM5 million marketing complex of FAMA. His speech was read by Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail. He said the State Government fully supports FAMA in its effort to further stimulate the agriculture and food industry in Sabah by setting up a marketing complex in KKIP. He said FAMA’s move reflects the increasing awareness and understanding among the industry players of the objective and importance of the establishment of Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP). “This would ultimately help the government in realising the Sabah’s Halatuju which recognizes agriculture as one of the three main sectors that will be developed to strengthen the State’s economy. More importantly, the agriculture sector would also be the leading sector under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC),” he said. With the completion of the proposed complex, Musa said it is hoped that FAMA would further strengthen its role and efforts towards affectively coordinating the marketing activities for agriculture and agro-based products in the State. At the same time, he said FAMA should continue establishing distribution centres in districts with high potential to further improve marketing mechanism and provide supporting facilities for value-adding activities.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

THURSDAY-24TH JANUARY 2008- BN PAGINATAN READY FOR POLLS

BN Paginatan ready for polls

RANAU:

The Barisan Nasional (BN) in Paginatan is ready to face the general election, said Industrial Development Minister Datuk Ewon Ebin. He said the spirit of unity and cooperation between all the BN component parties in the area is so strong that it will be an advantage to whoever is selected to contest the seat for the ruling coalition. Ewon, who is also Paginatan assemblyman, said the Government’s ability to see and manage the various problems faced by the people supports his optimism that the BN will win big in the area. “For example, the provision of RM700 for each student under the poor students trust fund, scholarships, uniforms and textbooks are contributions which cannot be found in any other Governments in the world,” he said when officially opening the Kampung Dambalang Marakau branch’s BN election headquarters and the new Kampung Tinanom community hall recently. During the event, Ewon presented cash assistance from the Government to senior citizens, single mothers, the sick and the less fortunate. He also approved a RM8,000 budget to repair the suspension bridge in Longui Marakau, RM6,000 for the construction of a kitchen at the community hall and RM2,000 to purchase female uniforms for Kampung Tinanom.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

TUESDAY-22ND JANUARY 2008 - BISCUIT FACTORY IN TROUBLE

Conservation needs huge funds

KOTA KINABALU:

Funds are always in need, especially when environmental conservation is concerned. WWF-Malaysia Chief Technical Officer Dr Rahimatsah Amat in stressing this said it is a never ending issue and need every individual’s attention all the time. “It is what keeps us employed. .A new (enyironmental-related) problem will emerge even before we could solve the earlier one ... it is a cycle. For instance, we need at least RM6 million to do forest restoration for just 50 hectares of land, and it is not easy to raise such big amount of funds,” he said. Speaking to media representatives during a luncheon dubbed ‘An Afternoon with WWF-Malaysia’ here yesterday, Rahimatsah said similar problem is faced with other conservation programmes concerning wildlife and marine. “Efforts are being made to save our rhinos whose numbers are in a worrying state. At least RM2O million is needed to protect the Sumatran Rhinoceros, which include to track them down in the forest, to bring them out and to keep them in a big area, which needs to be monitored at all times to avoid poachers from poaching them. “All this is cost and needs huge funds,” he reiterated. Rahimatsah in sharing their experience, disclosed that their first project was to gazette the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park in 1974. “It only cost about RM3,000 and a year to get the area gazetted. Today, it would take us millions and over 20 years to gazette an area. We need to tell the Government why this place is important and should be gazetted the scale has gone up, therefore, when it comes to conservation, we need to have an open cheque,” he said. During the briefing, Rahimatsah said since WWF-Malaysia sat foot in Sabah, they have many success stories to tell and various conservation programmes were implemented, which include the Borneo Species Programme (BSP). He explained that the research on Borneo Pygmy Elephants, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Orang Utan is carried out under BSP that covers the whole Borneon land area. The newly-formed programme will begin work by focusing on the three large terrestrial mammals found on the island, where WWF-Malaysia will run the BSP from its office here and work directly with the Sabah Wildlife Department and other stakeholders. Previously, the Sabah Orang-Utan Rhinoceros Elephants Landscape (SOREL) project managed the species work of the WWF-Malaysia in Sabah. “The time is now right to start the BSP, which cross cuts the Kinabatangan - Corridor of Life and the trans-boundary heart of Borneo. Before, SOREL limited our work in Sabah,” said Rahimatsah. He disclosed that work on the three mammals started in 1979 with the ‘Faunal Survey of Sabah’ conducted by WWF-Malaysia which confirmed that the habitats of the three animals are threatened by forest loss and land development. Currently, a total of 11 pygmy elephants have been collared with tracking devices since three years back for scientific studies and the satellite tracking data has had huge influence on land use planning, particularly at Ulu Segama Malua. Since the WWF-Malaysia’s orang-utan work is in partnership with the Government and nongovernmental organisations, work on the near extinct Sumatran rhinos get additional support from the private sector such as Hinda Malaysia.
“Today, WWF-Malaysia was tasked to lead in the preparation of management plan for rhino conservation in Sabah,” said Rahimatsah. There is an estimated of 25-20 rhinos left in Sabah and work is currently being planned to find out whether a rhino population exists in Sarawak as they did thousands of years ago. The method used in Sabah has been successful with infrared camera traps generating never before seen images and footages of the Sumatran rhino and WWF-Malaysia hopes to apply the same concept in Sarawak. WWF-Malaysia Borneo Programme’s species work is supported by WWF-Netherlands, WWF-UK, WWF-Germany and WWF-US, US Fish and Wildlife Service. Rahimatsah said Sabah is indeed fortunate that the global WWF network pays huge attention to Borneo. “We believe that we have the resources to expand our work to our neighbouring Sarawak soon,”he added. WWF-Malaysia chairman Datuk Tengku D Z Adlin, who also attended the briefing, stressed that conservation need not be too expensive if the people understand the importance of preserving the environment. “If we have enough awareness among the people and everybody plays a role in preserving and conserving the environment, there will be no destruction and we need not spend much to maintain the environment. “If we manage the forest properly, there is no need to clean up. I am glad that the Government, the corporate sector and individuals are showing interest in conserving the environment. The only thing is to get all this people to work together for the good of the environment and for the future,” said Adlin, who is also the Sabah Tourism Board chairman.

22ND JANUARY 2008 - AGRO TOURISM CAN ATTRACT MORE TOURISTS TO SABAH

Agro-tourism can attract more tourists to Sabah, says Rahim

KOTA KINABALU:

Agrotourism has great potential in bolstering the State’s tourism industry, said Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Hj Abdul Rahim Ismail. He said various elements needed to develop agro-tourism are already in place as 70 percent of the State’s farmers live in rural areas that possess their own charms and extra-ordinary attractions. “Agro-tourism is among the efforts to attract more foreign and domestic tourists to visit Sabah,” he said after hosting a luncheon for Konstantine Vatskalis, the Minister of Tourism for the Northern Territory of Australia. Rahim noted that while agriculture is the main focus of Sabah’s Halatuju, there are various related components that are equally attractive such as aquaculture, livestock rearing and agro-tourism concepts. Vatskalis, on a working visit here, said that Sabah will become an important tourism destination for Australian tourists, especially for those living in Northern Territory areas such as Darwin. “There have been discussions with Jetair Australia to make stops in Darwin before proceeding to several destinations in South East Asia and this automatically makes Darwin the gateway to this region, specifically Sabah,” he said. Vatskalis expressed confidence that this flight plan will become a reality as the airline has already booked several new planes to service the route. “This confidence is based on the attractions in Sabah which include the uniqueness of its natural beauty, the food and the friendly residents here,” he said, adding that safety and political stability are also contributing factors. Vatskalis, who has visited Sabah seven times, also praised the State Government for emphasising on the tourism sector as the State is rich in natural resources which make it an attractive tourism destination in the region. “We have a similar strategy as the Sabah Government in attracting tourists to Australia, especially in the Northern Territory because there are many similarities between both areas such as the weather conditions and the environment,” he said. Meanwhile, during the luncheon the two ministers also discussed issues related to agriculture development, specifically on the livestock industry, which Rahim said is a follow-up on the memorandum of understanding between Sabah and the Northern Territory signed about five years ago.. “The close relations between both sides in agriculture development has spawned the development of the Sabah Meat Technology Centre in Kinarut,” Rahim said.

TUESDAY-22ND JANUARY 2008-CONSERVATION NEEDS HUGE FUNDS

Conservation needs huge funds

KOTA KINABALU:

Funds are always in need, especially when environmental conservation is concerned. WWF-Malaysia Chief Technical Officer Dr Rahimatsah Amat in stressing this said it is a never ending issue and need every individual’s attention all the time. “It is what keeps us employed. .A new (enyironmental-related) problem will emerge even before we could solve the earlier one ... it is a cycle. For instance, we need at least RM6 million to do forest restoration for just 50 hectares of land, and it is not easy to raise such big amount of funds,” he said. Speaking to media representatives during a luncheon dubbed ‘An Afternoon with WWF-Malaysia’ here yesterday, Rahimatsah said similar problem is faced with other conservation programmes concerning wildlife and marine. “Efforts are being made to save our rhinos whose numbers are in a worrying state. At least RM2O million is needed to protect the Sumatran Rhinoceros, which include to track them down in the forest, to bring them out and to keep them in a big area, which needs to be monitored at all times to avoid poachers from poaching them. “All this is cost and needs huge funds,” he reiterated. Rahimatsah in sharing their experience, disclosed that their first project was to gazette the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park in 1974. “It only cost about RM3,000 and a year to get the area gazetted. Today, it would take us millions and over 20 years to gazette an area. We need to tell the Government why this place is important and should be gazetted the scale has gone up, therefore, when it comes to conservation, we need to have an open cheque,” he said. During the briefing, Rahimatsah said since WWF-Malaysia sat foot in Sabah, they have many success stories to tell and various conservation programmes were implemented, which include the Borneo Species Programme (BSP). He explained that the research on Borneo Pygmy Elephants, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Orang Utan is carried out under BSP that covers the whole Borneon land area. The newly-formed programme will begin work by focusing on the three large terrestrial mammals found on the island, where WWF-Malaysia will run the BSP from its office here and work directly with the Sabah Wildlife Department and other stakeholders. Previously, the Sabah Orang-Utan Rhinoceros Elephants Landscape (SOREL) project managed the species work of the WWF-Malaysia in Sabah. “The time is now right to start the BSP, which cross cuts the Kinabatangan - Corridor of Life and the trans-boundary heart of Borneo. Before, SOREL limited our work in Sabah,” said Rahimatsah. He disclosed that work on the three mammals started in 1979 with the ‘Faunal Survey of Sabah’ conducted by WWF-Malaysia which confirmed that the habitats of the three animals are threatened by forest loss and land development. Currently, a total of 11 pygmy elephants have been collared with tracking devices since three years back for scientific studies and the satellite tracking data has had huge influence on land use planning, particularly at Ulu Segama Malua. Since the WWF-Malaysia’s orang-utan work is in partnership with the Government and nongovernmental organisations, work on the near extinct Sumatran rhinos get additional support from the private sector such as Hinda Malaysia.
“Today, WWF-Malaysia was tasked to lead in the preparation of management plan for rhino conservation in Sabah,” said Rahimatsah. There is an estimated of 25-20 rhinos left in Sabah and work is currently being planned to find out whether a rhino population exists in Sarawak as they did thousands of years ago. The method used in Sabah has been successful with infrared camera traps generating never before seen images and footages of the Sumatran rhino and WWF-Malaysia hopes to apply the same concept in Sarawak. WWF-Malaysia Borneo Programme’s species work is supported by WWF-Netherlands, WWF-UK, WWF-Germany and WWF-US, US Fish and Wildlife Service. Rahimatsah said Sabah is indeed fortunate that the global WWF network pays huge attention to Borneo. “We believe that we have the resources to expand our work to our neighbouring Sarawak soon,”he added. WWF-Malaysia chairman Datuk Tengku D Z Adlin, who also attended the briefing, stressed that conservation need not be too expensive if the people understand the importance of preserving the environment. “If we have enough awareness among the people and everybody plays a role in preserving and conserving the environment, there will be no destruction and we need not spend much to maintain the environment. “If we manage the forest properly, there is no need to clean up. I am glad that the Government, the corporate sector and individuals are showing interest in conserving the environment. The only thing is to get all this people to work together for the good of the environment and for the future,” said Adlin, who is also the Sabah Tourism Board chairman.



TUESDAY-22ND JANUARY 2008-LAST BN MEET BUT NO POLLS TALK

LAST BN MEET BUT NO POLLS TALK

PUTRAJAYA:

The ‘last’ Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting yesterday did not touch on the much-speculated general election and there was no discussion on BN candidates too. Instead, the meeting focused on development issues with the BN Chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi directing all 13 coalition component parties to be frank and to tell the people what the BN-led Government had done for them. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said many development issues were discussed and that “it was more on development, nothing to do with the general election ... we did not discuss candidates either”. Works Minister Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu said Abdullah had instructed all component parties to be frank and tell what had been done by the Government so far. “He wants us to tell what we have (in store) for the people and how we have managed the people in the country for so many years and the experience we have gained from doing so,” said Samy Vellu, who is also the MIC President. Abdullah chaired a three-hour closed-door BN supreme council meeting, which began about 11. 50 am, at his office and speculation was rife that this would be the last such meeting before the nation’s 12th general election. Samy Vellu said the BN Government wants Malaysia to be a progressive and dynamic nation and the people must not be misled by politicians who are out to smear the name of the Government. “I feel that in recent months there had been a heavy campaign going on against the Government and against each component party. “And all those who carry out these campaigns have a lot of dirt behind them. They are not very clean everyone who wants to campaign carry at least a half a ‘pikul’ of dirt behind them and they put up a facet to say that they are very clean,” he said. He said while the opposition were putting up a facade, the BN Government “does not put up a show but tells the truth” and wants the continued support of the people. “And we believe in the concept of the BN. We believe in the concept of being together for the betterment of the country and I support the PM’s views,” he said. Probed further on what transpired at the meeting, Samy Vellu said a lot of things were discussed and each component party “was very open to air our views to the PM”. “The PM has listened. That is the beauty of the BN leadership. They open two ears to listen. They are not like the opposition with closed ears, who only know how to talk but not do things. “But we know how to talk, we also know how to do things... that is the Government that is there at the moment. We feel that we only have another 12 years for 2020 and by this 12 years the Government feels that the people must be upgraded in (terms of) their living standards,” he added.
He said on MIC’s part, it would get down to the grassroots to explain to the people on the Government’s deeds to date as the party did not want the community “to be taken for a ride by anybody”. Asked if Abdullah had instructed BN component parties to submit names of their respective candidates to contest under the BN banner in the upcoming polls, he said the Prime Minister had not done so. “Usually the PM will never tell component parties to prepare the candidates list, that is the right of the component party leacer ... I have not prepared it,” he said, adding that the BN supreme council meeting yesterday did not discuss the candidates list for the general election. “Even if the election is near the BN supreme council does not discuss candidates. “Candidates are something for (component) party leaders to select. It is the prerogative of the PM to accept or otherwise. He is the final decision maker ... we submit to PM and if the PM says ‘yes’, then we proceed to the next stage,” Samy Vellu said. - - The MIC supremo said the party was prepared for the polls even if it were held tomorrow. “We started our work six months ago. Even if one year later you have to prepare your ground ahead of it. So there is no point of thinking when is the election. Let it come tomorrow, tonight midnight we file the nomination, tomorrow morning we can contest,” said Samy Vellu. Meanwhile, on PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s statement that he wants Malaysia to be a welfare state, Najib said he would want to see first what he could really do. “He wants to make all kinds of promises ... opposition! He promised the Teregganu contractors but he could not fulfill those promises. This time, it’s a national issue. “We know the limitations of the opposition. It’s normal for the opposition to make promises ... for the sun and the moon.” Abdul Hadi, in his manifesto, among others, promises to make Malaysia a welfare state if PAS wins the 12th general election. Towards this end, the party promises to reduce the current fuel price by 10 sen per litre and to abolish the Internal Security Act. - Bernama


TUESDAY-22ND JANUARY 2008 - KING AND QUEEN HERE FOR THREE-DAY VISIT

KING AND QUEEN HERE FOR THREE –DAY VISIT

KOTA KINABALU:

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah arrived here yesterday on a three-day royal visit to Sabah. Flying in on a special Air Force plane, the King and Queen arrived at around 1O.45am at Terminal Two of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, and were welcomed by the Head of State Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah and his wife Toh Puan Dayang Masuyah Awang Japar, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and a host of other VIPs. Among the VIPs in attendance included deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin and Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, State Ministers and State Barisan Nasional (BN) component leaders. As the royal couple left the airport for the Magellan Sutera in a specially-modified luxury four-wheel-drive vehicle, they were greeted by hundreds of people gathered to give a colourful and warm welcome. Those assembled for the royal welcome included members of the various security forces stationed here, National Service trainees, cultural groups dressed in their traditional attire and students from nearby schools. After a short rest, the Agong and Raja Permaisuri visited the Tun Mustapha Tower where they were given an overview of the State’s development and later feted to a royal dinner at the State Assembly banquet hall. The royal itinerary for this morning is expected to start with golf. as the Agong tees off in the PGMS Golf Tournament, after which he and the Raja Permaisuri pay a visit to the Royal Malaysian Navy base in Sepanggar Bay before leaving for Sandakan. In Sandakan, the Agong and Raja Permaisuri will spend the evening with the people at a public dinner at Dewan Hakka along Mile 5, while tomorrow Musa is expected to host them to lunch at his residence at Sri Libaran before their scheduled return to Kuala Lumpur at around 4. 3Opm.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

SATURDAY-19TH JANUARY 2008 - UMS TO SET UP RADIO STATION

UMS to set up radio station
Public will be able to communicate with students

KOTA KINABALU:

The public will be able to communicate with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) students when its radio station starts operating by the middle of this year.
Running on a 500-watt band, the radio station will be aired in English, Bahasa Malaysia and other ethnic languages. UMS Vice Chancellor Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin when disclosing this yesterday, said they are in the final stages of renovating the studio and installing the antennae.
The effort was made possible thanks to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the university and RTM last year, which is aimed at providing training for its students majoring in communication courses. “We would also incorporate art into the 10-hour daily programmes,’ he said to reporters after announcing the Education Journalism Awards 2007 jointly organised by the university and Sabah Journalists Association yesterday. He said that the equipment had already arrived and was now just waiting for the studio renovation to be completed. Although the programme contents are mainly produced by the university, Mohd Noh said they would still be under the supervision of RTM.
“In fact, he said the broadcasting licence is acquired from the Government via RTM,” he said, expressing his excitement over the programme that would stretch up to Kudat, Beaufort and Brunei. He said a similar campus radio had been set up by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UiTM) and other higher learning institutions in Peninsular Malaysia. On another development, Mohd Noh stressed they would continue with the practice of maintaining 40 per cent of student population from Sabah, while the rest is open to others from outside the State.
He said there had been cases where students from other states rejected offers by UMS as they wanted to take up courses closer to home. “However, those who fail to turn up after the registration exercise may appeal to the relevant authorities and come to us. This has happened before when they arrived at the UMS campus during the second semester,” he explained. Mohd Noh said that they would still continue to promote courses available at UMS through roadshows in the Peninsular. Also present were Sabah Journalists Association (SJA) President Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and UMS Education Journalism Award 2007 organising chairman Dr Andreas Totu.

SATURDAY - 19TH JANUARY 2008 - POLLS IN 60 DAYS, SAYS KIT SIANG

POLLS in 60 days, says Kit Siang

KOTA KINABALU:
The DAP has predicted that the forthcoming general election will be held in less than 60 days, possibly between March 8 and 15. The Opposition party’s National Adviser, Mr Lim Kit Siang, said the prediction is based on a recent statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman, that the latter would be calling for the BN supreme council meeting. “Our prediction is that Parliament will be dissolved on March 3, followed by the nomination day four days later on March 7 and polling on March 15,” he told a news conference upon his arrival here from Kuala Lumpur yesterday. “We are also expecting that the Election Commission will reduce the campaigning period as in the previous general election in 2004 when it was two weeks only, which was a short time ... may be this time the period will be eight days only.” Commenting on a statement by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that he was not influenced by any quarters in choosing Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim to fill up the top post in the Judiciary, Lim said it was merely an excuse for the former premier to evade the question from members of the media. Although Malaysia is a democratic country and the Prime Minister is vested with the prerogative powers, it does not mean that the Prime Minister is not responsible and accountable to the people, he said. “It is demeaning the public inquiry set up by the Government to investigate the controversial ‘Lingam’ video clip,” he said. Lim said the controversy over the video clip was a serious issue and if the former Prime Minister does not view the matter seriously, then the public will lose confidence in the public inquiry and also to the judiciary.

SATURDAY-19TH JANUARY 2008- ENOUGH COOKING OIL FOR CNY

Enough cooking oil for CNY
Sabah Softwoods CEO says supply won’t be problem

KOTA KINABALU:

There will be enough cooking oil in Sabah, especially for the Chinese New Year (CNY), despite the reported smuggling of the . commodity and the recent shortage at retail outlets.
“I am certain . that the supply of cooking oil for the Chinese New Year would not be a problem here,” said Haji Osman Walat, the Chief Executive Officer of Sabah Softwoods Berhad (SSB) yesterday.
SSB has planted 20,000 hectares with oil palm and the total hectarage would be expanded in future.
However, Haji Osman said that Sabah Softwood does not market, distribute and retail the crude palm oil (CPO). It is handled by the Malaysia Palm Oil Board. Similarly, Sabah Softwood does not deal with the packaging of cooking oil.
“The output of CPO is guided by the MPOB, basically depending on demand and supply. As for price subsidy, it is based on the market price where a higher price would result in a higher subsidy and it is decided by MPOB,” he said.
SSB was engaged as the main contractor for reafforestation and oil palm development in the Benta Wawasan concession area between 2000 and early 2006. Regional Harvest Sdn Bhd operates a 45-metric ton fresh fruit bunches (ffb) per hour CPO processing mill in Dumpas.
Based on the current capacity, the mill is able to produce an annual output of 54,000 metric tonnes of GPO. The mill has an expansion capacity to 60 metric tons (Mt) ffb per hour and the annual production is expected to increase to 72,000 metric tons of CPO.
In 2002, SSB entered a joint venture for the construction and operation of a GPO mill with an equity participation of 40 percent in Regional Harvest Sdn Bhd. Sabah Softwood is also involved in tree plantations, chipmil operation and other relevant services.

SATURDAY-19TH JANUARY 2008 - CM URGES KKIPC TO BE MORE INNOVATIVE

CM urges KKIPC to be more innovative

KOTA KINABALU:

The Chief Minister has urged KKIPC Sdn Bhd which has been tasked to operate and manage the Sabah. Net for 20 years to be more innovative and creative in providing its services. “This is to ensure that Sabah will not be left behind in terms of Information Communication Technology (ICT) development,” said Datuk Seri Musa Aman at the company’s 11th anniversary here yesterday. The text of the Chief Minister’s speech was delivered by Deputy Chief Minister cum Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin. Musa said that the State Government had taken its own initiatives in ICT development in Sabah, and this was evident with the establishment of the State-owned intranet - Sabah. Net - in September 1997.
Today, he said the ICT industry was among the country’s most dynamic industries and served as an important catalyst for socioeconomic growth and development of the nation. As such, Musa reckoned that Sabah must be able to create new products and services that are of high value, not only to the local economy but international as well. Under the RM2.3 billion State Budget 2008, Musa who is also the Finance Minister, noted that RM17.8 million had been allocated for ICT development and a big chunk of the money goes to paying KKIPC’s services. Whilst stressing the State Government’s readiness to work with the private sector, Musa assured that the State Government would continue to call for greater cooperation and concerted national focus on the development of the ICT sector in Sabah.
“The adoption of private-sector initiatives can alleviate the burden on the Government and provide benefits to the private sector. Ultimately, this will be the driving motivation behind the State’s effort in bridging the digital divide.”
Moreover, he said there is a need to build a consensus by bringing together policy-makers, business leaders, academics and technical experts to work together in developing new policies and incentives that will make the Sabah ICT sector more competitive in the global market place.
He said this was part of a conducive investment climate that Sabah need to create. “The future focus would remain on strengthening human capital, developing hard and soft infrastructure, bringing innovations through ICT in the small medium enterprises and reducing the digital divide,” Musa added.

SATURDAY-19TH JANUARY 2008 - HUSBAND WINS BATTLE TO GIVE DEAD WIFE CHRISTIAN FUNERAL

Husband wins battle to give dead wife Christian funeral

KUALA LUMPUR:

A Malaysian has won a battle to give his dead wife a Christian funeral after Islamic religious authorities dropped their claim to the body on the grounds of her conversion to Islam. The row over the corpse of Wong Sau Lan, a 54- year-old ethnic Chinese woman who died on Dec. 30. “It was harrowing to wait for 18 days,” said Ngiam Tee Kong, who was at his wife’s bedside when she died in a Kuala Lumpur hospital and then suffered several sleepless nights during the custody fight for the remains. “I’m definitely relieved. Hopefully it will be over in a few days.” Ngiam, 53, the manager of a snooker game centre, said his ordeal began the day his wife died of kidney failure, when police told him she had converted to Islam by reciting Arabic verses during a session with a traditional healer a week earlier. His wife had sought the help of a Muslim bomoh - a common practice among Malaysians. “My wife was made to recite some Koranic verses. When she died, the witch-doctor showed the video clip of my wife reciting to the Islamic officials, who then issued a letter saying my wife was a Muslim,” he said, adding: “But my wife does not have a Muslim name. She had never converted to Islam,” he added. Ngiam, himself a Buddhist, however challenged this version of events, maintained that his wife was a Christian baptised in November, and asked a Malaysian court to intervene. Islamic officials later admitted they were wrong in claiming she had converted to Islam. “The High Court has ordered that the body of the deceased be released to the husband forthwith,” his lawyer Karpal Singh told reporters outside the court, adding that the body would be cremated according to Christian rites after a two-day wake. “The Islamic Affairs Council has said the conversion of the deceased was not in accordance with Islamic law, and therefore they have no objections to the body being released to the husband,” he said. Race ties, always a delicate issue in multiracial Malaysia, have become increasingly sensitive as speculation grows that the Government could call for snap polls as soon as March. The spectacle of non-Muslims battling for funeral rights of relatives is not new in Malaysia. In another case in 2006 involving an ethnic Indian said to have converted to Islam, religious authorities also eventually climbed down and allowed the family of van driver Rayappan Anthony, 71, to reclaim his body for Christian burial. But in 2005, as Islamic officials prepared to bury former soldier and mountain climber M Moorthy against his Hindu widow’s wishes, the High Court said it had no jurisdiction over such religious matters, leaving non-Muslims unsure of their rights. Politically dominant ethnic Malay Muslims form about 60 per cent of Malaysia’s population of roughly 26 million, while the ethnic Indian and Chinese minorities include Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. “This is a very serious case because the council should be more careful in future,” said Karpal Singh. “It must ascertain that any conversion is made according to Islamic law, not snatch a body and refuse to release it on the grounds that there is a conversion when there is not one, later admitting there was no lawful conversion.” Ngiam and his two children would seek damages from the hospital and the Islamic Affairs Council for the trauma they suffered, the lawyer added. Lawyer Zulkifli Che Yong, who represented MAIWP (Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council), said it was the council’s responsibility to investigate into Wong’s religious status following claims that she had converted to Islam. Zulkifli said the decision by MAIWP to release Wong’s remains was made after taking into account the views of the Mufti and testimony from a witness, traditional healer Siti Aishah Ismail, who used to treat Wong. — Reuter, AFP, Bernama