Sunday, January 13, 2008


Commotion over Tourist Night Market project in Bundusan

A commotion broke out at the controversial ’Tourist Night Market’ project site in Bundusan Plaza yesterday when some disgruntled shop operators tried to stop the contractor involved from carrying out the construction of the structures for the stalls. The shop operators especially pointed out to the contractor that since the project is currently being reviewed by the Penampang District Council (PDC) following a strong objection from them, he must not continue with the construction work, until there is a final decision from the District Council. However, the contractor ignored their objection and just proceeded with the construction work. The police had to be called in when tension flared with both parties engaged in a heated argument that almost turned violent. Meanwhile, DAP called on both Penampang MP Donald Mojuntin and Kepayan Assemblyman Datuk Edward Khoo to look into the objection by the Bundusan Plaza shop operators who are against the implementation of the project. They should intervene immediately and resolve the issue, DAP Kota Kinabalu Branch Chairman Dr Hiew King Cheu said yesterday in commenting on the latest development in the project. Dr Hiew said he and DAP Sabah treasurer Frederick Fung rushed to the site upon receiving distress call from the shop operators there. “In view of the fact that the issue has escalated to a critical stage now, it is only appropriate that the MP and the Wakil Rakyat concerned, Donald Mojuntin and Edward Khoo must immediately intervene to resolve the issue before it spins out of control. “They (Mojuntin and Khoo) should do more than just clearing their names that they are not a party to the project. They must be seen to be truly concerned and safeguard the public interest instead of giving mere ‘lip service’. “They must conduct a thorough investigation and to make public its outcome on how such a controversial project was approved by the District Council without any consideration given to the interest and wellbeing of the shop operators and tenants in Bundusan Plaza,” Dr Hiew contended. He maintained that the District Council should have first consulted the shop operator and tenants there before approving the proposed project. He also pointed out that the approval was a “lop-sided one, with little benefit to the District Council. A majority of the shop operators and tenants there have strongly objected to the said project, citing that it was bound to create a lot of problems that might ultimately affect the business and livelihood, he said. As it is, they are already losing 70 over parking spaces to the project, he added.


A scene that belies the brisk life of Kota Marudu town


The brisk life of the town here which unfolds as soon as the day breaks is an interesting scene to behold. For a visiting person, one may be amused at the sight of the town with its multi-coloured and multifaceted people with differing activities. Some people are just strolling, others are going in and out of shops to have a view of what they can buy at bargaining prices or having a taste of the local dishes at the restaurants. While strolling along the shops pavement, I suddenly stumbled upon an unsightly scene. There on the sidewalk lay sprawling a woman, possibly in her 40s, with badly disheveled clothes. A distasteful sight indeed. How on earth a place like Kota Marudu being marred by a rare sight such as this. The woman laid out her belongings and ragged clothing as well as a piece of cloth as her sleeping mattress along the shop’s sidewalk as if the sidewalk was hers and obstructing passers-by during broad daylight. Driven by curiosity, I blurted out some questions to the woman. The woman in a slow but confident rhetoric said that she was from Kg. Marabahai, Kudat and her name was Bikah Bte Taha. “I barely remember my village or my relatives after my heed was hit by an object a few years back. I also forget where my village lies,” said Bikah, appearing confused. According to a passer-by from Kudat, Bikah was actually a normal housewife but since she was divorced by her husband, she had left for the city life of Kota Kinabalu for several years and he never saw her since. “But an unknown twist of fortune made her like this. I personally do not know what had happened to her but obviously she had changed,” said the man who declined to give his name. “I hope the Welfare or Social Services Department will house her in a proper welfare home or rehabilitation centre very soon,” the man said before departing.


Assemblyman received threatening calls week before murder

State Assemblyman for Tenggaroh Datuk S Krishnasamy received several threatening calls a week before he was shot dead on Friday, the MIC President said. Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu, who is Works Minister, said Krishnasamy, who was Johor MIC deputy chairman, had informed him of the threats before he left for India on an official visit. “He said the threats went on for a week but he did not take it seriously. I did advise him to be careful. That is all I can say,” Samy Vellu told reporters when he came to the residence of the late assemblyman in Bandar Putra yesterday to pay his respects. He also urged the police to carry out a thorough investigation into the case to ensure those responsible would be brought to justice. He said it was normal for a politician or an elected individual to receive threats from dissatisfied people but in this case, it was too much. “What happened to Krishnasamy can happen to anyone else,” he said. He said a circular had been issued to all MIC Assemblymen and Members of Parliament to take extra precaution to ensure their safety. Presently, there were some people within the Indian community who created agitation including in writing to show that the MIC and its elected representatives did not work for the benefits of the community, according to him. “This is very dangerous because the aim is to sow hatred towards the MIC and its elected representatives,” he said, adding: “They write as though the people hate us a lot. When people think we are no longer useful, perhaps a shoot to kill can occur. Asked whether he believed that Krishnasamy’s murder was politically motivated, Samy Vellu said he was not sure. “I cannot say whether it has something to do with politics, a private matter or in connection with the constituency. An elected representative has many connections,” he said.
However, he said, an elected representative should not be afraid when facing threats from irresponsible quarters. Samy Vellu said he was disappointed with the laxness of security at the Johor MIC building and the absence of security guards at the premises when the shooting took place. “I have told the Johor MIC chairman to place new security personnel and install closed- circuit cameras to see who come in and out of the office,” he said. He also ordered all state MIC offices to review the security aspect of their premises. - Bernama


Guards held over missing RM500,000
KOTA KINABALU: After cash amounting to RM500,000 went missing,, three security guards given the task to keep a close watch on it were detained to facilitate investigation into the incident. The trio claimed that the half a million ringgit went missing during its transfer from from one bank to another. A reliable police source disclosed that the guards were instructed by their company to collect a RM500,000 cheque from a bank and cash it at another bank in town. After the second transaction was done, the money was put in a bag and taken to the company’s van before they headed to another bank at Api-Api Centre to cash the money, which was supposed to be deposited in another bank. While two guards were given the task to handle transactions in the bank, one stood outside to guard the van. They then moved to the next stop but found that the cash was missing. One of the security guards lodged a police report over the disappearance, claiming that it was stolen. Initial investigation revealed that through a closed circuit television at the bank at Api-Api Centre, the guard standing outside was not paying attention to the van. He was seen puffing a cigarette and at one point, talking to someone. The three are currently remanded to assist police in investigating the case.


Paint attack on Yong’s house
: A group of men was caught on tape smearing former Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee’s house here with red paint in the wee hours yesterday. The men went to the place in a white sedan car, and their action was caught on tape by a close circuit television camera installed at the house in Taman Kinamount, Luyang. The incident was only discovered family members at around 7am and they immediately informed Yong, who is also the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President. Yong and wife, Datin Stella, are both overseas. SAPP Secretary General Datuk Richard Yong when contacted, said he was shocked to hear about what happened. Describing the incident as uncalled for, Richard said four plastic bags containing red paint were found at the various splattered spots. Upon Yong’s advice, the family members immediately lodged a police report about the incident and also handed over a videotape containing images captured on close circuit television camera showing the front part of the house. “A police report was lodged by a family member and we will leave it to them to find out who is responsible for this shameless act,” he said. Richard said the CCTV recorded a car stopping in the front of the house before 1. 3Oam and people were seen hurling plastic bags into the compound. “The paint smeared the car porch, veranda and the roof of the house,” he said, adding that the police arrived at the scene after the report was lodged. Richard who was in touch with Yong said he (Yong) was shocked over the incident which described as malicious and uncivilised. “This is the first time something like this has occurred and it could be perceived as a threat or warning of some sort,” Richard added. Acting City Police Chief Supeintendent Rowell Marong confirmed the report and that investigations would be carried out into the case. So far no arrests have been made, he added.