Monday, February 4, 2008


Land applicants outsiders:

Villagers Residents from 16 villages protest against application


The residents of 16 villages in Bingkor have sternly protested against the application for 2,500 acres of Bingkor Native Reserve and water catchment area by 50 people whom they claim are outsiders. In a decision made by the 16 villages’ action committee at a meeting held at the Bandukan Park in Bingkor on Saturday, they called on the Government to cancel the application immediately. Chairman of the action committee, Robert Tawik, said the villagers had appealed to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman to intervene. “Protesting petition has been prepared by the committee and will be sent to the Chief Minister this week,” he said. According to him, the people from the 16 villages had applied for the land but was rejected by the Government department concerned in Keningau. He said the villagers had planted part of the land with rubber, oil palm and fruit trees. Robert claimed that the applicants had given wrong information to the highest authority in Kuala Lumpur to support their application. “The area applied for was included in the Bingkor Nativ Reserve and water catchment area and according to the customary rights, only the Dusun Gana and Kujau people have the right to apply for the land,” he said. Meanwhile, two village headmen from Bingkor have denied the applicants were from their villages. Kampung Bingkor Baru headman George Richard said the applicants were not from his village and they intentionally used the village name to suppo1t their application. “My villagers have protested against the application from outsiders for the land. We have applied for the land and part of it was developed with rubber and oil palm trees,” he said. Kampung Bandukan Lama headman Aviu Lumau said the applicants also used the village name to get approval for the application from the Government department concerned here. “They are not the residents from this village and we don’t know who are these people,” he said. According to Aviu, the application for the land by the people from Kampung Bandukan Lama, Bunsit and Bingkor Baru was rejected by the department concerned here on the ground that it is not suitable for agriculture and was proposed for water catchment. “But the people from the three villages are confident the land is not included in the water catchment area,” he said.


Early CNY for welfare homes in Tambunan, Sandakan


For 70 children living at Bondulu Toboh Centre in. Tambunan, Chinese New Year came early when a group from Diriwan Corporation Sdn Bhd visited them last week. Leading the group was Assistant General Manager Yu Yet Shan who presented foodstuff and red packets to the underprivileged children at the centre. The foodstuff was handed over to Sister Rose Ginibun, the hostel administrator. Yu said the project is part of the company’s community project to help the unfortunate people. Also present at the event were the company’s commercial manager, Donny Kong, and Diriwan ambassador Miss Emily Ng. Apart from visiting the children’s home in Tambunan, the group also visited the Cheshire’s Home in Sandakan. The foodstuff was handed over to Miss Jennifer Liew, the officer-in-charge. There are 23 residents at the centre.


Charge shoppers for plastic bags:

CASH One way to reduce use of plastic bags, says Nordin


Supermarkets should come up with innovative ideas to reduce the use of plastic bags, said the Consumer Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH). Its deputy president, Nordin Thani, said shoppers could be charged a small fee for plastic or paper bags and they would be reimbursed when the bags were returned or reused. “This would perhaps be one of the ways to change the people’s behaviour and get the maximum use out of ‘throw away’ bags,” he said yesterday. “It is also an incentive for people to pick up any discarded bags off the streets, as they can then claim back the deposit for themselves. With the introduction of this scheme, it would reduce the use of plastic and paper bags and at the same time increase the reuse of these bags.” The CASH deputy president was commenting on the cleanliness problem caused by plastic bags in the State. “Plastic or paper bags are considered a big environmental issue in some developing countries and they are choking our planet. “Some countries ban the usage of these free plastic bags given by supermarkets. They even implement a levy or make the supermarkets charge their customers for such bags. This will encourage the consumers to bring their own bags,” said Nordin. He said a latest research or study from the Scottish Executive in the United Kingdom discovered that in many aspects, paper bags have even caused more damaging effects to the environment than plastic ones. “According to the study too, this is due to the effects of forestry and paper production. “The study indicated that the production process for paper bags expels three times higher levels of climate change gases than the process for plastic bags, and has 14 times more damaging effects on fresh water due to the form of pollution called ‘eutrophication’. “Actually the plastic bags the consumers use here are a symbol of the ‘throw-away’ culture permeating through our society: It is difficult and hard to change if the Government one day tries to ban or reduce the use of plastic or paper bags. “The ‘throw-away’ culture would cause millions of bags to end up as ugly litter and finally break down into tiny toxic bits polluting our soil, river, sea and lakes,” said Nordin.


Showcase of cultures for 3,000 at UMS


The colours and sounds of international cultures spanning eight countries filled the Chancellor’s Hall at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) last night as the City Day celebrations continued with the launch of the City Cultural Extravaganza. The event stayed true to its name, as the 3,000-odd spectators were given their money’s worth for the tickets with a near overwhelming four-hour showcase of cultures from Europe, Africa and the Pacific. Although there was a slight delay at the beginning of the night, things progressed smoothly enough with dancers from the Scottish Highland Dance Academy the first to take to the stage in the first set. After completing their performance, the dance troupe representing Poland went up next to perform two traditional dances followed by the troupe representing Ireland, who put on an energetic display of Irish tradition. Irish tap-dancing finesse was later replaced with Spanish passion, as the Spanish Castanuelas took over the stage performing five different dances, one after the other. From Spain, the spectators were then brought on a “journey through the South Pacific”, tagging along with the Maori New Zealand troupe who presented the various dances of the South Pacific nations. Also presenting a wide variety of dances were The Safari Cats from Kenya, whose dances aimed to present the over 40 different tribes found in their country. The Safari Cats’ departure from the stage marked the end of the first set, after which the crowd was entertained during the intermission by nationally- renowned composer and singer Ajai, Akademi Fantasia (AF) stars Adam and Marsha and a modern dance performance by local dancers. The second set followed soon after, with performances by the troupes from Scotland, Poland, Ireland, Kenya, Viva Brazil, New Zealand and Ukraine. The City Cultural Extravaganza continues today and tomorrow, when Head of State Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman are expected to attend the finale.


Villagers renew call for relocation of shooting range


The residents here have proposed that the related authority should consider relocating the army shooting range at Camp Paradise away from the villages following the death of another local man who was killed while dismantling an old mortar he collected from the shooting range last week. Kampung Bangkahak Sum-Sum Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) secretary Jackson Adam. said the camp posed a danger to the local people, especially. those from low-income group who made extra income by - collecting and selling leftover bombs as scrap metals. He urged the military to consider the fact that their shooting range is not just located too close to the village but not fenced as well, inviting villagers to trespass and collect scrap metals which sometimes could be live mortars. The absence of fencing to separate the training zone from the nearby villages also causes live stocks to often wander and graze at the open field, he said. According to Jackson, the shooting range located just about a kilometer from their village, is actually situated on a piece of land that belongs to villagers which have yet to be compensated. He said the army expanded its camp in 1979 to develop the shooting range for training purposes. Jackson said the village, with some 1,000 population who mostly earn their living through farming, had appealed several times to the authorities to relocate the training ground but the request was never answered. In the latest incident last week, a 70-year-old man was blown into pieces after a mortar he was trying to dismantle exploded. The victim, identified as Sangkor Birang, had allegedly brought home several active bombs, which. police believed were taken from the Camp Paradise shooting range the same day. Acting District Police Chief DSP Mohan Nadasen said the victim was last seen taking a sack, believed containing the bomb, plus two others, into a bathroom; which is located outside the house, before it exploded. His remains, from the abdomen to right leg, were found on the house roof, about 40 metres from the bathroom. The explosion also damaged Sangkor’s house. His 24-year-old daughter and four-month-old grandson who were inside the house when the mortar detonated, escaped unhurt. Mohan said they had conducted numerous talks with the villagers to stop them from trespassing into the camp area. A similar incident occurred on March 14 two years ago, killing a man and his son and seriously injuring two other children.