Tuesday, February 5, 2008




Surrounded by crystal blue waters and white sandy beaches, Pulau Mantanani is undoubtedly a strong tourism attraction for the upper west coast of Sabah. With underwater visibility as far as 20 metres deep and a huge variety of marine life, it is no wonder Pulau Mantanani is holding its own as a scuba diving haven in Sabah after Pulau Sipadan in the east coast. Made up of three islands, Pulau Mantanani is about 40 minutes boat ride from Kuala Abai in Kota Belud and has about 800 villagers who are all fishermen who sell their catch in Kota Belud either for local consumption or to exporters to be shipped to other countries. The island which is under the Kota Belud parliamentary constituency, has a resort to cater to visitors, especially foreigners who go there for scuba diving. A visit to the island recently revealed that while the standard of living there has improved as many of them now have new houses, there is still much more lacking, especially in terms of basic facilities and infrastructure. The Government has constructed a mosque, a kindergarten and a primary school on the island. Children continue their secondary education on the main land, especially in Kota Belud. Although fishing is their source of income, the villagers also rear poultry and plant vegetables to supplement their diet. What the villagers really want now is a steady electricity supply as they now depend solely on power supplied by a generator which is only operational from evening to dawn daily. Kota Belud Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Salleh Tun Said admits that Pulau Mantanani has much potential economically and it is up to the villagers to make full use of it. “The villagers must find the initiative to profit from the island’s popularity and potential so that they can improve their family’s economy,” said the former Sabah Chief Minister. He said one of the ways they can improve is through education and he urged parents on the island to ensure that their children receive the best education. “Without edudation, we will be left behind,” he said, adding that an education will ensure that their children can gain employment in the tourism sector or in hotels such as the resort on the island.


Locals should be allowed to own land: Kurup


Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said local residents in Bingkor should be given priority to own land gazetted under the Bingkor Native Reserve (BNR). “Many people from this area are landless and they should given priority to apply for the land,” he said after receiving new PBRS memberships at Kampung Monggitom here recently. More than 300 PBRS members, including Bingkor divisional chief Jailin Lian and State PBRS Youth chief Vincent Lee attended the function. Kurup has received reports from local community leaders in Bingkor who claimed that local outsiders were applying for the BNR land. “I believe this matter can be settled by the Government by cancelling the applications of those who have no connection with the area (BNR),” he said. Kurup who is also the Sook Assemblyman, also said that the late processing of the land applications had caused many applications to be duplicated in Sook. “I also found that many Bingkor people are landless and they have the right to be given priority to apply for the land,” he added. At the function, Kurup received 54 PBRS new membership forms from Kampung Monggitom Ulu PBRS branch coordinator chief Jinuin Dunggis.


It is an event for the people, says Yee


The Chinese New Year Carnival 2008 is an event for the people and is not politically or racially motivated, said Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai. He said the event is catered to all communities in Sabah and especially in Kota Kinabalu, which is home to people of various races, cultures and religious beliefs. Yee said this in his speech when officially closing the six-day carnival held at Lintasan Deasoka here last night. Also present were Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim, political and community leaders. Iliyas meanwhile said that the carnival breathed new energy into Gaya Street’s night life, presenting numerous entertainment performances and a wide variety of goods on sale at the street market for six days. He said the carnival also embodied the unique Malaysian spirit where the people celebrate every major celebration regardless of ethnicity, race and religion. “This is the uniqueness of our country Malaysia, whose people are of various races and religions but are able to live in peace and harmony and have mutual respect for one another,” he said in his welcoming address. Prior to the official closing of the carnival, there were several performances by talented youths from the city, including traditional Chinese dances, singing and a marching band performance. There was also a 10-minute fireworks show and the grand finals of a singing competition.