Monday, February 18, 2008


Masidi launches winning Walai Tokou Homestay


Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun yesterday launched the Walai Tokou Homestay at Kampung Sinisian in Kundasang which won the national-level homestay program competition called “Kejuaraan Jiham Desa”. Masidi who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman, was welcomed by hundreds of villagers who turned up for the occasion despite the incessant rains over the past few days in the district. The Walai Tokou Homestay at the village was established in 2001, and has become a role model for other operators in the country. Masidi said he was very proud of the people from the district for their achievement and added that Walai Tokou should encourage the setting up of other homestays in Sabah. “The main thing out of this success is that it opens your mind that you can do it. You too, can compete on a national level,” he said. Masidi also reckoned that being successful in managing a homestay is a promising sign that one can manage a hotel someday. “The homestay program is a stepping stone to a bigger lodging management one day”. Also present at the event was Tuan Hj Shariman bin Hamdan, president of the Homestay Malaysia who appealed to Masidi to continue supporting the homestay program. Masidi wholeheartedly responded that homestay will be his most important agenda and the “homestay program not only mirrors Sabahans’ unique culture and warm hospitality, but it is a form of income to the people.” He assured that he will help as many people in the rural areas so that they can also enjoy the tourism boom that Sabah is experiencing. “I want people from rural areas to taste the wealth of Sabah from the tourism industry first hand,” said Masidi.


Wah Mie Group to have own corporate building


Leading developer Wah Mie Group will soon have its own corporate building in Taman Indah Jaya located opposite the Indah Jaya Clubhouse. “Construction of the corporate building will commence and god willing, we will be able to move into the new premises by 2009,” Managing Director Kong Kwok Wah said in his address during the Wah Mie Group annual dinner at Yu Yuan Secondary School hall on Saturday. Apart from bigger and spacious office and conference facilities, we would have our own exhibition hall to display our company’s products. This is in line with the company’s policy to excel in providing better quality houses, he added. Meanwhile, Kong said the Wah Mie Group had completed and delivered a total of 449 houses last year, of which 329 units were in Sandakan and another 115 in Kota Kinabalu which was an improvement over 2006. “Currently, we have three ongoing projects in Sandakan namely Taman Airport, Taman Sejati Ujana and Taman Mawar Phase 7. We have just launched a big scale condominium project in Luyang, Kota Kinabalu,” he said. The total number of units to be built over a period of three to five years is 55 units. The take-up rate is very encouraging. There are altogether three blocks and upon launching, we have secured more than 70 percent booking for the two blocks, Kong said. “We also have our ongoing projects at Sepanggar, Kota Kinabalu comprising semi-detached houses selling at more than RM500,000 per unit, detached houses at RM780,000 to RM800,000 per unit and limited number of terrace houses selling at RM280,000 per unit,” he said. Kong added that the company’s development at Sepanggar has become one of the most prominent housing estates with good appreciation potentials. With the development of the Kota Kinabalu Container Port, proposed free trade zone, submarine base, the KKIP and the many education institutions, all along Sepanggar, this investment will definitely give buyers a good and positive return in due course. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan who also attended the dinner, urged the Land and Survey Department to expedite the process in the issuance of land title status to housing developers. Touching on the complaints by some house buyers of Taman Indah Jaya on the delay in obtaining land titles, Tan said the department had issued letters of offer to them two days ago.


Over 200 families still at evacuation centre Flood water subsides but victims advised to stay put


The flood water which hit the district and forced the evacuation of over 200 families on Saturday had subsided. However, the affected victims have been advised to remain at the evacuation centre until the situation has recovered fully. District Officer Luvita Koisun stated this yesterday when asked to comment on the flood situation at the area. “Even though the water level of both rivers here is decreasing, the families at the relief centre were advised to stay there until the situation is safe for them,” she said. At press time yesterday, the number of families evacuated to the relief centre increased to 226 from 13 villages compared 110 families from nine villages on Saturday. However, no incident was reported. Luvita, who is also chairman of the District Natural Disaster Committee, advised all the affected villages to be alert for any unexpected situation. “The Meteorological Department has forecast that there will be heavy rain in Kota Marudu, Kudat and the West Coast areas for the next two days until Feb 18 night. So we advise families at the relief centre not to return to their homes yet,” she said. Sabah is experiencing the late stage of the northeast monsoon season which blows from November to March. The current wet spell experienced by the State is due to the strengthening of the northeast winds coupled with the presence of a low pressure system over the Sulu Sea. Villages that were badly affected were Kampung Marudu Laut, Kampung Kantawayon Darat, Kampung Tambun, Kampung Sungoi, Kampung Taginambur, Kampung Pancur (Langkon Lama), Kampung Marudu Darat, Kampung Lotong, Kampung Pancur Lama, Kampung Balagatan, Kampung Parong, Kampung Tandek and Kampung Tagin.


Celcom holds CNY open house in Luyang


Celcom Mobile Sdn Bhd, Damai branch here organized a Chinese New Year (CNY) open house in Luyang yesterday. Thirty orphans from Beringgis Welfare House in Papar were invited, apart from the public who came with their children. Red packets were given to the children by the head of regional customer service, Abdul Rahman Hj Mahat. There were also lion dance performance and 3-on-3 street basketball competition during the event which started at 9am. According to its branch manager, Sylvia Pius, the programs were organized in conjunction with the Celcom’s nationwide sales. According to branch manager Sylvia Pius, the programmes were organized in conjunction with Celcom’s nationwide sales. “This campaign is the first of its kind for a telecommunications service provider and the nationwide sale will run for two months starting February 1 and ending on March 31,” she said. Although the main feature will be on postpaid products or services, almost all of Celcom’s entire catalogue of products and services will be made available for sale. Other items such as mobile phones and USB modems will also be sold during the event. “Sales booths will also be set up at all the Celcom branches statewide during the campaign period from 9am to 7pm daily,” she added. Meanwhile, a blood donation drive will be held at the same place on Feb 24. “I invite all the people to come and donate their blood to increase the supply for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s blood bank,” Sylvia said.


Police assure Pulau Gaya residents of their safety


The police have assured the safety of Pulau Gaya residents by conducting regular patrol at the island. OCPD Sofi Haji Zakaria told the residents during a dialogue session on Saturday that the police were patrolling the island, either in uniforms or plainclothes. “What is important is for you and others here to know that the security of this island and any vice activities are under control,” he said. The residents have voiced out their concern for their safety and requested for a police station to Putatan Member of Parliament Datuk Dr Marcus Makin Mojigoh during the dialogue session at the village’s community hail. Sofi urged the residents to take care of their children and not to let them get involved in drug, crime and vice activities. “It is every parent’s responsibility to watch or take care of their children so that they would not land themselves in any criminal activities. “However, should any youngsters get involved in any criminal activities, it is our duty to take action,” he said when responding to a village committee member’s concern over the safety of their children and youngsters on the island. “However, anyone who knows of any criminal activities on the island or in the communities and wish to report the cases confidentially could see me in my office,” he added. On the request for a police station, Sofi said he would raise the matter to the authority concerned. “The marine police are active here and you need to co-operate with them to track down any criminal activities,” he pointed out. Fisheries Development Board of Malaysia board of director member Arsit Haji Sedi, who was also present at the dialogue, said fishermen in Pulau Gaya are given various opportunities to increase their socio-economy. He urged the residents of the island to take advantage of the opportunities to improve on their economic development and be more competitive in their approach to upgrade their economy. Arsit added that an aquaculture venture with financial assistance was one of the opportunities that they could take advantage of. “The organization also provides financial assistance to purchase boat engines,” he said, adding the fishermen also enjoy diesel subsidy. Arsit added that the board would also discuss with a bank to relax certain loan requirements specially for fishermen. Several village leaders, including the committee members of the Village Development and Security Committee of the island, attended the dialogue.


SETIA, Bersekutu and Pasok form opposition pact


The new president of Parti SETIA, Datuk Pg Othman Rauf, said the party has formed an opposition front with other Sabah-based opposition parties, namely Bersekutu and Pasok, in facing the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the March 8 general election. Pg Othman said the party’s supreme council had unanimously appointed him as the new president after the incumbent, Suhaidin Langkap, stepped down and proposed him to assume the post during a meeting here on Feb 12, this year. Parti Setia, Bersekutu and Pasok met on Feb 14 and reached an agreement to form a pact in facing the general election, he said yesterday. Pg Othman, who chaired the meeting, added the three parties had reached a consensus to contest in all the 60 state seats and in as many of the 25 parliamentary seats. “We have agreed to field one candidate from the opposition front in each of the state constituencies to represent the parties in the election,” he said. The former Federal and State minister, added during the meeting they also determined the direction and objective of their struggle in championing the rights of Sabahans, uphold justice and work closely together with the rest of the nation should the people elect them to power during the election. He lamented Sabahans are still lagging behind in various aspects than their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia with the highest rate of poverty although the State’s administration has come under the Barisan Nasional (BN) for many years now. “Even the perennial illegal immigrant problem has not been overcome yet,” said Pg Othman who reckoned that Sabah should be governed by Sabah-based parties. In this regard, he urged that Peninsular-based parties not to contest for the state seats n the election as they have more than adequate state seats to contest in Peninsular Malaysia. “The Peninsular-based parties should respect the feelings of Malaysian citizens in Sabah and they should not be too greedy although they can contest anywhere they wish to. “As such, I would like to urge the voters here to support and give their votes to Sabah-based parties for the state seats in order to uphold political dignity,” Pg Othman added.