Tuesday, February 19, 2008


KK’s newest hotel commences business


An eyesore building, once a reminiscence of an abandoned project that had marred the City’s landscape for years, has been turned into a 3.5-star hotel offering 190 well-furnished rooms. Located just a walking distance from the State Museum and about 15 minutes drive from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA), the Tang Dynasty Park Hotel was built to help ease the shortage of rooms in the State amidst the ever increasing tourist arrivals. The hotel held a soft opening graced by Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim and commenced business yesterday by offering customers introductory rates starting from as low as RM118 per night onwards. It is located in a strategic location, close to the City and major Government and corporate offices, making it an ideal hotel for business and leisure travellers alike. Its furnished rooms are complemented with modern facilities such as cable TV channels, IDD, Wireless Internet Access, 24-hour reception and a mini convenient kiosk. The Mayor in his officiating speech commended the hotel developer, San Hin Group, for taking the initiative to turn the once neglected building into a beautiful modern hotel, saying the initiative to come up with Tang Dynasty Park Hotel is in tandem with Kota Kinabalu City Hall’s vision to beautify the City. In addition, he said the move is in line with the need of the tourism industry in Sabah which has been plagued with undersupply of accommodation due to continuous demands from domestic and international tourists who are coming to the City in growing numbers. “The San Hin Group has certainly foreseen this predicament, and with the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 extended until August 2008, together with the newly launched Sabah Development Corridor, marks the rise of the Tang Dynasty Park Hotel today,” he said. The hotel’s Director of Planning and Hospitality, Mr. Terence W Tulus, said with this remarkable accomplishment, the Tang Dynasty Group of Hotels will be regarded as one of the most affordable business class hotels and efficient service providers for it guests not only in Malaysia but to the rest of the world. San Hin Group Executive Officer Datuk Dr How Kok Chong said the TD Group of Hotels in conjunction with the extended Visit Malaysia Year programme, will be supporting the tourism industry in Sabah by providing three to four-star hotels with five-star services and improved facilities in all its chain hotels in the State. Meanwhile, the Mayor urged other tourism players and the private sector to look into converting some of the old-looking buildings in the City, especially in Sinsuran Complex and Kampung Air areas, into budget hotels. “It is also my wish to see the now vacated Natikar Building near Padang Merdeka to be turned into a hotel in the very near future similar to this Tang Dynasty Park Hotel,” he said.


EMPA to hold conference


The East Malaysia Planters Association (EMPA) will be organising the EMPA Conference 2008 with the theme “Progress & Challenges” on March 13-14 at Sabah Hotel in Sandakan. EMPA chairman Salim Mohammad who is also the Group Managing Director of Sawit Kinabalu Group of companies, invited plantation owners, planters, engineers and all interested parties to the conference. Twenty-two papers will be presented by experts in various fields, covering the development of plantation industries in East Malaysia, plantation management, crop management, technologies, milling/mechanization, environment and sustainability issues. Exhibitions will also be held concurrently to exhibit products, services and technologies. Those interested are to contact the EMPA secretary at 089-273936/ 233936 or 019-8135936.


Fake document syndicate busted MyKads, birth certs, driving licences seized


The police here believe they have smashed a major fake document syndicate with the arrest of several suspects and the seizure of 43 MyKads, 15 birth certificates and 33 driving licences. District police chief ACP Jaafar Bin Yusuf said they scored the success following a raid on a house at Kampung Hidayat, Mile 4, Apas Road here at 8pm on February 7 this year. The police also seized a National Registration Department rubber stamp, a scanner and a photocopy machine for making the forged documents in a secret-hidden room of the house. Jaafar said four men, a woman and a child who were in the house that night were brought back to the police for further questioning. Two of the suspects aged between 31 and 35 years old were detained by the police for further investigation while the other four were freed. Jaafar said one of the suspects is a local man who possesses a MyKad while the other suspect does not have any valid documents. Both of the suspects will be investigated under Section 468 of the Penal Code. The police are looking for another suspect who is still at large. “The syndicate used an agent to buy missing identity cards from certain persons and modified the photos on the identification documents before selling them to buyers for RM300 each. “We used ultra violet lights to check the authenticity of these documents,” said Jaafar, adding the police were looking for the buyers of the documents and would charge them under Section 12 (1) of the National Registration Act.


BN does not punish people for voting for opposition: Mohd Lan


The Barisan Nasional (BN) Government has done much to improve the living conditions for the people and raise their level of income. It will continue to do so even in opposition-held constituencies. “That is the BN Government’s policy. It is not true that the BN ‘punishes’ people for voting for the opposition,” Semporna Umno deputy division head Datuk Mohd Lan Allani said here during a weekend visit to Pulau Bum Bum to participate in a clean-up of several villages organized on a voluntary basis by the villagers and local officials and distributed assistance to fishermen and the needy. Mohd Lan said he was pleased to see the people united and cooperating with one another for mutual benefit. “Unity and self-reliance are the keys to a better future. The Government can provide assistance in various ways but if the people don’t make proper use of this assistance, their condition will not improve,” he said. Mohd Land said he was impressed by the success achieved by 20 families who had embarked on a tapioca planting project in Kampung Pababag on the island. “With urging and guidance from their village headman, Mohd Yakin, these 20 families have successfully turned to commercial planting of tapioca and are earning an average of RM600 to RM700 per family from each crop. This is an example that others on the island should emulate, not just with tapioca but possibly with other suitable crops,” he said.


Queue jumping frequent along Luyang road

A frequent user of Luyang road has complained about rampant queue jumping, especially along the stretch from Jalan Kolam to the Lintas intersection. Din said pedestrians were exposing themselves to danger as the errant motorists were using the emergency lane to beat the serious traffic jam there during peak hours, especially in the evening. These motorists are often speeding along the emergency lane and could hit the pedestrians walking at the roadside, he said. The action of these motorists is also giving unfairness to those who are caught in the jam. The authorities should take action against these motorists, Din pointed out “recently, an accident almost happened when a Kancil driven by a young man jumped queue without giving due concern to other motorists’ safety. He drove his vehicle dangerously and acted like he owns the road, The young man’s antic shocked and caused fear to the other drivers,” he added. A spokesman for the city traffic police said the various authorities, including the Road Transport Department, were monitoring the situation and those caught for jumping queue and using the emergency lane would be compounded.


Rubbish collected according to schedule in P’pang: Council

Rubbish is collected according to schedule in Penampang, explained the Penampang District Council (PDC). “For the information of public, we collect the rubbish in our jurisdiction areas according to schedule. Even though sometimes it is late but we will collect it and never neglect it for a long time,” said a spokeswoman for PDC. “For example, the rubbish in Taman Intan area will be collected twice a week. All the rubbish is collected except those that is kept inside the house or if the residents lock their rubbish bins,” she added. Earlier, residents in Penampang had expressed unhappiness with the PDC which they claimed had failed to fulfil its responsibility to keep and maintain the cleanliness of the place. According to Hasni, the rubbish was left uncollected for many days until it scattered all over the rubbish centre there. “I am not sure what is the cause of the problem. What the residents and I want is for the authority to do something to prevent the problem from happening again. There should be a proper rubbish collection schedule,” she said. Hasni also said that they had complained a few times but nothing had been done to improve the service. “The situation has been there for a long time until today. I suggest to the authority concerned to do something and improve their service to maintain the cleanliness of the place around Penampang. “As far as I know, the PDC has a new garbage truck, but the problem still happened. They only take action after receiving a complaint from the public. I think if the public does not make any complaint, they will neglect it until the air becomes smelly. We hope they will do well in the future in maintaining the cleanliness of the place,” she added.


Govt to continue to focus on developing oil palm industry


The State Government will continue to place emphasis. on developing the oil palm industry here, with some 1.8 million hectares identified as suitable for the crop, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. He said that the projected area would be an increase from the current 1.24 million hectares already converted to oil palm plantations here, which have managed to provide good income of up to RM8,000 a month for smallholders. “The strong performance of the national oil palm industry, especially the hike in palm oil prices to its current high has increased the income and profit for plantation companies and smallholders,” he said in his speech at the dinner and official closing for the Sabah Oil Palm Expo at Le’ Meridien Hotel here last night. His speech was delivered by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun. Musa said the national oil palm industry earned some RM45.1 billion in exports for the country, a 41.8 percent increase from RM32. 2 billion earned in 2006, making the oil palm industry the biggest contributor to the national export income. He added that the positive developments in the industry had come about through the political stability and efforts towards developing agricultural land by the State Government and Federal and State Government agencies. “These encouraging achievements are the result of understanding and cooperation in the oil palm industry between the factory, plantation, business sectors and smallholders and should only be improved further. “I was also made to understand that the factories, oil palm traders and smallholders in the local market have worked together in providing fertiliser on credit to smallholders to improve their productivity and quality. “The result of this cooperation is an increase in income for smallholders and this cooperation can be improved through the provision of infrastructure by plantation companies as part of their corporate social responsibility.” During the event, Masidi, on behalf of Musa, presented a mock check of RM4 million to several State MPs, to be distributed to oil palm smallholders as part of the Quality Oil Palm Seedling Assistance Scheme.


Nomination papers ‘hot’
With less than a week to go for candidates


With less than a week to go nomination papers have been selling like pisang goreng (banana fritters) with Umno leading the pack with around 200 copies for their party alone. State Election Commission (EC) Chairman Hj Idrus Ismail said the sale of nomination papers, which is going at RM2O per copy, has been going “very well” with political parties and also independents snapping up copies. “All the major parties such as Umno and PBS have taken up copies and we are waiting for a few more parties to come by over the next few days,” he said when contacted yesterday. “We have even issued copies to independent candidates although we can only issue one copy for each independent, which covers both the parliamentary and State nominations. “However for those who come with the letter of request from their respective parties, we will give more according to how many are requested” he said. Idrus revealed that apart from Umno, Parti Keadilan Rakyat took the second highest number of nomination papers with some 150 copies while PBS took around 50 copies. “Of course this does not mean they will be going for that many seats. Some of the copies are taken as reserve in the event of any mistakes made when filling in the papers,” he said. Idrus noted that the EC had also ordered for a reprint of the State electoral rolls, which he said have also been selling very quickly. “We have already gone for a reprint two or three times. Our availability depends on the order, so if you don’t order then we cannot immediately accommodate the demand because we must first service those who have placed orders. “The reason for this is because we want to minimise wastage. If we print a lot of copies but there are no takers, then that is wastage and we want to minimise that possibility,” he said. Idrus was asked to comment on a complaint by Parti Setia President Datuk Pengiran Othman Rauf, who said it is unreasonable for the EC to expect orders to be placed before anyone can pick up a copy of the electoral rolls. Othman said the EC should instead have ample stock of the rolls to ensure it can be made available to interested parties at any given time. Idrus noted that the lack of available copies is a small matter that will be resolved after a couple of days. “The problem here is that some did not make prearrangements. If you simply come in and ask for a copy we can’t accommodate that. “We do have copies of various parliamentary areas but we only printed 10 copies of the Statewide electoral rolls and all were booked earlier. “Of course this is just a minor problem and we have placed the order for them (Setia). They should have their copies by tomorrow (today) or the day after they still have many days to March 8 so there is ample time for them to check the rolls,” he said. Nomination Day falls on February 24.