Saturday, May 31, 2008


Foreign travel agents, press media to attend Kaamatan Open House


About 40 foreign travel agents and members of the media will attend the National Tadau Kaamatan Open House 2008 at Padang Merdeka here today. The agents and media members from Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden, Canada and Italy are here for the Mega Fam programme organised by Tourism Malaysia. A business presentation was held for them yesterday. It was presented by Senior Deputy Director, South East Asia Division, Tourism Malaysia, Ishak Ismail, Malaysia Airlines Sabah Area Manager Morris Ong and Josephine Chai from Sabah Tourism Board. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will launch the celebration tonight. The main objective of the programme is to raise awareness among foreign media and tour operators about tourist destinations, products and services in Malaysia in order to increase tour packages and publicity on the country as a preferred leisure and MICE destination. Organised by the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry and the State Government of Sabah, the open house is expected to receive about 10,000 visitors. The programmes will include cultural performances, traditional games and live music entertainment by favourite Malaysian singers. The highlight of the festival will be the crowning of the Unduk Ngadau or Harvest Queen. Visitors will also be able to buy local handicrafts and traditional ethnic products.


Coloured stickers to identify rice grades


The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry is to introduce coloured stickers from Sunday to enable consumers identify the different grades of rice. A Ministry statement yesterday said the Super Special Tempatan (SST) five per cent (with five per cent broken grains) packet will carry a purple sticker, the SST 10 per cent packet a yellow sticker and the Super Tempatan (ST) 15 per cent packet a dark blue sticker. “As for the imported rice, which is not a price-controlled item, a light blue sticker will be used for Super White rice, an orange sticker for special rice, a pink sticker for fragrant rice and a brown sticker for parboiled rice,” it said. This latest measure of the Ministry is in accordance with a Cabinet announcement on May 12 that the prices of the SST five per cent and SST 10 per cent rice would be fixed at RM2. 80 and RM2. 70 per kg from Sunday while the ST 15 per cent rice would be fixed at between RM1 .65 and RM1.80 per kg depending on zones. In making the announcement, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said that the controlled prices were to ensure sufficient supply of the rice and curb rising prices following a drastic increase in prices in the market over the last month. The statement also said that through the standardisation of rice prices nationwide, the Government spent RM725 million to subsidise rice imports with RM243.7 million allocated for Sabah and Sarawak. At present, Sabah and Sarawak depend on rice imports to meet their needs, with Sabah importing 70 per cent of its requirements and Sarawak, 47 percent. “If this (control and subsidy) measures are not adopted, the impact of rising prices of imported rice in the world market will cause a drastic rise in rice prices for consumers in Sabah and Sarawak,” the statement said. The statement also said that monitoring by the Ministry’s Padi and Rice Regulatory Division found that the price of the SST five per cent had reached RM3 per kg since April and the fixing of the price had enabled the people to buy the rice at a reasonable price. On the exemption of fixed prices for other imported rice such as Basmati rice, glutinous rice and Thai fragrant rice, which have floated retail prices, the statement said consumers of these rice varieties were from the middle and high- income bracket and could afford to pay the higher prices. At present, the average price of rice in the world market had risen by as much as three times the average price of last year, and hovers at US$1,100 per tonne (US$1 = RMI-24). - Bernama -


Sabah to get price-controlled rice effective June 1


Consumers in Sabah and Sarawak will be able to get the price-controlled Super 15 per cent (S15) rice at the price of the already controlled grade, Super Tempatan 15 percent, in Peninsular Malaysia. “The controlled price of RM1.80 per kg for this grade is fixed for the areas around seven major ports in both states, namely Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Sandakan and Lahad Datu in Sabah; and Kuching, Sibu and Miri in Sarawak,” Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) said in a statement here yesterday. Bernas said the S 15 per cent would be available in six different brands distributed by its subsidiaries in Sabah and Sarawak. “They can be identified by the use of blue sticker ‘Super Beras Nasional 15 per cent’ on the packs of Sabah Beras Super Vietnam (15 per cent). “In Sarawak, they will be on Cap Hornbill Kenyalang, Cap Beras Premium Beras Vietnam 25, Cap Batang Rajang, Beras Super Cap Ikan Gurami (ungu) and Emperor,” it said. Bernas said to improve uniformity in pricing and packaging of S15 per cent rice nationwide, effective 1 July 2008, a standard 10-kg rice packaging carrying the national brand ‘Super Beras Nasional 15 per cent’ would be introduced in the country to replace the use of stickers on various S15 per cent brands. - Bernama

Friday, May 30, 2008


887 teachers to be posted to Sabah, Labuan in July


A total of 887 attachment teachers will be posted in Sabah and Labuan this July. The teachers are among the more than 5,000 educationists who will be sent on attachment to all Government schools from July to overcome the shortage of teachers in the country, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said. He said 1,077 of them would be sent to national-type Chinese schools, 399 people at Tamil schools, 2,980 teachers to national schools and 666 others to special education schools. Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby here, he said most of them would be sent to Sarawak, totalling 1,115 people, followed by Sabah (876), Johor (647), Selangor (636), Perak (432), Pahang (356), Kedah (210), Negeri Sembilan (189), Melaka (172), Kuala Lumpur (155), Kelantan (143), Penang (75), Terengganu (80), Putrajaya (25) and Labuan (11). Dr Wee said the teachers would be sent to attend courses to improve their teaching skills during the school holidays. He said the Ministry also conducted interviews for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) leavers to become teachers, especially at Chinese and Tamil schools. “Teachers with SPM qualification will be sent for a three year training to equip them with the teaching skills,” he added. - Bernama


Shell, SJA join forces to support environmental leadership programme


Shell Malaysia and the Sabah Journalists Association (SJA), two longstanding partners in the annual Kinabalu-Shell Press Awards, this year brought the partnership to a new level when they decided to support an environmental conservation and leadership programme by an international non-profit organisation the Southeast Asian Service Leadership Network (SEALNet) in collaboration with the Sabab Wetlands Conservatiøn Society at the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre (KKWC) in Likas here. Shell contributed RM20,000 towards the programme, known as ‘Environmental Awareness In Action’, which will witness 20 American college students interacting with 30 local high school students ma two-week long project at KKWC - a 24-hectare area of mangrove forest which is home to native as well as migratory birds, mangrove crabs and fish. Mr. George Ling, General Manager and Director, Sabah Shell Petroleum Co Ltd, handed over the contribution to the partners - JA President Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, SEALNet Project Leader Mr Wesley Koo and Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society President Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin in the presence of Tourism, Culture and Environment’ Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun following a courtesy call to brief him on the project. Masidi praised the four partnering organizations for coming together to advocate such a worthwhile project. He added that SEALNet had come to the right place in learning about wetlands conservation efforts as Sabah has two-thirds of the country’s wetlands reserve. “Environmental conservation is everyone’s responsibility and I am happy to see that’ a corporate organization like Shell Malaysia remains committed to this cause,” he enthused. Speaking after the same ceremony, Mr Ling said Shell was happy to be part of this environmental leadership programme. “This is a very commendable effort as it involves the younger generation who will inherit mother nature in the future. Our support reflects our conscious and responsible stand with regards to the sustainable development agenda.” Joniston said the programme fitted very well as a community support project organized in conjunction with the Kinabalu Shell Press Awards this year. “We hope that this programme will further raise public awareness of the importance of our mangrove wetlands and hopefully increase public involvement in wetlands protection,” he added. Wesley hoped that the hands- on experience would act as a capacity building opportunity with the view to impart valuable leadership skills to help participants establish their own sustainable community service projects in the future. In matching the green words with green action, the programme’s participants along with SJA members, Shell and KKWC representatives will plant 100 mangrove tree seedlings as a physical reminder of their commitment towards mangrove conservation at KKWC. Masidi will lead the mangrove tree planting and gotong royong exercise scheduled for June 8, which also marks the final day of the programme.


Take advantage of assistance, Yahya urges fishermen


Fishermen in Sabah should capitalise on the various assistance such as funds and subsidies provided by the Government to help them improve their livelihood, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin. He said many of the fishermen in the State are stifi living in poverty and left out in the mainstream of development in the fishing sector. The Government, he added, had provided various assistance such as loans and subsidies for the fishing community, especially traditional fishermen. “Like people from the other sectors, the Government also want our fishermen to progress economically and come out from the poverty,” Yahya, who is also the Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, said when opening the 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the State Fishermen’s Association (Pengasah) here yesterday. Some 10 regional fishermen’s associations from across the State have joined Pengasah, namely Kuala Penyu, Kota Belud, Semporna, Sandakan, Labuan, Papar Tuaran, Teluk Padas, Tawau and Marudu/Pitas with 5,610 members. Another four regional fishermen’s associations from Kudat, Beluran and Kota Kinabalu have not joined the umbrella body yet. In ensuring that none of the fishermen in Sabah are still lagging behind, Yahya advised Pengasih to take the initiative of coming up with a record on the income of every member. He said such record is useful in determining the level of poverty among the fishermen, apart from making it easier for the Government to provide the assistance to them. “It is also important for fishermen to grab opportunities available in the small and medium industries, seafood business, boat repair and maintenance workshop and other related business,” said Yahya.


Squatters appeal to City Hall to defer demolition


The squatters of Kampung Teluk Likas have appealed to the Kota Kinabalu City Hall to defer demolishing their houses until they are properly resettled as promised by the State Government in 1996. They made the appeal during a peaceful demonstration held at their village yesterday. Some 100 residents of all ages took part in the brief demonstration to highlight their plight over the imminent exercise by the City Hall to demolish their houses on June 2. A total of 147 houses with more than 400 squatters will be affected by the exercise. Their spokesman Yassin B. Amat, 73, claimed that they were victims of improper relocation exercises carried out by the relevant authorities back in 1996 and 1997, to relocate them to the free housing scheme in Kampung Warisan Phase 1 and 2 in lnanam, near here. He said that during the two relocation exercises facilitated by City Hall, only half of the 300 over families were relocated while the remaining failed to do so when their houses were taken by outsiders, due to alleged irregularities in the relocation exercises. “We have concrete evidence to prove this (irregularities),” he stressed. They were subsequently offered the walk-up apartments in Telipok Ria which they turned down, as they could not afford the monthly rental, as well as other expenses like transportation that they would incur if they were to move there. “Furthermore, that (Telipok Ria housing) was not what we have been promised earlier by the State Government. We were supposed to get the free housing in Kampung Warisan Phase 1 & 2,” pointed out Yassin. He also regretted that their numerous written appeals to City Hall, including those by their elected representative, Sepanggar Member of Parliament Datuk Eric Majimbun to rectify the problem, were to no avail. Yassin thus hoped the State Government could immediately intervene and provide for a proper solution to the problem. He especially reminded the State Government that they were hardcore Barisan Nasional(BN) supporters who voted for the Coalition in the last general election. “We hope this (imminent demolition of their houses) is not what we get in return for supporting the BN Government,” he said. He added that they might file for a legal suit to safeguard their rights after this, if the City Hall proceeds with the demolition exercise.


Pension Act (Amendment) 2008 passed, retirement at 58


The Dewan Rakyat yesterday passed the Pensions Act (Amendment) 2008 Bill that will increase civil servants’ retirement age from 56 years to 58, effective July 1. The new ruling involves full- time staff although there is an option for retirement at the age of 55 or 56. The Dewan Rakyat also passed the Local and Statutory Bodies Pension (Amendment) Bill 2008. The bill will incur additional expenditure for the Government although the amount has not been determined. Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum, said based on a detailed study in 2001 when the retirement age was increased from 55 to 56, the move did not affect unemployment. “There is no political agenda in this matter. If there is, we would have done it before the general election,” he said when winding up the debate on the bill yesterday, adding that the Government would consider increasing the retirement age to 60 in stages. -Bernama


Accept sacked members, says Ghapur


Umno has to be fair to former members who were sacked on disciplinary grounds and wanted to rejoin the party, said MP for Kalabakan Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh. He said the readmission of former Parti KeadilanRakyat (PKR) Youth Chief Mohamad Ezam Mohd Noor should open doors to all former members to return to the Party. “We do not want just because we want Ezam back into Umno, we accepted him. “How about other former Umno members who had been slapped with disciplinary action. Is Umno willing to accept them back?” he asked. He was commenting on the acceptance of Ezam’s membership form by Prime Minister and Umno President Umno Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi two days ago. Ezam was formerly the Political Secretary to former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. -Bernama


Sabah Customs intensifies ops against turtle egg smugglers


The Sabah branch of the’ Royal Malaysian Customs is intensifying efforts to check the smuggling of turtle eggs from a neighbouring country by focusing enforcement operations in this district. State Customs Director Datuk Md Yusop Mansor said operations were being focused in this district because of its proximity to the maritime boundary with the Philippines. “The operations against turtle egg smugglers are not only carried out at sea but also on land as various methods are being used by them to deceive the authorities,” he said when contacted by Bernama yesterday. Md Yusop said the operations, which had been intensified recently, had succeeded in confiscating 1,500 turtle eggs estimated to be worth RM11,500 which were being smuggled into Kota Kinabalu on May 20.- Bernama


TNB has not given up on power plant
Company has appealed on proposal to use coal: Masidi


Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has not given up on its proposal to set up a 300MW coal-powered plant in Sabah. “TNB has appealed on its proposal of using coal technology in Sabah. As for the proposed coal-powered plant at Silam, it is a straightforward answer ‘no’ as decided by the State Government,” Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said at a press conference after attending a briefing! presentation on coal technology organized by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) at Sutera Harbour here yesterday. According to Masidi, the East Coast of Sabah is facing a serious shortage of power supply and SESB had to conduct the briefing for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on why Sabah has to use coal to produce electricity. However, several of the participants objected to the proposal. “We are still keeping our option open. Please give SESB a chance to explain the coal technology and environmental mitigation to the NGOs,” said the Minister. SESB Managing Director Jr Baharin Bin Din, who was present, said the focus of the briefing was to highlight the need of electrical power for Sabah and he hoped the participants would realise the advantages of having a coal-powered plant, especially in the East Coast. One of the participants pointed out it would be expensive to import coal from Indonesia to power the plant. “What happens when we have run out of it and who would pay for the expenses in future? “Why don’t we use gas? It is clean and cheap, just like we have seen and experienced in reality today, in Sepanggar!” said the participant. A participant from the public sector spoke on the solar system. “The air that we breath here is natural and Sabahans must know how to utilise it, just like what other developing countries have done to reduce the climate change. Why not think of it as a resource for power supply? “Ninety percent of scientists in Australia believe that it is the best natural resource for the power supply, so if we know how to use our own natural resources here or how to exploit them, it is very beneficial because all these are positive sides that could be applied here,” he said. Unfortunately, an executive from SESB informed that the solar system capacity is not reliable, despite of all its advantages as explained by several NGOs.


Long dry spell ahead
Forestry Director urges precautionary measures over El Nino which could hit


Sabah foresters are calling for precautionary measures to be taken in anticipation of a repeat of the 1 0-year cycle of El Nino dry spell which could hit this part of Southeast Asia. Due to the possibility of a long drawn dry spell affecting the State again, Sabah Forestry Director Datuk Sam Mannan urged the public to take steps to avoid open burning activities near forest areas and peat swamps to prevent major forest fires. He said in the six- month drought in 1983, some I mill ion hectares of forests were destroyed while some 190,000ha including 130,000 ha of permanent forest reserves were destroyed in the 1998 dry spell. “As there are signs of the El Nino cycle returning this year; we, have to take steps to ensure our forest reserves are safe by taking precautionary steps early,” he said in a statement here yesterday. According to him, activities like illegal hunting, shifting cultivation and land development near forest areas are among main factors that could trigger off forest fires during dry spells Sam also urged people living close to peat swamp reserves in Binsuluk, Kuala Abai and Klias to be extra cautious as in the event of peat fires, it would be very difficult to control and extinguish. He advised licence holders of Forest Management Units to step up patrols in high fire risk areas in their respective forest areas, ensure all fire fighting equipment are in working order and check on illegal hunters entering their forest areas. Under the Forestry Enactment those involved in burning activities that could cause a forest fire are liable to seven years jail or a fine of RM100,000 or both, he warned as he asked the people to inform the Department if they come across forest fires.


Last paper airline tickets tomorrow

THE paper airline ticket comes to the end of its life on Sunday when 240 carriers belonging to the world association JATA switch to all electronic ticketing, much of it through Internet booking. IATA members account for 94 percent of world airline traffic and by the end of February, 94 percent of them had already abandoned the rectangle of stiff paper in favour of digital technology. In Africa, 87 percent of IATA airlines had made the switch. The last paper tickets will be sold on Saturday, and the International Air Transport Association estimates that its member airlines will save three billion dollars (1.9 billion euros) a year, a much-needed economy in the face of a huge rise in fuel costs. “From June 1, no travel agent will be able to issue a paper ticket,” an IATA spokesman said. However, paper tickets issued before the deadline will still be valid for the travel dates indicated on them. The issue and handling of a paper ticket costs an airline 10 dollars: its electronic replacement one dollar on average. IATA also calculates that the end of the paper ticket will save 50,000 trees per year. — AFP.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


International AIDS Memorial Day


“Never give up, never forget” is the theme of the International AIDS Memorial Day (IAMD) 2008. Also known as the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (IACM), the event is the oldest and biggest grassroots mobilisation campaign to enhance the awareness on HIV/AIDS across the globe. The occasion is also held in the memory of those who had succumbed to this scourge, as well as to give support to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients who are still alive. For 2008, this event is held for the 25th time worldwide. It is to combat the stigma and discrimination that comes along with this disease apart from moving the society to actively respond to the prevention and care support for the people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs). According to Datuk Mohd Zaman Khan, the IAMD Organising Committee Chairman and Malaysian AIDS Foundation trustee: “IAMD gives us a platform to rededicate ourselves to the fight against HIV/ AIDS”. Meanwhile, the Malaysian AIDS Council President and Malaysian AIDS Foundation chairman Professor Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said this is the first time that the IAMD is held in an open-door concept with the community. “I hope this will empower people living with HIV and raise awareness among Malaysians. “The biggest obstacle they are experiencing is the stigma and discrimination from the society”, said Prof Adeeba. She said Malaysians should be matured and change their perception towards the PLHIVs. For HIV carrier Chandran, not his real name, his 18 years experience as a drug addict was painful. “I was shunned by the society, including my own flesh and blood”, he said. Chandran, 38, said he started to flirt with drugs when he was 17, at the urging of his schoolmates. “After I was confirmed as a HIV carrier in the year 2000, I lost all hope to continue living. I kept resorting to drugs without realising that there are people who still care for me. “I still have my mother, who provides me with the determination to fight my drug addiction. Now I realise that by contracting the HIV, it is not the end of my life as there is still a long journey for me to go through”, he said. “I had been in the police lock up for seven times and was imprisoned for one year. Those times, only my mother cared for me but not my siblings. Chandran admitted that it was not easy to get away from drugs, but his mother gave him the support and encouragement that he needed. Now the ‘born again’ Chandran has a Diploma in Psychology from Sunway University and works fulltime for the Malaysian Aids Council (MAC), helping to free others from drug abuse.


22 pirate, transport vehicles detained


Police detained 22 pirate transport vehicles operating around the town area on Tuesday. District Police Chief DSP Zahari Mohammad who disclosed this yesterday, said it is an offence operating public transportation without a valid permit. “They could face a fine of between RM1,000 and RM1O,000 or one year’s jail if convicted under Section 33 of the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) Act 1987,” he told reporters. According to him, in the operation on Tuesday, police detained eight Kancil cars, Proton Iswara (four), Proton Saga (four), Proton Wira (three) and a Kelisa, a van and a Kenari. “From police investigation, eight of the drivers were Bajau, five Dusun, three Filipinos, a Suluk and a Tator,” He said. Zahari said police also issued summons to seven vehicles without licenses, 11 for offence under Section 33 of the CVLB Act 1987, expired road tax (one), expired licenses (two) and driving without licenses (two). He said the police would also check the registration of the detained vehicles at the Road Transport Department to find out their actual owners. According to him, all the vehicles were released yesterday after investigation and the owners were given a stern warning to stop pirate taxi operation in the district. Zahari also urged the public to use licensed public transportation for their safety. “I also urge the operators of public transportation vehicles such as taxis and buses to continue their services until nighttime. This is the only way to prevent the public from using pirate transport,” he added.


Meet Johnny, the turtle man


While Johnny Appleseed planted apple seeds in the American wilderness and greened the land, Johnny alias Hasbullah Buis is helping to keep the turtle population thriving in the island wildlife parks off Sabah. Even after having worked for 23 years on Pulau Bakkungan Kechil, one of the three islands of the Pulau-Pulau Penyu Park, Johnny looks forward with enthusiasm to the dawn of a new day. “I have never felt bored with my work because the important thing is that I am able to help safeguard the turtles which come to nest in this park,” he told Bernama here. Having started work as a park assistant in 1985, he has progressed into a research assistant whose field of work covers Pulau Bakkungan Kechil and the other two islands, Pulau Selingaan and Pulau Gulisaan, making up some 1,740 hectares. Johnny’s work covers tagging turtles, transferring turtle eggs to the hatchery, maintaining the turtle hatchery, and releasing baby turtles into the sea. He said he has grown accustomed to living away from his family which occupies the staff quarters here. He is not alone on the island though. For company, he has seven other staff on Pulau Bakkungan Kechil, comprising a park ranger and six junior assistants. Johnny said their place of work was close to the Malaysia-Philippines border but none of them feared for their safety as there was a military post on the island. - Bernama


Khirudin new Sabah Fire and Rescue Services Dept Director


Outgoing Sabah Fire and Rescue Services Department Director Haron bin Tahir handed over his duty to Khirudin bin Drahman @ Hussaini at the Fire and Rescue Services Department Headquarters in Likas yesterday. Haron who is from Johor, became the Director in January 2006 while Sibu-hailed Khirudin was the Assistant Head of Director of Training Division, Putrajaya before he was transferred to Sabah. During the ceremony, Petronas Sdn Bhd handed over a RM20,000 cheque to the Department for the Sabah Cadet Firefighters Competition. Also present were Petroas Sabah and Labuan Territory General Manager Haji Burhan Bin Rasit, Petronas Carigali Sabah General Manager Chris Poheng UjiandPetronasDagang Sdn Bhd Manager Hadimion Jonimul.


Alarming increase of fire deaths in first four months


An alarming increase in the number of fatalities caused by fire was reported between January and April this year, compared to cases in previous years. National Fire and Rescue Services Department Director Khirudin B Drahman @ Husaini said eight deaths were recorded in the first four months of this year while there were only 18 fatalities recorded between 2005 and 2007. “In 2005 there were 11 recorded deaths, four in 2006 and three in 2007, while for the first four months of this year, there were already eight deaths and five injuries recorded,” he said. According to Khirudin, 99 percent of the fire cases recorded were usually caused by human negligence and lack of awareness of the importance of fire prevention. “It is very important for the people to know the methods to prevent and put out fire because most of the cases involved the elderly and children who were trapped by fire and needed assistance. “Therefore I advise the people to respond to the fire first and put it out when they encounter such an incident. I also urge every household to put a fire extinguisher in their own home as it is very important in the instance of a fire breaking out,” he said. Khirudin added that the 3E education, engineering and enforcement method is used in fire prevention and the involvement of the public and the relevant authorities is needed. He also advised the public to be extra careful when dealing with the usage of electricity, the storage of highly flammable things and to look after the elderly as well as children especially during the Kaamatan Festival. However, Khirudin said that there was a decrease in the number of fake calls made by the public since the introduction of a system to detect calls made through the emergency number 999. “Between January and April this year, we only received nine fake calls compared to 77 calls made from 2005 until 2007,” he said, adding that 246 calls received were fire reports and 151 calls were for rescue service. As for the losses incurred by fire, he said the statistics recorded RM14.8 million while RM51.9 million losses were recorded in cases needing rescue service, between January and April this year. Meanwhile, Khirudin said there are a total of 771 firefighters and 20 fire and rescue stations in Sabah and they will conduct more awareness programmes for the public such as general education for primary and secondary schools and also a mobile exhibition to educate the public on fire prevention.


UTM offers forensic science degree course


Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has become the first higher education centre in Asia to offer a Forensic Science degree course. Its Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & International) Prof Jr. Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir said the course which starts in July had received the cooperation from the police (PDRM) with the force providing it a forensic laboratory in Cheras for research. “For a start, 14 students will enroll in the course and will undergo practical training at the police forensic lab in May-June next year,” she said at a MoU signing between UTM and PDRM here yesterday. The students would also attend a ‘Moot Court’ to expose them to real court environment and how to become an expert witness. Dr Siti Hamisah hoped that the course would make UTM the Forensic Science learning and research centre not only for Malaysia but also Asia. - Bernama


Police warn of illegal parking


The police will take action on vehicles parked at taxi parking lots and bus terminal. District Police Chief Ahmad Jawina, who issued the warning yesterday, said parking vehicles at the bus terminals or taxi parking lots would affect the business of the commercial vehicles in the area. He said the police would also summon those who double park their vehicles in front of shophouses and at the alleys. “Illegal parking is the main cause of traffic congestion in the town centre,” he said.


Sabah to have Transport Academy


The fourth Transport Academy in the country would be built in Sabah to train Road Transport Department (RTD) officers and personnel from Sabah and Sarawak, said Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Lajim Ukin. He said a 33-acre land at Mile 10, Jalan Sungai Sibuga in the industrial zone in Sandakan had been identified for the proposed RM36 million project. The project to build the Transport Academy complex is expected to commence this year, said Lajim during a working visit to the RTD Sabah headquarters in Penampang yesterday. He said it is among the Federal- funded projects implemented in the State under the current Ninth Malaysia Plan. “Works to build the academy complex will commence after the acquisition of the land as the site for the project is completed,” said Lajim. Also present were RTD Deputy Director General Datuk Haji Solah Hassan, RTD Sabah Director Haji Wan Idrus Wan Sariff and Assistant Director Abdul Rahman Zakaria. Lajim said the existing Transport Academies are located in Melaka, Johor and Kelantan. In another development, Lajim who is also the Member of Parliament for Beaufort, said that last year, the State’s RTD registered RM80 million in revenue collections.


Foreign vehicles to be denied fuel anywhere in country: Abdullah


Foreign- registered vehicles, mainly from Singapore and Thailand, are likely to be denied purchase of subsidised petrol and diesel anywhere in the country under a decision to be made at the Cabinet meeting on Friday. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday the foreign—registered vehicles might have to pay the market prices for the fuels and not the subsidied prices meant for Malaysians. This ruling will be in addition to an announcement already made preventing foreign-registered vehicles from purchasing the fuels from petrol kiosks within 50km of the Malaysian borders, also from Friday. “Wait for Friday (for the announcement),” he said at Parliament House, here. Last Monday, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said foreign- registered vehicles from Singapore and Thailand would not be allowed to buy petrol or diesel within 50km of the Malaysian borders from Friday. Referring to Shahrir’s statement, Abdullah said the Government wanted to prevent smuggling out of Malaysian petrol and diesel. He also said that a proposal to implement a fuel subsidy according to the engine capacity of, vehicles would also be considered. On another matter, Abdullah said he had not received any report from the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) on alleged offers made to Members of Parliament from Sabah and Sarawak to cross over to other political parties. On a statement by Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said for the Federal Government to hand back management of the oil royalty to the State Government, he said the Government had yet to decide on the matter. The Federal Government had taken over management of the state oil royalty in 1999 after PAS won the State Government in the general election.


Illegals start colony on rented land in Penampang: Council


Landowners in the district have been warned against renting their land to illegal immigrants or face the consequences of their action. District Officer William Sampil in issuing the warning, said a special team to address the matter had been set by and spot checks on landowners in the district would be conducted soon. The team will be assisted by the police and enforcement officers from the State Land and Survey Department, he said, adding that action would be taken against landowners in the district who are found to have rented their land to illegal immigrants. “I have been informed that the illegal immigrants start their own colony on the rented land and this is one reason for the influx of illegal immigrants to the State and district,” he said during the full council meeting here yesterday. “These people would construct houses on the land they rented and their families will live with them. As the family increases, more structures will be put up and soon their relatives will come and build houses there. “With the illegal colonies come many problems, including health and sanitation, as these places do not have proper drainage or sewage systems,” he said, adding that wastes including from humans, are thrown around the colonies or into nearby public drains. “This is a burden to our society and we need not wait any longer to take action as this issue has been highlighted over and over again by the public. So any landowners in the district who are renting their land to illegal immigrants should take this warning seriously and remove the transient migrants from their property,” he said. Meanwhile Council Vice Chairman Chong Pit Fah said after the meeting that action must be taken as the problem had been around for a long time and had to be solved immediately. “How can we allow them to stay on our land and build any kind of buildings without proper drainage or sanitation?” he asked. Two Council members who preferred to remain anonymous, said some of the illegal immigrants are also involved in criminal activities such as drug smuggling and peddling. “It makes sense as without any proper documents, they are unable to secure employment so they deal in drugs and this business is a threat to our children, youths as well as families,” they pointed out. Other matters raised during the meeting were implementation of the new local plan (Putatan), the proposal to prepare a plan for Babagon and a “Total Landscape Master Plan” policy for all areas under the authority of the Penampang District Council.


Ezam lost confidence in PKR’s struggle, says Najib


Deputy Prime Minister and Umno Deputy President Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak yesterday welcomed the readmission of former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth leader Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor into Umno, and said Ezam’s move showed that he had lost confidence in PKR’s struggle. It also showed that Ezam was convinced of the credibility of Umno and that it was the right platform for his political struggle, he told reporters when commenting on Ezam’s rejoining Umno yesterday. Ezam had handed his application form and RM100 life membership fee to Prime Minister and Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after calling on the latter at the Prime Minister’s office at Parliament House. Asked about the Opposition to Ezam’s readmission into Umno from several sections of Unmo Youth, Najib said Umno should open its doors to those who chose to support the Party. “If we pick and choose, we will lose many of those who want to support us,” he said. Elaborating, he said Umno’s history showed that the Party had readmitted many who had opposed it at one time and, as such, Ezam’s readmission was not an issue. Najib acknowledged that it would be difficult for Ezam to gain 100 per cent support based on his having opposed the Government and Umno in the past. - Bernama

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Banks to recycle and collect waste materials


The Junior Chamber International (JCI) Intan in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Culture and Tourism through the Environment Action Committee (EAC) will be organising an environmental project in conjunction with the World Environment Day. Miss Zyee F. Dullie, the Organizing Chairperson, said the environmental project is involving 10 major banks along the City’s main street of Jalan Gaya. According to her, this project came about as she was formerly working in one of the international foreign banks and found out that the big piles of papers shredded everyday by the bank employees were just being thrown away at the main garbage bin, pending collection by the local authority. “There was no proper way of dispensing the paper wastage. There is no denying that every company is going for electronic processing and storage. However, some things still require documentation and will thus lead to their eventual disposal,” she said. According to Zyee in this project, all the participating banks will be given reusable gunny sacks provided by Bernas Corporation as well as garbage bins funded by the EAC for them to gather their shredded papers. The duration of the project is for one year and proceeds will be given to EAC for future environmental projects. “Apart from that, they are also encouraged to collect other recyclable wastes such as old newspapers, cardboards and even outdated pamphlets, brochures and forms. These wastes will be collected weekly by Madam Foong & Sons Trading, a recycling collection company,” she said. Zyee, who is also the JCI Intan Honorary Secretary, disclosed that from a survey that she conducted among the banks, there is an average of three to four kilograms per week of shredded paper produced by each bank. “Thus by encouraging this recycling it is hoped that less recycable waste will end up at the main garbage site in Kayu Madang, Telipok which is quickly filling up,” she said. She also stated that among the other objectives of the project are to create awareness in the community on the importance of recycling, to reduce the wastage of shredded paper and instead to encourage the recycling of it, giving another meaning of “sustainable banking”. “Based on the views from many people whom I have come in contact with throughout this project, they find that it is normally easier for people to recycle when it is done collectively rather than individually,” she said. Zyee hoped that this project will be extended beyond the intended one-year period and the same project or similiar ones may be organised to reach out to other sectors such as the hotels. The local banks which have stated their interest in participating in the project are Agro Bank, Eon Bank, Hong Leong Bank, Affiance Bank, CIMB Bank, Affin Bank and AM Bank, while the international foreign banks are HSBC Bank, United Overseas Bank and OCBC Bank.


Suspect held at Assistant Minister’s office


An elderly man has been detained by police for allegedly threatening a woman at the office of Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Nasrun Datu Mansor here yesterday. Acting District Police Chief Ahmad Jawina said police received a report of the incident about 10am. “According to the report, an elderly man wielding a knife was seen in the office,” he said, adding that a team of police was immediately dispatched to the scene. The 71-year-old man was alleged to have been waving an eight-inch knife outside the 43-year-old woman’s office room. The frightened woman locked herself in the room. When police arrived, the suspect was confrontational but was later overpowered and arrested. Ahmad said the suspect was being detained at the police station to facilitate investigations into the case. In another case here, a 21-year- old youth was assaulted by a stranger near a superstore at Taman Aman yesterday. Ahmad said the young man was coming out from the superstore after buying some things when he was confronted by the stranger. He was assaulted on the face and hit on the head with a can. He was sent to the hospital for treatment. The 32-year-old suspect was detained by the public before the arrival of the police. He would be charged under Section 324 of the Penal Code which carries a jail term up to seven years and also liable to fine on conviction.


Ministry urged to telecast Nation Narration live


Bingkor Assemblyman Justin Guka yesterday urged the Information Ministry to telecast the Nation Narration (Pengisahan Kenegaraan) live on radio and television so that people throughout the country can focus on historical events in the State. He said through this effort, people from Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia could learn about the struggles of prominent Sabahan leaders for the State’s independence. “I believe through live telecast the people from Peninsular States, including Sarawak, can identify more closely with the independence struggles of leaders from this State,” he said in his speech during the Upper Interior Nation Narration competition held at the multi-purpose hail in Gerakan Daya Wawasan Kampung Kota Ayangan here. His text was read by District Officer Zulkifli Nasir. Guka said the young generation should be given exposure to the struggles of prominent leaders in the country when they fought against colonialism and strived for independence. Justin believed through narration, the work of people like Datuk Mat Kilau, Tok Janggut, Datuk Paduka Mat Salleh, Tun Sambathan, Tan Sri Tan Chin Loke, Tun Mustapha, Datuk GS Sundang, Datuk Seri Panglima Ontoros will be better understood and appreciated. He hoped through the Nation Narration competition, Malaysians will be able to focus on the history and struggles of the leaders and their experience can be used by future generation as reference towards strengthening and maintaining the progress which they have enjoyed throughout the 51 years of independence. Kustin Ladi from Keningau emerged the champion in the competition and will represent Upper Interior in the State-level Nation Narration to be held at Nabawan district on June 6 and 7. The second and third places were won by Salmiah and Jaisah Jahadi from Tenom, and Jainah Matui and Susiah Petrus from Nabawan respectively. All the prizes were presented by Zulkifli. Also present at the event were State Komuniti Bestari Assistant Director Harun Madasa, District Chief OKK Mohd Amir Datuk Arif, Upper Interior Information Department Acting Chief Ramawie Haji Bakni and Organizing Deputy Chairman Rufus Gahim.


Govt to pay more attention to internet media, says Najib


Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday the Government would give more attention to the non-conventional media of Internet websites and blogs to ensure that the people receive accurate information. This was most necessary as the impact of this so-called new media on the people was evident in the last general election, he said during a question-and-answer session at the Asia Media Summit 2008, here. Najib earlier read out the keynote address of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the event. “We will certainly introduce the new dimension in terms of winning over public opinion. One of the aspects that perhaps we have overlooked is how to manage the new media. “I have to admit, frankly, that we have underestimated their role and I have to admit that we are not ‘tech savvy’ to tackle this and utilise the impact of the new technology,” he said. On remarks raised by an American participant on freedom of speech and human rights in Malaysia, Najib said the United States should look at itself first before criticising others. He said the United States, which has been projecting an image of a democratic country, was guilty of abuses especially in Guantanamo Bay, a US detention centre in Cuba. “In the name of national security, there have been violations of human rights and even abuse. So please, criticise the US Government and ask them to close Guantanamo Bay,” he said. - Bernama


Look into policies that can strengthen use of media to aid development, says PM


There is a need to look at policies that can strengthen the use of media and communication channels to enhance development especially in facing the new era of communication technologies, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The Prime Minister said with the explosion of media channels combined with the rapid growth of global networks such as the Internet, had dramatically increased their potential as an enabler for development. “They offer enormous opportunities for narrowing social and economic inequities and supporting sustainable wealth creation, and thus helping to achieve broader development objectives,” he said in his keynote address at the two-day Asia Media Summit here yesterday. His speech was read by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Abdullah said the new communication technologies could act as tools for efficient governance and greatly facilitate access to Government information and services. “However, poor networks and infrastructure remain a major stumbling block in addressing developmental problems. Many of our people do not yet have adequate access to these technologies,” he said. Thus, the traditional media - TV, radio and newspapers - was still relied on to fill the void, he added. Abdullah said while the country needed to invest in expanding broadband infrastructure, it also needed to ensure that its advantages were not limited to a select few. “We need to enhance workforce training to support employment and growth in the information and communications sector. Training is key to preparing our economies for the future,” he said. The Prime Minister said that it was by building a critical mass of human capital in the information and communications sector that a knowledge society could be developed. Abdullah said there was also the need to develop local content to remove linguistic differences which were substantial barriers to communication, and to help democratise access to information. Abdullah said communications technologies had an important role to play in helping nations cope with the present rapid increase in global food prices.


Abdullah expounds use of freedom of speech


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday the freedom of speech and expression cannot be used as an excuse to violate and abuse the reputation and dignity of a people. Neither can it be used to “slander and libel or to defame religious or religious symbols,” he added. “If this was the case, there would be no laws of defamation or libel and laws against those who incite racial or ethnic violence,” he said in his keynote address at the two-day Asia Media Summit, here. The text of his speech was read out by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Abdullah said that even the most freedom-loving people in this world knew that there was no such thing as unlimited freedom. “Freedom of speech is a fundamental right, but it is not absolute,” he said. However, he said, it was difficult to ascertain the limits of freedom of speech and expression. “Where do you draw the line between disrespect and dissent and between opinions and opinions that defame or are seditious? “This is where I believe that readers of both traditional and new media must have the knowledge and maturity to sieve between the facts and the innuendos and unsubstantiated accusations,” he said. Abdullah said the Government continued to support ethical journalism and the responsible corporations that undertook it. “The media, as we all know and accept, is central to nation-building— how it is conceived, promoted and finally accomplished. It is also central to good governance,” he said. The Prime Minister said the fundamental consideration was of course that “we have a media that is not only free but that is responsible as well”. Abdullah said: “We also desire that media does not undermine racial and religious harmony to the extent where national security and public order become threatened. “This is not always easy when we have media that cater to different ethnic constituencies with their special religious sensitivities,” he said. Touching on religion, Abdullah said different societies could hold to different values based on their dominant culture and historical experience, and “it may be all right, indeed it may be a matter of principle, for some nations with a secular tradition to be able to caricature the prophets of God. “But not here. We should not be shy of our cultural norms nor be abashed of our voluntary self-censorship in respect of them. It is not a moral or media sin to respect prophets,” he said. Abdullah said that in a globalised world where news travels in the blink of an idea, and is accessible to all, cultural insensitivities and arrogance can lead cultures to clash and nations to collide. On the challenges of new media, Abdullah said he believed that the traditional media can remain at the leading edge of providing content even as it loses its monopoly on the people’s attention. “Although some Netizens come quite close, quality journalism is still by far the domain of old media. Democracies still need the traditional press to hire the professionals whose job it is to discover and disseminate the truth. “It is with this in mind that I urge you not to be too taken in by the bells and whistles of technology but to hold fast to your established virtues of accuracy, intelligence, fairness and grit. These are the values that set you apart from the excess of information now upon us. These are your competitive advantages in the anarchic environment of the new age,” he said. Touching on criminal defamation, Abdullah said Malaysia also needs laws to protect the people from such defamation, and it also needs laws that protect core institutions from seditious attacks. “I do not see these laws as curbs on freedom. Rather, they are essential for the healthy functioning of our society,” he said. The Prime Minister said that though this “may cost us a few decimal points on the World Press Freedom Index, which is based on specific assumptions and premises, our security and the well-being of our society takes precedence.” - Bernama


DAP won’t support power plant


Sandakan DAP will not support the proposed 300kw coal-fired power plant to be built in Sandakan unless Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd ( SESB) can come up with a detailed and comprehensive report to alleviate the public fears as to how well the toxic wastes are to be dealt with and the type of technology being adopted. DAP Sandakan Coordinator and Sabah DAP Chief for Industrial Development Bureau, Anthony Teo, said the proposed plant would burn a massive amount of about one million tones of black coal annually and would produce 300,000 tons of toxic wastes. “The plant is said to have a life span of 75 years. Therefore, it will produce a mountain of 22.5 million tons of toxic wastes,” he said.


Check heavy vehicles travelling at night: CASH


Relevant enforcement authorities such as the Road Transport Department (RTD) and police have been urged to conduct spot checks on heavy vehicles travelling through the City, especially at night. CASH Deputy President Nordin Thani, in making the call, said spot checks were necessary to ensure that these vehicles adhere to the maximum limit and weight restrictions on the roads as well as bridges. “Enforcement must be done as most of these heavy vehicles which are overloaded, travel during the night and this is dangerous for the public,” he said. According to Nordin, he believes these vehicles travel under the cover of night because they want to avoid detection by the authorities as most of them are overloaded. “Their action not only endangers pedestrians and other road users, it also causes damage to the roads and bridges within the City areas. In fact, they have damaged certain areas and nothing has been done to repair them. “if we look around the City areas, road repairs are being done almost everyday resulting in traffic congestion and pollution and causing inconvenience to the public,” he said, adding that he noticed that some of the repaired roads were damaged again within a short period of time. Weight restrictions, he said, should be imposed efficiently because of the danger it poses to the public and the structural damage to roads, property as well as for environmental reasons. “The culprits must be punished in accordance with the law and pay for the damaged roads and pavements that they have caused,” he said.


Why Philippines has not dropped claim to Sabah? -MP


A Member of Parliament from Sabah yesterday questioned as to why the Federal Government was being overly diplomatic to the Philippines when the republic still did not want to drop its claim to the State. Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BNKinabatangan) said the Philippines also still did not show they valued Malaysia’s cooperation in trying to help resolve their conflict in Mindanao. “Why are we being too nice to them when they have not even opened up a consulate in Sabah or dropped their claim to ownership of the State,” said the Backbenchers Club Deputy Chairman when debating the Supplementary Supply Bill (2007) 2008 in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday. On Monday, another MP from Sabah, Datuk Wilfred Bumburing (BN-Tuaran) had urged the Government to act fast on the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah following statements by Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari that the dispute over Sabah be referred to the International Court of Justice. On another matter, Bung Moktar also wanted the Government to investigate why Rangkaian Pengangkutan Integrasi Deras KL (RapidKL) did not use 1,000 buses valued at RM500 million used by Intrakota and Parkmay Sdn Bhd to improve public transportation in Kuala Lumpur when they were already available for use. “Instead, they (RapidKL) go and buy new Mercedes Benz buses. Imagine, what can be done for my rural constituency with that kind of money,” he added. He also wanted the Finance Ministry to explain why Maybank was buying a stake in Bank International Indonesia (BII) for RM4 billion when it was said the bank was facing financial difficulties. - Bernama


Act fast to solve illegal immigrant issue, Bumburing urges Govt


The Government must quickly solve the problem of illegal Filipino immigrants in Sabah especially in the light of a challenge made by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to contest the ownership of Sabah in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Datuk Wilfred Bumburing (BN-Tuaran), said with so much focus on the Batu Puteh case in the ICJ, it would be wise for the Government to be seen to be doing something about the problem in Sabah. “If we are not careful, we will lose a much bigger piece of land than Batu Puteh or the Middle Rocks,” he said when responding to Ibrahim Ali’s (Ind-Pasir Mas) comments about the ICJ’s recent decision when debating the Supplementary Supply Bill. “Sabah MPs have raised this problem time and again and the Government must take note of the immigrant issue,” he said, adding that the Philippines’ claim to Sabah is still there. Bumburing said that Malaysia was still paying the Sultan of Sulu a certain amount of money every year. Outside the Dewan, Bumburing said some of the immigrants have become entrenched in Sabah, adding that the number of Filipinos in Sabah was unknown. “This is why we need a Royal Commission of Inquiry,” he said. Reports in Philippine online news portals quoted Moro leader Nur Misuari as saying on Saturday that the amount of money (about RM5,000) paid by Sabah to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu was‘pittance’. Misuari said the Sabah issue should be brought to the ICJ.


Royal Commission is to determine truth: Madius


The objective of the proposed Royal Commission of Inquiry is to address a very specific issue, that is to determine the truth behind the so-called “Project IC”, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Organization (UPKO) said. Coming out in support of the statement by SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee as reported in the local papers yesterday, calling for a concerted effort to act on illegals, UPKO Secretary General Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said, “One must not miss the tree for the forest!” Madius in a statement yesterday said, “The mother of all illegal immigrants related problem in Sabah is the infamous Project IC”. “It is just like the Royal Commission on the Lingam video clip! The concern was the independence of the Judiciary and it takes the Lingam video clip to put things right again”. Explaining his point, Madius said the Government would have to start investigating the claim made by Hassanar Ibrahim during the Likas election petition trial. During that trial, Hassanar testified that he was directly involved in a Government sanctioned project to award identity cards to aliens in Sabah with the main intention to tip the demographic balance in the State. “We need the Royal Commission to investigate what had caused the extraordinary increase in Sabah’s population.” said Madius, adding that perhaps, the proposed Commission could also look into the apparent inaction to deal with various police reports lodged against various statements on the Project IC. “I myself was asked by police to assist in the investigation but up until this point in time nothing has come out of it. One cannot help but to attribute the extraordinary increase in the population of Sabah to the existence of the so-called Project IC. There is no other credible explanation but this factor,” he said. UPKO’s call for the setting up of a Royal Commission of inquiry on illegal immigrants, he pointed out, was actually to look into a very specific matter which is “the truth behind the Project IC”, he added.


Watch out for criminal activities: Azizah


The community and individuals have been urged be on alert for criminal activities that could threaten the safety of their families and neighbourhoods. Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said everyone is responsible for the safety of their areas and the awareness of their neighbourhood towards criminal activities and the threats. Speaking at the closing of a family safety seminar organized by the Sabah Women Affairs Council Department yesterday, Azizah urged those with information pertaining to criminal activities in their areas to report them to the relevant authorities. “Any amount of information that can be used to weed out criminals in an area can reduce the crime rate and safeguard the people as well as save lives,” she said. Azizah in her speech which was delivered by Assistant Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Herbert Timbun Lagadan, said ensuring a safe environment today will benefit the future generation therefore the need to strive for cooperation to tackle criminal activities. “The community need to cooperate now even to the extent where people say we are busybodies because knowing what is happening around us is more important that what people think of us,” she said. According to her, curiosity is the best tool to find out what is happening around and also to keep tab on new developments in their area. She added the increase in the crime rate has made it necessary for everyone to be more alert to what is happening around them. “Prevention is better than cure which is why we must be on our toes and play a significant role in ensuring safety such as creating awareness among our family and community, supervising the activities of relatives as well as advising them on the need to be concerned about safety,” she said. According to Azizah, the seminar may help participants gain better information and guidelines on how to meet the social challenges today, as well as being an avenue for them to share their knowledge, ideas and commitment.


P’pang Council should reconsider reverting Sigah to original position

I refer to the letter by Monsopiad which appeared in your Sunday Home/ forum on May, 25. his opinions have raised more issues and doubts which need to be clarified further and answered by the District Officer of Penampang cum Penampang District Council Chairman that what had been earlier highlighted in my letter published in your Home/Forum on May 18. I do not wish to dwell too much on the Sigah which Monsopiad seems to be naive of its importance or significance attached to it, but suffice it for me to enlighten him of the following. I would like to recall his memory when Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan was installed as the Kadazan Huguan Siou by the Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA and not KDCA) at the Society of Kadazan premises at Kg Tuavon, Penampang on July 1st, 1984. At the installation ceremony, the Sigah was significantly used and ceremoniously placed on Pairin’s head to install him, thus conferring him with the Huguan Siouship title, and such conferment was recognised by the Kadazans. This ceremony is akin to installing Kings, Monarchs, Sultans or Agongs when their Royal Crowns or Headgears are ceremoniously placed on their heads during their inaugurations and installations as rulers of their own respective country. This is a manifestation of the importance and significance of the Sigah when it has been used to install Pairin as Huguan Siou. It had also been used symbolically when installing individuals into their respective offices or as presents to dignified visitors to show respect for them. Besides, the Sigah is also significantly worn during important occasions such as Harvest Festivals, weddings by the grooms and during other important functions. Monsopiad also appears to be ignorant about the procedures of the project construction regiment. With due respect to Monsopiad, let me enlighten him of the construction procedures before he can even attempt to make his statements in future to avoid misleading the readers. Firstly, it is the responsibility of the contractor to carry out construction works according to approved plans. Should there be valid reasons to make necessary changes while the construction is on-going, the project owners, through its site supervisor or project manager, would first give verbal instructions to the contractor regarding the proposed changes, and this would then be followed by means of written Authority Instructions issued to the contractor to, among others, halt the work temporarily in so far as the variation works to be carried out is concerned. Secondly, a variation order would then be issued by the project owner, complete with new instructions to include revised costing and working drawings for such works. The costs for the additional works (or the reduction of which as the case may be) would have already been worked out by the Quantity Surveyors for consideration and agreement by both parties. Even then, the relevant approving authorities or the Penampang District Council in this case, have to be consulted for any variation work. Only when the variation order has been duly approved and conveyed to the contractor in written form, can the contractor proceed with the construction work based on the premise of the approved variation orders. I do not know whether the Penampang District Council has adhered to this procedural practice as laid out in the Treasury Instructions or any other standard procedures as approved and adopted by the Council, especially when spending Government funds or ratepayers’ monies. As opined by Monsopiad to the contrary, it is not the responsibility of the contractor to obtain the views of KDCA or advice from the Bobohizans with regard to the positioning of the Sigah in question. Instead, it is the responsibility of the Penampang District Council, as the project owner, to seek all these clarifications right from the planning stage. If this matter has been inadvertently missed out at the outset but was later found out to be too important to be left out or included as the case may be in the Project Agreement then such variations (either additions to or reduction from the scope of works), should have been worked out and approved for incorporation in the Variation Order. The successful bidder or contractor would have at least been diligently notified in whatever form, verbal or written, that there is such a variation to be worked out pending issuance of further instructions by the project owner. In which case, the contractor would not normally proceed to carry out such works intended for variation, otherwise he would bear the costs for work done. If, on the other hand, the project owner decides to vary the contract in the absence of verbal or written instructions to the contractor, then the additional costs for such variations would ultimately be absorbed by the project owner, unless there is a compromise between both parties that the contractor agrees to absorb the additional costs. Monsopiad might not have noticed (regretfully if he did not) that at the commencement of the construction of the Sigah just before the last general election, the super structure of the Sigah’s frontal was initially orientated facing the West or the Penampang Bypass. Hence, it can be deducted from this stage of work that the contractor of the Sigah had proceeded with the construction in the absence of verbal or written instruction from the District Council. This was further confirmed to me by the landscape consultant who is the architect/designer of the Sigah Monument on 17/05/08 that it was constructed in compliance with the original approved plan. At this point in time, the orientation was then favoured by most, it not all, by the Penampang populace. However, as the construction progressed after the general election, the frontal orientation of the Sigah was suddenly changed to face in the opposite direction, that is, facing the East. Such is the unprofessional manner in which the reorientation of the Sigah was carried out by just changing its original position from facing West to East, by those individuals in authority (or perhaps under strict instruction by someone who is higher than them) without complying with the basic norms of project management protocol, especially when it is a project funded by the ratepayers. Or have they complied? Well, we will leave this matter to the Government Project Inspector and the Government Auditor to investigate whether the relevant Treasury instructions have been duly complied with. This subject matter merits an investigation by those concerned since the variation works reflect financial implications, be they plus or minus Variation Orders, if any, when the Council decided to reposition the Sigah to its present orientation. I further beg to differ from Monsopiad’s views when he suggested to put the figure of the Late Golden Son of the Kadazans, Datuk Peter Mojuntin, at the roundabout. Even his Son, Datuk Donald Mojuntin disagreed with this suggestion when somebody tried to make this similar suggestion to him in my presence. We have our own local Kadazan hero, his name is also MONSOPIAD, who hailed from Terawi, Kandazon. His tomb at the Terawi cemetery can still be located. His statue should have been more appropriately been erected at that location instead of the Sigah because of its humungous size obstructing the views of motorists. The statue of GAMBUNAN, the local Hero of Tambunan, has already been erected at Tambunan. I salute the Tambunan District Councillors for being conscious-minded of erecting the statue of their local hero. The Tenom District Council has likewise erected their own local Hero, Antenom, in Tenom Town. Why can’t the PDC think of erecting the statue of our own local hero, Monsopiad, instead of erecting the miserable looking pineapple at the Yue Min School Roundabout? It would have been justified if the pineapple had been appropriately erected at the Tuavon Roundabout where the actual road is leading to Kg Babagon - where the famous Babagon pineapple is being grown. Since the construction of the Sigah has already started and is about to be completed at the wrong location, we leave it as where it is for our future generations to judge for themselves whether their forefathers did make the sound decision firstly, as to its location and secondly, as to the appropriateness of its present orientation. I still maintain my view that the Council should reconsider reverting the Sigah to its original position of facing West to serve its basic and original purposes when it was mooted, that is, to beautify the roundabout (albeit obstructing the views of motorists) and, more importantly, to face it towards the main highway (Penampang By-pass) as a welcoming signage for all of us, in particular the tourists, when arriving at the Penampang heartland. The by-pass is now being regularly used not only by tourist bus operators transporting tourists through Donggongon Town on their way to places of interest like Tambunan and beyond, but also motorists as well as visitors driving towards Penampang via the said highway. Regrettably, Monsopiad must have been given inaccurate information since the facts he (Monsopiad) had quoted are mostly inaccurate and incorrect, thus the statements he made are verily misleading to the readers. I trust that Monsopiad should refrain himself from writing on this issue until and unless he has dug conscientiously deep down in his heart and only then can be continue to express his sincere views whether the present orientation is correct or otherwise. Even a respectable member of the District Council Penampang whom I met, could not even agree with the present orientation. It therefore goes to show that the change of the orientation was never brought up to the Council for endorsement. If Monsopiad is genuine enough in expressing his views on this subject, by all means be a gentleman enough to make himself known and identified by signing off his name (as what I always do) so that people would know who you are.

Sylvester J Disimon, Chairman, KSS Penampang District Branch.


Traditional houses to hold mini festivals
Cultural diversity rendezvous at Kadazandusun Cultural Association


An elaborate Kaamatan Cultural Diversity Rendezvous showcasing the various sub-ethnic tribes of Sabah through food, song, dance and music, will be held at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association cultural village on Thursday. It is an opportunity for visitors to witness and enjoy the Kadazandusun cultural diversity with each of the houses holding a mini festival of its own. The rendezvous- which will begin at the Rungus longhouse, will be officiated by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan who is the Huguan Siou, paramount leader of the Kadazandusun. The Rungus longhouse will hold a coconut festival featuring coconut products while the Tobilung house will feature the maize festival, where visitors can sample various dishes made using maize as well as traditional fire-making. The Papar Tongunggak festival will feature cultural artifacts while the Tambunan will feature a layoh (ginger) and poring (bamboo) festival. Other places of interest include the Lotud Monginomulok (rice leavening) ceremony, the guol (yam) and koningau (cinnamon) festival at the Lobu house, and the rumbio (sago palm) festival at the Dusun Tatana house. Visitors can go to the Tindal house where there will be a punti or banana festival, showcasing the various preparations for banana dishes and a Mononglumaag or life renewal anti prosperity blessing ceremony. The Bisaya house will feature a kulintangan (traditional gongs) festival while the Penampang Kadazan house will showcase the Momohobok ceremony and pineapple festival. The Liwan house will have a cabbage festival while the Murut house will feature the ever- popular Lansaran or local trampoline. The Murut mangunatip dance and blowpipe will also be the highlight of the Murut house. The Kuijau Keningau house will feature the best of local Kadazan food such as hinava, bambangan, sambal mangga and tuhau, pakis, tivak, as well as aromatic gourd soup, sada pinarasakan or steamed fish. Local brews such as Lihing, talak and bahar will also be available. The event promises to be a truly eye-opening insight into the Sabah ethnic culture, all in one place. Visitors will be able to feast on the best of the various cultures, which are not often available to the public. The cultural diversity rendezvous is one of many activities held in conjunction with the Harvest Festival or Pesta Kaamatan, which will culminate during the grand finale on May 30 and 31.


PBRS offers to help EC weed out phantom voters.


The move to clean up the electoral roil is both urgent and necessary, Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said. He said the Election Commission (EC) must carry out an extensive job to clean up the electoral roll in Sabah. “We can assist them. We can tell them who the phantom voters are,” he said when met in Parliament here yesterday. He was commenting on EC Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul RahmanIs proposal for a fresh electoral roll to be drawn up to stop criticisms from various parties that it lacked integrity. Kurup, who is Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) President, added that to be fair, the EC had been trying its best to clean up the roll over the years. “But the problem is too massive, especially in Sabah,” he added. He cited the example of the identity card of a dead person ending up in the possession of someone else, usually an illegal immigrant. “In the March 8 general election, the problem still appeared but was not as rampant,” said Kurup. Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said “the whole thing is a non- issue”. “I believe, if you have majority support, you will win the election. At the end of the day, it is about support from your voters ,“ he said. Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said the move was timely considering it had been 50 years since the first general election was held. “This is especially so as there have been many complaints of alleged discrepancies,” he added. PKR Vice- President Mohd Azmin Ali and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng agreed that there was a need for a new electoral roll and also urged Abdul Rashid to resign. “The process to re-register must, however, also be clean and independent from the ruling Government. The best is to conduct an automatic voter registration.” Mohd Azmin said PKR had previously provided the EC with ample evidence of phantom voters. “The EC Chairman must take full responsibility for the problem of phantom voters. The Chairman must be changed,” he added.


Music: Government encourages youths, says CM


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has encouraged youngsters from Sabah to venture into the mainstream of the music and entertainment industry. “Certainly, the State Government encourages participation of talented youngsters from the State in musical programs like singing contests and reality shows like the Akademi Fantasia (AF) and One In A Million reality shows,” he said. The musical and singing arena also enhances the spirit of unity and harmony among the various races in the country, said Musa at the presentation of the Chief Minister’s Special Award here yesterday evening. The event organised by the City Hall was aimed at giving recognition to veteran musicians and singers for their positive contributions to the music and entertainment industry in Sabah. Musa said a number of talented youngsters from Sabah hd emerged winners in the various national-level signing contests like Ray in the Suara Emas Bintang RTM, Ayu in the One In A Million and recently Stacy in the sixth edition of the popular Malaysia AF reality shows. “We also have accomplished composers from Sabah and recording artistes at the national level. “In fact, the success of our artistes had made us proud and this clearly manifested the Sabah Boleh spirit,” he said.


30,000 expected to attend national-level Kaamatan open house


Some 30,000 people are expected to attend the national-level Tadau Kaamatan 2008 open house to be held at the Padang Merdeka here this Saturday, starting at 7.3Oam. Various interesting programs and activities have been drawn up for the one-day event which would be graced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, according to the Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage in a statement yesterday. Head of State Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah is the guest of honour for the auspicious celebration with the theme ‘Peace Through Culture’. Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal and State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun are the organising joint- chairmen while the adviser is the Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is the President of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association. In another development, City Police Chief ACP Ahmad Sofi Zakaria yesterday said Jalan Padang (between the Jalan KK By-Pass/Jalan Istana junction and KFC junction) and Jalan Istana will be closed to traffic on May 31 from 7am to 12 midnight. He said traffic policemen would be stationed at strategic points to monitor the traffic flows. The parking areas at Kinabalu Club (30 lots), along Jalan Padang (190 lots), DBKK area (155 lots and Jalan Dewan (120 lots) will be reserved for the dignitaries’ (VVIP/ VIP) vehicles. There are some 1,080 lots of parking designated for the public at Asia City, Kg Air, Jalan Tugu and Jalan Gaya areas, said Ahmad. Compound fines will be meted out on motorists, motorcyclists and public transport vehicles which are found parked indiscriminately, he said.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


EC wants to re-register 10.9 mil voters for fresh roll


Malaysian electoral authorities want a fresh voters roll and have proposed reregistering all 10.9 million voters in a mammoth exercise aimed at silencing allegations of fraud and vote-rigging, a report said Monday. Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the project would take about two years, in time for the next general election unless a snap poll is triggered by current political turmoil. “The new registration exercise will be held if the Government accepts the proposal. We hope the proposal will be accepted,” he said. According to him, a new roll which caters to the current needs is necessary and would be acceptable to all parties. Abdul Rashid said the existing roll was a “thorn in his flesh,” after being condemned by the Opposition and rights activists who say it is deeply flawed and riddled with phantom voters. He said the EC would propose to the Government to have a special law to enable the drawing up of a new roll after its panel members meet on June 9. “We have jurisdiction to only examine and update the current list and not to come up with a fresh list,” he said. He said the proposal was among those brought up in the EC’s post-mortem meeting after the recent elections. Election reform campaigners said ahead of March 8 general election that almost 9,000 voters born more than 100 years ago - including two reported to be 128 years old - were enrolled to vote. The Election Commission controversially abandoned a plan to mark voters’ fingers with indelible ink prior to the elections. Nevertheless, the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition suffered the worst results in its half-century history, losing five states and a third of parliamentary seats to the Opposition. The outcome triggered calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as well as splits within his ruling party which commentators say could potentially force the premier to hold fresh elections. Abdul Rashid said the Electoral Commission was capable of handling snap polls if necessary. In Malaysia, another four million people are eligible to vote but have not registered. Between 2004 and March 2008, the EC received 235 complaints concerning the names of voters which were missing from the list. Investigations carried out by the EC later revealed that the names of these voters were omitted due to several factors, including being listed as “doubtful status” after the identity card numbers were confirmed to be missing from the National Registration Department database. Another reason was that the identity card numbers were certified by the Department as belonging to someone else, in some cases dead people. There were also complaints that the names of certain voters were transferred from one constituency to another without their knowledge.
— AFP-Star.


Standardize prices of all goods in Nation, urges Tham


Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad should make it a top ‘national agenda’ to standardize the prices of all goods throughout the country, and not just prices of subsidised goods, said former Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Tham Nyip Shen. “While I commend Datuk Shahrir’s swift move of having convinced the Federal Government to standardize the prices of subsidised goods throughout the country, which is in fact long overdue, I would urge him to standardize prices of all the other goods ultimately. “This is to be fair to Malaysians living in Sabah and Sarawak who have been paying more for most of the goods sold in the two States, which is absolutely unfair to them in the context of ‘one nation’ and, coupled with the fact that like their Peninsular Malaysia counterparts, they too are paying the same rate of Income Tax, no rebate at all,” argued Tham who is a consistent critic of price discrepancies between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak. Tham was responding to the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister’s recent, statement that the Federal Government would standardise the prices of subsidised goods throughout the country next month. “For once, someone at the Federal Government level is thinking about Malaysia as one country. Previously, when this issue about standardising goods prices was raised, it fell on deaf ears, despite the fact the Ministry was once headed by a Sabahan. “Hence, if Datuk Shahrir could achieve this (standardizing prices of all goods), the people of Sabah and Sarawak would really appreciate him,” he said. He reiterated that it is not impossible to realize such a move provided there is a strong political will. He cited case of United States as a good example of a nation with standard pricing for all goods, despite its sheer size that is about 28 times larger than the size of Malaysia. Tham went on to note that the higher prices of goods in Sabah had inevitably and unfairly contributed to a high cost of living and a higher cost of doing business in the State, as compared to the other states. In addition, almost all the leading Government Departments and Agencies are based in Kuala Lumpur especially. This thus often compelled Sabahans and Sarawakians to travel to Kuala Lumpur to do business and to attend meetings, according to him. “So far, MPs’ airfares are subsidised but what about the ordinary citizens? Until AirAsia came into the picture, there was no chance for the people of Sabah and Sarawak to travel to Kuala Lumpur on a cheap airfare,” he said.