Monday, May 12, 2008


Call to advertise vacancies in Sabah papers


Sabah Keadilan Information Chief Dr Edwin Bosi has urged Chief Secretary Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan to advertise job vacancies in the Sabah Federal Departments in the Sabah newspapers Mohd Sidek should also advertise all vacancies in the civil service not only in the West Malaysian papers but also the East Malaysian papers to allow every Malaysian the opportunity to apply, he said when commenting on the subject of Borneonisation, “I would however like to caution the Chief Secretary to properly scrutinise applications from Sabah so that only genuine Sabahans are appointed to the posts. The applicants’ identity card and background should be verified by the National Registration Department and Police respectively before the offer letter is issued,” be said in a statement yesterday.


Majimbun to urge KL to review chicken wing duties


The Member of Parliament for Sepanggar, Datuk Eric Majimbun, has promised to do his best to urge the Federal Government to review the new import duties dubbed as Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) imposed on import of chicken wings into Sabah, which has come into effect since April 1 this year. He said he would do his level best to urge the Federal Government to revoke the said import duties, which he regarded as unreasonable and a great burden to the consumers in Sabah. He made the promise after listening to the explanation by Koh Tze Guan, President of the Frozen Meat and Food Importers Association Sabah (FMAFIAS), during a courtesy call by the Association on Saturday, to highlight their plight over the imposition of the TRQ. Also present were FMAFIAS Secretary General Louis Fong and Majimbun’s two party colleagues, Melanie Chia and Datuk Liew Teck Chan who are also the Luyang State Assemblywoman and Likas Assemblyman respectively. Koh highlighted that following the implementation of the TRQ, the retail price for grilled chicken wings has been increased from RM1.20/RM1.50 to RM1.80/RM2 each, while the retail price for the deep-fried chicken wings has been increased from RM1.50 to RM2. He especially argued that the Government to take into consideration of the unique situation of Sabah, that is the distance between Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia which is ocean apart, besides the fact that the local supply of chicken wings is still not enough to meet the market demand, thus making it necessary to import the chicken wings from Peninsular Malaysia. A calculation made by the Association based on the statistics of import of frozen chicken wings by Sabah last year, as compared to the production of chicken in the State revealed that the State will have to increase its chicken production by eight folds in order to meet the current market demand. “Last year, Sabah imported 15,875 MT of frozen chicken wings while the entire State’s production of dressed whole chicken was approximately 66,000 MT and only 10 per cent of that figure is made up of chicken wings which is only 1,980 MT,” he elaborated. Meanwhile, Melanie who is also the Assistant Finance Minister, revealed that she had recently brought up the issue to the attention of her colleague cum Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun. “She (Azizah) will be meeting up with the Association (FMAFIAS) soon to discuss about the issue,” she said. She too concurred with the Association’s view that the implementation of the TRQ would eventually force the traders to transfer the additional cost incurred on hein to the consumers.


Sabahans still have confidence in BN’s credibility: MP


Confidence in the Barisan Nasional’s credibility and its ability to fulfill its election manifesto was the reason why people in Sabah rejected the Opposition during the 12th General Election, Putatan Member of Parliament Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh said. “In this respect, it is imperative that the BN Government implements all developments planned in Sabah and Sarawak without delay,” he said in his debate to support the motion of thanks to the King’s royal address in the Parliament. No longer overlooking their needs, he pointed out, is the Federal Government’s way to repay the confidence of the people for giving it the mandate to govern the country. Mojigoh in his speech raised several issues which he said needed to be addressed by the Government, including the task of BN leaders in Sabah and Sarawak to explain to the people that only a credible BN Government could administer the country. “Credible here means BN is fair to all, provides equal education, development and other opportunities regardless of race and religion to all the rakyat,” he said. Mojigoh spoke briefly about the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah, a perennial problem in the State which has yet to be resolved. “The problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah has yet to see a concrete solution. In fact, the Government plans to issue IMM13 documents to the illegal immigrants from Pulau Karuman in Labuan. This will never be accepted by Malaysians in Sabah and Sarawak,” he stressed. The other urgent issues are road, water and electricity supplies in many villages in Sabah and Mojigoh said it was important for the Government to focus on development in rural areas, especially in the aspect of roads as well as developing of land to assist the needy rural folk to uplift their socioeconomic status. At this juncture, Tititwangsa PAS Member of Parliament Dr Lo’ Lo’ Mohamad Ghazali stood up and said that the only way to get immediate development in Sabah is when an elected representative in the State passed away, paving way for a by election.“When an elected representative passes away, a by-election will be held and it is the expressway for developmnt. Allocations of RM30 million to RM70 million will be approved within three to four days,” he said. Mojigoh in reply said that the Titiwangsa MP’s statement belittled the feelings of Sabahans and that it was the Opposition’s tactic to twist their words. His statements led to several other MPs both from the BN and Opposition interrupting him but he declined to give way and continued with his speech. Mojigoh pointed out that the big mandate given to BN in Sabah was the result of Sabahans feeling that they no longer wanted to be overlooked by the central leadership and this, he has reminded as well as appealed many times to the House. When Rantau Panjang PAS MP Hajah Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff interjected and asked for his opinion why Sabah and Sarawak continued to be overlooked and treated like the states governed by the Opposition, Mojigoh replied, “I understand what you are trying to say but it is irrelevant whether I agree or not.” To a question from BN-Umno MP Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique (Tenggara) whether he was confident that the Opposition could, by inviting BN elected representatives to “move into a terrace house”, guarantee a better future for the people, he said: “The question of moving does not arise. The people in Sabah and Sarawak are used to living anywhere as long as there is credibility. The credibility of the Barisan Nasional has been proven but not the Opposition. What we are seeing in Selangor is shameful. So why move?” His statement again prompted several opposition MPs to stand up but Mojigoh did not relent since he said he still had a to raise to the Governmet particularly pertaining to people’s aspiration. “The Opposition MPs a preventing the BN backbench from raising issues and aspirations the rakyat,” he said when met he during the Parliament weekend break. “As you can see from the Hansar there is not enough time for us speak for our constituents as we a disturbed by the Opposition on t pretext of asking for point clarifications,” he said. However, Mojigoh said he would not be perturbed in carrying out his responsibility entrusted to him b the people who returned him as MP for another term. The Hansard of his debate speech can be viewed at his Putatan BNBB website.


Sabahans appealing to KL for help: Mojigoh


The cost of living in Sabah is much higher that other states in the country and people here are appealing to the Federal Government to help address the problem. “Necessary steps must taken, including the possibility of subsidising the goods in Sabah to address the high cost of living here,” Putatan Member of Parliament Datuk Marcus Moigoh said. Mojigoh stressed that the matter needs to be viewed seriously as the glaring difference in the prices of goods in Sabah compared to other states, including Sarawak, has caused confusion among the people here. He said this when asked to elaborate on his debate speech on the King’s royal address in the Parliament last week. “If necessary have more subsidies for goods in Sabah to check the escalating cost of living and balance the prices of goods in the State with other states,” he said. In Parliament last week, Mojigoh when debating the motion of thanks, brought up the matter of the high cost of living in Sabah. “The Government must look into this problem which has caused the feeling of oppression among the rakyat in Sabah to the point that they are confused with the situation. “The rakyat in Sabah feel that it is as though they are penalised for supporting the Barisan Nasional (BN),” he said, adding, “It is very clear that there is discrimination here. Instead of being rewarded for supporting BN, we end up being penalised. Mojigoh warned that if the Federal Government failed to address the problem, “then the people of Sabah know how to punish them”. He however added that the matter had been brought to the attention of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad who has promised to look into ways to balance the prices of goods in Sabah and Sarawak with those in Peninsular Malaysia. He also told the House that the cabotage policy which was introduced in 1980 has contributed to the price increase in Sabah.. Mojigoh also brought up the issue of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) which, according to him, will boost the State’s overall economic growth and development as well as generate employment opportunities in the State. “We are aware that many graduates in Sabah are unemployed so it is hoped that they will be given priority to fill up the vacancies generated by the implementation of SDC,” he said. Mojigoh said he was told in Parliament recently of the overwhelming response to the 38,000 job vacancies in the civil service, including the police force and army in the country where 760,840 applications were received but only 141 called up for interviews. “If 30 percent Malays, 40 percent Chinese and 35 percent Indians were accepted from the number of those called up for interview, there is only a 15 percent job opportunity for the Kadazans,” he stressed. Mojigoh also said that recently, he had highlighted the dissatisfaction of Sabahans about them being left out in job appointments in the civil service. “Take for example the 30 new appointments in the Information Department, none of them were Sabahans. Although the work involved may be menial such as holding cameras or attaching cables, it riles us as elected representatives as it reflects the opinion that Sabahans are not qualified for the job,” he said.


Most disagree with new retirement age


Most of the people disagreed with extending the retirement age of civil servants from 56 to 58 years old which was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Saturday. They said that the new retirement age would affect the productivity and delivery system in the State as well as in the Country. Consumer Association of Sabah and Labuan (Cash) President Datuk Patrick Sindu said increasing the retirement age would not help to improve the delivery system in the public sector. “Even though the Government gives them many incentives such as increasing their salary, it will not help improve our delivery system. This is because most of them are just sitting down, doing nothing and just waiting for their retirement, ”he said. Patrick pointed out that those who just sit and wait for their retirement are like ‘dead wood’. “These ‘dead wood’ will become a liability to the Government due to redundancy arid inefficiency,” he said. Patrick further said there were cases where some people in the Government sector just punched in their cards but were not around in the office. “This attitude will affect our delivery system in the State and in the country and even become worse when those in the age of retirement did the same thing,” he said. He said by increasing the retirement age, it would also stop the younger generation from getting a good job or promoted to a better rank in their work places as the seniors are still around. “There are many graduates outside there who are still unemployed. Isn’t it better for them to work in the Government sector then to have the ‘dead wood’ working in the sector?” said Patrick, adding unless they could prove their efficiency, it should not be a problem. On Saturday, Abdullah announced that the mandatory retirement age of public sector employees has been raised from 56 to 58 effective July 1 this year as part of several incentives. The other incentives include the calculation of the pension based on a maximum 30 years of service, up from the current 25 years, for all public employees effective January 1, 2009. The derivative pension would be maintained at 100 per cent, also effective January 1. Meanwhile, Jenson Jemudah, a 48-year-old credit officer attached to the Sabah Credit Corporation also disagreed with the new retirement age. He said that most people who have reached the age of 50 would slow down on their work. “One of the reasons is health. We know that those at this age can easily get sick or suffer from many illnesses. When they are sick, most of their works are left undone. This will affect the productivity,” he said. Jenson also said the new retirement age is also not suitable for those involved in practical works such as technicians. “We know that a technician has to do the work by himself and also need a lot of energy. A tehnician at the age of 58 will find it hard to handle his job more efficiently and maybe the speed of his work will slow down,” said Jenson who chose to retire at the age of 55. “I have already decided it earlier before the announcement was made. One of the reasons is that I have been working so long,” Jenson said when asked why he wanted to retire at 55. The 48-year-old father of four children also said that the number of unemployed, especially the youths, in the country is so big. “There is a possibility for them (younger generation) not getting a job because they only get a small opportunity to work in the Government sector due to the increase of retirement age and competition from other job- seekers,” he said. A husband and wife from Kota Marudu said they would agree if the new retirement age is not made mandatory. Majawat @ Dominic Gorotom, 58, said that some people wished to retire at the age of 56 due to many factors and one of them is health. “It depends on individuals. If they think they still can work until the age of 58, then they can work until that age. But some people want to retire at 56 due to health reason and some also want to spend more time with their family members and grandchildren after working hard all this while,” said the former civil servant. He said the new retirement age should not be made mandatory as some people have no interest in working anymore when they reach 56. “Some of them want to do business and many other things,” Dominic said. His wife Mainah bt Umboh, 57, a retired nurse, said that there is no point forcing a person to work until the age of 58 if he or she has lost interest in working after reaching 56. “This will affect the quality of work as they have, to work unwillingly. It will also put stress on them,” she said. “The Government should not make the new retirement mandatory but give the civil servants a choice,” Mainah added.


No formal approval yet for coal plant relocation: Masidi


The State Government has not given any formal approval for the relocation of the 300MW Silam coal power plant in the east coast of Sabah. Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said that the State Cabinet had yet to discuss the possibility of the coal plant being placed at a different location within the east coast. “At this point, we have not received any formal application. We will look at it and decide when the time comes,” he aid when contacted yesterday amid alarms bells being sounded by environmentalists over announcements that the State had agreed to the coal plant project. Masidi said this following a statement by Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shahizan Abu Mansor that the State had agreed in principle to give the go-ahead for the project to be relocated. The State Cabinet last month rejected the proposed RM 1.3 billion coal powered plant being undertaken by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Tenaga Nasional Berhad, on environmental concerns and asked the power utility company to seek alternatives to coal power. However, Shahizan said on Saturday that the State was agreeable to relocating the plant to a suitable area as the SESB needed a power generation facility in the east coast. Masidi said that the State Cabinet rejection was on the location of the Silam coal plant, but said that there was no policy rejecting coal power generation for the State. Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) Chairman Wong Tack said SESB and TNB should abandon their plans for a coal powered plant and instead look for the cleaner option of natural gas that is readily available in Sabah. “There is no way that people in Sabah would agree to accept a potential environmental scourge. SEPA will continue to rally against the project if SESB and TNB are adamant about it wherever it is located in Sabah,” he said, urging the State to reject any fresh proposal.


Schools to get tables, chairs


The Education Ministry has approved a special RM15 million allocation to resolve the perennial problem of the lack of tables and chairs in many schools in Sabah. Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun in announcing this yesterday, said the funds may not solve the longstanding problem immediately but at least it is a sign that something better is being done to really address the issue of poor facilities in many schools in the State. “Datuk (Seri) Hishammuddin (Hussein)’s office called me yesterday (Saturday), authorising me to announce the special allocation for Sabah on his behalf. This is a great news and we thank Datuk Hishammuddin for his quick response in approving this much needed allocation,” he said during the Kimaragang Harvest Festival celebration in Kota Marudu yesterday. He urged the State Education Department to take appropriate follow-up action immediately to secure the allocation so that it can be put into use to help improve the dire situation in many schools in Sabah. The problem was raised at the State Assembly last week by Tanjung Batu Assemblywoman Datuk Hamisah Samad who informed the House that students and teachers at SK Kalabakan had to squat on the floor for their classes. In responding to the issue during his winding-up speech, Masidi who is also the Minister in charge of the State education portfolio in Sabah, did not mince his words in criticising the Ministry of Education for the apparent lack of urgency to solve the problem that is haunting many schools in Sabah, especially in rural areas. He told the Assembly that as the Minister tasked to look after the State’s education affairs; he felt embarrassed and helpless by the lack of funding made available to effectively resolve the problem. Masidi in announcing the allocation yesterday, said Sabah still need a bigger allocation, taking into consideration that it is a huge State that makes up nearly a quarter of the whole country.