Tuesday, May 13, 2008


GOF personnel hurt in operation against illegals


A General Operations Force (GOF) personnel was injured on the head during a joint operation against illegal immigrants at Kampung Forest here yesterday. District Police Chief ACP Rosli Mohd Isa said the personnel, who fell when the wooden bridge he was walking broke, was rushed to the district hospital for treatment. He said 363 illegal immigrants were roped in during the operation but 127 of them were later released after producing valid travel documents. Those foreigners detained comprised 187 Filipinos, 41 Indonesians and eight of various nationalities, said Rosli. In an unrelated case, police detained three men on suspicion of raping a 13-year-old girl at a public park in Jalan Aman here yesterday. The three supects, aged 15, 16 and 39 years, are the alleged victim’s neighbour who were arrested after her mother lodged a police report. Rosli said initial investigations showed that the victim was pregnant and she was raped between 2004 and November last year. Police investigated the case under Section 376 of the Panel Code and the victim has been sent for medical examination at the Duchess of Kent Hospital here.


Abdullah, Najib due for CEOs Conference


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak are due in Kota Kinabalu to officiate the Second International CEOs Conference 2008 (ICC2008) next month. The Prime Minister is due to officiate the closing ceremony of the Conference on June 17 while the Deputy Prime Minister will officiate the opening ceremony on June 16 with a keynote address ‘Leading The Boundaries-Renaissances In the Midst of Revolution’. According to the Director of Yayasan Sabah, Tan Sri Datu Khalil Bin Datu Haji Jamalul, the Conference will kick off with a welcome dinner to be hosted by Chief Minister Datuk Sen Panglima Musa Haji Aman on June 15. The Chief Minister is also the Chairman of the Main Organising Committee of ICC2008. “The Conference to be held at Sutera Harbour Resort will bring together experts and leading players to share the latest key and innovative trends, unique value-creating strategies, unlimited opportunities as well as current global issues such as the topic of climatology changes and serious discussion on how to make human economic systems last longer while having less impact on ecological systems, and particularly relates to concern over major global problems relating to climate change and the recent food production problem,” said Khalil, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the Main Organising Committee of 1CC2008. “Indeed this Conference will be the most idealistic and pragmatic venue for such discussions. “It is our fervent hope that the Conference will open up a chance for us to analyse and understand the key issues and propose initiatives and efforts with enduring positive results and tangible outcomes,” added Khalil. It also aims to bring the experts to unlock secrets to developing unique capabilities that help them to seize market opportunities and transform their businesses into successful trailblazers. “Hence, we hope this Conference will create a plethora of networking opportunities, sharing views, thoughts and ideas on numerous topics for participants and role players to capitalize on taking a risk and reaping the reward, he said. In view of the importance and the relevance of sustainable ability to change, especially in today’s world characterised by rapid unpredictable change and volatility, we have chosen ‘Managing Sustainable Growth anti Competitiveness In The Globalised Era’ as the theme of the Conference,” said Kbalil. Five sessions of most engaging topics have been arranged for this Conference. They are ‘Globalisation and New Realities : How Asian Companies are Responding to Them’; ‘Asian Giants Awakened: China and India In The Making of The New Economic Superpowers’; ‘Globalisation Revisited - Its Impact on Mankind’; ‘Climate Change and Ecological Sustainability . Honouring Mother Nature’; and ‘Talent Management and High Performing Organisations: Driving Talent Mindset for Excellence’. There will also be two Special Sessions and a Parallel Session. The Special Sessions are ‘Is Globalisation The Panacea To The Problem of The World Peace and Harmony?’; and ‘Facility and Asset Management-Minimise and Control Costs, Increase Capacity and Sustainability’. The Parallel Session, an Economic Roundtable with the title ‘Regional Economic and Strategic Outlook’, is divided into three concurrent sessions i.e. ‘Brand and Corporate Innovation & Competitiveness’; ‘Meeting Worldwide Demand for Bio-diesel’; and ‘The Entrepreneurial Promise of Renewable Energy.’ Among the speakers that will be giving their talk at the Conference are Prof Dr Dewi Fortuna Anwar, Deputy Chairman of Social Science & Humanities, Theindonesia Institute of Sciences/The Habibie Centre, Indonesia; Mr Russell Teall, JD who is the President and Founder, Bio-diesel Industries, Inc., USA; Dr John Hewson, Chairman of Natural Fuel Ltd., Australia; Mr Andrew McEwan, Chairman of Facility Management Association (FMA) Australia; Mr Ian C. Buchanan who is the Senior Executive Advisor and former Asia- Pacific Chairman, Booz Allen Hamilton - Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, Australia, Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, former Minister of International Trade & Industry, Malaysia; Others include Mr Hermawan Kartajaya, Founding Chairman and President, MarkPlus Inc, Indonesia/President, World Marketing Association; Dr Paul Temporal, Group Managing Director, Temporal Brand Consulting, USA; Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, CEO, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO)/Former Minister of Communications, Minister of Education and Former Ambassador of Ghana to the United States; Ms Parvin Ali, CEO and Co-Founder of Fatima Women’s Network, UK; Ms Veronica Pedrosa, News Anchor, Al Jazeera International; and Mr Robert G. Lees, Director, Global Sources Ltd., Hong Kong and Senior Advisor, ABeam Consulting who is also the former President & CEO, Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC). The panellists include Senator Penny Wong, Australian Minister for Climate Change and Water; Lord Patten of Barnes, CH, who is the former EU Commissioner and Governor of Hong Kong/Chancellor of the University of Oxford and University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK; Mr Ronnie C. Chan, Chairman, Hang Lung Group, Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China; and Prof Yu Yongding, Director, Institute of World Economics & Politics, PeopleIs Republic of China. In conjunction with the Conference, an. exhibition will also be held where exhibitors will have the opportunity to showcase their products and services to the delegates. The Conference, the second i the series, is organised by Yayasan Sabah Group and managed by Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI). The first ICC was held in 2005 and attended by more than 600 delegates from 32 countries.


Pensioners happy with pension calculation


Pensioners in the State are happy with the pension calculation announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Sabah Government Pensioners Association President Dr Florentius Epin said they were happy Abdullah approved among others, the calculation of pension to be based on the maximum of 30 years instead of the current 25 years and the derivative pension be maintained at 100 percent instead of the current 70 percent effective from January 1, 2009. “At last we got what we had continuously negotiated since 2002. In fact we asked for the actual number of years an officer served in the calculation of pension, as many served more that 30 years. “But the Government has approved the maximum of 30 years, that is an addition of five years, so it is not a bad bargain,” he said in a statement yesterday. The recipient of derivative pension is currently receiving 70 percent of the individual’s total pension when the pensioner dies 12 1/2 years from the date of retirement from service. This has caused hardship to the widow or widower, especially those with low pay. On another issue, the President said that he would like to bring to the attention of the authority of a group of ex-civil servants who had served for over 30 years, and were not paid pension or retiring benefits when they retired. “They had in a way been exploited by the British during colonial days by placing them under the temporary scheme of service. Their services were very much needed at that time, as they could not employ sufficient qualified staff. “They served as electricians, mechanics, etc. They were so expert in their fields and better than the technicians or engineers who just graduated, and yet the Government did not consider their invaluable contributions to the Department in particular and the Nation as a whole. “Many of those affected came to our Association for help. But so far there was no favorable response and development to our queries on the matter from the authority concerned,” he said.


Thumbs up to new retirement age


It was ‘thumbs up’ from professionals and educationists to the new mandatory retirement age of 58 announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad badawi last Saturday. “Yes, I agree! Today’s lifestyle has changed, people are healthier, so at 58 they definitely are still considered young enough to go on working,” said Christina Aluda, an executive with an international voluntary organization. Her opinion was echoed by Nolin, an executive from the City Hall who said professionals and specialists with their experiences and expertise are needed to train the junior officers. Safiah Yusof, an executive from Sabah Softwood, (Sabah Foundation’s subsidiary), also welcomed the new retirement age, saying most private firms are hiring professionals and specialists who have retired from the civil service. “If you look around, most companies have in fact hired and rehired those who exceed the retiring age. For example, our CEO (Chief Executive Officer) retired from Guthrie, but because of his experiences, Sabah Softwood hired him,” she said. According to Safiah, many retirees are in fact still capable of performing their duties efficiently, so it would be a waste not to let them contribute to the State and country’s development.” Dayangku Azlina Awangku Aripen said the services of retirees can be utilized to train and assist newcomers as well as motivate the latter as future leaders and policy makers. Ahmad Sablee, who works for a government agency, said it is up to the individuals concerned whether to continue working or not. “But, I am sure many would agree to retire at 58,” he said. Anthony Kiob, an executive from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). said the retirement age should only be imposed on those with merits, leadership skills, or are qualified and capable. “It would be good to consider those who are approaching retirement age for other posts such as training and grooming new officers. Maybe more of an advisory role,” he said. Politician and social activist Kanul Gindol felt that civil servants should be offered the option to retire at 58 on a case by case basis. “This should be offered to deserving officers or departments that needs their experience,” he said. Consumers Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH) Deputy President Nordin Thani is of the view that the Government needs to identify or determine the more productive civil servants. “We need their leadership and it should be of quality so that they can train the juniors, fresh graduates or newcomers to the organizations. “In the western countries, governments have utilised the experiences of many people or their citizens who have reached 58 and above by asking them to venture into a lecturer position, politics and inviting them to give talks that concern motivation and leadership and professions. “I believe our Government has a good reason to extend the age of retirement and it must be of positive reason,” said Nordin. Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Lecturer, Benjamin Basintal said the Government must have strong reasons to raise the mardatory retirement age of civil servants. “There must be strong reasons for the extension; more quality contributions, problem-solving, creative and innovative ideas, dynamism and others,” he said, adding that this should lead to improved efficiency of the civil service.


Imbak Canyon gazetted as First Class Forest Reserve


Imbak Canyon, located right in the heart of Sabah, has been gazetted by the State Government as a First Class Forest Reserve to further preserve the biodiversity in its flora and fauna. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who announced this, said the decision was made during the State Cabinet meeting yesterday, as the 30,000-hectare Canyon is a ‘vital component in the biodiversity corridor linking Maliau Basin to the south and Danum Valley in the east’. Imbak Canyon is rich in medicinal plants as well as being important as a potential botanical gene bank for forest rehabilitation. The Canyon, one of the last remaining substantial areas of unlogged lowland dipterocarp forest in Sabah, is part of the one million hectares Yayasan Sabah Forest Management Area. In 2003, Yayasan Sabah voluntarily designated Imbak Canyon as a Conservation Area for the purpose of research, education and training; similar to Maliau Basin and Danum Valley Conservation Areas. Imbak Canyon also plays an important role as a wildlife corridor connecting Danum Valley Conservation Area and Maliau Basin Conservation Area for major mammals like Bornean Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhino, Orang Utan, Tembadau, Bearded Pig and Clouded Leopard. Its geographical position and pristine state make it an ideal site for research into the non-destructive use of undisturbed forest, including carbon sequestration and bioprospecting, as well as non-timber forest products and water catchment management studies. The Canyon is situated over 300 kilometers south east of Kota Kinabalu, and the land journey to the site would include about four hours’ drive along a sealed road from the State Capital to Telupid and another two hours along an unsealed road from Telupid to the Base Camp just outside the Conservation Area.


100 percent rice self- sufficiency
26,500 ha paddy plantations in pipeline: CM


If everything goes as planned, Sabah will be 100 per cent self-sufficient in rice soon. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, in disclosing this yesterday, said the Government is in the process of identifying 26,500 hectares of suitable land in Sabah for paddy cultivation. “This is part of the effort to boost our paddy production. The 26,500 ha of land is additional to the existing 50,000 ha paddy fields in the State,” he said. Speaking to the media after chairing the State Cabinet meeting at Wisma Innoprise yesterday, Musa said both the Forestry and the Land and Survey Departments have been given the task to identify suitable land for the paddy cultivation projects. “The project will be spearheaded by the Sabah Land Development Board (SLDB) as they have the expertise in large scale paddy plantations development,” he said. “SLDB has the experience and has carried out similar undertaking where a hectare of land could yield about 10 tonnes. “However, we foresee that this is not an easy task because we do not have big area (for plantation) anymore; it may take some time and that is why we have put the two departments to task to find suitable land for the project,” he said. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin said Sabah is reviewing its policy and strategy to further increase production of essential food items, particularly rice which has seen an almost three-fold increase in its price at the global market since March. Yahya, who is also the Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, said related agencies had been directed to study their existing policies and strategies on rice production to reduce dependency on imported rice. He said the current soaring prices highlighted the negative consequences of heavy dependency on imported rice and necessary action such as increasing the area for paddy planting needed to be taken to boost the State’s rice production. Increases in rice price is anticipated to continue as farmers across Asia are hoarding their crops, while rice producing countries, including the biggest exporter, Thailand, are curbing exports to safeguard their domestic supply. “When it comes to increasing food production, I believe we should not be complacent with achieving self efficiency. Increasing production to export level should be the target for all agriculture products. Only this way can we transform the agriculture sector to greater heights,” said Yahya when officiating the ‘Vanilla Crop’ course at Promenade Hotel here. The two-day course organized by Rural Development Cooperative (KPD), was attended by more than 200 participants. “Towards this, a holistic and integrated approach involving all related State and Federal agencies must be set in place,” said Yahya, adding attention should also be given to increasing the production of high- value agriculture products. He stressed that Sabah is well known for its vastly diversified natural resources and should continue to seek ways to positively exploit its rich bio-diversity to enhance the competitiveness of its agriculture sector. For instance, he said Sabah is well positioned to tap the increasing demand for herbal and medicinal products which is a multi-billion industry. “I suggest the agencies under my Ministry give more focus on research and development (R&D), especially for natural resources readily available in Sabah. This can be done through collaborative understanding with institutions such as MARDI and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) which have the resources and expertise in R&D,” added Yahya.


No Sabah MPs will hop: Musa


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday reiterated that no Members of Parliament from Sabah will hop to the Opposition. “It is just mere rumour. None of our MPs have the intention to switch party; we are very loyal to BN and the top leadership. Give us time to work and fulfill our promises to the people,” he said. “So do not talk about switching; to other party ... it is important for us to stick together and work together. Now is the time to walk our talk,” he said commenting on the rumour that 16 MPs from Sabah are considering to jump ship soon. Responding to a question pertaining to the statement of Kalabakan MP Datuk Ghapur Salleh during the Parliament sitting in Kuala Lumpur’., yesterday that Sabah has been sidelined all this while, and that many would hop if a new party is created, Musa said: “That is his own opinion. He is talking based on the people’s grouses.”


Sabah Devt Office to replace JPPS
Revived SDO to take charge of Federal Projects, says CM


After overseeing development projects in the State for 17 years, the Sabah Federal Development Department (JPPS) will be finally be disbanded soon. Its roles, according to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, will be taken over by the revived Sabah Development Office, which was established during the Usno and Berjaya era. “The disbandment of JPPS is in response to the grouses of Sabah people. The Chief Secretary to the Federal Government is discussing matters concerning the disbandment of JPPS with the State Secretary, and the revival of SDO here,” Musa told a perss conference after the State Cabinet meeting yesterday. He said efforts are currently being carried out to transfer projects under JPPS to SDO, which will be under the supervision of the Chief Minister’s Department. Matters concerning JPPS and the overlapping roles played by the Department and several State Departments and Agencies were brought to the attention of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during the latter’s visit on April 7 this year to meet Sabah Barisan Nasional leaders. JPPS was established in Sabah on 1 January 1991 to propose and monitor Federal Government’s development projects in the State so that it would move in line with the nation’s mission and vision. The Department also oversees the management of allocations channelled from various Federal Ministries and Departments to finance development projects in the State and ensure that they are completed with the five-year Malaysia Plan. Among the projects implemented by JPPS were related to education, security, health, roads, airports, rural electricity and water supplies, agriculture development as well as other facilities. Musa said the Federal Government has also approved the proposal to set up more detention centres in the State. “There were a lot more requests from the BN leaders in Sabah and the Federal Government is scrutinizing each of them. It will be implemented from time to time ... it will take some time but this shows that the Federal Government is listening to our grouses and complaints,” he said. Meanwhile, Musa said the Chief Executive Officers Conference will be held here on June 15-17 this year. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will officially open the conference while the closing ceremony will be graced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. “We hope to lure more participants this time,” he said.