Thursday, May 15, 2008


Close down refugee camp, Rosnah urges


Papar Member of Parliament Rosnah Abdul Rashid Sirlin has again urged the Government to close down or relocate the UNHCR refugee resettlement camp in Kinarut as local villagers are under threat of social and health problems. The lack of proper and adequate sanitation as well as rubbish disposal system have brought about all these problems, Rosnah said when debating the King’s motion of thanks in Parliament on Tuesday. “Closing down the refugee resettlement camp would also deter more immigrants especially from the Philippines from coming to Sabah,” she said, adding this would be one of the ways to resolve the illegal immigrants problem fated by the state. Rosnah also urged the Federal Government to find out the actual number of immigrant,s including those granted permanent status, in the country and find ways to resolve the problem with those who entered the state illegally. At the same time, Rosnah also urged the Government to take action against private rice millers who did not contribute to the country’s rice stock. “Currently only Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) is given the responsibility to stock up on rice and this is not fair as Bernas only controls 45 per cent of the country’s rice market while the private millers control 55 per cent,” she said. To this end, she said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affair minister needs to enforce the Rice and Padi Control Act on the private millers so they will play their part in ensuring that the country’ has sufficient rice stock. She also appealed to the Federal Government to given Sabahans more opportunity to serve in Government agencies and Government Linked Companies. “Do not overlook Sabahans in terms of promotion as many of the Government officers here are experienced,” she said.


Consider renewable energy policy, call to TNB, SESB


Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) have been urged to implement a renewable energy policy. “Almost all developing nations nowadays have their own renewable energy policy because of the climate change which is a huge threat to our environment,” Consumers Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH) Deputy President Nordin Thani said. According to him, the existing energy policy if any or should the Government dcidcs to adopt Out, would affict the quality of lift of future generations in years to come. “Our current investments in the electricity grid, in transport infrastructure and in our building stock will still affect our use of energy in decades to come. For this reason we must look to the long term when we are deciding what our future energy needs will be and where our future energy supplies will come from? “We have to take that long term view into account as we balance the three requirements of our having a cheap, clean, and secure energy supply,” he said. He acknowledged that the Government and TNB are trying very hard to supply, keep and maintain electricity tariff as low as possible. “While this policy would work for a number of years, let us not forget we are now facing significant increases in energy prices as a consequence of having ignored two issues, namely the security of supply and environmental standards. “If we fail to develop our own renewable energy supplies and conservation measures we will find ourselves totally dependent on imported fossil fuels to generate power,” he said. To the question of the usage of coal to generate electricity and its alternative, Nordin said that to his knowledge, the closest alternative resource is gas at 19 per cent. “In my experience, in the UK, 40 per cent of the natural resources is from natural gas, 19 per cent from nuclear, 4 per cent from renewable and 4 per cent from other sources. “But the UK Government is committed in reducing emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels and is currently working towards a target of 10 per cent electricity generated from renewable sources by 2010,” he said. Nordin said TNB claimed that the advances in technology over recent decades by using coal have delivered dramatic reductions in emissions from a coal-fired power station and with new technology available, promises even better reduction. “To my understanding, knowledge and experience, by using a modern clean boiler technology, coupled with biomass blending, it can reduce long - term C02 emissions by about 50 per cent equivalent to the level of modern gas plants and by using carbon capture and storage it can reduce them much further, by more that 90 per cent. “But does it guarantee us a consistent supply of electricity and coal to generate power?” asked Nordin. “Apart from the environmental impact, what is important to the consumer I think in general, is that there is no increase in the electricity tariff when other resources other than fuel is used to generate power. Nordin also said that TNB has received many suggestions and proposals pertaining to the matter of using alternative sources to a coal-fired plant in providing electricity supply Sabah’s east coast in the east of Sabah against the use of a coal fired plant! “These include renewable energy, as unlike fossil fuels, the supply will never become exhausted. The main sources of renewable energy that were mentioned are a) the sun (solar energy), b) the wind, c) moving water (hydropower, wave and tidal energy), d) heat below the surface of the earth (geothermal energy), e) biomass (wood, waste, energy crops),” he added. On the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman’s assurance that a full briefing by independent consultants will be done before any decisions are made on the proposed TNB coal fired plant power project, Nordin said it was a welcomed move by the State Government. Meanwhile, Department of Environment Director Abdul Razak Abdul Manaf when asked for his comments on TNB, intending to shift its coal-fired power project to Tawau, said it would depend on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from TNB. “But we have not received a EIA from TNB related to its intention to set up the coal fired plant power in Tawau”.


MoU on forest restoration funding


The WWF-Malaysia and Sabah Forestry Department will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the funding of forest restoration work in the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve. WWF-Malaysia Borneo Programme Chief Technical Officer Dr Rahimatshah Amat said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is expected to witness the signing ceremony to be held here on May 21. Musa would also, auncha book. Orang Utan: Behavior, Ecology. Conservation, by Dr Junaidi Payne and Cede Prudente at the same event, he said in a statement yesterday. Vice-President Emeritus of WWF-Malaysia, Datuk Seri Tengku DZ Adlin will represent the WWF-Malaysia and State Forestry Director Datuk Sam Mannan for the Forestry Department at the signing ceremony.


Set up Ministry to tackle illegals, call
Street kids becoming parents of more street kids: MP


A call was made to the Government to set up a Special Affairs Ministry for Sabah and Sarawak to tackle problems concerning illegal immigrants in both states. Tawau Member of Parliament, Datuk Chua Soon Bui, said during the Parliament sitting in Kuala Lumpur recently that it was time to set up such a Ministry to address the longstanding problem of illegal immigrants and find the best mechanism to tackle the issue. Describing issues concerning illegal immigrants as serious problems, Chua said that the setting up of the Ministry would be a long- term solution rather than continuing with the operations by security forces. “I would like to ask the Home Affairs Ministry on its action plan to overcome the illegal immigrants problem, which has long existed in Sabah? They (illegal immigrants) are the mother of all threats in Saba,” she said. “To make matters worse, some of them are holding syndicated MyKad and other dubious documents, and the State Government has drained out all its resources to put a stop to the problem. “Illegal immigrants have long been linked to the rise of crime rates and the spread of contagious diseases in Sabah,” she said. Chua said their presence has also contributed to another social problem, which is the stateless children, where either the mother or father is a foreigner and these young boys and girls are abandoned without any care from adults. “Furthermore, the foreign street kids in Sabah are becoming parents to second generation of street kids. According to statistics, it is estimated that a few thousands of these street kids live in Tawau, not to mention those in other cities in Sabah. The critical issue leads to human misery borne out of such a social environment,” she said. She hoped the new Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, will carry out direct intervention to prevent the further entry of illegal immigrants to Sabah and also conduct operations on illegal immigrants. “The Government must also embark on an immediate action to solve the syndicated MyKad problem and formulate and implement policies on the stateless and street kids before our state is burdened by the illegal immigrants permanently,” she stressed. On another issue, Chua urged the Rural Development Ministry to repair roads in Ulu Kalumpang, some 70 kilometres from Tawau, to solve problem faced by some 500 smallholders involved in oil palm, cocoa, rubber and coconut plantations. “The road condition is very bad and has not been improved since 10 years back. The situation are hampering the smallholders to drive in and harvest their products, and some were forced to abandon their products due to the poor road condition,” she said, adding that it is not just a lost for the smallholders, but also the industry and country’s economy. She also called on the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to find an effective technology to overcome the long overdue problem on rubbish in Tawau. “The cleanliness situation is very serious in Tawau, and I was told that one of the problem faced by the Tawau Municipal Council is the shortage of landfill sites. The situation is so bad that residents of housing estates as well as the town area are forced to bear with the piling rubbish, which is becoming an eyesore,” she said. Chua added that even the drainage system has not been properly maintained since 30 years back. “Tawau needs the assistance and allocations from the Ministry to clear clogged drains and to build more drains and channels to improve drainage. The Ministry administers the livelihood of the people. As such, in line with the Prime Minister’s call for a people-centred service, I appeal to the Minister and the Ministry to visit Tawau personally to see how serious is the condition there which requires handling and solution. “Although each and every Municipal Council enjoys its own autonomy, I hope that the Ministry could monitor and supervise the efficiency of the Tawau Municipal Council in discharging its duties to maintain the cleanliness of Tawau effectively. “I also hope the Ministry could provide the appropriate assistance and allocations for the Tawau Municipal Council to upgrade all areas of its service in the interest of the Tawau people,” she stressed.


US$20 bln floating resort, fishing port for Labuan


A USD20 billion MAFA Resort Smart City with an International Integrated Deep Sea fishing Port, featuring many first- in-Malaysia floating facilities, is being proposed for Labuan. MAFA Groups Corporation Sdn Bhd on Tuesday night officially announced the ambitious plan here and signed an MOU with a consortium led by MS Azam Holdings Sdn Bhd. Other members of the consortium are Naturelink Industries Co, Royal Corejati Group & Consultancy Company Limited and NCCorp Netcomm Technology Sdn Bhd. “This project would integrate three core activities that are development targets of the island’s deep sea fisheries, tourism and education,” the Managing Director of MAFA, Kamaruzzaman Abu Samah said at the signing ceremony at a leading hotel here Tuesday night. The development of the hi-tech state-of-the-art deep sea fishing port and Smart Resort City would be done in collaboration with Lembaga Kemajuan Ikan Malaysia (LKIM), who would provide the marine/ fisheries expertise while FAMA would provide the technical construction and financing, he added. Kamaruzzaman said the project would be showcased as the biggest floating structure in the country. It would include, for the first time in Malaysia, the following floating facilities: township, fishing port, golf course and clubhouse. The project that would be spread over 15 years would stretch from Tanjung Kubong to Tanjung Kerupang. While expressing his gladness that is such a mega project is proposed for Labuan, local Member of Parliament, Datuk Yussof Mahal who witnessed the signing ceremony said, “I hope it will materialize for the good of the island and that it would be profitable for the investors.”


State Gov’t hopes to see minimum wage introduced: Yee


The State Government will strive ensure workers and labourers enjoy a minimum wage and other employment benefits that they should be getting, Resource Development and Information Technology Minister, Datuk Pr Yee Moh Chai said. “The State Government’s intention and policy are very clear. It has been highlighted by the fact that we have already amended the Labour Ordinance and will of course, touch on the wages of labour ... so we are working in that direction. We hope to see the day that employees will not only get the minimum wage but other benefits, such as the right to live, overtime and etc,” he said. He said in fact, two years ago, the Labour Ordinance was rectified and amended in line with what had been going on in the nation with the intention of giving the benefits to workers while taking care of the employers’ interests. “It is a very important issue. It demonstrates the desire and the intention of the State Government to ensure workers and labourers enjoy benefits,” he said. “The timing will depend on the situation and has been set by the Prime Minister recently and I am sure the time will come... there will not be a long wait. There will be a minimum wage as requested by MTUC,” he added. Yee who is also Api-Api Assemblyman said, “one has to understand the newly amended Labour Ordinance and that no law will forever be stagnant and be permanent”. “So if there is a need to change, according to the needs of the time, of circumstances ... I think we should look into the possibility of fine-tuning it to meet the needs of the people involved. So we should look into the suggestion as mentioned by MTUC,” he said when asked about the Labour Ordinance. MTUC Sabah had earlier presented a declaration calling for an immediate introduction of minimum wage of RM 900 for all workers in the State. It also called for an introduction of Regional Allowance equivalent to COLA of RM300 to be given to workers in the State in view of the high cost of living.


Winds force aircraft diversion, delays
Roofs of school building,12 village houses in Kota Marudu blown off


At least one aircraft was diverted while eight other flights delayed due to strong winds and bad weather here yesterday. Malaysia Airports Berhad Sabah Manager, Aznan Othman, said the MH2616 aircraft bound for Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur had to be diverted to Brunei due to the violent weather conditions. It was scheduled to touch down at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport at 4. 30pm. He added that as of 6pm yesterday, arrivals of at least five flights and departure of another three aircrafts were delayed by 10 to 15 minutes due to strong winds. “We had to divert and delay the flights for the safety of all passengers. It is a normal routine and practice for us during bad weathers,” he said, adding the diverted flights would resume flights to KKIA when the weather conditions improve. The strong winds and heavy rain in some parts of the State were caused by the tail of a powerful typhoon, Rammasun that battered Eastern Philippines last week as it was moving northward towards Japan since Sunday. It caused strong winds and heavy rain in some parts of Sabah coastal areas, including the State Capital Kota Kinabalu. The State Meteorological Services Department had recently issued a warning that the 70 km/hr winds on Monday are expected to hit the State again today (Thursday), and the public is asked to stay away from the seas as waves of 2.5 to 3.5 meters and winds of 40-50 km/ hr are expected to persist.
In KOTA MARUDU, a school building and 12 houses had their roofs blown off by unusually strong winds since early morning till 8pm yesterday. According to Constable Jamaliah Busri, the police station here received reports from 12 villagers on the damages caused by the winds yesterday. “We received among others two reports from two families residing in Kampung Lintasan Laut and we learned that those affected have taken shelter at their relatives’ homes while waiting for assistance from the Welfare Department. “Other affected villages include Kampung Sembilingun, Kampung Mongkis Malangkap, Kampung Malangkap Tengah and Kampung Malangkap Darat, Kampung Mongkis, Kampung Luntuk Pitas, Kampung Sapatalang, Kampung Sosop, Kampung Malangkap Kota Marudu and Kampung Kota Marudu,” she said. The SK Malangkap school building also had its roof blown off besides being badly damaged. One report was received from each of these villages, she said, adding however that no casualties were reported. She said it is advisable for the people to stay indoor due to the strong winds that would occur without any warning. The Meteorological Services Department has said that the strong winds and rough seas are expected to persist until Saturday.