Friday, May 23, 2008


Tham questions Chin’s rationale for defending JPPS


Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) stalwart Datuk Tham Nyip Shen yesterday took Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Deputy President Datuk Chin Su Phin to task for defending the Sabah Federal Development Department (JPPS). Tham especially questioned Chin’s over-zealous act of defending the Department. “Perhaps he should tell the people of Sabah what is his relation with the JPPS,” said Tham in a statement issued here yesterday. He was responding to Chin’s statement on Wednesday, cautioning the Government not to make a hasty decision in closing down the Department. The former Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah argued that JPPS was set up to facilitate the implementation of Federal-funded Government projects in the State, for fear of sabotage from the then Opposition PBS State Government. “But this is no longer the case now, as the Barisan Nasional is now the ruling Government in Sabah, as such JPPS has already outlived its usefulness,” he pointed out. He also noted that unlike in the past when the Department was first established, it has become less efficient and uncooperative over the years and has drawn criticisms from many Elected Representatives in Sabah. This was reflected in the recent State Legislative Assembly sitting where many of the YBs have voiced their dissatisfaction over the practical functions of JPPS to meet the needs of Sabah people. Not only that, sometimes even the Ministers are having problems dealing with JPPS, he claimed, hence making it difficult for them to serve the people effectively. Tham added that prolonging the existence of JPPS not only benefit a privileged few but also giving an impression that Central BN simply does not trust Sabahans, a scenario that Kuala Lumpur must avoid at all cost today. On Wednesday, Chin said that the suggestion to close down the JPPS was only the views of several Sabah BN component leaders and as such did not reflect the view of all Sabahans. He said nobody could deny the fact that over the past 20 years, the JPPS had benefited the people Sabah, in particular the rural areas such as the construction of roads. hospitals, schools and fire station during the Eighth Malaysia Plan and under the current Plan. He also said any hasty decision t close down the Department would not only inconvenience its bi number of staff, including professionals such as engineers and their family members but also jeopardize on-going development projects being undertaken by the Department. He said it would not make an difference to close down the Department and gives it another name “We cannot make a hasty decision and close down JPPS just to pacif3 certain unsatisfied leaders because this will not solve the problem. Nevertheless, if there is really need to close down the JPPS, ii must be done properly and with ample time to do it,” he argued. After the March 8 Genera Election, and following overwhelming requests from Sabah leaders, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi promised to close down the JPPS.


DOs, ADOs urged to enhance laws knowledge


State Secretary Datuk Sukarti Wakiman has urged District Officers (DOs) and Assistant District Officers (ADOs) to enhance their knowledge and understanding of existing laws. “This is vital to enable District Officers and Assistant District Officers to discharge their statutory duties as Second Class Magistrate, especially in handling remand proceedings” he said when closing a course on Remand Proceedings and Statutory Duties here yesterday. The course was jointly organised by the Rural Development Ministry, State Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Sabah Law Association (SLA). It was the first such course for District Officers and Assistant District Officers from across the State Sukarti, who was represented by Rural Development Ministry Permanent Secretary Datuk Ghulam Jelani, said such course should have been provided to District Officers and Assistant District Officers long time ago. Nevertheless, he said the course was timely in view of the increasing number of cases involving the application of remand order from the police and other enforcement bodies in the State. “At the same time, it is difficult to engage qualified speakers to update the DOs and ADOs on the laws on important issues,” said Sukarti, urging the officers to discharge their duties efflciently.




Four Assistant Ministers were sworn in before the Head of State Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah at the Istana Negeri here witnessed by High Court Judge Datuk Clement Skinner yesterday. They were Assistant Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Ghulamhaidar Khan Bahadar, Assistant Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Herbert Timbun Lagadan and Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministers Datuk Ellron Angin and Bolkiah Ismail. Also present were Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman, Deputy Chief Minister cum Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Juhar Mahiruddin and other members of the State Cabinet. The four Assistant Ministers took their oath of office following a recent decision by the State Legislative Assembly to pass the amendment to the State Constitution to increase the Assistant Minister posts from l4 to 18. The other 14 Assistant Ministers for the various portfolios were sworn in together with the full Ministers soon after the March 8 general election in which the State Barisan Nasional (BN) led by Musa won 59 State seats and 24 Parliamentary seats, losing only Sri Tanjung and Kota Kinabalu to the opposition DAP.


Eleven road deaths in Keningau in five months


Eleven road deaths in 212 accidents were recorded in the district in the first five months this year. Bingkor Assemblyman Justin Guka, who revealed this yesterday, said nine other people were seriously injured and 11 were slightly injured. The number of accidents during the period represents a 12 percent drop from the 243 cases in the same period last year, he told a press conference after launching the Kaamatan Festival Road Safety and Rear Seat Safety Belt campaigns here. Present at the function were District Police Chief, DSP Zahari Mohammad, State Road Safety Department Director, Herdianshah Abdul Karim; Road Transportation Department Enforcement Chief, Sharul Nizam Mohd Yatim; Assistant District Officer, Ash Sulaiman, District Chief, OKK Mohd Amir Datuk Arif; Heads of State and Federal Departments and local community leaders. Justin, who said the fatalities involved motorcycle riders, motorists and a pedestrian, advised road users to be more responsible when driving on the road. “Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol and when feeling sleepy because it is too dangerous for them and other road users,” he said. Meanwhile, Herdianshah Abdul Karim said the regulation requiring backseat passengers to use safety belt will only be enforced in September this year and it is only for the private vehicle passengers. Vehicle owners will be given three years to fix the backseat belts after it was enforced, and it must be done through the dealers from which the vehicles were bought and not at any accessories shops, he said. However, he added, vehicles registered before 1995 would be exempted from this requirement.


Govt needs comprehensive, efficient info system: Max


The Government needs a comprehensive and efficient information system in order to develop a cohesive mechanism for disaster preparedness management to minimize fatalities. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said an understanding of geo-fluid mechanics, chemical and biological aspects of any issues such as climate change is of utmost importance to any Government. These studies are important for the formulation of any strategies and plans for the sustainability of ocean and coastal natural resources, he said in a speech delivered by Deputy Minister Fadillah Haji Yusof .during the seventh International Scientific Symposium of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (Western Pacific) at the Magellan Sutera here yesterday. According to Maximus, with an advanced technology, any natural disasters such as the Cyclone Nargis that hit Myanmar and killed some 130,000 people could be tracked earlier and be monitored. He said the Malaysian Government has allocated RM3, 08 billion in the Ninth Malaysia Plan to commercialise the research and development (R&D) results and Intellectual Properties Protection. The Government recognises the need to translate research findings and program outcomes into innovations and more crucially to generate sustainable wealth from the marine environment to address the issues of food shortages, alternative sources of energy and poverty. “One of the significant programs undertaken is the centralised National R&D funding mechanism i.e. the Intensification of Research in Priority Areas (IRPA) which begins in the Fifth Malaysia Plan,” he said. Maximus said that under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, his Ministry, with the support of its agencies, continues to carry out various programmes to promote R&D and Innovations through several funding mechanisms for research institutions, higher learning institutions as well as private sectors. He said the Ministry supports R&D efforts within five clusters, which are biotechnology, ICT, Industry, Sea to Space (S2S) and S&T services where researches undertaken by various institutions are coordinated by various bodies such as Malaysian Centre for Remote Sensing (MACRES). The symposium, held from May 21-24, features presentations and discussions on issues such as climate change in the Western Pacific region, coastal and offshore processes and their measurement, best practices in marine environmental forecasting and data management, and assessment of the marine ecosystem health, including the economic implications of the marine environmental hazards. Also present at the event were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Yahya Husin who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman, Chairman of IOC/Westpac Dr Hyung Tack Huh, Vice Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah Prof. Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin and Chairperson of National Organizing Committee Malaysia for IOC/ Westpac Prof Dr Nor Aieni Hj Mokhtar. The symposium, the first held in Sabah and second in Malaysia, is themed “Natural Hazards and Changing Marine Environment in the Western Pacific”. The Western Pacific Chapter of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/ Westpac), which comprises 20 countries and a vast area of the Pacific Ocean, addresses current international concerns such as the effects of climate change particularly the devastation on the economies and quality of life of the poorest of communities. The symposium was jointly organized by the National Oceanographic Directorate of Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and Borneo Marine Research Institute of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) in collaboration with IOC/Westpac of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organisation (UNESCO).


Do not involve the King, says Mahathir


Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said here yesterday it was not necessary to involve the Yang di Pertuan Agong to help resolve his spat with Prime Minister and Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. “This is a question of Umno politics. We should not take the issue to the Yang di Pertuan Agong,” he said when asked to comment on a suggestion by Umno veteran Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Tapa to seek the king’s mediation in the dispute. Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying yesterday that the quarrel between Dr Mahathir and Abdullah had reached a stage where it could only be resolved by the intervention of the Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin as the mediator. Dr Mahathir was approached for his comments after a dialogue session at the Nikkei International Conference on “The Future of Asia”, here. The former Prime Minister also said that he had no objections if Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tim Razak wanted to meet him. The dispute between Dr Mahathir and Abdullah reached a “shocking” stage last Monday when Dr Mahathir, who had served as Umno President for 22 years, announced that he was quitting the party after having lost confidence in Abdullah’s leadership, and that he would only rejoin the party after Abdullah had stepped down as Umno President and Prime Minister. Many quarters see the move as a last-ditch attempt by Dr Mahathir to remove Abdullah from Umno and the Government. -Bernama


Climate change threat: Practical policies needed


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has urged the scientific community worldwide to help in formulating practical policies to shape nature conservation programmes amid the challenges posed by global climate change. He said the impact of climate change is very serious not only on human being but also to the marine life as the rise in ocean temperature by just a few degrees could destroy coral reefs through bleaching. “The creation of networks of marine protected areas, I believe, can help degraded marine habitats recover and thrive. I therefore request the scientific community to do more to provide help in formulating practical policies needed to shape nature conservation,” he said in a speech read by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin at the 7th International Scientific Symposium of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (Western Pacific) here yesterday. The four-day symposium was jointly organised by the National Oceanographic Directorate of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and Borneo Marine Research Institute of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) in collaboration with Western Pacific Chapter of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/Westpac) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organisation (UNESCO). More than 20 scientific working papers would be presented at the symposium being attended by local and foreign participants fromthe2OIOC/Westpacmembercountries. Musa acknowledged that dealing with climate change is indeed a complex matter that involves complex issues such as those pertaining to quality of life, equity and environmental practices. He urged the international community to stand together in facing natural disasters which know no national boundary. “A tsunami originating in one country can bring havoc in places far remote from the source, and this calls for joint efforts to handle the situation,” he added. Musa hoped the symposium will stimulate research efforts aimed at improving the ability to mitigate geologic hazards through innovative tools and observations. Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin said that while it is impossible to completely prevent destruction in disasters, it is possible to reduce the potential risk by developing early warning systems. Other mitigating methods include preparing developmental plans to provide resilience to such disasters, developing better communication and rescue systems, and helping in post-disaster work, he said. Noh said only innovative, multidisciplinary and collaborative solutions developed by the scientific community will ensure sustainability of the ocean ecosystem for sustainable seafood supplies, which is one of the focal points of the 20 countries of the Western Pacific grouping.


King wants UiTM to offer more post-graduate programmes


The Yang di Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin has suggested that Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) introduces more postgraduate academic programmes, locally and abroad, to attract more students. He believed that this, indirectly, would help enhance research activities in various fields. He said UiTM’s success in receiving the most gold medals in the country for its research proved that it was on par with other universities. Tuanku Mizan, who is also UiTM Chancellor, attributed UiTM’s success to the commitment, comradeship and unity of the staff and students. “Therefore, an effective channel for corporate communication and information should be established so that all objectives, implementation approach and the university’s success can be shared. “It is based on this strength that the University can move to achieve greater heights and meet the country’s needs,” he said when speaking at the UiTM’s 68th convocation here yesterday. “With this, UiTM will not only be listed in the ranking of the Times Higher Education Supplement, but its name will also be on the lips of renowned academicians in the world, as being among the best universities,” he added. At the function, Tuanku Mizan presented scrolls to the first batch of 19 graduates from the university’s Medical Faculty and an Honorary Doctorate in Sports Science to Datin Paduka Sharifah Mazlina Syed Abdul Kader, who is the first Asian woman to reach the North and South poles.-Bernama


Robert Kuok continues to top Malaysia’s rich list


Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Robert Kuok continues to maintain his lead position as Malaysia’s richest man in the latest Forbes Asia’s rich list. According to Forbes Asia, Kuok, 84, who has many businesses, including Hong Kong property and media interests, and most notably palm oil giant Wilmar, increased his net worth from US$2.4 billion last year to hit US$10 billion. The latest ranking list also saw Berjaya Corp’s Tan Sri Vincent Tan joining the billionaires’ club, Forbes Asia said in a news release here. There are 10 billionaires in the list this year, one more than last year. Tan, who rose from 14th to ninth position, has a net worth of US$1.3 billion, up nearly US$1 billion from last year. Forbes Asia said Tan’s company, Berjaya Corporation, had bucked the trend with its stock price up nearly three-fold over the past 12 months. Tan reigns over a vast US$4 billion — combined sales — network of enterprises spanning industries such as gaming, media, telecom, consumer products and retail as well as real estate. Still in second place is Ananda Krishnan who heads telecom company Maxis. But his wealth dipped to US$7.2 billion, which is US$200 million less than last year. The third richest in the list is 101 Corporation’s group executive chairman Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng who was ranked fourth last year but as the oil palm plantation giant soared in value, his wealth rose from US$1.6 billion to US$5.5 billion, Forbes Asia said. The highest new entry is Puan Sri Lee Kim Hua, widow of renowned gaming tycoon Tan Sri Lim Goh Tang who was ranked third last year but died in October. She and her family are worth US$3.4 billion and ranked fifth, even as son Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, who runs Genting, is listed on his own with US$345 million, putting him in 15th place. Lee is one of three women on the list alongside Selangor Properties’ chairman Puan Sri Chong Chook Yew, ranked 24th (US$245 million), and daughter of the Sultan of Perak, Raja Datuk Seri Eleena Raja Azlan Shah, ranked 35th (US$150 million). Among the newcomers is Datuk Nazir Razak, group chief executive of CIMB Group and the youngest son of second Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein. Nazir managed to scrape into the 40th position as the last richest Malaysian in Forbes Asia’s top 40 with a net worth of US$100 million. The collective wealth of the top 40 is US$46 billion, up US$3 billion from last year. While 16 people managed to add to their wealth, 18 saw their net worth slipped, with seven of them losing at least a quarter of their worth. Tan Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, the richest Malay tycoon and a billionaire, dropped one position from seventh to eighth after his net worth was reduced by US$200 million to US$1.8 billion. The Malaysia Rich List appears in the June 2 issue of Forbes Asia. The top 10 richest in Malaysia are:
1) Robert Kuok, US$10 billion.
2) Ananda Krishnan, US$7.2 billion.
3) Lee Shin Cheng, US$5.5 billion.
4) Teh Hong Piow, US$3. 5billion.
5) Lee Kim Hua & family, US$3.4 billion.
6) Quek Leng Chan, US$2.4 billion.
7) Yeoh Tiong Lay & family, US$2.1 billion.
8) Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, US$1.8 billion.
9) Vincent Tan, US$1.3 billion.
10) Tiong Hiew King, US$1.1 billion.



About RM100 million will be spent for forest reserve restoration projects within Ulu Segama and Malua Forest Reserves over the next decade, said Sabah Forestry Department Director Datuk Sam Mannan. He said the funds would come from the Sabah Foundation (Yayasan Sabah) and local and international corporate bodies and organisations. Of the total amount, RM25 million will be given by Sime Darby while another RM3O million is from New Forest (an organisation from the United States of America). The Sabah Foundation had set aside RM2 million annually for the restoration projects, Sam told reporters after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (M0U) between the Sabah Government and WWF-Malaysia on forest restoration in north Ulu Segama of the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve. The MoU is for the reforestation of 55,000 hectares of degraded forest within northern Ulu Segama through a RM17O,000 donation by Marks & Spencer of the United Kingdom. The State Forestry Department was represented at the signing by Sam while WWF-Malaysia, by its Vice- President Emeritus Tengku Datuk Seri Zainal Adlin and witnessed by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. At the ceremony, Musa launched a book, “Orang Utans: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation”, written by Junaidi Payne and Cede Prudente. The RM17O,000 contribution by Marks & Spencer marks the beginning of larger scale reforestation works which must be undertaken to ensure Sabah remains a major population habitat for landmark species such as the orang-utans and endemic Borneo Pygmy Elephants. The donation was made through the WWF-Malaysia (WWF), which handed it over to the Sabah Forestry Department. Sam said north Ulu Segama was once a disaster zone’, for in the 1960s and 19Os it was inappropriately logged using big hi-lead machines that virtually flattened the area. “Before sufficient time was allowed for recovery, short-term licenses were later issued in the past to re-log the area and in 1983 and 1998, El Nino cleared up the place. “The disaster was therefore caused by a combination of events, one after another. This was a tragedy,” he said. “Nevertheless, this area of about 10,000 and 12,000 hectares is of high bio-diversity and conservation value, being a lowland forest with a high orang utan population, of over 200, despite the degraded nature,” said Sam. However, he stressed that over the years, north Ulu Segama is recovering well and looks better every time, and he attributed the vast improvement to the closure of all logging operations. Sam said the State Government has also declared 250,000 hectares within the Segama-Malua area as a Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) area primarily for orangutan conservation as well as other biodiversity. He said reforestation is not an easy task and much depends on the availability of funds. But SFD has been very lucky with contributions pouring in from Yayasan Sabah as well as other private companies such as Sime Darby who contributed RM25 million to restore 3,000 hectares of forest area over a period of five years based on the forest management plan. “For now, we can afford to accelerate without disturbing the State Government because of all the donations that are coming in. But the State Government is still spending money in terms of providing facilities such as roads and other infrastructure,” Sam said. He said that last year alone, Yayasan Sabah allocated RM3 million to restore 1,000 hectares in north Ulu Segama and at the same time, the foundation had also contributed towards silviculture on 4,000 hectares. “This year, we are going to do another 4,000 hectares more, and if we can do this for the next 10 years, we will be able to restore and do silviculture on 40,000 hectares of forest area in Sabah. “And with the funding from Yayasan Sabah, we will be able to do about 12,000 hectares or more reforestation within 10 years.” Touching on the MoU signing ceremony, Adlin explained that the reforestation works within north Ulu Segama is a prime example of how WWF-Malaysia works in unison with government agencies for the good of the environment. “The RM17O,000 contribution also shows how non-governmental organisations such as WWF can act as a ‘channel’ for contributions to government agencies to carryout work that is crucial in restoring the habitat of wildlife. “Between 1975 and 2005, WWF-Malaysia has channelled over RM4O million into 200 conservation works in Sabah alone through WWF worldwide network,” he said.