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