Monday, June 2, 2008


Use RM1 billion to build petrochemical plant: Upko


The Federal Government should immediately utilize the RM1 billion additional allocation for Sabah to put up a petrochemical plant in Sabah, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organization (Upko) Secretary General Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said. “Our request is for the allocation to be used immediately to put up a petrochemical plant in Sabah and not wait for the master plan ... Just do it,” he said. He was commenting on the announcement by Prime Minister cum Finance Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Saturday that an additional RM1 billion allocation for Sabah was approved by the Cabinet to expedite development in rural areas with infrastructure projects for Parliamentary constituencies. Abdullah also said a master plan for the development of downstream petroleum and petrochemical industries would be drawn up for Sabah. RM1 billion is a lot of money and Petronas, which is drawing up the master plan , will invest a huge amount of money in the project but the spin-off for petrochemical is bigger and that is why the plant should be put up immediately,” he said. On the construction of a 300MW power station in Kimanis, Papar under a joint venture with Petronas and Sabah Foundation, Madius said it was not clear if the facility was to substitute the coal plant that was supposed to be built in Lahad Datu. If its purpose is to supply electricity to the East Coast, then there are some problems which have to be rectified first, he said. “Although power can be transferred from the Kimanis power plant to the East Coast there is always the risk of a major blackout as there is no loop in the existing grid,” he said, adding that an accident to the grid could cause another major blackout throughout the State like the one recently. According to him, the existing infrastructure, as far as the grid is concerned, only allows for a power station to be built in the East Coast, provided there is a loop,” he said. Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Information Chief Johnny Mositun welcomed the power plant as it will open up more job opportunities for Sabahans. “This is a good move and planning by the Government and is also the fruit of the hardwork of both past and present leaders who have been pushing for this,” he said, adding that the project would open up investment in Kimanis similar to the POIC in Lahad Datu. The Party’s Secretary General, Datuk Radin Malleh, said the RM1 billion is not much in terms of fast allocation. “An ADUN should be given a least RM 1 million each so that the voters can see immediate changes in their respective constituency. In fact I have spoken about all issues in Parliament when I was an MP. I even suggested the Government make a specially tailored blue print for Sabah to eradicate poverty,” he said. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) National Vice Chairman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the goodies announced by Abdullah were good but compared the gesture to ‘giving candy to a baby’. “This is only a token and coming after the ‘babies’ have been crying for 44 years,” he said, adding that like candy, the “goodies” would not last very long.

Jeffrey: It’s unacceptable


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) National Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the Cabinet Committee on illegal immigrants announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Saturday is unacceptable as far as the illegal immigrants are concerned as there is already one chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to look into the problem. “What is wrong with forming the Royal Commission of Inquiry? If they (the Government) form one, they can put all the Sabah and Sarawak Members of Parliament on the committee depending on terms of reference,” he said.


Probe senior cops in Sabah, urges Dompok

Claims of alleged power abuse in land-grab in Kunak


Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernand Dompok has instructed the Public Complaints Bureau to conduct an immediate probe on allegations of power abuse by senior police officers in a land-grabbing issue at Kampung Tingkayu in Kunak, Sabah. Dompok said the affected smallholders who had worked on the land for the past 23 years met him in Parliament on Tuesday and briefed him on the issue. “This is a very serious matter as it involves senior police officers. I’ve instructed the Bureau’s Director- General Dr Chua Hong Teck to look into the complaint. “We guarantee a fair probe. The Bureau will treat the complainant fairly as promised in the Bureau’s clients’ charter,” he told Bernama yesterday. Dompok said the Bureau would convene a special meeting this week to discuss the matter. “If it is proven that the said police officers misused their power, stern action would be taken against them, as nobody is above the law. “The Bureau will be cooperating with other relevant agencies once the investigation started and all parties should give their fullest cooperation,” he said, adding that “we don’t want to see public trust towards the authorities fade.” In April, Bernama reported that a top- ranking senior law enforcement officer, holding the title of “Datuk” and police officers in Kunak, are being investigated by the Sabah Anti- Corruption Agency for allegedly offering “protection services” to a real estate company which allegedly seized 787 hectares (about 4,000 acres) of oil palm plantations belonging to smallholders. In exchange for their “services”, the company, which is also involved in money lending, had reportedly given the officers kickbacks and other benefits, including offering its company’s shares. Bernama also reported that the company concerned had employed more than 100 illegal immigrants who doubled as thugs to seize the land worth about RM40 million and more then 40 police reports were lodged between January and March this year at the Kunak police station, but was not entertained. It is learnt that the State Government would also be briefed on the issue as the smallholders have alleged that a few officers of the Land and Survey Department might be involved in the scandal. Meanwhile, one of the smallholders who wished to be known as Anthony, 50, told Bernama that an official complaint letter was handed to the Home Ministry on Thursday. “In the letter we have asked the Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to take appropriate action against the police officers who failed to discharge their duty and abused their power. “We have all the evidence to prove that the complaints made were true and we hope our nightmare will end soon,” he added. - Bernama


Tawau business community calls for better facilities

TAWAU has the potential to undergo further development if the port is upgraded and better infrastructure facilities are provided for the business sector. Chairman of the Tawau Business Council, Datuk Yap Yiw Sin, said colleges and universities should be built in the district so that the residents here can obtain higher education related to plantation and marine products. For example, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) should set up a campus here to provide agricultural education and skills. “However, the lack of full Ministers in Tawau can influence the pace of economic development here. Many of the tourists will travel to Semporna after they have arrived at Tawau Airport. They will normally go to the islands in Semporna for diving without visiting the township of Tawau. “It is important to do something new to create interest for the people. There are many things that can be done in Tawau, such as enjoying its seafood products. More facilities should be built here to make Tawau a nice place to visit,” Yap told The Borneo Post during an interview at his office here. According to him, it is very difficult to start any industries here due to the high transportation fees. The tourism industry is much easier to be set up as it does not require much cost. Yap, who is also the President of the Tawau Chinese Chamber of Commerce, disclosed that it is important to build up local advantages such as the marine industry and golf sector. The golf courses at Shan Sui and Hotspring here should be beautified in order to create more demand. Publicity also plays an important role to attract more tourists to Tawau. He noted that the cocoa industry is nearly gone after facing a major disease problem. Farmers did not earn enough income and they are facing a big loss. It was really a painful experience for them. Then, they started to move into the palm oil industry. Tawau was the biggest prawn exporter in Malaysia in the early 1990s but it has lost its position. The timber industry is also slowing down because of wood shortage. Therefore, the Government has to build up more research centres here in order to help the farmers and planters with relevant information, guidelines and training, he said. Tuan Hj Othman Walat, the Chief Executive Officer of Sabah Softwood Berhad, urged the entrepreneurs to go downstream. Othman said it is important to create values for any industries such as palm oil, timber and cocoa in order to generate a stable economy. The success of downstream industries is dependent on good infrastructure facilities. “The creation of wealth is affected by outside natural resources such as land and people. The nature economy in Sabah is not something that is sustainable. Once it is depleted, there is a need to create new business. “For example, the timber industry in Sandakan is gone and many of the entrepreneurs are looking for other jobs outside the country. However, Thailand has an excellent economic growth in producing jack fruits and canned food because of the good facilities. Looking back at Tawau, we have potential to develop marine products such as tuna and export the finished products to other countries. “We do not know when the natural resources will finish. Although we enjoy the wealth as a gift from God, but we should not overlook it. It is important for us to venture into other business and go downstream,” Othman pointed out. According to him, economic roles not only depend on the Government to provide infrastructures, but the people themselves are responsible for generating the economy. He added that Malaysia is not just talking about politics but struggling for glorious economic development. Palm oil entrepreneur Peter Lu said that it is important to upgrade the port in Tawau to smoothen the export and import of goods and products. Peter said an upgraded port may allow bigger ships to enter the district easily by bringing products for sale. It will definitely create more business opportunities here. “Tawau has the potential to build more hotels for tourism purposes. A variety of activities should be held to attract more tourists. In fact, it is really difficult to start a business here due to the economic crisis. “For me, it is better to purchase land for palm oil plantation because of the high price demand in the market nowadays. Besides that, the Government should make up their mind and find a way to reduce the price of the products,” he noted. It is learnt that Tawau is lacking of entertainment, especially at night when people would just go home or’ involve in sport activities after work. QPS photographer Abu Chai said the State Government should’ provide more incentives to develop and beautify the tourist places here such as the Hotspring waterfall,’ Bukit Gemuk and Tinagat beach. He said more land here should be developed for tourism attractions like the Disneyland in Hong Kong. “In the future, the allocation of more funds will bring more’ development and create business opportunities,” Abu added. Tawau started off as an agriculture’ and fishing town in 1892 with only a’ few residents. Today, it is the third largest district in the State.



Sabah, famous for its vast forest treasures and its landscape, is to host the inaugural Malaysian Rainforest Flora and Fauna Festival in August next year. The Prime Minister’s wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, who is also the Malaysian Landscape Advisory Panel Chairman, said the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) in Sepilok here has been picked as the location of the biennial festival. She said the month-long festival would promote Malaysia and its tropical rainforest on the international tourism map, “Sabah has been picked to host the event based on its accreditation as one of 12 world bio-diversity mega zones which are rich in unique landscape and their flora and fauna. “Sabah can be said to be a pearl in terms of natural landscape and its rich flora and fauna. That is what we want to showcase to the rest of the world,” Jeanne told reporters after visiting the RDC here yesterday. During the visit, Jeanne, who was accompanied by her husband Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, also had an aerial view of the Sepilok Forest Reserve, the Sepilok Mangrove Forest Discovery Centre, the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, the Forest Research Centre and the Rainforest Discovery Centre. They were also briefed by Sabah Forestry Department Director Datuk Sam Mannan on the concept of the festival. Jeanne said 59 per cent of Sabah was covered by preserved forest believed to have 10,000 species of flowers, 220 species of mammals and 440 species of birds. She said Sabah was also the habitat of more than 1,500 of the 30,000 orchid species. “It is hoped that the hosting of the festival can draw nature lovers from around the world who appreciate the uniqueness of the tropical rain forest and help boost the tourism sector based on the natural landscape of the country. The festival is organised by the Federal Government through the Malaysian Landscape Advisory Panel, the National Landscape Department, the Housing and Local Government Ministry, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, and the Tourism Ministry. - Bernama



Over 130 participants of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) Rally displayed their Harley Davidson bikes at Dataran Deasoka, Gaya Street here on Sunday morning. The riders are from Australia, Brunei, France, Indonesia, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, US and all over Malaysia. During the three-day rally, they visited Kuala Penyu and other signature destinations in the east coast of Sabah, including the Murut Cultural Village in Tenom the Kundasang War Memorial, the Kinabalu Park and the hometown of the Cowboys of the East, Kota Belud. In between enjoying the sights of Sabah’s landscapes on their ride, the Harley riders also witnessed several cultural performances by the local community of each location. A couple from Singapore, Awi, 69, and Salamah, 66, said this was their first visit to Sabah. “The experience of stopping at the villages during the rally made us remember of our own villages,” they said. A visitor from Sandakan, Sulaiman Jaafar, 36 said the exhibition was a good exposure of big bikes to the public. After the exhibition, the bikers rode to the Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa for the HOG Rally Charity Carnival. Over 30 children from a local orphanage were there to share in the fun during the carnival and had lunch with the participants. Meanwhile, HOG Malaysia Director Choo Kai Mun said they had set a new participation record in the Malaysia Book of Records. “In 2006, we managed to gather 117 big bike owners for the rally to Langkawi in Kedah. “For this rally, the number of participants was more than 130,” he said. This was the fifth rally organised by HOG and the first time it was held in Sabah. “The rally has been held since 1998 and it has covered Pulau Pinang, Terengganu and Langkawi with participation from all over the world,” said Choo. He thanked Sabah Tourism Board Chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin for promoting Sabah as a destination for the rally. ”Beside taking part in the rally, we also promoted road safety and carried out charity activities,” he added.


Only Royal Commission can solve illegals issue: Sabah


Political leaders from the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties in the State are still pushing for the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the transient migrants despite the announcement by the Prime Minister on Saturday to set up a high- powered Cabinet Committee to address the perennial illegal problems in Sabah. They are of the opinion that only a Royal Commission of Inquiry will be able to address the illegal immigrants issue. Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup questioned the effectiveness of the Cabinet Committee as it does not have any legal powers. “The announcement of the high- powered Cabinet Committee by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is something that the people of Sabah must be happy about,” he said in a teleconversation yesterday. “The effectiveness of the Cabinet Committee is highly doubtful because a committee formed in this manner has no legal powers to compel witnesses to come forward to give statements. It also cannot prosecute a person who tells lies,” Kurup who is also the Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) President, said. Kurup, who is also the Pensiangan Member of Parliament, stressed that the formation of such a committee will only add on to Sabahans’ perception that it is only an eyewash (to address the illegal immigrants problem). According to him, a committee with legal powers is needed to address the enormous problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah. “The (illegal immigrants) problem is a real security threat and therefore nothing is better than to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry. “I would like to ask, based on the reasons I have given just now, what is actually the problem (faced) in setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry? The illegal immigrants problem in Sabah warrants the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry,” he said. Kurup was commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s announcement of the setting up of a high- powered Cabinet Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to discuss and solve the illegal immigrants problem in Sabah. The committee comprising several Sabah leaders would seek solutions to the problem, particularly foreigners holding the ‘IMM13’ document in lieu of passport issued by the Immigration Department to Filipino refugees which permits them to stay in Sabah, Abdullah told reporters after meeting State Government leaders and senior Government officials here on Saturday. United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organization (UPKO) Secretary General Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau when asked to comment on the same issue, said Abdullah did not give any details as to the formation of the committee. “What is clear is that it is a Cabinet Committee. What we want to ask further is to make sure that all Sabahan Ministers and Deputy Ministers in the Federal Cabinet and BN component parties in Sabah be appointed to the committee. “If possible representatives from BN component parties who are not represented in the Federal Cabinet like SAPP be appointed to the committee,” he said, adding that it is Upko’s hope to see at the end of the day, the committee will recommend to the Cabinet the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the illegal immigrants problems in Sabah. The RCI, he pointed out, will look into more specific matters concerning the problem such as the ‘Projek IC’ as the illegal immigrants problem in Sabah involves not only the ‘Projek IC’ but also IMM13, settlements and man other matters which the high-powered Cabinet Committee may not know how to resolve. “This is (the formation of the Royal Commission of Inquiry) the only way to gain the credibility of the people,” he stressed. Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Secretary General Datuk Radin Malleh when contacted, pointed out the existence of a committee headed by Najib to address the illegal immigrants problem. “The committee headed by Najib has been there for quite some time. What is required is to double or triple enforcement so as to contain the illegal immigrants already in the State and to prevent new ones from coming in,” he said. The Party’s Information Chief, Johnny Mositun, pointed out the matter was nothing new as PBS has, since its inception, been pushing for a resolution to the problem. “PBS is happy now that the Government is seriously taking action to address this. Of course there are quarters claiming that this (setting up of a high-powered Cabinet Committee) is not wise because they want the Royal Commission of Inquiry. “To me whatever it is that the Government decides, maybe that is the best solution to solve the problem,” he said. “For PBS that is the most sincere mechanism maybe possible to solve the problem because what we want is the result. Of course all suggestions from all quarters to address the PTI problem are taken into consideration but the bottom line is-we want the problem to be solved,” he said. PBS has insisted on the formation of a Cabinet Committee on illegal immigrants if the suggestion by Sabah BN for a Commission of Inquiry could not be acceded to at the moment. “In any case the illegal immigrants problem is well understood and proven and therefore beyond inquiry,” he said, adding that it is time for speedy action to solve the problem. “Many of the suggestions came from PBS submissions and followed up by Party Representatives in the Federal Government. We thank the Prime Minister for kindly responding to our requests and proposal,” he said.


More Sabahans should serve in Federal Civil Service, says PBS


The announcement of two Sabahan appointments to the Federal Civil Service by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Saturday was well- received by political parties in the State. Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Information Chief Johnny Mositun said they were happy with the approach taken by the Prime Minister as it is a win win situation for the people in Sabah. “This is quite a sensitive request from the people and of course the leaders in the Barisan Nasional (BN) are concerned about this and we are happy that all the component parties have decided and agreed,” he said, adding that the Opposition as well as the present day Government in Sabah were also concerned about the matter. “We are very, very touched (as) it is not easy to decide this but it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to respect the requests from the leaders. We are happy that the hard work of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is fruitful. “Musa made sure that the requests were discussed and brought to the attention of the Prime Minister resulting in the appointments,” he said. Mositun however said that the Federal Government should also consider allowing more Sabahans to serve in the Federal Civil Service in the ‘Borneonization’ process. “Not only to head the Federal Government departments and agencies but also, if there is room, all races should be given the opportunity to lead the departments and agencies. The Federal Government should consider more Sabahans in the rank and file of the Federal Civil Service,” he said. Abdullah, after a meeting with State Government leaders and officials here on Saturday, announced the appointment of Sabah-born Datuk Kamaruzaman Ampong as the new Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Vice-Chancellor effective June 18 and Yusuf Saringgit as the new Sabah Federal Financial Officer effective May 31. United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organization (UPKO) Secretary General Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau when contacted, said Abdullah also mentioned that the State Secretary had been instructed to identify potential staff in the State Civil Service to be absorbed into the Federal Civil Service. “This move is to fulfill the requirement of Sabahans who will eventually head the Federal departments and agencies,” he said, adding that it was a most welcomed development. “In addition to that, the Federal Government should aggressively pursue recruitment of more Sabahans into the diplomatic service as administration officers. It is not right to say Sabahans are not interested to serve in the Federal Civil Service. “The Federal Government should be proactive in getting the necessary number of Sabahans to serve as diplomatic administration officers,” he said. On the appointment of Kamaruzaman, Madius said Upko had previously mentioned to Abdullah the issue of a non-Sabahan appointed as the Vice- Chancellor when UMS started operations. “Universities in other States such as Unimas in Sarawak all have locals as the Vice Chancellor. Why must Sabah be made an exception? (It is) not that the existing Vice Chancellor is not good but it raises questions in the minds of Sabahans why a Sabahan was not appointed in the first place. “The question in Sabahans’ minds is ‘what is wrong with us? Are we not trusted to shoulder the responsibility?” he asked. Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, who is also the Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) President, said the appointments were very welcomed by the people of Sabah, especially the young generation and professionals. He however suggested that the Federal Government also consider appointing Sabahans to head the State Immigration and National Registration Departments. “If possible, appoint Sabahans to these posts as the departments should be headed by Sabahans too in view of the many instances where the MyKads and birth certificates were issued just like that to people who are not qualified,” he said. With Sabahans at the helm of these two departments, they are more understanding of the sentiments Sabahans have about the illegal immigrants,” Kurup stressed.