Tuesday, June 3, 2008


1,000 teachers to attend celebration in Kudat


Some 1,000 teachers from all over Sabah are expected to attend the Teacher’s Day celebration to be held at the Tun Mustapha Hall in Kudat on June 12. The event, which will begin at 9am, is expected to be officiated by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Razali IsmailAccording to the event’s Publicity Secretary, Roselia Pangiran, the day will be filled with programmes such as flag- raising ceremony, oath reading by all teachers, choir performances and the highlight would be the presentation of excellence awards to deserving teachers. Prior to the celebration, a one- day seminar to be attended by 100 teachers, will be held at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kota Marudu II on June 10. ‘We will also be holding a dinner in conjunction with the celebration, and it will be attended by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili,” she said. During the dinner, students from. SMK Sikuati II, SMK Pinawantai and SM Teknik, Kudat will be entertaining all the guests.The highlight of the dinner, according to Roselia, is the launching of a book on the academic management sector. “We would also like to invite all the teachers to come and attend the three events. It is a day to thank them for their tireless contribution,” she said.


New secretariats will enhance rapport with grassroots; Japlin


Umno’s new six secretariats will enable the Party’s leaders to establish closer rapport with the grassroots, Sabah Umno Youth Chief Datuk Japlin Akim said. “The secretariats can function as a platform for the grassroots to voice out their feelings,” he said, adding that Umno Youth can also use the secretariats to disseminate information about the Government’s policies and development programmes. Japlin said this when commenting on the five special secretariats and one permanent secretariat which the Party’s central leadership had set up namely, the “Sekretariat Permuafakatan”, “Sekretariat Peremajaan UMNO”, “Sekretariat Pembelaan Rakyat”, “Sek-retariat Pembinaan Negara Bangsa”, “Sekretariat Perhubungan Media”, and “Sekretariat Tetap”. Besides being -an avenue to get closer to the grassroots, the secretariats can also be used to resolve any problems brought- up by Umno Youth, he added. According to the Assistant Infrastructure Development Minister, the newly set up “Sekretariat Perhubungan Media” can help to address problems that are brought up via the Internet. “This is Umno’s efforts to ensure that the younger generation remains interested in the Party and also proved the Youth Movement’s commitment to see its members continue with the Party’s agenda,” he said. Japlin who also the Usukan Assemblyman, also welcomed the additional RM1 billion allocation announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for development - in the State and the abolishment of the Sabah Federal Development Department (JPPS). “The abolishment of JPPS has been long awaited by leaders in Sabah. Now all allocations can be channelled directly to the State Government thus making the delivery system more efficient,” he added.


Sabahans proud of appointments: Mojigoh


The appointments of Datuk Kamaruzaman Ampong as the new Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Vice-Chancellor and Yusuf Saringgit as the new Sabah Federal Financial Officer are something that Sabahans are proud of. “We are happy with the appointments and hope that more will follow and we thank Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for it,” Putatan Member of Parliament Datuk Dr Marcus Mojigoh said when commenting on the appointments of Kamaruzaman and Yusuf which will take effect on June 18 and May 31 respectively. Mojigoh however said he was personally expecting a Cabinet reshuffle to accommodate more Ministers from Sabah. He also lamented that Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) leaders have been overlooked in the Federal Cabinet and cited for example, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok. “Tan Sri Bernard is so loyal to Pak Lah and is a senior Minister who has served three terms in the Federal Cabinet but is still without a portfolio,” Mojigoh who is the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organization (UPKO) Vice President, said of the Party’s President. According to him, the grassroots are interpreting the case of Dompok not being given a portfolio, as though the Penampang Member of Parliament is not capable which is why he was not entrusted with any important jobs. “I have often heard people saying that the Barisan Nasional (BN) is not fair to KDM leaders and the KDM are not happy with the way Tan Sri Bernard is treated,” he said. He added that Dompok’s presence in the Prime Minister’s Department was just like a ‘poster’ just to be seen but cannot talk or do anything that he wishes. “This is a real insult to the KDM leader. The KDM people are talking about it and that’s how they feel,” he said.


Sabah does not need another round of study: PKR


PKR Sabah is disappointed with the recent announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi over the setting up of yet another Federal Cabinet Committee to study the problems of illegal immigrants in Sabah. Its Deputy Chairperson, Christina Hew, said Sabah does not need another round of study into the problems, but speedy action. She said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who will head the Committee, was in fact the chairman of a similar task force and committee in the past and the people here have not seen any result in resolving Sabah’s illegal immigrant and IMM13 problems. “The announcement made by the PM in appointing the DPM to head this high-power committee is like singing the same song but second verse only. There is simply no willpower by the Federal Government to resolve our problems inspite of the overwhelming support by the Sabah people to the Barisan Nasional,” said Christina yesterday. She said PKR Sabah welcomed the belated abolition of the Sabah Federal Development Department or JPPS. “However, we are concerned that the Sabah Development Office is placed directly under the Chief Minister’s Department instead of under the Economic Planning Unit Sabah (EPU), for close monitoring on the implementation of projects that are utilizing both Federal and State funds. It was the role and function of EPU before the set up of the JPPS 17 years ago,” said Liew in a statement. She is hoping that the additional development funds allocated to the elected Assemblymen would be utilized in a transparent and accountable manner for the benefit of the people. “PKR Sabah also calls for more qualified Sabahans to be appointed as Federal department heads. “We hope the Public Service Department will emulate Sarawak by recommending Sabahans to be appointed as State Directors of the Immigration and National Registration Departments, two important departments which tie in with the illegal immigrant issues,” she added.


Call to let independent person head Cabinet Committee


Veteran politician Fredoline Lojingki has suggested that an independent person be appointed to head the high-powered Cabinet Committee formed to solve the illegal immigrants problem in Sabah. “Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is already burdened with other duties in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, so he may not be able to concentrate fully on the task at hand,” Lojingki said in a statement on Sunday. According to him, it would be better to appoint an individual who is without prejudice in the matter to head the committee so that all investigations and proceedings will be conducted freely. The individual must also be someone with integrity, he said when commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s announcement on the setting up of a high- powered Cabinet Committee, chaired by Najib 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 ‘1MM13’ 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 last Saturday. Lojingki also questioned the Federal Government’s hesitance to set up the Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into the perennial problem affecting the State. “This hesitance can be seen as though illegal immigrants are encouraged to come to Sabah,” he said, adding that there is no benefit in setting up another committee to address the problem.


Kamaruzaman’s appointment an honour to State: Sairin


The appointment of Professor Datuk Dr Kamaruzaman Haji Ampon as the new Vice Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) effective June 18 is an honour to Sabah people and Keningau in general. Assistant Rural Development Minister Datuk Haji Sairin Karno described the appointment as a special gift from the Federal Government to Sabah, especially for education development. “I believe it is a proud moment for Sabah, especially the Keningau people in its mission to improve and upgrade the rural education excellence,” he said when officiating the thanksgiving on the victory of BN candidates for Liawan and Keningau at Kampung Skim Pamalan and Kampung Gaulan here on Sunday. Sairin said as a local from Keningau, Kamaruzaman could become an example to academicians and students here to continue to achieve excellence in education. “Professor Dr Kamaruzaman is the son of Sabah soil and I believe more academicians from the State will follow his footsteps,” he said. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday that Kamaruzaman will replace Professor Datuk Mohd Noh Dalimin. In another development, Sairin urged the Federal Government to build the UMS Campus in Keningau in the Ninth Malaysia Plan. He said a 40-acre site for the campus had already been provided at Apin-Apin. According to him, the campus will enable rural students in the interior areas to further their studies without having to go to Kota Kinabalu. On the RM1 billion additional allocation announced by the Prime Minister, Sairin said part of the money would be used to build water supply project and widen the roads in the town areas in this district.


Medicines, cosmetic products seized in Tawau


The Marine Police here seized a variety of contraband medicines and cosmetic products worth about RM32,654 at the port area here on Sunday morning. District Marine Chief DSP Husaini said the contraband goods were seized from the KM Purnama Express passenger ferry about 10.30am during the “Op Octopus”. Police, he said, believed the goods which were stored in several bags, were brought into the port here from Nunukan, Indonesia. “No passengers admitted to owning the contraband products,” he said, adding that the products were also not registered with the Malaysian Health Ministry. The seized products will be sent to the Chemistry Department for further action. Investigation will be carried out under the Cosmetics and Poison Act,” Husaini told reporters at a press conference at the Marine Department here.


SOS Games receives more support


The organising committee of the Sixth State-level Special Olympics Sabah (SOS) Games yesterday paid courtesy calls on the sponsors and donors of the event to express their appreciation for their support Following the footsteps and inspired by the Games’ main sponsor, Tawau Hakka Association, many individuals and companies, societies and associations have since pledged their support and donations. The sponsors or donors are Teck Guan Trading Sdn Bhd, Sabah Chicken Rice, DKSH Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Regal Marketing Sdn Bhd, Maestro Swiss, KFC Sabah Sdn Bhd, DHN (KK) Sdn Bhd, CYC Holdings Sdn Bhd, Rotary Club of Tawau, Inner Wheels Club of Tawau, Tawau Hash House Harrier, Ying Lee Sdn Bbd and Syarikat Sega Long Sdn Bhd. KFC Sabah Sdn Bhd is donating burgers to the athletes. It is also sending representatives to join the 6th SOS Games 2008 Torch Run. Regal Marketing Sdn Bhd and Maestro Swiss are providing Indocafe and Vico respectively during the Torch Run and SOS Games.


Sabah senior politician, cop behind land-grab?


With the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and Public Complaints Bureau intensifying its probe into allegations of a RM4O million land- grab in Kunak, Sabah, two major “players” in the racket might come under scrutiny for alleged abuse of power. One is believed to be a senior politician in Sabah, the other is a high-ranking official in the police force. The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok on Sunday instructed the Public Complaints Bureau to immediately investigate allegations of power abuse by senior police officers in the land- grab issue. Bernama learnt that the politician is among several which the Sabah ACA would call to facilitate investigations into the racket involving over 787 hectares of oil palm plantation in Kampung Tingkayu. Sabah ACA Director Latifah Md Yatim declined to comment on the two “masterminds” as investigations were underway. “Let the ACA conduct its probe. We will surely inform the media on the latest development (of the case). My officers are gathering the relevant information and documents pertaining to the case,” she told Bernama yesterday. The politician, in his 60’s, is believed to have obtained a percentage of shares and money from a real estate company which allegedly seized the land belonging to 171 smallholders. Bernama understands that the politician had instructed some senior officers from the Sabah Land and Survey Department not to entertain the smallholders who had urged the department to investigate the ownership of the seized land. A team of Sabah ACA investigating officers will visit Kampung Tingkayu to gather vital evidence and interview the smallholders. One of the affected smallholders, who wished to be known as Chong, 50, told Bernama that the politician refused to attend to the plight of smallholders who had been harassed by illegal immigrants on their plantations. “Last month, we submitted an official complaint letter to the politician at his office on the activities of the illegal immigrants, but unfortunately he told us not to waste our time. “We have all the evidence on this matter and we are ready to cooperate with the authorities,” he said. In April this year, Bernama reported atop-ranking senior law enforcement officer, holding the title of ‘Datuk’, and several police officers in Kunak are being investigated by 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, was reported to have 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 to seize the land worth about RM40 million and that more then 40 police reports were lodged between January and March this year at the Kunak police station, but no action was taken. - Bernama


Yusof Sarangit – First local appointed as Sabah Federal Financial Officer


Yusof Sarangit has become the first Sabahan to be appointed State Federal Financial Officer. Over the years, the post with the ‘Jusa C’ status, was filled up by Federal officers from outside the State, much to the chagrin of the locals. As such, when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi recently announced Yusof’s appointment, it was met with all— around applause by Sabahans who saw it as a symbolic gesture to mark their harvest festival, ‘Tadau Kaamatan’. “My appointment means a lot to Federal Officers from Sabah as shows that the Government recognises their ability and the heavy responsibility which comes with the job. “I believe this will encourage more officers from Sabah to join the Federal Civil Service. This will contribute positively towards national unity,” he told Bernama here yesterday. Yusof, 48, a native of Kampung Segangan in Lahad Datu on the Sabah East Coast, holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology from Universiti Malaya. “I am thankful to Allah for the promotion and appointment as Sabah Federal Financial Officer. “My thanks are also to the Prime Minister and Government for trusting me with this responsibility,” he added. Yusof said his appointment showed that the Prime Minister was sensitive and committed towards resolving issues faced by Sabahans. He promised to carry out his duty with fairness, transparency and to the best of his ability, aimed at bringing development to the State. Yusof, who began his civil service as a geologist, spent most of his career in the Foreign Ministry, with a string of postings, including Nigeria and Japan. He was the Principal Assistant Director (Finance) of the recently abolished Sabah Federal Development Department (JPPS) from 2001-2004 and Principal Assistant Director (Project Monitoring) of JPPS from 2004- 2006. His last post before his current appointment was Deputy Federal State Secretary from 2006-May 2008. - Bernama


New fuel subsidy to be announced tomorrow

The Government will announce a new fuel subsidy tomorrow, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said. The decision on the fuel subsidy will take effect immediately to avoid any speculation, he told reporters after chairing the National Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. “We need to look into it (fuel subsidy) again to make sure it will be the best that we can do for our people,” Abdullah said. He was commenting on Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad’s statement that fuel prices will go up this August. “He said might be. Anything to do with (fuel) subsidy, the final decision will be this Wednesday,” Abdullah said. According to Shahrir, the increase in fuel prices is in line with the structuring of the new mechanism for the fuel subsidy scheme enjoyed by the people now, He was reported saying that there were already several proposals and the mechanism had been submitted to the Finance Ministry and it would be decided in the best manner. — Bernama.


Borneo International Marathon Oct 12


Some 10,000 people are expected to participate in the Borneo International Marathon(BIM) 2008 to be held on October 12 this year. Andrew Voon, the Director of Championship Sports Events Sdn Bhd which will organize the event, said this during a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman at the latter’s office in Wisma Innoprise here yesterday. He said the full 42km marathon would be flagged off at the Likas Sports Complex and head towards 1Borneo before looping around towards Tanjung Aru and returning to the finish line at the Sports Complex. There will also be a half and 10km marathon. One of the objectives of BIM 2008 is to raise money for local charities. Ten percent of every registration fee goes to charity, said Voon. Event Directors Urs Weisskopf meanwhile said that if this inaugural event proved to be successful, the BIM would be held annually. Musa welcomed the move on BIM 2008 and said it could be another event added to the Sabah tourism calendar. “This event if properly organized, will add vibrance to the City. It also has potential sports tourism value,” he said. Musa said that the State Government namely the Youth and Sports and Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministries would support the event in terms of direction and organizing experience.


Going UP again
PETROL and DIESEL pump prices will increase in August: Minister


Pump prices for petrol and diesel will be raised in August but subsidies will remain for the poor, Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said yesterday, in a move that could drive up inflation. “Petrol prices will increase ... it will happen,” Shahrir told reporters, without specifying how much prices would rise. “I think the idea is August this year when the subsidy (scheme) is restructured. The prices will rise with the proviso that subsidies will be enjoyed by all not on the basis of use, but need.” According to him, although the fuel prices would go up, the petrol subsidy would continue to be enjoyed by the people based on requirement instead of usage. “If we look at the subsidy that we receive today, it is based on the amount used, if we consume 200 litres per month, we will receive subsidy for each litre that we purchase. If we use only 100 litres, we will also be given the subsidy. So, this means there is no restriction to the subsidy that we get based on our usage,” he said. Fuel prices in Malaysia are among the cheapest in Asia, with petrol selling for just 1.92 ringgit (60 US cents) a litre, less than half the price in neighbouring Singapore. Malaysia is a net oil exporter and gains from high oil prices, reaping 250 million ringgit ($77.6 million) a year in revenue for every $1 rise in crude prices. But the Government’s fuel subsidy bill also has ballooned along with skyrocketing crude prices, compelling it to find ways to ease the burden on its finances. Indonesia and Taiwan cut fuel subsidies last month and India is also poised to take action. Shahrir said fuel subsidies would total 55-56 billion ringgit in 2008 at current oil price levels, which are hovering around $127 per barrel. He said the restructuring is part of the Government’s efforts in tackling the rising subsidy burden following the significant rise in the world oil price which had exceeded US $130 per barrel current. Bond and stock traders said financial markets had already priced in a likely price hike and were now awaiting details of the new fuel subsidy mechanism. Shahrir did not give details on how the new subsidy scheme would work or whether the reforms would involve minor changes or a major overhaul. He was quoted on Sunday as saying that Malaysia planned to scrap subsidies at the pump and instead give discounts to individuals based on their needs. The Minister had previously suggested requiring motorists to produce their Malaysian identification cards when filling up to ensure that only locals get the subsidies. He said the total subsidy borne by the Government for petrol, diesel for foreign cars by petrol kiosks within 50 kilometres from the border was only a temporary measure. He said the ban had already been enforced at the Malaysia-Thai Border while near the Singapore border, the ban would take effect on June 9. A sharp fuel price hike would increase inflation - which already stood at a 15-month high of 3.0 percent in April - and could further stoke voter anger against the Government, which is battling criticism that it has not been effective in cushioning Malaysians against rising prices. “It will increase inflation but because they’re being very vague, we can’t really say how much,” said CLSA senior economist Tony Nafte. “They’re going to be very careful how they do it and one way to do it is some kind of handout to compensate for the low-income earners.” Shahrir also said Malaysia would begin a temporary ban on fuel sales to foreigners from its southern Johor state, a short distance from Singapore, from June 9. The Government had already begun a similar ban at filling stations near the Thai border, he said. Hundreds of Thai and Singapore motorists cross the border daily to fill up their tanks with cheaper Malaysian fuel. — Reuter, Bernama.


Shafie: Projects in Sabah should be more people-centered


Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal wants development projects to be carried out in Sabah to be more people- centered. He said the implementation of such projects should benefit the people, especially those from rural areas. Mohd Shafie said it was very generous of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to announce that more development projects would be implemented in Sabah. This, he said, was the appreciation of the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government for the support given by the Sabah people to BN in the last general election. “I hope the proposed development projects will help develop the rural areas in Sabah,” he told reporters after opening the 6th Global Indian Shopping Festival (GISF) 2008 organised by Agenda Suria Communications Sdn Bhd at MidValley Exhibition Hall here yesterday. The nine-day event beginning May 30, is a one-stop exhibition showcasing India’s ethnic handicraft, textiles and jewellery, among others. On Saturday, Abdullah, who pledged RM1 billion for rural development projects for Sabah, said that more development projects would be implemented in the State in lieu of the people’s support which enabled the BN to secure a massive victory in the State in the March 8 polls. He had said that besides development in the fields of science and technology, the Government would continue to develop the tourism industry, large-scale agriculture based on modern technology, as well as the development of the existing diverse cultures and arts. Mohd Shafie also said that during his tenure as Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, he had requested the Federal Government to look into ways in reducing transportation costs from Sabah to Peninsular Malaysia. “I had also requested for a price coordination in rice and other essential items to reduce the burden on the consumers, as well,” he said. Commenting on the GISF, Mohd Shafie said he would discuss with Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said soon to find ways to scale up the festival to be a national event. - Bernama