Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Sabahans among Mother’s Award recipients


Two Sabahans were among 10 Malaysian mothers who received the inaugural ‘Malaysian Mother’s Award 2008” from the Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Nur Zahirah. The award, organised by the Islamic Dakwah Foundation of Malaysia (Yadim) and the Malaysian Muslim Women Consultative Council, is aimed at raising the awareness among the society on the roles played by mothers in creating and moulding quality human resources. Lim Sai Khim, 77, of Kuala Lumpur; Anis Abdullah, 65, of Johor Baharu and Zaharah Mahmoodin, 66, of Perak are the recipients for the Mothers of Distinction category. Sajarah Latip, 72, (Sarawak); Rumunah Nodo@Haji Mustaffa, 64, (Johor Baharu); Prito Kaur @ Habibah Abdullah, 62, and Raseni Suparno, 58, (both from Sabah); and Alice Santha Abishegam, 59, (Kuala Lumpur) received the Mothers of Excellence category. Dayang Rakiah Abang Ali, 62, from Sarawak and Lam Boon Lun @ Dr Helen Gan, 61, from Kuala Lumpur are the recipients for the Special Jury Award. In her speech Tuanku Nur Zahirah praised Yadim for the initiative and paid tribute to Malaysian mothers for their roles in moulding the young, which she said, was the country’s hope for the future. The Mothers of Distinction recipients receive trophies and RM5,000 each while Mothers of Excellence receive RM3,000 and Special Jury Award (RM1,500) as well as trophies. - Bernama


June deadline to pay assessment fees


The Kota Kinabalu City Hall has urged ratepayers in the State Capital to pay their assessment fees and the overdue amount before the end of this month. Those who have not received their assessment bills can go to the Housing Tax Unit, Ground Floor, Kota Kinabalu City Hall or call Lonnie at 088-52 1760 or Michael Kung at 088-521758.


Ministry urged to state stand on training centre


The Rural Development Ministry has been urged to firmly state its stand on the Community Development Training Centre at Kampung Mansiang, Menggatal which has been left idle for many years. In making the call yesterday, Sepanggar Member of Parliament Datuk Eric Majimbun said it is important for the Ministry to make a stand on whether it wants to revive the Centre or give it to the village. He said he had written several times to the Ministry regarding the matter but there was never any reply until today. “Three years ago we were told that the Rural Development Ministry wanted to revive the Centre but no action has been taken until today,” said Eric during a visit to the Centre yesterday. He was accompanied by former Community Development Department Director Datuk Paul Wong. Eric said he was prepared to allocate the money from his MP funds if the Centre is handed over to the village to be used for training youths with multi-skills and knowledge. Meanwhile, Paul said that the Centre, located about 1.5km from Menggatal town, was set up during the Berjaya Government in 1979 and placed under the Chief Minister’s Department. He said it was used for training People Development Leaders and other community leaders. The centre was never utilised during the nine years of the Parti Bersatu Sabah Government and when the Barisan Nasional came to power in 1994 until today.


Sabah Ecosystem Health Project will take years to complete

Project will start with sampling at sanctuary, reserves: Director


The implementation of the Sabah Ecosystem Health Project would take several years to complete, according to Sabah Wildlife Department Director Laurentius Ambu. He said the project would commence with sampling in and around the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Kabili-Sepilok Virgin Jungle Reserve and Tabin Wildlife Reserve in the East Coast. “Information on transmission risk is needed in Sabah, and such data is absolutely necessary in order to ensure the long-term survival of our wildlife and those animals of particular importance for ecotourism,” he said at a workshop on “Ecosystem Health Monitoring in Wildlife Tourism Areas” at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park yesterday. The Sabah Ecosystem Health Project was initiated by Professor Michael Muehlenbein from Indiana University, USA. Laurentius said that Professor Muehlenbein’s project would provide the international community with an outstanding example on how to properly manage healthy human-animal relations. Some 50 people attended the workshop sponsored by the Sabah Wildlife Department and Indiana University. The participants included senior officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Sabah Wildlife Department, Department of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Health, University Malaysia Sabah, Sabah Tourism Board, Sabah Parks, State Environment Protection Department, Forestry Department, Sabah Foundation, WWF-Malaysia, Borneo Conservation Trust, UK Orangutan Appeal and HUTAN. The objective of the seminar was to discuss the importance of health monitoring of human-wildlife interactions in Sabah, an understanding of which will function to ensure the sustainability and growth of ecotourism as well as human and animal health. Specific prevention measures were discussed to minimize these risks to wildlife in Sabah during the workshop. Muehlenbein provided an informative lecture on responsible ecotourism, with particular reference to prevention measures to minimize negative impacts on animal populations. He said that ecotourism functions to facilitate awareness of cultural and natural histories in diverse environments, creating financial benefits to those local populations which invest in conservation of their cultural and natural histories. Such nature-based tourism can certainly serve as an important potential tool to assist conservation efforts in preserving populations of wildlife, particularly primates A natural consequence of expanding tourism at wildlife sanctuaries is increased human-wildlife contact, which must be properly managed in order to prevent infection transmission between these groups, according to Muehlenbein. Muehlenbein also described the Sabah Ecosystem Health Project as a proposed collaboration designed to better understand risk of infection transmission between humans, wildlife and livestock in Sabah. Despite the presence of known infectious diseases within cohabitating human, wildlife, livestock and domestic pet populations throughout the world, and the emergence of novel infectious diseases in ecological hotspots where human- wildlife contact is substantial, he noted that very few surveillance programs exist to specifically describe and monitor the risks of human-animal infection transmission. Humans (tourists and local populations), wildlife (orang-utans, macaques, small mammals, birds and bats), domestic dogs and cats, and livestock will be sampled to determine the distribution of various infectious diseases, and prevention strategies will be developed, added Muehlenbein.


China learns lesson for neglecting environment
Consul-General urges developing nations to avoid mistakes made by his country


The Republic of China known for its vast development, has learned its lesson, as far as conserving the environment is concerned. The country which started its open economy policy way back in 1978, is now suffering from the effect of neglecting the importance of environment protection, thus calling on developing countries to act fast before similar destruction is done on their land. This was a simple reminder from the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Kuching, Xie Fugen, who was in town for an official visit. “We have learned our lesson. We admit that in our effort to boost our economy, we forgot and neglected the importance of conserving and protecting the environment. As a result, today we are paying double for the damages done,” he told the media during a courtesy call on Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong here yesterday. Xie said under the 1978 open economy policy, the China Government had carried out development projects in the east coast area. “We have done well in economy but we lost so much as far as the environment is concerned. We had to spent lots of money to rectify the problem, therefore we are reminding and advising other countries to avoid the mistakes we made,” he said. After seeing the destruction caused to the environment, the China Government has imposed stricter policy to ensure the environment remained protected despite the vast development projects. “We are currently developing the middle, west and northern part of China and have listed environment protection as a top priority. We do not want to repeat the mistakes we have done in the past. Corporate companies are free to do business but they must make sure that the environment is protected,” he said, adding had pollutions on China’s two main river had forced the Government to act fast. “We are already seeing positive results on the river protection policy and hope it can be maintained for generations,” he said. During the meeting, Xie and Liew exchanged views on the business opportunities available in China and Sabah, as well as other issues such as those concerning illegal immigrants and food supplies. “The tourism industry in Sabah is developing very good. I often see a lot of tourists from China whenever I come here for a visit. This is probably due to the many direct flights available from the State to many major cities in China,” he said. he added that the China Government is also currently boosting its Neighbour Friendly Policy and is extending it to Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and The Philippines. Liew, on the other hand, introduced the on-going Sabah Development Corridor, encouraging investors from China to venture into businesses in Sabah. “We welcome any groups wishing to come and visit Sabah and see for themselves potential businesses available here, and we hope to do vice versa to improve and ensure sustainable business links between China and Sabah,” he said. Currently, there are seven China- based companies operating in Sabah, of which six are related to construction while one is a shopping complex.


Downpours and erosion affect houses at riverbank


Heavy downpours the last few days sent shivers down the spine of Zainuddin Binbang. Somehow, he knew that the worst was coming. Looking across the river, Zainuddin could see the construction works for a new bridge, which is part of the flyover project along Putatan-Kepayan Road, actively taking place. Part of the river was covered with soil to allow the construction company’s heavy machineries to do piling, but that had impeded the water flow, which was slowly eroding the riverbank along Kampung Muhibbah Lama in Petagas, Putatan. “The erosion was like a ticking bomb. The water currents had slowly eroded and caused a small section of soil at the corner of the next door’s kitchen to cave in. I knew it was just about time that my 32-foot kitchen and bathroom would collapse,” said the 39-year-old Zainuddin, who had been staying in the house for the last 10 years. True enough, at 7am yesterday, the concrete built bathroom collapsed, followed by the kitchen about half an hour later amidst the downpours which also caused flash floods elsewhere in the City and outskirts. “I was prepared for the worst and knew this was going to happen. Worried for my family’s safety, I sent my wife and eight children to stay with my father-in-law, while I stayed back for any eventuality. “We had contacted the Village Development and Security Committee and they in turn had notified the construction company about the bad effects of the erosion. But somehow, our grouses had fallen on deaf ears. “I was so worried about my house and could not get to sleep the whole night. I just sat and waited for the worst to come,” he said. They had exhausted all efforts to draw attention to their plight and predicament, which was by far his worst experience, according to him. “We had gone through floods before and compared to the 1996 Storm Greg incident, this was the worst. Now my kitchen is gone, we have no food left.,. I had just bought our food supplies recently,” said Zainuddin, who is a barber. The destructive erosion had affected at least three houses built near the river. Sudin Ahmat, 43, who was born and bred in the village also agreed that this was his worst experience. “Things happened. I do not want to say much but hope the relevant authorities and would do something to help us,” he said. His younger sister, Rina, 40, recalled that the river used to be clean and safe. “We used to jump into the river to bathe. It was smaller before but the river has now become wider and dirty ... it is no longer safe,” she related. She said they had lodged a police report over the contractor’s, action for covering part of the river to carry out its construction works. “For many years, we have also requested the authorities to build retaining walls along the riverbank to prevent erosion, but this has yet to be done. We hope this incident would finally send a message to the authorities concerned. “Honestly, we are not against any development as it would also benefit us somehow. But we just hope that while actively carrying out the development projects, the welfare of the people should not be neglected,” she stressed. Putatan Member of Parliament, Datuk Marcus Mojigoh, who visited the site said an emergency meeting was called immediately to discuss matters pertaining to the problem, yesterday. “I have sat with the District Officer and a representative from the construction company. The company has removed the pile of soil from the river to allow the water to flow unimpeded. They have also agreed to compensate, whether to reconstruct the damaged houses or in monetary terms. “Secondly, we are also looking at building embankment on the riparian reserve. Actually these houses were not supposed to be built by the riverbank as it is within the river reserve, which is meant to allow erosion. But since there are houses involved, and things had happened, we will try our best to help the victims,” he said. On the requests for retaining walls, Mojigoh said he had written to the relevant ministry but to date, it was still considered as low priority. “After all, it was supposed to be a river reserve and there should be no structure built on it,” he said.


Over a million ringgit raised by Sabah Chinese bodies for victims


A total of RM1,065,043.96 in donations have been raised by Chinese community organizations and companies throughout Sabah to assist the earthquake victims in China. The money was handed over to the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China based in Kuching, Mr Xie Fugen, during a presentation ceremony at the Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hall at Kampung Air here yesterday. Among the 39 donors were the See Hua Group of newspapers - The See Hua Daily News and The Borneo Post (RM280,000) which collected the donations from their readers; Che Sui Khor Moral Uplifting Society (RM119,076.60), Taiwan Alumnus Sabah (RM80,000), Kunak Chinese Chamber of Commerce (RM55,213), and the United Association of Private Chinese Secondary Schools Committee Sabah (RM40,176.76). The massive earthquake which shook Si Chuan Province of China, killed more than 69,000 and left nearly 18,000 people missing and scores injured. Other organizations which handed their donations to the Consul-General were Gabungan Persatuan Hokkien Sabah, Wanita (RM21,770), Young Malaysian Movement (RM13,986.10), Tanjung Aru Youth Association (RM5,000), Persatuan Pengurusan Yu Huang Tuaran (RM5,123), Persatuan Masyarakat Tai Poo Sabah (RM11,000), KK Zhang Clan Association (RM9,000), SZCA Association (RM6,000), Kota Kinabalu Hakka Association (RM10,890), Sabah Ann Koai Association (RM11,000), The Sabah Northern Association (RM7,000), Persatuan Eng Choon Sabah (RM4,050), and Sabah Amusement Association (RM16,000), Semporna Chinese Chamber of Commerce (RM21,250), Gabungan Dewan Perniagaan Tionghua Sabah (RM6,000), Sipitang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (RM13,500), Lahad Datu Chinese Chamber of Commerce (RM22,850), Tuaran Chinese Chamber of Commerce (RM8,300), Keningau Chinese Chamber of Commerce (RM2,000), Kota Marudu Chinese Chamber of Commerce (RM4,315), Kota Belud Chinese Chamber of Commerce (RM7,200), Pertubuhan Amal dan Pendidikan Akhlak Ji Her KK (RM52,965), Kung Yin Ting Temple (RM4,000) and Persatuan Masyarakat Cina Bersekutu Sabah KK (RM14,500), Ever Win Tyres Accessory Sdn Bhd (RM1,000), Kota Kinabalu Teo Chew Association (RM7,000), The Yongs Nga Khi Welfare Association of Sabah (RM8,000), Kian Kok High School (RM16,733.50), Chung Hwa Likas Kindergarten (RM3,000), Gabungan Persatuan Cina Sabah - Youth Section (RM4,000), Foe Chow Association Sabah (RM1 1,650), Gabungan Persatuan Cina Sabah - Women Section (RM15,000), Labuan Foe Chow Association (RM15,000), Beaufort Chinese Chamber of Commerce (RM16,195) and The Lung Yen Association (RM5,000). During the presentation of the donations, Xie thanked all the organizations for their kindness, and assured that the donations would be distributed to earthquake victims in China. “I’m really moved today because a lot of people have donated and it doesn’t matter how much they donated, what matters the most is that they have shown their kindness to help our people in China,” he said. According to Xie, the Embassy will try their best to transfer the money to the victims in China, which is quite hard, especially for those who were affected in the remote areas. “We have already received a lot of donations from various organizations and the most important thing is to build homes for the affected victims there,” he said. Xie said that Malaysia is one of the countries which always extends international aid to China since both countries had developed a good relationship in every area. According to him, the China Consulate in East Malaysia had discussed with the Government to set up a new consulate here to strengthen relations between both countries and to develop a better relationship in every area. Also present during the presentation was Sabah United Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Datuk Seri Panglima Sari Nuar and See Hua Group Area General Operations Manager Mr Ngu Ngiong Hieng.


RM75 mil boost for padi
Sabah Govt also requesting KL for more allocations for food production, say Musa


The State Government has requested the Federal Government to increase the allocation for food production, especially for padi cultivation, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said. “We are also asking for more allocations to open up new land for food production,” he said when Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed called on him at his official residence in Sri Gaya here on Tuesday. Among the topics discussed were the issue of food supply in Malaysia, particularly Sabah and steps taken to address them. According to Musa, Sabah wants to play a key role in resolving issues involving food production in the State and the Nation in general. “We still have tracts of land that should be opened up, especially for rice cultivation,” he added. Mustapa meanwhile said the Federal Government has approved an additional allocation of RM75 million this year to boost padi production in Sabah. He said RM32 million of the allocation was for agricultural inputs such as providing fertiliser assistance. Another sum of RM25 million is for drainage and irrigation development, RM7 million for farm mechanisation, RM5 million for maintenance of drainage and irrigation system and RM3 million each for land flattening and pest control. “Malaysia has enough land for agriculture, so there is no reason for us not to achieve self-sufficiency in food production. For Sabah, the priority is to increase rice production,” he told reporters after visiting a goat rearing farm in Tuaran near here yesterday. Mustapa said the food production sector was expected to receive an additional allocation under the mid-term review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, to be announced on June 26. He said the move is in line with the new policy of the Government to give priority to the food production sector in the wake of the global food crisis. He said under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, his Ministry was allocated with RM7 billion. Another RM10 billion was allocated for the agricultural sector undertaken by other Ministries and agencies. On measures to lighten the burden borne by padi farmers following the fuel price hike, Mustapa said the Government would provide assistance totalling RM140 per hectare to plough their land, with RM100 of the amount coming from the State Government. He said the Government is in the process of registering farmers nationwide for the food production incentives totalling RM513 million, to be given to farmers who ventured into farming other than padi.


CEOs Conference will help attract investments, says CM


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the International CEOs Conference 2008 to be held here next week will yet again put Sabah in the international spotlight so as to attract more investments, especially in the manufacturing, tourism and agriculture sectors. “This is indeed in line with the economic objectives under the State Development Agenda and the Sabah Development Corridor, which was launched by the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) early this year,” he said, when chairing the main organising committee meeting for the conference here yesterday. The International CEOs Conference will be held from June 15 to 17, and among the objectives are to provide intellectually stimulating, constructive and healthy exchange of views among the role-players and delegates; make available opportunities for companies to broaden their contact bases and networks with industry leaders and delegates, and to give updates on the business and investment opportunities available as well as the policies formulated. Musa said Abdullah had consented to be the guest of honour at the closing ceremony on June 17, while Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak is expected to officiate the opening ceremony on June 16. Realising the magnitude of these events, Yayasan Sabah Group has appointed once again the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI) as the Event Manager for ICC2008. The Chief Minister said more than 500 delegates had confirmed their attendance, coming from countries like USA, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Ireland, Dubai (UAE), Kuwait, Syria, Japan, India, Pakistan, Singapore, The Philippines and Brunei. “It pleases me to note that the number of confirmed participants is more than that of ICC2005. I also note that some 12 foreign dignitaries comprising Ambassadors and High Commissioners will be gracing this conference,” said Musa. He said the essence of this conference is concisely reflected in its theme ‘Managing Sustainable Growth and Competitiveness In the Globalised Era’. This theme has been chosen as it is considered the most prevailing issue in the light of the present economic and social environments of this region. “Hence we have strategically designed the Conference to cover topics that are pertinent to the world today. On top of that, we are bringing in experts and leading players to discuss significant global issues such as climate change and global warning. In a nutshell, environmental problems will become one of the most difficult issues faced by mankind, because if unresolved, it could directly threaten the future existence of the human race,” said Musa. He said another subject of great significance and one of the most notable realities today is the rise of Asian Giants - China and India. “The rise of such large economies within a short time span is unprecedented and this undoubtedly will present both opportunities as well as challenges for Asia and the world. “I truly believe that sustainability, especially in a world characterized by rapid unpredictable change cannot be overstated. As such, we hope this Conference will provide all of us with the ideal platform to analyse and comprehend key issues as well as find practical and achievable solutions to some of the more pressing problems that require timely attention,” Musa added.


Suhakam welcomes Tuanku Mizan’s speech on human rights


The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has welcomed the speech by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, on the occasion of His Majesty’s birthday last Saturday. Its Vice-Chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun said Tuanku Mizan had spoken in some concerns relating to human rights, like the establishment of the Judicial Appointment Commission and the amendment to the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1964. “Suhakam welcomes this statement from His Majesty which reflects the King’s concern for human rights in Malaysia,” he said in a statement. Sipaun said these issues had been part of Suhakam’s recommendations as contained in the Commission’s various annual reports tabled to Parliament. - Bernama