Monday, June 23, 2008


Food prices in Peninsular cheaper than those in Sabah, Sarawak


Food prices in Sabah and Sarawak are still higher than those in Peninsular Malaysia, according to the weekly marketing guide posted on the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry’s website. While all the States in Peninsular Malaysia show a significant increase in food prices, such as those for poultry and vegetables, in Sabah and Sarawak they are at least 10 per cent to 15 per cent costlier. However, the prices of seafood like fish and prawns are much cheaper. Ikan kembung hitam and hijau (local) cost only RM6 in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu while in Seremban, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru and Alor Star they cost between RM7.50 to RM10 per kg. Prawn (small) costs only RM6 in both Sabah and Sarawak while in Kangar, Malacca, Ipoh and Penang they cost between RM8 to’ as high as RM16 per kg. “This is probably due to proximity. Sabah and Sarawak share a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the South,” said a trader in the SS2, PJ, market. “The traders don’t need to import seafood from the Peninsula so they don’t need to increase the price to make huge profits,” he said. When it comes to dry food, Kota Kinabalu still records the highest prices. Eggs (A, B and C grade) are about 8 per cent to 10 per cent more expensive and the same goes for the different types of vegetables, Qnions and garlic. And while the price of red onions is between RM1.40 and RM2 in Kuantan, Terengganu and Penang, in Sabah the red are priced at RM4 per kg. Shallots are sold at RM6 in Sabah and Sarawak while in the peninsula they are sold between only RM2.50 and RM4 per kg. Sabah has some beautiful places worth visiting and one of them is the Central Market in Kota Kinabalu. The market has two sections - the waterfront area for fish and an area in front of the harbour for fruits and vegetables. Other things to look out for are orchids and grapes imported from the United States and asparagus that is grown on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu. The prices of the food may be on the high side but you are guaranteed produce that is fresh as it is grown locally. The market offers almost everything, from a betel nut chew (a local concoction which leaves the mouth bright red), strange jungle fruits, nose-tingling spices and fresh herbs. Amid the stalls selling souvenirs are small outlets where Malaysian artists display their works. Here, visitors may even have their portrait painted or order custom-made crafts. In case you ever get bored, just outside the market is a riverside amphitheatre where there’s always a wayang kulit show, as well as more contemporary entertainment for the younger crowds. Another market that is worth mentioning is the one next to the wet market, in the waterfront area. The market is aptly-named Filipino Market, as most of the stalls are owned by Filipinos who sell a wide range of souvenirs, as well as fashion apparel.


Nabawan to have clinic with ward facilities


A RM20 million health clinic will be built in Nabawan District under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), said Nabawan Assemblyman Datuk Bobbey Suan. He said the cost of the clinic had been approved by the Health Ministry. “The Nabawan people are still waiting for the construction of this clinic which will provide ward facilities,” he told reporters after officiating the Keningau channa agroindustry awareness workshop at Perkasa I lotel here on Saturday. Bobbey, who is the Assistant Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, represented the Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Sen Panglima Haji Yahya Hussin at the function. He added a 50-acre site for the clinic had already been provided since 1980. He also said the construction of a library costing RM1.5 million had started and expected to be completed early next year. “Other projects being planned in Nabawan are water and electricity supplies and upgrading of roads. I hope these projects could be implemented in the 9MP,” he said. Bobbey also disclosed that the hybrid solar project in Pagalungan sub-district to supply electricity to the people in the area is 90 percent completed. Only the wiring to building is yet to be fixed. Meanwhile, the Assemblyman advised the people in the area, especially in Pensiangan, to be more prudent in their spending following the hike of fuel and goods prices. He said the best way to lessen their burden is to plant commercial crops on their idle land. On channa fish breeding, Bobbey said it could assist in poverty eradication among the rural people. He said the project was part of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) for middle corridor besides the Jatrapha Research Centre in Nabawan and Handicraft Centre in Keningau. On the prices of dairy products, Bobbey said that his Ministry had asked the Veterinary Services Department to prepare a working paper on prices revision. “All decisions made will be brought at the Cabinet meeting for consideration,” he said. On the proposed revival of the Sabah Padi Board, he said that many factors had to be taken based on experience faced by the Government. He said the Ministry would prepare a working paper on the proposal.


Tenom thalassaemia sufferers visit KK


Seventeen thalassaemia sufferers from the Tenom Thalassaemia Association (TTA) capped their two-day visit to the State Capital with a dinner hosted by the Chernicky Welfare Organisation Kota Kinabalu Sabah (CeWOS) recently. CeWOS President Johnny Mositun said the dinner was like a reunion for them because the children were among CeWOS’ first beneficiaries when it donated RM20,000 to the TTA for the improvement of facilities at its premises. There are 36 patients in the Association but only 17 could make it for the trip as some of them were taken ill. “Sadly, since our last meeting in 2006. three of them are no longer with us. So, for CeWOS, we are doing whatever we can to make them feel comfortable. “Hopefully, more people will come forward to provide assistance in whatever form so as to lessen their burden and forget a little bit about their sufferings,” said Mositun who is also a Deputy Speaker. He also presented “angpow’ to the children during the dinner also attended by CeWOS Treasurer-General Theresa Chong who is the benefactor, David Chernicky’s foster sister and co-organiser Dr Alex Leong at one of the leading restaurants in Penampang. The children had visited places like the Lok Kawi Wildlife Zoo and Crocodile Farm in Tuaran.


Maktab Nasional wins Law Mock Trial Contest


Maktab Nasional emerged champion in the second Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Law Mock Trial Competition after they defeated Sekolah Menengah Yu Yuan of Sandakan at the High Court here on Saturday. During the mock trial presided over by Sessions Court Judge Ravinthran Paramaguru, teams from each school pitted against each other in a battle of wits and legal manoeuvres to simulate a real courtroom scenario. The competition was jointly organised by the Sabah QUT Alumni, Sabah Law Association (SLA) and International Education Consultancy (IEC). It was sponsored by the Faculty of Law at QUT. Eight secondary schools in Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan participated in the competition which commenced in April this year. They were SM All Saints, SM La Salle, SM Lok Yuk, KK High School, SM Tshung Tsin, Maktab Nasional, SM Sung Siew and SM Yu Yuan. Maktab Nasional was represented by Kimberley Lo and Karen Lui who acted as first and second barristers respectively, Jeremy Tan as solicitor, Kohinoor Kaur and Leland Chong as first and second witnesses respectively, and Natasha Sim as Magistrate’s Assistant. The team was led by teacher cum advisor Alexander Funk and legal coaches Brendon Soh and Grace Chaw. Maktab Nasional received a cash prize of RM3,000 and a championship trophy, while SM Yu Yuan and SM Lok Yuk received RM2,000 and RM1 ,000 for finishing second and third respectively.


Students of SM Teknik Keningau train at Nexus Resort


For the first time in Malaysia, a vocational school has introduced an attachment programme for its students to gain first-hand experience in an actual work environment. Since 2006, SM Teknik Keningau has included a one-week practical attachment as part of the Bakery Course for students taking their MPAV and SPM examinations. The two modules involved are the Bread and Yeast and Patisserie. The objective of this exercise is to give students the opportunity to gain as much practical knowledge as possible directly from the related industry before they graduate. In turn, they will be able to apply their academic knowledge and expertise in an actual work situation. This will help the students develop a higher level of confidence in their ability and capability in this field before venturing into the work force. Nexus Resort Karambunai is the first resort chosen by SM Teknik Keningau to place its students. Two groups totalling 18 students underwent their one-week training between May 25 and June 7 this year. They were accompanied by two chaperones from the school and stayed at the resort staff campus. The students were supervised by Chef Marcel Riemer, Executive Sous Chef at Nexus Resort, and were given the opportunity to learn not only about pastry and baking but also how the other kitchens operate as well. Currently, the industrial training offered at SM Teknik Keningau is for the Form 5 students 2007/08 session. This is the first time such a programme is carried out by a vocational school in Malaysia. This type of training is usually organized by institutes of higher learning such as polytechnics and other industrial training institutes. However this type of programme is actually very useful to ensure SPM graduates from technical and vocational schools have the right foundation to get involved in the food service industry.


Mare’s milk can help fight diseases


The wild mare’s milk if taken regularly can help prevent the growth of cancer cells, according to a study. Besides preventing the growth of cancer cells, it also slows down the ageing process, relieves the effects of stress and is beneficial for the treatment of dengue, diabetes and asthma. Nevertheless, the benefit derived from the consumption of wild mares milk could vary in individuals. This was confirmed by Associate Professor Dr Rozita Rosli, who is the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (Postgraduate and Research) at Universiti Putra Malaysia. “We were the pioneers of the study on mare’s milk in 1997,” she said. Research on mares milk had already proven that compared to cow and goat’s milk, the composition of mares milk closely resembles mothers milk. It has significant anti-cancer properties that could kill or retard the generation of cancer cells, she added. Dr Rozita noted that the focus of the study was on the reaction mechanism of the mare’s milk from the Niemans breed on two types of leukemia and another four types of cancer - ovary, breast and colon. In the in-vitro analysis on leukemia patients found that the mare’s milk was able to destroy some 50 to 60 percent of the cancer cells in tests conducted at the university. “This goes to show that the wild mares milk has significant anti-cancer properties that could kill or retard the generation of cancer cells,” she added. In 1996, Setia Brothers Sdn Bhd, producer and sole distributor of wild mares milk as a health supplement, introduced its product called Niemans SKL to Malaysian consumers. Setia’s Managing Director Norhayati Abdul Rahim said, over the years, the product has gained a reputation as an effective anti-cancer agent and is increasingly popular among local consumers. In preparing to penetrate the international market, Niemans SKL has undergone a rebranding exercise, and is now packaged under the brand name Niemans Feramilch. “Where our products were previously only available in liquid form in 200ml to 500m1 bottles, we have now included capsules packed in blister packets as well,” she added. According to Norhayati, the company’s re-branding process not only involved transforming and enhancing its product image through quality packaging but also enhanced with nutraceutical innovation incorporating ingredients not found in similar products that are currently in the market. - Bernama


Motion forces China tourists to cancel trip to Sabah: Chin


Parti Bersatu Sabah(PBS) Supreme Council member Kapitan Chin Tek Ming yesterday said it was morally wrong for Sabah Progressive Party President Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee to move a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister. “Yong has again tried to use the illegal immigrants issue and Chinese leader platform to hero and has used Chinese community as his pawn in his political chess game,” he charged in a statement yesterday. Chin claimed that Yong had kept silent on the issues of returning Labuan to Sabah and Petroleum royalty when he was the Chief Minister. “He ought to know that such issues needed to be discussed among the people of Labuan, Sarawak and Sabah in order to reach the best solution. Why didn’t he ask for the return of Labuan when he was the Chief Minister?” he asked. According to him, Yong is engineering SAPP’s exit from the BN by creating conditions that would lead to the dismissal of the Party so that he can emerge as a hero and as a saviour of the rights of Sabahans. Chin also said that since the general election had passed, all the parties must settle down and do their work so that we can go through this I hard time together instead of creating political turmoil and putting Malaysia in political instability. “I received complaints from a few travel agencies that they have tens of chartered flights from China until the end of this year which were cancelled recently upon the announcement of the motion to be tabled by SAPP. Our people and Government have lost the chance to earn these foreign currencies and our tourism industries have been badly hit,” he said.


Regard Sabah, Sarawak as partners and not sons: Yong


The Federal Government should regard Sabah and Sarawak as their ‘partners’ rather than ‘sons’, said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Yong Teck Lee. Yong stressed that the Federal Government should do away with the ‘father and son’ superiority, where the Barisan Nasional Government tends to bow to the mentality of a father disciplining their children. “That seems to be the way they treat us in Sabah. When we are naughty or making too much noise, they give us some sweets. “This is not a healthy relationship. It makes us unwilling to listen, and not open up and express our feelings,” he said, referring to statements made by BN Secretary-General Tengku Adnan Mansor about SAPP’s move to support the vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in the Parliament sitting. The former Chief Minister said history showed that both Sabah and Sarawak along with West Malaysia were joined together to form Malaysia, and therefore the two States deserved to be viewed as equals. “It would be much healthier if the Federal Government could adjust their mentality, attitude and mindset that we are actually partners, rather than sons. “We hope that what we see now (that the whole nation is a political debate), will bring about change in how the central leadership looks at the two States,” he told reporters at the SAPP’s mobile service booth at the Sunday Gaya Street market, where the Party leaders would spend time to listen to public grouses. Yong who was also at the booth yesterday which attracted a big crowd and many stopped by to chat or shake his hands. Touching on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s comment that BN will remain strong despite SAPP’s no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister, Yong said that it was the expected response from the Party leadership. “They must say their part in order t consolidate the BN in view of what has been happening. I will just take what he said at face value,” said Yong. On support from other BN component parties, he said that at least two component parties would be happy to go along with whatever the Party leadership decides, but he hopes that the other component parties would lend their support. “I think that a lot of people will support us. I know certain leaders at the Federal level and from other States have basically lost confidence in the Prime Minister and some have indicated it within their own parties,” he said and hoped the vote for no confidence would be tabled during the Parliament session which begins today.


It’s wrong for SAPP to make declaration: LDP


It is principly wrong for Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) to openly declare their intent to initiate or support a vote of no-confidence on the Prime Minister in Parliament, said Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Teo Chee Kang. “If SAPP has lost confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership, the honourable thing that they should have done before calling for a vote of no confidence is to quit from the Barisan Nasional first. Whether or not they actually do it in Parliament tomorrow (Monday), irrepairable damage is already done to the Barisan Nasional, said Teo in a statement yesterday. He said shortly after the Government’s unpopular decision of the increase in fuel prices, while the public opinion on the Government is down, Datuk Yong Teck Lee saw this as a ‘window of opportunity’ to perform his political stunt for furtherance of his personal agenda under the pretext of fighting for State’s rights. “Criticising SAPP does not mean that we disagree with them on the several issues raised by them such as illegal immigrants and eradication of poverty in Sabah. Liberal Democratic Party is also vocal when it comes to issues concerning the people. We voice out the people’s grouses in the right forum, but we do not subscribe to such unprincipled tactic,” Teo said. By saying that BN no longer exists in Sabah and that it is only in form but not inspirit and substance, he said Yong had actually insulted the whole ruling coalition in Sabah under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman. “Datuk Raymond Tan was right when he took the stand that SAPP, as a BN component Party, could not move the vote of no-confidence. But now he seems confused because although he takes the opposite stand, he still chooses to remain in SAPP, and now he is begging the Prime Minister not to take action against his own colleagues for having done something which he disapproves,” he added.


Upko undecided on no-confidence vote


Upko has not decided on which way to go should a no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister come up in Parliament, its Deputy President Datuk Wilfred Bumburing said. However, Upko President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok had earlier said the Party had “no plans to play hero” during such a vote. Bumburing said whatever the decision, Upko would participate in any debate should the vote come up. “We cannot deny that we share Sabah Progressive Party’s views on issues pertaining to the migrant problem. “We are firm about this and we are unhappy about so-called Cabinet Committee to tackle Sabah’s illegal immigrant woes,” he said. Bumburing said a similar committee set up in 2002 had only one meeting. “It’s almost forgotten and now they are talking of the same thing,” he said, adding that a Royal Commission of Inquiry was a better option as it would be able to act on the problem firmly. Upko has four Members of Parliaments Party President and Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Bumburing who is Tuaran MP, Datuk Dr Marcus Majigoh (Putatan MP) and Datuk Siringan Gubat (Ranau MP).


Umno divisions free to nominate candidates: Musa


All the 25 Sabah Umno divisions are free to nominate their choice of candidates for the Party elections in December. Sabah Umno Chief Datuk Seri Musa Aman, however, stressed that all branches and divisions must conduct their meetings in an orderly fashion and in accordance with Party rules and regulations. “What is important is for Umno to be strengthened in the State,” said the Chief Minister after chairing the State Liaison Committee meeting for the first time at its new multi-million ringgit two-storey building here yesterday. Musa said that at the meeting, he stressed on the importance for all Umno elected members to continue to work hard in their constituencies in view of the mandate given by the people. During the meeting, Sabah Umno fully endorsed its undivided support for Party President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his Deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the light of current political developments, including Sabah Progressive Party’s push for a vote of no-confidence against Abdullah who is also the Prime Minister. On whether he will be defending his Supreme Council post or planning to seek a higher post in the Party, Musa said that it was too early for him to decide. The Umno branch meeting is scheduled to be held between July 17-Aug 24 while the divisional meeting is from Oct 9 to Nov 9. There are over 5,000 Umno branches in Sabah from the 25 divisions. “I am confident that everything (meeting) will all be in order, God willing,” he said. On another development, Musa, who is also the Sabah Barisan Nasional Chairman, disclosed that none of the Umno leaders will be ditching the Party for the Opposition. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Deputy President Dr Syed Hussin Ali yesterday claimed that 10 Members of Parliament from Sabah and Sarawak will be joining the Opposition’s camp soon, stressing that it would then lead to a change of Government. “They can claim whatever they want. They have been dreaming of forming a new Government so let them be. “What is more important is for the Government’s elected representatives to play their role and fulfill the promises made to the people,” Musa reiterated.


Govt to help low-income group earn more


The Government will issue small business permit to low-income earners who are seeking to increase their income to cope with economic burden following the fuel prices hike, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday. The Prime Minister said Government employees could also apply for the permit, which would cover petty trading and hawker’s licences in locations such as agricultural market, night market and housing areas which had spaces for such purposes. “The permit can be short-term or long-term depending on the applicants’ requirement,” he told reporters after briefing the Barisan Nasional (BN) Members of Parliament on subsidy restructuring at the Auditorium Perdana, Angkasapuri. Answering a question, Abdullah said Government employees, however, needed to get permission from their department heads and that the business should not interfere with their office work. “If this is not causing them to neglect their work, they can apply... subject to approval from the heads of department,” he said. He said the Government was also coming up with plans to help the Orang Asli under the social safety net programme currently being finalised. Abdullah said the Government had also decided on steps to help the small-and-medium industry to cope with the burden arising from the fuel price hike. He said the anti-inflation committee had agreed to the measures but they needed to be scrutinised further by the Finance Ministry as they involved tax matters. “We will decide in the very near future. Although the Treasury has suggested that the matter be announced during the tabling of 2009 Budget in August, I feel that if they can be announced much earlier, it will be of great help to those in need,” he said. The Prime Minister also said following the high global fuel prices, specific directives would be issued to enhance energy efficiency. In this context, he said, the Government had agreed to find other sources of energy such as solar and wind power as well as biofuel and the possibility of developing nuclear energy. “But we need to study this (developing nuclear energy) because it is not easy to dispose of nuclear waste,” he said, adding that several companies had expressed interest in developing solar and wind power facilities. He said steps would also be taken to increase productivity in the commodity sector, such as oil palm, without increasing the areas for plantation. “This is a possibility which we can now implement following the advancement in technology,” said Abdullah. He said the Government also wanted to ensure that the innovation and creativity sector be strengthened, and administrative efficiency be enhanced, to lower the cost of doing business in Malaysia so that the country would continue to be a profitable business destination even with the high fuel price. He said Malaysians might also need to change their lifestyle, particularly in minimising waste in their daily lives. “I don’t mean we should be stingy. It’s just that we should avoid wastage... in good times or bad.” He said the short-term and long-term measures identified by the Government should be implemented for the benefit of the people in the long run. Asked how far the people accepted the fuel price hike recently, Abdullah said, there were those who understood the necessity due to the global oil price hike. “But there are those who still complain... that the hike is too high. But they should also accept the fact that despite the increase the government also implemented measures to lighten their burden,” he said. Abdullah said the people, however, are only interested in reacting to the issue and not the measures taken by the Government.


Cash rebate extended to 3,000cc vehicles in Sabah and Sarawak


The Government has decided to extend petrol and diesel subsidy cash rebate to owners of private vehicles up to 3,000cc in the interior areas of Sabah and Sarawak where such vehicles are widely used for transport, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced yesterday. The Prime Minister said this was to ease the financial expenditure of tour-wheel-drive vehicle owners following the hike in petrol and disel prices. “It has been decided to give the same rebate for vehicles of up to 3000cc in Sabah and Sarawak registered to transport goods in the interior areas, he said. Similarly, in the Peninsula, the Government would continue to provide appropriate assistance and facilities to boat and ferry operators to lighten their burden, he told reporters after a special briefing on fuel subsidy restructuring for Barisan Nasional (BN) Members of Parliament and Senators. The Government has allocated RM5 billion for the rebate payout to private vehicle owners who will receive RM625 a year for vehicles with an engine capacity of up to 2,000cc and pick-up trucks and Jeeps of up to 2,500cc. Owners of motorcycles with engine capacity of up to 250cc are being paid RM15O for a year after they renew the road tax. As of Friday, Pos Malaysia Berhad had disbursed RM437.23 million in cash rebate to eligible private vehicle owners who accounted for 56 per cent of vehicle owners. On another matter, Abdullah said the Government had decided to reject the proposed 100 per cent salary increase for senior officials of Government-linked companies (GLC5) including Tenaga Nasional Bhd Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh. “The GLCs submitted a proposal for a 100 per cent salary rise but was not approved by the Finance Ministry,” added Abdullah who is also Finance Minister. - Bernama


I can work with SAPP, says Musa

State BN Chairman has no problem working with Party despite political differences


There may be political differences but Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Musa Aman sees no problem working with Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), especially within the State administration. Describing SAPP’s decision to support the motion of vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as ‘irrational’, Musa stressed that the fact remains that to date, the Party is still part of the Coalition. “We don’t have a problem (with SAPP members in the State). “At this moment SAPP is still in the Barisan Nasional. But not all the SAPP members agree with their President (Datuk Yong Teck Lee),” the Chief Minister told reporters after chairing the Sabah Umno Supreme Council meeting that fully endorsed their support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday. He was referring to l)cputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan, who is also SAPP Deputy President, and several other members in the State administration. On Friday, the SAPP Supreme Council endorsed in a consensus Yong’s decision for the Party’s4 two Members of Parliament to table or support a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister. Tan had however publicly disputed the decision but later said he would stay with the Party even if exp(led from BN. Earlier today, Yong told reporters at the popular Gaya Street Fair here that he had no knowledge of any of his Party members planning to join Gerakan in Sabah. “No indication of anyone leaving,” Yong said, adding that such talk was emerging because SAPP and Gerakan are both multi racial in their approach and have similar political ideology. He said that Gerakan Acting President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Secretary General Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye had close ties with him and other SAPP leaders “I believe that is why people think that some of our members are joining them,” he said. Yong, who on Saturday launched a’ roadshow to explain the Supreme Council’s no-confidence decisions headed to Sandakan yesterday to nwet with officials of the two SAPP divisions where Tan and Elopura Assemblyman Au Kam Wah are members. “I needed to explain to them the decision,” he added.