Im the future farmer

sabah 2 256 Salam dari perantawan, gambar diatas di ambil sewaktu saya bercuti balik kampung halaman di Sabah Malaysia. Ianya di ambil kira2 jam 5pm dipertangahan jalan antara Ranau dan Tambunan. Kalau tidak silap mungkin di kampung Kirokot dan dua orang kanak2 ini gembira apabila gambar mereka diambil. Suasana jalan dari Ranau ke Tambunan memanglah teruk sehingga makan malam kami di hotel Juta hampir2 tergandala. Jalan yang rosak serta belumpur yg bagi saya sangat merbahaya bagi kenderaan kecil mahupun yg besar kerana besar kemungkinan boleh menyebabkan kemalangan. Syukur saya dan isteri tersayang saya selamat tiba di tempat yg ditujui.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sabah Company Eyes Abandoned Housing Projects Outside State

LABUAN, Dec 30 (Bernama) -- KC Project Management Services Sdn Bhd, a project management company that has been rehabilitating several abandoned housing projects in Sabah, wants to use its expertise to help resolve similar "problem projects" in other states, said chief executive Dr Robert K.C. Chin.

"It would be a pity if the experience and knowledge gained by KC is not fully made use of and extended to Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak as we want to help reactivate the construction industry," he said in an interview.

Chin said his company had been appointed by Sabah's Minister of Local Government and Housing under the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Enactment 1978 (Sabah) to manage, assume control and complete abandoned housing projects in the state since 1987.

He said KC Project Management Services had been instrumental in setting up a special purpose vehicle to rehabilitate and complete all abandoned housing projects in Sabah.

As a step forward to help revive abandoned housing projects, Chin said the Sabah state government also took a proactive step on Dec 31, 1994, to set up KKTP Sdn Bhd to provide funding and register and transfer land titles to the genuine house buyers.

The move has placed Sabah as one of the few states in the country with zero abandoned housing projects at present.

Commenting on a news report that 561 buyers of single-storey terrace houses in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, were in a fix as construction had stalled, Chin said his company would like to help them find a way out.

Rear Seat Belts Not Yet Available In Tawau

TAWAU, Dec 30 (Bernama) -- Many owners of private vehicles here, especially locally made vehicles that are not equipped with rear seat belts, fear that they will be issued summonses starting Jan 1, 2009.

Those met claimed that it was not because they did not want to install their vehicles with rear seat belts, but the facility was not available at car service centres in Tawau.

"I asked a Perodua service centre but was told that the rear seat belts have not arrived in Tawau," Ajak Binjin, 58, told Bernama, here Tuesday.

Ajak, a Felda settler in Kalabakan, said he was disappointed after driving more than 60km to find out that he could not install rear seat belts for his car.

He said when they enquired when the seat belts would arrive, they were told to be patient and wait for the announcement in newspapers, television and radio.

He said failure to install rear seat belts before Jan 1 will make it difficult for them to carry rear passengers.

Nuqman Aliyudin, 34, a fisherman from Indra Sabah, said he had gone to a local car service centre here three times to get the rear set belts fixed in his car, but received the same answer each time.

He said he was worried that the enforcement officers and the Road Transport Department would not accept the reasons given for the absence of rear seat belts in his car.

"I urge those involved to announce when the seat belts will be available in Tawau so vehicle owners can get it installed," said Nuqman.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of a local car service centre, here, when met said that rear seat belts had already arrived in service centres in Kota Kinabalu but not yet in Tawau.

The vehicle owners concerned, however, should not be unduly worried as the Director-General of Road Transport, Datuk Solah Mat Hassan, was quoted in the press on Sunday as saying that vehicles without rear seat belts registered after Jan 1, 1995 had three years to get their vehicles retrofitted with the safety feature

Joseph Kurup Returned As PBRS President

KENINGAU, Dec 30 (Bernama) -- Tan Sri Joseph Kurup was returned unopposed as Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president at its annual delegates meeting here Tuesday.

Datuk Ellron Angin was returned unopposed as deputy president.

Baharuddin Hj Nayan, Datuk Kadoh Agundong and Cyrill Yansalang were elected vice presidents.

The 264 delegates from 17 divisions also voted for supreme council members.

Those elected were Francis Yantim, Paiman Galimbu, Dr Florentius Epin Banik, Justin Majiun, Weills Magium, Fatimah Ibrahim, Johori Botohong, Alfian Koroh, Taulani Hj Ismail, Jaiping Minsu and Jailin Lian.

Kurup who had been PBRS president since 1994 thanked delegates for having faith in him until 2011.

"The next three years will not be plain sailing but full of challenges. However, I will not be walking alone."

Earlier, in his policy address, Kurup said PBRS fully suported the Judicial Appointments Commission and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission bills passed by parliament recently as it had strengthened the people's confidence in the independence of the courts.

He congratulated Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for his untiring commitment to stamp out corruption and was confident Malaysia would not experience an economic downturn next year because of its strong fundamentals.

Sabah political review 2008

Kota Kinabalu: The sudden withdrawal of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) from the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition on Sept 17 injected some excitement and drama into the series of political ripples in Sabah in the Year of the Rat (2008).

The pullout came three months after SAPP declared it had lost confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, sparking speculation that it would join Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance amid claims of defection of lawmakers from Sabah and Sarawak to PR.

The timing of the announcement by SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee also generated curiosity and interest not only among Sabahans but also among Malaysians in general as it happened a day after the failed, but much-talked about, Sept 16 deadline for PR to seize power from the ruling coalition.

Ironically, Sept 16 coincides with the date of the formation of Malaysia, a large federation that includes Sabah and Sarawak whose lawmakers now play a pivotal role in determining BN's survival in the political arena.

In justifying the SAPP's decision, Yong claimed that Sabah had been shortchanged all this while, including in the oil royalty issue, and highlighted an eight-point declaration seeking a better deal for the state.

In a dramatic turn of events, former SAPP deputy president Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah - who disagreed with the decision to leave the BN - revealed a sort of "political secret" that Yong was actually unhappy when no additional seats were given to SAPP in the last general election.

Tan, who chose to remain in BN and continued to hold state cabinet posts as Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development, is said to be in the process of forming a new party that would eventually apply to join the BN.

The SAPP's pullout had somewhat overshadowed BN's thumping victory in Sabah, the Land Below the Wind, where it won 59 of 60 state seats at stake.

Sabah voters rewarded Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who led the BN's return to power with a convincing victory, losing only the Sri Tanjung seat to DAP but recaptured the Kuala Penyu seat that eluded BN's grip in the 2004 state election.

BN's victory in 24 out of 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah made the victory all the sweeter, living up to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's assertion that Sabah is and will always be a "fixed deposit" for BN.

"We thank the people of Sabah for giving us the trust once again," Musa said after the announcement of results of the March 8 general election.

A week after the SAPP's pullout, another BN component party - the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) - threatened to review its position in the BN, igniting the political temperature in the country, with some speculating that Upko might possibly follow suit.

Upko appeared to be unhappy with the way the National Registration Department (NRD) handled the plight of 78-year-old Yong Lee Hua, a Sino-Kadazan, who was issued with a red identity card (IC) with a status of a permanent resident when she went to replace her blue IC that she lost in a supermarket in Penampang last year.

However, the problem was quickly resolved in the BN's way when Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar made a surprise visit to the state NRD office and reinstated Yong's Mykad.

He also announced the appointment of a local senior civil servant, Abdul Jaffear Henry, as the new director of the state NRD, following complaints about alleged inefficiency and discrepancy in the issuance of MyKad.

Upko had also objected to the construction of a gas pipeline from Kimanis to Bintulu, but when its president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok raised the issue at the Federal Cabinet meeting, a decision was reached to continue with the project, but only excess gas would be piped to Sarawak.

The Federal Cabinet also agreed to create a full-fledged petrochemical industry in Sabah, thus putting the issue to rest.

Another interesting happening in this eventful year was the Kota Kinabalu Election Court's decision on Sept 8 to declare null and void the election of Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) Tan Sri Joseph Kurup as member of Parliament for Pensiangan.

The petition was filed by Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR) Danny Anthony Andipai whose nomination papers were rejected by the returning officer on nomination day.

In the days after the court's decision, talks about the preparations for a possible by-election in Pensiangan by PKR and BN took centre stage in the local media.

However, the media hype fizzled noticeably four days later when Kurup filed a notice of appeal to the Federal Court in Putrajaya against the Election Court's decision.

The then Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman was quoted as saying that the appeals court would have to dispose of the case within six months from the date of appeal.

Although the appeal is pending, the battle on the ground to win the hearts and minds of the electorate in Pensiangan-a BN stronghold-has already begun albeit on a small scale.

When Anwar came to Sabah on Nov 21, the issue of Pensiangan by-election resurfaced and the PKR adviser, who was optimistic of wresting the seat from the BN, said the party would definitely field a candidate if there was a by-election.

At least two names - Andipai and PKR vice-president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan -emerged as the clear frontrunners to take on the BN.

On development, Musa said, Sabah received huge allocations from the federal government including RM20 billion under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and RM2.3 billion for the Sabah Development Corridor. - Bernama

Majimbun: We never quit SAPP

Kota Kinabalu: Sepanggar MP and SAPP Deputy President Datuk Eric Majimbun on Monday said he and his party colleague Tawau MP Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui did not quit their party when it withdrew from the Barisan Nasional coalition.

He was responding to a Bernama year-end news report titled 'Live TV coverage cranks up heat in Dewan Rakyat' which was published over the weekend in which it was stated that he and Chua quit SAPP (Sabah Progressive Party) to become independents.

"We have never quit SAPP and are still with the party É after our party became an independent, Chua and I were moved to the independent corner (in Parliament)," he said.

Pledging his loyalty to the party, he pointed out that he was also sticking to his stand of no-confidence on the present leadership in the country.

Attack on reporter condemned

Tawau: The Reporters' Association (TRA) here will continue to support its members and condemn any act by any individual or group working to undermine the role of reporters in today's era.

TRA Chairman, Hiew Chee Hin, said they condemned a developer's demeanour against a reporter over a recent report on a cleanliness issue at an eatery site in Sabindo.

"The reporter Mohd. Zafrin Nordin did the right thing in all aspectsÉhe was blamed and almost attacked by the developer," he said in a statement.

Hiew said the report was based on an interview with the President of Tawau Municipal Council (TMC) and that there was no reason for the developer to blame Zafrin.

Reporters are supposed to represent the public and report on issues affecting the society.

Zafrin has lodged a police report over the matter.

Good to have Anwar as liaison chief: Jeffrey

Kota Kinabalu: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said Sabah is privileged to have Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as its liaison chief as it means Sabah's status is now upgraded.

"I would have objected if it was just any other leader. This means we, in Sabah, can discuss and have direct access to the head of the National Opposition who is also the Prime Minister-in-waiting," he said, Monday.

"I view this as something positive. In other words the status of Sabah and Sarawak has been upgraded. Isn't this what we have been looking for?" he asked.

Jeffrey said that in the long term, Sabah PKR leaders would assist Anwar by proposing an alternative as Sabah liaison chief for Sabah and Sarawak.

Tongkat Ali for Marudu

Kota Kinabalu: Kota Marudu is expected to emerge as a centre for processing Tongkat Ali products so as to further develop and add value to the production of the popular herb in the district.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, who is also Kota Marudu Member of Parliament, said the district was the largest producer of Tongkat Ali in Sabah with most of the harvest exported as raw material to West Malaysia and nearby countries.

"The Tongkat Ali plant or eurycoma longifolia is a popular herbal plant because of its high content of antioxidant and perceived aphrodisiac effects.

"The plant grows well naturally in the wild of the Langkon area but has since been over-harvested to the extent whereby the numbers had dwindled.

"So, the setting up of a centre would encourage widespread planting of Tongkat Ali plants using improved local variety and a processing technology that will add value to the product and improve income," he said in a statement here today.

According to Dr Maximus, some 70 farmers would be involved in the project.

No decision on coal plant

Kota Kinabalu: The State Government has not made any decision pertaining to the proposed coal-fired power plant proposed for Sungai Seguntor, Sandakan.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the matter had not been discussed in the Cabinet and as far as he was concerned there was no decision yet.

Met after the State Ma'al Hijrah celebration in Wisma Muis, Monday, Masidi was asked to comment on the statement by top officials of the Lahad Datu Energy (LDE) Sdn Bhd that the new site for the coal-fired power plant is to be within the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) area in Sandakan.

He said he was also not aware of the proposal by the State Economic Planning Unit (EPU) for State Government-owned companies to hold a 35 per cent stake in the project.

"They can propose but to my knowledge I am not aware and I am curious to know too," he said.

On the proposal by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili to set up Sabah's first windmill power project, Masidi said the matter was worth trying.

"We have been talking about clean energy and if its work it would definitely be most welcomed," he said.

Masidi said it was imperative for the tourism industry that the pristine environment is maintained because that is what visitors come to Sabah for.

Hence, he said the windmill project would help maintain the State's environment, as it is meant to generate power without compromising on nature.

However, it was still too early to tell if the project is commercially viable because in order to do so some experiments must be done.

"It would be na"ve to say that we have found a solution to our power problem," he said, adding that the State Government had also submitted a letter to Dr Maximus' Ministry, among others, providing proposals on the project.

Dr Maximus had said a study including wind mapping would be carried out before the project involving two windmills is implemented.

He added that the pilot project, which he proposed in Kota Marudu, is estimated to cost RM5 million.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mara digesa anjur lebih banyak program keusahawanan

LABUAN: Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) digesa supaya menganjur lebih banyak program tahun depan, khusus bagi membantu usahawan dari kaum bumiputera dalam pelbagai bidang perniagaan.

Anggota Parlimen Labuan, Datuk Yussof Mahal, semasa membuat gesaan itu berkata perkara itu amat penting, terutama bagi mereka yang baru menceburi bidang

keusahawanan, untuk menjadi lebih mahir dalam dunia perniagaan.

“Kami berharap untuk melihat lebih banyak program-program yang boleh memberi manfaat kepada usahawan bumiputera tahun depan,” katanya semasa merasmikan seminar dan ekspo keusahawanan Mara di sini, kelmarin.

Beliau berkata ekspo serta seminar seperti yang dianjurkan Mara di sini hari ini akan dapat membantu dalam menjadikan usahawan lebih berpengetahuan dan sentiasa mengikuti per-kembangan semasa mengenai dunia perniagaan.

Menurutnya berdasarkan kaji selidik, beliau mendapati masalah yang sering dialami oleh usahawan bumiputera di seluruh negara adalah mudal, pasaran dan lain-lain masalah yang berkaitan. Ini adalah antara masalah yang perlu diberi tumpuan oleh pihak mara.

Labuan merupakan bandar keempat selepas Ranau Ranau, Pulau Banggi, dan Kota Marudu di Sarawak, yang mengadakan program ekspo dan seminar Mara, yang diadakan bagi membekalkan maklumat kepada usahawan bumiputera.

Getting more costly to climb up Mount Kinabalu

I FULLY agree with “Expensive to climb Mount Kinabalu now” (The Star, Dec 20) and “Uphill task to climb Mount Kinabalu now” (The Star, Dec 23).

I have climbed Mount Kinabalu four times, the first in 1985 (when Laban Rata was being built) and the last time in June 2008.

Ever since Sabah Parks privatised the accommodation at Mount Kinabalu to Sutera Sanctuary Lodges, costs have gone up drastically.

Now, every individual climber is forced to pay package prices which include a few basic meals, when before part of the thrill was cooking our own food (Gunting Lagadan) or ordering reasonably-priced food at the canteen (Laban Rata).

In addition to this, it would seem that Sutera Sanctuary Lodges’ guests are given the privilege to climb up the mountain over non-hotel guests because the guests are offered packages which include a climb up Mount Kinabalu.

Budget, but avid, climbers like me have to book six months in advance, and even then bookings are taken up within one hour as only a few seats are allocated for non-hotel climbers.

Preference is given to guests who can afford the pricey Sutera Sanctuary Lodges’ packages which compel one to stay a night at either Kinabalu Park or Mesilau Resort.

I have travelled widely and seen many well-managed sites, yet Mount Kinabalu is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Unfortunately it is getting expensive.

If Sabah Parks is aiming for conservation by limiting the number of people, then they should do just that, but not by allowing a monopoly to increase the lodging rates in the name of conservation. The mountains are for all, not just the paying few.

I do hope that the Tourism Ministry and Sabah Parks will look into this problem.

RAJES PATEL,

Tampin.

Sabah youth invited to join 10-week Raleigh Borneo expedition

KOTA KINABALU: Raleigh Borneo is calling Sabah youth aged between 17 and 24 to join its 10-week expedition scheduled to begin on February 6, next year.

Recruitment, Support and Media Coordinator for the Country Director of Raleigh Borneo, Yolanda Graham told the New Sabah Times that those aged 25 years and above can also join as volunteer managers.

Raleigh expeditions have inspired 30,000 people from all walks of life, nationalities and ages to be all they can be, helping them develop new skills, friendships and making a difference to communities and environments across the world, said Yolanda.

Raleigh Borneo ended its 08H expedition earlier this month. Among the projects that have been completed successfully are two community and two environmental projects.

Those who participated in the Raleigh Borneo projects this year had come from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Ireland and Malaysia, she said.

“Our volunteers have worked with the PACOS Trust to complete two community projects, one of which is a gravity water feed system at Kampung Mananam, a remote village in the Telupid district. The project, sponsored by the HSBC, is now supplying fresh water to about 20 households in the village,” she said.

Aside from that, they also built a mini hydro-electric system in the Crocker Range to supply eco-friendly energy to Kampung Buayan, also in cooperation with the PACOS Trust.

Raleigh Borneo is also working with MESCOT (Model of Ecologically Sustainable Community Tourism) on an eco-tourism project at Batu Puteh (Lower Kinabatangan), she said.

Through the collaboration, they hope to create an alternative source of income for the rural folks in the area while protecting the rainforest and the cultural heritage of the communities in Batu Puteh,” she said.

Raleigh Borneo has also worked with Yayasan Sabah to construct the much needed infrastructure at the Imbak Canyon Conservation Area. The infrastructure will be used by scientists and researchers working to protect the area, she said.

The closing date of registration for the expedition is January 23, next year and those interested should email Raleigh@streamyx.com or call Raleigh Borneo at 088-712134.

Vessel back to patrol Sabah’s coast

SANDAKAN: The Royal Malaysian Navy vessel KD Sri Inderapura is back from a two-month deployment in the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden and is now helping to secure the seas off Sabah’s east coast.

It arrived in Sandakan several days ago for an operational tour that will go on till the end of January.


Kept Ganesh: KD Sri Inderapura's commanding officer
Commanding officer Kepten Ganesh Navaratnam said KD

Sri Inderapura would be involved in a series of exercises in Sabah.

“We are also here to deliver supplies to the Sandakan naval base,” he told reporters yesterday.

Kept Ganesh said many lessons were learnt from from the anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden code named Ops Fajar.

The three branches of the Malaysian Armed Forces were able to forge a better standard operating procedure that would enable them to respond more effectively in future, he said.

“Our success in Ops Fajar has proven that the Malaysian Armed Forces is capable, and has the capability to conduct long-haul operations,” added Kept Ganesh.

Earlier this year, KD Sri Inderapura was involved in a joint exercise with the Australian and New Zealand navies in the sea off Auckland.

Sipitang CCC to discuss SFI’s proposed coal-fired power plant

KOTA KINABALU: The Sipitang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) will hold a meeting soon to discuss whether or not to support the proposed construction of a 40MW coal-fired power plant by the Sabah Forest Industries (SFI).

SCCC president Lim Thiam Hock was quoted as saying so in a news report published in a local Chinese daily, The Asia Times on Sunday.

“At the moment, I can’t say much about the issue,” he told the Chinese daily, adding that SCCC had yet to receive any further details on the proposed coal-fired power plant.

He was responding to a question on whether SCCC supported the proposed project, as its Sandakan counterpart, the Sandakan Chinese Chamber of Commerce had strongly opposed the proposed coal-fired power plant in Seguntur, Sandakan.

Like in the case of the Sandakan coal-fired power plant, the one proposed in Sipitang also received strong objection from the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA).

At a news conference held here recently, Sepa president, Wong Tack contended that a coal-fired plant in Sipitang was not acceptable because it was right at the doorstep of abundant natural gas. Furthermore the proposed upper Ulu Padas hydro plant was located right inside SFI’s concession area.

Wong said Sepa had good reasons to oppose proposals to erect coal-fired plants in any part of Sabah, as the state’s economy and future depended on a clean environment and that its “green image” was crucial to the expanding ecotourism industry.

He reminded that Sabah received international endorsement on 10 December when 70 ambassadors and High Commissioners gave Sabah the “Favouite Tourist Destination” Gold award at a Diplomacy in Tourism Dinner in Kuala Lumpur.

Sepa also urged SFI to defer its ambitious expansion plans until it fixed the chronic pollution in Brunei Bay.

It noted that a Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) carried out by Chemsain Konsultant Sdn Bhd found the condition of most of the 11 coral reefs at the bay were 70-95 per cent dead while “dead shells” alongside mud and wood chips were found in all 18 sampling points within 1.5km radius of the SFI mill effluent there.

The EIA report also made reference to contamination of underground water by heavy metals.

Under the expansion plan, SFI plans to double plant capacity from the current 144,000 tonnes per annum output to 210,000 tonnes per annum but total expansion is 273,500 tonnes per annum when pulp is included, Wong said.

The bigger concern is SFI’s plan to clear cut an additional 168,797 ha of its Ulu Padas concession forests, granted to the company in 2006, on top of its original concession of 107,826 ha.

He charged that this would also mean allowing a foreign company to strip bare 700,000 acres of forests the size of Malacca causing grave impact to the surrounding environment.

Abolishment of Steering Committee Chairmanship for good of party: PKR

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah has denied that the decision of its party headquarters in abolishing the post of Steering Committee Chairman for Sabah and Sarawak, previously held by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, is an insult to the people of the state.

State PKR Liaison Body Secretary, Ahmad Thamrin Mohd. Jaini said the decision was not meant to belittle the capability of Sabahans but was rather for the good of the party.

“We need to view the decision positively, the appointment of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Chairman of PKR for Sabah and Sarawak was the best move and this should not be questioned.

“The decision was a good one to unite the party at the state level. Also this appointment was only a temporary one and Anwar also did not aspire to become Sabah’s Chief Minister,” he said here.

Ahmad was commenting on the disappointment expressed by Jeffrey who is also PKR vice President that the post, which was held by him for two years, was abolished in a recent restructuring move by the PKR headquarters.

Jeffrey claimed that the action deemed that Sabahans were not given the trust or incapable of leading the party at the state level.

When asked whether the decision was made because of a serious rift within PKR Sabah, he denied such an allegation.

“Even if there was a rift, the decision was made to unite the party,” he said.

Meanwhile, Head of PKR Kota Belud Division, Jalumin Bisamin said the decision was a new strategy for Anwar to win the hearts of the people in Sabah and Sarawak.

He described it as a long-term plan by the party’s leadership and hoped that members of PKR Sabah would not protest against the decision.

Head of PKR Silam Division, Johani Abdul Halim said the action by the party’s leadership was not a setback to the people of Sabah but was made to save the party

Happy Dancers offer fitness classes, promote healthy culture

SANDAKAN: Located in Bandar Kim Fung nearly 10 minutes’ drive from the town centre here, Happy Dancers is one of the oldest dance studios in the State.

It offers a wide range of dance as well as fitness classes for women and promotes a healthy lifestyle culture. However, the main focus is on dance.

With the growing popularity of many dance genres, Happy Dancers has tapped into this trend and brings together women keen to cultivate their body and mind while making friends with women who share a common interest – dance.

It started in 1992 as a family business and was open to women of all ages with an interest in social dance, local cultural dances, aerobics and jazz classes. The business was first run by well known restaurateur Alice Chin who was fond of tap dancing and waltz.

“There’s nothing much you can do in a small town in the early 90s. I have always loved dancing and so do my family and friends. My late mother was formerly active in Chinese Opera,” explained Alice.

Alice has seen many other fitness and dance studios open and close since 1992. According to her, the health and fitness industry is not a business that one could make a fortune and the dancing class business in Sandakan is not an exception. The attendance rate is very much affected by festive seasons and holiday breaks. Getting and training instructors are timely and costly too.

With the Asian financial downturn in 1997, Alice focused on her restaurant business and the dance studio was passed over to her sister, Monica. Fortunately, like her sister, Monica did not let poor business get in the way of strong interest.

Unlike Alice, Monica had to pick up the pieces quickly and learn the moves from a few professional dancers. But ultimately, it was passion and the support of friends that drove her to success.

Monica added line dancing and standard ballroom dancing to the studio’s repertoire months after taking over. The two new additions were an unexpected hit with couples and senior citizens.

Ten years after the official opening of the dance studio, Alice’s second daughter Cindy Mahsan introduced Belly Dance to Sabah. Cindy already had dance credits in her resume. Although Middle Eastern dance is her forte, she also does hip hop, Polynesian dance, Bollywood dance and Brazilian samba.

Cindy had to juggle between running her own business and a dance studio after her aunt Monica handed over the studio to her in 2006. As the studio was in Sandakan, Cindy had to keep herself temporarily rooted to her hometown. It was a big change from years of travelling and giving dance workshops in several States.

“To tackle a genre, you must first have passion and humility, then guts and patience. This is definitely a tiring and sweaty business, but just like my grandma, mum and aunty, I learnt and I persisted,” Cindy commented.

The studio has to date produced many dance instructors and performers who won state, national and South East Asian dance awards. Cindy also works with Non Governmental Organisations to create quality dance fitness awareness and help out with charity work

Golf for Sabah schools plan

Kota Kinabalu: A proposal to introduce golf as an elective game under the secondary school co-curriculum programme has been forwarded to the State Education Department's Co-Curriculum Development sector.

The proposal was the newly-opened Sabah International Golf Academy (SIGA) which is promoting the concept of "Merakyatkan Golf & Golf For All" whereby the public are welcome to attend free golf lessons at the SIGA training lounge (on the first floor of the Likas Driving Range).

The idea of "Golf For All" was mooted by Gayo Tech Sdn Bhd which runs the academy and manages the Likas Driving Range and 9-Hole Par 3/Par 4 Golf Course at the Likas Sports Complex.

Gayo Tech Managing Director Victor Sutianto Lourdes said for a start, efforts are under way to promote golf among students in universities, colleges, polytechnic institutions and secondary schools here. In fact, SM Lok Yuk Likas has a golf club.

"We have approached the education authorities for the 'green light' and their positive response is most encouraging. Students will be allowed to take up golf as a co-curricular activity," he said.

He stressed that society must discard the mentality that golf is only for the rich, saying "golf is for people, young and old, who are sports-minded ordinary folk and just want to exercise or have recreation."

"Nowhere else in Malaysia do you have an academy providing facilities and offering free lessons in golf for enthusiasts. Not to worry even if you cannot afford to buy golf clubs.

"We welcome beginners to come and use our range of clubs for free as long as you have interest in the game.

"Just don a T-shirt, no tight jeans and wear rubber shoes. We have hands-on lessons in the SIGA training lounge (on the mats); on the Short Game Grounds and the Long Game on the 9-Hole Par 3/Par 4 Golf Course," Lourdes said.

The academy also has monthly tournaments for those with a competitive spirit.

Free classroom, practical and golf course lessons are conducted by veteran coach Mokhtar Ismail (012-2082861) and his three professional teaching assistants - Donni (016-8238177), Hasri (012-8440844) and Salam (016-8181823) on Mondays to Fridays (6pm to 8.30pm) and on Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays from 10.30am to 8.30pm.

According to Lourdes, the academy has almost 500 members, the youngest being six and the oldest is 78. Life membership fee is RM49 for juniors (boys & girls) and ladies, and RM99 for men. "While we encourage learners to register as members, membership is not compulsory but there are advantages in terms of discount on use of balls and golf course fee."

During his recent social visit to the SIGA Training Lounge, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar was reportedly impressed with the "Merakyatkan Golf" programme and facilities.

Also present was the Chairman of the Sabah Sports Board, Datuk Louis Rampas.

Former Deputy State Secretary Datuk Noni J. Said, who now leads Peniaganita Sabah, also supports the "Golf For All" programme and is keen to collaborate with the academy in organising a tournament for women non-governmental organisations next year.

Pic shows Ismail (second from left) with Louis (left), Mokhtar (third from left), Noni (third from right) and others at the Sabah International Golf Academy.

'Growing' Sabah link to women trafficking

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah is increasingly becoming a transit point for human trafficking syndicates involving women, both locals and other nationalities.

The mother-founder of Bukit Harapan home here, Mama Anne Keyworth, said the incidences were more alarming this year.

"When information is passed on to me, we (herself and other concerned quarters) tip-off the enforcement authorities or try to rescue these girls if possible," she said, Saturday.

Although primarily a centre for special children, it has become quite common now for vice and abuse victims to be brought to Bukit Harapan for protection and shelter due to the victims not knowing where or whom to turn to for help.

Especially after working hours or on public holidays and weekends when government-run centres are closed.

"Mostly these women were forced into prostitution by syndicates and their earnings were seized by those who recruited them," Mama Anne said when asked about prevailing social issues in Sabah this year.

As for local victims, they were mostly from rural Sabah who were duped and lured by syndicates to work in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

"Normally, the so-called recruitment agents or acting as runners would not look for potential victims in urban areas but go to rural districts like Keningau, Tambunan and Tenom.

"These agents would even see the parents to convince them of good job opportunities for their children. There are also agents who convince the rural parents to pay for the airfare, passport and work permit on promises of good jobs for their children.

"But once the children reach Singapore, another group will take over and recruit them as prostitutes. Sadly, our girls are unable to escape as they are well guarded by bouncers or pimps and their earnings seized," she said.

As for other nationalities, Mama Anne said such human trafficking mostly involve Filipinas above 14 years and many faced similar fate as the local girls.

The only difference being these young Filipinas were brought into Sabah to be forced as prostitutes in Labuan and other countries.

"I know a Filipina married to an African and they recruit Filipinas as young as 14 with the promise of good job opportunities with lucrative earnings in Sabah.

"Instead these girls were cheated and forced to work as prostitutes in Labuan. Another couple with links to an international syndicate would choose the best-looking Filipinas for clients abroad," she said.

She also came across a Filipina who is the second wife of an aide to a Sabah politician, who helps to get the passes of these girls extended in Labuan before facilitating their travel to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for vice.

"It is so disappointing that the authorities allow this Filipina's recruitment agency to extend the permits of these women so that she can recruit them for business in the Middle East."

Mama Anne said she has passed all the relevant information to the Immigration Department Sabah Director. Flesh trading and drugs go hand in hand as there are cases where Filipinas were lured into drug addiction and then asked to become pushers in Sabah.

"These girls work as drug peddlars and are transported in a kumpit to enter Sabah illegally before being scattered around KK, Sandakan and Tawau. Since they are addicts, these girls not only sell drugs but also engage in prostitution for money," she said.

Mama Anne also claimed some Filipinas were brought into Sabah from Zamboanga without getting a stamping from Manila to allow them entry to the State. Compared to professional prostitutes, they would get the stamping from Manila to enter Sabah legally and work in pubs to offer their services for vice.

On whether Sabah police are aware, Mama Anne said she passed the information to Sabah Commissioner of Police Datuk Noor Rashid bin Ibrahim, "who has been very cooperative."

She also commended Minister in the Prime Minister's Department-cum-Upko President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok for having his own group trying to rescue local girls forced into prostitution in the national capital.

She said Upko had been discreetly rescuing these victims and bringing them back to Sabah. A NGO in Kuala Lumpur's infamous Chow Kit red light district is also helping to bringing Sabah victims back.

On another matter, she said there are still Sabah youths manipulated to work in menial jobs in Singapore, although some managed to escape in cargo ships back to Sabah.

As for the Malaysian Labour Attache in Singapore, Mama Anne said local youths who were victimised by employers told her the Attache was of not much help.

One of the local youths managed to escape from Singapore and his plight that was highlighted in Daily Express won the attention of the Federal Government.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr. S. Subramaniam assured that the Ministry is going all out to track down unregistered recruitment agencies or agents that are operating illegally in Sabah so as to prevent the youths from being cheated.

Another positive note is that the Labour Department here has been directed to be actively monitor and investigate recruitment agencies in the State, including their advertisements, to find out whether they are registered with the Ministry and are licensed.

"Other non-governmental organisations should also get involved on human trafficking issues involving our youths and the women.

"The local NGOs must also get involved. I cannot work alone. When the victims come for help, I help them in any way I can but I still need the help of other local NGOs here," she said.

She cited having received a SMS from a local youth working in Singapore, recently, who was pressured to work more than eight hours with low pay and no rest.

"This boy sent the SMS through his sister here and is seeking help. He works as a labourer in a catering company to put up camps for wedding functions and is being forced to work even in the rain.

"He said he was not given daily meals and is forced to work as he still owes RM2,400 to a recruitment agency and has no money to return home. I hope responsible quarters could help him," Mama Anne said.

She also expressed disappointment with Welfare officers here who have met up with a local woman with five children who was physically abused by her husband in Kuala Penyu since May this year. "Until now, there has been no action or assistance is given to her."

Nonetheless, he commended the Kuala Penyu police for coming to Bukit Harapn to take the abused woman's statement and brought her and her seven-year-old girl suspected to have been molested by the father to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for check-up. She is yet to hear follow-up action on the case.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

RM5mil windmill project for Sabah town

KOTA KINABALU: A pilot windmill project for Sabah will be implemented in poverty-riddled northern Kota Marudu.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said a study on wind mapping would be carried out before the project involving two windmills is implemented.

The location and type of windmills would be decided after a study to ascertain the strength of the winds, said Dr Maximus, who is Kota Marudu MP.

The project is expected to cost about RM5mil, he said, adding that the windmill project would be the second in the country after the one in Pulau Redang, Terengganu.

“It is a comprehensive pilot project aimed at studying the potential of wind power as an energy source, especially for isolated rural communities,” he said.

Dr Maximus said he was confident that with the availability of advanced windmill technology there would be sufficient power generated for the rural parts of Sabah

Duo who faked Malaysian IDs nabbed

LAHAD DATU: Two masterminds behind fake Malaysian identity cards were arrested in a major police operation here.

The 40-year-old woman, a local, and a 39-year-old foreigner, were nabbed when a police party raided a premise at Fajar Centre, here, at around 7pm on Saturday.

District police chief Supt Md Suhaimi Ab Rahman said yesterday the duo were suspected of cheating illegal immigrants by providing fake Malaysian documents, purportedly on behalf of the National Registration Department (NRD).

“They tricked the immigrants into believing that they were NRD middlemen and could help provide them with Malaysian documents,” he said, adding that they charged RM850 for an “application.”

“After taking full payment, they told the applicants to collect their identity cards from the NRD office in Sandakan,” said Supt Md Suhaimi.

“It is only then that the victims realise that they have been cheated.” Supt Md Suhaimi said many victims did not lodge reports as they were illegal immigrants.

The police team recovered several false documents including birth certificates, temporary identity card receipts, rubber stamps of NRD officers in Kota Kinabalu and Lahad Datu. “Police also seized several office equipment, including computers,” said Supt Md Suhaimi.

He said the duo also offered their services to locals, helping them to renew their road taxes and drivers’ licences.

“All the new cards were fakes,” he said, adding that they were in operation for at least six months.

“Our action came after the public came forward to complain of the duo’s activities.”

PKR: Anwar in Sabah, Sarawak to boost party

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s move to have Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim take charge in Sabah and Sarawak is not an insult to the people in the two states, says Sabah PKR secretary Ahmad Thamrin Jaini.

He said the decision to replace PKR vice-president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan as steering committee chairman for Sabah and Sarawak with Anwar was to strengthen the party.

However, he said it was only a stop-gap measure.

Earlier, Dr Jeffrey was quoted as saying that having Anwar in charge of Sabah PKR gave the impression that a Sabahan was not capable of leading the party.

Thamrin denied that Sabah PKR was facing dissent following the decision to appoint Dr Jeffrey as one of three deputy chairmen. The other two are outgoing Sabah PKR chief Ansari Abdullah and incumbent deputy chairman Christina Liew.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Penduduk rayu pantau sikap pegawai polis

Penduduk di Kampung Marakau,Ranau merayu kepada pihak yang bertanggungjawab agar memantau sikap segelintir pegawai-pegawai polis yang kurang beretika ketika menjalankan tugas.

Mr.N,mendakwa pernah berdepan dengan anggota polis yang sewenang-wenangnya mengenakan hukuman.

Katanya,”kami tinggal di kampung dan kadangkala menjalankan kegiatan sabung ayam sebagai mengisi masa lapang.Pada 10 Disember baru-baru ini pihak polis datang ke kampung kami bagi menjalankan operasi serbuan.Jadi empat ekor ayam sabung kami telah disita dan diambil oleh polis yang bertugas”.

Apabila kami bertanya kepada polos tersebut bagaimana kami boleh menuntut ayam sabung kami,beliau mengatakan bahawa kami memang boleh tebus ayam itu semula tetapi kami harus membayar RM100 bagi seekor ayam.Jadi kami hanya mampu menebus seekor sahaja pada masa tersebut.Kami difahamkan bahawa tiga ekor lagi dibawa ke balai polis.

Kami pergi ke balai polis untuk menuntut 3 ekor ayam kami tetapi polis tersebut mengatakan bahawa kami harus membayar wang tebusan RM300 bagi seekor ayam.Kami tidak mempunyai waing yang cukup jadi kami terpaksa membiarkan ayam sabung kami berada dalam jagaan polis dengan harapan kami dapat menebus semula pada suatu masa nanti.

Malangnya sebelum sempat kami menebus ayam tersebut,kami difahamkan bahawa ayam sabung kami telah dijual pleh polis kepada orang lain.Kami rasa terkilan dengan tindakan pegawai polis berkenaan.Kami akui,kami memang membuat kesalahan kerana bermain sabung ayam tetapi jika difikirkan semula dan disiasat secara teliti saya rasa ada segelintir pegawai polis yang melakukan kesalahan lebih teruk daripada kami tetapi tidak pula ada apa-apa tindakan yang dikenakan.

Bayangkan ada polis yang hanya memandang sebelah mata sahaja terhadap peniaga yang menjual rokok secara haram.Malah ada juga pihak polis yang pergi ke kelab malam tetapi tidak pernah membayar harga minuman mereka.Bukankah hal ini sesuatu yang cukup mencurigakan malah jelas menunjukkan mereka menggunakan kuasa mereka sewenang-wenangnya.Saya tidak menuduh semua pegawai polis sedemikian rupa,saya hanya menujukan hal ini kepada pegawai terbabit jadi siapa makan cili dialah terasa pedasnya.

“Sekarang saya minta kepada pihak polis berkenaan agar mengembalikan ayam sabung kami tanpa sebarang wang tebusan.Jika betul,pihak polis sudah menjual ayam sabung kami maka saya terpaksa menuntut ganti rugi daripada mereka”

Beliau berharap pihak bertanggungjawab dapat mengadili perkara ini sebaik mungkin.

Jurucakap Balai Polis Ranau ketika dihubungi oleh Actionline ketika dihubungi oleh Actionline menafikan aduan tersebut dan menganggap aduan tersebut bersifat tuduhan.

“Kami akui,ada melaksanakan operasi serbuan pada 10 Disember baru-baru ini,namun tidak ada sebarang tangkapan ataupun rampasan yang dibuat”.

“Kami mendapat maklumat daripada orang awam melalui Rakan Cop.Namun apabila kami sampai ketempat kejadian,ia telah dikosongkan”, tambahnya.

M'sia can where others can't on ties: CM

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said Malaysians take pride in being citizens of a country that practises racial harmony and religious tolerance - characteristics that reflect the spirit of Christmas.

In his Christmas message here, he said it was heartening that Malaysians continue to safeguard the tradition of open houses, giving an opportunity for all races and creeds to enjoy the auspicious occasion.

"This tradition has also helped Malaysians to stand as one, remain united and achieve solidarity, he said.

In some parts of the world, it would be impossible for people of different beliefs to sit together and greet one another at open houses, the way Malaysians are able to do in this country, he said.

Musa said Malaysia is a peaceful nation because Malaysians work together to resolve their differences. And it was also due to past leaders and freedom fighters who worked very hard to gain independence for the State and the nation.

A highly competitive and globalised world brings with it a host of challenges, but the ability of Malaysians to remain united is a key factor in tiding them over difficult times, thereby pushing them ahead, he said.

Nevertheless, Musa said it was disturbing to hear of ethnic and religious sentiments being fanned across the country, especially via blogs, and hoped Malaysians in Sabah would refrain from engaging in such which could have a negative impact on integration.

He pointed out that if Malaysia is unable to maintain peace and harmony, investors might pull out and those who are contemplating coming over would look elsewhere.

He expressed optimism that Malaysians in general would emerge more united than ever despite some attempts to undermine racial harmony in the country.

While Sabah has more than 30 ethnic groups spread across the State, differences in culture and language would not stop them from working together for betterment of the general society, he said.

"Trust, mutual respect and sincerity are other positive traits that we have managed to foster among the people, allowing us to live in harmony within an independent nation.

"There are types of positive characteristics we need in order to implement the many programmes we have put in place, specially the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) launched in January, this year," he said.

The Chief Minister regretted that lack of understanding and tolerance in some counties and across borders in other parts of the world had led to strife and conflict.

"Some communities which are already marginalised in the first place, are becoming more displaced due to fragile links in society.

"It is also said that terrorism keeps on making its presence felt," he said, and regretted the recent senseless act of terrorism in Mumbai, India, that also resulted in the death of a Malaysian.

He noted that acts of violence often stem from groups out to promote their personal agendas. "They do not care that lives are lost, families shattered and the impact on already weak economies," he said.

Musa also reminded the people to remember the less fortunate by lending a helping hand. He commended many companies and organisations for having lived to their corporate social responsibility by spreading Christmas cheer to welfare homes, orphanages and centres for the disabled.

He also thanked the security forces, many of who had to be separated from their families for an extended period during such auspicious occasions, basically in the defence of the country.

Looking forward to better days ahead, the Government would continue to formulate policies and implement project beneficial to the people, he said.

Community should decide on label: Madius

Kota Kinabalu: There is no need for any person or organisation to label any ethnic community according to own personal preference, Upko's Secretary-General Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said Wednesday.

The United Nations Convention needs to be followed when it comes to determining the race of an ethnic, he said, adding a method that is self-determination is much better be used for the purpose.

He said this was by letting the ethnic community to choose the name or say what they want them to be called, and not for any individual or organisation to label according to their own preference.

Madius, who is former Tuaran MP, said this when asked to comment on Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS) President Datuk Marcel Leiking stating there is no race such as "Kadazandusun" but only Kadazan or Dusun at the society's Installation of Supreme Council Member for 2008-2011 cum Christmas Dinner here Tuesday.

Madius, who is also Chairman of Sabah Cultural Board (SCB), said they were also now currently in the final process of compiling the official documentation of every ethnic in the State.

'Kadazans accepting KSS'

Kota Kinabalu: Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS) is beginning to be accepted by Kadazans who regard it as a "home" irrespective of their religious beliefs, political affiliations and status in the community.

Happy to note that a large number of Kadazans from all walks of life have formalised their membership with the KSS, its President Datuk Marcel Leiking said this was not only encouraging but demonstrates awareness and acceptance amongst Kadazans.

He said this in his speech at the KSS Supreme Council Members (2008-2011) Inauguration and Installation-cum-Christmas dinner 2008 at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Tuesday.

More so, he said, the Government has recognised that KSS plays a vital role in the development of Sabah.

Leiking, however, said any KSS member holding a position or a role in any registered political party was not qualified to hold any position in the KSS Supreme Council.

"Likewise if any member of the KSS Supreme Council gets elected or appointed to any position or given a role in any registered political party, that member automatically ceases to be a member of the KSS Supreme CouncilÉthese prohibitions are clearly stipulated in the KSS approved constitution."

He also said that there was no such thing as a Kadazandusun race as is denoted or popularly used, maintaining that this came about because of politics during the 1980s.

He said a person is either a Kadazan or a Dusun but not a Kadazandusun. The term Kadazan was adopted at the Unko congress by late Tun Fuad Stephens shortly before independence through Malaysia at the KK Community Centre to describe the community as a whole.

A resolution to this effect was also passed at the congress after heated debate.

However, this continued to be strongly opposed by the Dusuns who did not wish to be suddenly called Kadazans. They also did not readily accept Stephens as their native leader, preferring instead late Sedomon, a native leader in the Interior.

A compromise to bring both communities together was struck during the PBS administration and, thus, the decision to change the name of Kadazan Cultural Association to Kadazandusun Cultural Association.

However, politically, the formula did not last with late Datuk Mark Koding leaving PBS and forming Parti Akar which soon attracted dissatisfied Dusuns.

Culturally, the group also identified themselves with Usda (United Sabah Dusun Association) instead of KDCA.

KSS was registered on May 19, 2006, with the objectives to preserve, maintain and uphold the dignity of the Kadazans as an indigenous ethnic in Sabah and Kadazan is the accurate description of its name as a race.

Aside that, he said KSS is also meant to promote closer relationship and greater understanding and unity among the Kadazans, to co-operate with other communal associations in Sabah in order to foster and encourage inter-racial harmony among all Malaysians.

Also to develop and preserve the traditions, customs, culture, economy and language of the Kadazans; to inspire and encourage the Kadazans to love their literature, crafts, arts and music; and to encourage and inspire the Kadazans to embrace paradigm-shift in their mindsets in order to progress in tandem with modernity.

Leiking said KSS would inculcate among the Kadazans a sense of belonging, unity and total loyalty to their roots free of political, religious and status barriers.

KK cops may have air patrol squad

Kota Kinabalu: City police hope to have their own air patrol unit using helicopters for better and effective crime prevention.

Its chief ACP Ahmad Sofi Zakaria said they were making the proposal to expand the patrolling services to serve public interest and enhance police monitoring work on focused areas so as to better prevent crime.

"We are proposing the air patrol not due to high crime level in the city but for better monitoring and to complement ground patrols by the mobile police vehicles," he said.

He said helicopters would be used to help track down and apprehend criminal suspects under the plan.

Ahmad Sofi disclosed this to reporters after presenting appreciation certificates to two civilians and two MPV personnel here for their tip-offs and contributions to police at the Karamunsing police headquarters, here, Wednesday. He said the air patrol would cover all areas within the City and believed the move could further reduce crime, here.

On the number of helicopters, Ahmad said it would depend on the situation. A detailed plan would be prepared for the proposal next year.

Earlier in his speech, he urged personnel to adopt the "3K" concept of "commitment, communication and cooperation" in their routine work. Ahmad Sofi also called on them to be committed and do their best to protect public and security of the nation as well.

On communication, he said, it was vital that police, media and public interact with each other well to ensure smooth flow of information and tip-offs that could help police in tackling crime.

Ahmad said there was a slight increase in the crime index in the State Capital but it had not reached alarming levels. City Police recorded a total of 55 cases or 1.69 per cent increase for the first 11 months this year in comparison to same corresponding period last year.

"There was a total of 3,305 crime cases reported from Jan to Nov this year in comparison to 3,250 cases for the same period last year.

"Nonetheless, we assure public that security level in the city is under control and has not reached alarming level. We are also emphasising on public cooperation with the police in which the dwellers play important role like take precautionary measures to protect their valuable properties and not be negligent that can make crime happens," he said.

Ahmad Sofi said overall violent crimes in the city area have gone down by 144 cases or 18.14 per cent, for the first 11 months this year.

He said police here recorded 650 cases of violent crimes for January to November this year, compared to 794 cases for the same corresponding period last year.

"Most of the violent offences for the first 11 months this year have showed a downward trend in which number of rape cases has declined by 19 cases with 32 cases reported this year compared to 51, last year.

"Even the molesting case showed a reduction of three cases with 47 cases reported this year compared to 50, last year," he said.

He said there was a big reduction of 175 cases for robbery offences without firearms; 72 cases recorded this year compared to 247 cases, last year. Even criminal intimidation showed a decline of 109 cases with 31 cases reported this year over 140 cases last year while riot cases also went down by 35 cases with 46 reported this year compared to 81, last year. However, Ahmad Sofi said there was an increase of five murder cases this year with 10 cases reported over five cases last year.

For overall property crimes, he said, they recorded an increase of 199 cases in which 2,655 recorded this year over 2,456 last year.

Fortunately, he said, a number of theft cases dropped by 15 cases with 1,360 cases reported this year over 1,375 last year while housebreaking cases were also reduced by 12 cases with 651 reported this year compared to 663 cases last year.

However, theft of vehicles topped the list with an increase of 135 cases with 404 cases reported this year compared to 269 last year.

On drug possession offences, Ahmad Sofi said they recorded a rise of 90 cases with 426 cases recorded this year compared to 336 cases, last year.

For traffic offences, he said there was a decline of 121 cases of road accidents in which 4,192 cases recorded this year over 4,313 cases last year. On fatal cases, Ahmad Sofi said there was a reduction of 14 cases with 28 cases and 44 deceased this year compared to 42 cases and 31 died, last year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sarawak religious groups praised for cementing unity

KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud has paid tribute to Christians and other religious bodies in the state for their social contributions.

“The Government is very appreciative of their contributions to inculcate understanding and unity among the followers of the various faiths,” he said in his Christmas message.

Taib said Christianity in the state had expanded and blossomed since the Brooke family’s rule.

He said although the state’s many ethnic groups had different religious beliefs, cultures and languages, they shared common values such as honesty and trustworthiness.

Sarawak Governor Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin urged Christians to hold traditional open houses to enable people of other faiths to interact with them.

In Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman urged people not to spread negative sentiments over the Internet.

“I call on all Malaysians in Sabah to refrain from making remarks that have a negative impact on integration,” he said in his Christmas message.

“Despite some attempts to undermine racial harmony in our country, I trust that we will emerge more united than ever,” Musa said.

He said Sabah with over 30 ethnic groups continued to prosper due to the commitment shown by all communities towards upholding unity and tolerance.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok will hold a Christmas open house at the Sabah Cultural Centre in Penampang between 11am and 2pm today.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan will hold his open house at the Kadazandusun Cultural Centre, also in Penampang, from 10am to 2pm today.

Pairin urges employers to consider workers’ welfare

KOTA KINABALU: Employers should also think about their workers’ welfare before embarking on any move, including to reduce operational costs, in facing the current economic uncertainties, Sabah deputy chief minister Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan said Thursday.

“Don’t terminate the workers’ service or cut their salary only because the company wants to reduce operations cost in this current situation,” he told reporters at his Christmas open house here.

Instead, he said, employers could introduce reforms aimed at reducing their costs.

He said this in response to a statement by Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam on Monday for employers intending to impose salary cut, terminate or offer the volunteer separation scheme (VSS) to their workers to notify the Manpower Department of their intention 30 days in advance.

Kitingan also advised the Sabah people to seize opportunities provided by the government for training in agriculture and manufacturing sectors where there were demand for skilled workers. -- Bernama

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Locals partly to blame for presence of illegals

KOTA KINABALU : The local people are partly to blame for the presence of illegal immigrants in the country.

Tourism,Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the police and other enforcement agencies were finding it difficult to detect the illegals living among the local people in the urban area as well as in remote villages.

He was speaking to reporters after representing the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman to close the 2008 Sabah Crime Prevention Seminar here yesterday.

As such,he called on the local people to refrain from renting their houses or land to illegals.

“Some irresponsible locals are even providing shelters to the illegals,” he said.

Masidi also said it was unfair to blame the police and other enforcement agencies for not resolving the problem.

“The people must support the police and other enforcement agencies by giving information on the presence of illegals and crime activities in their areas,” he said. – SHANE SHAH.

Mounting concern over street kids influence on local children

KOTA KINABALU : The police are concerned that local children could be influenced by the negative behaviour of foreign illegal street children in the state.

Sabah Police Commissioner,Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim said among the unhealtnhy behaviour of these street children were stealing,gambling,quarrelling,smoking cigarette and sniffing glue.

“The negative behaviour exhibited by these street children could influence the local children and this situation was unhealthy and must be tackled.

“The foreigners brought with them their negative cultures from their own home country and they continued to practice them even thought they were in another country,” he said.

Datuk Noor said this when presenting a working paper at the closing ceremony of the Crime Prevention Seminar 2008,held at the auditorium of the Federal Administration Complex,near here today.

He said if the situation was not tackled,these street children who were uneducated and uncared for could turn to crimes when they grew up.

He said there was basis for such a worry because during the last eleven months of this year,25 percent of the crimes were committted by foreigners.

Meanwhile,he said the Internet contributed the greatest number of crimes because its content was difficult to filter or check,unlike other media.

According to him,obscene and violence materials,superstitious beliefs and other negative elements could be influencing the youth and this could result in unhealthy situations.

“It is no wonder that globalization was one of the reasons for the widespread criminal activities.Internet was dreadful because of its borderless nature across countries,” he said.

In this regard,he hope that the mass media could play an effective role in combating crimes through reports that are constructive and not sensational.

It is obvious that media can exert a great influence on the community through awareness and reports of educational values.

“The media could educate the community on the role and responsibility of each individual in the fight against crimes,and measures to prevent crimes ought to be disseminated.

“Awareness of crime incidents and the punishment meted out to the criminals ought to be highlighted,’ he added.

In addition,media practitioners need to cooperate with the police by disseminating information on how to prevent crimes.

TNB: Coal-fired power plant vital for east coast

KOTA KINABALU: Tenaga National Berhad (TNB) is going ahead with its plan to move the cancelled coal-fired power plant project in Silam, Lahad Datu to a new site in Sandakan.

Project director Ahmad Faraid Yahya stressed that the project would benefit the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) which is the government’s initiative to accelerate economic growth and elevate income levels in the state.

“To achieve the desired results in SDC, infrastructure development is imperative. For this reason, the east coast of Sabah must have a steady and stable supply of electricity.

“The development of the east coast will bring about a balanced development. Therefore, the setting up of the 300MW power plant in Sandakan is required and will bring about several socio-economic benefits to Sabahans,” he said.

Ahmad also said in terms of business and employment opportunities, more than RM300 million worth of contracts would be sub-contracted to local companies while thousands of skilled or unskilled jobs would be created, either directly or indirectly.

An estimated 3,000 workers would be required during the construction of the plant.

And, when operational, the plant would provide around 200 permanent jobs to Sabahans and there would also be a multiplier effect in the service industries as well as other sectors like transportation and housing, he told reporters during a media briefing at Sutera Harbour Resort & Spa here yesterday.

The power plant, he added, would be a catalyst for economic growth of the industrial zone to be set up in Sandakan.

“The coal-fired power plant will be built by Lahad Datu Energy (LDE) Sdn Bhd in which state-owned companies will have 35 per cent stake as proposed,” Ahmad said.

According to him, the project was expected to bring about technology transfer to Sabah, given that its reliable power and availability would enable industries to flourish.

“In essence, it would be a boost to investor confidence,” he said.

Meanwhile, LDE senior manager and coal specialist Abu Bakar Ahmad said at present, about 30 percent of the east coast power demand was supported daily by west coast generators.

“This exposes the east coast to the risk of a serious major blackout in the event of an interconnection failure.

“According to Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB), there is a pressing need for a base load power plant in the east coast to reinforce generation and supply network to improve the stability of the east and west grid interconnection,” he said.

Abu Bakar said a prolonged delay in the commissioning of the proposed plant would expose the area to more frequent blackouts because SESB would still have to depend on the unreliable aging diesel plants and importation of power from the west coast to meet the demand in the east coast.

And, he also said the coal-fired power plant would adopt a clean coal technology using proven techniques and designs used in developed countries.

It would comply with stringent Department of Environment (DOE) requirement, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which is comparable or better than the world standard.

The power plant would be connected to the SESB Grid through a new 275KV transmission line to be constructed as part of the project.

“LDE is currently carrying out a detailed EIA study in collaboration with UKM and UMS at the alternative site. In addition, we are also committed to an environmental management programme which will be closely monitored by the DOE in order to safeguard the natural wildlife habitats and the surroundings,” he said.

Abu Bakar also said the proposed site would be at the POIC Sandakan which is managed by Sawit Kinabalu and is located on a reclaimed land near to the Seguntor River.

The site has sufficient availability of sea water for turbine cooling and FGD operation.

There are already six coal-fired power plants – four in the peninsula and two in Sarawak – strictly adhering to the DOE rules and regulations and successfully generating electricity without any adverse impact to the environment.

“A good example is the TNB plant in Kapar, Selangor which was built in 1988. It has attracted thousands of migratory shorebirds which fly over 24,000 km every year to escape the northern winter,” he said.

Also present at the briefing were Sawit Kinabalu managing director Osman Walad, Warisan Harta representative Awang Ismail, Datuk Abdul Rahim of SESB and LDE commercial manager Hasniza Hassan.

Foreigners getting citizenship through the backdoor

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah police are investigating a chamber of commerce that is accused of helping Indian nationals obtain Malaysian citizenship through the backdoor.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim said they were taking the reports of such claims seriously and would be calling in various individuals within the organisation to establish if there were any truth to the allegations.

“Before any action is taken, we have to make sure that the report is true and was not done with other motives,” he told reporters after closing the Crime Prevention seminar here.

“This sort of investigations needs to follow procedures that will take some time as we have to work with Immigration and National Registration Department. We have to find out if the claims have any basis,” he added.

Last week, a businessman lodged a police report against the organisation claiming that they were bringing in Indian nationals as restaurant workers but later helped them obtain MyKads.

Two other similar reports were lodged this week.

Restaurateurs feeling economic crisis pinch

KOTA KINABALU : Local restaurants are starting to feel the pinch of the global economic crisis.

Restaurateur Emiliano Ceresa who owns an Italian restaurant here said that they could already feel the effect of the global economic crisis through the sharp decline of tourist arrivals in Sabah.

And they are bracing for a worse scenario next year.He explained that foreign tourists such as the Europeans,Koreans as well as other nationalities that often flock the State are opting to stay closer to home due to the crisis.

“We are told by our counterparts in the hotel industry that a lot of tourists who were supposed to come to Sabah next year have cancelled their hotel bookings,” he said.

The drop in tourist arrivals is a loss not only to the hotel industry but also to others in the tourism industry,including of course,the food industry.

As for his restaurant,he said that his clientele consist of a mix of locals and foreigners.

“Tourists formed 50 percent of our clientele,so we do feel the pinch right now,” he said.

He added that even the locals are opting to stay at home and cook instead of eating out.

“Our restaurant is open from 10am to 11pm.In previous years,our workers are always busy attending to guests,but nowadays,there are times when the restaurant is nearly empty.Hopefully things will pick up during Christmas,” he said.

And to make matters worse,the cost of goods used by restaurants have gone up by as much as 60 percent.

“We buy a lot of imported materials such as olive oil which we use for cooking,Italian tomatoes and so on.The prices of these have gone up.They have also raised the price of dairy products and cheese,and even flour,” he said.

As with other goods sold in the market,the hike in the food materials was initally blamed on the price increase of fuel.

“But even though the price of fuel has gone down tremendously since then,suppliers have maintained the high prices of their goods,” he said.

On the whole,Emiliano is hoping the economy will rebound from the crisis soon. – JENNE LAJIUN

Too much emphasis on race, religion not good: Hiew

Kota Kinabalu: Differences based on race and religion must be thrust into the background in favour of a peaceful and harmonious co-existence.

DAP Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu, Dr Hiew King Cheu, said this healthy pattern of living is especially crucial in a multi-racial society like Malaysia if we want to perpetuate the peaceful atmosphere in the country.

"As our country is advocating and in the thick of building a Malaysian race, too much emphasis on race and religion is not conducive to promoting a Malaysian race as espoused by the nation's leaders," he said at the Christmas Carolling Night at the Foh Sang Township, here, Sunday.

Several hundred people attended the gathering held for the first time by the Office of the Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu.

"All of us, regardless or race or religion, aspire to peace. Without peace, there is no joy because joy is derived from peace," Hiew said.

For this reason, the theme of the Christmas gathering was "Peace & Joy".

In the face of the global economic crisis, he said, all the more Malaysians should stay united to counter all the problems stemming from this unfavourable situation.

"Let us not create differences through distinguishing ourselves as Malays, Chinese, Indians and Kadazandusuns, as this may further complicate matters."

Dr Hiew noted that armed conflicts in some parts of the world were invariably due to religious differences - Christianity versus Islam.

He was among the seven Sabahans who received the Ambassador for Peace Award presented by Universal Peace Federation (UPF) which is headquartered in Korea. Its Southeast Asia Chapter Chairman Dr Yoo Chong Young gave away the award here last Saturday.

Also present were former Chief Minister cum Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Yong Teck Lee and former SAPP People's Development Leader (PKR) Benny Quek.

Among those who entertained the crowd with a repertoire of songs and dances were the DAP Sepanggar and Kapayan carolling groups, and a hot dance troupe, while Santa Claus gave out goodies to children and adults alike.

Workshop and builder ordered to make refund

Kota Kinabalu: A car workshop was ordered by the Consumer Claims Tribunal to reimburse RM10,000 to a customer for the repair cost of a 4WD vehicle.

Tribunal President Reihana binti Abdul Razak made the award in favour of Naim @ Edwin Muda and instructed Hap Sun Lee Motor to settle the payment within 14 days.

Naim told the tribunal that on May 4, 2007, he brought his car to Hap Sun Lee Motor, for repairs.

According to the claimant, on May 10, 2007, the workshop owner, Ung Ngit Phin, advised him to purchase a Frontier replacement body in order to expedite the repair process.

The cost of the replacement body was RM10,000, which Naim purchased after being assured by Ung that the he would be reimbursed once the workshop received the insurance claims.

Naim said he later received a cheque from Ung for RM10,000 but the cheque bounced. In his claim, Naim told the tribunal that until this day Ung had not full-filled his promise to pay him back the RM10,000.

Hap Sun Lee Motor was not represented at the hearing.

Meanwhile, a laundry mart was ordered to return the cleaned fabrics of one of its customers without any charge.

Time Laundry was asked to return 77 curtain pieces to one Margaret Walker, following a mutual agreement between the two to settle the case.

The claimant had filed the case to seek compensation of RM1,623 for damages to her curtains caused by Time Laundry when the fabrics were washed.

The claimant had initially sent her curtains to Time Laundry for dry cleaning but was advised by the shop's worker that dry cleaning would not be effective enough to clean the curtains.

The shop then offered to wash the curtains and assured the claimant that the fabrics were safe for machine wash.

After the washing the shop was shocked to discover that three sets of the curtains were ripped to shreds.

This caused the claimant to make her claim.

However, the owner of the laundry mart, Teo Lee Fong, refused to accept responsibility for the damages.

She felt that there was something wrong with the fabrics of the curtains, which is why they were torn during washing.

The Tribunal President however said: "In all cases we encourage the two parties to discuss the matter in a mediation stage to try and come up with a settlement."

During mediation, both parties came to a compromise and decided to settle the matter without proceeding to trial.

The award was made after both parties agreed in front of the president to settle the matter.

Time Laundry agreed to waive the cleaning bill if the claimant agreed to withdraw her case for compensation.

In another case, a housing developer was ordered to partially refund a customer's booking deposit, after its customer agreed, during mediation, to accept a 20 per cent refund for the deposit paid for a house.

Kaya Borneo Development Sdn Bhd was ordered to pay RM200 to Noor Ramdhan bin Ramli, within 14 days from the date of the order.

Noor Ramdhan filed the claim to seek the refund of RM1,000, which he paid as a deposit to Kaya Borneo on Oct 30 this year.

Four days after he paid the deposit, Noor Ramdhan changed his mind about the house and went back to the developer's office to try and get back his deposit. He was told he could not get back his money.

Feeling that it was not fair not to get back his deposit, Noor Ramdhan filed a case with the tribunal.

Reihana told Noor Ramdhan that the tribunal would not be able to grant him a full refund as it is clearly stated in the agreement that whatever deposits paid to the company is not refundable.

She urged the two parties to discuss the matter in mediation to come up with an agreeable solution for both parties.

The developer, represented by its Manager Ching Seng Chai, offered to refund 20 per cent of the deposit, which Noor Ramdhan accepted.

Carnival and concert to welcome '09

Kota Kinabalu: A carnival and concert will be among the activities organised by City Hall to usher in the New Year.

City Hall's very first such programme will be held from Dec 29 to 31, beginning with the New Year Eve Carnival 2008 at Gaya Street and followed by the Kota Kinabalu City Countdown Concert 2009, the highlight of the celebrations, beginning at 5pm until midnight at Padang Merdeka.

Some of the artistes expected to perform at the concert are Nora, Lotter and Divine Masters, Abu Bakar Ellah, Ayu Mentor, Dior, Atama, Clare Petrus Edwin, Valerie Wong and also performances from the top three winners of the just-concluded City's Modern Dance Competition and Battle of The Bands.

At the stroke of midnight the public would be treated to a fireworks display. Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim said they decided to organise the event due to requests from the public and because of the success of other carnivals such as the recently concluded Gaya Christmas Carnival, as well as the Chinese New Year and Tadau Kaamatan carnivals by City Hall.

The carnival at Gaya Street will be opened from 6 pm - 10.30 pm, featuring stalls selling local goods, handicrafts, food and drinks. Among other programmes lined up are a car roadshow, funfair stalls and funland for children from 10am to 10pm at Padang Merdeka while a paintball competition would also be held at the same venue from 8am to 6pm.

Attractive cash prizes of RM1,000, RM600 and RM400 are up for grabs for the first, second and third places respectively.

For more information on the competition, contact Hamdan Ruhimin at 016-8247722, Victor Wong (013 5577389), Sheir Musa (0135591787) or Sebastian Lim (016 8384919). Further information on the carnival and concert can be obtained from Syron A. Tunggolou, Elizabeth Borubui, Asmah Entoh or Marsuadi Saiman at 088-521800.

'Review the once-yearly newspaper permits' call

Kota Kinabalu: United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Organisation (Upko) proposed that newspaper publication permits be renewed every five years instead of annually, as is the case presently.

Its President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok made the suggestion in view of the predicament faced by the Catholic Herald, which is still waiting for its permit to be renewed by the Government.

Dompok said the country could not have democracy without the contribution of the media.

He gave Indonesia as an example which practised freedom of the press whereby the print media was not required to apply for a printing permit.

"Even in Indonesia, a country which has a much younger democracy than Malaysia, the Press is much freer, he said at the "Upko with the Media" dinner at Grand Port View Restaurant, Sunday.

According to him, the Press in Sabah and Sarawak has relatively more freedom than their counterparts in Semenanjung.

"I'm not saying the national Press is not free but there is self-censorship. In Sabah, people can read what others have to say like in the Sunday forum.

He lamented that efforts of local leaders in voicing out Sabahan issues at national level were interpreted by some as being devoid of national aspiration.

"But what we say is actually good for the nation as a whole. Because if one part is 'limping', (the country) could not function as a whole," he explained.

"I appreciate the role of the Press," he said, adding that the media plays an important role in creating a change in the country for the better.

The event was organised by Upko Permanent Chairman, Datuk Herman Tiongsu. On hand were Upko Deputy President, Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, all the party elected representatives and Supreme Council members, as well as Sabah Journalists Association (SJA) President Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

More crimes but more cases solved

Sabah recorded more crime cases between January and November this year compared to the same period last year, accounting for an increase of 1,323 cases.

Sabah CID Chief, SAC II Zainal Abidin bin Kasim, said police here recorded 8,304 cases during the period while there were 6,981 cases last year.

However, he said, more crime cases were solved this year, namely, 2,936 cases compared to 2,541 cases solved during the corresponding period last year.

"Although there is an increase of more than 10 per cent this year in comparison to last year, Sabah is still a safe place.

"More cases were reported this year because they were mostly minor cases and police still open files for such cases for investigation, he said.

Zainal disclosed this in his presentation entitled "A study on thefts, housebreaking and snatch theft" at a two-day seminar on crime prevention at the Federal Administration Complex here on Monday.

The Sabah police contingent organised the seminar that is being attended by district police chiefs, senior police officers and civil servants from various government departments and agencies.

In fact, Zainal said the crime index in the State is still low and security is under control compared to other states in the country.

Based on its statistics from Jan to Sept, 2008, Sabah with a population of three million people was ranked number 7 among 14 states with frequency level of 233 cases per 100,000 people and recorded 26 cases per day.

Zainal said more property crimes (6,491 cases) were reported compared to 1,831 cases of violent crimes this year while there were 5,271 cases of property crimes and 1,710 cases of violent crime last year, during the first 11 months.

"Under property crimes this year, theft cases which numbered 3,225 topped the list followed by housebreaking at night (1,397 cases) and 566 cases of daytime housebreaking.

"For violent crimes, there was an increase of three murder cases this year with a total of 64 compared to 61 last year while there was a rise of 25 rape cases this year with 237 cases compared to 192 last year," he said.

For theft cases, Zainal said four districts in Sabah namely Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Sandakan and Penampang registered a high volume and a study by police showed that handphones topped the list as the most targeted item followed by cash, car accessories and metals.

He said these four items were favourites as they were easy to dispose of for cash and have a high demand in the market

More entry points urged to monitor illegals flow

Kota Kinabalu: The Immigration Department has proposed more entry points in Sabah under the Ninth Malaysia Plan mid-term review to better monitor the movement of foreign migrants into the State.

State Immigration Director, Datuk Baharon Talib said the proposed new entry points were in Lahad Datu, Semporna and Kudat.

In his briefing on illegal immigrants in Sabah at the Crime Prevention Seminar at the Federal Administrative Complex near here Monday, he said this was among the strategies taken by the department to address the problem of illegals in Sabah.

Others were to implement the biometric system at the entry points in Sandakan and Tawau where fingerprints of foreigners entering the State are recorded.

He said the Immigration Department together with other government agencies had conducted operations against illegals in the State.

As of November this year, 572 areas in the West Coast had been inspected where 29,575 people were screened, 2,835 detained and 2,440 deported.

A total of 15,503 illegls had been arrested up to October this year and 17,176 deported with the majority of them being Filipinos (10,766).

He said the registration drive from Aug 1 to Oct 31 conducted by the department using the Mobile Immigration Enforcement System (MIES) managed to register 312,837 working illegals in Sabah.

According to him, a total of 103,778 illegals of various nationalities had been repatriated to their home countries from 2001 to 2007.

Baharon said the problem of illegals is a global issue and not only faced by Malaysia but also other developing and developed countries.

In this respect, he said the Immigration Department in Sabah is addressing the problem through implementation of strategies and approaches apart from closely cooperating with all the Federal and State authorities.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Universal family values to avoid breakdown

KOTA KINABALU: The collapse of the marriage and family institution is a worldwide problem, said James Poon, director of education of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Malaysia.

“Family breakdown which also affects the youth and kids is now a worldwide phenomenon and this happens because people are oblivious,” he said when met at the Ambassadors for Peace seminar entitled ‘A New Vision of Leadership’ at a hotel here.

During the seminar, James discussed two topics namely the Principles of Restoration and Marriage & Family as Cornerstones for Peace.

In order to address the problem, he said UPF has initiated a move to promote universal values and principles within the family, community, religion and nationality.

“We are promoting a culture of heart or services based on three platforms and we invite all people from all walks of life regardless of government, civil society, religious body and foundation to come together to work as a federation as one family under God,” he said.

In fact, he said they are promoting something even bigger than one nation under God as they treat human being as one family through the universal values and principles.

“We celebrate universal principles and values based on the teachings of all religions because 95% or more than 2/3 of the teachings are the same. Religion never teaches people to be a liar but to love and forgive, forget all your enemies and love each other as a family before you love God, first love your cousin, sister and all this can be done through the culture of service,” he explains.

“If we can promote good family values centred on true love then the relationship between brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and parents and children will prevail,” he said.

However, he said in order to build a nation of integrity, the focus should be given to one person at a time which is the basic philosophy and framework of UPF.

According to him, the peace initiated by UPF has reached its highlight when 1.2 million youth celebrated the Global Peace Festival last week.

A similar celebration will be held in the Philippines next year where officers from the United Nations will be invited for discussion, brain storming, sharing of best practices and also advocating peace.

KPMBB a pioneer in land transportation services

KOTA KINABALU: The Borneo Co-operative Society Development Berhad (KPMBB) is set to become the first co-operative in Sabah to operate land transportation services in the state and Labuan.

President and founder Maslan Bin Maginda told the New Sabah Times that the Minister of Co-operative and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Noh Omar had already approved their application for permits to operate buses and vans in the rural and town areas and even sponsored 10 buses for KPMBB.

They were told the good news when at a courtesy call on the minister in Putrajaya on 18 December. Noh was represented by his advisor Dato’ Ahmad Bhari Bin Abdul Rahman.

“The Ministry also gave us the opportunity to secure micro loans from Bank Rakyat for our members. And now, we are just waiting for an official letter from the ministry instructing Bank Rakyat in Sabah,” said Maslan.

During the one-hour courtesy call, KPMBB requested the ministry’s assistance to issue proper land titles for members to enable them to use the property as collateral, if necessary, when applying loans from financial institutions.

According to Maslan, the ministry agreed to help and advised KPMBB to prepare a working paper to be presented to the Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman.

“We will prepare the working paper and submit it as soon as the special board meeting is held within this month,” he said.

KPMBB hopes to help eradicate poverty in Sabah by helping members to run their own business.

Currently, KPMBB is conducting business seminars throughout Sabah for its members and this month the co-operative has gone to Ranau, Kota Marudu and Kota Belud.

Another seminar is scheduled at the Keningau Community Centre on 23 December where officers from Bank Rakyat, Agriculture Department and the District Office will be present.

Members of the public are invited to attend.

KPMBB is expected to start operations by January next year and will be launched on 1 March next year.

DBKK to usher in New Year with celebrations from Dec29 - 31

KOTA KINABALU : City Hall will be ushering in the New Year with a host of fun activities for the public from December 29 to 31 including a carnival at Gaya Street.

The highlight of the celebration will be a Countdown Concert on December 31 starting 5pm. The concert will feature local artistes such as Nora,Lotter and Divine Masters,Abu Bakar Ellah,Ayu Mentor,Dior,Atama,Clare Petrus Edwin,Valerie Wong and performances from the top three winners in the just concluded Modern Dance and Battle of the Bands competitions.

There will be a firework display at the stroke of midnight.

Other programmes line-up during the three-day celebration at the Padang Merdeka are a car roadshow,funfair stalls and funland for kids that starts from 10am until 10pm.

There will also be a paintball competition from 8am until 6pm.

Prizes will be given for winners in the competitions.

For more information please call Hamdan Ruhimin (0168427722),Victor Wong (0135577389),Sheir Musa (0135591787) or Sebastian Lim (0168384919).

The carnival at Gaya Street will start from 6pm to 10.30pm.

Those interested to rent stalls which are charged at RM50 for three nights may call Abd Rahim Aman or Mohd Kamil at 088-244000.

Compulsory saving will take burden off any govt, says CEO

Kota Kinabalu: Compulsory saving through salary deduction will take the burden off any government to fund their citizens' retirement.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Professional Investment Services (PIS) from Australia, Robert J. Bennetts said this measure has been done in Australia since 1993.

"We started with three per cent salary deduction, and later it was increased to nine per cent. The Government is now trying to raise the deduction to 12 per cent, and if it goes up to 15 per cent, the move will definitely lift the burden off the Australian Government to finance the people's retirement," he said when met at the recent official opening of the Standard Financial Planner (SFP) Sabah State Office here.

Bennetts stressed that it will be good for our country, our children and grandchildren as more and more of the people become involved in financial planning for the future.

"Maybe it will take time for people to realise that every time one more person plans for the future, it's one step that is better for the country in the long term."

He believed that any government, any country for that matter, would encourage their population to save for the future.

This, he said, would take the pressure off the Government and also ensure a better lifestyle in retirement.

"And that's what we (as financial planners) want to work for with the Government, regulators and everyone to ensure that Malaysia as a country achieve that," Bennetts added.

Breast remake now being done locally

Kota Kinabalu: Breast reconstruction after mastectomy is available in Sabah, according to local plastic surgeon Dr Sergius Ajik.

Presenting a talk on the subject at a programme organised jointly by Rafflesia Medical Centre (RMC) and Promenade Hotel recently, he noted that breast reconstruction awareness is still very low even in Malaysia.

Breast reconstruction is mainly done for breast cancer patients following surgery.

But there are women who also opted for reconstruction after removal of their breasts not due to cancer but because they had resorted to unscrupulous beauticians for silicone injections.

"The silicone becomes very hard and very painful, to the extent the patients want their breasts taken out."

Dr Sergius said breast cancer patients have various reconstruction options including not to have it done at all. "They may not want to go through another surgery."

According to him, there are two procedure options in breast reconstruction, which can be "immediate" or "delayed". One involves the use of silicone implant. The other is using tummy tissue.

Immediate reconstruction is done at the same sitting whereby the plastic surgeon comes in right after the general surgeon has removed the breast.

Unfortunately because of constraints the hospital has not been able to promote it aggressively.

"That's why not many are aware that this procedure is possible. But one patient, a teacher in her 40s, from Tawau insisted on immediate reconstruction. She learnt about it through the Internet. Hers was the first case in Sabah."

In the use of silicone, the first stage is to put a silicone expander under the muscle.

"After two weeks we start injecting fluid into the expander - because after mastectomy there's no skin. So we expand the skin until we achieve a certain size. Then we remove the expander and put the silicone."

The second stage, once the mound is created, is to make it look like a normal breast by creating the nipple. A little flap is made on the mound to create the nipple. Cosmetically, the areola can be 'improvised' with a tattoo that matches the original pigment.

Somehow, he said, many women were satisfied with just the mound.

"It's just for dressing up. As long as they can wear their bra comfortably, without having to use external prosthesis, they seem content enough."

He dismissed past reports about silicone being actually a health threat. "In those days the silicone used to leak, but with modern technology, even if it is run over by a car it doesn't burst. Last time the worry was that it causes auto immune, cognitive diseases. There's no proof of this."

Dr Sergius is attached to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and is also a RMC visiting plastic surgeon. In the case of delayed reconstruction, he does get referrals from the Breast Clinic.

"They come and we explain to them the procedures, the options available for breast reconstruction. They leave, they think about it. They don't come back.

"I don't think it had to do with the cost. I suppose it's because they've lived without a breast and they are quite happy, especially if their husband is supportive about it."

He said another reconstruction procedure is the TRAM - traverse rectus abdominis muscle flap. Tissue is removed from the patient's tummy and the result would be a breast that closely looks and feel like one.

"Of course the bonus part is you also get a tummy tuck."

Meanwhile, women in Western countries, who are in the "high risk" group with strong family medical history, would go for prophylactic mastectomy, even when they do not actually have the disease.

This may put doctors in a quandary but usually they will go along with a woman's decision. "Because if they don't, and the woman did develop breast cancer later on she might get back at the doctor."

Dr Sergius said he would not do reconstruction when the cancer is too advanced. "I will usually discuss with the general surgeon what is the prognosis."

Hence he advised women to diligently go for breast examination. Because if detected early there will only be minimal operation so reconstruction would be easy.

"You don't have to take the whole skin along with the tumour," he said.