Saturday, November 24, 2007


380 Sabah Pilgrims leave for Mecca
Head of State Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah, his wife Toh Puan Hajah Dayang Masuyah Awang Japar, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Nasir Tun Sakaran were on hand to send off 380 pilgrims from Sabah to the holy land, Mecca at the Tabung Haji Complex in Sembulan here at dawn yesterday. The pilgrims took flight KT39 the second direct chartered flight to Mecca. and they are expected to return to Sabah on January 8 next year at 7.35am.
Also present were Tabung Haji Deputy Director of Operation for Pilgrims from its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Haji Ahmad Ruzman Razali and Sabah Tabung Haji Director, Haji Abu Bakar Yusof as well as State Assemblymen and MUIS officials.


50-acre site in Tawau for Muslim cemetery
Municipal Council has identified a 50-acre site to be turned into a Muslim cemetery in the district. Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Nasir Tun Sakaran said the land, located at Km 18 in Kampung Kijang. Merotai. is an alternative to the existing Muslim cemetery at Km 1, Jalan Utara Tawau. “The existing cemetery is adjacent to the government land, which has been gazetted as a park by the local authorities,” he said in response to the Tanjung Batu assemblyman Mohd Kamil Datuk Mohd Kassim at the State Assembly sitting, yesterday. Nasir added that currently, the Sabah Islamic Affairs Department (JHEAINS) is preparing for a more systematic way to better manage the cemetery, taking into account methods used by other states in Malaysia. “To ensure the success and effectiveness of the system, a pilot project would be launched at the new cemetery site,” he said.


Ministry set to upgrade Inanam roads
INFRASTRUCTURE Development Ministry is ready to consider upgrading the roads in Inanam, as long as they are under the Public Works Department’s supervision. Its Minister, Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah urged Inanam assemblyman Johnny Goh to provide the Ministry with a list of roads which need upgrading. “If the stretch is under the PWD’s supervision, than we will consider ‘upgrading it but if it is under City Hall, then they will have to handle the situation,” he said yesterday on the last day of the State Assembly sitting. Earlier, Assistant Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Aklee Abas said the Government has come up with short and long-term solutions to reduce road congestions in the City. The short-term solutions are the expansion of main roads and also the construction of flyovers. “As for long-term solution, the Government will be carrying out a study on the need to build new roads as part of the effort to ensure smooth traffic flow to and from the City,” he said.


Five-star hotel needed in Kundasang

THERE is a need for a five-star hotel and golf course to be built in Kundasang, which is famous for its cold weather. Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun believes that it would definitely attract more people to come to Kundasang. “This would not only offer job opportunities to locals, but also generate income for the State,” he said in response to a question from Kundasang assemblyman Dr Joachim Gunsalam, on the last day of the State Assembly sitting, yesterday. He added that Kundasang is already well known to both domestic and foreign tourists as it is located within the State tourism icon, namely Kinabalu Park, which was gazetted as the first World Heritage Site in Malaysia. Mount Kinabalu, he added, is also known as one of the most challenging mountains in Asia, especially for endurance sports enthusiasts. He said its War memorial, which is very much connected to the Australia and Europe history, has often lured tourists to visit the area.


Meetings on curbing cable, iron thefts
SEVERAL meetings have been jointly organised with the Police, Customs, Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Telekom Malaysia and Public Works Department to get their feedback and proposals to overcome cable and iron theft cases.
Assistant Local Government and Housing Minister, Edward Yong Oui Fah, when disclosing this, said among the proposed methods are to centralise the purchase of iron and to appoint a government subsidiary company as the sole agent to buy and export all types of scrap metals from the manufacturers. “The Ministry will submit the proposal to get the Government and Cabinet’s approval. If it is approved, we believe it would reduce and contain scrap metal and cable theft in the State,” he said.


Sabah wants fixed shipping charges High transportation costs impede exports: Jainab
Sabah has urged the Federal Government to abolish the Cabotage Policy or at least ease the policy for Sabah and Sarawak as one of the measures to lower the costly freight in the two states. Assistant Industrial Development Minister Jainab Ahmad said a request was also made for the State Shipping Licensing Board to be empowered to supervise and fix the charges related to shipping costs and ensure transparency. “Thirdly, an upfront incentive either in the form of grant or rebate should be given to exporters to lessen their fmancial burden,” she said when replying to Datuk Mohd Lan Allani on the last day of the State Assembly sitting yesterday. Mohd Lan asked why the Government had not lowered the shipping cost which impedes the growth of the State’s export sector and what measures have been taken in spurring the export sector.
Jainab said the State Government is aware of the high shipping costs in Sabah and was a disincentive to investors, as it impedes efforts in developing the export sector. In fact, she said freight charges had dropped over the past several years but the imposition of additional charges pushed up the overall shipping costs. She said inadequate container goods from Sabah that forced vessels to transport the empty containers back to its original destinations and the enforcement of the Cabotage Policy under the Maritime Shipping Ordinance 1952 since Jan 1, 1980 were the main contributors to the high shipping costs for Sabah. The inadequate container cargoes for exports from Sabah also prevented a direct export of cargoes to Sabah and they have to be exported through transshipment from the Klang Port in Peninsular Malaysia or Singapore, Jainab explained. According to her, the Cabotage Policy is intended to develop domestic shipping industry but, at the same time, it also limits competition. The situation has led to the emergence of cartels in the domestic shipping industry, which unilaterally impose freight and ancillary charges. In addition, shipping costs in Sabah comprise several elements such as the freight charge, and additional charges like the Terminal Handling Charge (THC), Emergency Bunker Surcharge (EBS) and Sabah Congestion Charge. “The Sabah Congestion Surcharge is imposed to offset the loss that is purportedly faced by shipping owners as a result of unloading inefficiency at the port,” said Jainab.


Producers must meet environ standards to compete: Musa
Sabah manufacturers must keep abreast of the increasing sophistication of their customers to ensure they are able to remain competitive in the global market, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. He said developed markets comprise the bulk destination of the State’s exports, hence the need for Sabah products to meet the high standards set by the consumers. “Products must not only meet health and safety standards, but also environmental standards. Since most of the developed markets are the main markets for many of our exports, this means that our manufacturers must increasingly incorporate environmental standards into their products and processes. “Environmental protection is rightly an inherent part of corporate social responsibility,” he said in his speech when officiating at the Federation of Sabah Manufacturers (FSM) Nite 2007 at the Magellan Sutera here last night. Musa stressed that everyone, including the Government, consumers and producers, have a role to play in protecting the environment. He said the Government can implement legal frameworks and policies regarding the environment and effect behavioural change among citizens through education, enforcement and incentives. Producers on the other hand will need to incorporate more environmentally - friendly resources and practices in their businesses while consumers need to show prudence and restraint in their spending while practising the three Rs - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. “Compared with many countries, Sabah is fortunate that it is still blessed with a relatively pristine environment. We intend to keep Sabah this way and do not believe that environmental protection and economic progress are necessarily in conflict,” he said. “The right way for Sabah to move forward is to leverage on our relatively green heritage and ride the worldwide concern for the environment for wealth creation and economic development. “I believe we have a natural advantage in such green industries as eco-tourism, biomass and biofuel, nature-derived products and products made from sustainably managed inputs and materials,” he said. Musa also assured that the State Government is a “pro-business government” and is always open to working with the private sector as the engine of growth in bringing economic prosperity to Sabah. “Given an increasingly volatile external environment we have to accept that the road ahead may be rough and winding, but I am confident that we can surmount the challenges if we work together as a team and as partners,” he said.


Budget success depends on delivery system: CM
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday called for coordinated efforts from all levels of leadership and the Government to ensure the 2008 State Budget can be translated to a success. He said he was happy and satisfied with the feedback on the budget from the members of the State Assembly, whom he described as very mature and able to provide constructive criticism. “I can see that all are committed to developing Sabah to be on par with our neighbours in Semenanjung Malaysia and elsewhere and to also improve the living standards of the people, especially in the rural areas,” he said at a press conference at the end of the State Assembly sitting yesterday. “This is our hope and we have the support from the backbenchers, including our independent brother from Kuala Penyu, Datuk John Ghani. “He is the only opposition member in the State Assembly and even the opposition is supporting BN Barisan Nasional).. this is a good sign,” he said.
Musa stressed that the success of the programmes outlined under the budget hinges on the efficiency of the public service under both State and Federal governments. “All the elected representatives placed emphasis on the delivery system and my hope is for our civil service under both the State and Federal governments can work together to develop Sabah and together implement the plans that we have outlined. “This budget is the largest in Sabah’s history and it is our hope that we can implement the programmes well... it is important to achieve our targets and provide a positive impact for the people. “It is of no use if we have a large allocation but are unable to provide benefits or development for the people, and this is where the importance of the delivery system lies. We must ensure that it is run well and that all cooperate, including elected representatives, politicians and civil servants. “This is in line with the advice from our Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi), who stressed that what is important is that the people benefit from the programmes implemented by the country,” he said.

On the heated argument between Tempasuk assemblyman Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Hj Mulia and himself at the assembly sitting earlier yesterday, Musa said it was a small matter. “We argue in the assembly but outside we are friends. It’s nothing, it was just to make things lively. On some issues the situation gets tense but after that we are friends.. .we must get serious sometimes or else people will think we are playing around,” he said. “What is important is that our target is the same, which is to develop Sabah and improve the lives of the people and this is in line with the call by the national leadership to give the best possible service so the people will know we are a Government for the people,” he said.


Musa and Pandikar argue over decision to debate bill a day earlier then scheduled
A war of words erupted between : Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Tempasuk Assemblyman Tan Sri Pandikar Aman Hj Mulia when they went head to head at the State Assembly here yesterday. The brief but fiery affair started when Pandikar queried the House’s decision to debate the State Records and Archives Bill 2007 a day earlier than scheduled. The bill was debated on Thursday evening in the absence of the Tempasuk assemblyman who had left the State Assembly before it was adjourned for the day. Taking the opportunity to speak prior to the start of the question and answer session, Pandikar claimed that the House had violated the point of order which requires notice to be posted to all assemblymen two days before a bill is debated. In a 20-minute tirade, he stressed that the posting of the notice is imperative as it is part and parcel of the point order which dictates the schedule of proceedings at State Assembly. “If the debate was brought forward to yesterday (Thursday), then why not also bring the question and answer session to yesterday ... I want to talk today (yesterday),” said the Government backbencher on the last day of the State Assembly sitting. Midway through his admonition, Speaker Datuk S Panglima Juhar Mahiruddin attempted to stop Pandikar saying that matters unrelated to the question and answer session could not be raised at the time according to the House regulations. Juhar: “Now we are in the question and answer session. If you wish to raise the point of order, it must be related to the question and answer session. You have raised nearly entire book on the regulation. “How are we to discuss when you are asking for too many things ... during the question and answer session I cannot allow you to raise issues of the point of order that are unrelated to the question and answer session.” Pandikar: “Tuan Speaker, the point of order outlines the regulations of the assembly. The schedule for the assembly this morning has been outlined ...“ Juhar: “Yang Berhormat, please explain what your point is?” Pandikar: “Tuan Speaker, if others did not interject, and if you did not ask I would have already finished.” Musa: “YB, your speech is too flowery, putar, putar , putar (spin, spin, spin), we don’t know how much.” Pandikar: “Tuan Speaker, listen to me first ...“ Musa: “This is a waste of time.” Pandikar: “This is not a waste of time ...“ From then on it was difficult to discern what was said between the two as both Musa and Pandikar simultaneosly launched their arguments against each other. The situation eventually settled down after Juhar managed to get both the Chief Minister and the Tempasuk assemblyman to stop the debate and allow for the question and answer session to proceed. Later at a press conference. Deputy ChiefMinister Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan clarified that there was no violation committed by the House as claimed by Pandikar in bringing forward the tabling of the bill.
“I have been asked to clarify the issue raised by the YB from Tempasuk ... what he said is true as under Order 13 a standing order is established to arrange the agendas in the State Assembly and when there is a bill to be debated, there must be two days of notice and this applies to all bills. “However also under Order 13, there are provisions (to allow changes in the schedule). Provision 13 (2) states that the assembly may upon a motion, without notice, take precedence over other business and decide to carry out business out of the order,” he said. Pairin added that provision 13 (3) also empowers the House to proceed with any Government business as the head, in which case is the State Speaker, sees fit as communicated to his secretary. Order 50(3) also states that should any member of the House fail to comply with the standing order, it would be treated as an irregularity and does not nullify the proceedings or decision resulting thereof, he said. “So what was done was in line with the standing order ... if there is any objection it needs to be made on the day the change was made,” he said.


Over Eighty houses in Tawau damaged by typhoon
This east coast town suffered the tail effects of Typhoon Mitag which damaged more than 80 houses and public facilities at several villages here the last two nights. Apart causing damage to the wooden houses and blowing off roofs at Kampung Titingan, Jalan Damai, Pasir Putih and Tanjung Batu, the winds packing speeds of up to 60km per hour, also uprooted trees and poles around 10pm on Wednesday and Thursday. Tawau police chief Assistant Commissioner Jaafar Mohd Yusof yesterday said that they had not received any reports of injuries or deaths connected with the strong winds. “So far there have only been reports of damages to private and public property from various parts of the district,” he said. One of the victims, who requested anonymity, recalled what had happened: “I was sleeping in my bedroom when I heard a big sound like the roof being blown away. I then felt the rainwater dropping on my body.” Another victim, Anna, said she was watching television in the living room of her house when the strong winds struck.
She said she quickly woke up her parents when she saw the roofs of her house were being blown away. “I was very scared and I did not know what to do except calling my parents,” she said. Most of the victims had yet to replace the roofs yesterday as the workers were busy repairing their own houses. Several advertisement billboards, trees, wires and lights were damaged or brought down by the strong winds. Sabah Meteorological Department director Tan Chen Kok, when contacted in Kota Kinabalu, said that the current third category warning remains as they expect weather conditions to remain bad over Sabah due to Typhoon Mitag. Meanwhile, assistance is being provided to families whose houses were damaged and the Welfare Department was registering victims. Tawau welfare officer Asnah Mohd Kassim said the department had opened counters in Kampung Pasir Putih, Titingan, Tanjung Batu Laut, Tanjung Batu Tengah and several other locations. “We will be providing the necessary assistance,” he said. Apas Assemblyman Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan, who was attending the State Assembly sitting in Kota Kinabalu, rushed back here and visited the damaged houses at Kampung Titingan yesterday morning. He also gave emergency aid to the 80 victims there. Tawfiq, who is also the Assistant Rural Development Minister, advised the residents staying near the rivers to remain on alert for any life-threatening incident. Also paying a visit to the victims was Tawau Member of Parliament Shim Paw Fatt.

Friday, November 23, 2007


THE Sabah State Records and Archives Enactment 2007 and the State Library (Amendment), Enactment 2007 Bills were passed after a lively debate on the last day of the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday. The Sabah State Records and Archives Enactment Bill was tabled by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansor, while Deputy Chief Minister cum Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin tabled the State Library (Amendment) Enactment 2007 Bill. Nasrun said the Sabah State Records and Archives Enactment is aimed at providing the creation, acquisition, custody, preservation use and management of public records and public archives. Explaining the rationale of the Bill, he said since its establishment during the colonial rule in November 1957, the State Archive Department had been using the existing State Archive Enactment No. 9, 1980 which merely focussed on the final processing of record management. He said since then, the department had been facing various challenges such as the rapid changes and development of information management with the usage of advanced technology.
“In the present decade, information management uses three main fields, namely computer technology, telecommunication and record management. “The existing Enactment has not been amended,” said Nasrun, explaining that the Sabah State Records and Archives Enactment Bill comprises seven divisions containing 47 sections. The new Enactment would enable the State Archives Department to overcome the challenges ahead and provide records and archive services more efficient and cost effective, he added. During a debate on the Bill, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman rebuked Philip Lasimbang (BN-Moyog) for the latter’s remarks about a recent allegation made by State Archive Director Datu Tigabelas Datu Zainal Abidin about the department’s purported reluctance to put up any exhibition on the late Tun Fuad Stephens because the former Governor and Chief Minister was “Separuh Orang Putih”. While concurring with Datuk Mohd Lan Allani (BN-Sulabayan) that it was a trivial matter and should not be turned into a big issue, Muss said that the widow of Tun Fuad, Toh Puan Rahimah Staphen, had always been invited and accorded a special seat in any major official functions. Stressing that it was a show of great respect to the late Tun Fuad and his family members, Musa said: “1 think lam closer to her (Toh Puan Rahimah) than I am closer to you (Philip).” Deputy State Speaker Datuk Michael Tan ruled that the alleged remark was a personal view from Datuk Tigabelas and not the State Government’s stand, and asked Philip to end his speech.
On the State Library (Amendment) Enactment 2007 Bill, Yahya explained that the amendment seeks to empower the Sabah State Library as the “State Depository Centre”, which means a depository of library resources published in the State. With the amendment, he said the Sabah State Library would be able to build a holistic and comprehensive collections, apart from becoming a one-stop information centre. A provision to this effect was already in place at both the National Library and the Sarawak State Library, said Yahya, adding that after 19 years the existing State Library Enactment 1998 should be amended so as to enhance the role and responsibilities of the Sabah State Library.


RM9O millon to be used for road projects
The Public Works Department (PWD) will get RM156.2 million of the RM313.2 million being allocated to the Infrastructure Development Ministry under the 2008 State Budget. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan said the PWD would use the funds to implement infrastructure development which included : road projects (RM9O.64 million), bridges (RM2O.79 million), sewerage (RM39.97 million) and buildings (RM4.82 million). Out of the RM9O. 64 million for road development,he disclosed that RMl4.5 million is set aside for roads in the tourism sector, RM13.4 million in the agriculture sector and RM1.4 million in the industrial sector. “This is in line with the Government’s efforts of developing the agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and processing sectors,” said Raymond in his winding up speech on the debate of the State Budget for 2008. He said that RMl49.6 million would be allocated to the Water Department followed by the Port Authority(RM4.4 million) and State Railway Department (RM3 million). The Water Department would use the RM149.6 million funds to implement various projects, in particular on emergency works, special water supply program, upgrading of piping system, pipe extension programme and to build and upgrade treatment plants.
The allocations for the Port Authority and Railway Department would be used to finance new projects planned for next year, Raymond told the House, adding that his ministry has been tasked with coordinating and implementing all sewerage activities in the State to ensure the integrated upgrading of the facilities. As the sewerage system, including the treatment plants in Sabah, are in critical condition and require immediate action, all the works to rehabilitate the old sewerage plants and building the new ones, particularly in Kota Kinabalu, are being implemented with allocations from the Federal Government.
“For this purpose, the central Government has approved a RM272 million loan under the Ninth Malaysia Plan for upgrading the sewerage system in Sabah,” he said.
They included the Phase 1 Kota Kinabalu sewerage project, the Phase 1 Kota Belud sewerage project, the Kudat sewerage project and the upgrading of existing sewerage system in Sandakan, Raymond added. Raymond also said efforts had been taken to address the traffic congestion problems not just in Keningau as raised by Datuk Sarin Karno (Liawan) but also in other major towns through efficient traffic management. “The existing single carriageways leading to the towns are being converted into dual carriageways to increase their capacities and in Kota Kinabalu City, flyovers were built,” he said. While stating that all the State gravel roads in Sabah would be eventually be sealed, Raymond said some 5,159.84 kilometres of State roads under the ministry’s jurisdiction are still gravel.


One district chief policy to be implemented next year
KOTA KINABALU: The State Government will appoint only one district chief for each district starting from next year, said Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hj Hajiji Hj Noor. The Government wants to ensure uniformity across the board and to put forward the best candidate for each district, he said when replying to a supplementary question from Suhaili Said (BN-Tungku) at the State Assembly yesterday. “In districts where there are more than one district chief, we will not renew their service once their tenure is over. This is to make way for the appointment of one chief for the district,” said Hajiji whose ministry received a RM73 million allocation in 2008 as compared to RM53 million this year. To a supplementary question from Kuala Penyu assemblyman Datuk John Ghani, Hajiji said the one district chief policy would not pose any major problem when it comes to handling matters related to customary rights. “It does not matter if the district chief is a Muslim or otherwise, because we have the Native Court which has native chiefs representing the various ethnic groups here. “We can always use the services of the Native Court to settle problems concerning the customary rights of specific ethnic groups,” he said in his winding up speech on the 2008 State Budget debate. John questioned the rationale behind the policy, raising worries that a single district chief may not be able to address the varied needs of the society in the area, particularly on issues related to different native customs. Hajiji also assured that there is no overlapping jurisdiction between the Native Court and the Syariah Court. “This issue does not arise at all as each court has its own enactment, hence the respective jurisdiction is outlined under the respective enactment,” he said in reply to a question posed by Moyog assemblyman Philip Lasimbang. Hajiji meanwhile explained that the conversion of the Malaysian Remuneration Scheme (SSM) to a fixed monthly allowance for district and native chiefs is a relevant move to provide adequate remuneration for their services. “The SSM requires appointees to fulfil various criteria such as SPM qualification, also passing public and specific inductions and daily work logs among others.
“The main criteria for district and native chiefs are not academic qualifications and service regulations but rather leadership qualities and the ability to lead and settle problems of the community under their care, and more importantly their knowledge in native affairs and customary rights,” he said. In his main speech, Hajiji said various measures were taken to improve the delivery system in the local authorities. These include the acquisition of more garbage trucks, more fundings through the grant-in- aid and contribution in lieu of rates, updating of by-laws and close monitoring of enforcement duties. “These measures are crucial to ensure local authorities are on the right track, especially in complementing the Government’s implementation of the Sabah Development Corridor,” he said. Hajiji said a huge increase in allocation of last year’s RM980,000 to RM14.359 million next year for the expenses of District Chiefs, Native Chiefs and Native Chief Representatives and other community leaders would enable his ministry to better control and monitor the effectiveness of their roles and services. The Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority would enhance its efforts on building more low-cost and affordable homes in districts being given the priority, he added.


PNB trains graduates in franchise business Full-time intensive course and loans provided: Shahrir
About 90,000 jobs have been created by the franchising industry in the country, which generates an annual turnover of about RM1O billion. Minister of Industrial Development Dr Ewon Ebin said there are now 300 franchising systems with 3,700 outlets in Malaysia. Ewon, who was officiating at the launch of a franchising seminar organised at Sutera Harbour Resort by the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development, said he is confident the participants of the seminar, especially from Sabah, will obtain the latest information on franchising concept that they can use to further develop their business. He urged the participants to obtain as much information and opportunities as they can from at least 30 successful organizations in the franchising industry that gave briefings and talks to them. He hoped they could gain enough knowledge to implement a business by applying the franchising concept and marketing network. Meanwhile, PNB (Perbadanan Nasional Bhd) chairman Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said the seminar was aimed at providing business opportunities both for graduates and Bumiputera entrepreneurs. He said those keen and eligible would be given training, mentorship and fmancing assistance. For example, under the graduate franchising programme, a full-time intensive course (six weeks) together with advisory and industrial training would be provided for any diploma or degree holders who are not over 35 years old and could pass an interview. He said the funds for financing the implementation of the business could be obtained from PNS, MARA and other agencies that are approved by the Government. PNB, he added, would also act as a coach of the qualified graduates and entrepreneurs to ensure they succeed in the franchising business. According to him, the franchising and financing schemes introduced in 2004 are aimed at motivating Bumiputera entrepreneurs. The schemes include Mezzanine Franchise Scheme, Smart Partnership Scheme, Graduate Franchise Scheme, Woman Franchise Scheme, Youth Franchise Scheme and Budding Franchise Scheme. Meanwhile, Synergy Farm (franchise farming) senior manager Azrul Bin Zulkifly said his organization is involved in producing cavendish banana, which enjoys a high demand from their partner in China since 2005. “As such, our supply is not enough and we are here to negotiate with any agencies and individuals who are willing to rent out their lands to enable our organization to expand (plant more cavendish banana) to meet the demand. Azrul said Synergy Farm, which was established in Penang in 2002, currently has 430 acres of land and plans to rent more land, at least 1,000 hectares in a year. “We have already approached every state, among them Pahang, Ipoh, Sabah and Sarawak, but we found that it is hard to secure land for this business even though the marketing feedback is encouraging. Asked why Synergy Farm chose the banana, Azrul said it has a huge market, a global one. He said Synergy is also looking at the possibility of venturing into the production of other tropical fruits and vegetables like pineapples and tomatoes. Azrul’s colleague, Suffian Azmi, who is a Trainee Assistant Manager, said, “Franchising is still new to Malaysia, however it is very good for any entrepreneurs to venture into as it is a shared partnership (cooperation between parties) and an opportunity to discover new markets globally besides in Malaysia. “From our marketing experiences, franchising business is encouraging especially in China and Singapore. We also hope to plan to expand our packages.” Over 500 potential and established entrepreneurs attended the seminar.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Ministry says they do not have Govt hologram:
Three hundred and forty-three boxes of traditional drinks which did not have the compulsory Government hologram label on them were seized by the Health Ministry from a warehouse in Likas here yesterday. The Three Leaves Brand cooling water drinks were taken off a food distributor’s shelf in Likas. According to the Pharmacy Enforcement Branch officer who did not wish to be named, it is compulsory to place the hologram label on every health product before it is distributed. “Every health product must have the label which issued by the Health Ministry, adding it is the directive given by the ministry to all manufacturers and distributors,” said the officer. Products having the label means that they are certified and approved by the ministry and are safe for consumption, but most of the cooling water bottles at the premises did not have any. However, the officers encountered some problems during the seizure as the distributor and manufacturer of the drinks from Penang, who came later, refused hand them over, claiming they had done nothing wrong Lawyers Datuk VK Liew and Ram Singh also came to the warehouse later after receiving a call from the distributor who insisted the Health Ministry was wrong. The lawyers, however, advised the distributor a manufacturer to surrender the items. It was learnt that the manufacturer, who happened to be in Sabah on a business trip, admitted later that it was an honest mistake by the factory where the workers must have forgotten the procedure. He further explained that they had obtained necessary hologram labels from the ministry earlier but the factory in Penang had missed putting it on the bottles. Earlier, the manufacturer stressed that they had followed all rules and regulations, saying that they had followed the necessary requirements such as relevant documents and licences. Further checks by the enforcement however found that the manufacturers had packaged three bottles together but labeled only one of the bottles. “The label has to be put on each and every bottle,” the enforcement officer stressed. He added they were investigating the case under Regulation 7(1)A of the Control of Cosmetic and Drug Regulation 1984 for violation of registration terms.


Bingkor assemblyman Justin Guka yesterday urged the State Government to take another look at the import of beef from India to protect local livestock breeders. He said local cattle and buffalo breeders were unable to match the low prices of the imported Indian beef. “The Government needs to have a solid policy to protect the rights of local breeders by cutting down on meat imports because the current situation has killed off the interest of local breeders,” he said when debating the 2008 State Budget at the State Assembly here yesterday. Justin stressed that the Government should instead take advantage of the State’s status as a disease-free zone for ruminant livestock and turn Sabah into a meat production hub for the country and possibly regionally. “I propose that the Government re-study the import of cheap Indian beef because the country has not achieved disease-free status and we may be simply introducing diseases to Sabah through the import of frozen beef. “Sabah and Sarawak have been declared as disease-free zones for ruminant livestock in Malaysia, hence the Government should take full advantage of this opportunity to turn Sabah into a hub for livestock produce for Malaysia and neighbouring Asian countries if possible. “If implemented systematically by the Government, I am sure livestock rearing can become a major source of revenue for the people of Sabah,” he said. Justin also urged the Government to re-evaluate the tax rate of 7.5 percent for each oil palm plantation operator to ease the burden of plantation smallholders in the State. Speaking in support of Sri Tanjung assemblyman Samson Chin, he said palm oil prices had been unstable over the years leaving the smallholders in a fix. “When the price of palm oil drops all the losses are borne by plantation operators or owners and there is no assistance to recoup the losses, and when the prices go up a high tax is imposed which the operators cannot afford to settle,” he said. Justin urged the relevant ministry to carry out a study on the revenue status of plantation smallholders before imposing any tax as he said there is a large possibility that the smallholders are facing huge losses. “This could lead to them leaving the sector as they are unable to earn sufficient returns if the taxation rate is not re-evaluated,” he said and also proposed that the plantation operators be included in discussions to decide on tax cuts.


Over 100 Taman Jaya Diri tenants have voiced their unhappiness that their elected representative did not fulfil a promise to them. They claimed that the elected representative had promised them new housing at Suang Parai (their former village) in Karambunai, before instructing them to leave their village and stay temporary at Taman Jaya Diri. Ramli Laudi, 47, who is a tenant at Taman Jaya Diri, said they were facing difficulties paying rental to the Town and Housing Development Board (LPPB) because “we are only farmers with no fixed income”. “We were staying at Suang Parai before and were told by the BN YB that we could return to the village after the new houses were built. But today not only was the promise not kept, we saw strangers moving into our houses there. “I could see my garden bearing all kinds of fruits today, but someone else is staying in what was supposed to be my house at Suang Parai, my former village!” he said. Ramli said more than 100 tenants of the flats, mostly farmers from Suang Parai, Karambunai were burdened by their debts with loan sharks. He said they had to borrow the money to settle their outstanding rental with LPPB or else face eviction. According to him, the elected representative promised them that the flats could be purchased through deductions from their rentals if the BN won the election and that the rent could be waived for one year under a federal scheme.


11 pirate transport vehicles detained
Police here detained 11 vehicles believed to be used for pirate transport operation, around the night market and Post Malaysia office here on Tuesday. “Police are still detaining five of the vehicles, including a Kancil, at the police station as the owners have yet to claim them,” said district police chief DSP Zahari Mohammad yesterday He also disclosed that the traffic police issued 257 summonses to motorists here for road tax, driving license and bald tyre offences. Zahari warned pirate taxi operators to stop their activity as they are not insured to protect their passengers in case of accident. He said the police had identified some of the fatal road accidents in the district involved this illegal kind of transport vehicles. Meanwhile, Zahari said the police would round up beggers in the town area soon. “Police have received many complaints from the public on these people roaming around the town asking for money,” he said. “Some of these beggers, especially women, are normally found at the five-foot ways and coffee shops,” he said, adding the children would enter coffee shops and beg for money from customers who are having their meal. “Police will take stern action on this activity because it could tarnish the image of the district which will hold the Pesta Kayu Koningau-Onsoi on November 23,” he said.


A man was believed to have been shot dead by two men who were known to him, in broad daylight at Taman Donggongon here yesterday. The wife of the victim, who was identified as Chan Yen Kiong, saw the two men talking to her husband before they locked her up in a toilet together with their maid in the 1pm incident. District police chief DSP Madang Usat in disclosing this, said the 47-year-old self-employed suffered serious head injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). Initial investigation revealed that the victim was talking with the two men who came to the house on a motorcycle and stopped at the main door. “He was standing inside the house while the two men were outside. The only thing that separated them were the grilles. It was learnt that they were talking about ‘Along’ (illegal money lender),” said Madang. After a while, one of the men asked permission to use the toilet, and the victim told them to enter through the kitchen door. Upon entering, the duo then threatened the maid who was cleaning dishes, to keep quiet. They then tied the hands and legs of the maid and the victim’s wife who was sitting at the dining table and covered their mouths before locking them in the toilet. According to the victim’s 39-year-old wife, who declined to be named, they heard gun shot coming from outside and later heard the duo escaping on the motorcycle.
Both the women quickly freed themselves and walked out of the toilet. They found the victim on the sofa with serious head injuries. “The wife ran out to seek help from neighbours. They later sent the victim to QEH but he succumbed to injuries on the way,” said Madang, adding the police were investigating the motive behind the murder. “We hope the public with any information of the case will come forward and assist us in our investigation,” he said.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Lembaga Pembangunan Perumahan dan Bandar (LPPB) manager PS Wong has assured that she is prepared to help make it easy for the occupants of the flats at Taman Jaya Diri in Sepangar to pay their rental arrears. She said there is no need for any of the more than -700 tenants to resort to borrowing from loan sharks to pay their outstanding rent. “I would surely help them if they come to my office, make a proposal on how they could settle their outstanding rent, or tell me how I could help them to overcome their burden,” she said. “I pity them too when they turn to AhLong. . .it is not solving their problem because if they do not have a fixed income, how could they be able to pay the rent in future. Besides, they are burdening themselves with having to pay a high interest to Ah Long?” Wong was asked to comment on the revelation of the tenants’ plight by CASH Deputy President, Nordin Thani, who said numerous desperate residents there turned to Ah Long for loans to pay their rental arrears after they were told to vacate the flats if they failed to pay. “As a human being, I understand their situation, no fixed income, hardly pay their rent on time... but they must also understand that we are also doing our duty to collect rent here,” said Wong. “The problem are some tenants who failed to pay their outstanding rents and did not approach us here or see us to make a proposal how they could pay their outstanding rents,” she said. “If they discuss with us, they could pay by instalments.., let us know why they could not pay the amount we have asked, we still could consider as long as they want to pay. “However, some of them did not respond at all when we issued the notices and are not paying the outstanding rents at all, so we have no choice but to issue a notice for them to vacate the flats. Furthermore, we have a long waiting list of new applicants, so if the existing tenants could not pay, we have other applicants ready to rent the flats.” According to Wong, should the tenants come to LPPB office to see her or her officers in charge of rent collection, they would be asked to pay at least 50 percent of the outstanding balance. “However, if they could not pay that amount, they could pay a minimum of 30 percent. If they still could not do that, we would consider their proposals ….. we still can negotiate. The important thing is they undertake to pay,” she said. Asked if she received instructions from any authority to issue an eviction notice to the tenants who failed to pay, Wong replied, “No, I did not; this is a routine for us to solve the problem.” Asked if she was aware that some of the tenants have claimed they received promises from their former BN candidate that they would stay at the flats temporary and could return to their former houses which they were asked to leave, she said: “As far as I am concerned, if the tenants are genuinely unable to pay the rent, there is a scheme for them to apply last year from the Federal Government, through Kota Kinabalu City Hall, whereby, if approved, they need not pay their rents for a year.” Meanwhile, a City Hall spokeswoman said they have received many applications for over a year, not only from Taman Jaya Diri tenants but also from Taman Bukit Setia, which is also a housing scheme run by LPPB. “All the applicants are having difficulty paying the rents and feeling the burden of having to pay the outstanding rents, especially when they do not have a fixed income, have large families and having to cope with a high cost of living,” she said. “We have submitted their applications to the Federal Government, but we do not know why the latter has not replied. We could not do anything further but to wait.”

WEDNESDAY-21ST NOVEMBER 2007-New Policy to resolve backlog of land applications

New policy to resolve backlog of land applications
THE Land and Survey Department would be implementing the New Land Alienation Policy to resolve the backlog of land applications. Replying to Datuk Mohd Lan Allani (BN-Sulabayan) in the State Assembly yesterday, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Radin Malleh said some 157,762 land applications were registered with the Land Office between 2001 and 2005. Out of the total figure, 52,606 applications had been processed and tabled in the district land utilisation committee and so far only 22,687 applications had been approved. “The applications are from individuals, companies, Government departments and agencies,” he said. Meanwhile, the State Government has been urged to expedite the approval of the elevation of Telupid sub-district to a full district to enable the area to get more Federal-funded development projects such as hospital. In making the call, Labuk assemblyman Datuk Seri Panglima Michael Asang said the proposal to upgrade the health centre in Telupid to a mini hospital would be implemented after its status had been upgraded to a full district. “This is the aspiration of the people in the sub-district of Telupid for the Government to elevate it to a full district,” he said in his debate in support of the State Budget 2008. Michael said 10 villages in Telupid and 19 villages in Beluran district were among the areas that had not been supplied with treated water, He said the upgraded water treatment plants in the two areas only have the capacity to generate 11 litres of water per day (MLD) for Beluran and six MLD for Telupid which are still inadequate. As such, Michael reckoned that some of the RM330. 78 million allocation for infrastructure development under the 2008 State Budget be used to implement the water supply projects in Telupid and Beluran. He also urged the State Federal Development Department (JPPS) to expedite the approval of the gravity water supply projects for Kampung Baba and Kampung Ansuan in his constituency. In 2005, he said the Government had implemented the rural electricity supply program in 10 villages in Labuk and five villages in Telupid. Michael also urged the JPPS to speed up the implementation of similar projects for 20 villages in the area.


Musa said the Government had to reject an application from Sook, Keningau because the land being applied for is located within the State Forest Reserve. There were also cases where illegal immigrants encroached on state land reserves to build their houses and plant crops with assistance from certain quarters, he said. “The Government will ensure that only land applications from genuine locals will be considered,” he said, adding that a meeting will be held between the State Government, the Land and Survey Department and the assemblymen to discuss the distribution of land to genuine applicants in their respective constituencies.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Chemical Company of Malaysia Berhad (CCM Bhd), a company listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia, has confirmed its entry into Sabah to build a fertilizer plant by 2009. Its subsidiary, CCM Agriculture (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, signed a purchase agreement with State-owned POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd yesterday for a 16.65-acre plot in the palm oil industrial cluster in Lahad Datu. Industrial Development Minister Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin witnessed the signing at POIC Sabah’s head office at the Sabah Trade Centre here led by the Chief Executive Officer of POIC Lahad Datu, Dr Pang Teck Wai, and CCM Agriculture director Haji Mohd Ali Sabri bin Mohd Ali Jaafar. Haji Mohd Ali Sabri is also the Chief Operating Officer of CCM Bhd. The land purchase price is about RM8 million and CCM Agriculture is expected to invest RM75 million in a fertilizer plant with an annual capacity of about 130,000 tonnes. Yesterday’s signing put the number of investors in POIC Lahad Datu at 16, three of which are major fertilizer companies. Other investors include those in biodiesel, logistics and bulking installations.
The combined investments these companies will bring into POIC Lahad Datu is more than RM1.2 billion. Two biodiesel plants in POIC Lahad Datu are in operation. They are the Australian-owned SPC Biodiesel Sdn Bhd and the Korean- controlled Global Biodiesel. Meanwhile, Dr Pang said the entry of a third fertilizer company in POIC Lahad Datu was proof of the confidence these companies have in the future of the Sabah oil industry and POIC Lahad Datu. According to him, Sabah imports about one million tonnes of fertilizers per year to feed its plantation and cash crop sector. The entry of the fertilizer companies would ensure that the Sabah consumers do not have to pay the costly shipping. This is especially significant in view of the impending rise in transportation charges caused by the sharp rise in petroleum prices. The CCM Bhd Group is Malaysia’s largest chemicals, fertilizers and health care companies specializing in chemical products and applications, fertilizers and technical advisory services, pharmaceutical and healthcare products.


Seven village roads not built due to lack of allocation THE lack of government allocation has been cited as the reason for the failure to build at least seven roads in villages within the Moyog area in Penampang. Moyog assemblyman Philip Lasimbang, who told the State Assembly sitting this yesterday was however asked to provide the Infrastructure Development Ministry with the list of the roads that have not been given government allocation. Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah said his Ministry will look into the matter and give due consideration to the request for allocation. “Please submit to us the list of roads and we will study and provide the necessary allocation if there is a need to do so,” said Tan. Earlier, Lasimbang asked whether the State Government was considering to take steps to overcome the overlapping of power between the State and Federal Government in the upgrading of State roads. In reply, Assistant Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Aklee Abbas asked Lasimbang to explain what he meant. “If it means overlapping responsibilities among the State Government departments/agencies and their counterparts in the Federal Government, then it does not exist as far as our Ministry is concerned,” said Aklee.


CityHall is introducing Toilet “Star Rating” at food premises in the City in its effort to continue upgrading and improving toilet cleanliness. Grading of toilets would he carried out by City Hall and the Quality Restroom Association Malaysia (QRAM) Sabah Chapter and those qualified will given “Star Rating” to hang on at their toilet door. City Hall is the first local authority in the country to introduce the Star Rating for toilets at food premises, which is separate from the existing grading system on food premises. Mayor Datuk Iliyas bin Ibrahim said this when launching the City Level World Toilet Day 2007 organised by City Hall and QRAM at City Hall Conference Hall yesterday, held in conjunction with the World Toilet Day celebrated throughout the world on November 19.
Among those present were City Hall Director General Datuk Dr Chua Kim Hing, QRAM Deputy Chairperson Nilakrishna James, who represented QRAM Sabah Chapter President Edward Yong Oui Fah who is the Assistant Local Government and Housing Minister, Sabah West Coast Coffee Shop Association president Yong Tzu Yoon and representatives from the Sabah Restaurant Association, Sabah Hotel Association and Sabah Bakery Association. Explaining the Toilet Star Rating system, Iliyas said apart from encouraging operators of food premises to upkeep their toilet cleanliness, it is also to inform their patrons that the toilets of the said premises are in order and clean for their use. “Those who scored less than 50 percent marks will he given a notice to upgrade and clean their toilets or face closure of their premises,” he said, adding that toilet cleanliness should be made a priority by all operators of food premises and expressed hopes that the program will be well received by them. Calling on the people to change their mindset and discard the general perceptions that toilets are dirty, he said City Hall recently came up with specifications to improve cleanliness on toilets applicable to all food premises in the City. “Operators of food premises who wish to renew their trading licence must have their toilets fixed with floor to ceiling tiles, bidet installed on the right hand side of toilet bowl, good flushing system, a hand dryer, a covered dustbin, soap, mirror, decorations as well as air freshener,” he explained. According to him, City Hall has given out many incentives to get operators of food premises to improve the condition and cleanliness of their toilets. “We even offered RM500 incentives for the food operators who upgraded their toilets according to our specifications. So far, we have received 22 applications,” said Iliyas and thanked those who have taken the incentives.
Towards this end, he said a clean toilet and clean premises would attract more customers and indirectly increase the income of food operators. In another development, Iliyas said the Federal Government had approved an allocation of RM2 million for City Hall to built new toilets in the City and upgrade existing ones. For the year 2007, City Hall constructed five new toilets and upgraded 10 existing toilets. The new toilets are located at Damai Plaza Phase 4, Wawasan Bus Terminal, Likas Sports Complex, Wisma Kosan area and one near the Sabah Tourism Board building. “The new toilet design and facilities are near five star standard and equipped with sensor tap and urinal sensor flusher,” he said, adding that all fundings for the projects were from the Federal Government through JPPS. As part of the City Day World Toilet Day celebration yesterday, a Toilet Awareness Walk was organized, which saw Iliyas together with his Director-General, City Hall officers and QRAM officials inspecting several toilets at Jalan Gaya, Jalan Pantai and Bandaran Berjaya.


Only three sport complexes register positive returns
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Sports Board (SSB) achieves an average of RM2.7 million collection per year from renting out its facilities at all the eight sport complexes in the State. However, out of the total amount of collection, only three of the eight sport complexes registered positive returns, namely the Kota Kinabalu Sport Complex. Keningau Sport . Complex & Kota Belud Sport Complex. But the rest of the sport complexes in Penampang, Sandakan, Tawau, Tenom and Tambunan achieved lower collection compared to maintenance expenditure. Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Liew Yun Fah said despite the low collection compared to the overall Government . expenditure, the question of profit —. — is not the most important thing. According to him, the State Government has allocated RM41 million or RM6. 83 million per year from 2001 to 2006 for the purpose of paying salaries of the 319 staff, at the moment, of all the sport complexes in Sabah. “Whether it makes profit or incurs losses, the issue doesn’t arise. This is because the main responsibility of the complex mänägement is to provide the best services to people from all walks of life with minimum fees. “The services are the social responsibility of the State Government to produce a healthy, disciplined and united community,” he stressed when replying to a question from Likas Assemblyman Datuk Liew Teck Chan at the State Assembly sitting yesterday.
He said, for the Tawau Sport Complex which started operating in May this year, the SSB collected RM165,000 as of Nov 15. “With the overwhelming amount, SSB is confident that if the trend of using facilities continues, the Tawau Sports Complex can contribute positively to the overall collection of SSB,” he said. Liew added that the Government is also making efforts to have two sport complexes — one each in Ranau and Sipitang. Construction of the complex in Ranau is currently in progress and is expected to be completed in early 2009 while works on the complex in Sipitang will start early next year.


15 companies buy 167 acres of land at POIC Lahad Datu
Fifteen companies have signed agreements with POIC Sdn Bhd to buy 267.39 acres of land worth RM 1. 364 billion at the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in Lahad Datu. Industrial Development Minister Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin said the companies, among other things, were involved in the production of bio-diesel, palm oil refinering, fertilizer productions, warehousing, logistics and other support services. Another 25 companies are now negotiating with POIC Sdn Bhd on the purchase of some 386 acres of land worth RM1 .806 billion, he said when replying to Membakut assemblyman Haji Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif. Ewon said 13 of the companies and POIC Sdn Bhd are expected to finalise the sales and purchase agreements by early next year. He added POIC Sdn Bhd also received serious enquiries from 62 companies which were keen to buy 732.4 acres with investment value of RM3,447. 19 million. “The overall transactions would involve 1,385.79 acres with investment amounting to RM6.819 billion. “The overwhelming response from investors has forced POIC Sdn Bhd to provide a bigger industrial land as the existing area through the Phase I and 2 development of the POIC in Lahad Datu are unable to meet the high demand for land,” Ewon told the State Legislative Assembly yesterday. As such, Ewon said his ministry and POIC Sdn Bhd were now planning to develop Phase 3 in order to cater for the demand from investors who are keen to set up biomass-based operation there. In another development, Ewon said the POIC Sandakan main development plan for 2006-2010 had been completed with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports already approved by the Sandakan Municipal Council and Department of Environment. He said the physical works on POIC Sandakan were being carried out, with the Phase lA site covering 350 acres already 60 per cent completed, while the 650-acre Phase lB is being tendered out. “The Phase 1 is expected to be fully ready by the end of 2008,” said Ewon. adding that the Phase 2 development covering 720 acres is under planning.


THE State Government has been urged to expand the scope of its tourism development budget to include upgrading basic infrastructure in the interior to maximise Sabah’s tourism potential. Sook assemblyman Tan SriJoseph Kurup said poor access to the interior region is a contributing factor to the lack of interest among tourists to visit despite having numerous tourism sites. In his budget speech the Chief Minister (Datuk Sen Musa Aman) stressed on increasing hotel rooms but did not mention about other facilities, especially upgrading of roads,” he said when debating the 2008 State Budget at the State Assembly here, yesterday. “Providing hotel rooms to meet tourists’ needs is not enough to attract them to interesting sites. Tourists are mostly concentrated in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and National Park in Kundasang, while tourist arrivals in the interior are not very encouraging. “It could be because marketing of interesting places such as Mount Trus Madi and the Tenom Agriculture Park is not wide enough …. (poor access) is also a reason why tourists are not attracted to visit other districts even if there is much to see,” he said. Kurup also urged the Government to ensure employers in the tourism industry maintain a staff team with locals making up a minimum of 30 percent. “Many jobs have been created (in the industry but I WAS made to understand that those who are reaping the benefits of employment are not the locals. It has been said that employers prefer to hire foreigners instead of locals. “Contentions that locals are uninterested or are absent from work are the reasons, which I feel are unreasonable. I have constantly heard of these complaints but no action has been taken to rectify the situation. “I believe the problem can be overcome by providing training and also instilling a suitable attitude where they are responsible in their respective work,” he said.


Allocations needed for local authorities to give pay hike
THE State Government was urged to also give grants or financial assistance to local authorities to help them cope with higher expenditure caused by the recent salary increment for the civil servants and to avoid additional financial burden for the public. Sekong Assemblyman Datuk Shamsuddin Yahya said that unlike other government agencies and departments whose staff are paid using government allocations, local authorities are responsible for paying their workers using the revenues generated from their operations. In order to pay the higher salaries to their employees, the local authorities would have to generate more income by increasing assessment rates and license fees, which are the main sources of their revenues, he added. This, he said, will burden the public as it is they who are actually absorbing the extra expenditure of local authorities. The increase will burden business operators and ratepayers and will definitely be opposed by the affected local residents,” he said. “The local authorities are the frontliners of the government machinery and whatever policy or action they implement will impact positively or negatively on the Government depending on the perception of the public of that policy or action,” he said.


The probe on the illegal logging case in Keningau has been completed with two factories charged and fined in the court for an offence under the Forest Enactment Act 1968. Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Nasir Tun Sakaran said each of the factories was slapped a maximum fine of RM5O,000 and the seized logs were forfeited. “The minimum RM5O,000 fine was under the old rate because the maximum fine of RM500,000 under the amended Forest Enactment Act that was passed at the last State Legislative Assembly sitting has not been enforced yet,” he told the House when replying to Sook assemblyman Tan Sri Joseph Kurup yesterday. Replying to a question from Datuk Sairin Karno (Umno-Liawan), Nasir said the Forestry Department was planning to recruit more enforcement personnel but the matter was still being studied as it involved a high cost
However, he said various new approaches had been taken to reduce crime activities in the State forest reserves, particularly in the interior areas, which included the Forestry Department’s prohibition of transporting logs at night and during public holidays. He said the assessment and measurement of logs would be allowed within the licensed concession area only, apart from regular patrol rounds and stringent check at the gate by enforcement personnel. “These new approaches and specific terms and conditions will greatly reduce crime activities in the State’s forest reserves,” said Nasir. Nasir also told the House that the Illegal Logging Eradication Unit in the Chief Minister’s Department had taken proactive measures by carrying out investigations on State forest reserve and timber concession areas, including the Sabah Foundation’s areas and sawmill factories. “An integrated operation will be carried out by the Forestry Department regional offices in Nabawan, Sook and Keningau with the army from the Lok Kawi Army Camp soon following reports received from the public about illegal logging activities in the interior area.” Nasir said the Illegal Logging Eradication Unit had carried out investigations in the interior between September and this month but it did not find any illegal logging in the forest reserves at Kampung Sinsuron, Ulu Tambunan by a company as alleged. “No encroachment had been found on the forest reserves in Sri Bongawan and Batu 38 Nabawan as alleged by local residents,” he added.


Sook assemblyman Tan Sri Joseph Kurup yesterday urged the State Government to expedite amendments to the Native Ordinance to prevent abuse and ensure the rights of Sabah natives are preserved. He said the current legal interpretation of the Ordinance, which. was established during British rule in 1952, no longer applies as the status of both State and population now differs greatly from when it first came in force 55 years ago. “Provisions under Sections 2(c) and (d) can no longer apply because under these provisions, it seems natives of Sarawak, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines can claim Native Certificates,” he said when debating the 2008 State Budget at the State Assembly here, yesterday. Kurup said the provisions under the Native Ordinance are in direct conflict with the definition of natives under Article 161A clause (b) of the Federal Constitution and Article 41 paragraph (10) of the State Constitution. “These articles define a native as a child or grandchild of a person indigenous to Sabah. The Oxford dictionary defines indigenous as belonging naturally to a place and as such when these laws are applied in current and future times, the people referred to (in the Native Ordinance) should not fall under the word indigenous,” he said. Kurup admitted that it would not be easy to find a solution to the current situation due to various sensitivities in society, but stressed that if it is not settled soon, the Government may face numerous legal implications due to the loophole in the Ordinance.
“Amendments to the law needs to be expedited because it poses the danger of not only leaving genuine applicants in a dilemma but also legal action against the Government. “We do not know the situation in Sabah where we are faced with illegal immigrants that may lead them to starting a reverse takeover because our law gives them a loophole they can take advantage of and it is not impossible that they will take legal action one day,” he stressed.

Monday, November 19, 2007


1,000 low-cost houses built in Telipok

THE Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority had built 1,000 low-cost houses in Telipok. Assistant Local Government and Housing Minister Edward Yong Oui Fah said the housing scheme is meant for locals with a monthly income of between RM500 and RM 1,800. He said that priority is given to those without house, living in squatter areas and victims of natural disasters such as flood. “About 70 per cent of the completed units are given to Bumiputera and the remaining 30 per cent to non-Bumiputeras,” said Yong when replying to Datuk Louis Rampas BN-Kiulu). He said the Federal Government. through the National Housing Department, had also completed two projects under the rental scheme. They comprise 2,400 units at Taman Telipok Jaya Ria phase two and 2,174 units at Taman Sri Rugarding.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


One day medical camp in Kalabakan
A one-day medical camp will be held at the Kalabakan/ Serudung Laut this Sunday that will benefit the rural people in the area. Rotary Club of Tawau Tanjung President Peter Wong said each year the club organizes a community programme and in line with this year’s Rotary theme, ‘Rotary Shares’, the medical camp project would be a meaningful one for Rotary and Kalabakan. “One of the main items is eradication of polio and the club hopes to do more of such projects that will benefit the people in future,” he said. Project chairman Desmond Liew said the one-day project is held in collaboration with the hospital’s dental unit, Sabah Health Department and Sabah Family Planning Unit.
“Three dentists, 16 personnel and four doctors from the Health Department and five assistants and four personnel from the Family Planing Unit are taking part in the camp. They will do medical checks on children aged three to 12 years old and the adults at 11am at the Usahawan Borneo Plantation’s Ladang Selimpopon office,” he said. Desmond said the medical camp covers checks on health, blood pressure, dental and fillings, diabetes, polio vaccination for children under six years old, deworming for children, talk on family planning, oral cancer screening and talk on prevention. The club would also be donating used clothing, toothpaste and toothbrushes to the community there .
On the same day , the Rotary Club of Tawau Tanjung will conduct a literacy project which will be headed by the club’s Vocational Service Director, Past President Jimmy Lim. ‘Literacy is one of the Rotary International’s worldwide long-term projects to give the world community access to literacy program and learning skills. The Usahawan Borneo Plantation is operating an estate school catered for the estate community, which will be expanded to the nearby estate community in the near future,” said Peter. He said it provides basic learning program for young kids aged 6 to 10 at the estate with English and Bahasa Malaysia as the main subjects on top of Mathematics. “We will be providing textbooks and writing material for the estate students to improve their learning skills,” he said.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


St Francis Xavier’s produces more 5A achievers
Seven of the 141 ST Francis Xavier’s Primary School students who sat for the UPSR this year achieved 5As compared to only two last year.
They are Daryll Evan Alexius Shirley Lidovicus, Lionelson Norbert Yong, Livani Chanthirasekar, Nurul Farhana Safran, Shirlee Sazalee and Ainnur Nasreen. The school registered a 61.3 percent percentage passes compare to 60.4 percent last year, said it headmistress, Helena Edirin.


Top achievers receive RM100 each
SK Holy Trinity was the top UPSR achiever in the district with 22 of its students scoring 5As. Its passing rate also increased from 84 percent to 86.2 percent. The top scorers were Aezalia A Malek, Andi Muhammad Amin, Andi Muhammad Basri Pojojongi, Ariel Logujin Premus, Asyraaf Yusuf, Benny Aguspare Masse, Bezalee Ginsos, Dzulfa Jiplin, Ersey Flourish Jefrin, Kasing Webbly, Melvira Malson, Mohd Zairin Mohd Zainurin, Mohd Safian Salim, Nur Adilah Syahirah Rasid, Nur Hidayah Farhana Radzi, Nur Azlin, Hasbullah, Nur Shafiqah Sabir, Nurul Atiqah Sady, Sharifah Noor Baizura Ahmad and Siti Nazaliah Ahmat Jailani. Meanwhile, the Senior Assistant of the school, Nagula Arul, will be retiring at the end of this year. Nagula has served in the education sector for 35 years and she has been teaching at the school for 10 years. Previously, she was a teacher at SK St Patrick here for 11 years.
In conjunction with her retirement, her husband T Arulanathan, who is managing director of Hashena Plantations Sdn Bhd cum director of Plus-Bumimas Sdn Bhd, gave RM100 each to the 22 top UPSR scorers.


34 7As achievers from Shan Tao

The teachers’ dedication and hard work were instrumental in the outstanding achievement of SJK (C) Shan Tao in this year’s UPSR, said its principal, Goh Teck Seng. Speaking at the school’s 53rd graduation ceremony yesterday, he said out of the 239 students who sat for the UPSR this year, 34 of them scored 7As while another 27 obtained 6As He said the school also scored an overall passing rate of 80.75 per cent, a slight improvement of last year’s 80 per cent. “Among the high achievers were some Bumiputera children,” said Goh, adding that the school also excelled in Mathematics with a passing rate of 99.58 per cent.
In another Development. Goh said the school management had recently submitted the building plan for its proposed new building to the Kota Kinabalu City Hall for approval. Lamenting that the school classrooms are overcrowded, he said that compared to the other schools which have a maximum of 35 students per class, each of its 33 classrooms is currently packed with between 61 to 62 students and that it has been giving a lot of pressure to its teachers. Out of the 33 classrooms catering for its 1,670 students, 28 of them are temporary ones. Once completed, the proposed RM4 million four-storey building is expected to create an additional 25 classrooms, said Goh, adding that 30 per cent of its students are Bumiputera. Also present at the occasion were Assistant Resource Development and Information Technology Minister cum Luyang assemblywoman Melanie Chia: Catherine Yong, the chairlady of the school board; Dr Hiew King Cheu, chairman of its Alumni Association; Thomas Tham. chairman of its Parents and Teachers Association and William Chu, chairman of the Sabah Chinese Primary Schools Working Committee.


Sabah students still weak in English, Maths, Science
Sabah recorded a slight increase in this year’s UPSR performance with 895 of the 44,832 students from Government and vernacular primary schools who sat for examination scoring straight 5As and 7As. The State’s overall passing rate increased by 1.32 per cent from 44.4 per cent in 2006 to 45.72 per cent this year, State Education Department Evaluation and Examination Sector Head Jr Datu Jamigul Datu Salim disclosed yesterday. He said 20,497 students achieved Grade C or the minimum passing grade in all the subjects taken. “The results showed students across the State are still weak in English, Mathematics and Science subjects with less then 50 per cent of them scoring grade A,” said Datu Jamigul in a statement. Of the 19 top students from Sabah, 10 were from Kota Kinabalu, four from Tawau, three from Kota Belud and two from Sandakan. They are Serena Marissa Karnail (SK Stella Maris) Nurfarahin Rambedan (SK Kepayan), Charlene Chee Shao Ling (SK St Francis Convent) Lim Han Liang (SK St Agnes. KK), Aizuddin Aguse (SK Luyang, KK), Joan John (SK Mutiara), Shera Jane Peter (SK St Joseph, Penampang), Mohd Hamizan Farhan Mohd Jeffri (SK Kg Contoh Petagas , Nur Farhana Ahmad (SK Taun Gusi, Kota Belud), Scholastica Dumat (SK Giok, Tamparuli), Mohd Uwais Roslan (SK Narawang), Kasmia Parussangi (SK Sungai Manila, Sandakan), Phang Wei Terd (SK St Monica, Sandakan), Awanis Zakaria (SK Kalabakan), Nur Ain Syafiera Yusman (SK Jambatan Putih, Tawau), Foo Yee Zin (SJKC Shan Tao, K.K Maxmillian Chia Ka Cheng (SJKC Yuk Chin Jalan Kuhara, Tawau), Sia Zheng Cheng (SJKC Sin Hwa, Tawau) and special student Wong Fui Jing Crystal (SJKC St Peter, KK). Wong Fui Jing Crystal, who is a spastic, scored 6A and lB. said Datu Jamigul. Among the Government primary schools that produced a big number of straight 5As achievers were SK St Monica with 32 students, followed by SK St Francis Convent (27), SK Sri Gaya (25), SK St Agnes (24) and SK Mutiara Kota Kinabalu (21). Six of the top vernacular primary schools were SRJK (C) Shan Tao with 34 students followed by SRJK (C) Chung Hwa Kg Air (32), SRJK (C) St James Likas (20), SRJK (C) Yuk Chin Tawau (18), SRJK (c) Chung Hwa Likas (13) and 13 students from SRJK (C) Sin Hwa Tawau. Students who were not satisfied with their results could contact their schools headmaster before Dec 16 to have their results - rechecked, added Datu Jamigul,

Friday, November 16, 2007


City dwellers can expect a cleaner environment and beachfront with the new sewerage mains that would replace the current system along the Coastal Road from Tanjung Aru to Tanjung Lipat. The City Hall through funding from the Sabah State Government, will replace the existing undersized sewers, and expected to solve the frequent occurrences of overflowing manholes, blockages and pipe breakage problem due to old pipes.
Mayor Datuk Iliyas bin Ibrahim in announcing this yesterday, said with the installations of the new sewerage line that begins from the first manhole at Tanjung Aru First Beach, all the way to the Tanjung Aru Township and surrounding areas, it will divert sewage from these areas to the newly completed sewage pumping station at Harbour City in Sembulan.
The project is expected to be completed in 18 months. The first phase consisting of laying an additional main from Habour City to Tanjung Lipat, was completed on schedule and can be utilized once the whole network is completed.
Explaining the existing sewerage network, Iliyas said the current system catering for area ranging from Tanjung Aru Beach Hotel, Tanjung Aru Township and surrounding areas, is connected to the existing pump station near Wisma Muis. He said this old sewerage network is undersize and near its life span.
Thanking the State Government for the allocation to fund the new sewerage line from Tanjung Aru to Tanjung Lipat Coastal Road, lliyas said the project is also based on the City Hall Sewerage Masterplan which was completed by its own staff.
“Once the sewerage system is upgraded and completed based on our sewerage master plan, KK City shorelines will be cleaner as the new sewerage system will reduce direct discharge of sewerage from the drains into the sea,” he added. According to Iliyas, the sewerage system of the Tanjung Aru water village, which has been earmarked for tourism, will also be connected to the new sewerage system.
Meanwhile, Iliyas called on the business establishments in the surrounding areas of Tanjung Aru such as Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru, Kinabalu Yacht Club, Waikiki Condominium, and others to connect their sewerage line to the new sewerage system after it is completed. He said the new sewerage line is laid out close to the old system to enable easy connections to the new system.


Higher crime rate, lower solving rate But over 80 per cent of violent crime solved: CP
The crime rate in the State between January and October this year rose by 8.25 percent compared to that during similar period in 2006, but State Police Commissioner Datuk Noor : Rashid Ibrahim is happy with the performance of his team. “I believe we have worked hard to ensure the safety and security of the people in Sabah is maintained. There may be an increase in crime rate but there is nothing that we cannot handle,” he said. Noor Rashid was speaking during the presentation of awards to the five best police stations in Sabah by the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation at the Senior Police Officer’s Mess in Kepayan here, yesterday. The five police stations are Tuaran, Ranau, Semporna, Menggatal and Tawau. There were 6,140 cases in the first 10 months this year, 468 more than the 5,672 cases registered between January and October last year. Violent crime rate in the first 10 . months this year increased by 9.7 per cent or 136 cases more than the 1,402 during similar period in 2006.
Property crime rate increased by 7.78 per cent or 332 cases more than the 4,270 cases in 2006. The solving rate, however, fell to 37.4 per cent in the first 10 months this year from the high of 55.7 per cent in the same period last year, but Noor Rashid stressed that it was still higher than the international standard of 20 per cent. “What is more impressive is that the solving rate for violent crime between January and October this year stood at 80.7 per cent, higher than that recorded in the same period last year at 61.4 per cent. Noor Rashid said transparency and more quality investigations were the key behind the increase in solving rate for violent crime, which averaged about 25 cases a day statewide. However, he stressed, they cannot be satisfied with the current performance but will strive harder to achieve a better crime statistics, maybe one to rival their counterparts in Singapore. Noor Rashid also stressed the importance of public cooperation in preventing and combating crime. “The police would never succeed by only relying on ourselves. Instead, they must have the help of the public. There was a time when police worked in isolation but now we have to work together; we thought that crime prevention was exclusively for the police to shoulder but not anymore,” he explained. He said the situation has changed as police are required to take on a more proactive approach instead of just reacting when a crime is reported. Police force needs to be able to anticipate crimes, thus the need for policemen to be constantly prepared, he said. “But we need the public to cooperate with us, including the State Government, its agencies and non-governmental organisations,” he said. Noor Rashid also applauded the efforts by MCPF, through its Sabah chairman Datuk Henry Chin, in spreading crime prevention awareness especially among school students statewide. The MCPF has so far managed to convince 176 out of the 204 secondary schools to set up their own Crime Prevention Clubs.


Higher compensation for Signal Hill residents
The residents of the Signal Hill squatter area are asking for a higher compensation from the company engaged to do road expansion work and a further extension to the eviction order issued by City Hall. Chin Fui Fu, a resident and spokesman for the group, said the current offer from the company is insufficient for them to rebuild their lives and they do not have enough time to move their belongings despite the extended eviction deadline on Monday. According to Chin, the initial eviction deadline was extended to Nov 3 with assistance from Resource Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai and Likas assemblyman Datuk Liew Teck Chan. “We sent another letter asking for further extension of the deadline but we did not get any official reply from City Hall. Suddenly they come in this morning (yesterday) and start tearing down our houses,” he said when met yesterday during a joint operation to tear down the houses. “We can understand that the Government wants to implement the (road expansion) project, but we have been living here for so long. This area has been up since 1963 and some of us have been here up to four generations.”
Chin, 42, said of the 18 families residing in the area, three have already left after receiving compensation of RMI5,000 each for two of the families and RM30,000 for the third. He added that they were offered new houses at the Telipok Ria low- cost housing estate, but many had rejected the offer as the area is too far from their workplace. “Since the company has given compensation, we are asking for that and also an extension to the eviction order so that we have enough time to move our belongings. “Initially the company promised RM15,000 each in compensation, but now they are only willing to give RM100,000 for all the 15 families which we don’t agree ... we need between RM4O,000 to RM5O,000 because we will have to rebuild our lives,” he said. City Hall enforcement division director Abdul Mukti Muklish confirmed the operation, which involved 10 City Hall enforcement officers, two police officers, two officers from Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd and machinery contractors. “The eviction notice was issued in early October before HariRaya, The residents have been offered houses in Telipok Ria and while some accepted the offer, some of them rejected it,” he said when contacted yesterday. “The deadline was extended for two weeks (until yesterday). So far we have torn down two houses but the residents requested for an extension so they have two more days before we resume our operation on Monday. “I believe the rest of the residents have opted to take up houses at another low-cost housing project in Bukit Padang, which I was made to understand is expected to be completed by early next year ... until then the residents will either be renting houses or staying with relatives,” he said.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday 15th Nov 2007 - Ministry plans Complaints Bureau to listen to youths

KOTA KINABALU: If everything goes as planned, youths will have an alternative to turn to for help when they are in trouble.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Liew Yun Fah said they are currently preparing a working paper on the setting up of Youth Complaints Bureau to provide certified counselors to listen to problems faced by the younger generation.

“There are times when youths choose to talk to someone else rather than confiding in their parents, siblings or friends. By having the Bureau, youths may have someone else to talk to and share their problems,” said Liew during a courtesy call by delegates from Sabah Journalists Association at his office here, yesterday. The visitors were led by SJA president Datuk Jonistan. Bangkuai. Also present was the Ministry’s permanent secretary, Suzanna Liaw.

Liew explained that the Bureau would work like the Rakan Cop programme of the police in that besides providing an avenue for youths to share their problems, it would also serve as a monitoring group.

“The Bureau will provide counseling over the phone and it will be handled by professionals,” he said.

He said that about half of Sabah’s population of some 1.3 million people are below 40 years old.

“It will be a waste if these people are not given proper guidance; we need to prepare the young for future challenges and to be future leaders,” he said.

“I believe we will be able to help many young people through the Bureau and hopefully they would make full use of it,” he said.

Liew also stressed that the media should play its role in shaping the youths, helping them to be better persons and creating awareness on the importance of staying out of trouble.

Thursday 15th Nov 2007 - RM 5 bln investment

Boost for East Coast as POIC in Lahad Datu set to attract 80 new investors

KOTA KINABALU: The Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in Lahad Datu is expected to pull in some 80 new investors with investment potential of up to RM5 billion, said POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Dr Pang Teck Wai.

He said the new investors are very “keen” on participating in the POIC, especially a Korean company which is planning to set up a central steam power plant to supply power to the entire POIC area.

“The central steam plant will greatly reduce the cost of production at the POIC. Large (processing) plants normally have to build their own steam plants and that would be more expensive than purchasing the power supply,” he said.

Pang was speaking at a press conference after inking a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd and Union Harvest (East Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, which was represented by Union Harvest Group (UH) Managing Director Wong Yu.

He said the other investors will participate in various sectors in the POIC, such as production of oleo-chemical and food-based products, refineries, biodiesel, fertilisers and a pulp and paper mill.

“Currently 250 acres out of the 800 acres at the POIC have already been bought. Among others there are already two biodiesel plants up and we expect more to be set up soon,” he said.

Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin meanwhile said he expects progress at the POIC to pick up, especially after the launch of the Sabah Development Corridor next month.

“Progress has been a bit slow due to the current CPO (crude palm oil) prices, but things will be coming up. Hopefully when the Sabah Development Corridor is launched, the POIC will become an anchor for the East Coast,” he said.

On the entry of Union Harvest Group, Ewon said they will be setting up a plant valued at between RM5O- RM6O million to manufacture fertiliser.

“We wanted it in Lahad Datu because it is a natural port that has great potential and can provide the facilities to do business. It would be more cost effective to build a plant here rather than ship (products) from West Malaysia to East Malaysia,” he said.

The Union Harvest Group is the 15th company to confirm purchase of land at POIC Lahad Datu, where it will set up its fifth fertilizer manufacturing and storage facility in Malaysia on a 23.24-acre plot.

Its Lahad Datu facility, scheduled to begin operations at the end of 2009, is also expected to produce industrial chemicals.

The group is partly-owned by Sumifert Sdn Bhd, which is linked to Japanese multi-national Sumitomo Corporation, and has a global network of suppliers and customers spanning Jordan, Japan, Singapore, Germany and China.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - Youths achieve success in livestock breeding

20 earn about RM30,000 a month after venturing into industry
KOTA KINABALU: About 20 livestock breeders from the State have been raking in a monthly earning of about RM30,000 in a few years after venturing into the industry.

Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail said they were among the few local youths who heeded the government’s advice and took up the challenge by starting their own livestock breeding activities commercially.

He said many of these young entrepreneurs come from the rural areas such as Keningau an Lahad Datu.

“Actually, some of these breeders have exceeded the RM30,000 mark in their monthly income,” said Abdul Rahim yesterday.

He said one of the 20 successful breeders is a 29-year-old youth from Lahad Datu who took out a RM800,000 bank loan to commence his operation a few years ago.

“He is now drawing a monthly income of about RM28,000 and faces no problem in repaying the loan at RM6,000 per month. Recently, he approached the bank for a further loan to expand his operation,” Abdul Rahim said at the presentation of certificates to 220 breeders who received a total of 4,748 head of ruminant liverstocks under the ministry’s 100 Breeders Scheme to start their operations.

He said many Sabahan youths have been shunning job and business opportunities in the agriculture sector saying that “it is dirty and has no standard.”

Abdul Rahim said the time has come for the people to change their mindset and perception and regard the agriculture sector s a lucrative business if it is carried out commercially.

From next year onwards, he said his ministry is focusing on achieving the goal set in the 100 Breeders Scheme by increasing Sabah’s self-sufficiency in beef production from 26 per cent presently to 35 per cent by 2010.

He said about 40,000 of the 100,000 hectares of reserved grazing land in Sabah have been earmarked for development through the Department of Veterinary and Animal Industry (DOVSAI).

Efforts are also being made to increase fresh milk production from seven million liters per year now to eight million litres by 2010, said Abdul Rahim, adding that Sabah has achieved self-sufficiency in the production of chicken and chicken eggs.

“Sabah is currently producing 500 million eggs and 50 million chickens annually.”

Abdul Rahim added the agriculture sector, one of Sabah’s three main engines of economic growth along with tourism and the processing sectors, contributed RM532 million to the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2004.