Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday 16th Oct 2007 - Chua denies emergency units not going to accept normal patients

MUAR: Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek yesterday denied a newspaper report which stated that the emergency units of Government hospitals will no longer accept normal patients from next year.

Stating that the report was incorrect, he said the ministry has not made such a proposal.

Dr Chua said what was happening was that starting next year, the services of all health clinic would be extended to midnight to reduce the queues at Government hospitals.

“Only a small portion of those seeking treatment at the hospital emergency units are classified as requiring emergency treatment” he told reporters after attending a Hari Raya gathering hosted by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman at Sungai Mati here.

“The rest are normal patients,” he said, adding the attention of hospital emergency units was on patients requiring emergency treatment.

In response to a question, Dr Chua said extending the service hours of health clinics should not be a problem as the medical officers could work according to schedule.

“We are also requesting an allocation from the Government to bear the cost of extending the service hours,” he said.

Tuesday 16th Oct 2007 - Outstanding SPM students shun IT courses

SHAH ALAM: Outstanding Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) students’ preference for medical courses is posing difficulties for local universities in attracting top students to pursue information technology (IT) courses, said an academician.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)’s Dean of Information Technology and Quantitative Science Faculty, Associate Prof Dr Adnan Ahmad said IT was also banking on outstanding students as it was a challenging and interesting subject which required intelligence and high creativity.

He said brilliant students were needed to explore new discoveries through research and development.

“If outstanding students prefer other courses, the universities would be at the losing end and finally the country would have a shortage of brilliant minds in IT.

Malaysia would be lagging behind and become the recipient of the technology instead of the mover,” he said.

Dr Adnan said among IT areas which needed outstanding students were project management, software engineering, multimedia programming, security and forensic.

Multimedia programming was an important IT application in producing computer games which had a high commercial value, he said.

Asked why outstanding SPM students shunned IT courses, he said it could be due to the difficulty in getting jobs in the area as the number of IT graduates produced by public and private universities exceeded the demand.

Almost 30,000 IT graduates were churned out yearly, of whom about 14,000 came from private universities and colleges, and 7,000 more by public universities including 1,700 by UiTM, he said.

Dr Adnan said the quality of the programmes offered by universities also mattered but UiTM graduates were not affected by this as the courses were tailored to the industry’s expectation.

On job opportunities in IT, he said companies could appoint their own internal IT specialists to maintain and service their computers and IT system instead of outsourcing the work to outsiders.

He said, however, organizations preferred to engage outsiders to service their computers which could prove detrimental to their computer data security and system.

Dr Adnan said if more companies created jobs for IT specialists in their organizations, the shortage of jobs in the sector could be overcome.

Tuesday 16th Okt 2007 - CASH welcome to get people’s views: Jahid

TAMPARULI: The Consumers Association of Sabah and FT Labuan (CASH) is welcome to carry out a performance survey on elected representatives if the matter falls under its jurisdiction, said Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Jahid Jahim.

He said it should not be a problem if the subject of performance of elected representatives is covered by the Association’s constitution.

“If that is the case, then they would have the locus standi to do so; but if they don’t have it, then they would need to get approval from the relevant people first,” he told reporters at his Hari Raya open house at Tun Hamdan Hall here, yesterday.

Jahid, who is also Tamparuli Assemblyman, was asked to comment on the announcement by CASH President Datuk Patrick Sindu of the survey, which will be carried out after the Hari Raya Aidiltitri holidays.

Patrick said Cash has already identified a “consumers’ List from the grassroots” for the survey, which is expected to be completed in December and submitted to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said they want to get public opinion on the State’s political leaders and identify which leaders are popular with the people so they can be “thrust forward” in the coming elections.

Jahid meanwhile urged the Sabah Youth Council to come up with fresh and attractive ideas to encourage the State’s youths to participate in youth associations.

“When you look at the way youths of today view life values and attitude, the landscape has changed from the way we used to approach youths in the past,” he said.

“We have 1.2 million youths in the State with only 20 percent in associations and I believe the approach (to encourage participation) is important... we must expose the youth to many more activities in which they can join.

“For those who are still in school, they are a controlled group that we can still shape but it is the ones who are already out of school that we are targeting.

“Youths nowadays Like activities which are more challenging, so I urge the Sabah Youth Council to tailor programmes for our youths of today,” he said, adding that they are targeting the formation of at least live new youth associations every year.

Jahid noted that festive open houses such as those held during Aidilfitri is a positive activity that can help teach youths the meaning of tolerance.

“The open houses teach the youths the important value of tolerance because you can see different layers of society, people of different races and religions coming together ... we need to impress this on youths to avoid elements of extremism creeping in,” he said.

Tuesday 16th Oct 2007 - Sukau given facelift, thanks to devt: Aklee

SANDAKAN: Sukau has been given a facelift through the development projects implemented under the Barisan Nasional BN administration in Sabah, its assemblyman Datuk Aklee Haji Abbas said.

“The rakyat here are now enjoying various basic infrastructural facilities which were implemented by the BN Government,” he told reporters during his Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at Taman Tshuen Ngen yesterday.

Aklee, who is also Assistant Infrastructure Developnwnt Minister, said Sukau constituency is experiencing rapid development with the construction of the road linking the area.

As a result of the road link, Sukau folks are now able to tap more opportunities to improve their socio-economy and standard of living, he added.

According to Aklee, the Government’s efforts to implement various basic infrastructures in the area is proof that rural folks are not left out of the country’s mainstream of development. Datuk Aklee Haji Abbas

“Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), the Government’s focus will be on developing the rural areas and this is what the rakyat have been waiting for,” he said.

Aklee also reminded community leaders at the kampung level to be more thorough when forwarding development plans to the Government as the development is supposed to bring benefits to all the people.

Tuesday 16th Oct 2007 - Sabahan is 20,000,000th Visitors to ship

KOTA KINABALU: MV Doulos, the world’s largest floating library, yesterday named a lucky Sabahan student as its 20,000,000th visitor.

Awang Mohd b Sabree from Kampung Bantayan, Tamparuli, who received a
handful of gifts from the host, said he never expected to
become the 20,000,000th visitor.

“I am so happy as I never expected to win it. Actually I am on week-long holiday back here and decided to visit this ship after learning from my friends that it will be in Sabah from Oct 13-25,” said the 24-year-old student of UniKL MSI, Kulim, Kedah.

Awang, who was accompanied by his sister, cousins and brother-in-law,
said they had to wait in a long queue for about half an hour for their turn to board the ship.

“We had to line up for at least 30 minutes before we could enter the ship as too many people are also coming to visit this ship. As I reached the steps of the ship, its lady crew took my picture several times. At first, I was wondering why she took my picture but later, she told me that I am the 20,000,000th visitor,” said a beaming Awang, who was presented with books, certificates and a voucher worth RM160.

“After that, they brought us around the ship and briefed us on the background of the ship,” he said.

“I will be going back to the university on Oct 22 and of course, this is a special holiday for me,” Awang said, adding this was the first time he visited the ship.

Charles LRM Ebbie, a 38-year-old civil servant, said that he was very happy to have the opportunity once again to visit the ship with his wife and children.

“This is the third time I visit this ship. Every time I come, I would surely buy books...like today I have spent around RM200 to buy children books as well as education and religion books,” said Charles.

He said they also had to line up for 30 minutes before boarding the ship.
Despite having visited the ship for the third time, Charles said he and his family are actually planning a fourth visit later when it is hopefully not so crowded with visitors.

Patrick Sandah, 35, and his wife Suzana Johnny, 32, visited the ship with their six-year-old daughter, and bought a number of books.

“Although we had to line up for almost 30 minutes, we did not consider giving up because of the strong desire to visit the ship. We are satisfied as we managed to enter this ship and buy some books,” Patrick said, adding that this was also their third visit.

For two siblings Debbie Evabelle Humphrey, 19, and Fanny Merlyn Humphrey, 22, they were so happy to get the opportunity to visit the ship.

“This is the third time we visit the ships” said Fanny.

“We are so happy to have the opportunity to visit this ship, the world’s largest floating library. I was informed that this visit to Sabah is the last by the ship as it is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2010,” Debbie said.

“So far, we still have not bought any book. We are still looking for the books that we want to buy,” she said.

Meanwhile, according to Lissi Ottacher, a 24-year-old project coordinator from Austria, the response from the public is very encouraging.

“More than 15,000 people have visited the MV Doulos since it was officially opened to the public on Oct 13,” she said.

Lissi said the figure is just including the people who visited the ship on Oct l3 and 14.

“We expected about 20,000 people to visit this ship in the first three days,” she said.

“I was really excited as almost everybody remembers the ship and it is very exciting to see that,” she said, adding that this most probably is the last ship’s visit to the State as it is scheduled to be retired from service in

“The ship is already old and it will be replaced with another ship but we don’t know yet when the replacement will begin,” said Lissi, when asked why the service of this ship is only until 2010.

She said they will be going to another port in Borneo as the next destination before proceeding to the Philippines.

“We have not confirmed yet which part in the Borneo...but the next area we are going to is the Philippines. We have just come from Hong Kong,” she said. This is the vessel’s fifth visit to Kota Kinabalu after it came eight years ago in 1999. This visit however is also expected to be the last.

The bookstore is open Monday to Saturday from l0am to 10pm and on Sunday and the 22nd(Monday) from 2pm to 10pm.

Tuesday 16th Oct 2007 - “The longest eight minutes of my life”: Dr Sheikh Muszaphar

KUALA LUMPUR: “The eight minutes that the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft took to enter the orbit seemed the longest moments of my life,” Malaysian angkasawan (Malay for astronaut) Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha told Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis from the ISS via video conferencing held at Astro’s Studio 7 yesterday.

The event which was telecast Live by Astro and local television stations showed Dr Sheikh Muszaphar clearly in high spirits and looking cheerful while answering questions posed Dr Jamaludin, who is the Science, Technology and Innovations Minister.

“I’m enjoying and cherishing every moment of my stay at the ISS and wish I could stay here longer,” said Dr Sheikh Muszaphar when asked how he was adjusting to the new environment.

The video conferencing that lasted about 10 minutes also gave Malaysians an opportunity see Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s mobility inside the ISS in microgravity and also hear Russian astronaut Yuri Malenchenko greet Malaysians.

Flight Engineer Malechenko and Commander Peggy Whitson of the United States were the other crew members of the Soyuz TMA-11 that brought Dr Sheikh Muzaphar to the ISS. It blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct 10.

The Soyuz successfully docked with the ISS at 10.52pm Malaysian time on Oct 12 and the crew joined Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov and Clay Anderson, three crew of the previous mission to the ISS, Expedition 15, at about 12.33pm Malaysian time.

Oleg Kotov

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin

Clay Anderson

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said his experiment on proteins for a potential HIV vaccine was completed today and that he would be involved in a second experiment today.

During the expedition, he will carry out four experiments drawn up by Malaysian scientists including a study of the effects of microgravity and space radiation on cells and microbes.

“The other members of the expedition have been very helpful to me in every aspect and whatever success I achieve here will not be mine alone but the nation’s, after 50 years of independence,” he said.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar is to return to Earth on Oct 21 with two Russians astronauts. Commander Yurchikhin and Kotov of the current ISS crew while Whitson and Malenchenko will stay on.

Tuesday 16th OCT 2007 - Public transport fares may be raised: CVLB

SANDAKAN: The operators’ request for an increase in public transportation fares will be looked into.

“We have received reports from the operators that the increase would be the lowest throughout the country, so we will carry out a study on whether the rates should be revised, said Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board Chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin.

“The results of study will be forwarded to the Government for perusal but the public transportation owners must first comply with the conditions laid down by CVLB,” he stressed.

He also reminded public transportation owners to replace any of their vehicles which are above 15 years old.

“We do not want to see these old vehicles on the road after the fares are increased,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bung Moktar reminded public transportation drivers that the authorities always keep an eye on them to ensure that they do not flout regulations.

He said stern action awaits those who are caught breaking the rules.

“CVLB is always monitoring the public transportation drivers, especially the minibus and express bus drivers who are reckless on the roads as their action threatens the safety of their passengers as well as other road users,” he said.

Speaking to reporters at his open house at Taman Tshun Ngen Mile 5 here yesterday, Bung Moktar warned the errant drivers and owners of the vehicles that CVLB will not hesitate to suspend their permits and licensees as a lesson to other drivers.

“My advice to them is to drive carefully, be disciplined and considerate when on the road.

As the safety of their passengers is of the utmost importance,” he stressed.

This, he pointed out, includes being well dressed, drive in accordance with the law as well as always ensure that their vehicles are in good condition, he said.

Tuesday 16/10/2007 - All elected reps under watch: Max

Sabah Ministers, Federal counterparts and others subject to regular appraisal

TAMPARULI: All Barisan Nasional (UN) elected representatives, both Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen, are under watch, said Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Deputy President Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He said they include members of the administration, such as State Ministers and Assistant Ministers, as well as Parliamentary Secretaries, Federal Ministers and Deputy Ministers, who are all doing their reports quarterly.

Maximus, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said some of them are submitting their reports to the Prime Minister quarterly, and others are doing it half-yearly.

State Assemblymen are submitting to the Chief Minister while Members of Parliament to the Prime Minister as the BN Chairman, he said.

“So we are under watch; we are under scrutiny all the time. Of course the rakyat in our respective constituencies are also entitled to rate us through the feedback they give,” he said.

“But I don’t see the locus standi for NGOs like CASH, which may always have a slant and are not necessarily, I think, qualified in the political sense.

“They should concentrate on doing what is related to consumers. There are so many needs; problems need to be resolved other than spending time on evaluating the wakil rakyat,”.

Maximus was asked to comment on the statement by CASH President Datuk Patrick Sindu who said the Association would conduct a survey on the performance of elected representatives in the State and submit a report to the Prime Minister in December.

Patrick said CASH seeks to assess how the various MPs and Assemblymen have been performing over the years since the last general election in 2004.

He said the Association has already identified a consumers list from the grass roots to gather the feedback from.

He said CASH wants to assist the Government in assessing the performance of the State Assemblymen and MPs, and does not want to just depend on information front political leaders.

“We want to listen to the views of the public at the grass roots level, and identify the leaders who are popular with the people and “thrust them” forward for the coming election,” he said.

Maximus said those people who conduct the survey must be incredible, and not someone who are biased against someone they dislike for certain reasons.

He said it has to be people who are respected and qualified, and are proven to be able to do the job.

“But still, I suppose, they are entitled to do what they want to do. I only hope that they will do it professionally. I am not objecting to them doing what they like or dislike, and may be the best is don’t mix politics with consumer matters,” he said.

But at the end of the day, these are the people who evaluated us, he said.

Maximus said there are other professional bodies in the world, in Malaysia and in the region who do this kind of things, and all are respected and proven with over 30 years of work done.

He stressed that the performance of the elected representatives in the State are being monitored by their own party system or the BN.

“Everybody here is asked to account for themselves and when the election comes, the party would also be asked to account, so we have to be responsible. But if you think of evaluating us, please evaluate us professionally,” he added.

About 7,000 people from different races, backgrounds and religions attended Jahid’s open house, and they included leaders from BN component parties as well as PBS Deputy President Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, PBS Vice President Edward Yong Oui Fah, PBS Secretary General Datuk Radin Maleh and PBS Wanita Chief Datin Jamilah Sulaiman.


TENOM:. The Sabah Native Court should thoroughly scrutinize the background of every applicant for the Native Certificate (Sijil Anak Negeri) before issuing the verification letters, said former District Officer here, Maribin Rugin.

He said it is important for the Court to carefully study all applications to prevent abuse like what had happened before the issuance of the Native Certificate was frozen in 1982.

“We do not want a similar mistake to recur. Before the Native Certificate was frozen, anyone with the authority and power, can declare a document even without referring to the Native Court and that was why even those who did not qualify were given the Native Certificate,” he said.

The 66-year-old supports Sepanggar MP Eric Majimbun’s call for the Native Court to be given the task of verifying and studying each application thoroughly before sending it to the Sabah Native Affairs Council for verification.

“I hope all the Native Court in each district would carry out its task well and with full responsibility,” he said, urging them to continue using the services of the Court Members, comprising two Native Chiefs, two village heads and the village head from each participating village to assist the Court in collecting information pertaining to each case.

Former Native Chief, Gosibin Yosundang, also echoed Maribin’s words, urging the Native Court to be very careful when issuing the Native Certificate to prevent irresponsible people from abusing it.

“If the process is made too easy, then even those who are not eligible will also be a native,” he said.

Touching on Pasok’s call to set up a Bumiputera Affairs Ministry, Gosibin said he does not see any relevance to the idea.

‘Matters related to Bumiputeras have always been handled by the Local Government and Housing Ministry so there is no need to have another ministry to take care of the same thing. All we need is a capable, efficient and responsible person... with this there will be no abuse and the Native Certificate is only given to the rightful people,” he said.

Last week, Local Government and Housing Minister, Datuk Haji Hajiji Haji Mohd Nor said children of mixed marriages, one of whose parents is a Native, can now apply for verification letters from the Sabah Native Court which enable them to involve in matters, that are normally restricted to Bumiputeras only.

This is just a temporary measure taken by the Ministry to resolve problems faced by children of mixed marriages, after considering that genuine natives need not continue to lose out.

“Hence with immediate effect, clear cut cases can apply for a special verification from the Director of Sabah Native Affairs Office, who is also the Secretary of the Sabah Native Affairs Council, under the purview of my Ministry,” said Hajiji.

According to him, the verification letter would be issued on a ‘case by case’ basis.

“They must bring original documents to certify their status, and having a native blood is a must. We cannot simply deny their rights and we feel that this is the best way to tackle the problem faced by children of mixed marriages,” he said.

The subject matter has become an issue lately with various quarters making press statements and comments, among which was the difficulty faced by Sabahans, one of whose parents is a Bumiputera, according to him.

Among the problems faced is the ineligibility vis a vis investment in Amanah Saham Bumiputera (Native Unit Trust) shares scheme or purchase or inheritance of native land or registering their names in Native Titles.

Other difficulties highlighted were missing out in education opportunities such as scholarships and institutions meant for natives, purchase of housing units under the Bumiputera quota, and business opportunities including registering as a Bumiputera contractor or participating in tenders meant for natives only.