Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday 18th Oct 2007 - New KK High Court Judge, Judicial Commissioner visit TYT

KOTA KINABALU: Head of State Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Ahmadshah Abdullah received a courtesy call by newly appointed Kota Kinabalu High Court Judge, Datuk Clement Skinner and Judicial Commissioner, Puan Yew Jen Kie at the Istana Negeri here, yesterday.

Skinner, who took over from Datuk Sulong Matjeriae, assumed the post last month. The latter had been promoted as Judge of the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya. Meanwhile, Yew took over from Sangau Gunting who had been posted to the High Court in Bintulu, Sarawak.

Skinner and Yew were accompanied by two Kota Kinabalu High Court Judges, Datuk Nurchaya Arshad and Duncan Sikodol.

Earlier, the new General Manager of Shangri La’s Tanjung Aru Resort, Matthias Rocke paid a similar call on Tun Haji Ahmadshah, He replaces Ulf Bremer who had been transferred to Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taiwan.

Thursday 18th Oct 2007 - Guides handling rafting tours must be trained

Knowledge of safety and rescue procedures vital: Police

TENOM: Tour operators who conduct tours in rivers must ensure that the safety of their guests is given priority to avoid any mishap.

District Police Chief, DSP Amru Abdul Kadir said tourist guides especially those leading whitewater rafting tours or river cruises must be trained in safety and rescue procedures.

“The guides must also be competent enough to know when to cancel the tour if the conditions are nut right and in the case of whitewater rafting, when the river level is too high,” he said when commenting about the incident at Padas river in which a Dutch woman drowned after falling into the river on Tuesday.

An incompetent guide who does not know how to save people will make the situation worse especially when the tourists encounter difficulties on the trip, he added.

Vianca De Visser De Vires, 42 from Holland was believed to have been thrown off the raft that she and her husband were on at Pangi, about eight kilometres from town.

The victim was whitewater rafting with her husband and four other visitors from Macau when the incident occurred at about 4.10pm.

Vianca was wearing a life jacket but it was believed she hit her head on a hard surface, causing her to lose consciousness and ending up being swept away.

Her body was brought to the district hospital before being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital QEH in the state capital yesterday for post mortem.

According to Amru, the tragedy which claimed Vianca’s life was the second one that occurred at Padas River this year.

Guides conducting white water rafting tours must always ensure that their guest have put on the necessary safety equipment such as life jacket and helmet, he said adding that it is also the guides responsibility to make sure that the equipment are donned on properly and securely.

Meanwhile, Tenom Member of Parliament, Raimie Unggi when contacted yesterday said tour operators must take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of their guests while on white water rafting tours or river cruises especially during rainy season.

He added that tour operators should not proceed with the tour if the conditions are considered not safe.

Thursday 18th Oct 2007 - Heart transplant girl, Hui Yi is off the ventilator

KUALA LUMPUR: Heart transplant patient Tee Hui Yi, 14, seems to be more at ease and able to communicate comfortably since she was taken off the ventilator on Wednesday morning.

National Heart Institute (IJN) Heart and Lung Transplant Unit Clinical Director Dr Mohamed Ezani Md Taib said the ventilator was removed since Hui Yi was now in stable condition and she was able to breathe well without the machine.

“Probably, in three or four weeks, Hui Yi, who is still in the Intensive Care Unit, can be transferred to the normal ward.” he told reporters at IJN yesterday.

However, he said, proper care would be taken to prevent Hui Yi from any infection which might affect her health.

Dr Ezani said Hui Yi, who is now able to consume soup and porridge, would still be fed with supplementary nutrition through the tube in her nose.

“She requires 1,400 calories and supplementary nutrition for energy to strengthen her muscles and will continue with the weekly biopsy procedures to ensure her body does not reject the new heart,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hui Yi, who looks jovial, responded to questions from reporters and said she was eager to go home and return to school to continue with her studies.

“I can’t wait to go home and make preparation for the coming Chinese New Year celebration. I also want to thank my heart donor and can’t wait to meet the (donor’s) family,” she added.

Hui Yi, who underwent a second heart transplant in her on Oct 3, also hoped to meet her favourite singers Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and Lotter of AF4.

Datuk Siti Nurhaliza

Lotter AF4

Thursday 18th Oct 2007 - M’sian astronaut helps in research for other countries

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian astronaut Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, who is currently at the International Space Station(ISS), is also assisting the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in their research.

National Angkasawan Programme Director Col Dr Zulkeffeli Mat Jusoh said the research involved the effects of microgravity and solar radiation on the astronaut’s body system.

“The ESA research is on the effects of microgravity on the back portion of the body, movement perception, resilience before and after the ISS trip and the stability of visibility and the body,” he said when contacted in Moscow yesterday.

The JAXA study is on the level of exposure to radiation by the astronaut in space.

“JAXA introduced a gadget which is placed in the astronaut’s shirt pocket to study the radiation level,” he said.

All the studies conducted by Dr Sheikh Muszaphar will be brought back for analysis to their countries of origin be it Russia, Japan or Malaysia.

He said Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was in good health and could conduct all the experiments entrusted to him.

Dr Zulkeffeli said his sleeping hours had also stabilized at eight hours daily compared to six hours previously and that he also performed daily prayers.

He said plans to welcome back Malaysia’s first astronaut would be made in stages starting today.

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar and two Russian astronauts are expected to land on Oct 21.

Thursday 18th Oct 2007 - Bishop Julius installed as head of Sandakan diocese

SANDAKAN: Over 5,000 members of the Catholic community from all over Sabah witnessed the Episcopal ordination and installation of Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom as head of the new diocese of Sandakan at the St. Mary’s Church here on Monday.

The Catholic Church in Sabah, now comprises the three dioceses of Keningau, Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan.

Bishop Gitom, 50, was ordained a priest on 19 November 1989 and served in Parishes in Keningau, Lahad Datu, Penampang, Sook and Tuaran.

Also present to witness the historical ceremony were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Industrial Development Minister Datuk Ewon Ebin, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Edward Khoo and Tan Sri Joseph Kurup and other invited guests.

Thursday 18th Oct 2007 - Sabahan finally finds culinary paradise here

KOTA KINABALU: Alter spending half her life traveling the world in search of great things, Nancy Koh finally found it-at home.

From the United States to Australia, she had sought out the interesting and the unique before the producer of commercials finally realized six years ago that Sabah’s hidden culinary treasures were a worthwhile adventure all on their own.

“I have traveled half of my life overseas, not knowing how good my own country is... there is a lot that is hidden, many things that people don’t know that is here,” she said at the launch of her book “A Taste of Borneo Paradise” at the Pacific Sutera here, attended by over 70 representatives of State tourism players, yesterday evening.

While the idea stemmed from her interest in cooking, Koh noted that compiling the cookbook presents a perspective on Sabah which could lead to a whole new avenue for tourism promotion here.

“The food is exotic, so that is relevant. It could become a tourist attraction here and not only will it attract tourists but also foreign investors here.

“The book presents a blend of photography and food ... through this book people can learn that in Malaysia it is not only rojak. The visual plays an important part,” said Koh, a native of Kota Kinabalu.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, who launched the book, said Koh’s effort only underlines the potential held by Malaysian, and specifically Sabah, cuisine as a tourism product.

“We have a rich variety of food which is not normally available in other countries and here, because of our ethnic composition which comprises at least 30 groups, there is so much food that has yet to be discovered.

“If it is promoted well and professionally, I believe Sabah could offer a new tourism product. In Hong Kong for instance, a lot of people visit there for the food and believe we can do the same for Sabah.”

The coffee table cookbook presents a total of 100 recipes, contributed by chefs from five resort hotels here with photos taken by Koh herself.

After Kota Kinabalu, she plans to launch another cookbook, “Hidden
Treasures”, in Hong Kong by the end of this year before moving on to Macau, China, Taiwan and possibly the United Kingdom.

Thursday 18th Oct 2007 - CIS assures developers cement shortage is now resolved

KOTA KINABALU: Cement Industries Sabah Sdn Bhd (CIS) has assured developers in the housing and construction industry that the problem with the inadequate supply of cement in Sabah has been resolved.

“The problem will not recur until end of the year because we now have sufficient cement supplies, so contractors and developers should not worry about being unable to get an supply from CIS,” said CIS General Manager, Mr Robert M C Chung.

Robert said both the State and Federal authorities had been informed last month that the cement supplies in Sabah would be back to normal after the Hari Raya festivities.

“In fact it is already back to normal now. So the shortage of cement in Sabah is already over,” he told reporters after briefing the central committee members of the Sabah Builders Association (SBA) on the cement supply situation in the State at his office in Sepanggar yesterday. All major districts in Sabah now have adequate supplies of the building material and in Sandakan, there is in fact a surplus of supply, according to Robert.

“The situation is back to normal except for Tawau as the shipment of cement for the district will only arrive next month,” he said.

He also said CIS’s mill could produce up to 800,000 tons of cement this year but the demand is expected to reach 1.2 million tons by the end of the year.

“So to make up for the balance, we have to import from Peninsular Malaysia and other neighboring countries like Indonesia, Thailand and The Philippines,” he said.

For November and December, CIS has already arranged to import more cement to keep up with the market demand, Robert said.

He said contractors and developers all over the state need a total of about 100,000 tons of cement per month.

“For example, Tawau requires about 15,000 tons per month, Sandakan(13,000) Lahad Datu (11,000) Labuan (5,000)and the West Coast (60,000).

On the yellowish colour detected in the cement that was raised by the SBA central committee members, Robert said it was not true.

“There is no yellowish colour in the cement; the colour is gray. But we will investigate the matter,” he added.

At the briefing, the association was led by its president, Tsen Kui Lin and included its central committee members Elizabeth Chung, Lou Chi Nam, Chung Kok Hiew, Wong Chun Lin, Chong Kui Kap and Liau Sin Loh.

Robert also assured consumers of the quality of imported cement as the building material had already been inspected.

He said CIS chose to import cement from Asean countries because the import tax imposed on the building material was only five percent, compared to imports from Europe in which the tax is very high.
Meanwhile, Tsen said SBA was happy with Robert's assurance on the cement supply situation, adding that the supply would be increased to 1.2 million tons by the end of his year.
"This is good news to the construction industy because the cement shortage in the past few months has created a lot of problems which affected our costs and financial planning and caused delay in work schedules," he said.
He said SBA fully understood the problem faced by CIS and is grateful for all the steps that had been taken to resolve the shortage.
"We only want them to maintain their quality and supply as different suppliers including those from Asean countries produce cement of different quality," he added.

Thursday 18th Oct 2007 - Waterfront to improve with project

KOTA KINABALU: The Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens Pocket Park Landscape Development Project at the waterfront near Segama Shopping Complex here is expected to be completed by year-end.

Mayor Datuk Iliyas bin Ibrahim said during an inspection at the project site located behind Hyatt Regency Kinabalu yesterday that he was happy with the progress of the project.

He said the landscape project is undertaken by Kota Kinabalu City Hall and fully funded by the National Landscape Department.

Once completed, the pocket park, which is part of City Hall’s on-going beautification plans, will become another tourist attraction in the City with unique waterfront environment.

Works on the pocket park include landscaping of the pedestrian walkway, creating pedestrian crossing to Wisma Merdeka, construction of timber deck and improvement to the existing boat jetty.

“The objective of the upgrading works is to provide facilities and spaces for the public to organize activities at the waterfront, as well as to create another attraction in the City,” said Iliyas.

Iliyas also said the project would make available an avenue for the public to organise activities there.