Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday 19th Oct 2007 - Night Walk at Rainforest Discovery Centre

SANDAKAN: The Sabah Society-Sandakan is organizing a guided night walk at the Rain forest Discovery Centre(RDC) and Sepilok Arboretum on October 27.

The event will start from 7pm to 9pm with the toughness rating between easy to moderate. The organizers charge RM10 for member and RM12 for non-member.

Things to bring; torch, camera for close-up photography, mosquito repellent, note book if you wish to jot down notes on nocturnal insects, Dr. Arthur Chung disclosed.

“This is a chance to see, explore, photograph and learn more about nocturnal animals, especially small mammals and insects.

Interestingly, insects are more photogenic at night. So, don’t miss this opportunity to have an encounter with these good-looking creatures,” he said.

Chung reminded those who are interested that the cut-off date is October 24, three days before the event.

Friday 19th Oct 2007 - Boy, 3, training to climb Mount Kinabalu next year

KUALA TERENGANU: He’s only three years old but Sahrul Nizam Mat Noor has started training to climb Mount Kinabalu next year and celebrate his birthday on the summit.

If he makes it, he will become the youngest ever to have made it up the mountain.

Sahrul Nizam started training under his seasoned mountaineer father Mohd Noor Mat Amin from the second day of Hari Raya. He will set off with his father on June 8 to hike up the mountain and reach the peak on June 13, which is his birthday.

Mohd Noor said they have to start much earlier as his son would most likely develop muscle cramps and have to rest frequently due to his tender age.

“Nevertheless, Sahrul Nizam is coping with the grueling training session that I am putting him on now” said Mohd Noor who is in the Malaysia Book of Records for climbing solo to the peak of Mount Kinabalu 50 times.

“My son has always been curious about what it is like at the peak.

“I asked whether he wanted to celebrate his birthday at the top of the mountain and he nodded happily, so I am helping to make his wish come true,” he said after a dinner organised by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh on Tuesday.

Friday 19th Oct 2007 - EC trains Puteri Umno to register members as voters

KOTA KINABALU: Puteri Umno members have received training from the Election Commission (EC) to register voters from their movement.

Puteri Umno Exco member cum Puteri Umno Penampang chief Noraini Idris said they had sent a representative from each division to undergo the training to register members who have reached the eligible voting age of 21.

“Our membership is open to ladies between 18 and 35, and to date, many have reached the eligible voting age, therefore we are also in the process of registering them to enable them to vote in the coming election,” she said.

Noraini said the training was also aimed at educating the young people of their rights as citizens.

“Since the Puteri Umno members comprise young and energetic bunch, we would normally be sent to remote areas to educate the people on their rights.

During our rounds, we also identify the voters’ location and learn about their problems. Through such exercise, we are able to find the best solution to tackle the situation,” she said, adding during their visits to remote areas, they would normally work closely with the EC to open up registration counter to register new voters.

Meanwhile, Noraini called on the public to donate to their Tabung Prihatin Puteri which would benefit members with chronic illnesses.

“There are many among the Puteri Umno members who are suffering from chronic illnesses such as cancer. Apart from helping the people, we also have to look after the welfare of our members,” she said. Touching on the election, Noraini said they are ready to provide their assistance.

“Our election machinery is all set,” she said.

Friday 19th Oct 2007 - Survey not waste of time: CASH

TAWAU: It is not wrong and a waste of time for the Consumer Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH) to carry out a survey on the performance of elected representatives, says its secretary general, Hasima Hasbullah Yahya.

“In fact it will help the Government to get the real and actual views of the people on the current YBs in Sabah.

“We are capable and qualified to carry out the survey and evaluation professionally as the association has more than 15 years of experience and members are professionals in their own fields, for instance, professors from local universities,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Hasima was responding to the comment by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department’s Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili that CASH should concentrate on doing what is related to consumers instead of spending time on evaluating the wakil rakyat.

CASH President Datuk Patrick Sindu recently 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.

Friday 19th Oct 2007 - M’sian astronaut prepares for return to earth

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, the first Malaysian to go to space, is making preparations for his return to earth on Sunday from the orbiting International Space Station (ISS).

He will return with Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov in the Soyuz TMA-l0 spacecraft which the two Russian cosmonauts had used to go to the ISS in April on Expedition 15.

National Angkasawan Programme Director Col Dr Zulkeffeli Mat Jusoh said the spacecraft carrying the three astronauts was expected to land in the Arkylk region of Kazakhstan, some 1,500km from Moscow.

For the return journey, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor has to ensure that his weight is 82kg, just as it was when he left for the ISS on Oct l0 aboard the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft which is now docked at the ISS.

“If his weight has exceeded the 82kg while in the ISS, he will be required to reduce his weight through exercise in a special cubicle in the ISS. This is to maintain equilibrium in the Soyuz spacecraft the three astronauts will be returning to earth in,” he said when contacted in Moscow yesterday.

Dr Zulkeffeli said he would leave for Qostanay in Kazakhstan, not far from where the Soyuz capsule was expected to land, to bring Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor to Moscow.

“I have to be there to give Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor a medical examination. He will be brought to a temporary medical centre before being taken to the nearest airport to be flown to the Star City astronaut training centre in Moscow,” he said.

He said the Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft was expected to land at 2.37pm Moscow time (6.37pm in Malaysia).

Friday 19th Oct 2007 - Safety of tourists given priority, says District Office

TENOM: The District Office here is giving priority to the safety of tourists taking part in whitewater rafting at the Padas River even though the matter comes under the jurisdiction of another Government department.

District Officer Hj Faimin Kamin said that the district council had been
working closely with the relevant authorities in creating guidelines, including putting up warning boards at dangerous points along the fast flowing river for the rafters.

“The whitewater rafting activities along the Padas River are under two districts which start from Pangi which is under Tenom district and ends in Beaufort. Tourists will take a train ride from Beaufort to Pangi where the whitewater rafting adventure starts,” he said.

“Only a few tourists are going all the way up to Tenom town,” said Faimin, when asked for his comment on the drowning of a Dutch woman who fell into the Padas River on Tuesday.

Vianca De Visser De Vires, 42, from Holland, was believed to have been thrown off the raft she and her husband were on at Pangi. They were whitewater rafting with four other visitors from Macau when the incident occurred about 4.10pm.

Faimin said if an incident took place in the river that comes under the Tenom district, then the council will handle the emergency situation.

However, he said safety guidelines such as emergency telephone numbers are provided for tourists to get assistance from the police or the Fire and Rescue Services Department.

Meanwhile, river guide Ailir bin Rahasi, 27, who skippered the boat, said the incident took place about three kilometers from the starting point at Pangi.

Friday 19th Oct 2007 - One year has passed, but Altantuya’s memory lives on

KUALA LUMPUR: “It is already a year my beloved daughter left this world. Altantuya will never return but her memory will never fade either from our hearts.”

These were the heart touching words from Dr. Shaariibuu Setev, 56, the father of 28-year-old Altantuya Shaariibuu, a Mongolian model who was reportedly blown to pieces by explosives after she was shot dead.

The Honorary Consul of Mongolia in Malaysia, Datuk Syed Abdul Rahman Al Habshi said Shaariibuu had conveyed to him this when expressing his feelings on the anniversary of Altantuya’s death, which falls today.

“Shaariibuu sobbed when he expressed his feelings to me. He told me that time passed so quickly that it was already a year after Altantuya’s death,” Abdul Rahman said in an exclusive interview yesterday.

He said Shaariibuu, the director of the National University of Mongolia’s Information and Educational Centre, told him when they spoke to each other two days ago that it would not be easy for his (Shaariibuu’s) family to accept the fact that she (Altantuya) was dead.

Shaariibuu told Syed Abdul Rahman that although he was a psychologist by profession, at times it was hard to cover the sadness as life involves feelings and emotions.

“Shaariibuu also had told me that he has to “act” as if everything is normal for the sake of his family. Shaariibuu explained to me that his wife’s health was worsening. I understand his (Shaariibuu) feelings as I am also a father to my children.

“He (Shaariibuu) has had sleepless nights over Altantuya’s death. Last month I visited him in Mongolia, he had lost weight and hardly could smile,” Abdul Rahman said with tears in his eyes.

Asked whether Shaariibuu would come to Malaysia to pay his tribute to Altantuya at a secondary forest in Puncak Alam where she was
murdered, Abdul Rahman said Shaariibuu did not plan to do so. Abdul Rahman said Shaariibuu would like to collect all the remaining bone fragments which were still kept as case exhibits.

The Mongolian Government also planned to conduct a funeral for Altantuya in Ulan Batar, Mongolia, after the trial of her murder ended, he said.

Asked on Shaaribuu’s progress about his plan to make a film on his daughter’s life as a tribute to her, Abdul Rahman said work had just

Friday 19th Oct 2007 - Dompok to contest in Penampang?

No indication from UPKO President: Lasimbang

PENAMPANG: Word has it that United Pasok Momogun KadazanDusunMurut Organisation (UPKO) President, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, will be standing here in the next election.

But Moyog Assemblyman, Philip Lasimbang, said he had not heard of the rumor, stressing that “there has been no indication whatsoever”.

“I have met him (Dompok) a few times, but he has not indicated anything. If there is, we should have started bringing him to meet the people by now,” said Lasimbang, when met at the Hari Raya open house of the former PBS Youth Exco Member and PBS Moyog Youth chief here, Hamdan Suarah yesterday.

However, he said despite all this, Dompok is the UPKO president, and they would support him no matter where he stands.

“If he chooses to stand here, then we are all behind him,” he said.

Asked on their preparations for the coming general election, Lasimbang said they never stopped working to ensure that everything is in place.

“As far as I am concerned, I have done my best, and I managed with the little resources we have, such as financial constraints and the limited power as a YB (elected representative).

“To me, personally, I would look at the people first before the Government. I was elected by the people to represent them, so by right, they should be the top priority,” he said.

According to him, most of his assemblyman’s funds is channeled towards helping the poor and disabled.

“I have given everything to the welfare of my people. Since I am no longer with the Sports Board, now I can concentrate on my work as an elected representative; I am a full time assemblyman,” he said.

Lasimbang hopes his constituents would be self-reliant, and would live harmoniously as a community.

“A village is shaped by its leader, so it is my responsibility to lead them towards greater heights,” he said.

As for the opposition parties, Lasimbang believes that there is no room for them to raise any issue.

“Each issue is handled well. For instance, the walk to Terian, a remote place in Moyog, is now cut to two hours walk. It used to be six hours walk and by end of this year, we hope we could reach the village within 45 minutes.

“This is just one of the many little gestures but I believe I have done my best to satisfy the people in my constituency he said.

Meanwhile, Hamdan, who is now the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Datuk Peter Mojuntin Parents Teachers Association chairman, thanked the Government for abolishing the school fees.

The move, he said had helped eased the parents’ burden, especially those from the lower income group.

“Today, they only need to pay a minimal fee, such as extra curricular and PTA fee which is channeled towards maintaining school facilities and other programs to benefit the students,” he said.

Friday 19th Okt 2007 - PM, wife attend wedding of Musa’s daughter

SANDAKAN: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, last night attended the wedding of Lenny Natasha, the daughter of the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Membakut Assemblyman Mohd Ariffin Mohd Arif, here.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, also attended the wedding.

Lenny Natasha, 28, is the second of four siblings and the only daughter of Musa and Datin Seri Faridah Tussin. She is pursuing a course at Universiti Tun Abdul Razak.

Mohd Ariffin, 44, is the former public relations secretary of Musa who contested the Membakut seat in the 2004 general election. He is also the Sabah Native Affairs Council Chairman.

The “bersanding” (sitting-in) ceremony was held at Sri Libaran, the residence of the chief minister, at Batu 7, Sungai Kayu, here.

The solemnization of the marriage was conducted by District Imams Ustaz Azizul Ramli Saparuddin Al Hafiz and Ustaz Zulkarnain Enargi in the presence of Musa and his wife along with Tan Sri Hamid Egoh and Gum Gum Assemblyman Datuk Haji Zakaria Haji Edris at l0am yesterday.

VVIPs, VIPs and guests from around the country arrived here for the reception which will be followed by the ‘bersanding’ tomorrow.

Head of State Tun Haji Ahmadshah Abdullah and Toh Puan Dayang Masuyah Awang Japar are due to arrive on Saturday afternoon to attend the ceremony.


Dompok also calls for Native Court to be given powers to decide and not individual chiefs

PENAMPANG: UPKO President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the Sino-KDM community deserves to be accorded ‘native status’ as agreed upon during the formation of Malaysia and a proper and transparent mechanism for the issuance of the Native Certificate should be put in place.

Sino community refers to people with mixed Chinese blood e.g. Sino-Kadazan, Sino-Murut and Sino-Rungus.

“It is better to be clear on this because this will become a constitutional issue. When Sabah and Sarawak formed Malaysia together with Peninsular Malaysia, assurances were given to the Sino people that they are actually natives.

“So, I think they deserve nothing less,” he told reporters after attending the 2008 Budget roundtable yesterday.

Dompok, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was asked to comment on the recent State Cabinet’s decision to allow only the Director of the Native Affairs Office to issue verification letters to Sino people who intend to transfer or acquire native land.

Issuance of the letter will be on a case-by-case basis.

In this respect, he urged the State Government to revive the issuance of native certificates to the Sino community in Sabah which was frozen in 1982.

Dompok suggested the Native Court be given the powers to decide on the Sino community status and not individual native chiefs.

“Of course, there must be a mechanism to monitor abuse of the court process. In the past, people who were non-Bumiputeras became Bumiputeras from recommendations by native chiefs and village heads.

“We must ensure these things will not happen again. We can even display personal particulars of applicants in billboards to ensure transparency.

“Currently, when they (Sino) come to a district office, they will be asked (if they have Chinese sounding names) what is your evidence that you are a native, then the problem will crop up,” he said.

Dompok said there was a need to cut red tape pertaining to applications for native certificates or even verification letters.

“If you are going on a case-by-case basis, and only for the purpose of transferring land, you have to go to the ministry concerned and get this ... it’s too much red tape.

“Once there is too much red tape, there’ll be reason for abuse,” he said.

With the native status verified, the person concerned is entitled to acquire native land and invest in Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB).

Dompok said the Government should look into the matter and duly consider the plea from the people in the State to have the issuance of Native Certificate restored to enable them to enjoy their rights as the native.

“The reintroduction of the Native Certificate is important to address many issues including among others the sub marginalisation of the KDM,” he said.

He pointed that there had been many cases where Sino-Kadazandusuns with Chinese surnames suffered a new discrimination when they were rejected from investing in Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd (ASNB) schemes as they could not produce a Native Certificate.