Sunday, November 11, 2007


Student held after girl’s body, motorbike found
The discovery of the body of a teenage girl in a pool of blood by the roadside in Papar-Kota Kinabalu road caused a stir among motorists here yesterday morning. Not far from the body was a motorcycle. Police were quickly notified of the incident and a team was sent to investigate, said District Police Chief DSP Charles Labung Lawai, when confirming the case. It was later established that 18-year-old victim was from Melinsung, but her name could be obtained immediately.
The body of the girl, who was believed to have died on the spot due to serious head injuries, was sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a post-mortem. “After a thorough investigation, we arrested a 17- year-old Form Five student here , from Kampung Penggalat Besr. Initial investigation revealed that he was the girl’s boyfriend,” he said. Police also discovered that the two were travelling from Melinsung towards Kampung Penggalat Besar before meeting the accident at about 5.3Oam.
“It was learned that the duo had just driven out of the junction from Melinsung and about 20 metres away from there, they met a car which was using high lights. “The boy claimed that he could not see clearly and lost control of the motorcycle as it crashed into a lamppost by the roadside, killing the girl instantly. He then fled the scene,” he said. Police are investigating the case as a traffic offence and other angles as well, he said. “We are still waiting for the post-mortem report, hopefully it would shed some light.”


Customers of Internet cafes among 20 held

PENAMPANG: At least 20 people were rounded up when police raided two illegal Internet cafes in separate locations here on Friday evening. District Police Chief DSP Madang Usat in disclosing this yesterday said that in the first operation carried out in Taman Victory, they seized at least 35 machines, comprising computers and gift machines, and about RM500 cash. They also arrested its two caretakers, both men, and their 15 customers, he said. “In the second operation, carried out around 4pm at Taman Delima, we seized 18 machines, comprising computer sets and gift machines, and RM200 cash. Its caretaker, a woman, and two customers were picked up,” he said. Both cases will be investigated under Section 4B (a) of the Open Gaming House Act, 1953, as both outlets were operating without licence. Under the Section, the owners can be fined between RM5,000 and RM5O,000, and also liable to be imprisoned for a period not exceeding three years if found guilty, Similar operations will be carried out from to time to time. We hope that the public would continue to provide us with information if they find such illegal operation in their area,” he said.
All suspects are currently remanded for questioning.


Stronger growth in container handling at Labuan Port
Total monthly container throughout at the Labuan Liberty Port in the first half of this year was on the upward trend with April registering the highest figure of 2,416 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). Labuan Liberty Port Management (LLPM) Sdn Bhd’s executive chairman Yussof Mohammad said LLPM expected a stronger growth this year with the anticipation of the Malaysian economy to strengthen further with the gross domestic product (GDP) projected to grow at 6.5 to seven percent. “With the strengthening of export performance and resilient domestic demand anticipated for 2007, we are optimistic LLPM will churn in another year of favourable growth,” he said in a statement yesterday. In the first half of 2005;container handling at the port was at 306,382.97 tonnes and grew to 425,047.27 tonnes in the same period last year. Given the positive projection in global trade, Yussof said it was imperative that Labuan Liberty Port keep up with changing trading patterns and routing as well as increasing demand of the industry. “The oil and gas industry relies heavily on new liberty wharf as the entry point for the importation of parts, material and equipment,” he said. “The industry is set to be booming with the discovery of several new oilfields and along with Petronas’ second methanol mega project, the new development of this industry augurs well for the port,” he added.


Don’t politicize education: CASH

The Consumers Association for Sahah and I.abuan CASH’ President. Datuk Patrick Sindu, has urged politicians not to politicize education.
“Education is for everybody; it is part and parcel of human rights and it is not wise for politicians to politicize it as this would bring more harm than good,” he said referring to the education-related issues raised during the Umno General Assembly, recently. Patrick believed that English should continue to be used for teaching Science and Mathematics in schools. “It is for the good of the students, especially in the effort to improve the quality of our education. If we revert - the teaching of both subjects to Bahasa Malay (BM), then it would only create confusion among the students,” he said. “It would help students improve their English. As a part-time lecturer at a local university here, I am sad to see that most of the undergraduates could not even speak proper English or even understand the language,” he lamented “How do you expect these people to move further without knowing the international language,” he asked. Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin called on the Government to revert to the use of BM in teaching the two subjects if the use of English does not meet its objectives. On another development, Sindu urged the Government to monitor the sudden increase in the prices of goods, such as flour, fuel and sundry items. “If this is not monitored, it would burden the consumers more,” he said.


Big meeting over boat, ferry safety in Sabah
KOTA KINABALU: Transport Ministry officials are to meet Sabah’s boat and ferry operators together with related departments and agencies including the Marine Department to stress the importance of safety and security in the wake of the Seagull Express II ferry tragedy which killed seven and injured many others in Johor. State Marine Department Director Benjamin Bernard Bijion said the meeting will be held after the Ministry meets with operators and relevant authorities in Sarawak soon. A similar meeting was held in the Peninsula last month. He said the meeting in Sabah is expected to be held in Kota Kinabalu, with port operators attending as well, hopefully before the end of this year to discuss ways to improve enforcement of laws and regulations on ferry and passenger boat operations. Benjamin said the coming meeting is part of the Transport Ministry’s effort to promote greater awareness and better compliance of regulations and laws among the operators. He said monitoring and enforcement of related laws in Sabah have always been above satisfactory but the Johor incident should serve as a wake up call for the Department to continuously emphasise on safety.
He said while the department carries out stringent checks on ferries and boats from time to time, it also tries to promote civic consciousness among the operators and their passengers on the aspect of safety. He said the incident in Johor was a big blow to the image of the Marine Department and had affected the public confidence in ferry and boat services. “This could have a reverse effect on the tourism industry, especially since many of our resort and holiday destinations are located on islands. So it is crucial for us to ensure such incident will not happen here, and that is what we have been doing,” he said at his office on Friday. He said a full scale operation overseen by the State Marine Deputy Director and assisted by the maritime agencies is carried out prior to every holiday season where a lot of holiday makers are traveling on ferry and boats. The operation which includes periodical and spot checks is carried out throughout the holiday season and usually continued even after the season is over to ensure that all passenger boats and ferries as well as their crew are licensed and fit for their purposes. Following the Seagull II incident, he said the Ministry of Transport had directed all Marine Department branches to impose stringent licensing laws to ensure zero incident. He said the Ministry had among others directed that effective Nov 1, all passenger boat licences will be renewed every six months as compared to every one year previously. “This is to enable inspection to be carried out more often,” he said, adding that the Department will also stop giving new passenger licence to wooden boats with a capacity of more than 12 passengers. Existing licences for wooden boats will be renewed but if the operators want to buy new boats they will have to opt for those built using stronger materials such as fiber glass. Otherwise, they will not be given a licence. Commenting on the level of compliance when it comes to safety regulations, he said most of the operators in Sabah are safety conscious and they abide by the law. However, there are still a few who take certain regulation such as the requirement for providing sufficient life jackets and fire distinguishers a little bit lightly, according to him. The most common offence detected is that the person operating a boat, and the crew are not as stated in the boat’s licence, he said. He said apart from the periodical inspection as required in licence renewal, the Department will also continue carrying out spot checks on passenger boats from time to time to ensure they are safe for passengers. According to Benjamin, the Department is still facing a shortage of officers and does not have offices in some important areas like at the Labuan Ferry Jetty in Menumbok but efforts are being taken to overcome the problem. In the incident on Oct 13, ferry Seagull Express II transporting 106 passengers from Mersing caught fire and sank near Pulau Tokong Bahara, about seven nautical miles from Pulau Tioman. The tragedy triggered criticisms and concerns and saw fingers being pointed at all directions, including of course at the Marine Department and other authorities directly or indirectly responsible for the safety of public sea transports. Ferry operator Seagull Express and Accommodation Sdn Bhd was ordered to shut down services, while two Marine Department staff, a boarding officer and an engine driver, who were on duty during the time of the incident, were suspended from duties pending investigations. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy has revealed that the Seagull II ferry’s operating licence was not renewed since its expiry on March 16 last year while the passenger certificate had expired on March 18, 2005.

SUNDAY 11TH NOVEMBER 2007-MATHS & SCIENCE: Maximus says in-depth study needed first

MATHS & SCIENCE: Maximus says in-depth study needed first


Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili has suggested an in-depth study be carried out before any changes are made to the of English in teaching Mathematics and science in schools. He said that while the Government is ‘always open to any evaluation” on its policy decisions, it is important to first determine the impact of the policy on the overall standard of use and understanding of English in schools. “If it really shows that the results are not consistent with what is expected, the Government is always open to scrutiny and valuation,” he said at the Department of National Unity and Integation Sabah branch Hari Raya open house at Maksak Hall in Likas near here, yesterday. Maximus was asked to comment on the recent call by Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin for the teaching of Mathematic and Science to be reverted to Bahasa Malaysia to ensure students in rural areas are not left behind. Maximus, who is also Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) deputy president, agreed that using English to teach Mathematics and Science is not the only way to promote deeper understanding and use of the language, but stressed that there must first be a proper evaluation of the situation before any decision is made. “With regard to (teaching of) English, the intention has always been good in that unless we master English we cannot master the world, and neither can we participate in the global economy effectively. “But as to whether the means that we use are effective, the Government is open to proper evaluation. We (PBS) had recommended early to provide teachers Who are qualified to teach English and books and tools must be supplied because the last to benefit would be the rural people. We understood that there will always be a gap because urban schools would benefit more than rural schools, but overall even at this time rural schools have benefited.
‘Some of the teachers can now speak (English) fluently because of teaching Mathematics and Science in English and when we conduct seminars in rural areas where I speak English and crack jokes, many of our young people can grab,” he said. “This means they are learning something.. .it may not be at the pace that we wanted but that is why I said we need to study the situation. “Frequent changes may not be beneficial. We must allow for time and do a proper evaluation and if truly the goals are not achieved, then we must ask why, is it because of the means to achieve (the goals) or the policy itself,” he said.
When asked about his view on the proposed expansion of the United States Embassy’s Fulbright English Teachers Assistance Programme nationwide, Maximus said a “proper scheme” should be set up to accommodate and monitor the implementation of the plan. “Whatever assistance pertaining to the teaching of English is welcome, so long as it is conducted through the proper agencies that are responsible, which are the Ministry of Education and Education Department. “Many of us here who went to secondary school in the late 60s and early 70s benefited because we had many teachers from Canada and the Peace Corp. These are very useful avenues to use. “Even now there are a lot of Australian youths and graduates who are here working on the ground through NGO arrangements with the Education Department, but if we want to get more (assistance), then maybe a proper scheme needs to be developed,” he said. US Embassy counsellor for public affairs Phillip P Hoffman in August said they had so far brought down several groups of fresh graduates for their pilot programme, which started in Terengganu two years ago. He noted that the expansion plans were pending approval of funding, with the aim of spreading the programme to other states.