Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - Probe on alleged poor tourist facilities in Kiulu

KOTA KINABALU: An investigation will be carried on complaints that the condition of the restroom facilities for visitors and tourists at the white water rafting point in Kiulu was pathetic and virtually unusable due to poor maintenance and disgusting state and the public toilets were filthy.

Kiulu Assemblyman Datuk Louis Rampas said he would inform the Tuaran District Council to investigate the matter.

He assured that appropriate action would be taken if the allegations were found to be true.

“The public toilets are under the jurisdiction of the Tuaran District Council and I will ask for an explanation from the council about the matter,” said Louis yesterday.

He said such cases should not happen because the white water rafting activities in Kiulu have been popular among local and foreign visitors.

“Toilets are important public amenities and we have to keep them clean at all times,” Louis added.

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - Asian Cartoon Exhibition

KOTA KINABALU: The Japan Foundation and Sabah Art Gallery will co-organize the 11th Asian Cartoon
Exhibition under the theme of “Asian Youth Culture” at the main gallery for two weeks from November 14.

This exhibition is featuring 75 pieces of artworks from 10 leading Asian cartoonists depicting the youth culture in their respective nations for our entertainment as well as for promoting awareness of Asian commonalities and diversity.

The 10 Asian countries are Malaysia, Japan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Malaysia is represented this year by Mohd Tazidi bin Yusof, a cartoonist from Gila-Gila magazine and Berita Harian.

Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Haji Karim bin Haji Bujang is expected to open the exhibition at the Sabah Art Gallery at 9am tomorrow.

The exhibition will open from 9am-5pm daily.

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - Dinner to raise RM100,000 for blind, kids with heart disease

KOTA KINABALU: The public are invited to play a part in helping the blind and children with congenital heart disease by attending the Charity Dinner organised by the Lions Club of Kota Kinabalu at the Pacific Sutera this Nov 16.

The organizers of the dinner are hoping to raise some RM100,000 in aid of the Lions Club International Campaign SightFirst II for the Blind and also to cover the travel expenses for some 16 children who underwent corrective surgery for various heart disorders at the Bucheon Sejong Hospital in Korea.

While helping the needy, generous patrons who buy tickets for the dinner can also expect an entertaining night out with top-class performers lined up for the night’s entertainment.

Headlining the nights entertainment will be professional vocalist and guitarist Simon Sun, who will be flown in all the way from Australia by Stardust Entertainment Sdn Bhd.

Also performing are the Sabah Institute of Arts Jazz Syndicate who recently won the Jimmy Boyle Jazz Competition Sabah qualifying leg, reigning Unduk Ngadau and singer Joanna Sue Henley Rampas and Bodycare Events Workshop who will put on modern dance performances.

A fund-raising auction will also be held later in the night, with two oil paintings contributed by veteran artists Christianne Goonting and Tina Rimmer respectively going under the hammer in aid of the Lions’ causes.

So far 28 tables have been sold. Tables are still available at RM 10,000 for the first string, RM5,000 for the second string and RM2,000 for the third string.

For more information or to purchase tickets; contact Dr Lee at 013-8509816, Alice Chin (016-8302223), Margaret Lau (012-8026282), Dr Kheng (012-8282002), Simon Lee (019-5359900) or Emily Koh (016-8411499).

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - 9MP projects to give Bingkor a facelift

KENINGAU: Bingkor will get a facelift after the implementation of several development projects earmarked for the constituency under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), said its assemblyman, Justin Guka.

Among the projects are the ongoing shop house project in Bingkor township, implementation of water and electricity supply as well as construction of roads to several remote villages in the area, he said.

Brushing aside talks that he has not been carrying out his duties as Bingkor assemblyman, Justin said, “Maybe some people think I am not doing my job but I have done a lot in terms of development and progress for Bingkor.”

Justin is confident Bingkor will become more developed and progressive under the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government and the residents in the constituency, through the various facilities and infrastructure implemented, will enjoy an improved standard of living.

Justin also said the State BN Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is committed to developing the rural areas in Sabah which are still lacking in infrastructure development.

“Rural areas in the interior, including Bingkor, is the focus in the 9MP and Budget 2008 and infrastructure development of basic facilities will be the priority,” he said and expressed his gratitude to the BN Government, especially Musa for approving several mega development projects for the constituency.

The approval of the RM220 million allocation to upgrade the water supply in the district announced by the Chief Minister when he visited Bingkor recently is part of the measures to resolve the water shortage in this district, including in Bingkor and Apin-Apin areas.

Justin said several villages in the area are still dependent on gravity water or rivers such as the Sungai Bayoyo or Sungai Apin-Apin for their daily supply.

He also expressed his appreciation to Keningau Umno chief Datuk Sairin Haji Karno who set up the proposed Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) campus in Apin-Apin as this is a boon for parents there who are too poor to send their children to Peninsular Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu or overseas to continue their studies.

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - Sabah needs more hotels, says French ambassador

KOTA KINABALU: The French ambassador to Malaysia, Alain Du Boispean, said Sabah has the potential to attract higher-end tourists and businessmen with spending power.

“You have Mount Kinabalu, Sipadan Island and diverse wildlife. There is much to see,” Boispean said.

However, he said Sabah needed to have more four to five star hotels to attract this group of tourists.

“Sabah also needs to create greater awareness on what it has to offer as a tourism destination. When people think of Borneo, they think it is still backwards and undeveloped but this not the case when you come to Sabah ,” he added when paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman at his office in Wisma Innoprise yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said the Government was putting in a lot of effort to develop tourism in Sabah since it was designated as one of the economic drivers for the State.

“It is also one of the sectors that we will aggressively promote under the Development Corridor.”

He also said it was important to have more hotel rooms to support flourishing tourism sector.

“In this regard, I am proud to note that more hotels are being built in the State and hope more will be built in the near future. This is where the private sector can play a role.”

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - 37,340 sitting for SPM

KOTA KINABALU: Some 37,340 students from throughout the State are sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination this year from Nov 12 to Dec 6.

State Education Director Normah Gagoh said of the total number of candidates, 30,464 are from Government schools. The others comprise 1,595 students from private schools, 189 from State Government-run schools, 143 from Mara Junior Science College and 4,949 individual candidates.

A total of 306 examination centres have been set up across the State, said Normah yesterday.

She said 65 regional supervisors have been appointed along With 2,765 inspectors.

“Candidates are advised to come early to the examination centres and bring along their identity cards and comply with the standing orders,” Normah said.

She also advised the candidates to closely follow current development that can bring any changes to examination schedule or centre due to unexpected problems such as flood.

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - Third tsunami warning buoy in Philippines waters

KOTA KINABALU: A third tsunami warning buoy is expected to be set up in the Philippines waters by the end of this year, said Malaysian Meteorological Department Deputy-Director General (Application) Alui Bahari.

He said the Malaysian Government is currently in the final stages of negotiations with its Philippines counterpart to decide among other things the exact location of the buoy, called a tidal gauge.

“We expect to install the buoy by year-end. Of course, aside from waiting for the outcome of the negotiations, we would also have to look at the weather. If the waves are high we cannot go out to install the buoy,” he said after the launch of the State-level Tsunami Warning Awareness programme at the Pacific Sutera here, yesterday.

The Government has currently set up two tsunami warning buoys, one each in Rondo in the northern region of Sumatra and another at Layang Layang Island near here. The third buoy is expected to be placed north of Sabah in the waters off Palawan island in the Philippines.

All three buoys are outfitted with technology from Norway, along with additional instruments to measure weather conditions, wind and air pressure while it serves its principal function as a tsunami warning device.

“The buoy will give us early information. When the waves reach the buoy and it is confirmed a tsunami is coming, we will have time before the waves reach the shore to give warning to the agencies related to natural disasters and the public that a tsunami will happen,” said Alui.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin, who launched the awareness programme, stressed that it is important for the public to be aware that the country has a tsunami warning system in place.

“People tend to forget... when we were hit in the past everyone was asking when will we install (a system). Now we have already taken step one which is installing an alarm. After that awareness is very important, if we have an alarm but no awareness there is no point,” he said in an interview after launching the programme.

“We can be hit anytime, we don’t know. In today’s world weather changes are not uncommon, in fact they are very uncertain.

“Out of the blue you have strong winds, or stormy weather, or it gets really hot, we get storms... we don’t know. The weather is just unpredictable nowadays,” he said.

Yahya stressed that it is important for the community leaders attending the awareness programme to spread the information in their respective areas to increase the effectiveness of the tsunami alarm system.

On a separate issue, Yahya, who is also Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister, urged consumers to come forward and make it known to the authorities if they come across any cases of price manipulation.

“We do monitor but when we reach the traders the price is still the same so it’s okay. But we don’t know when we are not there, when there is no officer, the trader may just increase the price,” he said when asked if his Ministry is monitoring the recent surge in the price of bread in Sabah.

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - Justin ready to face Jeffrey in polls if retained as candidate

KENINGAU: Bingkor Assemblyman Justion Guka is leaving it to UPKO President Tan Sri Bernard
Dompok to decide who will contest in the constituency in the coming election.

“If the party president is of the opinion that the present wakil rakyat should be changed and replaced with a new face, then the newcomer should be given the support and opportunity to do so,” he said.

“But if I am given the opportunity to defend my seat in the constituency, I will do my best for the people and ensure a Barisan Nasional victory here,” Justin said.

According to him, lobbying for candidacy is a norm in politics and anyone including those from other BN component parties can do so.

“However, the candidate from UPKO will be decided by the party president and so far, no leader from UPKO has lobbied to become a candidate,” he said, adding that the party president will, before making a decision, evaluate the performance of the present elected representatives.

Justin said that if he is retained, he is ready to face anyone, including Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Vice President, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

“I am ready to face any candidate from the opposition, including Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan. In the last election, it was a five-cornered fight with opposition candidates and I won with a comfortable majority. I am confident, in the coming election, BN will, based on its performance in terms of development in the constituency, repeat its victory,” he said.

Justin said support for BN is strong in Bingkor which shows that the people still need the coalition and the support is proof that BN’s chances of repeating its victory in the coming election is bright.

The people, he pointed out, are now matured and they are able to evaluate who is the best leader to represent them and resolve their problems.

“When I am with them, I am a ‘rakyat biasa’ and there is no need to make any appointments to see me.. that is not the way I operate,” he said.

Commenting on the opposition’s claims that their support was getting stronger in Bingkor, Justin said the talks were just political propaganda and gimmick to influence the people to support them.

“But the rakyat know better and they are matured enough to make the right choice of government that can bring development to them,” he said, adding that cooperation between BN component parties in the constituency will ensure a resounding victory for the coalition in the coming election.

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - Probe on street kids

Ministry, UMS in joint study to determine exact number, nationality: Shahrizat

KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development has taken a multi pronged approach to address issues related to street children in Sabah.

The Minister, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil yesterday said various initiatives have already been launched by the Ministry to tackle the problem, including a joint study with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) to determine the exact number of street children and their nationalities.

Shahrizat She noted that it is difficult to establish an exact figure on the number of street children in Sabah, which is why it will take time for UMS to conduct an in-depth study and investigate the matter on the ground.

“We will also launch a pilot project with the Ministry of Education to identify street children who are citizens and send them back to school. The question is why are they on the streets and not in school,” she said at a press conference when hosting an open house gathering at the Sutera Harbour Marina Club here, yesterday.

Shahrizat said that there are those among the street children who are locals, and questioned why their parents are not fulfilling their responsibilities by sending them to school.

“This is where we hope the Ministry of education can come in and find a mechanism to tell the parents that they must send their children to school. Under the Education Act, it is an offence not to send your children to acquire primary education,” she said.

Shahrizat said the process of identifying which street children are locals and which are foreigners or undocumented is done so that they can be sent accordingly to either the Rumah Perlindungan Ihsan or the Temporary Detention Centre in Menggatal.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who attended the open house, said the assistance from Shahrizat’s ministry is most welcome, especially the RM250,000 financial assistance to upgrade the existing child shelter in Menggatal and the RM5 million budget to build a permanent shelter in Inanam.

Musa stressed that the shelter will be specifically for children identified as citizens while non-citizens will be placed in the Temporary Detention Centre in Menggatal for deportation in line with the Government’s stand to repatriate illegal immigrants when caught.

Meanwhile, during the open house Shahrizat presented contributions worth RM 100,000 each to Masyarakat Penyayang (Mayang), Nadi and the Women and Family Development Council Sabah branches.

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - Bungalow up for grabs at Patron’s Cup

KOTA KINABALU: A two-storey link-bungalow valued at RM675,800 located at Signal Hill, Kota Kinabalu is up for grabs at the Patron’s Cup Golf Championship 2007.

The bungalow courtesy of Gracemart Resources Sdn Bhd, a member of the SBC Corporation Berhad Group at Signal Hill Park is a luxurious landed and gated community at Signal Full, part of the new master plan community code name Signal Hill Collection consisting of The Peak Condo, The Peak Suites and other million ringgit homes.

The championship is offering more than RM1 million worth of hole-in-one prizes to the lucky golfer and SBC Corporation tops the list of he sponsors in terms of value. Golfers who are interested to take part in the championship are reminded to register early, as space is limited.

The Patronis Cup will be held on November 17.

Participations in the championship is open to all Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club golfing members and their guests with a handicap index of 23.0 and below for men and 31.0 and below for women.

The entrance fee for the championship is RM380 nett per golfer for members and RM420 nett per golfer for guests, inclusive of tickets to the gala dinner.

The closing date was on November 10.

To commemorate this prestigious event, a grand gala dinner will be held on the evening of the same day to present the prizes to the deserving winners. The auspicious event will be at the Grand Ballroom of the Magellan Sutera, Sutera Harbour Resort at 7pm.

The grand gala dinner will feature Jaclyn Victor, winner of Malaysian Idol and Ikon Malaysia.

Tickets for gala dinner alone are available at RM200 nett per person for members and RM 220 nett per person for non-members.

Tuesday 13th Nov 2007 - It’s a miracle as man emerges from lake alive after 24 hours!

PAPAR: A man who was feared drowned while collecting balls at a golf resort here on Sunday evening suddenly emerged from the 16 metres deep lake alive.

Awang Simyor Mamit, 38, from Kampung Pimping, Membakut, was reported missing for 24 hours by his friend who went to collect golf balls in a separate lake.

Head of District Traffic and Public Order, Chief Inspector Fauzi Sahat, when contacted, said that policemen and villagers who were stationed at the area were shocked to hear a voice coming from the lake after calling off their search and rescue operation.

“They went to check and was surprised to see him struggling and shouting in the water at about 7.15 pm yesterday, some 20 feet from where he was last seen. He was taken ashore and immediately rushed to the Beaufort Hospital for treatment,” Fauzi said.

“This is truly a miracle.. .everyone said so. However, we will wait for him to gain his strength before carrying out investigation,” he said.

Earlier, District Police Chief DSP Charles Labung Lawai said Simyor and his friend had trespassed onto the golf resort at around 3pm with the intention to collect golf balls for sale.

“At around 5pm, the friend went to look for Simyor but he was nowhere to be seen. His clothing, shoes and spare shirt were seen lying by the lakeside. Fearing something bad had happened, the friend immediately contacted the police for help,” said Charles.

A search and rescue operation was launched immediately by the police, Fire and Rescue Department and Civil Defence Department.

Simyor’s anxious wife and two children were at the scene the whole time waiting for his safe return.