Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - Youths achieve success in livestock breeding

20 earn about RM30,000 a month after venturing into industry
KOTA KINABALU: About 20 livestock breeders from the State have been raking in a monthly earning of about RM30,000 in a few years after venturing into the industry.

Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail said they were among the few local youths who heeded the government’s advice and took up the challenge by starting their own livestock breeding activities commercially.

He said many of these young entrepreneurs come from the rural areas such as Keningau an Lahad Datu.

“Actually, some of these breeders have exceeded the RM30,000 mark in their monthly income,” said Abdul Rahim yesterday.

He said one of the 20 successful breeders is a 29-year-old youth from Lahad Datu who took out a RM800,000 bank loan to commence his operation a few years ago.

“He is now drawing a monthly income of about RM28,000 and faces no problem in repaying the loan at RM6,000 per month. Recently, he approached the bank for a further loan to expand his operation,” Abdul Rahim said at the presentation of certificates to 220 breeders who received a total of 4,748 head of ruminant liverstocks under the ministry’s 100 Breeders Scheme to start their operations.

He said many Sabahan youths have been shunning job and business opportunities in the agriculture sector saying that “it is dirty and has no standard.”

Abdul Rahim said the time has come for the people to change their mindset and perception and regard the agriculture sector s a lucrative business if it is carried out commercially.

From next year onwards, he said his ministry is focusing on achieving the goal set in the 100 Breeders Scheme by increasing Sabah’s self-sufficiency in beef production from 26 per cent presently to 35 per cent by 2010.

He said about 40,000 of the 100,000 hectares of reserved grazing land in Sabah have been earmarked for development through the Department of Veterinary and Animal Industry (DOVSAI).

Efforts are also being made to increase fresh milk production from seven million liters per year now to eight million litres by 2010, said Abdul Rahim, adding that Sabah has achieved self-sufficiency in the production of chicken and chicken eggs.

“Sabah is currently producing 500 million eggs and 50 million chickens annually.”

Abdul Rahim added the agriculture sector, one of Sabah’s three main engines of economic growth along with tourism and the processing sectors, contributed RM532 million to the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2004.

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - Special body to monitor NS training programs

KOTA KINABALU: A special body has been set up by the Government to monitor the National Service (NS) training programmes in all the camps throughout the country.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Liew Yun Fah, when disclosing this, said the monitoring body or ‘Naziran’, chaired by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, would conduct spot checks at all camps to ensure smooth implementation of all programmes.

“In Sabah, the monitoring body will be conducting weekly or monthly checks to look into the training development, including the trainees’ health status or the food quality in all camps,” he explained.

Apart from this, the body will also be checking on the job performance of the camps’ commandants and a report on those who failed to carry out their duties would be submitted to the State NS before the case is referred to the central committee.

Liew also assured parents that they need not worry about their children who were called up for the NS training programme because to date, no reports on any camp commandants who failed in their duties have been received.

Speaking to reporters after officiating the Sabah National Service Special Community Services Module workshop here, he said the NS programme is an avenue to train youths to be independent as well as boosting their self-confidence.

He therefore urged parents to be proud when their children are selected to undergo the training programme and added, “The Government has spent millions of ringgit to implement the NS, and apart from gaining a lot of the experiences, the trainees are also being paid an allowance of RM300 each.” Liew also urged the media not to highlight any incident happening at NS camps, adding that the commandants are taking every possible step to ensure that the trainees’ safety and security are well taken care of.

“There are times when a trainee falls sick, he or she would not inform their respective commandant until matters become worse,” he said.

Touching on the workshop, Liew said the event was held to find way to further improve the implementation of the NS programme, besides ensuring that it meets the objectives.

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - Sabahans to benefit if Mt Kinabalu joins network

LANGKAWI: Communities living in the vicinity of Mount Kinabalu are likely to enjoy socio-economic benefits if the mountain, Malaysia’s tallest, joins the Global Geopark Network.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah School of Science and Technology’s Associate Prof Dr Felix Tongkul said with the Geopark concept, the surrounding communities could enjoy the benefits of tourism by participating in related economic activities such as opening stalls or curio shops.

“Currently, they are mere spectators observing the comings and goings of tourists and, except for providing manpower, they contribute nothing as the tourist agencies bringing in visitors to Mount Kinabalu Park are based in Kota Kinabalu,” he said.

He said geoparks should belong to the people, with the government assisting them to reap the benefits from the implementation of the concept.

Among the unique aspects of Mount Kinabalu in terms of geoscience is that it is one of the youngest intrusive igneous rock in the region with many glacial features and older oceanic rocks which can be found on the mountain itself.

Geopark Network (GGN) Bureau committee member Datuk Dr Ibrahim Komoo said Malaysia is a hot favourite to lead the Asia-Pacific geoparks network that will be set up during the inaugural Regional Conference on Asia-Pacific Geoparks and Business Dialogue 2007.

He said that although Malaysia has only one geopark, it had a strong base in geology with the support of a solid group of researchers and experts.

“In terms of knowledge, we are actually more advanced compared to China which has 18 geoparks.

“This is also among the reasons why Unesco wanted the inaugural conference to be held here,” he said after delivering a keynote address at the conference held at the Mahsuri International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIEC) yesterday.

Dr Ibrahim said that a step further would be to set up an Asia-Pacific Geoheritage and Geoparks Network as the Asia-Pacific Geopark Network only has a membership of three countries.

“We have to remember that currently in the Asia-Pacific region, there are only three countries - China, Iran and Malaysia - which have areas accorded geopark status by Unesco.”

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - Senior citizens competing for honours in sports carnival

KOTA KINABALU: A sports carnival has brought together champions among senior citizens representing their respective teams under the Council of Sabah Senior Citizens Association (COSCA).

The carnival which started yesterday featured table-tennis, Chinese chess and snooker competitions.

“It will be the ninth time that we are holding the carnival and we are proud that the event received support from the Youth and Sports Minister,” said COSCA president Robert Foo when met at the carnival opening officiated by Youth and Sports Ministry Political Secretary Chin Yun Seng who represented Minister Datuk Liew Yun Fah at the Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex in Likas.

Also present were officials from the Sabah Sports Board (SSB) Jerry Joachim and Living Masini, representing SSB General Manager Mahmood Kalong.

The table tennis and Chinese chess competitions were held at the Sports Complex while snooker will take place at the King’s Snooker & Billiard Centre at Alamesra, Jalan Sulaman.

COSCA comprise 10 affiliates, namely two in Kota Kinabalu and the rest in Tawau, Semporna, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Beaufort, Keningau, Tenom and Kudat.

“Every affiliate are represented by winners selected after holding their own tournament at affiliate-level.

“Apart from the tournaments, we have also lined up several programmes such as singing contest and tour... we will be going to the Zoo in Lok Kawi tomorrow (today),” Foo added.

Meanwhile, organising chairperson for the women’s category Jenny Wong was given the honour to declare open the snooker event.

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - Tough challenges for women if economic growth becomes vital focus: Shahrizat

KOTA KINABALU: Women will be facing tough challenges both as individuals and as members of a productive society if economic growth becomes a vital focus today, said Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jail.

“However, it is also vital to find a balance of life between preserving our sense of identity, culture and community while venturing into the global economy,” she stressed when closing the International Women Executive Congress here yesterday.

Shahrizat, while assuring that a woman through her natural talent of inner strength and efficient negotiator has the ability to venture into the global economy, said challenges must be shared equally both by the Government and the people, because achieving a global economy must go together with a social responsibility.

Speaking to over 1,000 participants from Sabah, Peninsular Malaysia, Australia, Egypt, China, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, US, Singapore, Thailand and other countries, Shahrizat urged the women to speak up on any issues, especially those relating to the fairer sex, that they feel concerned about and need the assistance of the relevant authorities to overcome.

Sharing her personal experiences on how she faced the ups and downs of her life to become who she is now, Shahrizat firmly believes that individuals, especially women, should not give up on what they desired in achieving a balance of life both financially and personally (preserving their family and the community value.)

“I refused to give up building my career and I worked hard to overcome any challenges that came my way,” said Shahrizat.

“I may have weaknesses and made mistakes but I learnt from them. Remember, we do not have to sacrifice our values and our beliefs to fight our way,” she pointed out.

According to her, most workplaces that hire more women are more productive, especially in businesses and in environments where men value and support the success of smart women.

Shahrizat added, “Smart men always support smart women, this is the reality happening in more advanced countries where men and women work hand in hand to build up various successful public and private sectors.”

She also said that the responsibility of bringing up a family has to be shared by both men and women.

Shahrizat also mentioned that she felt dissatisfied with certain laws, especially with regard to maternity leave for both mothers and fathers and added that she will propose better ways to cope with the allowances, maternity leaves or paid leaves regardless of gender and income.

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - Govt to ask for higher pay for private sector staff: CM

KOTA KINABALU: The State Government will urge employers in the private sector to increase the salary of their workers to the same level as in Peninsular Malaysia.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman acknowledged that the salary rate being offered by the private sector in Sabah is lower compared to other states in the country.

“A higher pay will encourage our youths to return and provide their services in Sabah. I have asked the employers, especially the hoteliers, to offer appropriate wages,” he said after launching the Sabah Job Centre and Career Expo 2007 at Wisma Bandaraya here yesterday.

Commenting on the newly launched Sabah Job Centre, the Chief Minister said it is poised to assist in reducing unemployment rate and help job seekers in the State find their dream job.

According to him, the unemployment rate in Sabah is currently at 5.7 percent, a figure which the Government wants to reduce to four percent by 2010.

The Government’s determination to achieve this target can be seen as the Sabah Job Centre under the Resource Development and Information Technology Ministry has the main objective of assisting job seekers get employment and is also an avenue for employers to seek out potential employees.

Its minister, Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, said 787 people have registered with the Sabah Job Centre and 506 of them are women seeking help to get jobs.

Those who have signed up are from all over the State, including from the State Capital, Keningau, Kudat, Papar, Penampang, Ranau, Sandakan, Tamparuli and Tuaran.

According to him, the Sabah Job Centre has successfully arranged 200 job interviews for those who had registered for its assistance.

He added 67 companies were registered with the Sabah Job Centre and were offering 71 vacancies.

Those interested to register with the Sabah Job Centre can do so online at or contact 088-270451.

They can also write directly to its premises at Tingkat Bawah, Bangunan Wisma Bandaraya, Jalan Masjid Lami, 88000 Kota Kinabalu.

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - 30% target for women to remain priority, says CM

KOTA KINABALU: The vision of having women representing at least 30 percent of the decision-making positions in the State will remain a priority for Sabah, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

As the State undergoes an unprecedented pace of development which presents new areas of opportunities, he said the State Government will continue to ensure that everyone, irrespective of gender, will benefit from being in the mainstream of development.

In his welcoming remarks at the closing ceremony of the International Women Executive Congress 2007 (IWEC-2007) here yesterday, Musa stressed that mainstreaming women would call for commitment by all quarters — the Government, the private sector and more importantly, the women themselves.

In this regard, he said the Malaysian Government is considered probably one of the most women-friendly Governments in the world as manifested by various policies and programmes as well as laws that incorporate the women’s perspective.

On the part of the State Government, he said efforts to implement affirmative multi-sector programmes to further enhance gender equality will be continued.

With the people’s support and the continuing political stability in the State and the country as a whole, the effort would be possible, he said.

“With Datuk Seri Shahrizat at the helm of her ministry, I am confident that Malaysia will continue to be a role model in its gender-sensitive development programmes.

“Nevertheless, the real challenges lies in the women themselves who must possess the will to make things happen,” Musa who is also the organising chairman for IWEC-2007, stressed.

The closing ceremony of the three-day congress was officiated by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil.

Meanwhile, Musa said the State Government will continue with its various social transformation programs, particularly in the area of education.

This is in the form of study loans and scholarships for the needy in order to ensure that a wide spectrum of society has access to education, he said.

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - Sandakan Hospital refutes negligence claim

SANDAKAN: The Duchess of Kent Hospital director has refuted a claim by a woman that a doctor’s negligence in advising the date of birth had caused the death of her twin babies.

Dr Zorina Khalid explained that Alberta Sarail’s twin babies had most probably died in the uterus for more than 12 hours before she delivered them macerated stillbirth on November 4.

The babies had most probably died on November 2 when she could not feel fetal movement. Both babies were born macerated confirming this probability, she said in a statement yesterday in reply to recent news reports on the case.

“For maceration to occur, the babies must have died in the uterus for more than 12 hours. The doctor had explained this to her after the delivery,” she continued.

Dr Zorina was responding to newspaper reports dated November 10 regarding Madam Alberta Sarail whose twin pregnancy ended in death.

“She stated she had gone to see our doctor at the clinic on November 1, 2007, where she was informed by the doctor her fetuses were all right.

“When she went into labour on November 3, she claimed the twins she delivered died 24 hours later. She also stated her due date for delivery was October 30, 2007,” Dr Zorina added.

“Here, I wish to put the incident into its correct perspective. Alberta’s due date is not October 30, 20073 but November 25, 2007 as her last menstrual period was February 18, 2007,” she said.

Dr Zorina said when Alberta came to the hospital’s 0 & G Specialist Clinic on November 1, 2007, she was seen by a medical officer who also did an ultrasound on her, even showing her the ultrasound images of her fetuses. The fetuses were alive then and she was not admitted as she was only 36 weeks plus two days pregnant.

“She had labour pains on November 3, 2007 and she came for admission to our maternity

ward at 11.50pm. She was first seen by our nurse who detected that there was no fetal heart heard. The nurse immediately alerted the doctor-on-call who attended to her.

“The mother spontaneously delivered the first twin at 12. O4am and the second twin at 12.11am on November 4, 2007. Both babies were macerated stillbirth. The history obtained from the mother by our medical officer was that she had not felt any fetal movement since November 2, 2007,” explained Dr Zorina.

Wed 14th Nov 2007 - Budget for all: Musa

Prudent spending, fair allocation to all sectors

KOTA KTNABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the State Budget to be announced this Friday will be a budget for all.

Met after launching the Sabah Job Centre and Career Expo 2007 at Wisma Bandaraya here yesterday, Musa declined to elaborate on the budget but assured that it is going to be a comprehensive one, characterized by prudent spending and fair allocation to all sectors.

Musa who is also the State Finance Minister, said Sabah as usual will be prepared should there be any increase in fuel prices following the Prime Minister’s proposal to shift more money from fuel subsidy to be spent on development programmes.

“We will wait and see. Whether there is going to be any increase in fuel prices or not, it is up to the Federal Government. We will see what are the ways to cope with it,” said Musa.

He assured that the Government will come up with a measure to balance the hike in fuel prices.

Musa noted that Sabah was among the first State to follow suit the Federal’s move in increasing civil servants’ salary as a way to help the people cope with the higher cost of living.

“Apart from that we will also be prudent in our spendings and remind the people not to be wasteful too,” he said.

Meanwhile, Musa said youths in Sabah are too choosy when looking for jobs and their attitude is among the contributing factors resulting in the State’s high unemployment rate.

Musa in advising school leavers and fresh graduates not to be too picky when applying for jobs, said there are a lot of job opportunities readily available in various sectors in Sabah and job seekers should not limit their options by focusing only on their dream job.

“We advise the youths not to be too choosy. If there is a job, they should take it.

“The problem is not so much on limited job opportunities, rather, we are too choosy in looking for jobs,” he said.

The one-day Sabah Job Centre and Career Expo 2007 was organized by the Resource Development and Information Technology Ministry involving 120 exhibitors comprising mostly higher learning institutes.

Also participating were several Government agencies and private companies looking for new recruits.

Musa said some employers, including those in the tourism sector, even faced difficulties in finding workers as job seekers were sometimes not interested in the positions being offered.

“The tourism sector is rapidly growing. In addition to the existing hotels, many new hotels are being built. What we need to do is to provide sufficient skilled workers to fill the jobs which will be created,” he said.

In this regard, he said the Government through the Resource Development and IT Ministry would provide more programmes to train youths in the tourism sector to cater for the increasing need for trained workers in sector in future.

“Apart from the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, we will make sure that a lot of jobs are available for our youths in the tourism sector,” he added.

He said the State Government through various human resource development programmes is aiming to reduce the current unemployment rate of 5.7 percent to four percent by the year 2010.

Therefore, he said the Resource Development and IT Ministry would ensure that necessary training is in place to polish the youths into quality and competent workers.

Meanwhile, Resource Development and IT Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai said his ministry is currently providing comprehensive training for the graduates to help them acquire the necessary and additional skills they need for the jobs they are applying for.

“There are jobs in the market but people are not trained for it. So at the moment we provide a six to 12-month training in which the graduates are also given a RM500 allowance, in addition to industry exposure,” he said.

He noted that a majority of the unemployed group in Sabah are those aged between 16 and 21.