Thursday, November 22, 2007


Ministry says they do not have Govt hologram:
Three hundred and forty-three boxes of traditional drinks which did not have the compulsory Government hologram label on them were seized by the Health Ministry from a warehouse in Likas here yesterday. The Three Leaves Brand cooling water drinks were taken off a food distributor’s shelf in Likas. According to the Pharmacy Enforcement Branch officer who did not wish to be named, it is compulsory to place the hologram label on every health product before it is distributed. “Every health product must have the label which issued by the Health Ministry, adding it is the directive given by the ministry to all manufacturers and distributors,” said the officer. Products having the label means that they are certified and approved by the ministry and are safe for consumption, but most of the cooling water bottles at the premises did not have any. However, the officers encountered some problems during the seizure as the distributor and manufacturer of the drinks from Penang, who came later, refused hand them over, claiming they had done nothing wrong Lawyers Datuk VK Liew and Ram Singh also came to the warehouse later after receiving a call from the distributor who insisted the Health Ministry was wrong. The lawyers, however, advised the distributor a manufacturer to surrender the items. It was learnt that the manufacturer, who happened to be in Sabah on a business trip, admitted later that it was an honest mistake by the factory where the workers must have forgotten the procedure. He further explained that they had obtained necessary hologram labels from the ministry earlier but the factory in Penang had missed putting it on the bottles. Earlier, the manufacturer stressed that they had followed all rules and regulations, saying that they had followed the necessary requirements such as relevant documents and licences. Further checks by the enforcement however found that the manufacturers had packaged three bottles together but labeled only one of the bottles. “The label has to be put on each and every bottle,” the enforcement officer stressed. He added they were investigating the case under Regulation 7(1)A of the Control of Cosmetic and Drug Regulation 1984 for violation of registration terms.


Bingkor assemblyman Justin Guka yesterday urged the State Government to take another look at the import of beef from India to protect local livestock breeders. He said local cattle and buffalo breeders were unable to match the low prices of the imported Indian beef. “The Government needs to have a solid policy to protect the rights of local breeders by cutting down on meat imports because the current situation has killed off the interest of local breeders,” he said when debating the 2008 State Budget at the State Assembly here yesterday. Justin stressed that the Government should instead take advantage of the State’s status as a disease-free zone for ruminant livestock and turn Sabah into a meat production hub for the country and possibly regionally. “I propose that the Government re-study the import of cheap Indian beef because the country has not achieved disease-free status and we may be simply introducing diseases to Sabah through the import of frozen beef. “Sabah and Sarawak have been declared as disease-free zones for ruminant livestock in Malaysia, hence the Government should take full advantage of this opportunity to turn Sabah into a hub for livestock produce for Malaysia and neighbouring Asian countries if possible. “If implemented systematically by the Government, I am sure livestock rearing can become a major source of revenue for the people of Sabah,” he said. Justin also urged the Government to re-evaluate the tax rate of 7.5 percent for each oil palm plantation operator to ease the burden of plantation smallholders in the State. Speaking in support of Sri Tanjung assemblyman Samson Chin, he said palm oil prices had been unstable over the years leaving the smallholders in a fix. “When the price of palm oil drops all the losses are borne by plantation operators or owners and there is no assistance to recoup the losses, and when the prices go up a high tax is imposed which the operators cannot afford to settle,” he said. Justin urged the relevant ministry to carry out a study on the revenue status of plantation smallholders before imposing any tax as he said there is a large possibility that the smallholders are facing huge losses. “This could lead to them leaving the sector as they are unable to earn sufficient returns if the taxation rate is not re-evaluated,” he said and also proposed that the plantation operators be included in discussions to decide on tax cuts.


Over 100 Taman Jaya Diri tenants have voiced their unhappiness that their elected representative did not fulfil a promise to them. They claimed that the elected representative had promised them new housing at Suang Parai (their former village) in Karambunai, before instructing them to leave their village and stay temporary at Taman Jaya Diri. Ramli Laudi, 47, who is a tenant at Taman Jaya Diri, said they were facing difficulties paying rental to the Town and Housing Development Board (LPPB) because “we are only farmers with no fixed income”. “We were staying at Suang Parai before and were told by the BN YB that we could return to the village after the new houses were built. But today not only was the promise not kept, we saw strangers moving into our houses there. “I could see my garden bearing all kinds of fruits today, but someone else is staying in what was supposed to be my house at Suang Parai, my former village!” he said. Ramli said more than 100 tenants of the flats, mostly farmers from Suang Parai, Karambunai were burdened by their debts with loan sharks. He said they had to borrow the money to settle their outstanding rental with LPPB or else face eviction. According to him, the elected representative promised them that the flats could be purchased through deductions from their rentals if the BN won the election and that the rent could be waived for one year under a federal scheme.


11 pirate transport vehicles detained
Police here detained 11 vehicles believed to be used for pirate transport operation, around the night market and Post Malaysia office here on Tuesday. “Police are still detaining five of the vehicles, including a Kancil, at the police station as the owners have yet to claim them,” said district police chief DSP Zahari Mohammad yesterday He also disclosed that the traffic police issued 257 summonses to motorists here for road tax, driving license and bald tyre offences. Zahari warned pirate taxi operators to stop their activity as they are not insured to protect their passengers in case of accident. He said the police had identified some of the fatal road accidents in the district involved this illegal kind of transport vehicles. Meanwhile, Zahari said the police would round up beggers in the town area soon. “Police have received many complaints from the public on these people roaming around the town asking for money,” he said. “Some of these beggers, especially women, are normally found at the five-foot ways and coffee shops,” he said, adding the children would enter coffee shops and beg for money from customers who are having their meal. “Police will take stern action on this activity because it could tarnish the image of the district which will hold the Pesta Kayu Koningau-Onsoi on November 23,” he said.


A man was believed to have been shot dead by two men who were known to him, in broad daylight at Taman Donggongon here yesterday. The wife of the victim, who was identified as Chan Yen Kiong, saw the two men talking to her husband before they locked her up in a toilet together with their maid in the 1pm incident. District police chief DSP Madang Usat in disclosing this, said the 47-year-old self-employed suffered serious head injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). Initial investigation revealed that the victim was talking with the two men who came to the house on a motorcycle and stopped at the main door. “He was standing inside the house while the two men were outside. The only thing that separated them were the grilles. It was learnt that they were talking about ‘Along’ (illegal money lender),” said Madang. After a while, one of the men asked permission to use the toilet, and the victim told them to enter through the kitchen door. Upon entering, the duo then threatened the maid who was cleaning dishes, to keep quiet. They then tied the hands and legs of the maid and the victim’s wife who was sitting at the dining table and covered their mouths before locking them in the toilet. According to the victim’s 39-year-old wife, who declined to be named, they heard gun shot coming from outside and later heard the duo escaping on the motorcycle.
Both the women quickly freed themselves and walked out of the toilet. They found the victim on the sofa with serious head injuries. “The wife ran out to seek help from neighbours. They later sent the victim to QEH but he succumbed to injuries on the way,” said Madang, adding the police were investigating the motive behind the murder. “We hope the public with any information of the case will come forward and assist us in our investigation,” he said.