Friday, November 23, 2007


THE Sabah State Records and Archives Enactment 2007 and the State Library (Amendment), Enactment 2007 Bills were passed after a lively debate on the last day of the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday. The Sabah State Records and Archives Enactment Bill was tabled by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansor, while Deputy Chief Minister cum Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin tabled the State Library (Amendment) Enactment 2007 Bill. Nasrun said the Sabah State Records and Archives Enactment is aimed at providing the creation, acquisition, custody, preservation use and management of public records and public archives. Explaining the rationale of the Bill, he said since its establishment during the colonial rule in November 1957, the State Archive Department had been using the existing State Archive Enactment No. 9, 1980 which merely focussed on the final processing of record management. He said since then, the department had been facing various challenges such as the rapid changes and development of information management with the usage of advanced technology.
“In the present decade, information management uses three main fields, namely computer technology, telecommunication and record management. “The existing Enactment has not been amended,” said Nasrun, explaining that the Sabah State Records and Archives Enactment Bill comprises seven divisions containing 47 sections. The new Enactment would enable the State Archives Department to overcome the challenges ahead and provide records and archive services more efficient and cost effective, he added. During a debate on the Bill, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman rebuked Philip Lasimbang (BN-Moyog) for the latter’s remarks about a recent allegation made by State Archive Director Datu Tigabelas Datu Zainal Abidin about the department’s purported reluctance to put up any exhibition on the late Tun Fuad Stephens because the former Governor and Chief Minister was “Separuh Orang Putih”. While concurring with Datuk Mohd Lan Allani (BN-Sulabayan) that it was a trivial matter and should not be turned into a big issue, Muss said that the widow of Tun Fuad, Toh Puan Rahimah Staphen, had always been invited and accorded a special seat in any major official functions. Stressing that it was a show of great respect to the late Tun Fuad and his family members, Musa said: “1 think lam closer to her (Toh Puan Rahimah) than I am closer to you (Philip).” Deputy State Speaker Datuk Michael Tan ruled that the alleged remark was a personal view from Datuk Tigabelas and not the State Government’s stand, and asked Philip to end his speech.
On the State Library (Amendment) Enactment 2007 Bill, Yahya explained that the amendment seeks to empower the Sabah State Library as the “State Depository Centre”, which means a depository of library resources published in the State. With the amendment, he said the Sabah State Library would be able to build a holistic and comprehensive collections, apart from becoming a one-stop information centre. A provision to this effect was already in place at both the National Library and the Sarawak State Library, said Yahya, adding that after 19 years the existing State Library Enactment 1998 should be amended so as to enhance the role and responsibilities of the Sabah State Library.


RM9O millon to be used for road projects
The Public Works Department (PWD) will get RM156.2 million of the RM313.2 million being allocated to the Infrastructure Development Ministry under the 2008 State Budget. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan said the PWD would use the funds to implement infrastructure development which included : road projects (RM9O.64 million), bridges (RM2O.79 million), sewerage (RM39.97 million) and buildings (RM4.82 million). Out of the RM9O. 64 million for road development,he disclosed that RMl4.5 million is set aside for roads in the tourism sector, RM13.4 million in the agriculture sector and RM1.4 million in the industrial sector. “This is in line with the Government’s efforts of developing the agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and processing sectors,” said Raymond in his winding up speech on the debate of the State Budget for 2008. He said that RMl49.6 million would be allocated to the Water Department followed by the Port Authority(RM4.4 million) and State Railway Department (RM3 million). The Water Department would use the RM149.6 million funds to implement various projects, in particular on emergency works, special water supply program, upgrading of piping system, pipe extension programme and to build and upgrade treatment plants.
The allocations for the Port Authority and Railway Department would be used to finance new projects planned for next year, Raymond told the House, adding that his ministry has been tasked with coordinating and implementing all sewerage activities in the State to ensure the integrated upgrading of the facilities. As the sewerage system, including the treatment plants in Sabah, are in critical condition and require immediate action, all the works to rehabilitate the old sewerage plants and building the new ones, particularly in Kota Kinabalu, are being implemented with allocations from the Federal Government.
“For this purpose, the central Government has approved a RM272 million loan under the Ninth Malaysia Plan for upgrading the sewerage system in Sabah,” he said.
They included the Phase 1 Kota Kinabalu sewerage project, the Phase 1 Kota Belud sewerage project, the Kudat sewerage project and the upgrading of existing sewerage system in Sandakan, Raymond added. Raymond also said efforts had been taken to address the traffic congestion problems not just in Keningau as raised by Datuk Sarin Karno (Liawan) but also in other major towns through efficient traffic management. “The existing single carriageways leading to the towns are being converted into dual carriageways to increase their capacities and in Kota Kinabalu City, flyovers were built,” he said. While stating that all the State gravel roads in Sabah would be eventually be sealed, Raymond said some 5,159.84 kilometres of State roads under the ministry’s jurisdiction are still gravel.


One district chief policy to be implemented next year
KOTA KINABALU: The State Government will appoint only one district chief for each district starting from next year, said Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hj Hajiji Hj Noor. The Government wants to ensure uniformity across the board and to put forward the best candidate for each district, he said when replying to a supplementary question from Suhaili Said (BN-Tungku) at the State Assembly yesterday. “In districts where there are more than one district chief, we will not renew their service once their tenure is over. This is to make way for the appointment of one chief for the district,” said Hajiji whose ministry received a RM73 million allocation in 2008 as compared to RM53 million this year. To a supplementary question from Kuala Penyu assemblyman Datuk John Ghani, Hajiji said the one district chief policy would not pose any major problem when it comes to handling matters related to customary rights. “It does not matter if the district chief is a Muslim or otherwise, because we have the Native Court which has native chiefs representing the various ethnic groups here. “We can always use the services of the Native Court to settle problems concerning the customary rights of specific ethnic groups,” he said in his winding up speech on the 2008 State Budget debate. John questioned the rationale behind the policy, raising worries that a single district chief may not be able to address the varied needs of the society in the area, particularly on issues related to different native customs. Hajiji also assured that there is no overlapping jurisdiction between the Native Court and the Syariah Court. “This issue does not arise at all as each court has its own enactment, hence the respective jurisdiction is outlined under the respective enactment,” he said in reply to a question posed by Moyog assemblyman Philip Lasimbang. Hajiji meanwhile explained that the conversion of the Malaysian Remuneration Scheme (SSM) to a fixed monthly allowance for district and native chiefs is a relevant move to provide adequate remuneration for their services. “The SSM requires appointees to fulfil various criteria such as SPM qualification, also passing public and specific inductions and daily work logs among others.
“The main criteria for district and native chiefs are not academic qualifications and service regulations but rather leadership qualities and the ability to lead and settle problems of the community under their care, and more importantly their knowledge in native affairs and customary rights,” he said. In his main speech, Hajiji said various measures were taken to improve the delivery system in the local authorities. These include the acquisition of more garbage trucks, more fundings through the grant-in- aid and contribution in lieu of rates, updating of by-laws and close monitoring of enforcement duties. “These measures are crucial to ensure local authorities are on the right track, especially in complementing the Government’s implementation of the Sabah Development Corridor,” he said. Hajiji said a huge increase in allocation of last year’s RM980,000 to RM14.359 million next year for the expenses of District Chiefs, Native Chiefs and Native Chief Representatives and other community leaders would enable his ministry to better control and monitor the effectiveness of their roles and services. The Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority would enhance its efforts on building more low-cost and affordable homes in districts being given the priority, he added.


PNB trains graduates in franchise business Full-time intensive course and loans provided: Shahrir
About 90,000 jobs have been created by the franchising industry in the country, which generates an annual turnover of about RM1O billion. Minister of Industrial Development Dr Ewon Ebin said there are now 300 franchising systems with 3,700 outlets in Malaysia. Ewon, who was officiating at the launch of a franchising seminar organised at Sutera Harbour Resort by the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development, said he is confident the participants of the seminar, especially from Sabah, will obtain the latest information on franchising concept that they can use to further develop their business. He urged the participants to obtain as much information and opportunities as they can from at least 30 successful organizations in the franchising industry that gave briefings and talks to them. He hoped they could gain enough knowledge to implement a business by applying the franchising concept and marketing network. Meanwhile, PNB (Perbadanan Nasional Bhd) chairman Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said the seminar was aimed at providing business opportunities both for graduates and Bumiputera entrepreneurs. He said those keen and eligible would be given training, mentorship and fmancing assistance. For example, under the graduate franchising programme, a full-time intensive course (six weeks) together with advisory and industrial training would be provided for any diploma or degree holders who are not over 35 years old and could pass an interview. He said the funds for financing the implementation of the business could be obtained from PNS, MARA and other agencies that are approved by the Government. PNB, he added, would also act as a coach of the qualified graduates and entrepreneurs to ensure they succeed in the franchising business. According to him, the franchising and financing schemes introduced in 2004 are aimed at motivating Bumiputera entrepreneurs. The schemes include Mezzanine Franchise Scheme, Smart Partnership Scheme, Graduate Franchise Scheme, Woman Franchise Scheme, Youth Franchise Scheme and Budding Franchise Scheme. Meanwhile, Synergy Farm (franchise farming) senior manager Azrul Bin Zulkifly said his organization is involved in producing cavendish banana, which enjoys a high demand from their partner in China since 2005. “As such, our supply is not enough and we are here to negotiate with any agencies and individuals who are willing to rent out their lands to enable our organization to expand (plant more cavendish banana) to meet the demand. Azrul said Synergy Farm, which was established in Penang in 2002, currently has 430 acres of land and plans to rent more land, at least 1,000 hectares in a year. “We have already approached every state, among them Pahang, Ipoh, Sabah and Sarawak, but we found that it is hard to secure land for this business even though the marketing feedback is encouraging. Asked why Synergy Farm chose the banana, Azrul said it has a huge market, a global one. He said Synergy is also looking at the possibility of venturing into the production of other tropical fruits and vegetables like pineapples and tomatoes. Azrul’s colleague, Suffian Azmi, who is a Trainee Assistant Manager, said, “Franchising is still new to Malaysia, however it is very good for any entrepreneurs to venture into as it is a shared partnership (cooperation between parties) and an opportunity to discover new markets globally besides in Malaysia. “From our marketing experiences, franchising business is encouraging especially in China and Singapore. We also hope to plan to expand our packages.” Over 500 potential and established entrepreneurs attended the seminar.