Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sabah cases up to 461 with 3 deaths

The number of confirmed Influenza A (HINI) cases in Sabah has shot up to 461 as of Tuesday, according to the Health Ministry's Disease Control Division Director, Datuk Dr Hassan Abdul Rahman.

He said the number of deaths from Sabah related to HINI has also increased from two to three.

"Four hundred and sixty-one people have so far tested positive for Influenza A (HINI) in Sabah. And one more death has been reported, totalling three now," he said when contacted, Tuesday evening.

However, details of the death were not immediately known.

Dr Hassan said there are two types of test - Rapid Test and the Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Test, which is done to detect the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Foreign-worker levy in Sabah to be halved

The Home Ministry will reduce the foreign-worker levy in Sabah by 50 per cent from July 1 to Oct 31, said its minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

He said the ministry would also give a second chance to employers in the state to register foreign workers who had been working illegally.

"I hope the employers will take advantage of the opportunities. We understand their problems and they should reciprocate in solving the illegal immigrant problems," he said in a statement today.

He said an integrated operation would be carried out to weed out illegal immigrants after the deadline.

"This will enable the authorities to have their data and trace them. Until May 15, the Immigration Department had issued work permits to 20 per cent or 48,477 foreign workers through their respective embassies while the status of 240,260 more workers is still unknown," he said.

He said the ministry would propose to the Cabinet to merge the Cabinet Committee on Illegal Immigrants and the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers as their functions overlapped.

On operations against illegal immigrants in Sabah between August and Oct last year, he said 312,837 foreign workers had been registered.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Unduk Ngadau 2009

1. Tati Appey Rowena (PAPAR)
2. Pearl petrus (KK)
3. Kimberly Majalap (PENAMPANG)
4. Flina Rutum (TAMPARULI)
5. Jacqueline Joseph (KENINGAU)
6. Fredericka Richard (TUARAN)
7. Elinna Masuin (LIKAS)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sabahan's Train

TENOM: For about a year now, homemade trolleys that are manually pushed using long poles have become a regular mode of transport for people who live along the railway track here.

Since the state Railway Department suspended its regular train service last May, the number of trolleys, which are made from planks and car or motorcycle wheel bearings, has gone up.

It's illegal, but the department is keeping its eyes closed for now as the trolleys are a lifeline for those at Pangi and Rayoh, the last two stations before the town here.

A 134km railway line runs from Kota Kinabalu to here via Beaufort.

From here to Beaufort, the track stretches 49km with four stations along the scenic Sungai Padas, namely Pangi, Rayoh, Halogilat and Saliwangan Baru.

The trolleys have existed since the early days of the railway service, which started in 1896. Even when the regular train service was operational, trolleys were used by villagers discreetly.

Villager Antawar Mukak said they used to hide their trolleys in bushes to prevent them from being confiscated by the department.

District officer Faimin Kamin said about 500 people who lived along the rail track were directly affected as well as thousands of others involved in the agricultural sector in the district, which has a population of about 60,000.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pang is new Deputy CM

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Peter Pang En Yin has been appointed deputy Chief Minister post replaced Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah who joined peninsula-based Parti Gerakan last week.

Tan, former deputy president of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) which pulled out of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in September last year, was partyless for almost nine months until he joined Gerakan.

Pang is a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Vice President and Karamunting Assemblyman.

The announcement ended much speculation and debate on who would be the Deputy Chief Minister under the Chinese quota. Pang's appointment also marked another milestone for LDP because his predecessor Tan took over the post after it was vacated by former LDP President Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat about 25 months ago.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Miss Sabah World 2009


Age : 19

Place of Birth : Kota Kinabalu

Height : 5' 9"

Weight : 47.2KG

Vital Stat : 31-25½-33

Occupation : Student

Hobbies : Swimming

Qualification : Diploma

Personal Statements : To be successful in everything I do and hope to win this competition.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sabah assembly: Speaker rejects bid to debate long-standing Philippines' Sabah claim

A bid by an opposition backbencher, Likas assemblyman Datuk Liew Teck Chan to table a motion to debate the claim on Sabah by the Philippines was rejected here today.

State assembly Speaker Datuk Juhar Mahiruddin rejected the motion but agreed on two points that it had the interest of the people and deemed important.

In his motion Liew said recently a man who claimed to be an heir of the Sulu Sultanate and 11 others were held in Lahad Datu for burning the state flag.

He says its incited anger among the people of Sabah and on top of that there is also the issue of the large presence of illegal immigrants that has yet to be solved.

Later, Liew said he was disappointed that his motion was rejected but added he will bring it up if he gets the opportunity in the next three days because the matter should be resolved urgently especially when we have a fellow Sabahan holding the post as the Foreign Minister (atuk Anifah Aman) in the cabinet.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ex-Sabah Minister Conrad Mojuntin goes to jail

Former state culture, youth and sports minister Datuk Conrad Mojuntin will serve a 6 month jail sentence beginning Monday, for threatening a businessman, 3 years ago.

This followed the dissatisfaction of the Court of Appeal over the defence’s submission and dismissed Conrad’s application for leave to file an appeal against the High Court’s decision on Jan 8.

Conrad, 60, was sentenced to 6 months jail and fined RM2,000 in default three months jail for criminally intimidating businessman Doughty Disimon, 30, outside the SJD Cafe and Sports at 3.30am on Oct. 23, 2005.

The incident occured in Donggongon, Penampang.

His bail of RM5,000 was also revoked.

Manoj Kurup prosecuted while Zahir Shah represented Conrad. Justices Datuk Tengku Baharudin Shah Tengku Mahmud, Datuk Md Raus Sharif and Datuk Abdull Hamid Embong heard the application.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Anifah Aman springs surprise, appointed foreign minister's post

Sabahan leaders made four in Najib's cabinet while five others appointed deputy ministers. Its was the biggest surprise for Datuk Anifah Aman as he was appointed as Foreign Minister while Newly-elected Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, who was the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister, is now the Rural and Regional Development Minister.

Parti Bersatu Sabah Deputy President Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili retains his Science, Technology and Innovation portfolio.

United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Organisation (Upko) president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok moved from the Prime Minister's Department to the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry.

The deputy ministers:

Tan Sri Joseph Kurup - Natural Resources and Environment
Datuk V.K. Liew - Prime Minister's Department
Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri - Transport
Datuk Lajim Ukin - Housing and Local Government
Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin - Health.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

12 held for burning Sabah flags

Police in Lahad Datu have arrested 12 men for burning state flags in the east coast town Saturday.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim said they had received a tip-off at 8.40am that a group of men had burned six flags in front of the town’s market.

“Some of the men were also seen carrying yellow flags bearing the insignia of a red lion, believed to be the pre-independence flag of the Governor of Sabah”, he said.

He added that the flag has long fallen into disuse.

Noor Rashid said by the time police reached the scene, the men had already fled.

They left behind burnt remains of the flags.

Some of the men were then seen running towards the district police headquarters, where they were promptly arrested and investigated for illegal assembly, he said.

Noor Rashid added that those detained were aged between 14 and 41 years.

“We are still investigating the motive of the incident. “The alleged group leader has claimed to be a descendant of the Sulu Sultan,” Noor Rashid said.

Lahad Datu police immediately deployed more than 80 personnel around the town area following the incident.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A sober taste of Sabah through 'lihing'

EVERYONE in Sabah knows what lihing is.

Made from a mixture of water, fermented rice or tapioca and a special blend of yeast, this local wine is a must-have during weddings and festivities or any aramai ti occasion.

Put in a special container made of bamboo called suki, lihing should be taken in small quantities because after awhile, the combination of fermented rice (or tapioca) and yeast will produce the same effect as an alcoholic drink.

The Monsopiad Cultural Village in Kota Kinabalu is currently hosting an exhibition on local brew, which gives the opportunity for visitors to not only understand the various local drinks in Sabah, but also what is required in preparing them.

Preparing a local brew is not as easy as you think. There are many pantang-larang (dos and don'ts) associated with it.

lihing is best done in a quiet environment.

Dry the cooked rice (or tapioca) on a mat overnight. Then, add a special blend of yeast to the rice and stir well.

This concoction is placed in a special jar and left to be fermented for about a month. Some lihing are left to be fermented for years.The longer you leave the concoction in the jar, the better the taste of lihing will be.

The secret in making a good lihing, he says, lies in the yeast.

The fermented concoction is then placed in a topukon, which is also called the spirit jar, because in the olden days, the jars were used to keep spirits in. The topukon is covered with leaves to ensure lihing is not exposed to air that can make it turn bad.

Visitors to Monsopiad Cultural Village will see the making of talak (distilled rice wine), sikat (rice wine with herbs) and toddy (which is made from coconut juice, or nyira).

For details, visit

Friday, March 27, 2009

Strong show by Sabah UMNO leaders

SABAH emerged having one of the highest representations in Umno's top national leadership through:

- Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Vice-President);

- Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman (Supreme Council 2,084 votes).

- Deputy Transport Minister and Beaufort Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin (Supreme Council 1,804 votes).

- Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (Supreme Council 1,517 votes). Shafie created history by becoming the first leader from Sabah to reach such a height in the party's 63-year history. The National Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister came in third to fill-up the final veep slot, out of eight contenders.

Earlier, Sabah also made a big impact after Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, the Papar Member of Parliament, won as Puteri Umno chief.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Any mother will swim to save her child

KOTA KINABALU: The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has captured rare images of an orang utan swimming to safety with a baby on her back.

The orang utan mother with a baby clinging onto her (left) grabs the
rope bridge as soon as it was thrown towards her.

The mother swims while holding onto the rope. It made sure
the baby’s head was above water while she swam across

A WWF field staff recently took the photographs in the Lower Segama area between Sandakan and Lahad Datu.

The orang utan had been stranded on a tree for a week because of floods when the Sabah Wildlife Department sent a team to the area.

They had just set up a rope bridge about four metres to the nearest point of dry ground.

The orang utan, with her baby clinging onto her back, climbed down the tree and grabbed hold of the rope that was thrown to her, said a WWF spokesman.

The orang utan then pulled herself closer toward dry land and swam "like a dog", the spokesman said.

The mother and baby were fed, and tended for about 30 minutes before being released into the jungle.

It is generally believed that orang utan are non-swimmers because they supposedly fear water.

The pictures proved that if they were desperate enough, they could actually swim.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kurup's appeal allowed, no by-election in Pensiangan

THE Federal Court here today overturned the Kota Kinabalu High Court's decision to nullify the election of Parti BersatuRakyat Sabah (PBRS) president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup to the Pensiangan parliamentary seat in the March 8 general election last year.

Kurup won the seat unopposed on nomination day after the returning officer rejected the nomination papers of Danny Anthony Andipai of Parti Keadilan Rakyat(PKR) and another candidate.

He was subsequently appointed Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister. Andipai then petitioned to the election court to nullify the election result, naming Kurup and the returning officer, Bubudan OT Majalu, as respondents.

The Federal Court, comprising Appeal Court President Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Chief Justice of Malaya Datuk Arifin Zakaria and Justice Datuk Nik Hashim Nik Abd Rahman heard submissions from both parties on Feb 12 and reserved judgment to today.

Sabah getting only 2% of the total

Kota Kinabalu: PKR Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the mere two per cent allocation for the Borneo States, out of the total RM60 billion stimulus package announced by the Deputy Prime Minister is "an insult".

"It may be welcome news generally, in the light of the expected economic downturn. But how can our State leaders be so ecstatic about such treatment and say that the 'Federal Government understand our needs when clearly it showed otherwise.

He said it was also misleading to say that "the budget that takes into account the welfare of the people namely through poverty eradication programmes", when the lists specified doesn't even include poverty eradication.

"The State Government should not forget that Sabah and Sarawak are partners in the Federation, contributing a great portion of their revenue to the Federal coffers".

Since Sabah and Sarawak are less developed and are among the poorest States, the State Government should expect more, not less from the stimulus package."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Vacant block may serve as alternative to QEH

Kota Kinabalu: The Health Ministry is considering taking over the vacant Wisma Khidmat near Wisma Muis to replace the Queen Elizabeth Hospital tower block which has been declared unsafe.

Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said it was among the proposals made by the State Government that his Ministry was seriously looking into.

On the time frame to consider all the proposals from the State Government, he said it would be less than a year.

Wisma Khidmat, which has been vacated, is now under the Sabah Credit Corporation. Liow who met with the State Cabinet to specifically discuss the QEH denied that the Federal Government was not concerned with the healthcare needs of the people here.

Ever since the QEH tower was declared unsafe the Ministry had been doing its level best to place patients at the various health facilities, he said, adding that at the moment the Ministry was also renting at the Sabah Medical Centre.

At the same time, Liow said the Ministry would quickly build the twin towers at the QEH to ensure there would be sufficient beds.

Meanwhile, Musa who is Finance Minister said the State Government had presented a proposal on solving the shortage of hospital beds in the State Capital to the Health Ministry.

He said the State Government presented a plan to build a strong surgical hospital with all the emergency services for 250 beds as an interim measure to solve the shortage of hospital beds in the city.

He said part of the State Government's proposals included a decanting ward near the car park at QEH for 200 to 240 beds in four to five months.

He said the decanting ward was semi-permanent so that the original plan to build the twin towers at QEH plus a new tower block could proceed.

Musa also said it was important that the Cardiac Centre that has been planned initially be built because Sabah did not have such a medical facility.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bridge link to prosperity

LABUAN: Labuan island will benefit with a bridge link to Sabah, the prime minister said.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday said industries here could prosper with better access to raw materials from the neighbouring state.

Abdullah said a feasibility study by the Economic Planning Unit was necessary to find out how best the link could be developed.

Since 2007, the government had allocated RM5 million for the study undertaken by Universiti Malaysia Sabah. Consultants had been appointed to conduct hydrographic surveys as well as look into the possible connecting points between the island and the sub-district of Menumbuk on the mainland.

The proposal to build the bridge first appeared in 1997 in the Labuan Master Plan by the Labuan Development Authority (now Labuan Corporation). Over the years the topic had re-surfaced but the proposal did not take off except for the latest feasibility study which is due to be completed at the end of this year.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Group launches signature drive on Allah issue

Kota Kinabalu: A group of concerned citizens have initiated a signature campaign in support of a memorandum urging the Government to review the ban on the use of the word Allah in Christian publications.

Led by senior politician Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, the group said the memorandum could be signed by all concerned citizens regardless of their religion.

Jeffrey said the campaign will run until the end of this month.

"Copies of the memorandum will be distributed to selected community leaders including from every church in all the districts throughout Sabah," he said. He said those who wish to support the campaign can also log on to sabahan/petition.html.

The memorandum, would be handed over to the Prime Minister personally either in Parliament or in Putrajaya next month. According to Jeffrey who is also the organising chairman of the campaign, they have received numerous complaints from several quarters on the issue.

He said people are wondering why the Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar had a change of heart and are confused with when Minister said that there were "mistakes".

Last week Syed Hamid said the February 16 Government gazette lifting a ban on Christian publications to use the word Allah was rescinded.

He told reporters here that there were "mistakes" in the drafting of the Feb 16 gazette which states that Christian publications could use the word Allah provided the words "For Christians" are clearly printed on the front cover.

"The Government's stand on the ban has not changed. There is also a judicial review challenging the ban," Syed Hamid said adding that the Government had no intention of pre-empting any decision of the courts on the judicial review brought about by the Catholic Herald.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cabinet to discuss new Sabah hospital

The issue of building a new hospital in Sabah will be discussed at the Cabinet meeting this Friday, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad said Monday.

The Ministry needed only to ascertain the allocation needed for the project since the State Government had already found a suitable site for the new hospital, he told reporters after launching the National Kindergarten Food Safety Campaign 2009, here.

Sabah is in dire need of a new government hospital not only to tackle the overcrowding problem at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, but also due to the fact that the building structures have been declared unsafe.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sabah a key state for Umno contenders

KOTA KINABALU: The who’s who of Umno made a beeline for Sabah as determined candidates pushed the campaigning momentum into high gear with the party elections only three weeks away.

Sabah is an important pit stop for the candidates because its 325 delegates form the second largest group in the party general assembly, after the 578 delegates from Johor.

Sabah Umno assistant secretary Datuk Masidi Manjun said the high turn-up for a meet-the-candidates session here yesterday was a clear sign that Sabah was a key state for the contenders.

Another Sabah Umno official said there was no problem in getting the candidates to come over — with their campaigning entourage in tow.

Kalabakan MP Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh, an influential east coast leader from Tawau, said the grassroots were looking for visionary leaders daring to speak up for reform in Umno.

“Umno is in a critical stage. We do not want those who seek positions for power".

At the meet-the-candidates session here yesterday, many contenders were seen hard at work mingling with the delegates and local grassroots leaders.

All three Umno deputy president hopefuls – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Senator Tan Sri Muhammad Muham­mad Taib – received thunderous cheers.

The delegates also gave rousing support to candidates vying for the three vice-president’s posts, but the applause grew a notch louder for local boy Datuk Shafie Apdal, who was making his bid for the first time.

Muhyiddin said the election was important as it would put in place a capable team to steer the party and country through a period of tough challenges.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tingkayu duo charged

Tawau: Two men were charged in court here Thursday with murder, attempted murder and another two counts of assaulting other people, including a lawyer, in Tingkayu, Kunak two weeks ago.

Alimuddin Mohd Ajay, 41, and Sabaruddin Abdul Baik, 42, both local Bugis, were first brought to the Magistrate's Court for the murder charge.

They were jointly accused of killing one Seipon Kayabo, 46, at about 2pm on Feb 12 this year at the land of Syarikat Kerjasama Perkembangan Tanah Tingkayu Berhad, in Tingkayu, Kunak.

They allegedly committed the offence along with a group of people who are still at large. The charge, framed under Section 302 of the Penal Code, carries a mandatory death sentence on conviction.

Justify move to switch to Volvo cars, urges SAPP

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) wants the State government to make public the facts and figures on its recent decision to replace part of its fleet of Proton Perdana official cars with Volvos.

SAPP Information Chief, Chong Pit Fah said the government must clarify in order to justify the claim that such a move would save taxpayers' money.

"It is only appropriate that the State Government reveal the total cost of purchase and maintenance of its existing fleet of Proton Perdana official cars, as well as that of the proposed purchase of Volvos and their projected cost of maintenance.

"This is in order to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that such a decision was indeed wise and in the best interest of the State and the people," he said in a statement here Wednesday.

He claimed that Volvos were widely recognised as high-end cars with expensive parts and high maintenance cost, as well as having a higher depreciation compared to other types of cars thus, having a lower resale value.

He was responding to the recent announcement by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman that the State government was replacing part of its Proton Perdana official cars with Volvo cars as the latter would be cheaper to maintain.

Chong who is also SAPP Kepayan Constituency Liaison Committee (CLC) chief, however described it as self-contradicting and defying the Barisan Nasional (BN) government's fervent call to buy and use local products to boost the domestic economy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pergi ke Sabah untuk nikmati King Lobster

UDANG GERGASI... Anda teringin menikmati hidangan udang karang gergasi? Ia akan menjadi kenyataan jika ada sanggup ke Kota Kinabalu, Sabah untuk membayar RM250 bagi membeli seekor udang karang.

Sebuah restoran di tengah-tengah Kota Kinabalu kini menjadi sebutan pelancong asing dan tempatan kerana hidangan istimewa udang karang jenis King Lobster.

Menurut pemilik restoran tersebut, Simon Teoh, selain King Lobster, turut menjadi hidangan ialah udang jenis Red Lobster dan Green Lobster.

Beliau memperoleh bekalan makanan laut daripada nelayan-nelayan seluruh Sabah.

Jeffrey will consider if asked to contest

Kota Kinabalu: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan will consider contesting if he is picked to run for the Pensiangan parliamentary seat in the event of a by-election.

But he pointed out that he was not eyeing the spot and that the party should look somewhere else to find their man, adding the important thing was for them to rally behind the candidate and wrest the seat from Barisan Nasional.

"I've never lobbied for the place (candidacy) but if I'm asked to go there as a candidate, I have to think about it," he said.

"I can say whoever the candidate is, it doesn't have to be me, we want to make sure the person wins. I've not been asked yet (but) if possible we get somebody other than myself lah..."

In the 12th General Election last March, Jeffrey lost the race for the Keningau parliamentary seat to his brother Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (BN-PBS) by a majority of 4,264 votes and the Bingkor state seat narrowly to Justin Guka (BN-Upko) by 171 votes.

Whale sharks spotted

Kota Kinabalu: A pair of grayish blue whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) or basking sharks have been spotted off Police Bay, off here, since Sunday afternoon. It is believed they have been in the waters over the last two weeks.

Whale sharks are found in tropical and warm temperate seas all around the world with the exception of the Mediterranean. Studies reveal that this shark prefers warm waters, marked by high productivity of plankton.

Anatomically, they can grow up to a length of 40 feet and weigh up to 14 tonnes.

Fishing for this shark occurs in Taiwan and the Philippines, among other countries. The whale shark meat fetches a high price in Taiwan. Whale shark fins are sold in the Orient, especially in Hong Kong

Tingkayu: Police to meet parties

Kota Kinabalu: Police will meet the parties involved in the Tingkayu issue to prevent a repeat of the attack that led to a man being murdered and two others injured on Feb 12.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with non-governmental organisation Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF) led by its Chairman, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, at his office, Tuesday, Sabah Commissioner of Police, Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim, said police needed to clarify their stand on the matter to both sides.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey, accompanied by Dr Chong Eng Leong, one of BHF's two directors, and other BHF members, met with Noor Rashid to express their concern over what happened in Tingkayu.

"We sought an explanation from the police on how they are going to maintain peace in Tingkayu. This is a very important aspect concerning security as what we heard was that the Tingkayu incident involved illegal immigrants who have MyKads," said Jeffrey.

"He (Noor Rashid) was very nice, very polite but there were a lot of unanswered questions like the allegation of police involvementÉhe told us to bring him proof if we had information on it.

"But as far as we know the action taken by them (police) seems to suggest they were responding more positively to the other side than to the smallholders," he said.

They were also frustrated with answers about people involved in the Tingkayu attack being foreigners with MyKads, he said.

"He said maybe there were only one or two but I think there are more than that," Jeffrey said, adding they also voiced claims that between 47 and 55 reports lodged by smallholders previously were not attended to by the police.

These reports involved threats made to the smallholders and their inability to enter the oil palm plantation, among others, he said.

"But we're happy with his attitude of wanting to improve thingsÉthat's a good start," he said.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

RM226m UMS agri campus a boost for economy

A bright future can be expected for the State's agricultural sector with the setting up of Universiti Malaysia Sabah's (UMS) School of Sustainable Agriculture, here.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the expertise of lecturers and researchers at the upcoming campus would be a catalyst in achieving the Government's goal of empowering the State's agricultural sector.

He said agriculture had been earmarked as one of the sectors to spur the State's economic growth.

Musa said upon completion, the UMS Sandakan campus would become one of the main players in turning Sabah into an agricultural state.

Sabah a favourite place for American tourists

Sabah, known for its diving, golfing and green tourism, is the favourite Malaysian destination for American tourists after Penang, Salahuddin Mohd Ariffin, Vice-President and Director of Tourism Malaysia in New York disclosed this here Sunday.

“They seem to be attracted to nature, adventure, diving, golfing, and MICE meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions,” he said.

“Arrivals of American tourists in Malaysia went up nine per cent to 220,000 in 2008 from 2007 despite the gloomy economic scenario, he told Bernama at the closing of the two-day “Adventures in Travel Expo.”

“More than 55 per cent of the American tourists were in Malaysia for leisure, while the rest came for business,” he added.

The outlook looks good for the immediate future for the Malaysian tourism market. Tourism Malaysia had projected 15,000 tourists to arrive from the US for January this year.

The number surpassed Malaysia’s expectation and it showed an increase of 10 per cent in January 2009 to 17,000 arrivals, compared with the same period in January 2008.

According to research conducted by Tourism Malaysia, most of the US tourists came as independent tourists, 95 per cent of them made their bookings using the internet, while the rest came to Malaysia on travel packages using travel agents.

American tourists in Malaysia tend to be from the high-yield market, from the middle-to-upper income bracket, very conscious about price and always looking for better deals in the market, Salahuddin said.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

No excuse to keep bakakuk, warn police

District Police Chief DSP Zahari Mohamed has called for co-operation from all Village Development and Security chairmen and village chiefs to track down individuals who possess homemade shotgun locally known as ‘bakakuk’.

He said the community leaders must fulfill their responsibility by informing the police if they knew of anyone having such weapon so that action could be taken.

He warned that police will not entertain the excuse for having ‘bakakuk’ as due to the difficulty in obtaining a firearms licence. And for any community leader who has knowledge of this about anyone but withholds the information, is considered an accomplice and will face similar consequences under law.

Zahari said this in relation to an incident on Feb 18 when a Sabah Parks staff who was on routine patrol in the park area spotted two unidentified men who were each holding a homemade shotgun while hunting.

Realising the presence of the former, the men threw their weapons and fled. The park staff recovered the shotguns and handed them to the police.

Police are still searching for the two men.

Zahari added that he will seek an approval from the State Police Commissioner to allow villagers to surrender their ‘bakakuks’ without any action being taken against them.

He said if this is granted villagers will have nothing to fear.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Need for tougher laws against invasion of privacy

A picture may paint a thousand words but a photo can cause someone’s downfall.

With the advent of technology, everyone is at risk of being a victim and having his privacy invaded. Sadly, our laws are inadequate in dealing with these breaches of privacy.

Those who abuse the technology can get away with their crime easily and existing laws are too general or lenient, says the Malaysian Bar Council.

The law is so inadequate that the council has resorted to appealing to the public to take personal responsibility to delete information and materials that infringe on individual privacy to curb the crime.

Many past cases and the recent case involving Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong have proven how inadequate our laws are in protecting us from getting our privacy violated.

Cash official to be charged?

Troubled Consumer Association of Sabah and Labuan (Cash) may see a senior member being charged in court next week.

It was reliably learnt that the case had to do with the raid conducted by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) at Cash's office in Kepayan on Feb 10.

Indications of forgery and falsification were allegedly found in the premises, prompting the ROS to cart away files and documents before lodging a report at the Karamunsing police station.

It was also learnt that prior to the raid, a team from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry went to Cash's office to conduct an audit.

Investigations into the police reports first lodged by Cash Deputy President Nordin Thani and Secretary-General Hashima Hasbullah on Feb 2 and subsequently by the ROS on Feb 10, appeared to have been completed.

Reliable sources say the files are now with the Senior Federal Counsel (SFC)'s office.