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.