Monday, January 19, 2009
CONSTRUCTION OF ACCESS ROADS TO BE GIVEN PRIORITY
Priority will be given to the construction of access roads in areas from Kepayan to the Putatan township which are affected by the ongoing railway upgrading project.
Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan said the decision was made during a meeting on Friday with all the parties involved in the project.
Those who attended the meeting were representatives from the Transport Ministry, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB), State Railway Department, Sabah Public Works Department as well as the appointed contractor and consultant of the project.
It was also decided during the meeting that work on the project will be halted until the access roads are completed.
LIEW PRESENTS HAMPER FOR ELDERLY
In conjunction with the coming Chinese New Year celebration, Likas Assemblyman Datuk Liew Teck Chan presented hampers to the elderly in Likas.
Liew who is also the Sabah Progressive Party Deputy President and SAPP Likas Chief, said helping the elderly and the needy was among the Party’s objectives towards creating a loving and action oriented community.
“SAPP Likas members are always practical and extending their assistance to the needy, especially at this time of economic uncertainty,” he said, adding that giving out such hampers was an annual program for the division.
A total of 11 people who reside in Kampung Bukit Bendera benefited from the annual welfare program.
MIDNIGHT BUS EXPRESS STILL NEEDED
The proposal to end midnight express bus service is not suitable for implementation in Sabah currently, Sabah Express Bus Operators Council (SEBOC) president Donald Hanafi said yesterday.
The reason, he said, was that roads linking the east coast and west coast of the state were not expressways like in the peninsula.
“I’m for the proposal’s implementation in the peninsula to reduce fatal accidents on expressways.
However, the roads here (Sabah) are not so good. They are not expressways where express buses can be driven fast.
“Further more, there is almost no fatal accidents involving express buses in Sabah. What we have are just minor accidents. That too, was because another vehicle rammed into the bus,” he told Bernama here.
Donald said this in response to a statement by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat that the Transport Ministry was studying a proposal to end express bus service at midnight to avoid the loss of many lives on the road.
Ong said that the proposal by the Road Safety Department (JKJR) and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (Miros) was made as drivers were usually tired at night despite having adequate rest.
Donald said the proposal was also not suitable for Sabah because more than 80 per cent of express buses plying between the east coast and west coast were night service with departures at 7pm to 8pm.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
YOUNG DRIVERS LUCKY ESCAPE
A local man in his 20s escaped unhurt when his Perodua Kancil car landed on its side after colliding with a Proton Saga at the Kingfisher roundabout along Sulaman Road here around 1pm yesterday.
It was learnt that the driver lost control of his Kancil when the Proton Saga in front suddenly braked at the roundabout.
All the three passengers and the driver of the Proton Saga also escaped unhurt.
“Although the driver of the Kancil escaped unhurt, the roundabout at the area is not safe for motorists,” said an eyewitness of the incident, who declined to be named.
He also said he fully supported the proposal made by Assistant Industrial Development Minister Datuk Hajah Jainab Ahmad that the roundabout be replaced with traffic lights.
“I agree that the size of the roundabout is too big and is therefore dangerous. The authority, especially the Public Works Department (PWD), should act fast to replace the roundabout with traffic lights. Don’t wait until something bad has happened,” he said.
Jainab, who is also the Assemblywoman for Karambunai, has urged the PWD to replace the roundabout with traffic lights. She said this would not only help to reduce the traffic flow but also prevent accidents.
“The traffic congestion is really bad due to the developments at the area such as more new housing estates, shops, 1Borneo and UMS. She also hoped that the PWD would widen the Kingfisher bridge, which is too narrow and dangerous.
OVER 4000 FLOOD VICTIMS ALLOWED TO RETURN HOME
The flood situation in Pitas has started to improve, and over 4,000 villagers were allowed to return to their homes starting yesterday.
District Officer Sapdin Ibrahim, in disclosing this, however said that 37 people from 11 families in Kampung Pusilab were still temporary sheltered at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pitas as the water had yet to recede.
“We have closed most of the temporary shelters since 11am and would probably deactivate the operations room at 6pm today (yesterday).
It will be re-activated as and when it is needed.
“For now, the weather had also somehow improved,” he said when contacted by The Borneo Post.
He also disclosed that food assistance would be distributed to flood victims as soon as possible.
“We were allocated food assistance for at least 5,000 people. About 1,000 to 2,000 who have yet to receive their assistance, will receive them soon,” he said.
He added the distribution would be done based on the report and record from the affected villages.
“They are also welcome to contact the office if they have yet to receive their assistance,” he said.
KEYS TO WISMA KIAN YAP GIVEN TO WELFARE DEPT
The Welfare Department has been given the keys to Wisma Kian Yap which was bought by the Ministry of Social Welfare from the Wong Chik Lim Group of Companies for RM4,660,000.
The five-storeyed building with a total floor area of 35,800 square feet is at Mile 3 Jalan Tun Mustapha.
It will be renovated for use as offices for agencies under the ministry and non-governmental organisations whose activities are related to the agencies.
The ministry also purchased two land lots with a total area of about 10,000 square feet near the building for RM235,000 and a three-storeyed bungalow house at Taman Kian Yap, Jalan Ranca from the same company.
Staff quarters would be built on the land and the bungalow would be used as a temporary shelter for juveniles and women. At the key handing over ceremony yesterday, Welfare director Zulkifli Hassan said: “With these new facilities we would be able to better serve the local community”.
Wong Chik Lim Group chairman Norman Wong Shew Yam who officiated at the ceremony also donated RM3,000 to the Welfare Department’s Sports Club.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
CIGARETTES/ FIREWORKS SEIZED
Semporna police crippled a bid to distribute RM15,900 worth of contraband cigarettes and fireworks after raiding a house in Kampung Simunul, recently.
District police chief DSP Mohd Azim Khan Abdullah, when disclosing this yesterday, said they seized a total of 6,500 boxes of cigarettes and 1,530 boxes of fireworks during the 10.30pm raid on Wednesday.
“We reacted on a public tip-off. A team from the Marine Police led by Chief Inspector Mohd Rohaizad Mohd Nasir raided the house in Kampung Simunul.
“The team seized 5,000 boxes of Marvels and 1,500 boxes of Plaza cigarettes, and also the fireworks,” he said.
However, no arrest was made during the raid.
Mohd Azim thanked the public for the tip-off and hoped for continuous support in the future.
“We will keep our eyes open and fight smuggling activities here,” he said.
TEMPER OVER "VACUUM CLEANER" REMARK
KOTA KINABALU: The debate on the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (Sedia) Bill 2009 became heated when the definition of the term "vacuum cleaner" was argued by the state assemblymen and its use in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting yesterday.
Several state assembly-men joined forces to bash Jimmy Wong (DAP-Sri Tanjung) who used the term when debating several clauses under the Bill.
Wong had questioned the exclusive membership of Sedia, asking whether the small number was to ensure and increase the horse power of the "vacuum cleaner."
“Are you saying that the members (Sedia) are corrupt? This is inconstructive, pre-judging,” said Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (BN-Tambunan). Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin (BN-Petagas) then stood up and asked Wong to explain the meaning of ‘vacuum cleaner’.
“I find it embarrassing to say it aloud,” said Wong to which Yahya replied, “What is there to be ashamed about? I challenge you to define what it means.”
“I heard people saying that it is something like corruption,” said Wong.
Yahya urged Wong to refrain from using the term ‘vacuum cleaner’ as he did not understand the meaning.
“If he is gentleman enough, please define it,” he added.
“It is being heard everywhere. Such talks are all over the place,” said Wong.
SEDIA BILLED PASSED
Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority(SEDIA)'s Bill 2009 was passed yesterday with several amendments by the State Legislative Assembly.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said SEDIA would be responsible for planning, coordinating , monitoring and implementing programmes and projects gazetted under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).
“We decided to amend the bill after listening to the views and proposals from state assemblymen,” he told reporters at a media conference here yesterday.
The debate was adjourned at noon to discuss the amendments. Musa wound-up the debate on resumption at 2.30pm.
Asked whether such a thing was abnormal, Musa said: “No, it is normal and happens from time to time. If their views are good for the people, we will accept. The Barisan Nasional government is very flexible and responsive,” he added.
"Clause 8 (1) (membership) where there will be an extra post, making two deputy chairmen to be appointed by the chief minister who will appoint not more than five members" were some of the amendments made.
Before the amendments, SEDIA was to have seven members namely the chairman (chief minister), State Secretary, Federal Finance Ministry secretary-general or representative, State Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary, Federal Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director-general or representative and State Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director.
Another member was to be appointed by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri. Before the amendments, the word ‘Yang di-Pertua Negeri’ was replaced with the word ‘Ketua Menteri’ (chief minister).
Jimmy Wong (DAP-Sri Tanjung) had earlier questioned the exclusivity of the seven SEDIA members entrusted with charting the economic future of Sabah.
Melanie Chia (SAPP-Luyang) questioned Clause 25 that shielded SEDIA members from legal action.
“This we had already explained. If a member had done wrong, action will be taken. But if it was done ‘in good faith,’ (while on duty), then no action will be taken.
“If there is any wrong doing and abuse of power, then action can be taken against the members,” he added.
On the criteria of five other SEDIA members, Musa said it would be discussed later adding they could be professionals and members of non-governmental organisations (NGO).
Asked when Sedia would operate, Musa replied, “After it is gazetted, maybe by this month. We want to start as soon as possible, the earlier the better.”
He was confident that the establishment of SEDIA would increase investors’ and businessmen’ confidence in SDC.
Tabling the bill earlier, the chief minister said Sedia would need RM1.8-RM2.5 million to operate annually.
For a start, it would be utilising the RM10 million federal grant for the launch of the corridor. Once it was depleted, the state government would use its funds to operate SEDIA. -BERNAMA-
Friday, January 16, 2009
GEMILANG MIRZA MD DENIES OPERATING GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEME
The managing director of an investment company yesterday denied operating a get-rich-quick scheme.
Datu Pengiran Awang Binting Pengiran Salleh, managing director of Gemilang Mirza Sdn Bhd which was raided by Bank Negara on Tuesday on suspicion of illegal deposit taking and money laundering activities, said his company was based on the profit distribution of sales of the company’s products.
“I forwarded the company concept to Bank Negara and they sent me a letter saying that the sale of my products was under the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.
“I was also told to be familiar with legal acts regarding the concept of my company and I found that there was no act that says my company concept was illegal,” he told a media conference here yesterday.
Awang Binting also said he referred the company concept to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and was told Gemilang Mirza was an example to other companies in producing more entrepreneurs.
On Tuesday, Bank Negara carried out the raid at the company’s premises in Papar following complaints received from the public.
The company is being investigated under Section 25(1) Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 (BAFIA), which carries a fine not exceeding RM10 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both, and Section 4(1) of Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (AMLATFA), which carries a fine not exceeding RM5 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.
MORE PROPERTY LOSSES LAST YEAR
Last year the state Fire and Rescue Department received less distress calls last but recorded more losses of properties compared to the previous year.
There were a total of 826 distress calls received last year, which is actually lower by 299 calls or 26 per cent compared to 1,125 calls in 2007.
Department Director Khirudin Drahman disclosed that for the whole of last year, they recorded losses amounting to RM84,628,967.60, which shows an increase of 55.9 per cent or RM30,365,330.75 against 2007’s RM54,263,636.85.
“The amount of goods and properties saved last year was RM299,573,534, which is a decrease compared to RM488,674,912.47 the previous year,” he told reporters after presenting excellence service awards to 49 recipients at the Kolombong Fire and Rescue Services Station yesterday.
Statistics showed that the number of fire involving factories and shops increased by 16 cases from 28 in 2007 to 44 last year, which according to Khirudin, had contributed to the increase in losses last year compared to 2007.
Electricity remained the main cause of fires with 172 cases in 2008 which is an increase of 14 cases or 8.8 percent compared to 2007's 158 cases the year before, while other causes such as mosquito coil, candles and incense, had dropped.
Khirudin explained that their forensics division revealed that in most of the fire cases involving electricity, the fire were due to old wiring or non compliance with the specification, using low quality electrical appliances and self-negligence, among others.
Apart from putting out fires, the Department is also called to assist other enforcement agencies such as rescue services during accidents or drowning cases.
“We were involved in at least 53 accident cases and 41 drowning cases last year. These are just part of the services we provide, apart from putting out fires and handling other threats such as catching snakes and bees,” he said.
Khirudin added that in some cases, they had to turn down public requests to catch snakes and bees. “We will act if it is threatening the people, like if the snake is in the house. Otherwise, we will advise them to contact the pest control,” he said.
Khirudin also said that they are working to improve their response time to emergencies.
“Therefore, we are hoping for public cooperation by making way for fire engines. It is important for us to reach the scene as soon as possible to save life and properties. Every minute counts. We believe that if we can get to the scene in less than 15 minutes, a lot of things can be saved,” he explained.
Earlier in his speech, Khirudin also called on his men to continue to improve their skills and knowledge in the effort to face future challenges and to stay competitive.
“Our services are recognised by the United Nations as we were selected to help out in many cases outside the country such as forest fires in Indonesia. One needs relevant skills to carry out such work,” he said.
KO-NELAYAN RETAINS TITLE AS SOLE SUPPLIER
The state government has retained Sabah Fisheries and Fishermen’s Development Corporation (Ko-Nelayan) as the sole supplier of subsidised diesel to fishermen in the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin said the decision was made at the weekly state cabinet meeting on Jan 8.
The decision was made following a proposal from the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) to take over the role of Ko-Nelayan as the sole provider of subsidised diesel.
“The LKIM’s proposal is a policy change that will jeopardise Ko-Nelayan’s interests as a state government agency,” the State Minister for Agriculture and Food Industries told reporters.
Yahya said Ko-Nelayan has been selling subsidised diesel to fishermen since 2001 after getting approval from the federal Finance Ministry, the first agency to bring the subsidised diesel facility to the agriculture sector in Sabah.
Previously, fishermen in the state received diesel supply at the industry price at petrol stations.
They not only had to pay high price for the fuel but also faced problems getting supply from petrol stations located far away.
“Realising the difficulties faced by fishermen, Ko-Nelayan applied for approval to sell subsidised diesel at jetties where fishermen boats berthed throughout Sabah,” he said.
To ensure diesel was readily available to target groups throughout Sabah, Ko-Nelayan expanded its sales outlets to all districts, including setting up one in the Labuan Federal Territory, he said.
So far, there are 20 sales centres under Ko-Nelayan, three run by Ko-Nelayan itself, 11 are joint ventures with private jetty operators and six with Area Fishermen Associations, he added.
KURUP'S APPEAL RESCHEDULED
The hearing of Deputy Federal Rural and Regional Minister Tan Sri Jospeh Kurup’s appeal against the Election Court’s decision to declare his victory in Pensiangan parliamentary constituency in the last general election null and void has been rescheduled to Feb 12 and 13.
George Aludah, Kurup's counsel, said the hearing would be held at the Federal Court in town when contacted yesterday.
He added the appeal which was supposed to be heard yesterday at the Federal Court in Kuala Lumpur, had been put off because the Sabah lawyers who have not been called to the Malaysian Bar under the Legal Profession Act, do not have their rights of appearance before the courts in West Malaysia.
He said for West Malaysian lawyers to practise in Sabah, they can apply to practise on an ‘ad hoc’ basic through ‘ad hoc’ admission but there is no such provision for Sabah lawyers to practise in West Malaysia.
On Sept 8, last year, the Election Court judge David Wong Dak Wah declared Pensiangan parliamentary election result in March last year as null and void due to wrongful rejection of the nomination papers of Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s candidate Danny Anthony Andipai.
JudgeWong held that the wrongful rejection of the nomination papers had breached the petitioner’s constitutional right to participate in the election and the written law relating to the conduct of the election under the Election Offences Act.
“After taking into consideration of the totality of the evidence before me, it is my finding that the objections to the petitioner’s nomination papers should be and are treated by me as invalid,” Judge Wong said in declaring Kurup's election as void.
Judge Wong also awarded costs to Danny who was represented by Counsel Ansari Abdullah, Datuk Chau Chin Tang, and Erveana Ansari.
Danny, 41, filed the petition on April 29, last year at the High Court registry here to seek, among others, an order for the court that the election of Kurup who was the first respondent of the election petition, be declared null and void.
Kurup who is the Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president, won the seat uncontested after the nomination papers of Danny and Independent candidate Saineh Usau were rejected by Election Commission Returning Officer Bubudan OT Majalu who was the second respondent on grounds of late submission.
The hearing of the petition started on July 10, last year where the petitioner called a total of 11 witnesses while the first and second respondents called six and two witnesses respectively.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
KENINGAU COPS SEEK PARENTS HELP TO PREVENT RAPE OF UNDERAGE GIRLS
Rape cases will become more rampant in this district if the community, if parents do not play their role to help prevent the crime, said district police chief DSP Zahari Mohammad yesterday.
He said many of the rape cases reported to the police involved underage girls who have agreed to have sex with their boyfriends.
“The public, especially parents, need to understand that having sex with an underage girl is rape under the law,” he said during a monthly gathering at Keningau police headquarters on Tuesday. Zahari believed that some villagers and parents in the district do not know much about laws on rape.
“They think that rape is only when force is used on the victim. Some cases reported to the police last year involved girls below 16 years old. All have been settled,” he said.
Parents are urged to be more protective of their children, especially the underage ones, to prevent them from becoming rape victims.
He also proposed to the local community leaders such as village development and security committee chairmen and village headmen to inform their people about rape laws.
“I believe that would make villagers, especially parents, more aware of rape of underage girls,” he said.
There were fewer crime cases last year, he said, whereas 65 per cent of the cases had already been solved.
He attributed this to the cooperation of the community.
Zahari also presented appreciation letters to Sergeant Major Usik Makis, Lance Corporal Kipli Hajimi, Lance Corporal Windi Tanggok, and Lance Corporal Midi Ubi at the gathering.
CANING TOO HEAVY FOR DRINKERS: MUIS
Sabah Islamic Religious Council (Muis) chairman Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali sees the six strokes of the cane imposed by the Pahang Syariah High Court on a Muslim man and woman caught consuming liquor as too heavy. He proposed rehabilitation instead, to educate Muslims to stay away from alcoholic drinks.
“Six strokes of the cane is too heavy a sentence. That’s not the way. It’s better to send those caught consuming liquor for rehabilitation. “It’s not easy for alcoholics to kick the bad habit, just like cigarette smokers who find it so difficult to quit smoking,” he said.
Syed Abas, who is also Balung assemblyman, was asked to comment on the Pahang Syariah High Court’s decision to order Mohamad Nasir Mohamad, 38, a shipping company staff from Kemaman, and waitress Noorazah Baharuddin, 22, to be given six strokes of the “syariah cane” each for consuming liquor at separate pubs in the state last year. They were also fined RM5,000 each.
BNM URGED TO MONITOR GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEMES
Consumer Association of Sabah and Labuan president, Datuk Patrick Sindu, has asked Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to set up a special committee to monitor the mushrooming pyramid schemes and other illegal deposit-taking activities in the state.
Datuk Patrick said many people had become victims to investment schemes by individuals or companies not licensed or authorised by BNM, involving millions of ringgit.
“Some of these organisers use the Internet to promote their investment schemes and some even convince victims to part with their hard-earned cash by coercing them to invest in businesses with promises of high returns.
“Most of these victims are not rich and are easily taken in by the get-rich-quick schemes and scams, without thinking about investment risk,” he told Bernama yesterday.
On Tuesday’s BNM raid on the office of Gemilang Mirza Sdn Bhd in Papar, Sabah on suspicion of illegal collection of deposits and money-laundering activities, Patrick said the association welcomed the move and hoped the central bank would continue to keep tabs on such schemes.
BNM said it stormed the office following public complaints.
Patrick said the association was willing to spearhead the committee or even become a Rakan BNM to achieve the desired result for common good.
“Essentially, what we’re doing is working together. From what we have gathered the real culprits of these illegal schemes are living outside the state and they are using locals to organise them,” he said. Bernama
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Mosinil Sidangkang was the first fatality of the flood which inundated most parts of the District sinceMonday and forced the evacuation of about 5,000 people from 60 villages to six temporary shelters here, District Officer Sapdin Ibrahim said.
Mosinil, 58, was fishing in Kampung Liu when he was swept away by strong currents causing him to drown said Sapdin. He disclosed this during a briefing on the situation at Pitas for Chief Minister Datuk Sen Musa Aman and
State Secretary cum State Natural Disaster Committee Chairman,
Datuk Sukarti Wakiman yesterday.
According to Sapdin, Mosinil was fishing with a net in the river at the village at about 10 am when he was swept away. “His body was recovered a short while later tangled in the fishing net not far from where he was last seen,” Sapdin said.
State Commissioner of Police Datuk Mohd Noor Rashid who was also present during the briefing confirmed that Mosinil’s death was the first fatality of the flood which has hit the northern part of
According to Sapdin, the flood also caused the 15 schools to be closed down where six of the schools had been converted to temporary shelters for evacuated villagers. The closure resulted in a total of 3,407 students being unable to study until the situation improves.
The schools which were converted to temporary shelters were SK Pekan Pitas 11, SMK Pitas II Kusilad, SK Dandun, SK Rukom, 8K Pandan Mandamai and SMK Pinggan.Pinggan.
“Several roads including the Pitas-Kanibongan, Kota Marudu-Pitas were also rendered impassable, thus cutting off communication of residents in the flooded areas,” he said. He appealed to the State Public Works Department to consider upgrading the
Sapdin said the estimated damage caused by the second flooding was about RM10 million. “At 1pm, the water level here was recorded at 6.73 metres and was expected to continue rising because of the rainy spell,” he said, adding that the District’s natural disaster operation room was activated on Monday.
Sapdin said the first flood occurred on January 3 till 5 resulting in the closure of six schools and inundation of 30 villages. The flood water however receded a day later and situation returned to normal on Jan 5, he said adding that the second flooding occurred following incessant heavy rainfall on Jan
“We have no clean water supply as the water treatment plant had to be shut down and communication is down,” he said. He pointed out that the lack of a special rescue team hampers rescue operations in the District and urged the Police to increase the number of personnel there as the land for a police station has been identified and ready to be utilized.
Sapdin said the present number of personnel there was not enough to cope with emergency situations such as the current flood.
On the request by Sapdin for additional police personnel, the Police Commissioner said it would be done in stages according to the completion of the training programs.
“There is a need for more personnel in Pitas and we will give priority to the District,” he said. Sapdin also urged the State Government to build a fire station in Pitas to cater for all sorts of emergencies as well as to increase the number of rescue boats for the District.
He said should the situation become worse, there will be a need to seek assistance from the National Security Council to airlift food and basic necessities to the affected villages which are cut off from the main roads.
BE FAIR OVER CHINESE TEACHERS DISPATCH CALL
The Education Ministry has been urged to be fair and more considerate to Sabah in dispatching Chinese language teachers.
The Progressive Education Foundation’s (PEF) Consultative Committee Chairman, Datuk Wong Yit Ming made the call at the PEF incentives presentation for the Chinese language trainee teachers of Gaya and Kent Teachers Training Colleges for the 2009 intake.
In his speech, he expressed his concern over the dispatching of the State’s 13 out of 16 Chinese language teachers by the relevant authorities to the other states last year. “If such a trend persists, then it would be impossible for us to effectively address the issue of shortage of Chinese language teachers in the State,” Wong said.
“The Federal Government should always ensure the provision of sufficient qualified Chinese language teachers for Sabah. It should not wait until the various Chinese organizations in the State like the Association of Sabah National-Type Chinese Schools (Dong Lien Hui), Sabah Chinese Primary School Working Committee complain about it, then only dispatch of some teachers who do not speak Mandarin to some of the schools which are facing acute shortage of teachers.”
Wong noted that PEF will continue to do its best to encourage more people to take up Chinese language studies as well as encouraging them to teach in various parts of Sabah after completing their studies.
In another development, Wong urged the management of these schools to make good use of the Government allocations announced by the Education Ministry recently to better upgrade the teachers’ hostels. He also advised trainee teachers to be prepared for the unique trend in Sabah where there has been an increasing number of Bumiputera children enrolling themselves in the Chinese primary schools over the years, especially in the rural areas.
“So, please don’t be surprised if in future you come across a Chinese primary school whose students are 100 per cent non-Chinese,” Wong said.
At the ceremony, PEF founder Datuk Yong Teck Lee presented the education incentives to the 44 recipients, namely 16 from the Gaya College and 28 from the Kent College. The Foundation will later reimburse the other batch of 20 other over recipients. Since its inception in 1995, the PEF had been giving out education incentive worth RM1,000 to those who take up teachers training course at the local teachers training colleges.
Due to a limited number of Sabahans who have taken up the Chinese language studies this year, the Foundation earlier announced that it would also give out similar incentives to those from the other States who are willing to teach in Sabah.
WEDNESDAY - 14 JANUARY 2009 - BANK NEGARA TEAM RAIDS PAPAR PREMISES OF LOCAL FIRM SAID COLLECTING DEPOSITS ILLEGALLY
BANK NEGARA TEAM RAIDS PAPAR PREMISES OF LOCAL FIRM SAID COLLECTING DEPOSITS ILLEGALLY
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) raided the premises of a local firm yesterday in Papar for allegedly conducting deposit taking activities illegally. The raid followed complaints from the public about the company’s(Gemilang Mirza Sdn Bhd) deposit taking, BNM said yesterday. Documents and assets were seized from the company’s premises for further investigations.
The raid was carried out under Section 25(1) of the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) 1989 and Section 4(1) of the Anti Money Launding and Terrorist Funding Act (AMLATFA) 2001. Section 25(1) of BAFIA prohibits any individuals from procuring, taking or receiving deposit without a valid permit, while Section 4(1) of AMLATFA prohibits any individuals from involvement in or attempting to involve or conspire with money laundering activity. The offence under Section 25(1) of BAFIA carries a fine of not exceeding RM10 million or jail term not exceeding 10 year, or both, upon conviction whereas the offence under Section 4(1) of AMLATFA is punishable with a fine not exceeding RM5 million or a jail term not exceeding five years, or both, upon conviction.
BNM reminded the public to be wary of investment schemes being promoted through the Internet, telephone or seminar by individuals or companies that are not licensed or permitted to receive deposits or involve in foreign exchange transactions. This is to avoid from being cheated or losing their money, said BNM in a statement. BNM also stated that the list of licensed institutions allowed to receive deposits can be found in the BNM website at WWW.BNM.GOV.MY. Further information or advisory can be obtained from BNMTELELINK (Customers Information Centre) tel: 1-300- 88-5465;fax: 03-12741515; Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, BNM was criticized by Consumers Association for Sabah and Labuan for not taking a serious action against the “get quick rich scheme” operators which are rampant in Sabah and Labuan.
Its President Datuk Patrick Sindu said that if immediate actions is not taken, many would fall victims to the scheme. He explained that there had been numerous reports in the State and Labuan, particularly from Beaufort and other small towns.
“There are even some companies which collect cash from the public, explaining it as investments, and promised that dividends will be paid on a weekly or monthly basis. It does not make sense. How can a company pay dividends within a short period? I do not believe that Bank Negara is not aware of such activities especially when the transactions are being done in the open, and that their so-called investors are mostly civil servants and individuals,” said Sindu, adding that normally the ‘investors’ would invest between RM500 and RM1,000, and the companies would quickly repay their investments to gain their trust.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
RM2.5M PENALTY FOR CONTRACTORS
Two contractors have been penalised for failing to complete the upgrading works on the Tanjung Aru-Tenom railway tracks on time.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Lajim Ukin, in disclosing this yesterday, said as at 31 December last year, over RM2.5 million in penalty was imposed on the contractors - Suria Capital Holdings Bhd (SCHB) and Hikmat Asia Sdn Bhd (HASB).
The upgrading project is divided into two sectors with SCHB handling Sector 1 that covers the route between Tanjung Aru and Kimanis, and HASB handling Sector 2 that covers the Kimanis-Tenom route.
Lajim said Sector 1 was scheduled to be completed on Aug 15 last year but was delayed by 137 days, while Sector 2 was delayed by 83 days from its expected completion date on Oct 10 last year.
The liquidated ascertain damages for SCHB was RM9,600 per day while HASB faced a daily penalty of RM14,500.
“We have granted extension up to Feb 12 this year but both contractors are asking for more time. We cannot decide, it is up to them to make fresh applications,” he told reporters after a briefing by the project consultants for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) and Sabah Railway Department (SRD) here.
Lajim said the contractors have blamed on-site problems such as complaints from the public and the wet weather for the delay.
The upgrading works, which started on 24 November 2005 with allocation amounting to RM334.8 million from the Federal Government, became controversial following public complaints, which among others included traffic congestion and safety issues.
“I am here to listen and help find solutions to overcome the existing problems; we are doing our level best to ensure the people’s interest is protected while ensuring the project will run smoothly,” said Lajim, who also inspected the progress of the railway project at Putatan and Petagas.
“This is a project to benefit the people and the huge allocation from the Federal Government shows its commitment to help promote Sabah as a tourist destination. There are a lot of attractions along the routes such as the Sabah Agriculture Park at Lagud Sebrang in Tenom and the whitewater rafting in Beaufort,” he said.
Also at the briefing were Putatan Member of Parliament Datuk Marcus Mojigoh and representatives from SCHB, HASB, KTMB, SRD and project consultants.
“I believe we have come up with solutions to several problems,” he said.
Asked whether the Government is considering to expand railway tracks to other districts, Lajim said: “For now, we want to overcome problems concerning this (Tanjung Aru-Tenom) project. But we may want to build (railroad) elsewhere in the future; we will never know.”
25 FOREIGN WOMEN NABBED IN STATEWIDE RAIDS
Police raids on nightspots as well as lodging houses and fitness centres around the State resulted in the arrest of at least 25 foreign women on suspicion of involvement in vice activities.
The women comprised 11 Filipinas, eight Thais, five Indonesians and a Chinese national, said State Crime Investigation Department Chief, SAC II Zainal Abidin Kasim, in a statement yesterday.
He said these women were picked up in seven raids as part of a month-long operation.
“At least 61 other raids were conducted but we failed to nab any suspects,” he said.
Zainal said that throughout December last year, a total of 42 nightspots were checked followed by six budget hotels or lodging houses, five fitness centres cum hair salons and other premises.
“We also arrested a total of 75 people in connection with gambling and seized gambling paraphernalia as well as close to RM6,000 cash from the suspects. They included 15 people who were detained for involvement in illegal 4D lottery operations, 13 for cyber gambling and 47 people for involvement in various other gambling activities,” he said.
Most of the illegal 4D gambling suspects were caught in Tuaran, Sandakan and Tawau, he added.
Most of the cyber gambling arrests were made in the City while four were in Sandakan, he said.
Zainal said a total of 24 people were screened for suspected involvement in secret societies but all were released later.
Meanwhile, in KUDAT, police stopped two outlets from operating cyber gambling activities following a public tip-off.
According to Acting District Police Chief, ASP Tan Yong Soon, the Friday raid was conducted just before the outlets were opened for business.
“The Crime Investigation Department detectives led by Inspector Naswa Najib raided the outlets and seized three computers from each and arrested four local men, aged between 29 and 39 and believed to be the outlets’ caretakers,” he said.
Statements were taken from the suspects and they were later released on police bail.
“They claimed that they were just installing the computers and that they were not opening for business yet. We will continue investigating the case.”said Tan.
He added that similar operations wiLL be carried out from time to time to rid the district of such illegal activities.
TB PATIENTS IN SEPARATE ROOM: QEH DIRECTOR
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) has assured the public that none of its patients who are recovering are transferred to a ward for patients who are suffering from other illnesses.
“Patients who have recovered are not transferred or moved to share the same ward with patients that are suffering from other illnesses, such as tuberculosis (TB),”said QEH Director Dr Zuraidah Ahmad Babji.
She was commenting on the claims by a man that his son, who was discharged from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after undergoing treatment for a blood clot problem, was later warded at a male ward that was also shared by TB patients.
“Patients who have recovered and in stable condition will be discharged from ICU and transferred to other wards. Some will be transfered to the male and female respiratory wards, while TB patients will be relocated in a separate room,” she said.
Zuraidah also denied claims that the transfer of patients to other wards is due to space constraints at the QEH Tower Block and its adjoining departments, but merely to provide better care and service for their patients.
She said all hospital staff at the wards are well trained and will always provide proper care to ensure no infections will occur between patients at the same ward.
SCORPENE TO BERTH AT SEPANGGAR BAY IN JULY
One of Malaysia’s two newly acquired Scorpene submarines will arrive at the Royal Malaysian Navy’s second largest base in Sepanggar Bay in July.
RMN Region II commander First Admiral Syed Zahiruddin Putra Syed Osman said preparations were being made to receive the submarine, KD Tun Abd Rahman.
“These include building the infrastructure and quarters for the crew and their families,” he told reporters after opening the RMN’s Division II Quality Day at the Sepanggar Bay here yesterday.
He said the second Scorpene, KD Tun Abdul Razak would arrive at the end of the year.
On RMN’s achievements last year, he singled out the swift intervention of a Malaysian naval ship in rescuing a Chinese cargo vessel from being plundered by pirates in the Aden Bay, Somalia in “Ops Fajar” last month.
“We are proud of the crew. for which our efforts had gained international recognition.” he said.
Nineteen officers and 153 men from the division received outstanding service certificates at the function.
STATE GOVT CONCERNED OVER JOBLESS PROBLEM:YEE
The State Government is very concerned over the unemployed problem in the State, said Resource Development and Information Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai.
Some of the measures taken to resolve the problem is offering training programmes to jobless graduates and matching vacancies and job seekers through the Sabah Job Centre, he said after launching the Pikom Sabah Chapter here yesterday.
Yee said workers that would be retrenched in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore in the current economic condition were expected to return to the State to look for jobs and this would further worsen the job market.
On the Pikom Sabah Chapter, the Minister urged information communication and technology vendors in the State to become members.
Among those present at the ceremony were Pikom Chairman David Wong Nan Fay, Pikom Sabah Chapter Chairman Hseih Yang Vui and Pikom President CJ Ang.
Friday, January 9, 2009
RM50 MILLION FUND FOR SMALLHOLDERS
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday announced an allocation of RM5O million as a special fund to assist oil palm smallholders who are affected by the current slump in the palm oil industry.
Musa told reporters after chairing the first State Cabinet meeting this year that the allocation would be disbursed in the form of a special incentive and soft loans.
The assistance is available to smailholders with titled land of 15 acres and below, he said, adding that according to Malaysian Palm Oil Board records, a total of 11,018 smallholders in Sabah will be eligible for the assistance.
“It is hoped that the special fund would ease the smallholders’ operational costs such as fertilizer and transportation,” he said.
According to Musa, a special registration unit for the smallholders will be at the State Agriculture Department with immediate effect to assist them in the application process.
After registration, the applicants would be screened and vetted and the allocation will be given according to the smallholders’ requirements, he said.
Musa also disclosed that the Cabinet yesterday approved the proposed setting up of Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) to act as the monitoring body for the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).
“The Cabinet also passed the proposal that the SEDIA Bill be tabled in a special State Assembly sitting on January 15,” he said, adding that the functions of SEDIA would be revealed then.
State Assemblymen will have the opportunity on January 15 to debate the SEDIA Bill, he said.
SABAH SURE BLACKOUT PROGRAMME IN SANDAKAN TODAY
RTM is holding a programme called “Sabah Sure Blackout” today, Friday, at the waterfront here, which concerns the power supply problem in Sabah and the proposed coal-fired power plant project controversy.
The event features debate- like TV interviews with Consumers Association of Sabah and Labuan CASH Deputy President Nordin Thani who favours the solar energy system as the best alternative, and a Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd representative expected to be Managing Director Baharin Din, who favours the coal-fired power.
Approached yesterday while on his way to Sandakan, Nordin said his view is certainly opposed to that which is supportive of the coal power plant project.
“I am with the people who are against the coal power plant because they know that many developed countries like United Kingdom and Australia have already installed the solar system, the best alternative to reduce the global warming, preserve the clean environment and significantly reduce the cost of the electricity in time of this economic crisis,” said Nordin, who is a UK engineering degree.
“I speak from my experience as a Malaysian student while living in UK and how i have observed the solar system,” he said.
“Besides, my knowledge of the solar system and what I have learned and experienced is for the people here. I want the people to be aware of the advanced technology instead of the traditional coal,” he stressed.
You may find out from the many tourists (UK and Australia) the advantages of the solar system.
“Another reason for them to use the solar system is that the coal could be difficult to source in future and in fact, there are other countries that face a shortage of coal. So if Sabah is running out of coal, where can Sabah find it?
“If we do have it, for example in Maliau Basin, could we afford to use it and finish it?” he asked.
Nordin said if SESB has a coal power plant but runs out of coal supply and then buy from other countries, for example, Indonesia, the consumers will eventually bear the extra cost.
“Can we afford to have expensive electricity when the cost is not reasonable?” he asked.
Nordin said he would highlight in the interview the cost of electricity today as it is not reasonable and has been a burden to the people, while the service is not satisfactory.
He said the monopoly of power supply in the State should be ended so that healthy competition would exist to improve service and lower tariff for the benefit of consumers.
According to Nordin, he was informed that the programme today would not be telecast live but expected to be aired on another day.
He was also informed that another program that concerns the same issue is expected to be telecast somewhere this month too.
13 HELD OVER GRUESOME KILLING OF TEENAGER
Police have detained 13 men over the gruesome killing of a teenager at Anjung Teduh Felda Sahabat 02 in Tungku.
District Police Chief Superintendent Md Suhaimi Ab Rahman said yesterday the suspects, aged between 17 and 39, were arrested separately at different locations during a Police operation after the incident.
He said 18-year-old Faizul Basirun was fatally stabbed and clubbed by a group of people during a fight around 8.3Opm on Dec 4.
The victim was rushed to the Tunku health centre where he was pronounced dead on arrival due to severe bodily injuries.
Initial investigation showed the victim was stabbed with a sharp object, said Md Suhaimi.
He said a deep stab wound on the victim’s face at the right side of his nose was among the injuries found on the latter’s body.
Police have classified the case as murder and the probe is being carried out under Section 302 and 148 of the Penal Code.
All the suspects have been detained to assist in the investigations.
Md Suhaimi said the Police also recovered alleged murder weapons, namely a Keris (dagger) and a machete, two two-foot long iron rods and a baseball club from the suspects.
“Police are still trying to determine the actual motive of the alleged murder,” said Md Suhaimi, adding the victim’s body had been sent to the district hospital here for a post-mortem.
He appealed to the public with information of the case to contact the District Police Headquarters at 089-881255 or 089-881527.
32 FOREIGNERS DETAINED IN KENINGAU OPERATION
Police arrested 32 Indonesians and Filipinos, including eight women, during an operation to round up illegal immigrants yesterday.
The operation led by District Police Chief DSP Zahari Mohammad was carried out at the town areas, tamu ground, Kampung Jawa, Masak Road and Kampung Lingkudau at 2pm.
Zahari told reporters that the operation to arrest and trace illegal immigrants in the district would continue.
“Those without valid documents will be handed over to the Immigration Department before they are sent to the temporary detention centre in Menggatal,” he said, adding all those arrested would also have their urine tested for drugs.
Zahari urged community leaders in this district to report to the Police if they found illegal immigrants residing in their area.
“The Police will action every report received,” he said.
He disclosed that a meeting between the Police and community leaders in the district would be held at the police station on January 15.
“The purpose of the meeting is to strengthen the relationship and cooperation with the community leaders in efforts to combat crimes and social illnesses in their areas,” he said. The OCPD also said that the crime index in this district was down.
He said during the Christmas and New Year celebrations, no crime and accident were reported to the Police.
“This means the public has high awareness on crime and care for their safety while driving on the road,” he said.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
ALL REFUGEES IN SABAH ACTUALLY ILLEGALS, SAYS SUHAKAM.
All refugees in Sabah are actually illegal immigrants too because Malaysia is neither a party to the United Nations Convention on the status of the refugees
in 1951 nor the Protocol 1967, according to Suhakam.
Its Vice-Chairman, Tan Sri Simon Sipaun made the assertion when commenting on the recent report in The Borneo Post about the displaced Indonesians who number 12,000 and Filipinos who number 81,000, who were given the IMM13 card that allows them to live and work in Sabah in 1965, 1970s and 1985 until today.
“I understand the IMM13 cards were issued in Sabah, but why? The Government started to issue them to the Rohingyas in Peninsular but quickly aborted it. Why the double standard?” he asked. “It’s a national problem and IMM13 cards were issued by the Federal Government. Why are the refugees confined to Sabah?” he asked, referring to the IMM13 condition that the refugees could only be allowed to earn theirliving and reside in Sabah, and not Peninsular Malaysia.
“The Vietnamese refugees were all gone after two years. How come that in Sabah, the refugees are still here?”
Currently, the majority of the foreigners with refugee status have been living in Sabah for over 35 years, and there is no limit to the length of their stay, while their children or teenagers are allowed to attend both primary and secondary schools in the State.