PTPTN borrowers, you have nine days to update your info

July 16th, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan borrowers have been given nine days – from July 17 to July 25 – to update PTPTN with their latest income information.

If they fail to do so, PTPTN would presume that the borrowers are not interested in applying to defer their loan repayment.

PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan, announcing this on Monday, said PTPTN is carrying out the information-gathering exercise before implementing the loan payment deferment for those earning under RM4,000 a month.

“All borrowers who still have outstanding loans are required to update their income information online through PTPTN’s website.

“If they fail to do so within the stipulated period, we will assume that the borrowers aren’t interested in deferring their loan repayment period,” he told a press conference at Menara PTPTN.

He said apart from the income information, borrowers also need to update their personal details such as address, phone number and email address.

Wan Saiful said PTPTN is hoping that relevant agencies such as the Finance Ministry, Inland Revenue Board (IRB) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will help in terms of data-sharing to facilitate the process.

“We are facing obstacles in obtaining the data as this information is protected under the Personal Data Protection Act 2010. As such, we are appealing to the relevant agencies as well as the borrowers themselves to help PTPTN with updating the information,” he said

“In any case, the loan deferment is not a ticket to escaping from paying their loans. All loans must be settled, even if it is done bit by bit.

“PTPTN is targeting a RM4 billion collection this year to enable other people who wish to apply for PTPTN loans,” he said.

He said that as of June, a total of 429,945 borrowers have been removed from the Immigration Department’s blacklist, in line with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s manifesto to help the borrowers.

Meanwhile, Wan Saiful also denied that his appointment as the new PTPTN chairman runs contrary to PH’s manifesto.

PTPTN, he said, is a statutory body. This, he said, means that his appointment did not go against PH’s manifesto on not allowing political appointments, as that only applies to government-linked companies (GLCs).

“Yes, political appointments are against the PH manifesto, but it only applies to positions within GLCs, not statutory bodies.

“This issue was deliberately raised. I invite those who are criticising this appointment to re-read the manifesto,” he said.


Read more @

Liew (centre) presenting the award to SMK Medamit representative.

July 16th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Eighteen cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) have been detected in Kampung Kiau, Kota Belud.

Sabah Health Department director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi said of the total, nine were pre-school pupils from Sekolah Kebangsaan Kiau.

“The pre-school has been ordered to close to enable the premises to be cleaned and to check the infection from spreading,” she said when contacted by Bernama, here on Sunday.

Meanwhile, State Education director Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul said so far only one pre-school in Sabah, namely Sekolah Kebangsaan Kiau, Kota Belud, was temporarily closed for 10 days since July 11 following the detection of two pre-schoolers with HFMD.

The most common cause of the hand-foot-and-mouth disease stems from the contagious coxsackievirus A16 and Enterovirus 71 and the disease can spread through saliva, wounds and the faeces of an infected person.

Signs of infection include fever, rashes and spots on the palms and feet and ulcers in the mouth and tongue, as well as infection in the upper respiratory tract and shortness of breath.


Read more @

Keningau’s SK Tuarid Taud, Limbang’s SMK Medamit grab top awards

July 16th, 2018


Liew (centre) presenting the award to SMK Medamit representative.

PENAMPANG: It was a momentous night for SK Tuarid Taud of Keningau and SMK Medamit of Limbang as both walked away with the Chief Minister’s Award in the 9th Tugu Budaya Etnik Sabah – International Youth Folk Dance Festival.

Primary school winner, SK Tuarid Taud bagged RM10,000 while SMKMedamit took home RM13,000.

Apart from attaining the highest award of the festival, SK Tuarid Taud also received the awards for Best Music Arrangement, Best Choreography, Best Creative Traditional Dance and Best Sabah Traditional Dance.

SMK Medamit, the secondary school from Limbang, Sarawak, also won four awards – Best Visual, Best Music Arrangement, Best Choreography and Best Creative Traditional Dance.

Meanwhile, SK Kiawayan Tambunan and SMK Sungai Damit Tamparuli won the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Award, bagging RM8,000 and RM10,000 respectively.

The third highest award, Sabah Cultural Board Award, was awarded to SK Sungai Damit, Tuaran, and SMK Tawau who each won RM6,000 and RM7,000 respectively.

The festival which began on July 10 saw 24 primary and secondary school participants nationwide dancing their unique culture at the Sabah Cultural Centre, Penampang.

The competition also for the first time opened its participation to international contenders – Raduga Russia, Sanggar Tari Bali Legong from Indonesia, Tarlac National High School Philippines, Zamin Uzbekistan and Ranranga Dance Academy Sri Lanka.

The four-day festival was one colours, songs, costumes and dances to celebrate cultural diversity, staying true to its aim – to inculcate cultural awareness among young generations.

The stage not only served as a platform to showcase the talents and skills of artistes and dancers but also reminded the importance of culture preservation which was encapsulated as its curtain closed on Saturday night.

Present during the finale were Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Christina Liew, Assistant Minister Assafal Alian, Assistant Finance Minister Kenny Chua, Assistant Minister of Education and Innovation Jenifer Lasimbang and Sabah Cultural Board General Manager William Baya among others.


Read more @


July 16th, 2018

SIDMA College Sabah will host this year’s SUKAN MASISWA which will take place from 20th to 22nd July at the Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex. Around 1,600 students, contingents and marshals from 22 private colleges and universities (IPTS) all over Sabah are expected to participate in the tournament, which is expected to be officiated by Y.A.B. Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal, Sabah Chief Minister.

The main aim of the carnival is to strengthen the bond among the communities of all the IPTS in Sabah; to inspire fitness into their daily lives; as well as to encourage students to become wholesomely better in different aspects – by participating in any sport events in and off campus.

SIDMA College Sabah will play host for the first time in the organisation of the 2018 MASISWA Sports Carnival; with the full cooperation and collaboration from all the participating universities and colleges.

The following are the list of IPTS that will participate in the event. Beside SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah, other IPTS are: University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF), Kolej Teknikal Yayasan Sabah (KTYS), Eastern College, INTI College, Almacrest International College (AIC), Asia Metropolitan College, Institut Sinaran, Asean Tourism International College (ATIC), AMC College, North Borneo University College (NBUC), Jesselton College, Cosmopoint Sabah College, Management and Science University College (MSUC), Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC), KIARA College, Kinabalu Commercial College (KCC), MAHSA College, Geomatika College Keningau (GCK) and Sabah Institute of Art (SIA).

Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Founder and Chairman of SIDMA College), when chairing the recent monthly meeting with representatives of the above colleges held on 6 July 2018 at SIDMA College , announced that its sport secretariat had received participation from the colleges for the following games, namely: (i) Volleyball (Men & Ladies); (ii) Netball (Ladies); (iii) Badminton; (iv)Tenpin Bowling, (v) Football,  (vi) Basketball   (vii) Bowling; (viii) Ping-Pong; (iv) Chess; (x) Sepak Takraw; and (x) Muscle Test.

Please <CLICK HERE> for tentative programme of the carnival.

Dr Morni thanked in advance to the following government organisations and parties for their support and contributions for successful implementation of the event.

  1. Ministry of Education Malaysia
  2. IPTS Sports Council Malaysia (MASISWA)
  3. Datuk Dr. Yusof Yakob, Minister of Education and Innovation Sabah
  4. Datuk Haji Awang Damit, Permanent Secretary of Sabah Ministry of Youth and Sports

Meanwhile, Dr Morni took the opportunity to invite all sports lovers from the general public to come and witness the carnival which will commence at 2.30 pm on 20 July 2018, at Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex. The closing ceremony will take place on Sunday 22nd July at 10 am.


Read more @

Proposal for weekly BM, English days in all schools

July 16th, 2018

Johor: Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik proposes that schools should have two days in a week where only Bahasa Malaysia or English is used to help students improve their language skills.

Maszlee said this practice should be extended to national schools, private schools, government-aided schools or national-type schools by selecting a specific day of the week, namely one day for each language.

Students and teachers will have to use that one language the whole day at school and must include Malay literature, it is very important to uphold the national language.

“In celebrating diversity and the new era, students should also be encouraged to take up a third or fourth language,” he said.

He said this when officiating the “Sireh Pulang ke Gagang” event at Sekolah Kebangsaan Temenggong Abdul Rahman 2 (STAR2), here, Saturday.

Maszlee, a former STAR2 student from 1981 to 1986, said the proposal would be discussed with relevant parties.

At the same time, he wants teachers who are not proud of teaching in primary schools preferring to teach in secondary schools to rid themselves of the misconception.

“In Finland, the world’s number one provider of quality education, the best teachers are sent to primary schools to mould the personal development of their pupils and develop their language skills from an early stage.

“Today, teachers do not want to teach in primary schools, all want to go to secondary schools, especially teachers who have degrees,” he said.

Read more @

SM Sains first Sabah school to go cashless

July 16th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Electronic cash is the way forward and SM Sains Sabah (Smesh) took a step further by becoming the first school in the State to implement the cashless school system.

The system uses the eM-ONEi digital wallet platform to enable users – both students and school staff – to make payments via an electronic card (eCard) at touch-and-pay terminals provided at the school’s canteen and co-operative.

Commending the initiative, Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob hoped the digital system will improve the efficiency of canteen and co-operative management in the school.

“The business transactions in both outlets will surely be smoother, apart from a more systematic account management,” he said during the school’s Parents and Teachers Association’s annual general meeting cum cashless school system launching ceremony, at the school’s hall, here, Saturday.

“Furthermore, it would be easier for parents to transfer money to their children or monitor their expenditure online through the digital wallet platform.

“I was made to understand that such system can also reduce money lost or theft in schools.”

His speech was read by his Assistant Minister Jenifer Lasimbang.

Yusof also hoped the programme will be extended to other schools and learning institutions, especially after it is proven effective in the pilot project in Smesh.

“Smesh even proposed for the eCards’ functions to be enhanced in future so that they can record students’ attendance in the school,” he said.

The cashless system was developed by MobilityOne and Smesh is the second school in the country to implement the system after another fully residential school in Pahang.

MobilityOne Chief Executive Officer Datuk Hussian A Rahman said they received many enquiries from other schools after the system was first introduced three months ago.

“After Sabah, we will go to Labuan and from there, we will try to expand the system to other schools.

“At the moment, we are focusing on secondary schools and later on, we will implement the system in primary schools,” he said.

The eCard, he said, currently can only be used within the school compound and its usage will be stretched in future.

“We are licensed and monitored by the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)…so, we can operate nationwide.

“In order for the cards to be used outside of the school compound, we just need to appoint merchants.”

Hussian said one of the best feature of the card is that parents can monitor and put a limit on their children’s spending.

“Parents can reload the card with any amount but they can set a specific daily expenditure limit for their children so that they will only buy necessary things like food,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jenifer said her ministry will follow up with the Federal Education Ministry soon on the issue of a permanent building for Smesh.

“Smesh is one of the top performing schools in Sabah and the country…unfortunately, the school has been using the former campus of the Kent Teachers Training College, here, since three years ago,” she said.

by Ricardo Unto.

Read more @

World’s new tallest tree in Tawau Hills Park

July 15th, 2018

Tawau: The Tawau Hills Park, located some 24 kilometres from town here, is home to giant tropical trees and the world’s new tallest tropical tree at 96.9 metres.

The tree of Shorea faguetiana species from the Diptercarpaceae family, located about 9.5km from the Park’s main station, was discovered on May 28, this year.

According to studies, the reason why giant trees can grow to such extreme height at the Park is because of its rich, fertile volcanic soil and high volume of rainfall.

For many years, the world’s tallest tropical tree has been recognised in the Tawau Hills Park at a height of 88.32m (Shorea faguetiana family: Dipterocarpaceae), which is located 900 metres from the Park’s main station.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew launched the new discovery after visiting the Park on Friday, accompanied by Sabah Parks Director Dr Jamili Nais.

Sabah has always been known to harbour giant tropical trees in the world, with the two records in the Tawau Hill Parks, apart from similar species of slightly taller tree (89.5m) found at the Maliau Basin Conservation Area in 2016.

Also, in 2016, the then tallest tree in the world was found at the Danum Valley Conservation Area at 94.1 metres.

The Tawau Hills Park, with a total area of 27, 972 hectares, was gazetted in 1979.

The primary aims of its gazettement are to protect the water catchment for the people of Tawau and Semporna peninsula, to preserve the forests for wildlife sanctuary and to preserve areas of scenic beauty for amenity and recreational purposes.

There are three main peaks in the form of extinct volcanoes, which were last active about 27,000 years ago, namely Mt Magdalena (1,310m), Mt Lucia (1,201m) and Mt Maria (1,020m).

The Park, also popularly known as Table among locals here, recorded a total of 63,357 visitor arrivals in 2017, comprising 62,087 Malaysians and 1, 270 foreigners.

The number was lower compared to 2016, which recorded 67,693 visitors comprising 66,571 Malaysians and 1, 122 foreigners.

Meanwhile, the Park’s spokesperson said Sabah Parks commissioned a management plan study for the Tawau Hills Park in 2015, conducted by the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah, where the management plan will be re-evaluated this year to implement some of the medium-term development plan.

Four development plans to be re-evaluated are:

- First: The enhancement and beautification of the entrance complex and the recreation area for creating an attractive boulevard tree-lined entry road.

- Second: Upgrading of the network of trails leading to the natural pool of hot water springs, upgrading the trail from Park’s main station to the Sulphur Hot Spring by introducing good buggy car and cycling tract and introducing attractive sign boards offering interpretation nature at the park.

- Third: Redevelopment of the recreation area as a Boutique Natural Hit Springs Resort and the facility be developed to a high standard with the appeal to both international and domestic markets.

by Lagatah Toyos.

Read more @

We treat civil servants as our slaves

July 15th, 2018
Civil servants attending motivation seminar. FILE PIC

ARE civil servants disappointed and demotivated? As a person from the private sector who deals with the government side, it is my opinion that they are, and I sympathise with them.

Changes must be implemented to help them. First, we should stop using the words “civil servant”.

These words have caused much problem to the public service. “Civil servant” gives a wrong perception to the people, who consider public service workers as their servants.

The Public Complaints Bureau (PCB) was established to achieve public service excellence by resolving public complaints.

My question to PCB is, are there protections for civil servants?

It would seem that PCB caters only for the public, and while civil servants are the target of many complaints, it is powerless to act against them. A balance must be struck.

There are videos showing civil servants acting rudely to the public.

When that occurs, the public criticises civil servants, but what the videos do not show is how the matter has reached that extent.

The department acts on the personnel without finding out what transpired.

From my observation, many consider civil servants their slaves. Whenever civil servants explain procedures, as laid down by the law, if it’s not in the person’s favour, the public refuses to listen.

They are only interested in having their way. The oft-quoted phrase by the public: “You are our servant. You must serve me. You must listen to me because I am paying your salary.”

Civil servants are not exempt from paying taxes. Some have support letters from political parties, while some throw the name cards of political secretaries or special officers of ministers to civil servants, demanding that they follow the person’s wishes.

In this context, I believe political secretaries and special officers do not have any authority to interfere with the administration of a government department.

Many civil servants get threats from the public that their names will be reported to the minister, PCB and the press for matters that are not their fault.

Some like to make a scene or use vulgar words for their demands to be entertained.

It is suggested that a complaints bureau for civil servants be set up to handle the public’s misbehaviour.


Read more @

Partnerships, engagement key to finding solutions in managing sharks and rays in Sabah

July 15th, 2018

Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) director Cynthia Ong (left) facilitating a panel discussion at the recently concluded Sabah Sharks and Rays Forum 2018

KOTA KINABALU: The establishment of strategic partnerships, as well as honest and continuous engagement, are needed in approaching the complex issues surrounding the conservation of sharks and rays in Sabah.

Although their reasons and motivations differ, stakeholders at the recently concluded Sharks and Rays Forum 2018 agreed they want to see an abundance of sharks and rays in Sabah waters.

Different sectors of society – fishermen, tourism players, civil society, government and researchers – each have their own priorities for healthy shark and ray populations.

Subsequent progress must therefore address the concerns of all – in particular the views of those in Semporna, the most important district in Sabah for shark-related fisheries, tourism and protection.

Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) director Cynthia Ong said based on presentations at the forum, the range of options include reviewing and reforming law and policy; tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; defining and reducing bycatch; establishing shark sanctuaries and Locally Managed Marine Areas; exploring alternative livelihoods for shark and ray fishers; and awareness raising.

“This will need to see collaboration on a wide scale, working with a range of stakeholders and the Department of Fisheries to enable more meaningful input into the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA 3).

“For example, some fishermen may not necessarily be keen on alternative livelihoods in the tourism sector, and there are some who say they are only responding to market demands. We also heard that understanding and defining bycatch is crucial for further shark conservation efforts as many sharks are caught as bycatch – a trend mirrored worldwide.

“Other efforts that could be looked at would be to trial shark and ray bycatch reduction techniques on trawlers, and to assess the viability of establishing a locally managed marine area with sharks and rays as the main drawcard that is self-funded through tourism in Semporna,” Ong said.

She said the recommendations, agreements and recognition that sharks and rays are important for healthy tourism and sustainable fisheries have inspired leadership, scientists and local conservationists to strive together for a healthy ocean that include sharks.

One major outcome of the conference was that research groups are keen to work with government and the fisheries industry to gather additional scientific knowledge of local shark and ray populations and to support increased marine protection in Malaysian waters. The fisheries sector meanwhile, said it was willing to be engaged on how it could improve, but without losing its economic and trade values.

Other areas of future work that emerged from the forum included improved monitoring of shark and ray catch at markets to species level – to gather baseline data at species level, as well as determining whether protected areas such as the Tun Sakaran Marine Park – have seen an increase in shark and ray abundance
Relevant parties would also need to continue promoting awareness on the importance of sharks and rays, as well as the negative impact to the environment when consumers opt for shark fin soup as sharks are apex predators and are essential for maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem.

Sabah Sharks Protection Association (SSPA) chairman Aderick Chong stressed on the need to list species of sharks that are known to be abundant and to limit harvesting to these, and to protect the rest.

Crocodile sign put up at Likas Bay

July 15th, 2018

A member from the Wildlife Rescue Unit setting up the crocodile trap at the Likas Bay.

KOTA KINABALU: The Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) has set up a sign warning people about the presence of crocodile(s) at the Likas Bay.

According to Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) spokesperson, Siti Nur’Ain Ampuan Acheh, members from WRU had also set up crocodile traps and were scouting the area for the reptile.

The action was meted out following a video recording of the crocodile at the Likas Bay that went viral on WhatsApp recently.

No crocodile has been caught yet and the effort to capture it is ongoing.

Nevertheless, the media was also informed that the SWD has no idea if there were more than one crocodile at the bay.

The warning signs from the department were set up at three different locations and people were warned against carrying out fishing activities or picnics.

Read more @