Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

10,000 attend Head of State birthday parade

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: A 17-gun salute reverbrated through the heart of the city as the Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin’s official 64th birthday celebration here began with a ceremonial marching parade competition yesterday morning.

Padang Merdeka was filled with some 10,000 people as the customary firing of cannons attracted foreign tourists and local spectators to witness the ceremony involving 85 contingents.

Sabah’s 10th Head of State and his wife Toh Puan Norlidah R M Jasni were joined by Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman and wife Puan Sri Faridah Tussin, State Dewan Speaker Datuk Seri Panglima Syed Abas Syed Ali and wife Datin Seri Panglima Nuraini Habib Kadir, state cabinet ministers and other dignitaries at the ceremony.

Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) Enforcement Department beat 16 other contingents and reigned as champion for the government department in official uniform marching category.

The Malaysian Royal Customs Department and Volunteers Department (RELA) took the second and third places respectively in the same category.

Meanwhile, the Sabah Public Works Department (JKR) won the government department not in official uniform category, which was participated by 27 contingents.

Close behind JKR were the Sabah Town and Regional Planning Department and Chief Minister’s Department in the second and third places respectively.

In the non-governmental organization or association or ethnic category, Akademi Jahitan Kota Kinabalu won by beating 11 other contingents, followed by Pasukan Tindakan Cemas Malaysia and Persatuan Pandu Puteri Malaysia Cawangan Sabah.

Yayasan Sabah Group beat seven other contingents in the private or commercial category, whilst the Sabah Forestry Development Authority and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) took the second and third places respectively.

Among the six contingents participating in the higher public or private learning institution (IPTA/IPTS) category, Komander Kasatria UiTM Sabah took the first place, whilst Petronas Briged Bomba and Institusi Latihan Kesihatan Malaysia took second and third places.

In the secondary school category, Kadet Remaja Sekolah SMK Sri Nangka Tuaran beat nine other contingents and took the first prize home whilst SMK Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu and SMK Taman Ria took second and third places.

Read more @

Restudying BR1M & GST among issues suggested by MTUC for Budget 2018

Friday, October 6th, 2017
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Abdul Halim Mansor urged the government to review the Goods and Services Tax (GST). NSTP pic.
By JULIA FIONA AND ALIA MIOR - October 6, 2017 @ 4:38pm

KUALA LUMPUR: Contributing to Social Security Organisation (Socso) for all permanent and contract government staff, restudying the giving of 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) and looking into the issue of Goods and Services Tax (GST) are three issues which the government is urged to consider in the upcoming Budget 2018.

These are among the main proposals submitted by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) to ensure that the welfare of Malaysian citizens remains secure.

Its president Abdul Halim Mansor has recommended that the government works with Socso in providing mechanisms for contributors to earn medical security and benefits and not to burden the civil servants with medical bills.

“I believe Sosco is the most reliable organisation for citizens in ensuring their security, and government should work closely with Socso to reflect their responsibility.

“For loss of lives or those who get into accidents and lose their ability to work, most of the permanent and contract government workers who come from low income family background are usually burdened by medical bills.

“That is why Socso should be the main source of medical security for the workers to get treatment and get back to work. Socso has its own rehabilitation centre for its contributors, for example, Tun Razak Rehabilitation Centre in Melaka,” Halim said, as one of the board of members of Socso.

“I urge Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to consider Socso security rather than rely on private insurance or only on giving BR1M allowances.”

He hoped that the next of kin of a Socso contributor could also gain the benefit of this insurance, as low as 50% and as high as 80%, in case of loss of lives or injury due to accidents.

On GST, Halim urged the government to review the income tax deduction and implement the income tax rebate mechanism for private workers who stayed in urban and rural areas.

He said the government should restudy where GST should be implemented and it was important to ensure that every GST could be claimed in helping to reduce the cost of living of the citizens.

The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj said the government needs to look into making healthcare more affordable.

“We are short of medical help and we need the backup from private hospitals. However, the cost of private hospitals is too expensive.


Read more @

Leave Sabah out: Bosses

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah should not be part of a proposed implementation of an Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) for retrenched workers due to the State’s unique economic and social circumstances.

Sabah Employers Association (SEA) President Yap Cheen Boon said EIS is inappropriate for Sabah as retrenchment on average is only 254 employees per year, which is rather low compared to other states in the peninsula.

Besides, he said, latest statistics showed that wage growth has been increasing since last year which resulted in not many workers being laid off compared to other states like Selangor.

He said if EIS was approved for implementation, then it would be compulsory for the workers and employers to pay contribution of 0.2 per cent each apart from paying for Employment Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (Socso) until they retire.

The proposed EIS had its first reading in Parliament this year.

“EIS was mooted by the Government based on statistical figure that Malaysian employers have retrenched a lot of workers since 2000 and these workers did not get compensation due to some irresponsible employers.

“Hence, when this happens, the EIS was proposed to serve as a safety net. In fact, the basic component of EIS is two-fold.

“First, to allow the retrenched workers to have basic money for six months under decreasing percentage rate.

For instance a monthly salary of RM1,000, the retrenched worker will get RM800 for the first month, and RM600 the second month and RM400 the third month, among others.

“Second, the employers must provide new skills for the retrenched workers so that they would able to apply for new jobs,” he told a press conference, Tuesday.

Also present were SEA Deputy President David Chu and its Secretary General Fong Ming San.

Yap said EIS requires employers and employees to contribute 0.2 per cent each which totalled up to 0.4 per cent is excessive for Sabah as it will see an annual contribution of RM77 million from both parties combined which was seen as in parallel with existing laws that sufficiently protected retrenched workers and an unnecessary excessive drain.

“We have a bit of problem with this proposal because based on the total contribution of 0.4 per cent from employers and employees as suggested by the government, the monthly intake of yearly income fund can be over a billion Ringgit and it is way more than the past statistics shown of the amount of money owed to retrenched employees not paid.

“What we calculate is going to be more and more than enough to cover the so-called ‘loss’.

“As for providing training for the retrenched workers to acquire new skills, we disagree because training is performed by a lot of State and Federal agencies. So why are we duplicating?” he asked.

Yap said SEA also queried whether the retrenched workers would get the EIS contribution which would mean they will be getting dual benefit and this seems unfair.

“Such detail on the dual benefit was never discussed and finalised.

“In addition, we believe that pushing EIS is too hasty and a dual mechanism will be like sucking money out of the economy.

“Hence, if the government really choose to go along with this proposal, there are few things that need to be settled. First, the details of the proposal must be clear.

by Hayati Dzulkifli.

Read more @

Sabah’s new court complex unveiled

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

IIT SITS ATOP one of few remaining hills in Kota Kinabalu. Motorists and residents in the surrounding areas couldn’t help but notice it because the hill, Bukit Punai as it is called, is a ‘must pass’ spot for the thousands of daily commuters using the busy Jalan Tuaran and Jalan Luyang.

What building is it? Many have been asking, but officials have been tight-lipped until a recent publication by a Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia Sabah Chapter magazine which ran a feature article on what is the Kota Kinabalu Court Complex.

The new complex will replace the existing one located along Jalan Tugu, near Kg Air in downtown Kota Kinabalu which is well known for its congestion. It has the size and looks to easily become a new iconic landmark for the City.

At the time of putting this article together, the huge light-blue mosque-like centre-piece dome (about 55 metres from the ground) is currently being completed as the building is slated for completion in October 2017. The legal fraternity here believes it will still be months before the complex is fully furnished for occupation.

The building is imposing in more ways than one. It occupies 6.25 acres and cost RM175 million. It will be a six-storey building housing 16 court rooms for Federal Court (1), High Court (3), Sessions Court (6), Magistrate’s Court (6) and a host of supporting offices and facilities.

According to the PAM article, the beginning of the ‘design journey’ of the complex dated back to 2010 when the proposal then was to redesign and build on the two acres of the existing complex. Based on calculated space requirements, the redesigned complex would have to be a 10-storey building squeezed into the same acreage. But then Bukit Punai came into the picture.

Building works began in July 2014. It was to have been completed in 30 months. A signboard near the site, which is out of bounds to the public, said the completion date is Oct 21, 2017.

If observers noticed a similar exterior with the Palace of Justice at Putrajaya, it is because the authorities wanted the resemblance. But the architectural team (under Shah Architect and Chong Ten Lip) managed to incorporate local motifs reflecting the Kadazandusun, Bajau and Murut heritage along with the hibiscus, the national flower.

The PAM article continued: The new court complex’s colour and redefined material palette reflects the stability and integrity of the judicial department. Façade materials include glass fibre reinforced concrete and metallic paint is chosen for the dome.

The building owners, technically the Justice Department, wanted to emphasise on the ceremonial approach to the new complex as a parade featuring the who’s who of the legal fraternity.

The vision was therefore to have a majestic entrance with the complex as a backdrop. The final design of grand steps, the triple-volume, light-filled lobby was the result that visitors to the complex will witness.


Read more @

NIOSH to conduct health and safety audits on all registered religious schools

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the institute will be working together with the Islamic Development Department (Jakim), the Fire and Rescue Department and Education Ministry as a taskforce which was formed to address safety issues in religious schools. Pix by Mohd Fadli Hamzah

PUTRAJAYA: The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will conduct health and safety audits and all religious schools including Tahfiz in the country, to make sure they comply to occupational health and safety (OSH) standards.

Its chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the institute will be working together with the Islamic Development Department (Jakim), the Fire and Rescue Department and Education Ministry as a taskforce which was formed to address safety issues in religious schools.

“NIOSH will come up with the OSH audits. This is to make sure the schools observe the standards.

“We would also come with modules on how to implement safety and health standards, and also give talks and have exhibitions in schools on the importance of OSH,” he said at the closing ceremony of 2017 Conference on Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) today.

Lee said the NIOSH will also go all out to inspect and audit religious schools in the country which were more than 10 years old.

“This will help the school to identify the risks posed by the school building, classroom, school furniture and to make sure they have sufficient fire fighting equipment including fire extinguishers ,” he added.

On when NIOSH would start inspecting the religious schools, Lee said as soon as the government registers all the schools in the country.


Read more @

King deeply saddened by tahfiz school fire tragedy

Friday, September 15th, 2017
Member of the Surau Al-Madrasatul Ittifaqiyah performing the Yassin prayer for 23 victims involved in the fire at Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz Center at Jalan Keramat Ujung earlier this morning. Bernama Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V has expressed his sadness over the fire tragedy at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school in Kampung Datuk Keramat here this morning in which 21 students and two teachers were killed.

In a statement issued today, Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja Istana Negara, Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Ab Aziz said His Majesty also conveyed his condolences and sympathies to the parents and family members of the students and teachers who were killed and injured in the tragedy.

“His Majesty prays that all the family members affected by the tragedy have the strength, faith and patience over this test from Allah.

“He also urged all Malaysians to pray that the souls of the students and teachers who were killed are placed among the pious.

“This is really a sad time for the nation,” the statement said.

His Majesty also thanked all the parties involved in helping the students, teachers and their families in facing this difficult situation.


Read more @

Recognition for contributions

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: For the first time, as many as 50 Sabahans were conferred membership titles (Doctor Fellows, Fellows, Senior Members and Members) or recognition titles (Senior Members and Members) by the Royal Institution (RI), Singapore.

The occasion was the 11th Global Congress and Conferment Ceremony held at the Menara Tun Mustapha (Sabah Foundation Building), here, Wednesday. It was organised by RI Singapore in collaboration with UMS Borneo Tourism Research Centre, Almacrest International College (AIC) and Ascendens Asia.

Notably, Sabah’s prominent social worker, Anne John P. Arulnasalam-Keyworth (popularly known as Mama Anne) was conferred the title of Fellow of the Royal Institute of Social Workers, Singapore.

Now 71, the Mother and Founder of Bukit Harapan (Hill of Hope), who started social work in Penang in the sixties, had dedicated almost 50 years of her life to helping victims of domestic violence, abused women and children, drug addicts, rape and suicide survivors, among other less fortunate groups.

She also received the International Award of Distinction as a Pioneer in Social Work, having founded Bukit Harapan, the first privately-run non-profit welfare institution in Sabah in 1988.

The Lingham sisters, Jacqueline and Prudence, who are co-founders of Persatuan CHILD, Sabah, were also made Fellows of the Royal Institute of Social Workers, Singapore.

The trio were conferred by RI Singapore’s Chief Compliance Officer, FDr. Dr Helen S. Molano, assisted by RI Vice-President FDr Benjamin Tindall and witnessed by the Presidential Consultant in Education and International Organisations (Republic of the Philippines), FDr. Prof Jose David Lapuz and the President of RI Singapore, FDr. Dr Athena Georgene Ang.

Other distinguished conferees included former Minister of Higher Education, Malaysia, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Paduka Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh (RI Honorary Fellow), State Education Director Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul (Doctor Fellow, Royal Institute of Educators), Principal of Maktab Sabah, Datin Nuinda Alias (Doctor Fellow, Royal Institute of Educators), Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai (Doctor Fellow, Royal Institute of Management), State Director of Lands & Surveys, Datuk Safar Untong (Doctor Fellow, Royal Institute of Surveyors), UMS Director of Borneo Tourism Research Centre, Prof Dr Jennifer Chan Kim Lian (Doctor Fellow, Royal Institute of Tourism) and Adrian Chong Sui Chiang (Doctor Fellow, Royal Institute, Town & Regional Planners).

Among those conferred the membership title of Fellow were UMS Prof Dr Janice Nga Lay Hui (Fellow, Royal Institute of Economists), Principal of SMK Tambunan, Ting Sien Kuan (Fellow, Royal Institute of Educators) and UMS Prof of the Faculty of Psychology & Education, Dr Vincent Pang Ah Fook (Fellow, Royal Institute of Educators).

Chairman of the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, who is also Kiulu State Assemblyman, former General Manager of STB, Datuk Irene Benggon-Charuruks, and UMS lecturer Dr Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim were made Fellows of the Royal Institute of Tourism respectively.

by Mary Chin.

Read more @

Azmin: Selangor policies responsible for SEA Games medal success.

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (pic) has attributed the success of Malaysian athletes from Selangor competing in the 29th SEA Games to the state’s programmes.

Azmin, in a statement on Tuesday, congratulated the Malaysian contingent for its outstanding performance in the games this year in achieving the targeted 111 gold medals.

“The success of the country in the 2017 SEA Games bore witness to 142 athletes from Selangor contributing 74 medals from 41 sporting events,” he said.

He highlighted that the athletes from Selangor achieved 31 gold, 23 silver and 20 bronze medals.

“The sterling performance of the Selangor athletes is the result of the Selangor state government’s sports development programme based on 2I concepts, which are ‘incorporate’ and ‘integrate’, in order to unearth new talent starting from the schooling stage.

“The achievement of Selangor’s athletes gives the state government confidence to further increase resources and manpower to continue the sports development programme with the 2I concepts, in order to produce high-performing athletes,” he said.

Read more @

111 gold medal tally is well in sight.

Sunday, August 27th, 2017
Golden girl: Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah won the gold medal in the waterski final at Putrajaya Water Sports Centre in Putrajaya.

Golden girl: Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah won the gold medal in the waterski final at Putrajaya Water Sports Centre in Putrajaya.

KUALA LUMPUR: With just four days left, the Malaysian contingent is well on its way to reaching its target of 111 gold medals at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

That is the magical number which Malaysia believes will make it the overall winner of the 29th edition of the SEA Games, which ends on Wednesday.

There are 126 gold medals still up for grabs over the next four days.

Silat, diving, cycling (track), gymnastics, sailing and water skiing are all expected to be major gold medal contributors.

More could come from hockey, with two field gold medals in sight, along with football and taekwondo.

At press time, Malaysian athletes have chalked up 83 golds to lead the medal standings with a tally of 83-58-53.

The highly-anticipated challenge from Thailand has failed to materialise as it languishes in fourth spot with a 44-64-63 haul thus far.

Surprisingly, it is Vietnam which is giving Malaysia a fight, having amassed 49-34-43 medals.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary-general Datuk Low Beng Choo said that the contingent has clearly surpassed expectations and is well on the way to achieving the 111 gold target.

“The performances thus far, from all the sports, have been monumental. Every sport is doing its very best and the younger athletes are making history by winning.

“I have to say that OCM is pleasantly surprised. And what caught our attention is the massive support from the fans.

“We are not talking about the so-called big sports. Even sports like volleyball, where our medal chances are slim, have attracted huge crowds.

“We didn’t expect this at all but Malaysians have all come together to make this SEA Games a national affair,” she said.

Malaysia last hosted the Games in 2001 and bagged 111 gold medals to be overall champion.

For this Games, the National Sports Council (NSC) started a two-year “Kita Juara” programme soon after the Singapore Games ended in 2015.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has been at the forefront leading the charge for medals.

He is also a member of the national polo team, which is expected to deliver the gold medal as well.

It is already on record that over RM100mil has been spent on the programme.

Thus, it will be a nerve-racking four days as the Malaysian contingent tries to ward off any late surge by its rival countries

Read more @

M’sia to host 2019 World Hakka Conference

Monday, August 21st, 2017

SANDAKAN: Malaysia will host the 30th World Hakka Conference in 2019, said president of the Federation of Hakka Association Malaysia, Datuk Steve Chong Yoon On.

Chong said upon receiving approval from the committee of the conference, he was happy to announce that Malaysia will be the destination of this esteemed event which will see Hakka clans from all over the world coming to Malaysia.

He disclosed this during the 39th Hakka Association Malaysia convention dinner last Saturday at the Hakka hall here.

Chong said to some 1,300 members that night that he hoped the conference would showcase the colourful culture that Malaysia has to offer in order to promote cultural exchange and the tourism industry here.

He also urged members to learn more about China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative, which was aimed at creating multiple economic corridors globally.

“Understand the plan. Get to know the projects. Grab this business opportunity and use it to our benefit; gain from it,” he said, while adding that the participation of the Hakka people in the initiative would also help strengthen the relationship between the people of Hakka and the Chinese.

Chong said he would lead the federation and ensure that it would have a good relationship with other associations and organisations in and outside Malaysia.

“There are Hakka people all over the world. We will build our relationship with the people of Hakka from different parts of the world in hopes that we can unite and form a good relationship regardless of which country we are from,” he said.

Chong added that the members of the Federation of Hakka Association Malaysia should invest in and visit China for cultural exchange while also introducing the beauty of our multiracial country and its traditions and cultures to the people of China to attract more Chinese tourists to visit our country.

Read more @