Archive for the ‘History of Sabah.’ Category

Arshad Ayub: The impossible is possible

Sunday, November 15th, 2020
In 1965, Arshad was appointed the pioneering Director of Maktab MARA (later, Institut Teknologi MARA) which today is the country’s largest institution of higher learning. At ITM, Arshad believed that everyone can be educated; that among the young there are many late bloomers who are largely ignored by the prevailing education system.  - NSTP file picIn 1965, Arshad was appointed the pioneering Director of Maktab MARA (later, Institut Teknologi MARA) which today is the country’s largest institution of higher learning. At ITM, Arshad believed that everyone can be educated; that among the young there are many late bloomers who are largely ignored by the prevailing education system. – NSTP file pic

LETTERS: Today is the 92nd birthday of Tun Datuk Seri Utama Haji Arshad Ayub – the greatest educational innovator and administrator this country has known. He was the first Director of Institut Teknologi MARA (now UiTM) and led it with courage and vision for one decade from 1965 to 1975.

On any score, Tun Arshad’s life is an inspiration for all Malaysians. He was a rubber tapper’s son who, with determination and discipline, overcame his initial environmental handicap to obtain formal education at Serdang, Aberystwyth (UK) and Lausanne (Switzerland).

He then spent much of his life helping other disadvantaged kids to use education as the ladder for upward mobility.

In 1965, Arshad was appointed the pioneering Director of Maktab MARA (later, Institut Teknologi MARA) which today is the country’s largest institution of higher learning. At ITM, Arshad believed that everyone can be educated; that among the young there are many late bloomers who are largely ignored by the prevailing education system.

He believed that entry points into courses should be flexible but exit points must be well regulated. How a student ends the race is more important than how he/she began it.

Arshad devised many specially tailored, remedial, pre-university programmes to upgrade students who would not otherwise qualify for professional courses.

He established multi-tiered programmes from certificate level to advanced diplomas. Students who successfully navigated one level became eligible for upward mobility into the next tier.

While the other universities boasted of admitting the best students and adding glitter to gold, ITM under Arshad accepted the challenge of fashioning ordinary clay into works of art.

Thousands of students in top managerial positions today owe their success to the faith Arshad reposed in them by urging them to go from the precipice to the peak.

He set up branch campuses in the remotest parts of Perlis, Sabah and Sarawak. Instead of rural students coming to the city, the city was going to go to the rural hinterland to provide a catalyst for growth. In the 70’s Arshad introduced counselling and guidance services for students.

For working adults, Arshad pioneered an Extension Education Programmes. He initiated executive development and entrepreneuring courses that are commonplace today but were rare in the early seventies.

Under Arshad there was constant creative ferment at ITM and perpetual educational experimentation. Planning for years ahead, he introduced courses unheard of in the 1960’s.

Because the parent law of ITM did not permit ITM to confer degrees, Arshad, in the 70s, designed twinning programmes that are a rage today. He also made ITM the first Malaysian institution to embrace external UK programmes in many fields. He stuck to English as the medium of instruction.

As a leader he taught us that “it is attitude, not aptitude, that determines altitude”. He constantly emphasized to students and staff that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things because it is not skill, it is our will, that can make the difference.

He asked us to doubt our doubts but not our beliefs. He told us to not let our limits limit us. To him, in every impossible there was the possible.

He taught us to dream dreams; to think big; to go where no one has gone before; to leave the city of our comfort and go into the wilderness of our intuition. But he also cautioned us not to be a Mat Jenin and to work hard to realise our dreams.

While running an institution devoted to Bumiputera education, his transcendence was remarkable. Many of his Heads of Schools were non-Malays. The academic staff was more than 50 per cent non-Malay. On Sundays he used ITM buses to ferry Christian Bumiputera students to churches in Klang.

In his post-ITM years Arshad was the KSU of three Ministries, Deputy Governor of Bank Negara, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the University of Malaya and in stewardship position on several statutory bodies and public companies. Many forei

gn honours were conferred on him.

His enduring legacies are that the institute he cradled from 1965-75 has grown into the nation’s largest university. Forty-five years after he left, UiTM still is, and will remain for a long time to come, an extended shadow of Arshad Ayub’s towering personality.

The nation will always remember him for its most successful experiment in social engineering through education.

by Shad Saleem Faruqi.

Read more @

‘Biggest mistakes’ in Sabah history

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal speaking in Kampung Brunei, Kimanis, on Sunday.-NSTP/ Edmund Samunting

KIMANIS: Sabah residents can emerge wealthier and more dignified, as experienced during the glory days of the United Sabah National Organisation (Usno), through the Parti Warisan Sabah government.

Warisan vice-president Datuk Junz Wong said the biggest mistakes in Sabah’s political history were having Usno dissolved and allowing Umno into Sabah.

“There were political, economic and other problems during Usno’s time.

“But the people of Sabah had dignity and they were looked up to as ‘rich people’ by those from the peninsula.

“But ever since Umno arrived, Sabahans were discriminated against and sidelined.

“Our resources were stolen and they (Peninsular Malaysians) are getting richer while we become poorer,” he said during a meeting with fishermen in Kampung Brunei here yesterday

Datuk Junz Wong.

Usno was founded by third chief minister Tun Datu Mustapha Harun in 1961 and dissolved in 1996 when six of its legislators joined Umno, while the rest became members of Parti Bersatu Sabah.

Wong, who is state agriculture and food industry minister, said the Umno government, through its centralisation approach in controlling the building of fishermen’s jetties, deep-sea fishing and bird’s nest processing, had hampered economic activities among the communities.

“For example, the upgrading of fishermen’s jetties requires approval from the federal government, but we know better where such infrastructure is needed.

“The same goes for the harvesting of bird’s nests.

“Previously, the products were required to be processed and exported from the peninsula.

“But when the state was authorised to do it, the profits increased from RM3,000 to more than tens of thousands,” he said.

Wong said the people should not give another chance to Umno and Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Mohamad Alamin.

Wong said the state’s sole opposition member of parliament, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, rejected the move to restore Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in the Malaysia federation when the Constitution (Amendment) Bill was presented in Parliament last year.

“Those are the basic rights and agenda that the people of Sabah have been fighting for, but Umno and BN denied us that right,” he said.

By Olivia Miwil.

Read more @

To sack or not to sack Hisham?

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019
Some PKR and Umno leaders are now fantasising of the day Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (right) and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein would be sacked from their respective parties. – NSTP/File pic

It is often said that sacking a loyalist in a political party will make him a martyr.

This, according to many political observers, was the reason why PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim refrained from firing his deputy Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, even after all the public bickering between them.

When Anwar was sacked from Umno in 1998, it made him a hero to many. Thus the “Reformasi” movement was born.

Logically speaking, there is no reason why Anwar would want to make Azmin a saviour at his expense.

Of late, a similar situation is brewing in Umno with its leaders entangled in a dilemma: to sack Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein or leave him be?

It began with Hishammuddin allegedly getting cosy with Azmin as it is a taboo for two men from different political coalitions to be seen forming a friendship.

It was rumoured that Hishammuddin was apparently deemed by some as a bridge for Umno lawmakers to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, which the Sembrong member of parliament has repeatedly denied.

Both Anwar and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi were very unhappy with this cosying up although it is unproven.

Some PKR and Umno leaders are now fantasising of the day Azmin and Hishammuddin would be sacked from their respective parties.

One of the people who was most vocal in this issue is Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam, who is attacking Zahid for failing to take disciplinary action against Hishammuddin.

Not only that, Umno disciplinary board chairman Tan Sri Apandi Ali himself was fuming when he was told that Hishammuddin’s disciplinary hearing would be postponed.

He took a bold move and announced his resignation. This raised a question: if Hishammuddin is really a mole in Umno and causing the party to lose its lawmakers, why won’t Zahid get rid of him?

Commentators were quick to suggest “interference”, with Lokman accusing Zahid of conspiring with the ruling government on the matter.

According to Lokman, Zahid would not terminate Hishammuddin for this reason.

However, several party insiders from Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional, when speaking to the New Straits Times, pooh-poohed insinuations of possible government meddling in the Zahid case.

“Why would anyone do something that brings no benefit to them? The way I see it, Zahid is afraid to sack Hishammuddin because of (the latter’s) family legacy and influence,” said a PH insider.

If this was the case, perhaps Lokman and Apandi could give words of encouragement to their party president instead of releasing stinging remarks publicly.

While some believe that the whole brouhaha had to do with the unconfirmed date of transfer of power from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Anwar, others believe it to be an effort by certain people to evade prosecutions. Regardless, there exists at least two factions within Umno.

One side wants Anwar as premier and the other wants Dr Mahathir to stay, according to sources from the country’s largest Malay-based party.

One source said although Zahid was elected as party president by grassroots members, many leaders at the federal level were not keen in having him as the boss.

The source claimed that the reason for this was Zahid’s friendship with Anwar.

“One of the factions in Umno really can’t accept Anwar as their future prime minister and they are waiting for Dr Mahathir to find a viable successor.

“So the factions in Umno involve one group backing Zahid, who wants Anwar as the PM, and the other wants to get rid of Zahid because they want to see him thrown in jail for all the (alleged) corruption cases,” said the source.

American writer Rachel Caine once said, “Desperate people do desperate things” and according to a high-ranking PH leader who wished to be quoted anonymously, both Anwar and Zahid are currently anxious.

“If they manage to find proof that Hishammuddin betrayed Umno, no problem. But, if there is no concrete evidence, Hishammuddin will be seen as a martyr and that is game over for Zahid,” the insider said.

Nevertheless, Zahid still has time, considering Apandi is delaying his resignation until next month. But one thing is for sure: the decision to sack or keep Hishammuddin in Umno could make or break Zahid as the party president.
By Arfa Yunus.

Read more @

The courts in 2019: Ex-CM’s appeal tops high-profile cases

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

Anifah (centre) leaving the Election Court accompanied by one of his lawyers and supporters.

The year 2019 was no less dramatic where high-profile cases were heard before the courts.
Topping the list was the case of former Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, whose highly anticipated appeal was sensationally dismissed by the three-member bench of Court of Appeal judges, who upheld the High Court decision to dismiss his suit challenging the appointment of Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal as Sabah Chief Minister.
On Nov 28, Musa failed in his appeal when the Court of Appeal allowed Shafie’s preliminary objection to strike out Musa’s appeal.

The three-member bench in its unanimous decision held that they found merit in the preliminary objection and that they agreed with the submission of Shafie’s counsel that the appeal was academic.

Consequently, a second appeal filed by Parti Bersatu Sabah’s Tamparuli assemblyman Datuk Jahid Jahim challenging the legality of the present State Cabinet, was also dismissed with no cost.
On Nov 7, 2018 the High Court here dismissed the Originating Summons brought by Musa against Juhar and Shafie that Musa was the lawful chief minister.
The High Court, among others, held that Musa had lost the command of the confidence of the majority of the Assembly after the Head of State received six statutory declarations affirmed by six assemblymen from BN-Sabah pledging their support for Shafie to be appointed as Chief Minister.
Musa, who claimed that he is and still remains as the Chief Minister of the State of Sabah, was challenging his purported removal as the Chief Minister of the State of Sabah by Juhar and the subsequent appointment of Shafie as the Chief Minister in place of him on the ground that Juhar had acted ultra vires of the Sabah Constitution.
Musa’s younger brother, former foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman also suffered a blow after losing his Kimanis seat due to the Election Commission had contravened the election law during the last general election.
On Aug 16, The Election Court declared his win as void.
Sibu-based High Court Judge Datuk Lee Heng Cheong in delivering his two-part decision held that there were irregularities in the election procedures that affected the result of the Kimanis parliamentary election.
He found serious breaches in the conduct of the election process with over 300 votes improperly cast, an offence under Section 32(b) of the Election Offences Act.
The court also held that the election held on May 9, 2018 was void and that Anifah has not duly elected as MP of Kimanis.
Petitioner, Datuk Karim Bujang who was Parti Warisan Sabah candidate for the seat had on June 18, 2018 filed an election petition to challenge the election results in which Anifah won with a 156-vote majority after he garnered 11, 942 votes against Karim’s 11, 786 votes.
He named Anifah, the Returning Officer (RO) and Election Commission (EC) of Malaysia as the first, second and third respondent, respectively in the election petition.
On Dec 2, the Federal Court in Putrajaya upheld the Election Court ruling nullifying Anifah’s victory in the Kimanis parliamentary seat in the last general election, thus paving the way for a by-election in the constituency.
The five-member bench unanimously dismissed Anifah’s appeal to set aside the Election Court ruling, by ruling that the Election Court judge had not erred in the findings of facts.

The apex court said there were discrepancies in the conduct of the election process and widespread non-compliance of election laws, which had affected the outcome of the polls.

However, Anifah’s nephew, Sipitang MP Yamani Hafez Musa survived an election petition challenge.
On April 8, Yamani retained his position as the Sipitang MP when the Election Court struck out the petition by Sipitang Parti Warisan Sabah candidate to challenge his victory in the 14th General Election.
The Election Court made the order after he disallowed the petitioner Norhayaty Mustapha’s application to have an adjournment of the trial and to reschedule the five days trial to May.

On June 26, the Federal Court dismissed Norhayaty’s appeal against the Election’s Court’s decision, allowing Yamani to keep his seat.

Yong (third from left) with his counsel outside the court.
Another top-of-the list was the suit filed by a former chief minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee and another against the appointment of Datuk Amarjit Singh as the Director of the Water Department.
On Oct 9, the High Court had ruled that the appointment of Amarjit as the Director of the Water Department by the State Government contravenes Section 3 of the Water Supply Enactment 2003.
The High Court held that Amarjit’s appointment is a clear breach of Section 3 of Sabah Water Supply Enactment 2003 because he was not a member of the State Public Service prior to his appointment as the Director of Sabah State Water Department.
The court delivered the decision for the suit filed by Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee and Tawau businessman Pang Thou Chung (the plaintiffs), on March 19 this year, who were seeking a court declaration that the appointment of Amarjit last year is null and void as it contravened the Sabah Water Supply Enactment 2003.
In November, operators of slot machine establishments’ in Keningau, Tawau, Kudat, Penampang and here had filed leave for Judicial Review over the State Government’s decision to ban operation of slot machine businesses in Sabah starting next year.
The leave application would be heard on Jan 3 next year.
Meanwhile, this year saw two murder cases were brought to the court and waiting to be transferred to the High Court.
On June 10, a Filipino and a local man were charged with the murder of a Grab driver in Tuaran.
Car wash workers Arsit Indanan, 20, and local Amru Al Asy Japri, 24, allegedly murdered one Mohammad Hanafiee Jaffar, 27, inside a Proton Saga FLX car between 4am and 5am on May 25 at the roadside of Jalan Marabahai in Tuaran.
Left: Arsit (left) and Amru (right) being escort to the courtroom
Right: Yamani (left) discussing with his lead counsel outside the court.
On Oct 29, 10 prisons personnel including an officer were charged at the Magistrate’s Court here Tuesday with murdering an inmate at Kepayan Prison.

Prison Inspector Dzulfikri Mohd Safri, 28, and wardens Barry Jipmon, 30, Farizan Mokri, 40, Mohd Saiful Saidin, 34, Amran Yasik, 25, Ab Mutalib @ Talib Abd Rasul, 40, Zerry Maidin, 33, Tomy Momoh, 36, Shahryll Nazry Wan Sofian, 25, and Muhammad Fazi Lakui, 32, were brought before Magistrate Lovely Natasha Charles.
They were all jointly accused of murdering one Shainal Mukhtar, 36, in a cell of Gemilang Block, at Kota Kinabalu Central Prison, Jalan Kepayan near here at 4.30pm, on Oct 4.
Meanwhile, on March 28, a 37-year-old Filipino, who tried to kill an Australian homestay operator in Tamparuli, Tuaran two months ago, was jailed 13 years.

Roy Totong pleaded guilty at the Sessions Court to committing the offence to one Broadhurst Daniel Barry, 46, by slashing his head with a machete at 2pm on Jan 24, this year by the roadside in Kg Kiwoi.
The 10 personnel wearing hoodie and face mask to conceal their face being photographed while being escorted to a vehicle at the court complex.

By: Jo Ann Mool.

Read more @

‘Brits asked Mat Salleh to become Sultan in Tambunan’

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

PENAMPANG: The “wow” factor at a recent North Borneo Historical Society presentation at Kivatu Plaza, here was that, “…the British asked Mat Salleh to go to Tambunan and become the sultan there…”

This was narrated by banker and amateur historian Shari Jeffri, the second presenter, on 180 years of treaties between the Sultan of Brunei and the colonial powers.

He went through 200 years of North Borneo’s treaties as a researcher on many documents available locally and overseas.

Shari said he is prepared to share his newly acquired manuscripts or documents from overseas depositories with the Sabah authorities concerned like the Sabah Museum and Sabah Archives.

From his birthplace in Inanam, Mat Salleh razed the British North Borneo Chartered Company’s principal trading station on Gaya Island to the ground on July 9, 1897.

Following the sack of Gaya, Mat Salleh moved to a fort on the Labuk River and then to Paranchangan on the Sugut River.

In Nov 1897, Mat Salleh burnt the Government Residency at Ambong, before leaving for a new fort at Ranau. On January 9, 1898 Mat Salleh and his men escaped to Tambunan.

The Managing Director of the British North Borneo Chartered Company, William Clarke Cowie, decided to come over from London to make peace with Mat Salleh.

William Clarke Cowie was a Scotsman from Glasgow who established the first European settlement on the north-east coast of Sabah known as “Kampung German” in 1872.

When Kampung German was accidentally destroyed in a fire on 15th June 1879, it was decided not to rebuild the village but to move to Buli Sim Sim.

The new settlement was renamed “Elopura” which means “The Beautiful City”. A few years later, the name was changed to “Sandakan”.

In his attempt to bring Mat Salleh over to the British North Borneo Chartered Company’s side, Cowie made use of his long-standing friendship with the Sulu royal household.

Upon Cowie’s request, the Sultan of Sulu wrote a letter dated Jan 17, 1898, urging for a peaceful settlement with Cowie. This culminated in the historic April 19 meeting between Cowie and Mat Salleh at Palatan in Ulu Menggatal.

During the talks, Cowie appealed to Mat Salleh to submit to the government. Mat Salleh and his followers would accept the offer on two conditions: that his men who were in jail were released, and that he be allowed to stay in Inanam.

Cowie turned down both these terms and instead offered to allow him to stay in Tambunan or any part of the interior, except Ulu Sugut and Ulu Labuk.

On April 22, 1898 Mat Salleh took an oath on the Quran that, “from this time on he was on the side of the government.”

On April 23, 1898, a peace pact treaty with Mat Salleh was drawn up with principal terms that:

l Mat Salleh and his men were pardoned except those still in prison, or those who had escaped from gaol.

l Mat Salleh was to be allowed to stay in Tambunan or elsewhere in the interior, except the Sugut and Labuk rivers.

l In Tambunan, Mat Salleh had the support of the Tagas Dusun, but another community, the Tiawan Dusun opposed him.

When the Tagas were thrown into a state of warfare with the Tiawan, the Chartered Company exploited the situation as an excuse to bring Mat Salleh to book

Shari believes that Mat Salleh survived the last stand at Tambunan in January 1900, like his many escapades before 1900.

According to Shari Jeffri, after the Tiawan tribe asked the Chartered Company to help them fight against the atrocities committed by Mat Salleh and allies, the British took the chance to eliminate Mat Salleh in Tambunan.

There was always then a struggle between the Brunei Sultanate and the Sulu Sultanate for domination of North Borneo with the co-opting of colonial powers with whom they signed many treaties to advance their territorial interests with hopes to use colonial military means to weaken or destroy their rivals.

Shari opined that for 200 out of 400 years, outside powers had determined the fate of the people of North Borneo (now Sabah). He hoped the media will help to write about this.

“Sabahans had been watching movie for 200 years. Now after Merdeka to 2019, it’s watching another movie, unlike Brunei (which did not join Malaysia), the Federal authorities determining Sabahans’ destiny,” Shaari said.

By: David Thien.

Read more @

History buff debunks ‘Conspiracy of Silence’

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

Shari showing a map of historic North Borneo.

PENAMPANG: History buff Avtar Singh introduced one Colonel Robert Blake as a military consultant to debunk “The Conspiracy of Silence – Project Kingfisher (2) and the rescue of POWs at Sandakan in 1945″ at a recent North Borneo Historical Society presentation here.

He said the POWs’ fate was sealed after the fall of Singapore. They were sent to Sandakan to build the airfield.

They were transported in a decrepit tramp steamer, the Yubi Maru, to Sandakan. When their labour was no longer required, they were confined to the prison compound where they slowly died from starvation, disease and brutalities.

As the Allies approached the islands, over 1,000 prisoners, still alive, were force-marched in groups of 50 to another camp in the jungle near the village of Ranau, about 120 miles away. The 291 prisoners, including 288 stretcher cases, who were too sick to march and left behind at Sandakan, were massacred soon after, many dying after undergoing diabolical torture.

In June, 1945, of the 455 prisoners that left Sandakan for Ranau on the first march, only 140 reached Ranau alive, the remainder had died or were shot during the march. Prisoners were shot out of hand, their bodies littering the route.

On the second death march, 536 P.O.W.s left Sandakan but only 189 were still alive when they reached their destination, 142 of these were Australians.

Another march, the third, consisting of 75 prisoners and about 100 Japanese guards, left Sandakan on July 10 on the different northern route but none of the prisoners or guards arrived at Ranau. The mystery remains to this day.

During their short stay at Ranau, four Australians managed to escape, another two escaped during the actual march, the rest were either shot or died from exhaustion, or illnesses such as malaria, beriberi, and dysentery.

Of the six escapees, three died later and only three from the original 2,434 were alive to bear witness at the War Crimes Trials which followed at Rabaul and Tokyo in 1946 in which 14 Japanese officers, convicted of war crimes in Borneo, were executed.

Project Kingfisher (2) was the code name for the rescue operation planned to liberate the Australian and British prisoners of war confined at Sandakan. In the planning stage for months under the direction of Australian General Sir Thomas Blamey and the Special Reconnaissance Department (SRD)

After 30 years the Project Kingfisher files were released for public access. They show that the RAAF had a pool of around 40 Dakota DC-3s and B24 Liberators in hand and that only 30 were needed for the paratroop assault on Sandakan for which 800 paratroops had trained in the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland (although they were never told for what purpose).

After months of planning, the rescue operation never took place and so, 2,428 Australian and British POWs died in the hands of Japanese captors.

Singh said there was no “conspiracy of silence” as the rescue of POWs at Sandakan in 1945 known as Project Kingfisher (2) was a non-starter, considering the priority of the Pacific theatre was to island-hop to Japan, after the conquest of the Philippines by General MacArthur.

Blake said thinking as a military planner, that after the failure of Commonwealth countries paratroopers at Operation Market Garden in Europe, and against this background, deployment of 800 Australian paratroopers into Sandakan without credible intelligence, was doubtful without adequate logistical equipment and support to overcome the Japanese soldiers.

They were against accounts like those presented by “Sandakan: A Conspiracy of Silence” author Lynette Ramsay Silver who argued that Blamey blamed MacArthur as an excuse to cover-up a SRD bungle in the gathering of accurate intelligence.

The Blamey-MacArthur relationship had never been cosy, each accusing the other of attempting to undermine his authority. Blamey, she claimed, told Air Vice-Marshal George Jones, the Chief of the Air Staff, that “while he [Blamey] had not submitted his rescue plan to the Australian government or other authorities, he had raised it with MacArthur, ‘who did not favour it’”.

Silver denounced Blamey’s claim about “getting the necessary aircraft” as utter nonsense which was not supported by evidence.

First, she said, it was absurd to blame MacArthur and the American reluctance to supply the necessary air transport. No such request was made to MacArthur, who evidently then had at his disposal 600 C-47s. If the Americans were reluctant as was claimed, the RAAF had in its own pool of 71 C-47s.

It is difficult to dismiss the evidence from the AGAS operational report of February-May 1945 that the rescue of POWs was low in the priority of the AIF. Preparations were in earnest for the launching of the OBOE operations, and it would have been a diversion of effort to mount a rescue attempt in the midst of the overall invasion plan.

By: David Thien.

Read more @

Another bid to restore Sabah, Sarawak’s status

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: A new bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners to Malaya.

The federal, Sabah and Sarawak attorneys-general are looking at the proposed amendments, including their wording, de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong said

A first attempt at amending Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution, which will ensure that the two states will be equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia, was defeated at the Dewan Rakyat on April 9.

Pakatan Harapan had needed to secure a two-thirds majority to pass the bill but came 10 votes short after 138 MPs said “aye” and 59 abstained. There were 221 MPs in the house at the time.

Liew said that once the attorneys-general had agreed on the wording of the revised bill, he would bring it to the Cabinet for approval.

“I’m hopeful the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will give their fullest support as Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, together with Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal, have been instrumental in this second move.

“Further, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has given his unconditional support,” he said in a text message to FMT.

Liew had said earlier in a Facebook post that the re-tabling of the bill to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners to Malaya was on course.

This was after a meeting between Mahathir and Shafie and Abang Johari in Putrajaya yesterday.

In his post, Liew said: “Good news – the Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution where Sabah and Sarawak are equal partners with Malaya will be tabled once again in the 2020 Parliament session, which is expected to start from March 9.

“Well done to Sabah and Sarawak. The people are the champions in this Malaysia Agreement 1963 fight.”

He said the leaders also discussed four issues under the MA63. Of the 21 issues under the agreement, he said, 17 had now been agreed upon between the federal and the Sabah and Sarawak governments.

By: FMT.

Read more @

In a historic first, ex-PM Najib takes stand to answers charges

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Today (Tuesday) is the day for Malaysians to see, for the first in the country’s history, a former prime minister takes the stand to answer charges against him in a court of law.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, 66, will testify from the witness box as the first defence witness to rebut his seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

According to his co-counsel Harvinderjit Singh, Najib would be called as the first witness and the defence had readied one witness on the first day of the defence proceedings.

Today, Najib will be first questioned by his defence during examination-in-chief and later he will be cross-examined by the prosecution.

On Nov 11, Justice Mohd Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence on three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three charges of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds after finding that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the accused.

The accused has three options which he must choose from – to give a sworn evidence in the witness box where he will be subjected to cross-examination; to give an unsworn statement from the dock where he cannot be cross-examined; or to remain silent, in which case the court must proceed to convict him.

The Pekan MP chose the first option – to give evidence under oath from the witness stand where he will be cross-examined by the prosecution.

In his judgment, Justice Mohd Nazlan among others ruled that Najib had used his office or position for gratification and had utilised RM42 million of SRC’s funds, in which he had an interest, for his personal interest and own advantage.

The judge also held that the accused had enormous influence and wielded an overarching position of power in SRC and the prosecution has succeeded in establishing there was a CBT by Najib over funds of the company.

In relation to the three money-laundering charges, Justice Mohd Nazlan held that the RM42 million proceeds in Najib’s accounts were originated from unlawful activity, as established in the CBT charges.

“A prima facie case has therefore been made out against the accused in respect of each of the single charge of use of position for gratification, the three CBT charges and three money laundering charges. As such, I now call upon the accused to enter his defence in respect of all the seven charges,” the judge said.

Najib, who served as the sixth prime minister from 2009 to 2018, is the first head of government of Malaysia to find himself in the dock of a court.

He is accused of committing the offences between Aug 17, 2011 and March 2, 2015. The court fixed Dec 3 and 4, Dec 9 until 12, and Dec 16 to 19 for Najib to enter his defence.

The prosecution team is led by Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas. The team also comprises ad-hoc Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk V.Sithambaram while Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah leads a group of defence counsel.

On Oct 22 and 23, the court heard lengthy submissions from the prosecution and defence teams. The prosecution had on Aug 27, closed its case after 58 days of trial with 57 witnesses called to testify.

During the trial, the prosecution tendered more than 750 exhibits, including bank documents relating to Najib’s bank accounts, cash transactions, minutes of meetings and Blackberry Messenger chats over Najib’s transactions.

Najib was first brought to the Sessions Court here on July 4, 2018 where he was charged with three counts of CBT and one count of abuse of position.

On Aug 8, 2018, he was brought to the Sessions Court again and charged with three counts of money laundering, involving the same money. The cases were later transferred to the High Court with the charges consolidated in one trial.

With regard to the CBT charges, Najib, as a public servant and agent, namely Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Malaysia, and Advisor Emeritus of SRC International Sdn Bhd (SRC), allegedly misappropriated RM27 million and RM5 million respectively of RM4 billion belonging to SRC.

He was charged with committing the two offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Ambank Group Building, No 55, Jalan Raja Chulan here, between Dec 24, 2014, and Dec 29, 2014.

On the third count, Najib allegedly misappropriated RM10 million of RM4 billion belonging to SRC at the same place between Feb 10, 2015, and March 2, 2015.

The three charges are framed under Section 409 of the Penal Code which provides an imprisonment for up to 20 years, with whipping and liable to fine upon conviction.

On the charge of abusing his position, Najib as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Malaysia, allegedly used his position to commit bribery involving RM42 million through his participation or involvement in the decision to provide government guarantees for loans from the Retirement Fund Incorporated to SRC International amounting to RM4 billion.

He was charged with committing the offence at the Prime Minister’s Office, Precinct 1, Putrajaya, Federal Territory of Putrajaya, between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 8, 2012.

The charge, under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and punishable under Section 24 of the same Act, provides an imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

On the three money-laundering charges, Najib is alleged to have received RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million, respectively, of proceeds from unlawful activities, via Real-Time Electronic Transfer of Funds and Securities (Rentas) into his two AmIslamic Bank Berhad accounts, bearing the numbers 2112022011880 and 2112022011906.

The offences were allegedly committed at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, AmBank Group Building, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan here, between Dec 26, 2014, and Feb 10, 2015,.

The charges were framed under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001.

If convicted, the ex-premier faces up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the illicit proceeds or RM5 million, whichever is higher, on each count.


Read more @

Talk on Sulu history before chartered Company

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

Photo Source:

KOTA KINABALU: UK Chevening Scholar Sanen Marshall (Ph.D Nottingham, UK) will deliver a lecture on “A Sulu Chieftain on East Coast Sabah before Chartered Company Rule” on Dec 4, at 8 pm at the Sabah Society premises at Damai Plaza, Luyang.

He was also a US Fulbright Scholar and has published a number of research articles on ethnic groups in Sabah including those pertaining to some aspects of Kadazandusun history and culture, and on the statelessness of the Bajau Laut.

His lcture will touch on the history of the Labuk River as a historical extension of the Sulu State on East Coast Sabah on the eve of the Chartered Company rule.

The Labuk River starts at Kuala Labuk and goes all the way to Tampias or Tampasis.

Dr Sanen will show how the pioneering Chartered Company officials began to take an interest in the local politics on the Labuk River in the late 19th century.

He opined that the Sulu Sultanate was not just a myth but a historical reality on East Coast Sabah.

The lecture will present the dynamics of the Sulu Chiefdom of the Labuk River and how it would have most liked functioned prior to the fall of the Sulu State.

Dr Sanen opined that even from the outlandish perspective of the Chartered Company officers, and even in the time of the abject decline of the Sulu Sultanate , the Labuk River looked nothing like a political vacuum.

The Sabah Society will also organise a study tour of Keningau’s Eco-Yap Farm, and Tenom’s Yit Foh Coffee Factory besides other attractions with an overnight stay at the coffee park chalets from Saturday Dec 7 to Sunday Dec 8.

For further information (free admission event with limited seats) and study tour details, contact: 088-250443 / 013-880 9850,

By: David Thien.

Read more @

High incidences of fish bombing every month – WWF

Monday, July 8th, 2019

A fish bomb on the seabed. – Photo courtesy of WWF-Malaysia

KOTA KINABALU: WWF-Malaysia is deeply troubled by the deaths of divers in Semporna possibly attributed to fish bombing.

“We would like to express our sincere sympathy to the family of the divers and their friends. Their deaths are tragic, and we do not wish them upon anyone else,” said Monique Sumampouw, Interim Head of Marine, WWF-Malaysia.

Based on a four-month study conducted by WWF-Malaysia in Semporna between June-September 2018, a total of 263 fish bombings were recorded.

“It is shocking that just within a four-month study period, we recorded an average of 65 fish bombing cases in 2018. Clearly, urgent action needs to be carried out immediately to combat fish bombing,” Sumampouw said.

While the authorities investigate further, WWF-Malaysia would like to stress the dangers and seriousness of the reoccurring fish bombing cases happening in Sabah for decades.

“This method of collecting fish is not only illegal, it is harmful for it uses explosives that pose great danger to people and destroy fish habitats such as coral reefs,” Sumampouw stressed.

Fish bombing is a matter of life and death which affects not only marine life but human beings as well. WWF-Malaysia urges the authorities to urgently stop Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, in particular fish bombs and the ban of pump boats, which are usually associated with illegal fishing activities.

WWF-Malaysia emphasizes the importance of increased patrolling and monitoring, as well as strengthening enforcement to prevent fish bombing in the future.

Degraded corals from fish bombs.-Picture courtesy of WWF-Malaysia/Eric Madeja

“Ceasing IUU fishing is an investment towards our future – to safeguard and conserve our marine life as well as protect our people. Let us not lose our marine life as we have lost our rhinoceros in the wild,” concluded Sumampouw.

Read more @