Archive for the ‘History of Sabah.’ Category

‘2 Malaysian hostages expected to return home soon’

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The two Malaysian seamen who were freed by their kidnappers after being held hostage for eight months are expected to return home in due time.

Sabah Deputy Police Commissioner Datuk Razarudin Husain said Tayudin Anjut and Abdurahim Sumas would be brought home soon with the cooperation of their Philippine counterparts.

“The Royal Malaysia Police are working closely with our Philippine counterparts to bring both men back home and they are expected to arrive safely soon,” he said at the 210th Police Day celebration at the State Police Headquarters in Kepayan yesterday.

Tayudin, 45, and Abdurahim, 62, were abandoned by Abu Sayyaf gunmen before dawn near their coastal forest hideout on the remote island of Pata.

They were found in a weak and sick state by a Philippine Navy patrol boat, eight months after they were abducted along with three other crewmen, Mohd Zumadil Rahim, 23, Fandy Bakran, 26, and Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32, from a tugboat that was stormed by gunmen near the sea borders between Sabah and Philippine waters.

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CIDB questions standard of raw materials

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah’s quest for a quake-resistant building code has left the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) questioning its implementation, especially the standard of raw materials.

CIDB’s Material Division Senior Manager Rosmen Hassan (pic) said there’s a grey area behind Sabah’s move for a code when the types of materials used are not of the prescribed standards set under the amended CIDB Act 520.

The Act 520 now calls for builders to adhere to the standards set under Schedule 4 and the material is endorsed with the Certification of Standard Compliance (PPS).

Those who flout the law could face fines of up to RM500,000.

“During our roadshows to promote the amendments to Act 520, we have been informed by those in the industry and Customs here over the changes of raw materials.

“For example, experts here have proposed the use of the deformed steel bars to Type C G500 instead of the Type A and B,” he said during his presentation titled Regulating Construction Materials and Products on the second day of the Sabah Construction Fair 2017.

Although the Type C steel bar is of a higher quality and more expensive, Rosmen questioned the code’s implementation of using materials outside the prescribed standards.

The amended CIDB Act was enforced on Dec 1, 2015, to expand the scope of the board from just looking into the areas of construction workers and levy, but standardise construction materials.

Before the amendment, the construction industry was largely unregulated in terms of raw materials, giving an opportunity for contractors to use substandard materials.

Recent disasters such as the collapse of the second Penang Bridge in 2015 and the RM100 million property damages caused by the Ranau earthquake in 2015 were among reasons why there was a need for Act 520 to be amended, said Rosmen.

The amendments had paved a bigger role for CIDB to control the quality of construction materials used due to the use of the PPS certification.

by Jason Santos.

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Overladen boats a common sight

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: It has become a norm for overladen tour boats to head out to especially Mengalum Island.

This may have to do with the island having some recreational facilities on a piece of land belonging to the government by some “tour operators.”

A landowner, Datuk Roland Ho, likened the availability of facilities, which were erected some four years ago, on a piece of land earmarked as “animal reserve” to it becoming like a marketplace on that part of the island.

“I have reported to the police thrice since 2013 and also the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, Environment Department, but no action was taken.

“I have done everything and since I’m part owner of the island, I also reported to the Veterinary Services and Animal Industry Department but still nothing happened,” he said.

Ho decided to come forward to clear his company, Mengalum Tours and Dive Resort Sdn Bhd, of any allegations after being overwhelmed by calls that it was his resort the 28 Chinese tourists were heading to onboard the ill-fated catamaran on the first day of Chinese New Year.

He said his company engaged with four agents who dispatched his guests from the Sutera Harbour jetty, adding none of them had any part in the tragedy.

But, Ho said, there has been a sudden influx of visitors to the other side of the island since the structures were built by what he believed to be licensed tour operators over the last four years.

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Matta urges Marine Dept to be more proactive to prevent boat tragedies

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) urged the Marine Department to be more proactive in preventing tour boat tragedies and ensuring the safety of the maritime communities.

Matta vice-president (Inbound), Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the association wanted action to be taken to prevent tour boat tragedies such as the regulations and operations to be clearly displayed and monitored, with enforcement carried out round the clock.

“The Marine Department is the main agency supervising boat activities.

“It is imperative that it exercises its wide powers to prevent boat tragedies, particularly in Sabah where sea excursions to idyllic islands are one of the main tourist attractions.

“Tour boats should only be licensed when fitted with safety, emergency and communications equipment, and tested for stability and structural integrity,” he said in a statement here.

Tan said the department should conduct sweeps on illegal jetties, apart from ensuring all ports and jetties under its supervision were safe and operational at all times.

“There should only be a few main jetties on the mainland where tour boats are allowed to pick up and drop off passengers.

“Apart from monitoring the boats’ condition and facilities, and inspecting the skipper and crew’s licences and competency, the boats should only be permitted to leave when the number of people matches with the passenger manifest,” he added.


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Review licensing, enforcement for tourist boats – FCAS

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) has urged the government to review the licencing and enforcement system for tourist boats following the recent catamaran capsize incident that has claimed the lives of several Chinese tourists.

FCAS president Datuk Seri Panglima Dr TC Goh also called on the government to set up a telecommunications network and control centre to monitor the movement of tourist boats in the West Coast in an effort to ensure the safety of tourists.

He said the beautiful sea and beaches in Sabah were very popular among tourists, especially travellers from China.

“However, a weak safety control system will generate negative publicity and in turn, threaten the progress of our tourism industry,” Goh said in his speech during the Pesta Ang Pau hosted by FCAS here on Wednesday.

The event was graced by the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman.

On the other hand, Goh urged traders in Sabah, particularly businesses in Kota Kinabalu, to sell their products at reasonable prices to tourists.

“I have received complaints that some traders in Segama are selling a durian for RM200 and RM10 for a mangosteen to tourists from China.

“The prices are outrageous and is bound to scare off tourists from returning to Sabah.

“Businesses should make profits at reasonable margin,” he said.

On the event, Goh said the Chinese New Year celebration saw the gathering of people from different races and cultures.

“This is the uniqueness of Malaysia and Sabah, where the people live in peace and harmony, free from natural disasters and wars.”

He urged the people not to take harmony in the country for granted.

“We must preserve and safeguard harmony with moderation.”

In the 10am tragedy on January 28, a tourist boat carrying 28 Chinese nationals and three crew members was believed to have capsized due to strong winds and huge waves while travelling to Pulau Mengalum, 56 kilometres northwest of Kota Kinabalu.

So far, 25 victims have been found, including three dead.

by Chok Sim Yee.

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Ex-CM asks if KL sabotaging Labuan

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Labuan: Former Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh said he is still trying to fathom why the Federal Government keeps on punishing the people of Labuan when they have always voted for the Barisan Nasional (BN).

“It is simply beyond comprehension,” he said, adding that the feedback he gets is that the Federal Government is either deliberately sabotaging the island’s economy or simply ignoring it.

He said the Federal Government cannot blame the Labuan people for having this perception because they can see that it has done very little to expand their economy. “Worse is that, the Federal Government, by the action of its various departments and agencies has been actively implementing measures to ensure that the people of Labuan have a hard time earning a living.

“Heading this task is the Customs Department which has put in all sorts of silly impediments to curtail the status of Labuan’s free port status. Using the excuse of excessive smuggling, it has even placed a Customs officer in each and every liquor store.

“This is bad and stupid. Nowhere in the free world is this in practice. Only in the bad old days in the communist countries. All the reasons the Customs Department can give for its actions smell of inefficiency and that it cannot do its job,” he said.

He said it cannot be that Federal leaders are unaware that the oil and gas industry has disappeared.

“Even Petronas has moved its operations to Sabah and Sarawak. Foreign oil and gas companies have either scaled or shut down operations. Latest to follow is Labuan Shipyard which announced retrenchment of staff,” he said.

He accused the Federal Government of being insensitive to the fact that times are hard in Labuan and adding insult to injury, it is now even imposing restrictions on Labuan vehicles going to Sabah and Sarawak.

It has also introduced curtailments of imports from Sabah and Sarawak as if the Federal Government does not know that the cost of living, especially meat and vegetables. Now, Labuan needs permit to get durians from Sabah and Sarawak.

Harris said the Federal Government’s indifference towards Labuan’s economic plight and dire situation has caused its population to shrink from 100,000 to a mere 70,000 with those who can move to greener pastures already having gone while those remaining are mostly “sitting ducks” with no future to look forward to.

“They have every right to ask the Federal Government this question – what is the economy of Labuan?

The answer is nothing that they can look forward to. Most of them are losing hope. Labuan is totally dependent on the salaries the Federal Government pays to its staff.

“Labuan’s economy will get worse with the completion of the Pan Borneo Highway, unless the Federal Government can reconsider building the Labuan/Sabah Bridge. Why would Bruneians and Sarawakians want to go to Labuan when they can drive straight through to KK’s numerous spots of entertainment, enjoyment and restaurants.

Looks like the few announcements of intent by various Prime Ministers to build this bridge have no meaning at all,” he said.

Harris said it is incomprehensible that the Federal Government has continued to turn a blind eye to Labuan’s problem when it has accepted Labuan as a Federal Territory in 1984.

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Missing girl not in passenger list of capsized catamaran

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Investigation into the catamaran capsize incident yesterday revealed a new twist, with a 10-year-old girl whose name was not listed in the passenger list reported missing.

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Ramli yesterday said that one of the passengers who boarded the catamaran with his wife and daughter did not include them in the passenger list.

The wife and daughter are among those still missing.

In another spin, Ramli said it was also found that one of the passengers registered his name twice; in full and a short name, doubling his identity in the list.

“This brings the total number of passengers who boarded the boat to the original number given, which is 28, and not 27 as disclosed yesterday,” he said.

On Monday, Ramli said that of the 28 who were listed as passengers, one had canceled plans to join the trip and did not board the boat.

“Investigation is still ongoing and as it progresses, we don’t deny the possibility of the figure changing.

“The survivors are still recovering from exhaustion and trauma, and not comfortable with being interviewed. We need to consider this when trying to get information from them,” he said.

He added there were still many victims who could not be interviewed as they were still weak and traumatised by the incident.

Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim when met during a visit to a flood relief centre in Pekan, Pahang, confirmed the number of victims missing was now six.

He said the search and rescue mission had also been intensified by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, with more assets mobilised to search a wider area.

In the tragedy at 10am on Saturday, the catamaran carrying 28 Chinese tourists and three crew members capsized and sank due to strong winds and huge waves while travelling to Pulau Mengalum, about 56 kilometres northwest of Kota Kinabalu.

So far, 25 victims have been accounted for, including three who died.

by Amy Dangin,

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Illegal jetties a major problem

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017
Not so safe: Three boys waiting to sell souvenirs to tourists at an illegal jetty in Tanjung Aru.

Not so safe: Three boys waiting to sell souvenirs to tourists at an illegal jetty in Tanjung Aru.

KOTA KINABALU: After a tragedy that left three dead, six missing and 20 suffering a 30-hour ordeal at sea, it is now surfacing that tour companies are flouting the rules by using a jetty that has been deemed illegal for marine tourism purposes.

And this is going on even after the tragedy.

At least three speedboats packed with tourists were seen arriving at the Kampung Tanjung Aru Baru jetty at about 3.30pm yesterday. It is one of two jetties in Tanjung Aru which are not supposed to be used.

Villager Din Said said boats departing and arriving at the jetty were usually those meant for trips to Pulau Mengalum, Pulau Tiga and the nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park.

He said the other jetty at Kampung Tanjung Aru Lama has been quiet since the catamaran tragedy on the first day of Chinese New Year.

State Tourism, Culture and Tourism Assistant Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Min said tour firms were not supposed to use either of the jetties for marine tourism.

“They should use the Jesselton Point jetties or the jetties at Sutera Harbour and Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort,” he said.

He said the illegal use of the village jetty would be referred to City Hall as well as the Ports and Harbour Department.

At the designated jetties, tour companies have to must submit lists of the identity and number of passengers.

“When they use a non-designated jetty, they do anything they want,” he added.

The problem was evident in the latest case when a man was listed as missing although he and his wife had not boarded at all while another tourist had boarded without being on the passenger manifest.

Pang said an overhaul of Sabah’s marine tourism industry was underway with a committee comprising representatives from the industry and various authorities.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the authorities must be stricter in enforcing regulations on boat operators carrying passengers including tourists.

These operators, he said, should equip their boats with the necessary equipment such as GPS tracking system and radio communication devices besides mandatory life jackets for every person on board.

“My deepest condolences to the families of the victims who perished in this most tragic incident,” he said in a statement yesterday.

by Ruben Sario, Stephanie Lee, and Gan Pei Ling
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Stay close to Malaysian waters, fishermen warned

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Fishermen in Sabah’s east coast have been warned against crossing the sea border to southern Philippines as they not only faced action by the authorities there but can also be kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf-linked gangs.

Amid the latest suspected kidnapping of three Indonesians from a Sandakan-registered fishing vessel in Tawi Tawi waters, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said local fishermen should stay within Malaysian waters.

“I know these operators know it too. We will talk to them again,” he told reporters after visiting the General Operations Force Sabah Brigade headquarters in Kinarut near here yesterday.

Khalid said various steps were taken by the force under the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) to deter armed kidnap groups roaming the sea borders from entering Malaysian territory.

“Some measures are being taken and some being planned,” Khalid said, adding that they did not need more reinforcement at this point.

On whether any calls were made to the owner of the fishing boat or to the families of the missing crew members who the Philippines authorities believe were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf-linked groups, Khalid said there were none.

“We are waiting for updates from our counterparts (Philippines),” he said, adding that the fishing boat was found empty with its engines running in waters close to Taganak in the Tawi Tawi area.

The three Indonesians are Hamdan Salim, 29, Subandi Sattu, 47, and Sudaling Samandung, 26.

They are believed to have been kidnapped by an Abu Sayyaf member who goes by the name Halipa.


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Families of kidnapped fishermen told to raise RM2 mln

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
A screen grab shows a group of Abu Sayyaf militants.

A screen grab shows a group of Abu Sayyaf militants.

TAWAU: The kidnap-for-ransom group have told the families of fishermen to seek help to raise the RM2 million ransom demanded if they value their loved ones.

“Kalau sayang keluarga kamu, carilah orang tolong (If you love your family, look for people to help),” Gustiah Sultan, whose husband Tayudin Anjut is one of those still held by the Abu Sayyaf gang, related the message she received from the kidnappers to the Democratic Action Party (DAP) leaders when they visited the families on Saturday.

She also told the visitors that the five victims that were separated by the Abu Sayyaf gang have been grouped back together.

Abdul Rahim Summas, 62, Tayudin Anjut, 45, Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32, Fandy Bakran, 26 and Mohd Jumadil Rahim, 23 were kidnapped on July 18 in the waters off Dent Haven, Lahad Datu.

“We have only managed to collect (from donations) RM130,000 at the moment and have pleaded to the kidnappers that is all we have managed to collect, but the kidnappers want RM2 million for all five to be released,” she told the DAP and Parti Keadilan members at her home in Tanjung Batu.

The families used Gustiah binti Sultan’s RHB bank account no. 11003700272503, to raise the ransom money, but hopes to collect the amount demanded at a short time seems impossible.

According to her, the kidnappers also told them to look for a middleman, which the family took as a sign that the kidnappers were willing to accept the money collected so far for the release. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

She said even though the amount was reduced from RM8.5 million to RM2 million, it is an impossible task for them to collect such amount as they are not rich and are only employed.

Moreover, she said the bread winners of the families are the ones being held and it is a tremendous pressure to the wives and children to look for the big amount of money.

Meanwhile, DAP member of parliament Lim Kit Siang who visited the victims’ family members, said he would bring up the matter to the government and for national attention in order to get the victims safely released.

by Alen Kee,

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