Archive for the ‘History of Sabah.’ Category

World’s new tallest tree in Tawau Hills Park

Sunday, 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.

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The Green Gold of Borneo: an exciting environmental docufiction by Sabahan writer

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Emin Madi’s new release English book titled “The Green Gold of Borneo (GGoB)”, is not only an adventure-packed documentary fiction, but also provides an insight into Sabah’s phenomenal achievement  in forest conservation efforts.

The protagonist of the 145-page literary work is a strong-willed journalist obsessed to uncover the secrets of the unexplored saucer-like summit in the middle of the famous Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA), also known as Sabah’s Lost World.

The fictional journalist did not heed a Murut shaman’s advice and later encountered unusual happenings and strange events in very unlikely situations.

“In many ways, although the plot is mostly fictionalised, GGoB is all about natural environment, particularly the fate of the last remaining undisturbed rain forest in Malaysia and Sabah in particular.

“I came to realise that natural wonders, and in this case the totally protected forest in Sabah, is a very interesting topic for book writing.

“I was very fortunate to have participated in many resource and wildlife surveys inside Sabah’s last remaining natural wonders and I thought I should write something more interesting, such as documentary-adventure-fiction.

“It took me the whole year of 2016 to complete the manuscript for GGoB , after which my former colleague, Zahir Ahmad, edited the first copy before sending it to the UK-based Austin Macauley Publishers,” the veteran journalist told Bernama.

The Bernama freelance reporter’s first foray into environmental reporting was in 1980’s when he participated in a scientific expedition in the now world renowned Danum Valley Conservation Area in Lahad Datu, Sabah, involving local and foreign researchers, including the Royal Society, UK.

In 2013, Emin, 69, who hails from Kampung Bayangan, Keningau, Sabah,  spent 10 days in the deep jungle of MBCA with local researchers who were carrying out resource and wildlife survey.

“It was at Maliau Basin that I felt a deep urge to write an environmental-based documentary fiction, especially after some expedition participants related to me many mysterious events that took place around the area.

“So I got an idea to start writing GGoB using MBCA as a central theme and also based on my own experiences working alongside scientists and researchers.

“From my own observation, the findings from the field work are very important as it could be used to communicate using facts and information about the stature of Sabah’s protected forest.

“On top of that, I was also very motivated by the tremendous and commendable efforts undertaken by the Sabah Forestry Department with the strong support of the previous state government to protect the state’s natural heritage.

“Moving forward, I hope the current government will have strong commitment to protect our pristine and undisturbed forest as well as to continue and encourage more research activities and international research collaboration,” he said.

As at November 2016, Sabah’s Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) was 1,874,061 hectares or 25.46 percent of the state total land area.

In 1997, the Sabah State Assembly elevated the Maliau Basin Conservation Area into Class 1 Protection Forest Reserve and increased its size from 39,000 to 58,000  hectares to include the outer northern and eastern escarpments and Lake Linumunsut, the largest lake in Sabah.

According to record, Maliau Basin was spotted in 1947, when a British pilot flying from the West Coast of Sabah to Tawau in the east coast, nearly crashed into the steep cliffs rising over 915 meters above the jungle floor.


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Tawau as next tourist destination

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

Tawau: The Tawau Tourism Packages, which offers more than 30 tour packages involving 23 travel agents, was launched Friday with the hope of turning the district into a popular tourist destination.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew, who officiated at the launch, hoped the initiative taken by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) would bring development for Tawau and boost its tourism industry.

“The time has come for Tawau to be active in the field even though it’s quite late,” she said.

She said tourism is the only industry that employs 90 per cent of locals and that is what the ministry wants to promote so that it could offer job opportunities for locals.

“You can’t find any industry apart from tourism with so many local workers.

In the plantation and construction industries, we have many foreign workers but in tourism we have locals,” she said, adding that she felt sad Sabahans needed to go outside of the State to work in factories.

Christina said the launching of the Tourism Packages in the “Visit Tawau 2018/2019″ was in line with the target to promote domestic tourism among Malaysians that includes Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah before going to push Tawau for international tourism next year, especially among Chinese and European tourists.

She said she is confident of Tawau meeting the international tourism target but is a little worried if it is ready to accommodate the needs of foreign tourists such as hotel rooms and tour guides.

“I know Tawau has what it takes. It has its own unique attractions that other places do not have.

Like this morning when I visited the Tawau Hills Park, I was honestly impressed… I didn’t even know that we have such a beautiful natural beauty,” she said.

She added that the existence of the tallest tropical tree in the world (96.9 metres) at Tawau Hill Park will be also part of the tourism packages that will boost international tourism here.

Earlier in her speech, the Tawau MP said one of the most effective ways to attract visitors to Tawau is for the locals to invest more in tourism infrastructure.

“They should spruce up the existing facilities and beatify the town such as by applying a fresh coat of paint on those that have faded and plant more trees and flowers to add colour and vibrancy to the town,” she said.

She also assured that the State Government would provide the necessary support to make Tawau a tourism hotspot in Borneo.

Matta President Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the Tawau tour packages span a wide area, from Maliau Basin at the north-west of Tawau to Semporna on the east, which include wide ranging products offered by many tour and transport operators, accommodation providers, restaurants, attractions, cottage industries and shops.

He said the packages, which cater for China, Europe and domestic tourists, are available through travel agents’ distribution channels and e-marketing.

by Lagatah Toyos.

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Malanjum’s appointment as Chief Justice a historic moment – SLS

Friday, July 13th, 2018

Brenndon Keith Soh

KOTA KINABALU: It is a historic moment for the nation to witness the first person from the Borneo states to be appointed to the highest position in the Malaysian judiciary.

Sabah Law Society (SLS) president Brenndon Keith Soh said in a statement that the appointment of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum as Chief Justice of Malaysia was significant as it was a timely recognition of his exceptional judicial qualities that he possessed as a judge.

“It is also testament to the breadth and depth of his judicial experience having been elevated as a High Court judge in 1993 and as a Court of Appeal judge in 2002 and subsequently appointed as the youngest Federal Court judge at the age of 52 in 2005.

“Tan Sri Richard will have an opportunity to create a positive and lasting impact in the Malaysian justice system and we have no doubt that he will help promote the cause of justice, uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of the public,” said Brenndon in welcoming and congratulating Malanjum, a former legal practitioner in Sabah and currently the most senior Federal Court judge, on his appointment as the Chief Justice of the Federal Court (also known as the Chief Justice of Malaysia).

“Apart from that, SLS would also like to congratulate Datuk David Wong Dak Wah on being appointed the Chief Justice of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.

“His appointment is testament to his sterling caliber as a judge and an endorsement of his dedication to the administration of justice.

“After being in private practice in Sandakan, Datuk David Wong was appointed a High Court judge in 2007 and thereafter to the Court of Appeal in 2013 and more recently this year as a Federal Court judge,” he said.

Brenndon also said both Sabah and Sarawak would benefit from his unwavering commitment to strengthen the foundations of the judiciary and enhance the court’s reputation of fairness, independence and humanity.

by Suraini Andokong.

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Gaya College marks 55 years

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: The Institute of Teachers Education (IPG) Gaya Campus kicked off its 55th Emerald Jubilee Celebration with the Flight of the Phoenix Concert at the Sabah National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKNS) Auditorium here last Saturday night.

The concert, in collaboration with JKKNS, showcased timeline-based performances starting from the 60s era up until the 90s to reminisce the progress of the campus since its establishment in 1963.

It also marked the beginning of a smart partnership between the institute and JKKNS.

IPG Gaya Campus director Gerturude Jock said an interchange of expertise and facilities is hoped to be accomplished following the partnership in addition to fostering a sense of appreciation for art among its students and lecturers.

“We hope to share human resource expertise. The (JKKNS) director himself is very creative and this has helped open up the eyes of IPGGaya students to their own self potentials and this is what we wanted to portray in tonight’s show.”

Meanwhile, JKKNS director Mohd Raizuli Mat Jusoh asserted that the department has always opened its arms to the public in developing partnership to uphold cultural art particularly in Sabah.

The concert, he said, was realized through the creative minds of IPGGaya lecturers who received minimal guidance by JKKNS in terms of visual presentation and musical direction among others.

“We hope that this small effort will subsequently cultivate the feeling of love towards art especially for students who were actively involved so that at least they could continue the artistic approach when they become teachers in the future.”

Present during the concert was Assistant Minister of Education and Innovation Jenifer Lasimbang. On the theme ‘Flight of the Phoenix’, Gerturude said it was derived from the institute’s former logo which contained a phoenix that symbolizes undying motivation.

She explained the theme did not only signify their desire to uplift the students’ motivation but also to regenerate the spirit of togetherness among its lecturers, students and alumni, who also took part in the show.

“We hope that our alumni will play more role in developing education in Sabah; together with our Gaya members and these young students, they could rely and help each other to further stimulate the State’s education,” she said to New Sabah Times.

Officially opened in July 4, 1963, IPG Gaya that initially offered education for teachers in English and Chinese language had since broadened its subjects to Islamic studies, Mathematics, History and Bahasa Melayu.

Students in the institute will take up a five year-course before being placed in schools throughout the country. According to Gerturude, IPGGaya is seeking to produce creative and innovative students who are able to take part in research under their 10 year plan.

“Under the Gaya Beyond 2025, students need to be able to take part in their action research to continually improve in their practice because this is what is required of teachers this day, not just to be teaching in isolation but to be part of a professional learning community.

“We are gearing towards what is in the Malaysian Educational Blueprint, so we’re hoping to create an impact in the lives of these students as well as to education in Malaysia.”


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All Saints Secondary School’s 115th Anniversary

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: A combined celebration will be held by All Saints Secondary School for their 115th Anniversary together with the Anglican Schools Alumni Association 65th Anniversary.

The Chairman of All Saints School Management Board, Joseph Wong Yun Ming explained that the organising of the anniversaries was done by the school’s management board, the Anglican Schools Alumni Association, The Parents Association, and the Principal and staff of All Saints School.

“They came together with a united spirit and a common purpose to celebrate and give thanks for 115 years of the School’s proud history and achievements.

“This is also in line with our tradition of celebrating milestone years just like the school’s celebration of its 100th Anniversary (2003) and 110th Anniversary (2013),” he said during the press conference of All Saints Secondary School 115th Anniversary and Anglican Schools Alumni Association 65th Anniversary.

Also present were All Saints Secondary School Principal Dr Mary Gambidau, Parents Teacher Association Vice Chairman Dr Robert, Anglican School Alumni Association President Charles Chong and Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) President Bishop Datuk Melter Jiki Tais.

He added that in remembrance of the school contribution to the society during the last 115 years, various on-going activities will be conducted for the school.

Among the activities are upgrading and refurbishment of the school, career talk at the school hall in June, the school bazaar on the 7th July, All Saints School Open Day on the 25th July, thanksgiving service on the 27 July and Thanksgiving Celebration Dinner 115th Anniversary of All Saints’ School and 65th Anniversary of Anglican Schools Alumni Association on the 27 July at the Magellan Sutera Harbor Resort.

“During the career talk event, the ex-students of All Saints that is successful now will volunteers to share their experiences and their job’s specification to motivate the current students.

“While during the school open day, the school will be open to the public where they can see the process of teaching and learning, we will showcase the achievements of the school, and our archive room will also be open,” he said.

He further added that the Thanksgiving dinner is the finale of the celebration. There will be a performance from past and present students of All Saints’ School where all ex-All Saints students regardless of their religious background are invited.

“Therefore l would like to invite all alumni and ex-students, former principals and teachers, parents and friends to join us in All Saints’ School 115th Anniversary and Anglican Schools Alumni Association 65th Anniversary Celebrations.

“Today, we can look back with pride and thanksgiving and we can proudly declare that the School has groomed many of our State’s movers and shakers among our luminaries being the Chief Minister of Sabah, a former chief minister, cabinet ministers, educators, scientists, doctors, lawyers, accountants & leaders of many professions and fields,” he said.

He added that throughout 115 years, All Saints School has consistently remained under the care of many visionary principals whose aim was to elevate the school to greater heights without compromising on discipline and academic excellence.


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Crimes, tragedy and scandal that rock Sabah

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Catamaran tragedy

Eight people, including seven from China, perished after the catamaran they boarded with 20 other tourists and crewmen capsized off Pulau Mengalum on Jan 28 – the first day of the Chinese New Year.

The vessel with 28 tourists and three crew members left the jetty in Tanjung Aru around 9am that day and was scheduled to arrive at Mengalum Island some two hours later – it never made it as it was struck by strong waves due to the bad weather some eight nautical miles off the island.

The skipper and a crewman were rescued by fishermen off Kudat the following morning and the incident was immediately related to the authority.

A search and recover (SAR) operation was launched, involving the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) Air Wing Unit.

The SAR team managed to rescue 20 tourists, but they also found three bodies. Five people, including a 10-year-old child and a second crewman, were never found. The SAR operation also extended into Sarawak waters, off Miri.

A week into the tragedy, the SAR team found a woman’s body stuck in a fishing net belonging to a local fishing crew near Semarang areas, at 9.25am on Feb 4.

The body was found about eight nautical miles southwest off Pulau Mengalum, 13 nautical miles north-east of the last known position of the fatal incident, and 20 nautical miles to the west of Pulau Tiga.

The SAR team also found five orange life jackets on Jan 31, Feb 1, Feb 4, Feb 7 and Feb 9, but none of these was from the ill-fated catamaran.

The Jan 28 tragedy was considered jto be one of the longest SAR operations in the maritime history of Malaysia, spanning 126 days. It was finally called off at 9.20am on Jun 2.

Dent Havent kidnapping

Five Malaysians who were abducted by Abu Sayyaf in the waters off Dent Havent, Lahad Datu in July 2016, were finally released after being held captive for eight months.

Abdul Rahim Summas, 62, Tayuddin Anjut, 45, Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32, Fandy Bakran, 26, and Mohd Zumadil Rahim, 23, were abducted while on their way to Semporna after sending sand to Sandakan.

The incident was first realised when security forces found an empty, abandoned tug boat near Dent Havent on July 18, 2016.

Following continuous negotiations by the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and their Philippine counterparts, the five men were finally released in March.

Tayudin and Abdul Rahim were found on a boat drifting off southern Philippines on March 23, while Jumadil, Mohd Ridzuan and Fandy are said to have been released by their captors on March 27.

Jalan Damai hostage situation

It was a harrowing experience for a local woman, who was being held at knife point by her captor for two hours during a hostage situation on May 10.

The 7.30pm incident at Jalan Damai in Kota Kinabalu was open to full view by the public, where a shirtless man was seen dragging the woman some 1.5km backwards, warning police not to come close and threatening to slit her throat open if they did.

Police investigation revealed that prior to the incident, the suspect had initially entered a house at Taman Istimewa in a burglary attempt, but failed when the house owner’s shouts prompted him to flee to a neighbour’s house. The suspect then grabbed the woman and took her hostage.

Police cordoned off both ends of Jalan Damai as they continued to negotiate with the suspect.

Throughout the two hours, police finally persuaded the man to let some ‘paramedics’ – who were actually police personnel in disguise – examine the victim. That was when the men-in-blue subdued the suspect.

The woman, in her 20s, only sustained a minor injury and was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital II for treatment. The 27-year-old suspect was charged with kidnapping and murder attempt under Section 3 of Kidnapping Act 1961 and Section 307 of the Penal Code, respectively.

by Elton Gomes,

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Not all work and no play in plantations

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

SABAH, being the biggest player in the labour intensive oil palm sector in Malaysia, definitely requires many workers.

However, according to Asia Pacific Journal of Advanced Business and Social Studies entitled Perception of Local Youth in Sabah Towards Career in Oil Palm Plantation, more than 80 per cent of plantation labourers in this state mainly came from Indonesia and the Philippines.

The pressing issue now is the rising social problems arising from the hiring of illegal foreign workers, and the best answer is to hire local youths.

Nevertheless, the problem is compounded by the fact that it is difficult to hire the local youth workers and the progress in mechanization has also not been encouraging.

In a recent interview with The Borneo Post, Sabahmas Plantation Estates, Lahad Datu group manager Asrif bin Mahmud said the company had been offering locals to work in its three estates but the local youths claimed that working in the agricultural sector was as burden and tiresome.

“I am not sure about the other companies, but I take Sabahmas as an example. We have a total of 1,424 staff and workers at the moment, comprising 1,296 foreign workers, 66 local workers and the remaining 62 are executive and staff.

“I personally think that our local youths are not aware that there are so many plantation companies in Sabah providing good facilities to their workers.

“In Sabahmas, we provide proper housing with free electricity and clean water, mosque and chapel, clinic, and even creche – a nursery where babies and young children are cared for during the working day. Most of our workers never leave the company and even bring in their relatives if there is a vacancy,” he said.

Training Field Conductor, Jerrye Gustin, who joined the company two and a half years ago said it was his passion that leads him to the job.

The 30-year-old, who was born in Beluran, said he was raised in a farming family and oil palm is not alien to him.

“My father is an oil palm planter, and I used to help him. After finishing my high school, I did not go anywhere but helped my family in farming and looking after the small plantation. I even attended an agriculture course, learning about planting and oil palm maintenance.

“After reaching the age of 25, I knew I need to look for a job because I cannot depend on my father’s land. However, I don’t want to work at the city because most of my friends working there are coming back without savings. They said life is tough and price of goods are high.

“I was so lucky because my cousin told me about a vacancy in Sabahmas Plantation. It has been a while for me holding this position and currently I have 47 staff under me. I can see my bright future here because many locals were given the opportunity to hold higher position as long as you are very good at what you are doing,” he said.

Jerrye is currently looking after the landscape Sabahmas headquarters area and personally doing the grass cutting and other works, including paper work.

To him, looking at the opportunities given to most of the managers in the company to grow in their career, he believed,  obviously none of them went from being a grass cutter or ‘mandur’to a manager overnight.

He said, each of them worked at the company for over a decade before progressing in their career to allow them to get into their roles.

Therefore, he said the characteristics that all of these people shared are determination, the hunger to succeed over the long-term and loyalty to the company.

“I hope there will be more locals working in the plantation. However, they need to choose the right companies by looking at the certification, for example, in Sabahmas we are RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified, so everything is systematic. The company is committed in providing comfortable and a safe workplace, which is very important to me.

“Most of my friends who refused to work in the plantation will give two popular reasons, namely low wages and instability of income, but it is very confusing when they earn more in the city but do not have any savings,” he said

Another thing that Jerrye learned since he worked in the company was the importance of looking after the environment by not simply hunting and fishing in the plantation area.

Jerrye said his income in the plantation is a four-figure and there is not much expenses since the house was provided with electricity and clean water supply by the company. Every month, he set aside some money for his parents and also savings.

Since working in plantation starts at 5.30am until 2pm only, Jerrye said there was a lot of time for other activities such as sporting activities and farming around their housing. “Life is never boring in the estate.”

As for Indonesian couple, Isham Harris, 49, and his wife Mare Habe, 45, who have been with the company since the land clearing in 1994, working in plantation is the best job they ever had.

They never have any other plans in the future, but continue working in the company until as long as they want.

“We arrived at Sabahmas when the previous company (before being taken over by Sabahmas) was just starting to clear the land. We had all our four children here.

“Two of them are already working, one is currently studying in one of the universities in Jakarta, another one is still studying in Humana School here. The company is very committed in giving education to our children and providing space for Humana School to operate, which give children of migrant workers access to education,” said Isham.

Mare, who is working at the company’s creche, said workers in the estate were very lucky for having a proper place for their children to stay while working in the field.

Previously, mothers with small kids, would bring them to the field because there was no one at home to look after the little ones. She said it was dangerous, especially when their work involved handling chemicals.

“The environment in the plantation has changed compared to the first time we arrived. We are happier now, because the minimum wage for local workers also applies to foreign workers.

“We have been staying here for more than 23 years and we are looking forward to serve the company as long as it needs us. What more can we ask for when everything is provided here,” she added.

In Sabahmas estates, its management encourages workers to celebrate Hari Raya, Christmas and other celebrations together to ensure the locals and foreigners have good relationships.

by Mariah Doksil.

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Abduction in Sabah waters still a concerning issue

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The abduction of crew members from ships in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and waters off eastern Sabah is still a concerning issue in the state, despite a decrease in the number of reported cases.

A total of seven incidents (comprising of three actual abductions and four attempts) were reported from January to April 2017.

Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Deputy Director Nicholas Teo G B said that most of the cases in Sabah involved tugboats, something that is uncommon in other areas.

“The nature of crime in Sabah would usually involve tugboats because it is the main type of vessel here, which is a bit unique, because in the other areas, they usually use oil tankers and so on.

“In the past, there were numerous cases of tugboats being hijacked and taken. Thus, we have been working with the Sabah Shipowners Association (SSSA) to address this issue,” Nicholas said when met at the Anti-Piracy and Sea Robbery Forum 2017 here at Hotel N5, Penampang yesterday.

He reiterated that, since March 2016 (when the first case was reported by ReCAAP in the Sulu Sea), the number of abductions has decreased.

“Up to this date, with enforcement from the territorial state and the land operation that is happening in the Philippines, we actually did not see any of these cases reoccurring since April.

“While the crime rate has dropped, there must be no room for complacency as we do not know how this crime is going to evolve until it has been completely eradicated.

“In the meantime, we have put in place the enforcement parts with the law enforcement as well as the precautionary parts in looking at vulnerable areas,” Nicholas added.

As of June 30, 2017, 18 crew are still being held in captivity out of the 59 crew abducted since March 2016.

The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre reiterates its advice that all ships are to re-route from the area, whenever possible. Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise enhanced vigilance while transiting the area and to report immediately to the relevant centers.

He asserted that everyone can play a part in countering this issue. He said that civilians can help simply by notifying the relevant authorities in the event they witness the commencement of suspicious activity.

In Asia as a whole, a total of 36 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships (comprising of 30 actual incidents and six attempts) were reported during the first half of 2017.

The figure showed a decrease by 22% compared to the same period in 2016, whereby a total of 46 incidents were reported.

“Every year, aside from our normal engagements, we try to organize this event with Sarawak and the SSSA to further our collaboration with them.

“As I have also mentioned earlier, maritime-related crime always evolves. Through this collaboration, we will be able to understand the evolvement better. We will work with other inter-ministry agencies to establish a suppression for this crime,” Nicholas said when asked about the purpose of the forum.

by Neil Brian Joseph.

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One of stolen plaques irreplaceable

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: One of the two bronze plaques at Labuan’s Surrender Point that was stolen recently was a sculptured masterpiece showing the Australian 9th Division invasion landings at Tarakan, Balikpapan (both in Kalimantan) and Labuan in World War 2.

The other plaque about the Japanese surrender was stolen for the second time.

“Both have been completely removed, leaving only the concrete base behind,” war historian Lynette Silver told Daily Express.

Lynette believed the theft happened between Aug. 10 and Aug. 24 since they were still in place when she visited the site in early August. A police report was filed.

“The commemorative plaque can be replaced but the sculpture, I expect, is a one off,” Lynette said.

The reason she fears it might be lost for good is that the sculpture is a shining cast bronze bas relief master piece which combines age old casting techniques with modern state of the art technology as an investment in permanent timeless memorial and probably hard to replicate.

“My groups were always very interested to see it, as it so clearly showed the landings and excellent text,” she added .

“Everyone is shocked though the irony is crime rate in Labuan is very low,” Lynette who suspected that it was the work of scrap metal thieves.

She said the Australian periodontist, Ross Bastian, who did the plaque also did 140 to the tune of A$700,000 (RM2m plus). About A$100,000 came from Bastian’s own pocket while raising the rest to deliver his private mission.

The sculpture showed the relief of Borneo island cast in bronze was to commemorate Australians in battle in 20 countries.

In one interview, Bastian said: “I felt that rather than writing books putting bronze information around the world to mark significant events in Australian history was a very practical way of informing both our people and particularly people of foreign countries which Australia’s role is their history.”

by Kan Yaw Chong.

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