Archive for June, 2016

Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie Distributed Hari Raya Goodies to SIDMA staff.

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

In conjunction with 2016 celebration of Eid-al-Fitr which is expected on 06 July 2016, Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (Chairman, SIDMA Board of Directors) distributed Hari Raya Goodies to staff of SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah and staff from its subsidiary companies such as Bentleytel Malaysia Sdn. Bhd, Didi Childcare Centre and Fiona Travels and Tours Sdn Bhd.

The event was held at SIDMA Atrium on 28 June 2016 with the collaboration and cooperation of SIDMA Staff Welfare Association (PKKKSS) headed by Mr Zain Azrai Bin Mohd Noor. Hari Raya Goodies which comprised of a variety of poultry, beef, soft drinks, ketupatand peanuts were beautifully done and distributed to the respective staff.

According to Dr Morni, the giving-out of goodies to SIDMA staff during significant celebrations such Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Hari Raya AidilAdha, Harvest Festival, Christmas and Chinese New Year has become a tradition of the college. This is a good practice, and he will continue doing so during the coming major festivals, as SIDMA College has always placed great importance on celebrating the plurality of its staff.

Other than celebrating all festivals as one big family, this is also his gesture to express appreciation, recognition as well as to thank all the staff for the great services and contributions rendered to the college; as well as to encourage the spirit of collegiality among all SIDMA staff.

Mr. Zain Azrai, on behalf of all SIDMA staff, took the opportunity to thank Dr Morni and family for their generosity, sharing and caring attitudes for the staff wellbeing and happiness; particularly during special occasion such Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.

He added that SIDMA staff are indeed very fortunate to have Dr Morni as SIDMA Chairman, as he has been very caring and empathic towards the needs of all staff, both in good and needy times. He takes into account the staff’s welfare as one of his many priorities; and a man with the heart for people of all races and cultural traditions, continuously foster, preserve and propagate harmony and unity through the diversity our  college.

Dr Morni, Puan Azlina Ngatimin (Director, Corporate Relations and Business Development), Puan Azizah Khalid Mericn (CEO), Mr Zain Azrai (Chairman, PKKKSS), Managers, and Heads of Departments shared in advance their warm Hari Raya Aidilfitri wishes to all lecturers, staff, students, relatives and friends.

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Set for Tg Aru’s transformation

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: The first phase of the billion-ringgit Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) project designed to transform Sabah into a premier tourism destination in the region is scheduled to commence early next year.

Among the features to expect at the waterfront development that, unlike elsewhere in Malaysia is equidistant to both the international airport and the city centre, include the experience of walking in a rainforest, a marina, cycling in dedicated lanes, facilities for beach football and volleyball, a children’s playground and an amphitheatre for hosting events and performances.

All these would see thousands of jobs created for Sabahans in the hospitality, tourism and retail industries.

Project Director Peter Adam, from Savills Development, said the project would take up 348 hectares, with 65 per cent of it reclaimed, and that around half of TAED would be accessible to the public.

The project’s second phase would follow in September 2017, third phase in September 2018 and fourth in March 2019.

“The project is scheduled to be completed by end of 2019,” Adam said during a media briefing on the project, Tuesday. The project would be divided into eight unique character zones namely Tanjung Aru Beach, Prince Phillip Park, Prince Philip Wharf, Aru Gateway, Aru Village, Aru Oceanfront, Aru Marina and Golf Retreat, as well as the construction of a 42-metre wide canal along the project for a length of around five to six kilometres.

The eco-signature golf course would be designed by pro-golfer Greg Norman.

The development includes the construction of several hotels of about 1,800 rooms, 22 residential developments with more than 4,000 new dwellings, a water theme park, dedicated cycling lanes and electric bus lines, which Adam maintained would follow strictly to the green building initiatives.

For the reclamation, the earthworks would be sourced at a location 55 kilometres into the sea, while flood gates would be constructed to control the level of water inside the canal to avoid sand erosion during low and high tide, as well as strong waves.

“Tg Aru beach will be rejuvenated and cleaned up while Prince Philip Park will be expanded to 12 hectares or more than double its current size.

“Importantly, the beach and park will continue to remain public areas with new features such as a promenade, walking and cycling tracks and an ecology centre,” said Adam.

According to project environmental consultant, Tania Golingi, from DH Water and Environment, the Special Environmental Impact Assessment report for TAED would be submitted to the Environment Protection Department in September.

“It will be opened for public viewing the same month, where we welcome any comments and concerns from the general public over the development,” she said.

The announcement of the TAED two years ago drew concerns from conservationists on the environment, restrictive public access and massive reclamation of a beachfront.

Such fears were allayed by Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai who assured that TAED, which is to rejuvenate the charm of the beach internationally acclaimed for its picture postcard sunsets, would see to it that its development is environmentally sound.

“I can personally assure that 1.3km of the beach will be maintained for the public. I also want my children and future generations to be able to enjoy it.

“I also want to protect it. I will have failed in my duty as a mayor if I didn’t take the people’s views into consideration,” said Yeoh, who believed TAED would help boost eco-tourism in the State.

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See: Make public the powers to be devolved now.

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

See Chee How

See Chee How

KUCHING: Sarawak, Sabah and the federal government must immediately make public the powers to be devolved to the two East Malaysian states, including details and scope of the autonomous power.

Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How said statewide town hall meetings and Sarawak-Sabah State Autonomy Key Areas Laboratories should also be immediately held to allow Sarawakians and Sabahans to give their feedback.

He said while agreeing with Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri that the procedures and processes of the devolution of power must be constitutionally correct, he believed both federal and state administrations must not ignore another significant aspect of it — legitimacy of the devolution.

“As a minister in the federal cabinet, Nancy Shukri should immediately take the necessary step to cause Parliament to be notified and to approve the legal and enabling provisions to devolve powers to Sarawak and Sabah, in accordance with the recommendations of the Cobbold Commission and Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) and the safeguards pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement,” he said in a statement yesterday.

See said the weaknesses and lessons from the workings of the Cobbold Commission and the IGC should be learned and improved upon during the process of devolution of power and returning autonomous power to Sarawak and Sabah.

“It is wrong and even mischievous for the present process of devolution of federal power and returning autonomous power to Sarawak and Sabah to be shrouded in secrecy. This is not 1962. We are not mere subjects of colonial powers. All Sarawakians and Sabahans are able to and must be given the right to decide on the matters that involve them and the states’ future generations.”

See said the people had come to a crucial historical watershed — a time for the rebirth of Sarawak; and Sarawakians are capable of contributing towards this rebirth and the future wellbeing of the state.

“Though we have faith in the Sarawak state government to carry out the mandate as stipulated in the motion that was unanimously passed by the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly on Dec 8, 2015, to ensure the complete implementation of all the recommendations in the IGC Report for the advancement and safeguard the special interests of the state and the people of Sarawak, I am very sceptical with the commitment of Putrajaya.”

He recalled elected representatives were told during the recent State Legislative Assembly sitting that the federal government did not deliver what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had promised to Sarawakians during the May 7 state election.

For instance, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, during his concluding speech, revealed that the cost for the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway would be at the expense of the state’s other infrastructural development.

“The federal government has not given us anything over and above its annual and usual obligations,” said See.

He added that with the general election nearing, Sarawakians had to be careful with federal government’s pledges and promises.
by Jonathan Chia
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What a sight in Beaufort!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: Residents in Beaufort were treated to a rare sight Monday morning of “roll cloud” that left many confused and amazed.

Some found the unique cloud formation scary. Videos and photos of the cloud went viral over social media, showing it appearing to hover over the community (top and below).

The cloud appeared in the shape of a long tube in a low-lying formation, stretching out over certain parts of Beaufort town.

Some residents here who received the photos noted a similar sighting in Kota Kinabalu in 2012.

Beaufort district police chief Deputy Supt Azmir Abdul Razak said that the clouds, which looked like big plumes, were seen at about 7.30am and brought heavy rain to the district.

“It was seen for about an hour, when it was raining heavily,” he said, adding that the public were curious, but did not panic.

“Everyone was more worried about the heavy rain and hoping it would not flood,” he said.

The clouds were believed to have dissipated by 9am.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, in a statement, said the phenomenon is called a squall which came along with a roll cloud.

“Rolling cloud is mild compared to the roll cloud which occurred in Kota Kinabalu in August 2012, Sungai Petani in Kedah in 2014 and Kota Bharu in August 2015,” he said.

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Vaccination a must under Islam, say muftis

Monday, June 27th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: It is compulsory under Islam to use vaccines against diseases which can cause death, two state muftis have clarified.

Kelantan mufti Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad said vaccines were needed to protect the infected person as well as others.

“If it makes a difference between life and death, it can be considered an emergency, so taking the vaccine is a must,” he said.

Mohamad Shukri said the anti-vaccine group should not assume that vaccines contained unclean or forbidden substances.

“The Health Ministry has researched and investigated the contents. We have to trust the authorities,” he said.

Perak mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said the use of vaccines had been long approved.

“The law must be obeyed, on condition the vaccine is halal. If there is no halal vaccine at the time as it contains forbidden substance, it can still be taken,” he said.

Bernama also reported that the Kelantan Health Department would enhance its immunisation campaign to curb diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio among others.

It quoted department director Datuk Dr Ahmad Razin Ahmad Mahir as saying that the public, particularly those in rural areas, still lacked awareness on the importance of vaccination.

“We will carry out follow-up action for children who have yet to undergo immunisation, especially in rural areas, and have identified groups who have refused vaccinations.

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Huge jump in measles cases

Monday, June 27th, 2016

PETALING JAYA: Children not immunised against measles has led to a 340% leap in the number of in­fections within the first week of this month.

There were 873 cases reported in that week compared to the 197 recorded in the corresponding pe­­riod last year, an increase of 676.

Health Department director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah attributed the increase to the fact that children were not immunised against the disease.

Most of the cases involved private homes (63.6%) followed by institutions (28.8%) and community (7.6%).

“Last year, there were 1,318 cases of measles with two deaths. There has not been any death this year,” he said in a posting on his Facebook page yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham said 66 outbreaks were reported during the first week of June, a five-fold increase compared to the same period last year.

Immunisation against measles are given to children when they are between nine and 12 months under the national immunisation programme.

Previous reports stated that an increasing number of parents are not immunising their children over fears that the vaccines are not halal.

Kedah has the highest number of rejection cases in the country.

This was despite a declaration by the National Fatwa Council that the vaccines are halal.

On Saturday, Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan said they would discuss with their counterparts in the Health Ministry about mandatory vaccinations for students nationwide.

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Lee: Expedite law on child porn and sex grooming

Monday, June 27th, 2016

PETALING JAYA: The Government has been urged to expedite the introduction of laws to address the issue of child pornography and anti-grooming at the next Parliament meeting.

Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation senior vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic) said reports made by local child protection NGOs and the media revealed “disturbing realities” that there were local paedophiles and it was not easy to detect them.

“Paedophiles are sexually attracted to children and are deceptive and very manipulative when they use child grooming for sexual exploitation of children.

“Child sexual grooming involves a paedophile who befriends and establishes an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes the family with the intention to sexually abuse the child.

“This could also happen over the Internet, with the paedophile arranging to meet the child in person or the ‘online friendship’ turns into pornography or sex traffic­king,” said Lee in a statement yesterday.

He said the rise in technology such as the Internet and mobile gadgets had also made it possible for paedophiles, irrespective of geographical location, to access children wherever they are.

He was commenting on The Star’s front-page report yesterday, which highlighted sex predators who prey on the young via online chat apps recently.

In that report, the police also revealed that according to their foreign counterparts, Malaysia ranks third among Asean countries for possession and distribution of child pornography.

Lee said children were now very Internet-savvy but were not mature enough to rationalise or “filter what is right and wrong” in cyberspace.

“Since 2010, the police have received over 400 reports of Internet-related rape cases, of which 339 involved minors.

“There is no doubt that Malaysia needs to introduce anti-grooming laws as soon as possible.

“It is necessary to expedite the introduction of relevant legislation in Parliament before the end of the year,” he said, adding that police personnel should be trained to spot possible child groomers.

According to a CyberSAFE 2015 survey, Lee said more than 90% of schoolchildren in Malaysia used the Internet and 83% were vulnerable to online dangers due to poor supervision.


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Prince Andrew pays a visit to Petrosains

Monday, June 27th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: His Royal Highness The Duke of York Prince Andrew was at the Petrosains, KLCC for an engagement with the mainstays of the science and research community of the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund on Monday.

HRH was involved in a brief meeting with key Petronas and Petrosains personnel, where he was briefed on the two Malaysian science heavyweights on their contributions to the Science, Technology, Energy, and Mathematics (STEM) limb.

After a showcase tour put up by Newton-Ungku Omar funding partners, The Duke presented prizes to proud winners of the Dengue Tech Challenge 2016, an initiative between the UK and Malaysia to commercialise technological solutions to the pressing dengue issues.


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KK airport is underutilised

Monday, June 27th, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: Future development plans are on the horizon but not yet set in stone for Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA), said Malaysia Airports Sdn Bhd (MASB) senior airport manager Sunif Naiman.

Sunif said KKIA could cater up to nine million passengers per year but its current capacity is at 6.5 million passengers, an underutilization even after Terminal 2-AirAsia consolidation on December 1, 2015.

“If we refer to the figure at this point in time, there is no necessity for expansion of the terminal or whatsoever, but again this is a decision by the top management,” he said during a media briefing at KKIA on Friday.

“Answer, there is but have yet to decide because it (the airport) is below capacity,” he said in response to the Borneo Post.

Sunif revealed that MASB had received notification that certain airlines were interested of turning Kota Kinabalu into a hub.

This includes Malaysia Airlines (MAS), which had also requested for six night -stop aircraft at the airport.

“For info, currently AirAsia, they have six night-stops, MAS five, Royal Brunei one, and MASwings, in fact, has six aircraft but they go to its hangar,” he said.

Sunif said the average passenger growth was approximately five percent year-on-year basis and the terminal is able to cater for the increasing number of passengers for another six to 10 more years to come.

He maintained tha the consolidation had provided comfort and convenience to passengers during normal and peak seasons with no congestion, especially in light of the over utilization of Terminal 2, two million maximum capacity, which had catered up to 3.5 million passengers per annum.

Since the consolidation six months ago, a total of 12,338 AirAsia flights have flown in and out of the terminal at the rate of 68 flights daily.

The airport is designed to cater to a maximum of 3,200 PPH.  However, the current PPH during peak period now is only at 1,764 PPH, which shows that the terminal is still under utilised by 55%.

Statistical study shows that after the consolidation, the SLA for queue time at the check-in counters has significantly reduced to eight minutes compared to 23.92 minutes at  Terminal 2 due to availability of more check-in counters.

Improvement is also seen in queue time at the immigration counters from 17.17 minutes at Terminal 2 to only eight minutes after the consolidation at Kota Kinabalu (BKI) terminal, he added.

“KKIA also experienced smooth operations during last Christmas, Kaamatan, Chinese New Year, and we anticipate seamless operations during Aidilfitri, estimated an increase of 0.2% compared to normal monthly average of approximately 552,000 passengers,” said Sunif.

He elaborated that the recent Kaamatan Harvest Festival celebration saw an increase in the monthly domestic passengers from 392,984 (April, 2016 vs May 2016) to 427,833 (a sudden increase by 8.9% from other ordinary month but operations went smooth.

The BKI terminal size is 103,956 sqm, which provides more space for airlines operation, passengers and airport users while the old terminal size is only 12,290 sqm.

Sunif added that the 64 check-in counters available at BKl now improved queue time. The 12 passenger boarding bridges (PBB) available assures passengers’ comfort compared to none at Terminal 2 previously.

After consolidation, 70% of the area passed by passengers is under roof with air-conditioning.  At Terminal 2, only 30% of the area, experienced by passengers while travelling through the terminal, is covered with roof and air-conditioned, due to unavailability of PBB at the old terminal.

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Book on Keningau heritage, legacy launched

Monday, June 27th, 2016

KENINGAU: The book ‘Keningau Heritage and Legacy in the Interior Residency’ written by a local from Keningau, Abednigo Chow Yau Shung was launched by former Senator Ida Undan Dumpangol at a hotel here yesterday.

More than 200 people, including Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, District Chief OKK Mohd Amir Datuk Arif and Keningau Chinese Chamber of Commerce chairman Raymond Koh attended the event.

Ida said the people here are very privileged to enjoy the peace, prosperity, economic stability and freedom that they cherish very much, thanks to their forebears and local leaders.

“We should not forget our liberators and protectors from Australia and all Allied Forces who came to our aid during those dark times,” she said.

According to her, the first European to visit Keningau in 1882 was Francis Xavier Witti and with this first contact, the small population of Keningau was exposed to a culture and lifestyle so different from theirs.

Sadly however, Witti did not survive long after he met the Muruts of the interior. Nonetheless, this did not deter other future explorers from venturing deep into the interior until Keningau was officially administered in 1893 with the setting up of a government station headed by J. Edward G. Wheatley as the first District Officer and magistrate for Keningau.

“Throughout those years, the British Chartered Company Administration introduced laws, technology and education to our forebears without affecting the local native customs. Although the journey was not an easy one, the small station in Keningau prevailed and modest revenue was contributed to the British Chartered Company Administration.

“Later in the 1920’s, Keningau received its ‘town status’ and started to expand with the influx of people,” she said.

Ida said that the Second World War and often brutal Japanese occupation brought much hardship to the people and many in Keningau suffered at the hands of the Japanese soldiers and their superiors.

She said it was not until the Australian and Allied armies arrived to liberate and free them from the Japanese and the shackles of honor that they now fully appreciate their sacrifices.

According to her, after the Japanese surrendered, North Borneo was administered by the British military and on July 18, 1946 it became a British Crown Colony.

“After the war, our country was devastated, reverting to its pre-1881 days. Our forebears had to pick up the pieces together, rebuild and repair damaged infrastructures. The war galvanized everyone regardless of their background to pursue the common goal of rebuilding a nation.

“So Native Chiefs and Chinese Kapitans worked together alongside the British to ensure the local Keningau community would thrive and progress towards a resilient society,” she said.

On August 31, 1963, she said North Borneo attained self-government. The Cobbold Commission was set up in 1962 to determine whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak favoured the proposed union of the Federation of Malaysia, and found that the union was generally favoured by the people.

“I also add at this point that the late Raiting Sunggak from Keningau was also a part of the Cobbold Commission team in her role as a local translator. Sunggak was the first Murut lady to be given a government scholarship to study English in the United Kingdom,” she said.

Ida added the Malaysia Federation was proclaimed at midnight on September 15, 1963 with North Borneo renamed Sabah.

She said Indonesia and the Philippines were opposed to the formation of the new Malaysian Federation and the conflict resulted in the undeclared war that is now known as the Indonesian Confrontation.

“Once again, our Australian brothers came to our aid and protected us from harm when they were stationed right here in Keningau and when the undeclared war ended in 1966, local leaders worked tirelessly during the post-independence years building the nation for the past five decades.

“The journey was never easy and there were numerous obstacles along the way. Ultimately, the country achieved the coveted status of being one of the fast developing nations in the South East Asian region,” said Ida.

On the book, she said it would no doubt serve as a good reference and education for the people and a good reminder of their roots and where it all began.

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