Sunday, November 25, 2007


Build more budget hotels in interior:CM
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has urged the private sector to build more budget hotels to cater for the increasing tourist arrivals to the interior region. He said the shortage of hotel rooms here had been brought up to his attention and stressed the need for an immediate action to overcome the problem. “In this regard, I urge the private sector to build more budget hotels to overcome inadequate hotel rooms and at the same time create jobs for the locals,” said Musa when launching the Koningau Wood Festival 2007 here yesterday. Musa, who was represented by Deputy Chief Minister cum Industrial Development Minister Datuk Seri Pairin Kitingan, said the development of tourism in the rural and interior areas had been given priority under the State Tourism Development Master Plan for 1995 to 2010. This was aimed to ensure rural folks would benefit directly from the development of the tourism industry in Sabah, he said, adding that the State Government’s initiatives in developing the tourism sector had received strong support from the Federal Government.
“Under the National Budget 2008, a sum of RM200 million has been set aside under the Tourism Infrastructure Fund to spur tourism activities and programmes in Sabah and Sarawak. “Under the fund, priority is focused on the development of projects related to nature and environmental tourism,” he said. Commenting on the second annual Koningau Wood Festival, Musa expressed confidence that the multipier effect of the event would benefit other sectors that are related to the tourism industry such as hotels, transportation, restaurants and other service sectors. As the festival is becoming more popular amongst foreign visitors, he urged the locals here to introduce more new tourism products and reckoned that the homestay programme should be developed actively. “The homestay programme will not only enable foreign tourists to get to know more closely about the livelihood of the local communities but also overcome the shortage of hotel rooms,” Musa added. The Chief Minister also called for more scientific research to be conducted on cinnamon, especially for medicinal purposes. He said the research was also necessary to diversify the uses of cinnamon and boost the industry’s downstream activities. “There is currently wide global market potential in the medicinal industry which can yield high returns for farmers,” he said. Musa said farmers should undertake commercial cultivation of cinnamon in view of the high demand for the product in the local and international markets. He said farmers in Keningau, especially those whose land was idle, should plant cinnamon to improve their livelihood and restore Keningau’s image as the largest cinnamon producer in Sabah. More than 5,000 people, including Culture, Tourism and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, Bingkor Assemblyman Justin Guka, Liawan Assemblyman, Datuk Haji Sairin Karno, Sook Assemblyman Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Pensiangan Member of Parliament Datuk Bernard S Maraat, State Tourism Board chairman Datuk Tengku Adlin Zainal Abidin, District Officer Haji Zulkifli Nasir and District Chief OKK Mohd Amir Datuk Arif were present function.


Govt to improve English performance of students
The State Government is very concerned over education development in the State, especially in the rural areas, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman.
He said the Government would find ways to improve the performance of rural students in the English language.
“The Government has proposed to hire retired teachers to teach English to overcome this problem,” he said when officiating the one-day Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) Premier Seminar for the district at SM Ken Hwa Lee Sen here yesterday.
Musa has learnt that rural students are facing difficulties learning and understanding the English language, especially the two subjects taught in the language, Science and Mathematics, because of the shortage of experienced teachers.
“I will propose to the Education Ministry to hire retired teachers to teach English in the rural areas of the State,” he said.
Musa said he had met Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussien to discuss further on the matter, including the lack of school facilities in rural areas.
According to the Chief Minister, the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government will work hard to develop the education of rural children.
“This will include the provision of better school facilities, teachers’ quarters, electricity and water supply,” he said. At the same time, he said the State Government through Sabah Foundation is also giving assistance to build village hostels for the convenience of rural students who are staying far away from their schools.
On the seminar, Musa described it as an effort by the Education Department to enhance the relationship between parents and teachers in improving and upgrading the students’ education performance.


Sabah athletes at BJSS face various problems
The Youth and Sports Ministry will file an official complaint to the National Sports Council regarding various problems faced by Sabah athletes currently studying and training at the Bukit Jalil Sports School BJSS. At a meeting held here yesterday, the athletes and their parents voiced their problems including ‘poor’ accommodation. They also claimed that their personal belongings such as clothes or handphones were frequently stolen. We are proud that our children are enrolled at BJSS but at the same time we want them to feel comfortable there. “That is why if there are any problems, please make an official complaint using the right channel. You (athletes or parents) can write me, the SUT (Youth and Sports Ministry Permanent Secretary Suzannah Liaw ) or the sports associations concerned,” he said. Liew also hailed the brave efforts by the parents and athletes to arrange the meeting with him in expressing their dissatisfaction in order to find solutions to the problems. Having said that, Liew announced that an official will be appointed especially to assess Sabah athletes at BJSS. The Minister also told the State Sports Council to submit a report every three months to the ministry on the conditions of the athletes. At the same time. a committee has also been formed to make a concerted assessment and research on all the athletes, starting from development aspect right up to the time when the athletes decide to call it a day. Meanwhile, Suzannah revealed that the problems faced by State shuttlers at BJSS were not a new issue but unless an official complaint is made, the ministry could not do anything. Suzannah also said the ministry had planned to visit the Sabah athletes at BJSS and that Liew made a pledge to visit BJSS personally. On incentive distribution to excellent athletes, Suzannah said the ministry has a guideline for the purpose. The distribution or allocation will be made through the sports associations, she added. Hence, Suzannah said it was important for athletes or their parents to work closely with the State associations. Also present were Sabah Sports Board General Manager Mahmood Kalong and Sabah Badminton Association (SBA) president Senator Maijol Mahap


Centre to help locals who want to Work overseas
The State Labour Department has extended its services for local workers who want to work overseas by setting up a centre through which they can seek information and advice from. Its director, Siti Aishah Hj Mohd Asri, said the centre would be set up in all of the department’s offices throughout the State. “The centre will assist local workers by providing them with the relevant information needed if they wish to work overseas,” she said. Siti Aisah added that the department hopes the services provided by the centre will prevent local workers from being cheated by recruitment agencies or their employers overseas. She told reporters this after presenting toys and educational equipment to a day-care centre at Desa Bombalai, Table Estate, Golden Hope Plantation(S) Sdn Bhd here yesterday morning. The director also disclosed that the Federal Government had assigned a labour attache in Singapore this year to assist Malaysian workers in the republic. Siti Aisah also spoke on the importance of education for children and said under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, facilities and educational facilities at day-care centres would be reviewed and improved further. “It is our responsibility to ensure that our children, especially those in the rural areas, receive an education. I hope other plantations will emulate what has been done here today,” she said. Siti also noted that the improvement of facilities and equipment at the centre will spur the children’s physical and mental development. There are more than 400 plantations in Sabah and a majority of them have their own day-care centre. Also present at the ceremony were the Senior Assistant I of Table Plantation, Azhari Bin M Kalam, and the district Labour Department chief, Othman Abdullah.


State Federal Secretary says customers satisfied and happy with quality of services now
There has been some significant improvement in the quality service among the Federal Department offices in Sabah, said the State Federal Secretary Datuk Ismail Wadin.
Citing a recent survey conducted by the State Federal Development Department (JPPS), Ismail said the customers were satisfied and happy with the quality of services provided by the Government departments in Sabah. “People are happy with the improvement of the quality in our services,” Ismail said to reporters after launching the JPPS Quality Day celebration here yesterday. He said the findings of the survey indicated that the awareness among the civil servants on the importance of constantly improving their services had been steadily increasing. With the increasing awareness and commitment towards quality, we have seen a lot of improvement and changes in our departments and this has translated into more satisfied customers. “This is proven with the positive response from the public’ he said. The JPPS Quality Day is an annual event held by the department featuring various programmes towards further promoting and improving quality among Government departments and agencies. This year’s event comprises four programmes, the first is the two- day exhibition held at Palm Square, Centre Point to promote quality and enhance delivery system and customer services. The exhibition, which started yesterday, has attracted participation from 15 organizations and Government departments, including the Police, Immigration, Inland Revenue, City Hall, Perbadanan Pinjaman Sabah, Sabah Tourism Board and Anti-Drug Agency. Apart from acquiring the latest and useful information on products, services and programmes provided by the participants, visitors to the exhibition can also check and pay their summonses, fines and taxes online at the 15 booths provided. “Our focus in the exhibition today is on the utilization of the latest technologies which are made available at the exhibit booths provide fast, reliable and friendly services to the visitors. “These technologies are being adopted in our agencies for a more efficient service, both time and cost wise,” said Ismail when met after the launching of the programme yesterday. Today, JPPS will hold an aerobic exercise to further promote closer cooperation among the different departments and agencies. The third programme is a seminar on quality to be held at Karambunai Resort. The pinnacle of the event will be graced and officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman on Tuesday. It will be closed with a dinner party to be attended by officers from both the State and Federal departments.