Tuesday, December 4, 2007


-Masidi cautions against overbuilding on Sabah’s beautiful seafront areas
Precautionary steps must be taken to ensure that any development in the City, especially along the waterfront will not spoil its natural beauty.
“We are blessed with some of the, most beautiful seafronts in the world and we shouldn’t overbuild on it,” Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said.
The beauty of Sabah is in its natural wonders, according to him.
He said: “And not in its old buildings or new buildings for that matter. We should be careful in how we build up Kota Kinabalu.”
Masidi was asked if there would be any future developments for the city’s waterfront, which would be the venue for the F2 World Cup Powerboat race the next three years.
He was speaking to reporters at a press conference after the prize presentation ceremony for the winners of the international event which was held along the waterfront from the UNHCR Filipino market to Anjung Senja from December 1 to yesterday.
“If I have my way, I would like to have the whole area beautified ... keep it open with something that makes it look pleasant but at the same time which can be utilised for other events,” he said.
Masidi said there is a need to balance profit with responsibility in terms of development.
“You can have all the best buildings in the world but finally I think we should keep, as far as possible what
God has given us and that’s how it should be,” he said.
When asked about the litter problem, especially plastic bags in the sea along the water front, Masidi said it was a big concern to the Government and all relevant quarters.
“As I have stated in the newspapers, it is our commitment to clean up the sea but please bear with us as we are surrounded by islands, some which are inhabited,” he said, lamenting that there are people who persistently throw rubbish into the sea which gets washed up on this part of the city.
Nevertheless Masidi assured that the Government is looking for ways to overcome the problem as it was also very concerned about it.
“We can’t promise you that the problem will be solved overnight but we will definitely find a way to minimise it. We are as concerned as you,” he said, adding that educating the people about the detrimental effects of throwing rubbish indiscriminately would be part of the solution.
The other way, he said, would be to phase out the use of plastic bags or containers.
“I’m sure the plastic industry people won’t be happy to hear this. In other parts of the world there is a movement to ban the use of plastics. In fact they have already manufactured something that is like plastic but biodegradable and I think we should be moving towards that direction.
“We should be concerned about our environment and I believe there is a need for us to phase out, over time, the use of plastics... for the sake of our environment,” he said.
Masidi was replying to a question on the steps the Government would take to keep the race venue rubbish- free for future events.
Mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim who was also at the press conference, said City Hall had appointed contractors to clean up the City and beaches all the way from Tanjung Aru To Tanjung Lipat in Likas.
Iliyas however pointed out that cleaning up the sea is a different matter as it is not an easy task to do, adding that the contractors are being paid RM500,000 a year to do the clean-up job.


Two injured in car-bike accident

A teenage motorcyclist suffered serious injuries on the leg and face after he crashed his bike into the back of a car along Km 1 Sipitang-Sindumin Road here during the weekend. The 17-year-old broke his leg and suffered facial and thigh injuries after losing control of the motorcycle before hitting the car in front of him. His 18-year-old pillion rider also suffered facial injuries and scratches on the legs. Acting District Police Chief Chief Inspector Mohd Zulkiflee Mohd Yaacob said the car driver, a civil servant from Labuan, escaped unhurt but his car bonnet was badly damaged. “We are still investigating the actual cause of the accident,” he said. He pointed out that accidents are avoidable and he urged road users to abide by the traffic regulations. ‘Do not move too close to a vehicle in front of you. Keep the distance so that you will be able to prevent any emergencies ahead of you,” he said. Zulkiflee said through observation of the police, some motorists and motorcyclists are driving recklessly without considering the safety of other road users. “For instance, some motorists or motorcyclists would suddenly enter or drive out of a junction even though they notice another vehicle is approaching. “There is no traffic jam in this area so there is no harm waiting for a few minutes to allow the vehicle to pass before it is your turn to move. It is our duty to ensure that all our roads are safe,” he said.


444 bottles of contraband beer seized; two nabbed
Two local men were arrested by the marine police for having 444 bottles of contraband beer. City Marine Police Commanding Officer ASP Fauzi Ibrahim said the duo were nabbed at 6.45pm on Sunday after close monitoring by a team led by Chief Inspector Mohd Aris. The team stopped a white van and found 19 boxes containing 228 bottles of Carlsberg and 18 boxes containing 216 bottles of Tiger beer in the vehicle. The items have the ‘Duty Not Paid’ tag. “We believe the beer were smuggled in for distribution in the City,” Fauzi said, adding the case would be investigated under Section 135 of the Customs Act. Fauzi said although the amount of seized items was small, it showed that the marine police are always on the lookout for crime activities, including smuggling. “We hope the public would continue to provide us with information of illegal activities in and within their areas,” he said.


Expo to help boost agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors
The Sabah International Expo (STE 2008) will help boost development in the State’s agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. Scheduled to be held in August next year, the SIE 2008 will be the biggest ever held so far with 300 exhibition booths made available for participants from more than 30 countries. With such a large participation from multi-national companies, Musa said the expo would be a great venue for promoting Sabah as a new investment centre in the region. “The expo is in tandem with our efforts to promote the vast opportunities available in our State to foreign investors. “Sabah has 1.2 million hectares of oil palm plantation and is the biggest palm oil producer in the country, offering a lot of opportunities to be explored, especially in the downstream industry,” said Musa at the launching ceremony of the expo which was held at Le Meridien Hotel here yesterday. The expo to be jointly organised by Federation of Sabah Manufacturers (FSM) and the Malaysia Chambers of Commerce and Industries, will be held at One Borneo complex, which is expected to be fully completed and operational by next year. The event also saw Musa witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the organizer with commerce chambers from China, Singapore and Philippines for the booking of 150 exhibition booths at the expo. Meanwhile, Musa said efforts to develop the State’s agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors would be further strengthened with the implementation of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) which is expected to be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi this month. Fuelled by the enormous RM2.303 billion budget this year, the launching of the SDC and various other development projects in Sabah under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) this year would stimulate the State’s economy growth, he said. “At the same time, STE 2008 would open opportunities to more foreign companies and investors to expand their businesses to Sabah,” he added. In this regard, Musa urged all Government departments and agencies to strengthen their collaboration with the private sector towards realizing the State’s development agenda. He said while foreign investors were very keen on exploring the business opportunities available in Sabah, strong support from all parties is vital in order to attract more companies and investors to the State. Meanwhile, FSM president cum STE 2008 organizing chairman Datuk Wong Khen Thau said they are expecting to double the sales from the previous STE to RM15 million next year. He said 12 countries have confirmed their participation so far and participants are being short-listed with priority being given to the high- tech sector.


Police have not ruled out jealousy as the reason behind the death of Banggi Assemblyman Datuk Amir Kahar’s son, Datu Azlan, believed murdered last Friday. Initial investigations revealed that there was an argument between the 24-year-old and his 21-year-old fiancee, and there were beatings and the usage of belt. A police source is still investigating whether the beatings were also due to jealousy. However, police have yet to determine Datu Azlan’s cause of death, and whether it was caused by a belt buckle or otherthings. The police source however denied there were stab wounds on Datu Azlan’s body and head. “There were no stab wounds. But there were a few small wounds on the head and body,” the source said, yesterday. Touching on the suspect, who is a student at the Inti College and a part-time model, the police would decide whether to continue the remand, which ends today, or to release her on a police bail. The model was remanded for three days, beginning Sunday, to enable the police to carry out investigations pertaining to Datu Azlan’s death. Although the case is investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction, the model is not the main suspect to the murder case. Early Saturday morning, Datu Azlan, a grandson of former Chief Minister, Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun, was pronounced dead at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here with several wounds on the head and body. The third child of five siblings allegedly had a fight with his fiancee at the woman’s residence at Taman BPL here and was complaining about being unstable since Friday night. He was later referred to the hospital but was pronounced dead early Saturday morning.


Woman voices safety concern over drunks
A woman has voiced concern over a group of young men who are often seen drunk at the Cathay bus stop in Kota Kinabalu, especially from 6pm onwards. Minah, who always waits for a bus at the area, told Public Hotline that the presence of these people there makes her worried about her safety. Besides, they would sometimes act in a disorderly manner and scold passers-by without any reason, she claimed, adding that she would sometimes notice vomits at the area in the morning. Minah said she suspects one of them was behind in an incident in which her friend was hugged by someone from behind while waiting for a bus there. She said she fears that if the authorities do not take any action, these people may commit crime there one day. She said the presence of drunks who have in a disorderly manner would give tourists a bad impression of Sabah. “I hope the authorities will look into the matter even though it is a small problem.” Meanwhile, Kota Kinabalu Police Station spokesman, when contacted by Public Hotline said they will look into the matter soon. He thanked the complainant for providing them with information, saying that information on any criminal or unhealthy activities will be helpful to the police, who can then monitor the situation. He also invited the public to join Rakan Cop so that they can report such activities directly to the police with ease.


Copper plates burnt, stolen
Copper plates worth RM8,000 were destroyed by fire and stolen from the hospital here.
Acting District Police Chief Superintendent Hj Ramli Ali Mat said a hospital guard found one of the plates at the polyclinic was burnt and another missing at the mortuary while making his round. He lodged a police report on Friday.
According to the guard, the copper plates were still there when he made his round in March.
Meanwhile, a youth was beaten up by a group of men who took his wallet containing a MyKad and RM220 on Sunday.
The victim was taking a walk at Taman Dingin at 7. 3Opm when the suspects confronted him.


Ex-Penang state assembly speaker dies
Former Penang State Legislative Assembly speaker Datuk Ooi Ean Kwong died of a heart attack at the Sungai Bakap Hospital yesterday. He was 65.
Ooi, who breathed his last at 2. 4Opm, served as the State Legislative Assembly speaker for four years from September 1986.
His body was brought to his residence at Jalan Sungai Ara 1, Bayan Lepas for funeral services.
Ooi is survived by wife Datin Tan Siew Geok, son Ooi Ai Ki and daughter Ooi Ai Ling, said a statement from the Penang Chief Minister’s Office.
Ooi started his political career with the DAP and became Kampung Kolam assemblyman in 1978 when he was 36.
He later joined Gerakan and contested the Jelutong parliamentary seat in the 1982 general election but lost to DAP’s Karpal Singh.


The Tagal traditional practice of the Kadazandusun community is recognised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The recognition leads to a generous finance in term of subsidy from the European Commission (EC) or ECUNDP Small Grants to assist the Kadazandusun community in the preservation of tropical forests. Kadazandusun Language Foundation (KLF) chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, who stated this yesterday, urged the Kadazandusun community to preserve and respect Tagal. “Tagal is practised successfully by all the Kadazandusun communities from generation to generation until today to ensure sustainable forest management, preserve the tropical forest while maintaining their livelihood from the herbal production. “Even though Tagal is not really a widespread practice in Malaysia, it is also practised by the Orang Asli from other states in West Malaysia, and the natives in Sarawak. However, they call the practice gotong-royong,” he said when officiating the Celebration Forestry in Malaysia (EC-UNDP Programme) and its documentary at a hotel here yesterday. “Preservation and promotion of both forestry and the herbal production are actually a form of survival practice if we really understand the method from these two economic concepts, leading to an international assistance,” added Simon. “Besides a practice for several ceremonies to restrict harvesting, Tagal is also needed when it comes to a harvesting season from the herbal cultivation and other agricultural economy. I hope Tagal, an art of survival, could be respected and applied by all the communities. “Those who break the traditional law will be asked to pay a sogit (punishment),” he said. According to Simon, today we have all kinds of written laws. However, some of these laws have not being practised even though we have all kinds of enforcement or authorities. Meanwhile, Professor Datuk Dr Hood Salleh, who is chairman of the National Steering Committee of the Malaysia EC-UNDP and SGP, said the traditional value of teamwork or cooperation among the communities need to be practised today too as an intellectual way for survival, sincerity, devotion, creating a genuine partnership and exchange of ideas with the western society. Hood said the objective of the partnership generally is to alleviate poverty among the communities dependent on forests, by strengthening the link between economic activities and sustainable forest use and management. Ann Lasimbang, a supervisor from the Ulu Moyog Project Community, said currently there are 10 groups of Tagal communities in Sabah. Each community receives a subsidy of around fifty thousand quarterly from the EC-UNDP under the Small Grants Programme (SGP) to promote tropical forests in Malaysia. “We already own a herbal garden and carry out organic farming that generates a positive income to the communities, helping them to standardize their livelihood besides the subsidy assistance,” he said. During the celebration, one of the participants, Noah Jackson, 33, who graduated from the University of Montana, USA, under the sponsorship of the US Fullbright scholarship, has chosen Sabah to do a research about the forestry here. Noah, a Caucasian American, who travelled to Sabah for the first time and has stayed here for 30 days, intends to live here for nine more months. “I would also preserve my experiences and views about Sabah by penning a book which I would name as ‘Vision from Borneo’,” he said. When asked what he likes generally, Noah replied, “What l love most here is the scenic sights and the tropical trees besides the preservation of the forestry, an economic value that must be preserved by all.” Asked why he chose Sabah for his research, Noah said “I believe it would be a more beneficial experience. That is why I have made a commitment to live, study, make a research and write a book here. I have visited Sarawak and West Malaysia too, and personally, both experiences (West and East Malaysia) would be an experience of a lifetime.” Another participant from the Orang Asli group (Perak), Rizuan Tempele, 29, who has visited Sabah several times, felt excited to meet the Sabahans. “Sabah and the language are beautiful. I would love to come again and I hope the community would select me for the future project,” he said. Over 50 participants from West Malaysia, Sarawak, Sabah and US attended the celebration. Twenty of them received certificates in recognition of their efforts and teamwork or Tagal.


Malaysian woman facing death in China for smuggling drugs
A 24-year-old woman from Kelantan—Umi Azlim Mohamad Lazim — has been sentenced to death by the Guangzhou High Court in China for trafficking in 2,983 grammes of heroin.
Her mother, Umi Slaia Ibrahim, 45, said the fàmily who did not get any news from her for one year and were shocked to receive a letter dated July 12 from Wisma Putra that her daughter was being held in China since Jan 19. She was sentened to death on May 15 and has two years from the date of conviction to lodge an appeal.
“We did not hear from her for months and suddenly we received news that she was held in China and has been sentenced to death. This is so distressing.
“I was told the drugs were received in Bangkok and to be given to a Nigerian known as “UG’ on her arrival at Shantou,” Umi Slaia said at her home at Kampung Tok Kamis yesterday.
The drugs were found hidden in her luggage on arrival at Shantou. Umi Azilim is a Universiti Malaysia Sabah graduate and said to have been working for a company selling foot massage equipment owned by one “Datuk Anas” in Kuala Lumpur.
Her mother said that because Umi Azlim was fluent in English, the company sent her to do business overseas. “Umi Azlim used to call home regularly but the calls stopped in January,” she said.
Umi Slaia said that based on testimonies by UmiAzlim and other witnesses and letters produced in court, she was convinced that her daughter had been tricked by the Nigerian.
Another Malaysian, Raja Munirah Raja Iskandar, 22, is being held at Tokyo’s Kosuke detention centre also for drhug smuggling. - Bernama