Tuesday, December 18, 2007

TUESDAY-18TH DECEMBER 2007- Sabah to have Intellectual Property High Court

Sabah to have Intellectual Property High Court
KOTA KINABALU: The Government will set up the Intellectual Property High Court at six locations in the country. “The court which will operate in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor, Perak, Sabah and Sarawak will have the jurisdiction to hear into appeals for intellectual property cases,” Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk S. Veerasingam said when launching the State-level Intellectual Property Seminar here yesterday. Those operating in East Malaysia are called Borneo Intellectual Property High Court while the ones in Peninsular Malaysia are called Malaya Intellectual Property High Court.
Veerasingam urged Malaysians to register their intellectual properties to protect their rights. “The Government wants to protect our own intellectual properties which can help to develop our country’s economy,” he said. “The Sessions Court in Jalan Duta (Kuala Lumpur) has already solved 26 of the 184 registered cases. This is a good sign that our society has already realized the importance of their intellectual properties right,” he added. Veerasingam also explained that the public is not aware of the Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property Right (TRIPS) agreement that protects geography signal as one of the intellectual properties components.
According to him, three of the four geography signals that have been registered in Malaysia are from Sabah local products, namely Sabah Tea, Kopi Tenom and Borneo Virgin Coconut Oil. The deputy minister also said in Sabah alone there were 22 potential local products to be registered for intellectual properties under the geography signal component such as Belacan Papar, Tambunan’s Ginger and Beaufort’s Sweet Lime. “We hope more entrepreneurs will register their intellectual properties so that their products will be more unique and special than the other products in the market because they have the geography signal right,” he added.

TUESDAY-18TH DECEMBER 2007- ONE SEN coins: Bank Negara says no plans yet to demonetize them

ONE SEN coins: Bank Negara says no plans yet to demonetize them
: There are no plans to demonetize one sen coins following the Government’s move to phase out one sen coins from over- the-counter transactions, said Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Lillian Leong Bee Lian. The main objective of the rounding mechanism, which will be implemented on April 1 next year, is to reduce the demand for one sen coins around the country, according to her. “Of course the plan is to reach a point where people will stop using one sen coins, but for now there are no plans to demonetize one sen coins yet,” she said at a press conference after the launch of a briefing session with business and trader associations on the rounding mechanism at the Magellan Sutera here, yesterday. Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk S Veerasingam, who officially launched the briefing session, noted that his Ministry would be implementing various awareness programs around the country in addition to going through the mass media to ensure the public is aware of the mechanism.
“I must stress that the mechanism will not increase the cost of items being sold. It will only affect the overall cost when you pay the bill and not for individual items,” he said at the press conference. “As it is, there are not many consumers who use one sen coins. When they go out to buy things, they do not bring one sen coins to pay ... some even leave the one sens on the counter after receiving their change or drop them in charity boxes. “For the traders, they will still have to return every sen to their customers and this means Bank Negara will constantly have to mint new one sen coins which eventually will not find their way back to the bank. “For the one sen coins to participate in the economic cycle, they must make their way back to the bank but that is not happening so it would be more prudent economically if we take out the one sen coins from the transaction,” he said. In his speech earlier, Veerasingam explained that the key justification for the mechanism’s implementation is that it saves money and eases calculations. “The initiative will make it easier for the public and also reduce costs for the Government and traders. “The public will no longer have to bring around one sen coins to make purchases and calculations for payment are made easier while traders can save on transport and operating costs with a reduction in demand for one sen coins,” he said. Veerasingam noted that traders will not need to change their cash registers and will only need to make a one-off calibration so their machines will display the overall payment on the bill before and after rounding. The mechanism, announced by Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Mohamed Shafie Apdal early last November, will round off bill payments in over- the-counter transactions to the nearest multiple of five. Shafie said there are around 4.4 billion one sen coins in circulation with a total of 360 million new coins minted by Bank Negara at a cost of RM14 million every year. The mechanism is adapted from similar initiatives employed by countries that have stopped using one cent coins such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and South Africa.

TUESDAY-18TH DECEMBER 2007- Be firm but courteous, CM tells religious teams

Be firm but courteous, CM tells religious teams
Enforcement agencies including Islamic religious bodies and the Police must be firm but courteous in implementing Islamic laws, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said. “We want the Muslim community to have a perception that the enforcement agencies are their allies in ensuring that there are rules and order and the society can live in a more organized and prosperous manner,” he said. He also said a holistic enforcement of Syariah (Islamic) laws is the best solution in deterring immoral activities among Muslims.
Musa said the implementation of Islamic laws would also preserve the tradition of Islam as a religion that promotes good and noble values as the culture of life. Officiating the National Convention on Enforcement and Prosecution of Syariah Laws here yesterday, he said Islamic laws had been recognized and used in Sabah since before its independence in 1963 and since then gone through a lot of changes and refinement. The introduction of new laws and amendments to the existing ones had further strengthened the State Islamic religion enforcement agency under the Federal Constitution, lifting the standard of Islamic laws to be on par with civil laws, he said.
“The Government does not make Islamic laws as the only mechanism in educating and punishing offenders but the Syariah court is now recognized as equal with the civil court and its rulings cannot be canceled or amended by other courts. “The question now is no longer about the (Islamic) laws but how the laws can be implemented so that it will be seen as more effective in organizing the life of the community, he said. The convention held at Kompleks Tabung Haji yesterday was jointly organized by Jabatan Hal Ehwal Agama Islam Negeri Sabah (Jaheains) and Universiti Malaya (UM) with cooperation from Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) and Federal Territory Islamic Religion Council. Musa said the two-day convention featuring a presentation of research reports and papers on issues and problems related to enforcement and prosecution of Islamic laws provides useful inputs for the authorities involved to further improve the existing laws and its management. He said the State Government takes the Islamic laws seriously and would ensure that the enforcement of the laws is well implemented and continuously improved.

TUESDAY-18TH DECEMBER 2007-800 General Operations personnel to occupy new complex next April

800 General Operations personnel to occupy new complex next April
All the 800 General Operations Force officers and personnel will be transferred to their own complex in Kinarut by April next year. Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, said the RM149 million GOF Complex would include staff quarters, administration blocks, a field, clinic, mosque and several few shops. “To date, it is about 66 per cent completed and we were told that all will be done by April 2008. The GOF officers and personnel will then be placed there,” he told reporters after a briefing at the Kepayan Police Headquarters, yesterday. In addition to this, Musa said works are also being carried out to enhance the Police Headquarters here. “We (police) are expanding and we need more buildings to improve. It is part of enhancing the IPK (Police Headquarters),” he said. He disclosed that the Sabah’s crime rate showed an increase of 10 per cent with 75 per cent of these crimes being contributed by locals. Only 25 per cent of the crimes in Sabah are contributed by the foreigners, and most of their cases involved violent crimes, he said. “I was briefed by the Sabah Police Commissioner (Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim) on the crime situation here, and although it showed an increase in crimes such as gang robberies and house break-ins, certain cases showed a decrease. “The concentration of these crimes is at Tawau, Lahad Datu, Sandakan and here. In places where the volume of crime is higher, we hope the Sabah Police would concentrate in these four districts to reduce the crime rates,” he said. Despite the crime rate increase, Musa said the Sabah Police had, however, crippled several gangs and syndicates involved in electricity and telephone cable thefts, in which they had seized weapons from some of the groups. The Narcotics Unit had also scored several successes including intercepting attempts to smuggle in drugs into the State from neighbouring countries.
“One of our problems is when the smugglers illegally enter Sabah. This is where the police and other agencies can work together to carry out checks. If we detect drugs in anyone, we will charge them under the Dangerous Drug Act,” he said.
Touching on commercial crimes, Musa said there was a two per cent increase and the Commercial Crime Department had been directed to investigate the matter. “Some of these crimes are related to land deals, Short Messaging Services and even through the internet. We are on a lookout for such cases at all times,” he said.

TUESDAY-18TH DECEMBER 2007-Skills training for youths to reduce jobless rate: CM

Skills training for youths to reduce jobless rate: CM
PAPAR: The Government will increase its efforts to provide skills training to youths, particularly SPM leavers, in its bid to reduce the unemployment rate in Sabah, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. Musa said he is confident of a reduction of the State’s current unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent if youths are willing to take every opportunity provided by the Government. “There are numerous opportunities to gain knowledge and skills and it is up to the youths to take those opportunities,” he said after launching the Technical and Trade Training Institute’s (ILTP) 25th anniversary and certificate presentation ceremony here yesterday. Musa noted that aside fiom the State Government, the Federal Government also provides numerous training facilities through institutions such as Pusat Giat Mara, Polytechnics and Technical Colleges. Earlier in his speech, he stressed that the Government is paying serious attention to the recent revelation that 70 per cent of SPM leavers are unable to further their tertiary education due to poor academic qualifications or financial difficulties. “This group of youths need to be given skills training in various fields so that they are able to fulfill the job market demands for skilled labour. “The new phenomena of globalisation and liberalisation that forms the concept of a borderless world needs support from all in strengthening ourselves from within as we adapt to current needs,” he said.

TUESDAY-18TH DECEMBER 2007-State Govt serious in solving illegal problem: Pairin

State Govt serious in solving illegal problem: Pairin
: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan has denied the opposition claim that the Government was not serious in handling the illegal immigrant problem in the State. He said various measures and actions had been taken by the Government, including operations to arrest and send these foreigners back to their country of origin. “The Barisan Nasioal (BN) Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is very concerned about -the illegal immigrant problem in this country and will overcome it soon,” he said at a meet-the-people session for eight villages at Kampung Toboh Laut here on Sunday. About 1,000 people from Kampung Toboh Laut, Baginda Ulu, Kota Ayangan, Baginda Laut, Tigot, Tuarid aud, Tuarid Liawan Low Cost Housing and Dangulad, including Datin Seri Panglima Genevieve Kitingan, Liawan Assemblyman Datuk Haji Sairin Karno and Bingkor Assemblyman Justin Guka were present at the function. Pairin who is also the Rural Development Minister, ensured that with cooperation from all quarters, including the security forces, the illegal immigrant problem in the State could be resolved. He said every individual, including community leaders such as village headmen, Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) chairmen and native chiefs, must be committed and work together to give information to the security forces on illegal immigrants hiding in their areas. According to him, protecting illegal immigrants is an offence and those found doing so can be charged in court under the Immigration Act. Meanwhile, Pairin who is also the president of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), hit out at the opposition leaders, especially those from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) for saying that the BN Government had failed to handle the illegal immigrant and poverty issues in the State. “They went to the villages and raised the old issues to confuse the people. If they are true leaders who are going to help the people, they should have done it when they were with us (BN),” he said. Pairin also praised Pak Lah’s leadership which brought a lot of development to Sabah and Sarawak. He urged the people in the State to unite and continue to defend the BN struggle. “The people need a peaceful, harmonious and prosperous Government which can give them progress and development. Only the BN which practises sharing power among the ethnics in this country, can do it,” he said. At the function, Pairin declared open the village’s concrete bridge and library building and announced several development projects for the eight villages which will be implemented next year. He also accepted 102 new PBS members from several villages in Mukim Tuarid Liawan.

TUESDAY-18TH DECEMBER 2007-Malay body to help former Labuan college students

Malay body to help former Labuan college students
LABUAN: Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Malaysia (DPMM) Labuan is prepared to assist the 11 former students of Labuan International College whose diploma is not recognized by the National Accreditation Board(LAN). Its deputy president, Mohd Alias Abd Rahman, said in a statement yesterday that the plight and predicament of the students had brought to the attention of the DPMM. ‘Therefore, being a Malay organization which struggles for the future of the Malay community in general, we feel that we are obliged to assist them,” he said. DPMM came forward after several media statements highlighted the issue of the ex-students who would be given compensation following an order from the Consumer Claims Tribunal recently. The former students were awarded RM275, 000, with each of them to be compensated of RM25,000. The college whose director is the Member of Parliament of Labuan, Datuk Suhaili Abd Rahman, is said to have ceased its operation.
Alias said that the DPMM was ready to struggle in the interest of Malay students. “We are even ready to help to bring the case to the civil court for them to be compensated a deserving amount due to the higher expenses they have incurred during their studies as well as the loans they have obtained from PTPTN and Mara,” he said. Alias, who expressed regrets over what had happened, said the course in question should have been accredited by the LAN before the students were recruited. He said the issue of the 11 students who are mostly from Sabah was a good lesson to parents. He also believed the number of victims was just ‘a tip of the iceberg’, as almost 100 students had enrolled in the college. “We are openly offering to assist the students to take further legal action. And they may liaise with us,” he said. Alias urged the relevant authorities, especially the various ministries dealing with education, to look into this matter seriously. “We cannot afford to have the issue recurring or more students will be victimized,” he said.

TUESDAY-18TH DECEMBER 2007-Indiscriminate parking daily headache at KK central market

Indiscriminate parking daily headache at KK central market
• An unhappy motorist voiced his frustration over the inconsideration showed by drivers who parked indiscriminately along the road from the UNHCR Filipino market all the way to the central market. Julian, a marketing executive, said the inconsiderate action of these drivers had obstructed the traffic along the whole stretch of road causing a lot of inconvenience to other road users. “To make things worse, bus drivers are also seen double parking near the central market,” he said, adding that the area is congested throughout the day and even into the night. Julian also told Public Hotline that some of the vehicle owners act like they own the road by occupying almost half of the lane. “These drivers often park in a manner that makes section of the road impassable to other vehicles. And what made it worst is that the buses also often stop at the area to wait for or pick up passengers,” he said. He hoped the authority concerned will monitor the situation in the area and resolve the daily traffic congestion there. Julian also urged the relevant authorities to look into the matter seriously as it not only involves obstruction of traffic but also public safety. The spokesperson for Kota Kinabalu City Hall when asked to comment on the matter, said summonses would be issued to the drivers of buses or cars that are found obstructing traffic. He said the unavailability of parking lots is not an excuse for them to park wherever they like. He assured that the complaint would be forwarded to the enforcement unit for action to be taken. Meanwhile the City traffic police when contacted about the matter, said the police personnel are always monitoring the traffic along the road, especially during peak hours. “We try our best to reduce the congestion in the city by having a team of police personnel at areas where motorists are known to double park their vehicles but as soon as they leave the area, the problem happens again,” he said. The police spokesperson also appealed to the motorists to cooperate and abide by the law.

TUESDAY-18TH DECEMBER 2007-Dept urged to look into claim over committee

Dept urged to look into claim over committee
The Kampung Badulan’s Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) wants the State Information Department director to look into the alleged non-activation of the village’s Komuniti Bestari despite receiving allocation from the Government. Its chairman, Ustaz Ramli Ungking, said the committee had never implemented any Komuniti Bestari programmes in the village. “The JKKK has discussed the matter with village chief Zainah Godsung and he agreed that a new committee should be elected,” Ramli said. According to him, the officer in charge has failed to resolve the problem and therefore the Government should intervene as the villagers are wondering where the allocation went to. Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the villagers, Zawawi Datuk Ahmad, also has requested the Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) to conduct an investigation into the allegation. “The allocation was received by the Komuniti Bestari committee a year ago but we have yet to see any programmes implemented,” he said.