Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Boy dies as he struggles with snatch thief in bus


A 15-year-old local boy was killed when he fell off a slow-moving bus here as he tried to get back a wallet that had just been snatched from him. The wallet contained just RM7O. In the incident along Batu 1 Jalan Utara, the suspect had apparently managed to get a screwdriver from inside the bus and used it to attack the boy. The Police station here received a telephone call from a bystander about a boy falling off the bus about 3.35pm. A Police team led by Chief Inspector Sharanjeit Singh rushed to the scene and detained the suspect, a local, for further investigations. The case has been classified as murder and will be investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which provides the mandatory death sentence upon conviction. Deputy OCPD Supt Fadzil Moh Ali is appealing to anyone who was travelling on that bus to come forward and contact Sharanjeit at 089-203207 to assist the Police ii their investigations.


Standby ambulance along five major routes


St John Ambulance Malaysia, Sabah will be setting up Highway Emergency Ambulance Standby Stations during the two days before and after the Han Raya celebration along five major routes. They are at the Petronas station along the KK-Tuaran-Ranau Road, junction to OBS along KK-Papar Road, Kimanis-Keningau Highway and along the KK-Tambunan Road via Gunung Alab and Gunung Emas. St John Ambulance State Commander Datuk Dr Michael Z Atun Wee emphasised that St John Ambulance is aware that it is during this time that a lot of vehicles balik kampung (return to villages) for the Han Raya holidays and anything can happen on the road. “In view of this our trained first aiders will be on standby 24 hours to man the stations and they will be ready for any road emergencies as part of St John Ambulance’s service to the public.” “We wifi be there for you but make sure you drive safely and come back safely. Selamat Han Raya,” he said. The 24-hour emergency call centre of St John Ambulance can be contacted at 088- 231657 or 088-2706655 during this time should members of the public need emergency assistance.


Nine Umno members suspended, another one gets warning


The Umno Disciplinary Board has suspended the membership of nine Umno members after finding them guilty of political corruption and sabotaging the Party. In a statement, the board’s Chairman, Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail said another member was given a warning. He said thesuspension was for a period of three years or one term, effective Sept 22. He said the decision was made at the board’s meeting from Sept 22-24. The 10 were from Kota Tinggi, Rantau Panjang and Tanah Merah divisions, he added. In KOTA BAHARU, former Rantau Panjang Umno Division Head Datuk Mohd Zain Ismail described the decision of the Disciplinary Board yesterday to suspend his membership as extreme. “I feel the decision of the Disciplinary Board is extreme,” he told reporters upon arriving from Kuala Lumpur at the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport here. Mohd Zain said, however, he would send an appeal letter to the Umno Supreme Council, including the party president and deputy president. Apart from Mohd Zin, others from Kelantan Umno who were also suspended were former Tanah Merah Division Head Datuk Ismail Hassan, former Rantau Panjang Division Head Ghazali Ismail, former Rantau Panjang Youth Head Fauzi Omar and former Rantau Panjang Wanita Head Fauziah Che Wok. At the same media conference, Ghazali said be regretted that numerous short messaging services (SMS) had been distributed to Party members on their suspension before the official decision on their suspension had been received.


Hope after all for woman who lost status


There may be hope for Yong Lee Hua @ Piang Lee to regain her “lost” citizenship status. The National Registration Department confirmed they are aware of the problem faced by the 78-year- old woman who claimed to have lost her status after losing her MyKad in February last year. According to Jainisah MohdNoor, the Public Relations Officer for the NRD Director General, the department would be investigating the case which came to light after Yong lodged a complaint with Moyog Assemblyman Donald Mojuntin, who also heads the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation’s Citizenship and Security Bureau. “The NRD has made a thorough check through her (Yong) records and there were doubts arising on the issuance of her previous identity card in 1996,” said Jainisah in a statement, recently. Jainisah also confirmed the NRD Office here would probe deeper into the problem and contact Yong to find a solution. Yong who was born and raised in Sabah is no longer recognised as a Malaysian citizen after losing her MyKad to a pickpocket last year. The Department then replaced her lost MyKad with a red identity card which is issued for permanent residents. She is now unable to withdraw money from her bank or Amanah Saham Nasional accounts, transfer land to her children or renew her passport to travel. Yong, of Sino-Kadazan parentage, had appealed to the NRD for a MyKad but was told to apply for citizenship instead. She obliged, although not quite understanding why she had to when she was already a citizen. Penampang Umno Chief, Datuk John Ambrose Dumpanggol, urged politicians to be calm and refrain from using the issue on the loss of citizenship to threaten Barisan Nasional. “Donald (Mojuntin) has given the assurance to help fmd a solution to the problem, but some other UPKO leaders are sensationalising the issue, some even wanted to use it to review the Party’s position in BN ... they had reacted as though threatening the Coalition,” he said.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Pupil almost blinded by crackers


A standard five pupil was almost blinded while playing with fire crackers after the breaking of fast at his house, here on Saturday night. Mohd Nur Amzar Nordin, a pupil of Sekolah Kebangsaan Alor Merah, here became the latest victim when the fire cracker that he lighted exploded in front of his face. “After lighting the cracker, I immediately looked the other side but it did not explode. However, when I turned back, it suddenly exploded like fireworks and burnt my face and eyes,” he said when met by reporters at Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah (HSB), here yesterday. His father, Nordin Hamid, said his son’s face suffered 40 per cent burns. The lorry driver said he had always prohibited his son from playing with firecrackers but the incident occurred when he was away at work. Meanwhile, Kedah Umno Liaison Chairman Datuk Sen Mahdzir Khalid, who was giving away Aidilfitri goodies at the hospital, spent time to visit Mohd Nur Amzar. - Bernama


Report responsibly, Musa urges media


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday expressed his gratitude to the mass media in Sabah for their continuous support to the State Government and its role in dispensing information about the Government’s policies as well as programmes. “It is because of the media that people, especially the grassroots, can get information as to what is happening around them and in the country,” he said before breaking fast with members from the print and electronic media here. Musa said the media also play a part in informing the Government and State leaders about the feelings as well grouses of the people, especially the grassroots, adding that it is a give and take situation between the Government and the media. According to him, both the Government and media have equally important roles to play in the development of the State. Musa said he has been all over the State, breaking fast with the leaders and the grassroots. “Those who attended the breaking of fast were not only Muslims but also from other races and religion. This reflects on how harmonious Sabahans are and the media should continue to show that there are no problems among the multiracial and religious people in the State,” he added. Musa also urged the media to be responsible and ethical when making their reports so as not to confuse the people and create uneasiness among them. During the event, Musa presented contributions to 20 single mothers and the Bureau Chiefs, Chief Editors and senior reporters from the various print and electronic media in the State.


Umno constitution not infringed, says Muhyiddin


The postponement of the Umno general assembly to parch next year does not contravene any regulation in the Party Constitution, its Vice-President, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said. He said it was the right of the Party’s Supreme Council to decide on the late to hold its general assembly. “As provided in the Umno constitution, the highest authority is the Supreme Council, besides the general assembly, and the Supreme Council has the right to fix the dates for meetings, including that of the general assembly, and the latest is the decision to postpone the general assembly... I don’t see how this can be an infringement of the Constitution,” he told reporters after breaking fast with single mothers and the disabled here last night. He said everybody should look at the postponement in a wider context, which was to solve problems on the power transition and based on the understanding reached by the leadership. On former Umno Vice President Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s intention to contest the Presidency, Muhyiddin said this had been made known for quite sometime and was nothing new. “It is his right and we respect his intention to go for the President’s post. It’s up to the delegates at the divisional meetings to nominate him or otherwise,” he added. The Umno Supreme Council, at a special meeting two days ago, postponed the Party’s general assembly to March next year to facilitate a smooth and earlier power transition in the Party. In KOTA TINGGI, Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the postponement of the Umno general assembly was necessary to enable the power transition process to run smoothly. He said the political situation in Umno was becoming increasingly ‘hot’ with many members offering themselves for party posts following the power transition. “We see that the heat is becoming more intense, as though there are instigators pitting one group against another,” he said. Syed Hamid, who is also the Home Minister, said the intense contest for party posts was causing splits within the party which distracted Unmo members from giving full concentration to national matters. He disclosed this when asked to comment on the postponement of the Umno general assembly while attending a breaking of the fast with members of the Malaysian Association of Ex-policemen. - Bernama


Five-star attraction
Sabah however needs to conserve its natural environment, says expert


Sabah has good natural environment which is a five-star product but for it to continue attracting tourists, efforts must be made to conserve and look after it. Professor Dr Ross Dowling from Edith Cowan University Australia said this was among the conclusions made at the one-day seminar on ‘Developing Sabah’s tourism products and brand’ held here on Saturday. Jointly organised by Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) and Tourism Management programme and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) School of Business and Economics, the theme for the seminar was ‘Creating a blue ocean strategy’. The seminar explored and helped participants develop an enhanced understanding of the future potential of Sabah’s tourism products as well as the place of the State’s tourism brand. Ross, who was met after the seminar, said: “We tried to aim at creating a blue ocean strategy for tourism in Sabah and by that we are talking about not competing in the normal usual market but creating a new marketplace where Sabah exists on its own. “We talked about a new emerging form of tourism, possible different ways of marketing and branding the State of Sabah so that it is seen as being different and it came down to three key points,” he said, adding that one of the points was about Sabah’s natural environment. Dowling, who is also Global Geoparks UNESCO Advisor, pointed out that Sabah has a good natural environment that is a five-star product but it was agreed that the natural environment needs to be conserved and looked after. “You cannot invite high-yield high-paying tourists to Sabah and then have them look at polluted rivers and cleared land. So time needs to be spent on conserving the place and making sure that the five-star product is being looked after,” he said. According to Dowling, the second point was the people in Sabah who are, in his words, excellent but at the moment they are not seen as a major form of tourism product. He was of the opinion that Sabah’s ethnic peoples could be and should be one of the main reasons why people would come to Sabah as this way the visitors can engage with communities, disperse the Ringgit regionally and obtain an experience they can only get in Sabah. “The third thing was that the modern tourists are highly affluent as well as fully educated and they tend to do research on the place and tours before they come. So when they come they are looking for a memorable experience and it is that experience that needs to be provided. “A lot of that would only come by with good training, learning and up-skiing of the tourism industry here. If we can get that right and formulate a good market brand such as getting the local people involved, bring out some new. emerging products like geoparks, medical tourism, health and wellness tourism, all these are possibilities for tourism in Sabah,” he said. Dowling also pointed out that the homestay programme is now very important around the world and there is an increasing growing niche in accommodation such as bed and breakfast or homestay or, in some places, farm stay. “It is what these people, especially the baby boomers, want. I for example as a professor of tourism when I travel the world, would generally stay in homestays or bed and breakfast so I can meet the people and get a feeling of what it is like to be a local living in that particular place,” he said, adding that way the visitors can have a greater experience which is better than just being handed the keys by a receptionist at a hotel. He was of the opinion that Sabah’s homestay sector has very big potential but much needs to be done before it can be carried out. The people who are interested in starting homestays or bed and breakfast must be fully versed in what the tourists want, he stressed “They cannot just say well I have a spare bedroom, let’s go into tourism. There has to be training and they must know what the tourist is seeking,” he said, adding that it is important to find out what it is that the tourists want, put the products in place and then market it. According to him, what the tourist opting for homestay really wants is being able to communicate with the homestay people in advance so that they can make their bookings from overseas so before they leave their country of origin, they have it all organised. Another important thing to remember is that there must be: someone who is conversant with the visitors as the tourists not only want good quality food, good hygiene and sanitation such as western toilets, they also want to be able to communicate with the people so it is necessary for the hosts to be able to talk in the same language. “Homestay people need training on what it’s like to serve western or other Asian tourists as the visitors are not family, they are not even people from another village.., they are outsiders with a high degree of expectation,” he pointed out. Dowling said homestay is a lucrative operation that could disperse money regionally, and the State Government, if it is interested in offering homestay as an alternative form of accommodation, has to go out on an educational programme to talk to people in communities about tourism first. It must also explain to them what it is like to be involved in a homestay programme, what the requirements are, marketing, training and also have an accreditation system or standardisation of products,” he added.

Friday, September 26, 2008


New curriculum for primary schools in 2010


A new curriculum will be introduced at the primary school level in 2010 to make it more holistic and less examination-oriented. Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said this would replace the existing primary school integrated curriculum (KBSR), which was first introduced in 1983 and subsequently reviewed in 2000. “The new curriculum will be based on six key areas to produce holistic individuals,” he told reporters after releasing the third progress report based on the New Education Blueprint 2006-2010. These six areas, he added, were communication, spiritual attitude and values, humanitarianism, science and technology literacy, physical and aesthetics, and personal development. Hishammuddin said the implications of the new curriculum would include changes in the time table, syllabus and curriculum, while teachers will be trained to become more multi-specialised. The emphasis in Years One and Two, he added, would be on ensuring pupils mastered reading, writing, arithmetic and reasoning skills, scientific and ICT knowledge, and nurturing creativity. In Years’Four, Five and Six, he said the emphasis would be on acquiring more complex skills and knowledge. Hishammuddin said the Ministry was also transforming the national assessment system, moving from a centralised examination to a school-based assessment. Suggestions, he added, which were being studied include creating a database of students’ development, reducing the number of examination papers and subjects, and assessing based on semesters. He said the main aim of the transformation was to make learning fun and to move away from an examination-oriented environment. The Ministry, he added, was also transforming technical and vocational education to make it more relevant and attractive to students. The execution of the New Education Blueprint 2006-20 10 is going according to schedule despite the prevailing economic challenges as a result of high inflation and fuel price fluctuations, said Hishammuddin. He said the economic challenges had caused costs to go up by 20 per cent making the ceiling cost for the programme to reach RM5.929 billion. However, as a result of the re-prioritising of projects planned under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, it allowed the PIPP to be continued without any hiccups, he said. The PIPP aims to bring a about a quantum leap in the standard of education in the country so that it is on par with that of advanced countries. Hishammuddin said in terms of progress made, 235 action plans or 73.43 per cent of the 320 listed had been achieved. For this year, he said the emphasis was on bringing about a transformation in the curricula at the pre-school and primary level apart from renewal in the secondary education system including technical and vocational schools. He said the efforts were focused at producing human capital in tune with market needs. On a call by Bintulu Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing asking Sarawak Education Director Dr Julaihi Bujang to resign for allegedly being slow to act on students engaging in sexual activities in Bintulu schools, Hishammuddin said the call by the MP was rather extreme.


Head of State, Shell entertain less fortunate


Shell Malaysia and Yayasan Tun Ahmadshah entertained 150 orphans, single mothers, the physically challenged and senior citizens to a breaking of fast evening at a leading hotel here last Sunday evening. The joint corporate social responsibility programme was graced by Yang DiPertua Negeri, Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Ahmadshah Abdullah and Toh Puan Datuk Sen Panglima Hajah Dayang Masuyah Awang Japar, who joined the breaking fast and terawih prayers. Speaking at the event, Shell Malaysia’s General Manager for Corporate Affairs, Datuk Wahiruddin Abdul Wahid, said the joint programme with Yayasan Tun Ahmadshah was aimed at bringing cheer to the less fortunate members of our society particularly in this auspicious month of Ramadhan. Wahiruddin added that the evening also presented an opportunity for Shell people to enhance the existing cordial relationship with their stakeholders and the local community. Yayasan Tun Ahmadshah Chairman Datuk Haji Iskandar Datuk Haji Malik said they were happy to host the programme in collaboratihn with Shell Malaysia for the second time after the first one in 2006. At the event, Shell Malaysia donated RM20,000 to Yayasan Tun Ahmadshah and RM3,000 each to 10 welfare homes and NGOs in Sabah to enable these voluntary ├árganizations to conduct their welfare activities to assist the less fortunate and the disadvantaged. Besides receiving Raya money, the special guests were also entertained to nasyid performances.


Fishermen not responsive to aid

Only 2,000 register for monthly allowance


Fishermen in the hardcore poor bracket in Sabah are not very responsive to the subsistence allowance provided by the Federal Government, Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) Chairman Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail said. “Out of the 15,000 hardcore poor fishermen identified in Sabah, slightly more than 2,000 have registered themselves for the RM200 monthly allowance,” he said before breaking fast with the media here yesterday. Most of those who registered are boat owners and not crew members although the latter are also entitled to the assistance, he said. According to Abdul Rahim, the Federal Government has allocated RM180 million annually as subsistence allowance for hardore poor fishermen thrughout the country. LKIM, he said, has RM14 million monthly to dispense to fishermen needing assistance but since the scheme started in June this year, has paid out about half, or RM7.7 million monthly, to registered fishermen. He attributed this to the low number of registered fishermen as some of them have not bothered to renew their membership for the assistance scheme. “It is therefore the responsibility of the Fisheries Department in Sabah to go and register the fishermen so they are entitled to the assistance scheme,” he said, adding the recipients must be genuine fishermen to qualify. Abdul Rahim also said that he hopes to see at least half or 7,000 of the fishermen registered by the closing date for the scheme which is Oct 30. “Of course it does not mean that we will stop registering these people after Oct 30. We will continue as the deadline is only to ensure those who have registered receive the arrears,” he said. He also suggested billboards with information about LKIM’s assistance programmes be put up in coastal towns to promote awareness about what is available among the fishermen. Asked about abuse of e-diesel supplied to fishermen, Abdul Rahim pointed out that LKIM’s job is only to supply the fuel to the fishing industry. “After that is another story but you must remember e-diesel is not only supplied to the fishing industry,” he said. So far, the issue of the abuse has little impact on the fishermen and it is up to the relevant enforcement agencies to take the necessary action, he added.


Local loses citizenship
Sino-Kadazan issued with Permanent Resident card instead of MyKad


Yong Lee Hua @ Piang Lin lost her Malaysian citizenship the day she lost her purse. The 78-year-old Sino-Kadazan who was born at Kampung Mahandoi here, had also lost access to her Amanah Saham Nasional and Alliance Bank accounts, and now is unable to renew her international passport which expired this year. “Life has not been the same, it is very difficult. I never depended on anyone before but now I have nothing to hold on to. I have lost everything,” Yong said, speaking fluent Malay, and would sometimes converse in perfect Kadazan when referring to her sons on some facts. Before, life had been great. Just a year ago, she had everything. She was free to move around and had even travelled abroad with her church group. “I have been to Israel, Hong Kong and Rome. Life was good for 77 years until I lost my purse to a pickpocket while shopping at a hypermall here in February last year. I only realised it was missing while standing at the counter to pay for my groceries. “I lodged a police report immediately after the incident, and later applied for the MyKad and was given this red- coloured card after a few months. Initially I thought it was nice and beautiful. I actually felt special. And so I paid the RM60 processing fee and couldn’t wait to get home. ‘At home, I quickly showed it to my children, feeling proud of my new card, but my happy smile quickly turned sour when they told me the card was for a Permanent Resident, which meant that I have lost my citizenship,” she said. They brought the matter up with the National Registration Department Office, bringing all support documents such as her Native Certificate issued by the Native Court on September 24, 1963, previous copies of her High Quality Identification Card and MyKad, bank books, and passport, but was told that the MyPR card is given to elderly applicants. “Now I am so ashamed to carry MyPR around. I would rather use my driving licence for identification purposes. But despite being dubbed as a non-citizen of Malaysia, I went and practised my rights and voted at Peak Nam Thong Kindergarten during the March 8 general election. I used my driving licence for identification, and I was allowed to vote. She was even asked to re-apply her citizenship, and would be given an answer within six months. But it has been almost a year now, and still there has been no news on her application. “It saddens me as my children told me that I am no longer a Malaysian citizen, and worse, I am stateless. My life has turned upside down,” she said, explaining that she was supposed to follow her church group to Indonesia next month and go for holidays with her family to China some time this year, but sadly, had to let it go since her passport could not be renewed. “Initially, the Immigration Department officer assured me that I could still renew my passport, but later told me that my data was no longer available in the system... so they cancelled my passport. “I just wonder how come this could have happened. My children had been helping me to fight for my rights at many departments and an officer with NRD told them that when an elderly person applies for the MyKad, he or she would be given the MyPR instead. “Is this a new policy? How come we never heard about it before?” she asked, adding that they have exhausted every effort to find a solution to the matter. The issue was then brought to Moyog Assemblyman Donald Mojuntin’s attention, who is also United Pasok Momogun Kadazan Dusun Murut Organisation(Upko) Citizenship and Security Bureau Chairman, yesterday. “This is a serious matter where an elderly woman, who was born and lived her life in Sabah, was stripped off her citizenship. I will bring the matter up to NRD Director while Party President, Tan Sri Bernard V Dompok, who is also the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, would highlight it to the Home Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid Albar, as soon as possible. “Sabahans have long been complaining about the presence of illegal immigrants and foreigners with identification cards, but a Malaysian citizen is stripped off her citizenship. If her citizenship is in doubt, then her eight children may also be affected in the future. She has a native title land, can you see the repercussions? “No explanation is satisfactory to us now. If there is a policy change, it should be publicized, not inform the victim when they are already in trouble... in some ways, yes it shows efficiency in the Government departments and agencies, but somehow, it also shows the lack of communication between NRD and EC,” he said. Mojuntin stressed that what ever happened to Yong could happen to anyone else. “We want to put a stop to this… we must do it now before it is too late,” he stressed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


KK needs new court building, says SLA


The courthouse in Kota Kinabalu requires a new building to enable it to keep up with the workload in recent times, according to the Sabah Law Association (SLA). Its President, Datuk John Sikayun, said that in spite of the crammed working conditions at the courts here, the cases in Kota Kinabalu are disposed of within a reasonable time frame. He said SLA is happy with the cooperation given by the courts in Sabah, especially in Kota Kinabalu, despite the congested working environment where in some instances two support staff have to share one table. Some staff even have to place tables on corridors due to the space limitation while parts of the court lock-up, parking space and store room have been converted into office space and filing rooms, said Sikayun yesterday. “SLA hopes that the authorities concerned would consider a new building for the KK courts in keeping up with the workload in recent times,” he said in a statement. The SLA meanwhile applauds the Federal Court for taking to task those responsible for the protracted and inordinate delay in the disposal of a wrongful dismissal case of a Government servant which took 26 years and six months. Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi, who presided the hearing of the case with two Federal Court Judges, also called on the authorities to consider implementing time frames in their rules to avoid a delay in investigations of cases. Sikayun said SLA supports the idea of a time frame for the completion of investigations. He noted that in respect of court cases, although there is no time period fixed by law for their disposal, SLA is of the view that every effort must be made to adhere to a self-imposed reasonable timeline. “Insofar as Sabah and Sarawak Courts are concerned, we are fortunate that the Computerised Case Management (CMS) has been implemented. “With this system, protracted delays and instances of overlooked cases have become a thing of the past as the system would alert the Court Officials whenever that happens,” said Sikayun. Under the CMS, Sikayun said, cases are electronically registered and managed from the point of filing at the counter up to the disposal and appeal stages. “The target time frame of disposal of civil cases is about 12 to 18 months from date of filing and for criminal cases it is about six to 12 months,” he said.


Foetuses found in dustbin, dump site


Two dead foetuses were found at a dust bin at Beverly Hills Apartment in Penampang and at the Kayu Matang dump site in Telipok yesterday. In the first case, curiosity led a security guard to the discovery of a dead foetus in a partially covered hole next to the dustbin. The guard immediately informed the Police and a team was rushed to the scene to carry out investigation, said District Police Chief DSP Madang Usat. Madang said they received the call around 8am yesterday and found the foetus wrapped in a colourful towel and black plastic bag in a hole next to the large dustbins. The foetus has been sent to the hospital for examination,” he said, adding that police have yet to make any arrest in connection with the case. It was learned that the guard who was doing his rounds at the area had seen a woman throwing something near the dustbins around 5. 40am. Hours later, the curious guard went to check and made the discovery. Anyone with information on the case is advised to come forward to assist police in their investigation. They may contact Penampang Police Station at 088-712222. In the second case, a semi- decomposed foetus of a boy was found by workers at the dump site in Telipok. The workers were separating the rubbish when they came across the foetus which was wrapped in a black plastic bag. It was believed to have been dead for three days. Kota Kinabalu District Police Chief ACP Ahmad Sofi Zakaria said the police received a call from the workers regarding the discovery of the foetus. After a report was lodged, the foetus was sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for postmortem. According to the workers, the rubbish at the dump site is collected from Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran and Penampang areas.


Power rebate from Oct 1


Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd Sdn Bhd will implement the power rebate for domestic consumers with a monthly bill not exceeding RM20 beginning Oct 1 this year. Its Managing Director, Ir Baharin Din, said this is in line with the power rebate that was announced in the National Budget 2009 by the Government in August this year. He said the decision also shows SESB’s support for the Government’s caring attitude in easing the financial burden of consumers from the lower income group in Sabah. A total of 63,000 consumers will benefit from the rebate that will cost the utility company RM750,000 a month, Baharin said after a courtesy call on Head of State Tun Ahmadshah at the Istana Negeri here yesterday. “The rebate for Sabah is the same as the rate being enjoyed by consumers in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak,” he said. According to him, the rebate could indirectly educate consumers to be prudent and use electricity more efficiently. Baharin said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced during the tabling of the National Budget 2009 in Parliament last month that households which incur electricity bills of RM2O or less will not have to pay for electricity from Oct 1 2008 to Dec 31 2009. About 1.1 million people across the country will benefit from the Government’s decision to - implement the rebate, he added.


Petrol and diesel prices down 10 sen


The prices of petrol and diesel will be reduced by 10 sen to RM2.45 and RM2.40 per litre respectively beginning today, according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday. He said the retail price of RON92 petrol will also be reduced from RM2.40 to RM2.30 per litre. Abdullah disclosed this ma media statement read by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad, here. He said the new price adjustments took into consideration the actual petrol price between Sept 1 and 22. He said although the world oil price had dropped slightly, the value of the ringgit against the United States (US) dollar had also weakened resulting in the 10 sen reduction being the maximum that the Government could give, Abdullah said the decision on the fuel price reduction was made yesterday as the Cabinet meeting that morning was the last one for September and it was also to usher in the Han Raya Puasa which is expected on Wednesday. “The Government is also aware that the public will be making their journey to their hometown to celebrate the Han Raya at the end of the week. “Thus, the Government hopes the price reduction would ease the burden of the people, especially in celebrating the Aidilfitri,” he said. The price reduction is the second after the last reduction on Aug 23. In the reduction earlier, the retail price of R0N97 petrol was reduced by 15 sen from RM2.70 to RM2.55 per litre while R0N92 was reduced by 22 sen from RM2.62 to RM2.40 per litre. The diesel price was reduced by 8 sen from RM2.58 to RM2.50 per litre.


One-month bonus here

19,363 civil servants to receive payment in two instalments, one before Raya


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday announced a one-month bonus for State Government employees, and it will be paid in two instalments, one before Han Raya and the other in December. The bonus for the 19,363 State civil servants would amount to RM32. 5 million, said Musa, who is also Finance Minister. The bonus payment of minimum RM1,000 also includes those employed by State statutory bodies and local authorities. Those entitled to the bonus would receive it in two payments, one before Han Raya and the second in December, Musa told reporters after chairing the State Cabinet meeting yesterday. “The payment of one-month bonus is in line with the payment of one-month bonus to Federal civil servants,” he told reporters after chairing the State Cabinet meeting here. Meanwhile, Musa said the Muslim State Cabinet members will be hosting their annual joint Han Raya Open House on the first day of Han Raya at the Likas Sports Complex. “We would like to invite everyone to the open house which will be held from 11am to 3pm,” he said, adding that the event would be the best opportunity for the people and State leaders to meet and mingle. “I believe Sabahans of all races and religions will use this Open House opportunity to prove that the spirit of goodwill and solidarity among us is always strong and fresh and this has all along become the thrust of the State’s development and people’s prosperity.” According to Musa, Head of State Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah and wife Toh Puan Dayang Masuyah are scheduled to arrive at the open house at about 12.30pm. “I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all Sabahans and Malaysians in general, Selamat Han Raya,maafzahir dan batin,” he said.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Devt projects not affected by SAPP pull-out, says Musa


All development projects will be carried on as usual and would not be affected Sabah Progressive Party’s decision p pull out from the Barisan Nasional. “It will continue, there is no problem,” assured Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday fter presenting Raya goodies to .security personnel during a ceremony at the Tun Mustapha Tower building in Likas here. Earlier in his speech, Musa said at the Raya goodies presentation was a show of appreciation to the Army, Navy and Police personnel for their sacrifices and contributions in ensuring peace and harmony in the State, and the country in general, during the festive season. “It is not an easy job, although there is no actual threat from outside. We cannot compromise on the national security. Securing it lies on the shoulder of everybody in the country. “Sabah, with its huge geographical areas and long maritime borders, is open to threats, such as intrusions. But thanks to the dedication and efficiency of our security teams, we can enjoy peace and harmony in the Country,” he said: Some 1,000 personnel attended the event, including State Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim and Fifth Infantry Brigade Brigadier General Masrani Paiman. Boxes of Raya goodies were donated by 14 Government organisations and Government- linked companies, which among others include Sawit Kinabalu Berhad, Puspanita, Bakisa, Seswanita, Sabah Energy Corporation, Sabah Land Development Board, Petronita, Federal and State Secretary Offices, to the Army, Navy, Air Wing, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the police. Musa said that during the Raya celebration, many of these personnel will be on duty, leaving their families behind during the festive season, to ensure the State is secured and protected. “Without their sacrifices, there is no way the State’s politics, economy and social can be developed. The cake presentation is a recognition of their sacrifices,” he said. Meanwhile, Musa said the State Cabinet would discuss the bonus payment for the State civil servants at its meeti g ocii


Prisoners yearn to celebrate Aidilfitri with loved ones


Every time the holy of Syawal arrives, Ishak (not his real name) sinks into a state of melancholy thinking of his family especially his mother who died of intestine cancer three years ago. He said he was informed about his beloved mother’s death when he was just a few months into the seven years jail and 10 strokes of the rotan sentence meted out to him to be served at the Penang Prison after he was found guilty for illegal firearms possession in 2006. “I’m sad not just because I did not get to see her face for the last time, but also because I did not get to ask for her forgiveness on Aidilfitri,” said Ishak, struggling to hold back tears when he told Bernama his story yesterday. For his wrongdoing, the former contractor who yearns for his three children, aged between three and eight, wife and father, had to keep the feeling to himself. “When I’m released I want to visit my mother’s grave,” Ishak said when met during a community goodwill programme organised by Penang Prison in conjunction with Aidilfitri, here yesterday. Ishak was among the 19 lucky prisoners who were chosen to spend an hour with their respective families at the prison’s canteen yesterday. He also presented souvenirs he made for his family. “My sorrow healed a little when I got to hug and talk to my wife and children in person. I also gave a mirror frame which I personally made to my wife. “I learned to make all the handicrafts and frames in the prison and I would like to start anew in this business when I’m released later. This skill is very precious,” he said while holding his wife’s hand. He also hoped to be accepted back into the community without the stigma of being an ex-convict. He said it was the first time he had seen his family in person because for the past three years, they could only see and talk to each other from behind a glass wall. In a repentant tone, Ishak vowed to live a better life and never to repeat the same mistake again. “This is my advice to everybody out there. Don’t ever violate the law or you’ll end up behind bars. Appreciate the freedom you have now,” he said. His views were shared by his fellow inmate, Sulaiman (not his real name), 42, who is also serving seven years in jail for a drug offence. “The prison is not an interesting place to live in. It takes a tremendous toll on one’s emotion. Don’t create a reason to come in here,” he said. Looking at his seven-year-old twin daughters, he lamented over the fact that he would not be there to watch them grow up. Also present to meet him yesterday were his wife and mother. For a mother, Sharifah (not her real name), 63, the Aidilfitri this year meant nothing to her as she could not celebrate it with her son, KafiinTit his real name), 26, who was sentenced to six years jail for drug abuse. “I don’t even want to hear an Aidilfitri song, let alone celebrate it. I’m so sad over the fate of my son. I really hope he’ll change,” she said. Meanwhile, Penang Prison Director, Abdul Basir Mohamad said the 19 prisoners were chosen due to their good behaviour while in prison. He said, the programme was also meant to give the opportunity to prisoners’ families to show their support to the inmates and strengthen their family ties. - Bernama


Bureau to probe detainees’ food quality


The Public Complaints Bureau will conduct a probe on the quality of food served for suspects in police lock-ups and political detainees following an uproar created by Teresa Kok, the Member of Parliament for Seputeh. Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department T Murugiah said the bureau would also determine the amount of money allocated for each detainee’s meals per day. A report on the investigation will be handed to Prime Minister Datuk Sen Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, he told reporters after calling on Kok, who is also Selangor Local Government, Survey and Research Committee chairman, at her office here yesterday. “As the allegation has been widely reported in the newspapers and television, the people want to know the answer,” said Murugiah. Kok had claimed that one particular day she was served meals which were “slightly better than dog food” during her detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA). Murugiah said if an unofficial report was anything to go by, RM5. 80 allocated for each detainees meals per day, was inadequate as the prices of foodstuff had gone up. “The allocation may be good enough 10 or 20 years ago and it has to be reviewed. We will ask the Government to come out with a reasonable figure,” he said. Meanwhile, Kok, who was detained under the ISA from Sept 12 to 19, admitted that she was also served with chicken, mackerel and rice, and the taste of the dishes would depend on the cooks who prepared them. She said to supplement her meals, she was given Vitamin C and Vitamin B Complex capsules by a doctor who also treated her for diarrhoea. Kok said political detainees should be served with a balanced diet which should include vegetables and meat. She added that as a political detainee she should not have been detained at a police lock-up first but should instead be taken straight to the Kamunting Detention Camp in Taiping. - Bernama


Import of confections containing milk from China banned


The import ban on all infant formulas, milk and milk products from China has been extended to confections including chocolates, milk chocolates, white chocolates, sweets and other foods containing milk from the same country. Health Ministry’s Food Safety and Quality Director Noraini Mohd Othman said the ban also covered “White Rabbit Creamy Candy” from China which had been detected to contain melamine based on the latest information from Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority. “The public are advised not to purchase the products stated and dispose of it Wit has been bought. Traders should also report to the nearby District Health Office or State Health Department if they have such products in their premises. “The importers and import agents involved are also required to stop the distribution and contact the Food Safety and Quality Division immediately,” she said in a statement here yesterday. The Ministry, she said, would carry out monitoring activities nationwide by taking samples for melamine analysis. It is an offence under Section 13 of the Food Act 1983 if melamine is detected in foods and anyone involved in food chain, if convicted under the Act, can be fined not exceeding RM100,000 or jailed not more than 10 years of both. Melamine is a chemical used for making plastics and fertilizers and rich in nitrogen and when mixed with milk, it can make the level of protein higher than usual. More than a week after it became public, China’s Health Ministry has revealed that nearly 53,000 babies in that country had became ill after drinking melamine contaminated formula. At least four deaths have also been reported. Noraini said Malaysia did not import milk and infant formulas from China and this had been verified by the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia’s Veterinary Services Department which issues import permits for all animal-based products. “Malaysia also imports milk products from China produced from milk supplies imported from Australia and New Zealand. This is a condition by the Veterinary Services Department in issuing permits for milk products imported from China due to the foot and mouth disease risk on cattle in that country,” she said. She said the public could call the Ministry at 03-88833503 to get more information on the current status of the issue. - Bernama

Monday, September 22, 2008


Student saved from warden’s overly amorous advances


A private college student was rescued by her fellow students from their hostel warden’s overly amorous advances late Saturday night. The 18-year-old girl from Kanowit was with a female friend when they were detained by the warden upon arriving at their hostel at Jalan Pending around 11.3Opm. The 20-something warden, who was reportedly intoxicated at the time, ordered the girl into his room, chased away the friend and locked the room. According to the victim, the warden expressed his feelings to her then became angry when she did not reciprocate positively. The friend, meanwhile, had sought the help of two male students who immediately rushed to the room and forced the door open. The warden had already taken off his shirt and was holding onto the girl’s hand. They demanded that he released her, but the warden went into a rage. He grabbed a parang in the room and went after the two male students, injuring the hand of one of them slightly. The courageous students eventually overpowered and pinned him down. Shortly after that, the police took him away for questioning. The victim, meanwhile, claimed the warden had several previous cases of misconduct, but was not fired. She said he is a relative of someone in the college’s management team.


RM5.80 a day not enough for meals, says Deputy Minister


Seputeh MP Teresa Kok’s claims that she was served meals resembling dog food during her ISA detention have led to an investigation into the quality of food for suspects in police lock-up. Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department T Murugiah said he wanted to first determine if it was true that only RM5.80 was allocated for each detainee’s meals per day. “If it is true, then it is definitely not enough especially with the price of goods going up. A detainee needs to have breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Breakfast would cost you at least RM2.50, while a good lunch would be a minimum RM3.50 and dinner RM3.50,” he told a press conference here on Sunday. Murugiah, who is the Public Complaints Bureau head, felt that each detainee should be allocated about RM10 daily for meals. He pointed out that suspects detained to assist investigations had not even been charged in court yet or were considered guilty of any crime. They (detainees) should be treated well. Even in prison, we must treat them as human beings, he said, adding that he would appeal to the Prime Minister and Home Minister to increase the allocation. Murugiah said he and bureau officials would meet Kok on Monday at her Shah Alam service centre to get her statement. The investigation, he said, would include paying a visit to the Jalan Travers police station where she was held and to the restaurant that supplied the food. “We want transparency. I’m quite serious about this and I don’t want this to be swept under the carpet. I’m not happy that this news has gone international,” he said. Murugiah reminded the public that his public complaints bureau (03-8888 7777) had a lot of power to investigate any complaint against any civil servant, ministry or agency. ‘We don’t need to get permission from any ministry. We can just walk in, do the investigation and take immediate action. “If you’re afraid to go to the police or the Anti-Corruption Agency, come to us,” he said. Last week, Kok drew attention to the food she was given during her seven-day detention at the Jalan Travers police station. She was freed on Friday after being accused of petitioning a mosque to reduce the volume for the azan, something she has vehemently denied.


Apologise or face legal action, Bung Moktar tells Yong


The Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC)’s lawyer is looking into the course of action to be taken against Datuk Yong Teck Lee for alleging that Sabah Progressive Party APP)’s two Members of Parliament, Eric Majimbun and Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui (Tawau), had declined the invitation to join a study tour to Taiwan and offered RM50,000 pocket money each. BNBBC Deputy Chairman Bung Moktar said the SAPP President should apologise within seven days face legal action. “Of course we will take action to protect our reputation,’ the Kinabatangan Member of Parliament said. Speaking to reporters before breaking fast with the media yesterday, Bung Moktar said the Barisan Nasional (BN) has nothing to lose with SAPP’s decision to pull out from the Coalition. “It is the Party’s members who will be at the losing end,” he said. Bung Moktar said SAPP’s move was expected as Yong had done several things which were against the BN concept. However after all the efforts to get BN to sack SAPP failed, he said, Yong decided to take the Party out of the Coalition because he was promised by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of a Deputy Prime Minister’s post. “Yong was taken in by Anwar’s empty promise,” he said, adding that Anwar’s method of politicking should stop. On a suggestion for former SAPP members, especially the Bumiputeras, to join Umno, he said that even though Umno is a Malay Bumiputera party, it practises an open concept. This is clearly seen in Umno Sabah where there are Division Heads who are from the Kadazandusun and Murut community, he said, adding that this shows Umno is pragmatic and a Party that conforms to the current situation. Bung Moktar also shot down talks that the Opposition would be forming a Government and stressed, “from Sept 16 to Sept 23, to the end of the world, or any other dates that were mentioned, to me this will never happen and I believe the choice of the rakyat on who should govern the country will be made in the 13th general election.” Never in the history of the country has a Federal Government been toppled by unhealthy alliances such as party hopping, he said, adding that Malaysians are mature and rational enough not to believe the rumours.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Database to help disabled get jobs


A database will be set up to identify disabled persons who have skills and need jobs in the State, according to Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs Datuk Hajah Azizah Mohd Dun. She said her Ministry, through Sabah Welfare Services Department, will conduct a survey with non-governmental bodies to gather information on the matter. “The information in the database will be given attention and handed to relevant authorities, and they will decide whether they want to employ the disabled persons and give them work,” she said when breaking fast with the Ministry’s staff, disabled persons, senior citizens and single mothers at the Beverly Hotel here yesterday. According to Azizah, the Ministry has received a report from Young Voices for Cheshire Alliance of Young PWDS on facilities and job opportunities, and the report has been handed over to relevant authorities. “The Government wants the relevant authorities to give one percent of job opportunities to the disabled persons to encourage them to be financially independent,” she said. At the event, a total of 150 persons from ten welfare institutions and NGOs, namely Single Mothers Association, Kiwanis Down’s Syndrome Kota Kinabalu Centre, Sabah Thalassaemia Association, Sekolah Sen Mengasih Tanjung Aru, Young Voices Cheshire Alliance of Young PWDS, Sekolah Tunas Bakti Inanam, Taman Sen Puteri Menggatal, Rumah Wargatua Sri Pritchard Kinarut, Rumah Kanak-Kanak Kota Kinabalu Beringgis Papar and Kompleks Pemulihan Orang Kurang Upaya Kimanis were given donations from various organisations and agencies. The donors were General Manager of Sabah Energy Corporation, General Manager of Perbadanan Pinjaman Sabah, Group Managing Director Suria Capital Holdings Berhad, Chief Executive Officer Sabah International Dairies Sdn Bhd, Executive Director of CP Form Sdn Bhd, General Manager of Pembinaan Kekal Mewah, General Manager of KOSAN and others. Also present were Assistant Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs Herbert Timbun Lagadan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Datin Asnimar Haji Sukardi and Director of Sabah General Welfare Service Department Etong Terang.


Bus fares to East Coast towns to cost 30% more


The bus fares to the towns in the East Coast have been increased by 30 per cent by the operators, said Sabah Bumiputera Bus Operators Council (SBBOC) Chairman Donald Hanafi. He said the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) had approved the request by the SBBOC to impose a 30 per cent surcharge on the current bus fare rate from here to the East Coast. He said surcharge would be imposed from Sept 18 to Oct 15 in conjunction with the forthcoming Hari Raya celebration this year, said Donald yesterday. “We have started selling tickets under the new rate to commuters today (yesterday) after we have obtained the approval to impose a 30 per cent surcharge from the CVLB,” said Donald yesterday. He said the SBBOC would have a fleet of 200 buses to ensure sufficient seats for commuters who are returning home to Tawau, Kunak, Semporna, Lahad Datu and Sandakan during the festive celebrations. “We have a normal fleet of 50 buses but we decided to add another 150 buses during the Hari Raya celebration to accommodate the large number of commuters going back to their home towns in the East Coast during the holidays,” said Donald. Under the new rate, he said the fare for KK-Sandakan route rose from RM33 to RM43.55; KK-Lahad Datu (RM40-RM52); KK-Kunak (RM45-RM58.50); KK Semporna (RM58-RM75.40); and KK-Tawau (RM55- RM71. 50). The previous rate will be re-instated on Oct 16 this year, said Donald, who also explained the rationale for the SBBOC to impose the 30 per cent surcharge on the commuters. “The buses will be empty during the return trip from the East Coast and as such the 30 per cent surcharge imposed is justified as the 9,000 litres of diesel subsidy from the Government is insufficient in view of the escalating costs as a result of the hike in fuel prices,” he said.


Race Relations Act to be drawn up: Syed Hamid


The Government will draw up a race relations act to safeguard and strengthen relations among the different races in the country, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar disclosed yesterday. He said the formulation of the proposed act which had been agreed upon by the Cabinet would be headed by his Ministry and the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry. “These two Ministries are working together on this act, with our respective officers now at the discussion stage,” he told reporters after officiating at the Home Ministry’s staff monthly assembly, here yesterday. He said after the act had been approved, the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry would be playing an important role in the area of race relations as provided for under the act. “The Home Ministry will provide the input in enforcement efforts to ensure safety and national security,” he said. Syed Hamid said various aspects like integration, the education system and the economy would be taken into consideration in drawing up the act, besides the views of various quarters including nongovernmental organisations. “We need to get feedback from the public as ultimately, they will be the practitioners. This piece of law is for the people.” He said his Ministry would also refer to other countries like the United Kingdom which had such an act in place, as a guideline and for comparison in drawing up the act for Malaysia. He believed the act would be able to guide Malaysians in safeguarding race relations in the country, and they should view this positively as there would be room for improvement before the act was passed. “Under this act, action can be taken against those who disrupt harmony by causing racial tension and conflicts that-can also destabilise the country,” he said. Asked when the act would be ready for implementation, Syed Hamid said the target was soonest possible in view of the current situation in the country. Before this, MCA Youth Chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai had called for such an act to be introduced as a mechanism to strengthen race relations in the country in light of sensitive issues being frequently raised of late. - Meanwhile, in KUALA LUMPUR, the MIC proposed that an inter-race relations Council be established to discuss and address amicably issues concerning religion, language, culture and racial sensitivities. Its President Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu said such a Council was important to help realise the Government’s efforts at strengthening racial unity which had come under threat after the last general election. “The people are worried about the current situation as a lot of racial sensitivities are being raised by irresponsible quarters. “So, let’s go back to our original struggle of forging national unity for the good of the people and country,” he told reporters after chairing a meeting of the MIC’s Central Working Committee yesterday. He said the inter-race relations council could be set up after the proposed race relations act had become a reality. Samy Vellu said the council could be represented by the various political parties and religious and cultural organisations. “The Government needs to rebuild racial unity which will lead to national unity. But we also need to caution all quarters not to stoke up hatred among the various races in this country.” At the meeting, the MIC also conveyed it congratulations to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for being appointed the new Finance Minister, and expressed its support for the Prime Minister and his Deputy, as well as to BN in its mission to win back the people’s support through new approaches. - “The MIC supports the Government in all its actions to ensure the country’s political stability and economic strength,” said Samy Vellu. However, he said, the MIC also urged the Government to use the Internal Security Act judiciously, and the Opposition to Stop any action that could destabilise the country. - Bernama


BN to blame for SAPP pullout, say Mojigoh


Barisan Nasional (BN) should have made efforts to mend the damage within the Coalition instead of choosing to ignore the problem resulting in Sabah Progressive Party’s (SAPP) pullout, said United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Organization (UPKO) Vice President Datuk Marcus Mojigoh. He said its action or lack of it made it look like BN does not care about its family and instead, chose to defend its weaknesses. The Putatan Member of Parliament said that no one but BN is to blame for SAPP’s withdrawal and its two MPs to ditch the Coalition. “SAPP’s stand to support Pakatan Rakyat is their own stand but I had doubt that its two MPs would be willing to ditch BN. “Now that they did, then I blame the BN leadership for their failure to mend the hole in the ‘boat’ so that it stops sinking. What worries me now is that cracks are emerging in the vessel, therefore the captain must repair those as well,” he said before leaving for New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. Mojigoh said the cracks in the boat’s compartments are seen to be very serious because the other occupants in the vessel are-purposely making it worse and the captain is not doing enough to repair the leaks and cracks. “But whatever happens BN is still strong despite SAPP’s departure and we are still very much in control of the Government,” he added. On de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s resignation from the Federal Cabinet, Mojigoh said Zaid must be commended for making the decision. “I give my highest salute to him and I urge the BN leaders not to abuse ISA,” he said, adding that from the feedback, he has heard people are generally saying that the person who did the ‘kicking’ went scot-free whereas the one who saw the offence being committed and reported it was handcuffed and thrown into lock-up under ISA under the pretext of protecting her from attack by a particular community. Mojigoh said the excuse of protecting the journalist was unacceptable, and Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar has made a blunder of the whole thing. “He (Syed Hamid) is our friend but friendship aside, when you make silly blunders, you have no choice but to go,” he said. “How do we expect to defend them (the Government) when they themselves are making a mockery of themselves, so don’t expect the backbenchers to support the wrong. I don’t see those who were arrested are a threat to the nation, therefore there was no reason to use ISA on them,” he said.

Monday, September 15, 2008


RM100 monthly aid for poor children


Poor families with children aged 18 and below are eligible to apply for monthly aid of RM1 00 for each child from the Social Welfare Department. Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said however the amount is limited to a maximum ofRM45O for each family as provided for in Budget 2009. “The amount cannot exceed RM450. Let’s say a family has five children below the age of 18, we will only give them RM450 monthly,” she told reporters after visiting several old folks homes here yesterday. She hoped community leaders would begin identifying eligible families in their constituencies and inform the Ministry’s agencies as soon as possible because the approval process would take at least two months. Meanwhile, Dr Ng said that under the Budget, the Ministry has also allocated RM300 as monthly aid for childless senior citizens aged 60 and above. She said the disabled who earn less than RM 1,200 mont hly are also eligible to apply for RM100 monthly aid under the OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya or the disabled) Working Aid Scheme. “If they earn less than RM 1,200 monthly, they can apply for the aid and we will give them RM300 monthly. We want to encourage the OKU to work as hard as others and be independent. “This is productive welfare. If you do not work, I will not give even a single sen to you,” she said. Dr Ng said a family earning less than RM3,000 but has a disabled member who needs constant care could also apply for the OKU care aid. She said under the scheme, the family would he given RM300 monthly hut it could not utilise the money to hire a foreign helper.Bernama


Wrong use of ISA
- Act should not be used on civilians, says Zaid
- ISA has not been properly used :Ng


The Internal Security Act (ISA) should not be used on civilians, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said yesterday. Zaid, who is also the de facto Law Minister, said the ISA should be used specifically to stem the activities of terrorists, communist subversives and those attempting He said the ISA should be used for the stated purpose and “we keep to that”. The country has many laws which could be applied in issues such as racial tension and threats to national security, he told reporters at his residence. Zaid was asked to comment on the detention of Malaysia Today blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, Seputeh Member of Parliament Teresa Kok and Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng under the ISA on Friday. Tan was released on Saturday. “We have many laws which the Police could have used to detain the three people without having to use the ISA. We have the Sedition Act and the Penal Code,” he said. Zaid also said many other approaches could be employed to minimise racial differences or issues, including through dialogue sessions and peaceful discussions. Meanwhile, Zaid is expected to contest the post of Kota Baharu Umno Division head in a straight fight with the acting head Datuk Mohd Fatmi Salleh. Zaid was suspended as the division head for 18 months from Jan 1 last year, and the Umno Supreme Council decided that he cannot lead the division after serving out the suspension and had to wait until the next divisional election. In Tawau, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen urged the Government to review the ISA to ensure that it would not be used indiscriminately. Expressing disappointment over the arrest of the Sin Chew Daily reporter under the Act, Dr Ng said the arrest should not have been made as the reporter was only doing her job. “We hope this will not happen again. If we say we give freedom to the media, then we should give that freedom. This reporter (Tan) had no intention of threatening national security. “With this incident, we have seen again that the ISA has not been properly used. So, the Government needs to look again at the scope and implementation of the ISA,” said the Wanita MCA Chief who was on a visit to Tawau yesterday. -Bernama

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Ahmad accepts decision, still refuses to apologise


Bukit Bendera Umno Head Datuk Ahmad Ismail yesterday accepted the decision by Umno’s Supreme Council (MT) to suspend his Party membership for three years.. “I view it as my fate and accept it with an open heart,” he told a press conference after Prime Minister and Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the suspension on him after the MT meeting held at Umno Headquarters here. He said the suspension on him was a risk a member had to take in fighting for a cause he believed in. “As I said before, I was prepared to face the consequences. In politics there are two types, leaders or fighters. In the case of fighters, they have to make many sacrifices and be prepared to take risks. If we are not daring enough, “we should not build our houses close to the sea waves,’ he said. Although the MT had punished him, Ahmad said he would remain loyal to Umno and continue to help strengthen it especially the Bukit Bendera division, apart from going down to the ground to explain his ad ions. “Umno is my party, my loyalty will be always with it. I do not want people to take advantage of what has happened,” he said. He also urged his supporters to remain calm and not become emotional by what had happened. However when asked if he would make an apology, , he said: “I am not in the wrong, why should I apologise? I am firm about this and it is what has got me suspended.” Ahmad became embroiled in a controversy when during a campaign rally on Aug 23 in the run up to the Permatang Pauh by-election, he allegedly made remarks that the Chinese in the country were “immigrants” and as such not entitled to be treated as equal citizens. In PENANG, Penang Umno accepts the decision and we feel it is in the best interest of all,” Penang Umno Deputy Liaison Chief Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah said when contacted by Bernama. He added that Penang Umno would decide on the next course of action after studying in detail the punishment handed out to Ahmad. Meanwhile, Umno Youth Chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, when approached by reporters at Umno’s Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, said the three- year suspension on Ahmad was a landmark decision. “With this decision and the one taken by the Cabinet at its meeting yesterday to ensure racial harmony is preserved, I hope all in the Barisan Nasional do not act in a manner that will be detrimental to the coalition,” he said. He said the component parties in the BN should emulate Umno and take stern action against any of their members who try to jeopardize national unity. Gerakan Acting President Tan Sri Koh Tsu in a statement faxed to Bernama in Kuala Lumpur, said the decision to suspend Ahmad Ismail was a step in the right direction. He said the party hoped this would serve as deterrent against similar irresponsible and insensitive actions. MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said the Party welcomed the action taken against AHamd by Umno’s MT. This showed that Umno had demonstrated Barisan Nasional’s (BN) spirit and stood by the collective decision made by the BN Supreme Council on Tuesday, he said in a statement. He said this incident should serve as a lesson to all politicians and no one should repeat it in the future:- Bernama

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I’m not losing control :PM
BN in turmoil over racial issues but Abdullah insists it is not falling apart


Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional Chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday denied the notion that the ruling Coalition is falling apart and disintegrating as the BN held a meeting to try end a worsening racial row. “No, you are interpreting it wrongly. We will never allow (the BN to fall apart or disintegrate). “We are like a football team ... very aggressive but we play the same game. We are aiming at one goal - at the opponent - for us to win,” he told reporters after chairing the BN Supreme Council meeting at the Menara Datuk Onn here yesterday. To a question whether he was losing control of the Coalition, he said this was not the case. Issues in the BN, especially those concerning the Umno Bukit Bendera Division Chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail, would be settled soon, he stressed. The dispute, which came to a head on Monday, has exposed fresh cracks within the multi-ethnic BN Coalition that has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957, starting first with the Alliance Coalition. The BN Coalition which suffered a debacle in March general election, faced an acid test in handling the racia1 dispute that analysts said could ultimately make or break the bloc. “This is his first test-case after the March 8 elections when voters wanted (non-Malay) Barisan Parties to be more assertive,” said a political aide to a Government Minister. The issue surfaced after Ahmad referred to ethnic Chinese minorities as “immigrants” in Malaysia who do not deserve equal rights. That angered Chinese political parties within and outside BN, especially MCA and Gerakan. Chinese, along with ethnic Indians, regard themselves as citizens who should be given similar rights as the majority ethnic Malays. Ahmad on Monday even asked Chinese based Gerakan Party to leave the Coalition but Abdullah has lashed out at him, saying he was not in a position to make that call. In a sharp rebuke, Gerakan and another Barisan party announced that they would cut off any ties with Umno in Penang, Abdullah’s home base. Abdullah however said he was happy to note that leaders of BN Component Parties who attended yesterday’s meeting had stressed that they must he together in the BN to face whatever threats, obstacles and challenges. “We must face it together and work together to ensure the success of BN plans and programs,” he said. He said it is important for the people’s aspirations and wishes to reach the BN, and in this respect, there must an avenue for them to interact and communicate their views. Abdullah also underlined several steps to reform the BN, including the deployment of its information machinery to disseminate information on Party activities and Government policies. He said the activities should be implemented together and not be done in isolation by Component Parties. “We must ensure the participation of other Component Parties in any BN activities,” he said. Abdullah said the BN meeting should not only be held at the national level but also at all levels. “We should also create a research body, comprising representatives of BN Component Parties. We can no longer task this specifically to one party or hope that it will be done by anyone party on behalf of the others,” he said. Abdullah said information bodies within the BN should comprise representative of all BN component parties for a better coordination. This was also to show that the BN component parties understood one another and committed towards the BN’s cause, he said. Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang meanwhile said Abdullah must slap down these extremist and irresponsible politicians and not allow them to rear their ugly heads. The turmoil came as Pakatan Rakyat Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim moved to entice BN lawmakers to defect in his campaign to unseat the Government by his self- imposed Sept 16 deadline. In an apparent bid to pre-empt Anwar, BN took about 50 of its MPs to Taiwan for a week-long study tour. Anwar’s attempt to overturn a political order that has persisted since independence from Britain in 1957 has sharply raised Malaysia’s political risks and rattled foreign investors. - Bernama, Reuter.