There is no roads but logging tracks in Sarawak highlands. The only land passage connecting the natives in Sarawak northern highlands to Miri is through timber tracks or logging tracks.

Yes, dirt tracks passable only by heavy timber trucks or 4WD drive vehicles. The logging tracks are not maintained and even during dry weather, it is treacherous for the driver.

So imagine the suffering of the natives who stayed in the interior of Sarawak, who are deprived of any form of modernization and basic amenities. An ill patient transported from the interior may not even make it to hospital in time due to the distance and condition of the tracks.

Yes, I keep mentioning tracks because those land passage are not fit to be called roads. For 45 years, Sarawak has been part of Malaysia and still there is no roads in the interior of Sarawak. I guess Taib and Badawai still want to see the natives walk through jungles tracks to get to the nearest town.

Billion of Ringgit from logging activities has been poured into the timber tycoon coffers and Taib money vaults, yet the jungles of the natives have been left bare and scarred with logging tracks which is not even fit for normal vehicles. Literally not a single sen is been given back to the natives.

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Source: (Apr 29, 2008)

Jabu calls for upgrading of highland roads

By Mary Francis

MIRI: The federal government should look into improving the condition of the logging tracks linking Lawas, Long Semadoh, Ba Kelalan and Bario.

In making this call, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang said the problem was not a new issue as it had been brought at the Federal level several times before and he appealed to the people in these areas to understand the situation.

“We are aware of the problems facing the villagers there who have to rely on logging tracks as their land link to Lawas,” he said.

Jabu also gave the assurance that the 80-kilometre logging track stretching from Long Banga to Pa Dalih and Pa Mada and crossing the Depbur River and Bario, would also be upgraded.

He said the timber companies had made the commitment to help the government with the maintenance and upgrading of such roads in the highlands. The state government had also discussed with its federal counterpart on the expansion of Bario Airport, to make it easier and more convenient to transport equipment and materials for upgrading the roads.

“The government will ensure that the airport is expanded first, as the existing one is too small and unable to cater to the needs of the people.”

Furthermore, it would be difficult to send any equipment or materials needed for the upgrading work if the runway was not extended to accommodate bigger aircraft, said Jabu who is also the Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication and Minister of Rural Development.

According to Jabu, in the mid-term review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the state would be fully involved in all projects, not only in planning but also in implementation and monitoring.

“We will see to it that Sarawak will also be involved in internal auditing to make sure the project implementation in the state would be carried out smoothly,” he said.

Jabu was speaking to reporters after the 4th Anugerah Juara Lagu Terbilang Iban (AJLTI) championship at the Miri Indoor Stadium here over the weekend.

Sarawak diminishing culture caused by Taib's greed. Sound exaggerated ? It's not. While Taib want to promote Sarawak local culture, tradition and scenery as a tourism product to global market, he have forgotten that the culture among Sarawak's natives is diminishing.

To attract world travelers, local culture must be as unique as possible and the locality easily accessible and equipped with proper facilities. And to show case the culture, you need people. Now, in reality, most natives that have reach their working age are not in their kampong or longhouse. Most of them have migrated to major cities and towns such as Kuching, Miri, Sibu and Bintulu. They did that because there is no job opportunity near their village or longhouse.

It's Taib fault for not bringing enough development to the rural area and cause massive urban migration among rural dwellers. In addition, officers from Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) are bunch of jet setters who travel overseas for so-called "market survey" instead of coming up with plans to develop local tourism.

Look at Sabah, tourism is a major contributor to their state revenue and the natives there, earn good cash from tourists expenses or spending. Because of tourists influx, the natives in Sabah understand that they must keep their culture because it attract tourists. In turn, government have one headache less in employment worry since tourism at remote Sabah provide sufficient jobs.

So back to Sarawak, if there is no tourists going to the longhouse, the working adults definitely need to move elsewhere to earn a living. Taib and his tourism board should study from Sabah Tourism Board and learn how they successfully market Sabah to international travelers.

And when it come to sceneries, Sarawak fares the worst among all states in Malaysia. What Sarawak have to offer other than Mulu Caves ? Jungles sceneries ? Well, if there are still jungles left. Most jungles are already bare due to excessive logging (which Taib has big interest) or converted into oil palm plantations (yes, Taib also has interest in plantations). And due to excessive logging, the mighty Rajang River has now turned into MUDDY Rajang River and I sure residents of Sibu will be ashamed to show-case their Rajang River scenery. Decades ago, Rajang River used to be very beautiful and scenic. Now, if you see Rajang River, you probably be tempted to drink the river water because it look like "Teh Tarik" or "Teng-O-Peng", all thanks to siltation from upriver.

Taib's greed has caused destruction to the natural scenery in remote Sarawak, and also diminishing culture like what happen to the Penans and Orang Ulu due to destruction to their jungles.

There are some nice sceneries and spots in Sarawak that need to develop into a tourism stop, it's just that Taib is not bother about tourism and so STB is still sleeping. If you talk about jungles and eco-tourism, Taib will fall asleep. If you talk about jungles and timber logs, he will grin from ear to ear. Of course, some nitwits from Sarawak state cabinet even proposed for a cable-car up Mount Santubong.

Another area that Sarawak Tourism Board, under Taib administration failed miserably is the sustaining of tourism revenue. We look again at Sabah Tourism and their business model, tourists from Japan, Korea, Australian, US and Europe fly half-way around the world to flock to Sabah daily and by bus-load. They are awed by the natural setting of Sabah from mountain-high to divine underwater to local culture of the Kadazan-Dusun, Bajaus and other natives.

Ask any tourists who have been to Borneo:
* which dance from Borneo that they remember. It is ngajat or sumazau. 90% will remember sumazau.
which moonshine from Borneo that they remember. It is leheng or langkau. 90% will remember leheng.
* which maiden from Borneo that they remember. It is induk or sumandak. 90% will remember sumandak.
* which festival from Borneo that they remember. It is keamatan or gawai. 90% will remember keamatan.
* which native from Borneo that they remember. It is Iban or Kadazan. 90% will remember Kadazan.

Sarawak on the other hand, is only able to organize a seasonal festival like Gawai or Pesta Kaul. That attracts tourists, if any, only for the occasion. Don't be surprised if the state government spend millions of Ringgit to organize such events. And the return from tourists that flocked to see and experience Gawai or Kaul festival ? Probably, a couple of hundreds of Ringgit.

Thus, if Taib did not stop his exploit on Sarawak natural resources, the culture of Sarawak natives will disappeared together with it's tradition.

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Source: (Apr 27, 2008)

Preserve culture for the world to see: Taib

By Gaing Kunding

MUKAH: Local cultures and lifestyle have emerged to become a lucrative tourism product that every Sarawakian should strive to preserve, safeguard, enhance and showcase to the global market.

“We must see that the tourists of today are not the tourists of pre-war days. They are rich, they like travelling very much, enjoying themselves around the world according to their own preferences. Happily, a good portion of them love to see our unique cultures,” Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said when he officiated at the Mukah Kaul Festival 2008 held at Kala Dana Beach here yesterday.

According to him, the middle class of the world now take pride in being able to travel to many places, enjoying the natural beauty, food, people and places to satisfy their curiosity.

“In order to captivate these world travellers, we must make the best of our tourist products… food, culture, tradition and scenery and make them part of the showcase that Borneo can offer the world,” he said.

On the prospect of growth, Taib said: “Today we have more than three million visitors coming to Sarawak. This year we expect more than 3.6 million people.

“As you can see, Kuching has been recognised as a possible hub to explore Southeast Asia, bringing people from North to South and vice-versa to enjoy the beautiful heritage in Southeast Asia.

“There is already a link with Jakarta, and soon with Bali, both of which are rich in unique tradition and culture. Clearly, tourism is our culture’s best market.”

Taib went on to commend the community for successfully organising the Kaul Festival over the years, which in the process enabled the enrichment of the Melanau culture.

He called on the other communities, namely the Malays, Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulus to do likewise to tap into the tourism market.

“It would be nice for the upcoming Baram Regatta to highlight the culture and tradition of the Orang Ulu community.

“I have suggested to the State Secretary Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot, who is a Bidayuh, to also come up with an event in Serian area to be celebrated in conjunction with the upcoming 45th Anniversary Celebration of Sarawak’s Independence through Malaysia, to showcase the Bidayuh culture and customs,” said Taib.

The Chief Minister called on all the natives and the indigenous people of Borneo to work together in pooling their creative talents for the world to see.

Among those at function were Taib’s wife Datuk Amar Puan Sri Laila, Deputy Chief Minister Dauk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang and Minister of Tourism Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Heroes rewarded

Two heroes were rewarded for their gallant efforts that lead to the arrest of two devils in the kidnap, assault and rape of a Universiti Malaysia Sabah student last week.

The two heroes are Sylvester John and Geramias Gunir. Syabas to them.

The two devils are Mohd Sahrizal Suhaili and Mohd Ariffin Bidin who both have been sentenced by Sabah Sessions Court for a long jail terms and rotan strokes.

Related post:
* Fast judgment by Sabah Sessions Court

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Source: (Apr 27, 2008)

Rewarded for arrest of duo

Kota Kinabalu: Lesser mortals would have looked the other way but farmers Sylvester John and Geramias Gunir thought nothing about their own safety when they came face-to-face with two wanted men.

Thanks to their help, police managed to arrest Mohd Sahrizal Suhaili, 21, and Mohd Ariffin Bidin, 29, for the kidnap, assault and rape of a Universiti Malaysia Sabah student last week.

State Police Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim handed them appreciation letters and cash rewards.

Geramias, 50, from Kg Sunsuron, Tambunan, was resting with his brother in a hut next to his rubber farm, about one kilometre from where the criminals had crashed after a high-speed chase with police on April 16, when an injured Sahrizal emerged from the jungle seeking their help.

"He was bleeding just above his right eye and his hand was swollen É he seemed pale, tired and edgy," said the former assistant manager of a plantation.

Immediately instinct kicked in. "After being informed to be on the lookout for suspicious characters by patrolling policemen earlier, we had a strong feeling that this could be the person. He told us that his motorcycle crashed and that police were looking for him," he said. Geramias told his brother to keep the man calm and relaxed while he slipped away to the main road where he found a police MPV unit.

Police rushed to the area, parked their vehicle a distance away, and crept up on the criminal. "The man really did not have a clue we were on to him...earlier we said things like kasian oh kau (we feel sorry for you).

"The police were very professional...they sneaked up on the man and apprehended him, he did not resist, it's not like he had a chance anyway," he said.

48-year-old Sylvester from Kg Mansurulung, Tambunan, meanwhile, ran into the second criminal, Ariffin, the next morning.

He recalled how he had to make an effort to stay calm and composed as he talked the wanted man into believing that he would be free at the end of the day.

But instead he delivered Ariffin in his aging Nissan C20 van into the arms of waiting police at a roadblock. "I tried to ambil hati (draw his trust) and he seemed to be convinced," he said.

Sylvester said earlier while he waited for a relative in Kg Rompon, the man had emerged from the jungle behind a bus stop and approached him, asking if he could hitch a ride to town.

"I almost immediately recognised him (so) I told him 'no problem', only that I have to wait for my relative before we can leave," he said, adding police had also showed residents there a photo of the criminal.

"He asked me if I had heard of an accident here recently and I pretended not to know anything.

"He then told me it was actually him who was involved in the mishap, and that police shot his tyres, trying to catch him for selling smuggled cigarettes."

Sylvester played along.

"I sympathised with him and said the police did not need to do that because contraband cigarettes could be found anywhere."

They left after his relative showed up but he deliberately picked a road near the Tambunan Golf Club, knowing there would be a roadblock there.

The man tried to jump out from the van on seeing they were approaching the roadblock. "I quickly said it was okay, that I knew the policemen, and told him to duck so police cannot see him.

"But at the same time I stepped on the gas, worried that he might jump out, and also flashed my headlights at the police."

When he brought the van to a halt, Sylvester said the man immediately opened the door and hurried out. "But two policemen were already waiting for him there. He resisted arrest, resulting in all of them falling into a puddle of mud but was later subdued."

Sylvester insisted he was never worried about his safety, confident that if he could bring the man to the roadblock, the police would take care of the rest.

"I am very proud to receive a commendation from the police. This kind of appreciation will surely encourage others to help the police in future," he said, beaming with pride.

Oil palm plantations contribute to poaching problem in Sabah national parks. Poaching and illegal huntings has became rampant in the national parks where endangered wildlife are killed for its meat.

Sabah Anglers Association has proposed to the authority to stop the hunting licenses. Some hunters are given permit to hunt for selected animals, however, some irresponsible hunters abuse those permit and kill protected species.

Oil palm plantations worker also kill protected species when they cut down trees during opening up of lands for oil palm planting which lead to lost of wildlife habitats and sanctuary. In fact, some national parks in Sabah are now having oil palm plantations as boundary. Strayed wildlife that ventured into the plantations for food are also killed.

So far, there is no follow up from Sabah forestry or national park authority with regards to the poaching of Sabah wildlife as well as the lose of wildlife habitats.

Related posts:
* Crimes in Sabah jungle

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Source: (Apr 27, 2008)

Suspend all hunting licences: Lingham

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Anglers Association President Datuk Wilfred Lingham called for all hunting licences to be suspended immediately while authorities find a solution to the poaching problem that now threatens not just our remaining wildlife but also the Rangers.

He said the problem is not confined to the Danum Valley but also rampant in the east coast and in the Crocker Range along Kimanis-Bongawan where even gibbons are being hunted.

He said a suspension would said authorities put a temporary stop to hunting and poaching until a more effective and efficient way of dealing with the matter is found.

Lingham, the former Permanent Secretary to the Tourism Ministry and ex-honorary wildlife warden, concurred that based on information, poachers are becoming daring when confronted by Rangers.

"The loss of revenue from licences is minimal compared to the irreversible damage caused to the wildlife that is unique to our land"."

He also highlighted how plantation owners are contributing to the poaching problem and that it is serious in Bongawan and Kimanis, where oil palm plantations share a common boundary with the Crocker Range.

"The poachers use the plantation roads to drive to the boundary and enter the Crocker Range to hunt the animals," he said.

He said the plantation owners should ensure that no one enters their land and there should be proper fences at the boundaries to keep poachers out.

On whether it would be a good idea to allow wildlife rangers to carry firearms for protection, Lingham said it was up to the relevant authorities to decide.

Wildlife Department Director Laurentius Ambu had on Thursday said poachers are getting bolder, often trespassing into forest reserves with the intent of tracking down totally protected animals.

It was reported that poaching has become more serious in Sabah, particularly in the Danum Valley and rhinos are among the wildlife targetted.

Not only BALKIS (Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation) belongs to the government of the day, so does it's fund. Zahrah Kechik has no right to dissolve BALKIS and transfer it's fund elsewhere.

Both BALKIS and its fund belong to the rakyat. Zahrah Kechik argued that since Selangor is now rule by PKR, the opposition party and that BALKIS members are from UMNO, there is no reason for the existence of BALKIS.

However, BALKIS was formed as a welfare organization to serve the rakyat of Selangor not UMNO. The wifes of PKR MPs could always fill in the positions in BALKIS and continue their work, that is to serve the rakyat.

Just imagine if the opposition parties rule Malaysia, is UMNO going to dissolve Bank Negara and transfered the nation's money elsewhere ? That would not be right.

Related posts:
* BALKIS belong to the government of the day

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Source: (Apr 27, 2008)

Return cash, Khir's wife told

SHAH ALAM: Give back the RM9.9mil, withdraw the application to dissolve the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) and the matter is settled.

This is Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim's offer to Datin Seri Zahrah Kechik who was the organisation's head when she and the other members decided to transfer the RM9.9mil from its coffers after Barisan Nasional lost the state during the March general election.

The group also decided to dissolve the organisation.

Khalid said his offer was the best solution to resolve the controversy.

“If not, the state will pursue the matter because the people want us to be correct. If there has been misconduct, then justice will take its course,” he told reporters yesterday.

The issue blew up when it was revealed that Balkis, lead by Zahrah, who is the wife of former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, transferred RM9.9mil to the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) three days after the state fell to Pakatan Rakyat.

Zahrah said she had had legal advice on the matter and did it to prevent the funds from falling into the hands of the new government.

Khir was quoted as saying they were worried that the money, which was raised for the welfare of children, would not be used for the correct purpose.

In an immediate response yesterday, Zahrah said the current state government should contact Bakti since the RM9.9mil was in its hands. As for revoking the dissolution of Balkis, she said the state government could pursue the matter with the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

“Every step of the way, from holding the emergency meeting on March 11 to transferring the money to Bakti as a donation, we sought the advice of our lawyers because we wanted to be legally correct in what we did,” said Zahrah.

Dr Khir said Zahrah and Balkis were open to any investigation by the Anti-Corruption Agency, the ROS or any other party because “they have nothing to hide”.

“It is not as if Zahrah planned the whole thing. On March 11, when she held the emergency meeting, it was the members who called for Balkis to be dissolved.

“It was also the members who unanimously decided for the RM9.9mil to be donated to Bakti,” he said.

Earlier yesterday, Khalid’s wife Puan Sri Salbiah Tunut said she should be Balkis president as she was the Mentri Besar’s wife.

“We are ready to continue with the good work of Balkis for single mothers, underprivileged children and other needy groups,” she said during a press conference at the Mentri Besar’s official residence in Section 7 here.

She also questioned the legality of Zahrah's actions.

Selangor executive councillor Teresa Kok said there was suspicion that the emergency meeting on March 11 was not conducted legally.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

List of Malaysian Activists Blog

List of Malaysian Activists Blog

RantingsbyMM, Marina Mahathir

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UMNO Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein says sorry for his keris (knife) wielding acts that has caused uproars among non-malays and it also contribute to the lesser support to Barisan Nasional from the non-Malays during the last general election.

His keris wielding and kissing act started since 2006 during UMNO Youth Assembly. And that acts have brought a lot of discontent and uneasiness among non-Malays. So I don't understand why he have to apologize to the Malays since it's only the non-Malays that feel offended.

For that, Hishammuddin became more popular with names such as "Kerishamudin" or "Kerismuddin".

The keris is part of UMNO symbol. The symbol of Malay heritage. But most non-Malays see the keris as a symbol of violence, a weapon used by Malays during combat. This is compounded by the fact that some UMNO members even declared that the Keris will be soaked with Chinese blood. Of course that automatically made the Chinese to shun their support for Barisan Nasional.

Anyway, Hishammuddin has regretted his action and he also has announced that he will not be defending his UMNO Youth Chief position.

UMNO flag with a keris symbol, symbol of violence ?

What if UMNO flag is altered with a hibiscus symbol , a symbol for harmony

UMNO logo with two keris, two violence factions ?

Related posts:
On Hishamuddin Hussein's apology: Is the keris a symbol of violence?
* Hishammuddin's apology over his wielding of the keris reeks of doublespeak

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Source: (Apr 26, 2008)

Hisham regrets wielding keris He apologises to all Malaysians


KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has admitted that his raising of the keris was among the causes of the Barisan Nasional’s poor performance in the general election.

Apologising to all Malaysians for his action, he said: “If it affected anyone, I cannot run away from the reality of it. I apologise to the non-Malays and the Malays.

“To the non-Malays because of the fear to a symbol which was not my intention. And to the Malays for not being able to uphold their symbol of heritage.”

Describing it as a “sad lesson”, he said as a leader, he must be gracious and accept the consequences because the party came first.

The wielding of the keris was introduced at the Umno Youth assembly in 2005 to symbolise Malay tradition. At the start of the assembly, a procession carrying the keris would proceed to the hall to hand it to the Youth chief, who would then unsheathe and kiss it.

In the 2006 assembly, there was uneasiness among non-Malays when some speakers made racially slanted remarks about using the keris. Things were made worse as the proceedings of the assembly were telecast live.

MCA and several other Barisan component party leaders criticised the use of the keris in such a manner.

However, Hishammuddin had then defended his action, saying the keris was a symbol of Malay culture.

Hishammuddin, who is the Education Minister, however did not want to say if the tradition of kissing the keris would be stopped at future Umno Youth assemblies.

“This is not the forum to discuss it,” he told reporters after chairing a BN Youth central committee meeting at Menara Dato Onn.

Among those present were MCA Youth chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, MIC Youth chief Datuk S.A. Vigneswaran, and Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

Hishammuddin also said the BN Youth proposed that the coalition’s representatives from Sabah and Sarawak be given more recognition.

“We recognise the role and contribution of Sabah and Sarawak BN (in the general election), and they are now the anchor and backbone of BN,” he added.

He said Barisan leaders in the peninsula could share and learn from the experience of their Sabah and Sarawak counterparts on issues such as religion and racial relations.

Not only the city folks are subjected to the risk of crimes, even the wildlife in Sabah jungle are facing the same fate. There is a total lack of enforcement in Sabah national parks.

Organize poaching has became rampant and endangered animals are being killed and their meats sold in restaurants in Sabah. Poachers are also targeting rhinos, Sabah pygmy elephant and orang utan. Even licensed hunters are suspected of illegal killing. Those poachers and illegal hunters are bold in encroaching into gazetted national parks to kill helpless animals. The national parks are supposed to be a protected area but the poachers with gun rule the place.

The state government need to rope in the army to patrol parks and forest reserve to minimize the threat of poaching. Considering the slackness of Sabah Polis in curbing the syabu menace and illegal immigrants, they will be equally ineffective in helping the Park Rangers. Armed patrol by the army would be more effective.

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Source: (Apr 26, 2008)

Poaching for trouble

Kota Kinabalu: Poaching has become more serious in Sabah, particularly in the Danum Valley, where poachers are even threatening wildlife rangers.

According to the Wildlife Department there are worrying indications that illegal hunters are getting bolder when it comes to trespassing into forest reserves with the intent of tracking down totally protected animals.

"Illegal hunting is quite serious now," said its Director Laurentius Ambu.

"In almost all areas in the East Coast, we have (detected) the problem," he said, after a closed-door meeting with the police, Sabah Forestry Department and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) at the Sabah police contingent headquarters in Kepayan.

He pointed out that his rangers have discovered, through roadblocks mounted on various jungle routes, that people have hunted without licence to do so.

"From our roadblocks we detected two cases of poaching in 2003, 2004 (four cases), 2005 (two cases), 2006 (three cases) and one last year É all these happened in Danum Valley," he revealed.

Laurentius was also worried that some hunters, granted licences to hunt certain animals, were also targeting totally protected animals, instead.

"We have also detected in the Kulamba Wildlife Reserve that several people, under the pretext (of legal hunting) were actually targeting rhinos," he said, adding the worst case of poaching of rhinos took place in 2001 in the Kalabakan Forest Reserve.

"These poachers kill various protected animals and we have reasons to believe their numbers are increasing."

Sabah Commissioner of Police, Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim, who chaired the meeting, said the discussion was held to establish where police could come in to assist enforcement and prevention of poaching activities.

With the eyes of the world focused on the Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve - home to the endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros, Bornean pygmy elephant, clouded leopards and Orang Utan among others - he said collaboration between the agencies was important.

"We do not deny there are organised poachers.

"We will work with each other to beef up enforcement and prevention and possibly also in publicity (against poaching). It is important to preserve our nature and wildlife," he said.

WWF's Borneo Programme Chief Technical Officer Dr Rahimatsah Amat said the agencies need to work together to implement the law.

"Our country is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), so that is why this meeting is important to talk about actions that should be taken.

"People (poachers) now are getting more aggressive. They think they are strong and try to show their so-called invincibility. Many of the (wildlife) officers have experienced it," he said.

"But maybe with the police (presence) things will be different. With their expertise, the police are one of the key people who can assist in the matter."

Noor Rashid said police have received reports that poachers had threatened wildlife rangers.

"It is not to the extent of firing warning shots but the poachers do not have any regard for the rangers and also verbally intimidate them."

He believed there was a brighter chance of stemming poaching in Sabah with the collaboration between the agencies and WWF, or possibly other non-governmental organisations.

"That is why we need police officers to be in the frame.

If the poachers flee then it will be better that is the idea on prevention, as long as they do not enter the forest reserves," he said.

Noor Rashid warned that those found poaching face prosecution under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 or Forest Enactment 1968.

Laurentius said people caught hunting or in possession of totally protected species face a mandatory jail sentence of between six months and five years.

"People found hunting with illegal firearms also can be charged under the Firearm Act," Noor Rashid said, adding people found threatening wildlife officers face being charged under the law.

He also said police were planning to disseminate information to residents in rural areas, who depend on hunting to sustain a living, on the need to have hunting licences.

"We are very fair, we understand that kind of living but we will not tolerate poaching," he said.


Source: (Apr 24, 2008)

Police in the hunt for poachers

LAHAD DATU: Police will now be directly involved with combating illegal wildlife poaching in Sabah said Deputy State Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Razak Abdul Ghani.

Following the ‘Coordination of the Wildlife Hunting Enforcement in Lahad Datu’ meeting, Abdul Razak said that the existing enforcement activities currently carried out in Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve jointly by Sabah Forestry Department (SFD), Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), Sabah Foundation and WWF-Malaysia should be backed up by the police.

During the meeting, it was reported that both WWF’s Rhino Patrol Team and the SFD’s Wildlife Hunting Enforcers had been threatened by encroachers within the Greater Danum Valley and Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve. The Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve and Danum Valley Conservation Area are vital habitats for orang-utan, Sumatran rhinoceros, Bornean pygmy elephant, banteng, clouded leopard and sun bear. The most critical and endangered wildlife species is the Sumatran rhinoceros, where the population is now less than 25 individuals, according to WWF-Malaysia.

A strategic plan to address this issue was tabled by Abdul Razak on possible solutions to handle the encroachers into these protected areas. Among the solutions was to have a public awareness campaign to educate and inform members of the public. This will be followed by a systematic and strategic enforcement within the forest reserves.

He also mentioned that the relevant government authorities will use the existing enactments (Forest Enactment 1968 and Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997) to prosecute all encroachers with the support of the Police.

Meanwhile Deputy Director of SWD, Augustine Tuuga reported that the aggressiveness of the poachers may due to the fact that they are drug addicts themselves and poaching of “exotic” wildlife has quick financial returns as there are restaurants which will purchase such meat at premium prices.

A monitoring programme will be initiated to look into the demand of wildlife meat in restaurants in Sabah.

The issue of flood mitigation plan for Sibu is not really going anywhere. Every one is talking about to dredge or not to dredge the Rajang River and to built bunds to protect Sibu from flooding.

The depth of Rajang River has become shallower due to heavy siltation. Dredging is only a temporary solution. No one is looking at the root problem of why there is heavy siltation.

Siltation occurred because upper Rajang has been deforested due to logging and opening up of lands for oil palm plantations. No one is pointing fingers to those timber and oil palm companies yet. Those companies are responsible for the siltation, they reap profits and yet the rakyat suffer and the government need to spend big some of money to solve the problem.

Robert Lau and Sarawak Barisan Nasional are cohorts with the timber tycoons and oil palm plantation companies. Maybe he have stakes in those companies.

Take a look at some major points:
* The government required RM400 million fund to mitigate the flood problem. But all the while Robert Lau is more keen to spend money to make Wisma Sanyan area beautiful.

* Sibu forefathers unfortunately started to develop Sibu at low-lying areas. The government should have reallocated Sibu to high ground long time ago.

* Timber companies reaped millions of Ringgit in profit for deforesting the virgin jungle of Sarawak. And they are not taking the blame. Maybe DAP politicians also have stakes in those companies.

* Robert Lau is bringing experts from China to draft the flood mitigation plan. That make our officers from Drainage and Irrigation Department irrelevant and project that they are not capable of creating flood prevention scheme. High possibility that those officers are under-qualify. If DID think they are qualified, they should be the one drafting the flood mitigation plan.

* The plan will only be ready in 2010. And implementation for another 2 years. So it look like the Sibu folks have to suffer for another 4 years. Robert Lau should have looking into this issues 5 years ago, not now.

* Rajang River siltation problem started decades ago and is being neglected by the Sarawak Barisan Nasional who are more willing to develop Mukah. There is no balance in Sarawak Barisan Nasional project implementation.

Related post:
* Siltation in Rajang River due to heavy deforestation
* Sarawak logging industry - one of the culprit
* Who's protecting Sarawak virgin jungles

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (Apr 26, 2008)

Lau: All views to be taken into consideration

By Philip Wong

SIBU: Suggestions and feedback from members of the public on the flood mitigation plan for Sibu will be taken into consideration.

Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister Datuk Robert Lau yesterday regarded such expressions of opinions as of paramount importance that might eventually help solve the flood problems here.

Lau said they were looking at all possibilities, including the calls to dredge the Rajang River which many believed was the cause of the frequent flood.

“However, it takes time to solve the tedious problem and we call on the people to exercise restraint. At this moment, the Barisan Nasional team is trying very hard to get the RM400 million fund to mitigate the flood problem.

“Once the money come, we will spring into action,” he added.

Lau was speaking to reporters after handing over financial aid to five deserving students under the Bakti (Association for Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers in the Cabinet) programme.

The five students who excelled in their studies are Chiong Yew Kie, Hilda Kolony, Hirminaiza Firdaus, Philip Hii Ong Teck and Magtum Aen.

Lau felt that it would be a waste of resources if they went ahead to dredge the river without taking all factors into consideration.

“We must not rush into doing things without a proper study. Obviously, we cannot fight with nature and unless the flood mitigation plans are properly executed, otherwise the problems will continue to persist,” the deputy minister said.

Asked how long the people would have to wait for an answer, Lau hinted that by 2010, there should be at least an outcome over the flood mitigation plan.

“However, we will let the people know in advance the details once the Chinese engineers came up with the design. This way, it will pacify the people, let them study the plan and accentuate its outcome before we go ahead to implement it,” he said.

In this respect, Lau appealed to the people not to be hoodwinked by the opposition leader who wanted to politicise the issue.

DAP state publicity chief David Wong had recently called on the people to support the ‘Dredge Rajang River, Save Sibu’ campaign, attributing the frequent flood to the shallow Rajang River bed due to many years of siltation.

Lau admitted that he was not an engineer and it was not for him to assess the actual cause of the floods which was believed to have hit Sibu town many times since December 2007.

“Let the Chinese engineers come up with a solution and at the same time, let us put all our heads together and work for the benefits of all the people,” he added.

On the frequent floods that affect-ed the livelihood of Sibu people, Lau could only blame it on the forefathers who unfortunately started to develop Sibu at low-lying areas.

“At that time, what mattered most to them were the trees and rivers. So long as there were trees and rivers, they just settled down at the place for occupation.

“If we were to look at the Sarawak Government Gazette, Sibu was already hit by constant flood in the 19th century. It’s nothing new. And whether the flood is getting more frequent these days, well, perhaps, that I have to look at the statistics,” he said.


Source : (Apr 25, 2008)

Sibu floods: To dredge or not to dredge?

By Peter Boon

Consider other mitigation measures as well, public suggests

SIBU: The issue of dredging the Rajang River as a flood mitigation measure has become the major talk of the town of late.

Locals were asked at random yesterday about what they think of it. The reactions were mixed.

First to give the thumbs-up to the idea was Danny Lee, 35, a hair stylist by profession.

“I still recall in the past, the flood was not that serious. However, of late, it seems to become more frequent, making it very inconvenient to go to town to shop or do business. It is high time the dredging of Rajang River be carried out to mitigate the problem,” said Lee.

Nelson Ng, 45, a prominent businessman and proprietor of one of the largest fashion houses here, was also in favour of dredging the river.

“I have spoken to some of my friends who have been engaged in the sand and gravel business for some 20 years and they all strongly suggested dredging to mitigate the flood,” he said.

“I believe dredging the river will help to lessen the flood. I also think efforts should be made to improve our drainage system to complement the dredging for more effective result,” said Ng

Ho Kee Kit, 30, a school teacher welcomed any effort to dredge the river.

“Removing the silt that have settled over the years will improve the flow of water and reduce the frequency of floods, and if the flood still comes, it won’t be so bad,” said Ho.

An undergraduate at a local public university, Augustine Muling, 24, suggested that improving the drainage system should be given priority.

“At times, after a downpour, several places here get flooded due to the clogged drains. It is not always because of the floods in the upper reaches of the Rajang River,” he reasoned.

“A flood makes it really inconvenient to go anywhere especially during office hours. Therefore, improving the drainage system should be given the utmost urgency.”

Chan Ping, 33, a business woman suggested that both dredging and improving the drainage system should be carried out – preferably at the same time.

“While I am all for dredging the river, our drainage system needs to be improved too to effectively mitigate the flood. Doing one without the other won’t be effective. If you dredge the river but the drains are still clogged, rain water would flow too slowly to the river and the town would still get flooded,” said Chan.

Proprietor of a boutique shop, Andy Ng, 40, felt that dredging the river would only yield temporary results.

“According to a friend of mine from overseas who frequented this town, a proper drainage system would be a more effective solution,” he said.

“If you go around town, you would quickly notice some clogged drains. What is crucial now is to improve the drainage system so that water will be able to flow freely,” said Ng.

Concurring with Ng’s opinion, a person who wished to remain anonymous believed that improving the drainage system was of immediate concern.

The flood is caused by the deforestation and also excess water from the interior of the vast Kapit Division, he explained.

“Hence, I believe that improving our drainage system is a more viable option to mitigate the flood here. The local authority should also ensure that housing developers focus on building proper drains for all new housing projects,” he said.

A pastor from a local church, Michael Siew, who is from Perak, believed that a more practical option would be to plant trees along the river banks.

“In the past, we experienced the same problem in Perak due to extensive tin mining operations. But when the activity ceased, the floods also stopped,” he recalled.

Imagine a girl being abducted by two men who were high on Syabu and raped and still alive to see the culprit being punished by the law. Despite her ordeal and pain, she survived. Most abducted woman ended being both rape and murder victim.

Syabas to Sabah Session Court in expediting the case and Keningau police for arresting the kidnappers. It was also pure luck that Keningau police stumbled upon the kidnapper's car and gave a chase.

The first devil, Mohd Arifin Bidin, 29, was sentenced to 56 years' jail and 25 strokes of the rotan, while another devil Mohd Sahrizal Suhaili, 21, was given a 45-year jail term and 20 lashes.

Frankly, for their hideous crime, Mohd Arifin and Mohd Sahrizal should be each mettled with 100 years jail term and 100 strokes of the rotan.

And for Kota Kinabalu police, a big booo for them for insufficient patrols, lack of crime prevention jobs and unable to control the menaces of Syabu in Kota Kinabalu.

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Source: (Apr 25, 2008)

Duo get long jail terms, rotan for kidnap, rape

By : Joniston Bangkuai

KOTA KINABALU: Two men who kidnapped a 22-year-old university student, raped her and forced her to perform oral sex on them were jailed a total of 101 years and ordered to be given 45 strokes of the rotan.

Mohd Arifin Bidin, 29, was sentenced to 56 years' jail and 25 strokes of the rotan, while his friend Mohd Sahrizal Suhaili, 21, was given a 45-year jail term and 20 lashes.

The sentences were meted out by Sessions Court judge Duncan Sikodol after the duo pleaded guilty to eight charges of kidnapping, raping, forcing to perform oral sex and causing grievous hurt to the girl.

Both accused were unrepresented, while senior federal counsel Suhaimi Ibrahim appeared for the prosecution.

Mohd Arifin and Mohd Sahrizal were jointly charged with kidnapping the girl, a second year student of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, at 6.50pm on April 15 at Kingfisher Park. Each received sentences of five years' jail for this.

They were also jointly charged with causing grievous hurt to the girl between 6.50pm and 5am while travelling from Kingfisher Park here to Kampung Rompon in Tambunan. They were each sentenced to five years' jail and ordered to be given five strokes of the cane for this charge.

Separate charges were framed against the two accused for raping and forcing the victim to perform oral sex.

Mohd Sahrizal, an unemployed from Kota Belud, was charged with raping the girl between 6.50pm and 10pm on April 15 at the old Kota Kinabalu-Tambunan road and forcing her to perform oral sex on him at the same time and place.

He received 20 years' imprisonment and 10 strokes of the rotan for the former and 15 years' jail and five lashes for the latter.

Mohd Arifin, a fishmonger from Bongawan, was charged with raping the girl twice between 6.50pm and 10pm on April 15 at the old Kota Kinabalu-Tambunan road and between 2am and 4am on April 16 at the same place. He was sentenced to jail terms of 23 years' and ordered caned 10 times for each of the charges.

Sikodol ordered the jail sentences for both accused to run concurrently.


Source: (Apr 25, 2008)

Duo claim driven by Satan

Kota Kinabalu: The Sessions Court here on Thursday heard how two local men had kidnapped a 22-year-old Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) student in a stolen car, then assaulted, sexually abused and raped her during a 10-hour ordeal which only ended after police came to her rescue last week.

Mohd Ariffin Bidin, 29, and Mohd Sahrizal Suhaili, 21, who claimed they were driven by Satan to commit the heinous crimes, which sent shock waves across Sabah, felt the full brunt of the law by the time proceedings came to end at the courthouse.

Altogether Ariffin was handed a 59-year prison sentence along with 35 strokes of the cane, while Sahrizal was meted a total prison sentence of 48 years and 35 lashes of the cane.

Arifin, from Kampung Tarap, Bongawan, will however only serve 31 years behind bars and Sahrizal, of Kampung Pirasan, Kota Belud, 28 years as the court ordered the prison terms for some of the offences to run concurrently.

Ariffin, a mechanic, and Sahrizal, unemployed, pleaded guilty before Judge Duncan Sikodol to all the charges.

Senior Federal Counsel (SFC) Suhaimi Ibrahim appeared for the prosecution.

They were jailed five years and fined RM1,000 in default five months' jail each for jointly kidnapping the student at 6.50pm on April 15, this year at the Kingfisher Roundabout, Jalan Bangka-Bangka, Likas.

Both were also sentenced to five years' jail plus five strokes of the cane for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to the student.

They admitted committing the offence between 6.50pm and 5am on April 16, this year at the Kingfisher Roundabout and Kampung Rompon, Tambunan.

Sikodol ordered the sentences for kidnapping and causing grievous hurt to run concurrently.

Ariffin was handed 23 years and 10 strokes of the cane for raping the student between 6.50pm and 10pm on April 15, along Jalan Kota Kinabalu-Tambunan.

He was also given the same punishment for raping the student between 2am and 4am on April 16, also along Jalan Kota Kinabalu-Tambunan.

The sentences were, however, ordered to run concurrently but consecutively with the five years' jail for the kidnapping charge.

Sahrizal was sentenced to 20 years' jail plus 10 strokes of the cane for raping the student between 6.50pm and 10pm on April 15, along Jalan Kota Kinabalu and Jalan Tambunan.

He was also jailed 15 years plus five strokes of the cane for committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature to the student between 6pm and 10pm on April 15, also along Jalan Kota Kinabalu and Jalan Tambunan.

The sentences were ordered to run concurrently but consecutively with the five years' imprisonment for kidnapping the student.

Ariffin was also sentenced to 51 months' jail and fined RM15,000 in default 18 months' imprisonment when he pleaded guilty in the Magistrate's Court to stealing three cars.

Sahrizal, too, was jailed by the Magistrate's Court to a total of three years' jail and RM10,000 fine in default 14 months' jail for stealing two cars.

Both will serve the sentences imposed by the Magistrate's Court consecutively with those meted out by the Sessions Court.

In presenting the facts of the cases, SFC Suhaimi told the court that police investigations revealed both accused had planned to commit the crimes using the vehicle that they had stolen.

SFC Suhaimi said they approached the student from behind with Ariffin behind the wheel. Sahrizal dragged her into the car and they sped off towards the city centre.

He said the victim had tried and struggled to escape but was kicked, beaten, bitten and punched by Sahrizal.

Ariffin then drove towards Keningau and on the way tied the student's hands with masking tape and, at the same time, Sahrizal cut her clothes to strip her.

SFC Suhaimi said that while they were passing Gunung Emas (Mile 29, Jalan Kota Kinabalu-Tambunan), the student tried to escape by opening the door while Sahrizal was pulling down her jeans but he pulled her inside the car. He also kicked her abdomen and head.

During the struggle, the binding on the girl's hand broke but Sahrizal tied her hands again using her brassiere and panty before raping her.

According to SFC Suhaimi, it was the first rape incident. He said Sahrizal also forced the girl to perform oral sex and sexually abused her.

The SFC also told the court that Sahrizal and Ariffin then switched places in the car without stopping it.

He told the court that Ariffin then raped the student between 6.50pm and 10pm and repeated the act for the second time between 2am and 4am while they stopped at a place along the road.

Suhaimi said the student, who was in dire pain all over her body because of the rape and assault, pleaded to her captors to release her and send her to hospital but ignored by them.

She continued pleading to them until they were tracked down by Keningau police.

Suhaimi said Ariffin also had changed the car's registration number from SAA 4558 N to SAA 1558 N.

In mitigation, Hamid Ismail, who was the duty counsel for both accused, pleaded for an appropriate sentence for them saying their pleading guilty had saved the court time and expenses.

He said both accused also regretted their actions.

Sahrizal and Ariffin also pleaded for a lenient sentence.

When asked by the judge why they committed the offences, both said they were under the influence of alcohol and Syabu. Ariffin added that they were overcome by evil lusts.

Meanwhile, SFC Suhaimi urged the court to pass deterrent sentences to both accused.

"Can we bring back the good time of the victim, the glow and shine of the girl? She will forever have this trauma of having to go through hell. Who should be protected? The victim or the accused."

"The public interest demand them to be severely punished under the law.

Even the maximum sentence meted out cannot bring back the girl's virgin status," SFC Suhaimi said.

He said not only they hurt the girl but also the public with what they had done, adding the bite marks on the victim's face by the accused could be there for the rest of her life.

"At least this court knows how long the accused will be behind bars at least until her natural years. The victim in now 22 years old, a university student, she should have a bright future," said the SFC, in urging the court to impose severe punishments on the accused.

He proposed that both accused's jail sentences to be consecutive after the expiry of the jail sentence for car theft imposed on them earlier by the Magistrate's Court.

After the proceeding, Sahrizal and Ariffin were whisked to the Kepayan prison.

SFC Suhaimi was assisted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Zaizul Raja Zaharudin and Assistant Public Prosecutors Hasmizulizam Hamidon and Effizah Ernie Idris.

When Association of Wives of State Assemblymen and Members of Parliament in Selangor (Balkis) was formed, those involved never imagine that the government of Selangor would fell into opposition hand.

Based on their constitutions, the president of Balkis must be the wife of the Menteri Besar. And that Balkis's fund can only be transferred by the president. Zaharah Kechik, the wife of former Menteri Besar (Mohamad Khir Toyo) thus is no longer the president of Balkis as the new Menteri Besar of Selangor is Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

The post new president of Balkis therefore should be given to wife of Abdul Khalid, i.e. Salbiah Tunut.

This means it is illegal and a crime for Zaharah to dissolve Balkis when she is not the rightful president and Balkis together with it's fund must be handed over to the government of the day. Zaharah (and the UMNO ladies) are trying to be cunning and fortunately Balkis constitution has a provision to thwart their moves.

The people behind Balkis is still have an old mindset that Balkis belong to UMNO (or belong to the Menteri Besar) when Balkis is suppose to be a welfare organisation and is to be apolitical. Balkis belong to the government (of the day regardless it's from PKR or Barisan Nasional) and the rakyat.

Investigation must be made to expose these fraud and bring those irresponsibles to justice.

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RM10m gone in 3 days

R. Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez

PETALING JAYA (April 24, 2008): Three days after their husbands lost power to rule Selangor, the wives got into the act – plotting to dissolve a welfare body and remove almost RM10 million from its bank accounts.

But their attempts have been thwarted by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim who wrote to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to question the validity of the decision to dissolve the Association of Wives of State Assemblymen and Members of Parliament in Selangor (Balkis).

It is learnt that Abdul Khalid has ordered a thorough investigation and audit into the affairs of the association which was set up in 1985 to undertake welfare work.

According to documents sighted by theSun, Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik, the wife of former mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo had on March 11 convened an extraordinary general meeting of the committee to dissolve Balkis and close its bank accounts. The following day, the accounts were closed, with the money transferred to another account and then to Bakti – the federal Organisation of Wives of Ministers which Balkis is affiliated to.

On March 13, the former exco members of Balkis issued a notice of dissolution to the ROS, which included amending the constitution of Balkis and establishing a new organisation – Balkis-BN, is among the names suggested.

“This was to prevent the Balkis premises (Kompleks Wawasan Balksi - KWB) and the association itself from being taken over by the new state government,” said an insider.

“Once this was done, then the money will be transferred back to the new organisation,” the insider added.

However, the ROS in a letter stated that Balkis' application for dissolution was incomplete and gave it 30 days to furnish additional information.

The constitution of Balkis states that the mentri besar's wife should be the president. Sources in the state government argue that since Mohamad Khir is no longer MB, Zaharah is no longer the president and has no power whatsoever to dissolve the association or liquidate its funds. Incidentally, the constitution also states that the organisation must remain apolitical.

Legal experts say by right, following the events of March 8, the exco headed by Zaharah should have convened an emergency meeting to discuss the handing over of Balkis to a new exco – with the new president being Abdul Khalid’s wife Puan Sri Salbiah Tunut.

Bakti, meanwhile, according to minutes of a recent meeting it held, had under advice of a sitting judge received the RM9.9 million from Balkis, which it has placed in a fixed deposit. The money would then be transferred back to the new organisation set up by the former Balkis members.

Bakti would also take over a Special Education Project involving millions of ringgit until the “new” Balkis is formed.

This is clearly goes against Balkis’ constitution which states that in the event of a dissolution, all monies must be transferred to the government or a similar fund, with the approval of the Inland Revenue Board director-general.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Abdul Khalid had in his letter to the ROS on Wednesday (April 23) said of the amount in Balkis’ accounts, about RM850,000 was donated by state government companies – Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd which gave RM268,862 last year and Perbadanan Kemajuan Negri Selangor (PKNS) which contributed RM590,379.50 between 2006 and 2007.

It is understood that Abdul Khalid is also investigating the transfer of 43,560sq ft of land in Section 7, Shah Alam, which the state government had in 2002 offered to Balkis at a nominal cost of RM250,000 (RM5.74/sq ft) for the setting up of a shelter home for women that cost RM5 million.



It’s ‘our’ money, not yours

R. Nadeswaran

TWENTY-EIGHT days before Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo was unseated as Selangor mentri besar, he asserted that the Selangor Economic Development Corporation (PKNS) was a private company and that its money and assets do not belong to the people.

At a pow-wow over lunch with this writer and his colleagues, he charged: “You wrote that the fine paid by PKNS was people’s money. No, PKNS is a private company.” (For the record, PKNS was imposed fines totalling RM330,000 for illegal clearing of land around the Bukit Cahaya Agricultural Park and at all material times, Mohd Khir was its chairman.)

Then he made a remarkable statement: “The fine goes back to the state coffin! (I’m sure he meant “coffers” but those at the lunch looked stunned when he used the word a second time). The money comes back to us.” Not wanting to argue with someone who has little knowledge of where the fines imposed by a court of justice end up and not wanting to give him a free lesson in financial procedures, I reserved my comments.

Today, PKNS is in the news again. Here’s a summary of what it paid out to Balkis, the organisation of wives of state assemblymen and MPs in Selangor.

• RM218,719 for the opening ceremony of Komplex Wawasan Balkis;

• RM200,000 for the Balkis dinner;

• RM10,000 for a table at the same dinner; and

• RM161,660 for programmes organised by Balkis.

If you thought that people’s money – not a private company’s money as Mohamad Khir sees it – was being handed out like candy, PKNS also sold 43,560 sq ft of land in Section 7 in Shah Alam at RM5.74 per sq ft – a bargain whichever way you look at it.

But no money changed hands. A contra deal for amount payable – RM250,000 – was made. The amount was off-set as a loan from PKNS to the state government and this was duly endorsed at the meeting of the State Financial Committee on Oct 19, 2000. Has this loan been settled?

And the deal was between PKNS and the state government. How did Balkis come into the picture?

Balkis for all intent and purposes was an organisation that received funds and other forms of financial help from the state government. The mentri besar’s wife occupies the seat of the president and the members of the committee are elected among the wives.

Just like Mohamad Khir deemed PKNS a private entity, his wife Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik saw Balkis as a “sendirian berhad”. How else could she call for a meeting and dissolve the organisation and transfer funds running into millions?

Doesn’t the constitution say that the president should be the mentri besar’s wife? As of March 9, her hubby was no longer the mentri besar and therefore, she automatically relinquishes her post. But no, giving up power and influence does not come easy.

Leaving that issue aside, where else did our money, (oops! PKNS money as Mohamad Khir sees it) end up? Special number plates for its officers, for one. Should the people pay for their employees to drive around in cars with fancy number plates? It can be argued that this exercise involved a few thousand ringgit, but it’s the principle that matters.

On a larger scale, PKNS built what was termed as a public golf course, which has since been privatised. Since it was built with people’s money running into millions, why should the rakyat pay commercial rates at the Seri Selangor Golf Club? Were open tenders called for the privatisation deal or was it handed on a platter to some uncle or brother-in-law’s sister’s son?

What about the joint-venture deals and other questionable agreements which could have committed us? Shouldn’t we, the rakyat be entitled to know? Or should we remain silent with folded arms as those who raped and plundered the state coffers get away scot-free?

That is why there is a dire need for accountability and transparency in all matters involving public money. Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has done the right thing by ordering an audit of Balkis, but what about the state-owned companies and agencies, who are flaunting our money as if it is theirs?

The goings-on within Balkis are just the small fish that’s visible on the surface in shallow waters. Deep down, there are even bigger ones who have used our money without having to account for it and even stolen our money. Shouldn’t these thieves be brought to book? Shouldn’t we file civil suits to recover what rightfully belongs to us?

Abdul Khalid, on taking office, promised reports every quarter or 100 days. The clock is ticking, and by the end of next month, can we expect that report and see a few heads roll?

The 20-point agreement, or the 20-point memorandum, is an agreement made between the state of Sabah (then North Borneo) with what would be the federal government of Malaysia prior to the formation of Malaysia in September 16, 1963. A similar agreement was made between the state of Sarawak and the federal government but with certain differences in their 18-point agreement.

The agreement was written for the main purpose of safeguarding the interests, rights, and the autonomy of the people of Sabah upon entering the federation of Malaysia. It was originally envisaged that Sabah be one of the four entities in the federation, the others being Malaya, Singapore, and Sarawak. However as times passed, Sabah and Sarawak has ended up being merely one of the 13 states in the federation.

Main agreement points validity as of today:
Point 1 - No state religion for Sabah. Thus Islam is not the state religion of Sabah.

Point 4 - Sabah Head of State can never be the ruler or PM of Malaysia. How sad.

Point 7 - Sabah no right to secede from the Federation. Ooops.

Point 9 - No longer applicable.

Point 12 - The native of Sabah have equal rights as those of Malays in Malaya. Thus native of Sabah is not second class Bumiputra or Bumiputra Lain Lain

The agreement

Point 1: Religion

While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo

Point 2: Language

* a. Malay should be the national language of the Federation
* b. English should continue to be used for a period of 10 years after Malaysia Day
* c. English should be an official language of North Borneo for all purposes, State or Federal, without limitation of time.

Point 3: Constitution

Whilst accepting that the present Constitution of the Federation of Malaya should form the basis of the Constitution of Malaysia, the Constitution of Malaysia should be a completely new document drafted and agreed in the light of a free association of states and should not be a series of amendments to a Constitution drafted and agreed by different states in totally different circumstances. A new Constitution for North Borneo (Sabah) was of course essential.

Point 4: Head of Federation

The Head of State in North Borneo should not be eligible for election as Head of the Federation

Point 5: Name of Federation

“Malaysia” but not “Melayu Raya”

Point 6: Immigration

Control over immigration into any part of Malaysia from outside should rest with the Central Government but entry into North Borneo should also require the approval of the State Government. The Federal Government should not be able to veto the entry of persons into North Borneo for State Government purposes except on strictly security grounds. North Borneo should have unfettered control over the movements of persons other than those in Federal Government employ from other parts of Malaysia into North Borneo.

Point 7: Right of Secession

There should be no right to secede from the Federation. Read why Sabah cannot withdraw from the federation.

Point 8: Borneanisation

Borneanisation of the public service should proceed as quickly as possible.

Point 9: British Officers

Every effort should be made to encourage British Officers to remain in the public service until their places can be taken by suitably qualified people from North Borneo

Point 10: Citizenship

The recommendation in paragraph 148(k) of the Report of the Cobbold Commission should govern the citizenship rights in the Federation of North Borneo subject to the following amendments:

* a) sub-paragraph (i) should not contain the proviso as to five years residence
* b) in order to tie up with our law, sub-paragraph (ii)(a) should read “7 out of 10 years” instead of “8 out of 10 years”
* c) sub-paragraph (iii) should not contain any restriction tied to the citizenship of parents – a person born in North Borneo after Malaysia must be federal citizen.

Point 11: Tariffs and Finance

North Borneo should retain control of its own finance, development and tariff, and should have the right to work up its own taxation and to raise loans on its own credit.

Point 12: Special position of indigenous races

In principle, the indigenous races of North Borneo should enjoy special rights analogous to those enjoyed by Malays in Malaya, but the present Malays’ formula in this regard is not necessarily applicable in North Borneo

Point 13: State Government

* a) the Prime Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council
* b) There should be a proper Ministerial system in North Borneo

Point 14: Transitional period

This should be seven years and during such period legislative power must be left with the State of North Borneo by the Constitution and not be merely delegated to the State Government by the Federal Government

Point 15: Education

The existing educational system of North Borneo should be maintained and for this reason it should be under state control

Point 16: Constitutional safeguards

No amendment modification or withdrawal of any special safeguard granted to North Borneo should be made by the Central Government without the positive concurrence of the Government of the State of North Borneo

The power of amending the Constitution of the State of North Borneo should belong exclusively to the people in the state. (Note: The United Party, The Democratic Party and the Pasok Momogun Party considered that a three-fourth majority would be required in order to effect any amendment to the Federal and State Constitutions whereas the UNKO and USNO considered a two-thirds majority would be sufficient)

Point 17: Representation in Federal Parliament

This should take account not only of the population of North Borneo but also of its seize and potentialities and in any case should not be less than that of Singapore

Point 18: Name of Head of State

Yang di-Pertua Negeri

Point 19: Name of State


Point 20: Land, Forests, Local Government, etc.

The provisions in the Constitution of the Federation in respect of the powers of the National Land Council should not apply in North Borneo. Likewise, the National Council for Local Government should not apply in North Borneo.


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