News & Updates

Endangered wildlife in Sabah to get extra protection

KOTA KINABALU: Following the death of one of its three Sumatran rhinos, Sabah will go all out to protect its remaining endangered animals, starting with the Sunda clouded leopard next.

The leopard is endemic to Sabah.

“We do not want to come down to a similar situation where we only start getting serious when there is only a few of a species left, it will be a bit too late then,” said Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming.

The state suffered a huge blow to its conservation efforts when one of the last three remaining rhinos was euthanised due to cancer earlier this month, he added.

The flora and fauna of Sabah were the gems that attracted visitors here, bringing in income, Pang said when opening a workshop on ways to protect the species here yesterday.

The workshop, which ends tomorrow, is organised by the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD).

An action plan to protect the Sunda clouded leopard is expected to be drawn up following recommendations based on findings of a five-year extensive research on the animals conducted by DGFC and SWD.

Pang said DGFC – a collaborative research and training facility managed by the Sabah Wildlife Department and Cardiff University – had identified the Sunda clouded leopard to focus on this time.

Pang said tourists from China (being the most number of visitors coming to Sabah) are showing more interest in nature and related tourisms.

He added that the Sabah Parks would be increasing its conservation tax “very soon” in view of its needs to have more programmes towards the protection of the environment.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said the Sunda clouded leopard deserved its fair share of attention as there are only about 700 left in the wild.

Source: The Star Online

The late Tina Rimmer named Sabah’s first cultural icon

KOTA KINABALU: The late artist Tina Rimmer is the first person to be named as Sabah’s cultural icon.

State Tourism, Culture and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun handed over the Sabah Cultural Heritage Council certificate to Tina’s grandniece Shona Lewin at her funeral here on Saturday.

Rimmer died on May 5, just two months short of her 100th birthday.

Masidi said the ministry would be holding a tribute for Rimmer on Aug 1, adding that the tribute would feature her paintings of life in Sabah.

Sabah Art Gallery curator Jennifer Linggi said the three-month exhibition of Rimmer’s works would be one of the events in her tribute.

Rimmer was originally from Devon, England. She came to North Borneo in 1949 as an Education Officer.

She was one of the original lecturers at Kent Teacher’s Training College in Tuaran in 1951 and later taught at Siew Ching Chinese School and Saint Dominic’s secondary school, both in Lahad Datu.

She married Lahad Datu-based planter Bert Rimmer in 1959 and they settled in a farm where she learned to rear cattle and plant fruits.

Rimmer became a Malaysian in the 1970s and moved to Tamparuli in 1974 before moving to a house in Likas in 1990 after her husband’s death and then to a home in Papar.

Source: The Star Online

Dusun ‘bobolian’ leaves participants enthralled at KK int’l spiritual & tourism conference

KOTA KINABALU: All eyes were on Amit Guntawoi, 80, as she performed the ‘momulangga’ ritual to bless the opening of the International Conference on Spirituality, Culture and Sustainable Tourism, here today.

The Dusun ‘bobolian’ (high priestess) from Kimanis spent almost an hour, where she connected with the spirit world and recited chants in a conference room with about 100 participants at the Le Meridien Hotel.

Present were Deputy Chief Minister and Huguan Siou (Kadazandusun paramount leader) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is also the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) president, and KDCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

At one point during the ritual, Guntawoi’s assistant quietly tried to ask the bobolian to cut short her ritual as it was taking too long but she asked not to be disturbed.

Guntawoi is among few remaining Dusun bobolian who still performs rituals. She takes the momulangga ritual seriously to ward off unwanted and negative spirits to ensure today’s conference is carried out smoothly.

The event is KDCA’s first international conference in collaboration with Universiti Teknologi MARA and Universiti Sains Malaysia to provide a platform for various key players to present and discuss cultural knowledge and research findings.

In his opening speech, Pairin said the momulangga ritual demonstrates what spirituality all about.

“I’m happy at being able to witness a bobolian from Kimanis. The ritual she performed for us is something she believes in.

“On May 30, I saw performances where the personality of a group of performers changed after performing chants and it took them awhile to exit from the spiritual environment into the real world,” he said.

Pairin noted that the the conference aims to seek a marriage between spirituality and sustainable tourism, and that a package would be developed as they understand the subject matter.

Pairin said the conference was timely with the finale of the Kaamatan festival and urged participants to take the opportunity to further enhance their understanding of the local spirituality, culture and sustainable tourism.

Source: New Straits Times

Kota Kinabalu lass the top choice

Penampang: Kota Kinabalu representative Kerinah Mah, 22, was crowned Unduk Ngadau 2017 at the Hongkod Koisaan, Wednesday night.

She beat 43 other beauties, taking home prizes worth more than RM73,000. This included an RM6,000 cash prize, an ATI scholarship worth RM25,000, an Almacrest scholarship worth RM20,000, a return air ticket to Bangkok among others.

Shareene Francis Loudin of Penampang and Arveyna Pamella Januin @ Abdon from Papar were named first and second runners-up.

Shareene received prizes worth RM11,480 which included RM4,000 cash, while Arveyna received prizes worth RM9,660, of which RM3,000 was in cash.

Angel Sungkadhamai Marshal @ Linus (Likas), Bibiana Artecca James (Tambunan), Sharlina Gilbert Mojinun (Klang Valley) and Vanessa Claria (Tuaran) respectively took fourth, fifth, sixth and seven places.

The month-long Kaamatan festival came to an end Wednesday on a moderate yet cheerful note with a RM1 million allocation to the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) and yet another powerful display of multiracial and religious harmony that is uniquely Sabah’s.

The spell of heavy rains and terrible traffic jam did not deter thousands of local and foreign visitors from flocking to the Hongkod Koisaan grounds to experience the carnival-like atmosphere.

Launched in Tambunan this year on May 1, the Kaamatan, which is traditionally the Kadazandusun thanksgiving celebration for a bountiful rice harvest, was celebrated at all levels from the districts down to villages and families throughout the month.

There had also been celebrations in the peninsula States of Johor, Perak, Penang as well as the Federal Territory of Labuan and Klang Valley.

For many years now, the spirit of the festival has been embraced by all races and faiths, each wanting to celebrate their own meaning of a harvest.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman acknowledged this when speaking at the closing ceremony, saying racial and religious harmony has been the way of life in Sabah.

“We have no problem for we can always sit and have meals together,” he said to thunderous applause from the audience.

He added that while the festival has always showcased racial and religious harmony in the State, it must also be celebrated beyond the limits of political boundaries.

“This festival teaches us how important it is to strengthen unity and peace in our State which has so many ethnics and cultures,” he stressed.

He said effective efforts by all quarters are needed to promote Sabah’s unique cultural heritage including its traditional games and instruments.

Such efforts should indeed be stepped up, whether at the domestic or international level.

“In this context, the involvement of all parties mean not just the government departments and agencies but also the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

“The Government, meanwhile, will remain committed and double its efforts to promote Sabah’s rich and unique culture with the support of all concerned,” Musa said in his speech read by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who represented him at the event.

Musa also called on the people, especially those in Sabah, to give continuous support to the Government’s efforts in sustaining the State’s cultural heritage to prevent it from becoming extinct.

He also hoped the people would involve themselves in various cultural programmes towards fostering peace and unity in the State.Also present were Deputy CM Datuk Seri Yahya Hussein and Sabah Tourism, Culture, Environment Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau.

Musa later announced a RM1 million allocation from the State Government for the KDCA building’s repairs.

Pairin said according to Kadazandusun custom, the harvest festival is a time to seek forgiveness from one another so that mutual respect and unity can continue among people from all races and faiths.

“The Kaamatan festival has brought about a sense of renewal that transcends differences we have in politics, race and beliefs,” he said.

Although the finale this year coincides with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan, many who were observing the fast also came to experience the festival. – Ricardo Unto and Leonard Alaza

Source: Daily Express

Scubazoo’s new Borneo Jungle Diaries, airs tomorrow.

KOTA KINABALU: Scubazoo will be launching its latest online series, ‘Borneo Jungle Diaries’ tomorrow in conjunction with World Environment Day.

The series featuring 10 new episodes , will see each episode aired Monday.

It will highlight the efforts by researchers and scientists of Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), a remote facility in Kinabatangan, in their efforts to save Borneo’s wildlife.

The first episode will be made available on at 4pm tomorrow and DGFC facebook page.

This is the third series on Borneo by the Asian leading natural history filming and photography company based in Kota Kinabalu.

Borneo Jungle Diaries will feature Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski and had hosted two previous series – Borneo from Below and Borneo Wildlife Warriors, said Scubazoo founder and chief executive officer Simon Christopher.

“We hope to create more buzz on the wildlife conservation efforts here not just globally but also locally as many Sabahans do not know much about their endemic animals, via the online tv series,” said Christopher during a press preview of the series.

Meanwhile, DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said the series aim to investigate life behind-the-scenes at the field centre, as researchers safeguard Kinabatangan’s most charismatic animals through monitoring, learning and understanding.

Amongst the interesting content are the tagging of Sunda pangolin for the first time ever, intimate insights into the behaviour of nocturnal primates, and tracking a herd of elephants.

“Four episodes will also showcase Malaysian students studying at the field centre; PhD students Nurzhafarina Othman, Elisa Panjang and Sai Kerisha Kntayya and Masters student Leona Wai.

“I believe that those students can become ambassadors for wildlife conservation in Sabah and Malaysia and are examples to be followed by the next Malaysian generation of conservationists,” said Goossens in a statement.

Source: New Straits Times