News & Updates

New book on Borneo stick insects launched

KOTA KINABALU: Documenting wildlife is just as important as protecting them and could contribute greatly to the effort of conserving various fauna, said Sabah Forestry Department Chief Conservator of Forests Datuk Sam Mannan.

According to Sam, it was imperative to document wildlife in the state or Borneo as a whole to serve as a point of reference.

“There is magic in books and those who write books are magicians. Books are important – but I don’t believe in e-books.

“It is great that in Sabah at least, a lot of the work has been documented. This is very practical and important because, as we move further into High Conservation Value (HCV) certification, this is a good resource material that will be useful for us today and in times to come.”

He said this at the launch of ‘A Taxonomic Guide to the Stick Insects of Borneo, Volume II’ by Professor Dr Francis Seow-Choen.

He said for the Sabah Forestry Department, the book will prove very useful for researchers in identifying, documenting and highlighting the endemic species in preparing HCV reports and forest management plans in sustainable forest management.

Sam added that documenting species of fauna was important for their protection and management to ensure their survival for future generations.

“Like many other insects, stick insects are truly fascinating. Such bizarre and captivating creatures in Borneo have drawn the attention of many nature lovers and tourists from around the world and this promotes nature tourism and contributes towards the state’s economy.

“It also indicates the high rate of unexplored diversity of Bornean stick insects. All these specimens are vital as taxonomic and biodiversity references for both local and international researchers, as well as university students,” he disclosed.

Sam also said that the Sabah Forestry Department will continue with certification, hopefully adding another two forests to the certified list of reserved forests this year, in meeting the target of certifying at least one reserved forest per year.

The department will also be focusing on reducing impact logging and engagement with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), emphasising the importance of collaboration, he revealed.

“Last time, we thought we could work on our own and make it. But it doesn’t work like that; we must get everybody who is interested in the particular subject on our team,” Sam said.

Earlier, Natural History Publications (Borneo) managing director Datuk CL Chan commended Dr Francis’ efforts in seeing the book to fruition.

This kind of documentation took painstaking study and mastery of a subject, he pointed out, in which the specialist then becomes uniquely aware of the diversity of form and the specialisations and common features of various groups that may be recognised.

“It was most remarkable when Dr Francis crafted the first volume, which documented 15 new genera and 52 new species for the first time. The discovery and publication of so many novelties in a biological group, for a single territory, represented an iconic moment in science.

“Now, in just a short period of 12 months, Dr Francis has made even more intensive collecting trips to Sabah, this time concentrating on the phasmid fauna of Mount Trus Madi.

“The author has not only done science a great service in providing these results, but also allowed naturalists easy identification of the species portrayed as all the new taxa are described and illustrated with high-quality photographs,” he said.

Chan also revealed that Natural History Publications (Borneo) has been appointed as the publisher of Dr Francis’ upcoming book ‘Stick Insects of Sumatra’, which he is well into completing at the manuscript stage.

‘A Taxonomic Guide to the Stick Insects of Borneo, Volume II’ continues to open new trails to a better understanding of Bornean stick insect fauna the author has concentrated his efforts on the stick insects of Mount Trus Madi, besides studying the drawers of the entomological collections of Kinabalu Park and the Forest Research Centre in Sepilok.

Volume II lists 373 Bornean species or subspecies from 92 genera, with descriptions of four new genera, one genus new to Borneo, 37 new species, four new name combinations, three new synonyms, two wrong synonyms and nine descriptions of the previously unknown sex of known species.


Source: Borneo Post

New Sabah International Convention Centre to be completed in 10 months

KOTA KINABALU: The state’s upcoming new landmark, the Sabah International Convention Centre, is expected to be ready within 10 months, says Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.

“The construction is still ongoing and we hope it will be completed according to schedule.

“The centre will be timely for us, as it can host meetings, conferences and exhibitions even at international level, as the state currently lacks a huge venue for these events,” he said, adding the state government has extended its gratitude to the federal government over the RM250 million contribution for the centre.

Musa was speaking to reporters after inspecting the construction progress at the site.

Also present were state cabinet ministers, Yayasan Sabah Group director Datuk Sapawi Ahmad, members of the Sabah Chamber of Commerce, and the Sabah Chinese Chambers Association.

He added besides exhibitors and performers, the centre will also provide job opportunities for locals.

The centre, owned by state-operated Yayasan Sabah, will have a 20,400 square exhibition area including the hall, 22 meeting rooms, an open plaza for outdoor exhibitions, as well as a convention hall.

Its two-tier performing arts hall can cater for 1,200 audiences, four simultaneous interpretation booths, built-in stage with technologically advanced audio visual and stage lighting, rehearsal room and ample holding storage.

Source: New Straits Times

State govt now consulted on rural projects via joint committee

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman said its close cooperation between state ministries and their federal counterparts was vital to successful planning and implementation of projects in the state.

He therefore welcomed the effort by the federal Regional and Rural Development Ministry under its minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to jointly chair a meeting with its state counterpart on rural development projects for Sabah

“We commend this initiative by KKLW, which for the first time has invited me to jointly chair a meeting on rural development projects for Sabah,” he told reporters after jointly chairing the Rural and Regional Development Ministry – Sabah State Government Project Planning and Monitoring Main Joint Committee here yesterday.

Musa, who is also Finance Minister, said that for rural projects to really benefit the rakyat, consultation and close cooperation was vital between state and federal ministries.

“They (federal ministries) are not psychic. How would they really know what Sabah needs without consulting us? So I really appreciate the move on setting up the joint committee, which is being done the first time by the present minister,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ismail said the state government would always be consulted on any development programs under his ministry to be implemented in Sabah.

“The state government knows best the development needs of Sabah and therefore, what projects should be implemented,” he said.

He said all projects under the Rural Development Ministry must undergo a joint working committee consisting both representatives from the state and federal ministries.


Source: Borneo Post

Raising awareness on endangered species

KOTA KINABALU: The World Wildlife Fund-Malaysia (WWF) has worked tirelessly to raise public awareness on the endangered species in Sabah.

In the past two years, WWF had held programmes in Sabah. Among them was the Orang-utan Awareness Week at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in November, 2016.

“In October, 2016, WWF held an exhibition on poaching at the Borneo Eco Film Festival. This was a joint effort with the Marine Programme.

“Besides this, an exhibition on wildlife conservation was held at the (annual) Heart of Borneo Conference,” said the organisation.

In August last year, WWF held its inaugural Sabah Elephant Film Festival in conjunction with the World Elephant Day.

To shed light on illegal wildlife trade, WWF also released a YouTube video of the wildlife caught on the Sabah Terrestrial Conservation Project’s camera traps. This was released in conjunction with the World Wildlife Day on March 3 last year.


Source: 365 News

Kuala Penyu to be top attraction

KUALA PENYU: The Central Board has approved a four-star hotel and a five-star hotel with about 800 rooms combined to be built in Kuala Penyu.

Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said Kuala Penyu would undergo major transformation in a year or so.

“At present, the proposal to build four-star and five-star hotels have been approved by the Central Board.

“In time to come, more hotels and resorts will be coming up in Kuala Penyu,” Pang said at the groundbreaking ceremony of Wong Tai Sin Temple, Sabah here yesterday.

He said Kuala Penyu was poised to become one of the main tourism destinations in Sabah in the next five years with the establishment of the famous Wong Tai Sin Temple here.

Pang believed that tourists from around the world, especially those from China, would flock to the Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kuala Penyu to receive blessings.

“I hope everyone will do their part in making sure that the temple is erected in the 1.5 to two years in order to spur the economy of Kuala Penyu,” he said.

Pang said the establishment of the temple was a historical moment for Sabah as this would be the third Wong Tai Sin Temple outside Hong Kong, after Macau and Vancouver.

“The Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong is a popular tourism destination with 6 million visitors recorded a year.

“Each year, the temple receives donations amounting to HKD500 million.

“I believe the Wong Tai Sim Temple here will enhance the tourism products of Kuala Penyu.”

On behalf of the people of Sabah and Kuala Penyu, he thanked Dr Lee Yiu Fai, Monastic Supervisor of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong, for giving his approval and blessing to build the temple during the latter’s visit to the district a few months ago.

Pang also thanked Kuala Penyu Assemblyman Datuk Limus Jury for having the wisdom and taking the initiative and effort in making the temple a reality, as well as the government for approving the project.

Limus, a Dusun whose religion is Buddhism, has donated five acres of land for the purpose of building the temple.

“Limus, you will always be remembered fondly by the Chinese community as well as the people of Sabah and Kuala Penyu in many years to come for putting a monumental landmark in Kuala Penyu.”

He said the temple’s modern design that resembled a turtle was also Limus’ request.

“To the Chinese, turtle is a symbol of longevity and stability.

“I hope the Wong Tai Sin Temple will bring not only peace, tourists and development to the district, but more importantly, longevity to the people of Sabah and Kuala Penyu.”

Meanwhile, Limus said visitors who come for the Wong Tai Sin Temple here would spur the economy of the local community.

He said the district would greatly benefit if the temple could attract half or even a million of the 6 million visitors who went to the Wong Tai Sin Temple, Hong Kong annually.

He also spoke positively of the charity work to assist the underprivileged people that was carried out by Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong using the donations they collected.

Also present were Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly Datuk Dr Johnson Tee, Karamunting Assemblyman Datuk Charles O Pang, Sabah United Chinese Chambers of Commerce (SUCCC) president Tan Sri Andrew Liew Sui Fatt, Beaufort Chinese Chamber of Commerce president Datuk Seri Panglima Chong Nyuk Yong, SUCCC deputy president Datuk Ling Tiong Chai, Wong Tai Sin Temple, Sabah life honorary advisor Fred Lee, Wong Tai Sin Temple, Sabah life honorary advisor Chok Ming Chong, organizing chairman Yeo Boun Kiat and event chairman Fung Tack Fui.


Source: Borneo Post