Stories, news, update from KePKAS

Reading culture should be enhanced for better living standard

KOTA KINABALU: The reading culture in Sabah should be enhanced to improve the standard of living of the people and enable them to compete in this ever challenging world, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin.

He said reading is a noble practice and should be made a culture.

“Reading is important for acquisition of knowledge, to obtain more information, knowledge and skills in various fields. Through reading, we learn a lot of things.

“A society that likes to read is a valuable asset to the government because the future depends on what we learn today,” he said at the handing over of books, worth RM1,000, to the Lok Kawi Camp library here today.

Yahya said he hoped with more books at the library, it would motivate the local community, especially the soldiers and their children, to read. — Bernama

Source: The Sun Daily

Things looking up for Sabah tourism

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Tourism Board (STB) General Manager Gordon Yapp said Xiamen Airlines’ inaugural direct flight from Fuzhou to Kota Kinabalu last Monday which marked this city as its official gateway city to East Malaysia and the scheduled commencement of Malindo Air’s four weekly direct flights to Taipei shows Sabah is capable of luring more foreign tourists because of our many internationally tourist attractions.

The number of Taiwanese tourist arrivals recorded double digit growth last year and the trend is expected to continue this year with the commencement of Malindo Air’s four weekly direct flights,” he said.

He added that the China flights would be coming in between Jan 14 and Feb 11.

“They chartered the flights from Malindo Air and the tourists will come from six cities in the southern part of China, including Chengdu and Zhenzhou,” he added.

Qouting general manager of Xiamen Airlines Guo Yuan, Gordon said the three times weekly non-stop three-and-a-half-hour flight between the cities will not only create a convenient channel for Chinese nationals to enjoy a short holiday escape in a popular tourist destination, but also connect East Malaysia to its newest Amsterdam and New York airline destinations.

“So far, most of the booking is 80pc from Fuzhou on this route. More and more Chinese nationals are interested to visit Sabah,” the STB general manager stressed.

Last Monday, Xiamen Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed at KKIA around 5.45pm with an almost full load of 155 passengers, whilst the returning flight, scheduled to depart to Fuzhou at 6.35pm had a 60pc load factor.

“Southeast Asia is Xiamen Airlines’ all time strategic market. It is our great honour to have this opportunity to contribute to the economic development, cultural exchange as well as the mutual cooperation as an airline company. The new route is expected to continue the growing passenger visits from China to Malaysia,” Guo said during the ceremony.

The airline, based in the city of Xiamen of Fujian Province, China, operates other non-stop flights between Fujian and Kuala Lumpur.

Gordon said he was informed that Malindo Airline has a few chartered flights between Kota Kinabalu and Narita in Japan and is now seriously thinking of opening the route in the future.

He also said Malindo Airline is looking into making Kota Kinabalu as its secondary hub after Kuala Lumpur.

The premium airline which started operation about four years ago currently has 42 airplanes in its fleet and will be adding 10 more before the year is out for a grand total of 52 planes.

“STB will continue to work closely with Malindo Airlines and other airline companies in promoting this connectivity to travellers in other countries.,” Godon said.

Gordon also attributed the steady increase of tourists arrivals here as a result of the good management of the state under the leadership of Chief Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman.

With the various completed and ongoing infrastructure development projects implemented by the State Government, he said STB finds it easy to promote Sabah.

Meanwhile, STB marketing committee member Kassim Sangi called on the business sector to take advantage of the present positive tourism scenario here by investing in the tourism industry.

“With the encouraging tourist arrivals, it is wothwhile for the private sector to support the government in the tourism industry by providing additional quality accomodations and other facilities,” he said.

Kassim said STB together with the State Tourism Culture and Envronment Ministry will coninue to work hard to promote Sabah as a whole internationally.

“We are promoting Sabah to the world although the East Coast area is now well known to many holidaymakers…we have many unique and interesting tourism products coming from the East Coast and West Coast,” he said.

He said additional quality resorts, restaurants, hotels, entertainment outlets and other facilities to be provided by the private sector will greatly help in the joint efforts by STB, Tourism Ministry and State Government in the promotion aspects.

“The tourism industry is still a sunrise industry and let us work closely for the benefit of everybody,” he said.

Source: Daily Express

More China, Taiwan tourists due

Kota Kinabalu: Kota Kinabalu International Airport is usually busier as the festive season approaches but it will get a lot more crowded this year – thanks to some 38 chartered flights bringing in thousands of holidaymakers from China.

The number of Taiwanese tourist arrivals also recorded double digit growth last year and the trend is expected to continue this year with the commencement of Malindo Air’s four weekly direct flights from Kota Kinabalu to Taipei.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Pang Nyuk Ming said the China flights would be coming in between Jan. 14 and Feb. 11. “They chartered the flights from Malindo Air and the tourists will come from six cities in the southern part of China, including Chengdu and Zhenzhou.

“The Government thank Malindo Air. This also showed that Sabah is capable of attracting foreign tourists because of our many internationally renowned tourist attractions,” he said.

Malindo Air Chief Executive Officer Chandran Rama Muthy said the airline also has a few chartered flights between KK and Narita in Japan and they are seriously thinking of opening the route in the future.

The premium airline which started operation about four years ago currently has 42 airplanes in its fleet and will be adding 10 more before the year is out for a grand total of 52 planes.

“We have 800 flights travelling weekly to over 40 destinations in 13 countries and this year, we are now offering a 20 per cent discount on all destinations to passengers aged 60 and above.

So I urge senior citizens to take up this opportunity and travel,” he said. Commenting on the KL-KK route, Chandran said he was impressed by the people’s support of the airline and announced it would be increasing frequency from three to six weekly flights.

The route is consistently registering between 70 and 75 per cent load factor.

“We always wanted to make Kota Kinabalu as our secondary hub after Kuala Lumpur.

Thus, by the first quarter of this year, we are also going to open two routes between Kota Kinabalu and Kuching and add two more between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu,” he said.

He added that Kota Kinabalu is ideal as the main hub for Borneo because of its geographical location and ready facilities.

Last year, the airline flew more than 5.6 million passengers and it plans to further expand its route network to cover more of the Asian region.

Malindo Air Chief Executive Officer Chandran Rama Muthy said the flights, which start Jan. 25, are capable of flying more than 34,000 passengers with 80 per cent inbound passengers into Kota Kinabalu. “Up to October last year, more than 45,000 tourists came from Taiwan to Sabah and with the additional flights, we can expect to have 60,000,” he said.

To celebrate the launch, Malindo Air is offering introductory fares from Kota Kinabalu to Taipei at RM299 one way all-inclusive for Economy class and RM999 one way all-inclusive for Business class.

“We are working closely with Sabah Tourism Board and Taiwan Tourism Bureau in promoting this interesting new connectivity to travellers in both countries.

“With our strong presence in Taiwan, we are planning to bring tourists to more destinations in Sabah and other parts of Malaysia. Malindo Air will also provide onward connectivity to Kuala Lumpur and beyond.

“This will create closer bilateral ties and certainly improve trade and tourism between the two countries,” he said.

Taiwan Tourism Bureau KL office Director Tony Wu said it would be distributing vouchers for a free one-night hotel stay in Taipei to the “unsung heroes” of the country such as members of the security forces, doctors, nurses and teachers.

He said he came up with the initiative after visiting Hong Kong and seeing a statue commemorating the seven medical workers who sacrificed themselves to help SARS patients.

“Sacrifices by these people often went unnoticed and I thought this would be a good idea to show that we respect them and appreciate their contributions,” he said, adding that the vouchers can be claimed by contacting his office.

Meanwhile, in his speech delivered by Deputy Kamarlin Ombi, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi said there is a huge potential to tap into the incentive market in Taiwan and continued efforts need to be done in driving Sabah as the destination for incentive travel.

“We are still the go-to destination for soft adventure for the young, including those from Taiwan.

They like nature and bird-watching activities. We will work to attract more of them to come here with Malindo Air’s flights and increased air capacity,” he said.

Taiwan, he said, is currently one of Sabah’s top four market sources for the past six years together with China, South Korea and Brunei.

The inaugural flight will commence on Jan 25 and flight OD634 will depart Kota Kinabalu at 7pm and arrive in Taipei at 11pm. The return flight OD635 will depart Taipei at 6.05am the next day and arrive in Kota Kinabalu at 9.35am.

The flight from Kota Kinabalu departs every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday whereas the flight from Taipei departs every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Source: Daily Express

Lion Dance Fest paints good image on Sabah: Masidi

Kota Kinabalu: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the organising of the 2017 Chinese New Year Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival is proof of the unity of the Chinese community, tolerance and brotherhood of Sabahans.

He said in other parts of the country it is seldom that an entire clan join together celebrating a festival and it was something the other states can imitate at national level.

Masidi said the festival organised by the United Sabah Chinese Communities Association of Kota Kinabalu (USCCAKK) is an advantage to the tourism industry, adding that tourists, especially the non-Chinese, need not to go to China to see such performances but only come to Sabah.

“It will paint a good image on Sabah as it shows the spirit of tolerance and brotherhood of Sabahans who come from different races and religion,” he said.

Masidi said this during a courtesy visit held by the USCCAKK representatives led by President Datuk Susan Wong.

He said tourists from China will feel welcomed to Sabah by the festival as the Chinese culture is also widely practised here.

He noted that there are 171 international direct flights to Kota Kinabalu weekly and among them, 76 are from China, while there are a total of 400 domestic flights to Kota Kinabalu weekly.

Masidi has been invited as a special guest to the drum beating opening ceremony of the Festival on Jan 14 (Saturday), at 2.30pm, at the Likas Sports Complex, the opening ceremony of which will be officiated by the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

Among those in the courtesy call included Deputy President Bong Chong Shui, Vice President Datuk Wong Hai Ming, Vice President Chua Kui Ting, Vice President-cum- Organising Chairman Soo Shau Kiong, Secretary General Datuk Wong Yit Ming, committee members Dr Ling Fii Yeu, Dennis Gan, Ong Lee Chien and Baby Gan.

Admission is free with a series of exciting performances starting at 1pm.

More than a hundred of dragon, unicorn and lion troupes will gather for the event and 30 will be selected for the challenging performance.

Source: Daily Express

Year-long activities planned for Sabah tourists

KOTA KINABALU: More than 100 programmes have been lined up this year for those planning to go to Sabah.

According to the Sabah Tourism Board 2017 calendar, this month visitors can take part in the Kiulu Adventure Challenge and specialised Duathlon (a multi-task outdoor programme) on Jan 15.

There will be art and fitness festivals in the beginning of February, followed by Chinese New Year celebrations, marathons on Feb 18 and 19, as well as the City Day Regatta on Feb 25 and 26.

The months of March, April and May will continue with numerous competitions such as mountain bike races, dart tournaments and different running activities.

Open Tagal day (fish harvesting) will take place on April 16 and the months will also feature food festivals, wedding showcases and art exhibitions.

There will also be commemorative events such as “Remembering Double Six” tragedy on June 6, reef day and other sports programmes before Hari Raya at the end of June.

Scores of musical and art related events such as the Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival, Sunset Music Fest, Women’s Art Exhibition, Jazz Festival, and World Youth Folk Dance are set to captivate locals and visitors alike in July.

The focus in August is Malaysia’s independence, with many activities lined up for Aug 31. There would be a kid’s marathon, flower festival and other events.

September will feature several events highlighting Sabah’s unique flora and fauna with orchid shows, followed by the Borneo Bird Festival in October.

There will be a hospitality fiesta on Nov 20, celebration of sea turtle, bundle fest, Tambunan and Baboo Music festivals, and the Kokol Hill Challenge.

The year will end with the annual Christmas and New Year celebrations. For details, visit www.sabahtourism.com or call 088-212 121.

Source: The Star