News & Updates

No shark ban yet but favoured

Kota Kinabalu: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, remains firm in his desire to see a ban on shark fishing and finning introduced in Sabah.

He reasoned that if such a step was not taken now, sharks would inevitably go extinct even with a sanctuary in place and this would affect the livelihood of future generations.

“At the rate we are catching sharks in our waters, I believe they will go extinct even during our lifetime.

“The choice is basically postponing (sanctuary) the eventual and inevitable wiping of the shark population in Sabah or making life adjustments to save them,” he told Daily Express, Saturday.

Nevertheless, he pointed out there is no ban on both shark fishing and hunting yet in Sabah waters. “In the first place there is no ban yetÉthe proposed law or its details is not even in place.

“But if we don’t do anything now, the sharks would inevitably disappear altogether and the issue of some people losing their livelihood then becomes irrelevant. By then there would be no sharks to catch and those claiming that their livelihood is going to be affected by the proposed ban would be worse off.

“But even worse is that we would have also killed our dive industry which is one of our biggest tourism earners annually and probably even more in the future,” he said.

“We are leaving a legacy in terms of economic opportunity for the future generations to partake and benefit. I believe that one of the roles of any responsible government is to add value to what have so that the future generations would have a better world to live in.”

Besides, he said the anti-shark killing movement all over the world is gaining momentum and have started to urge tourists to boycott countries that allow shark hunting.

“I cant imagine the economic toll, especially on the State’s tourism industry if they carry out their threat,” he said.

He said if the sharks become extinct, “they (who are against the proposed ban) will not only have lost their livelihood from shark finning and shark hunting but we would have also killed the dive industry that earns the State millions annually.

“Not to mention loss of pro-sharks tourists who would stop coming to Sabah,” he said. I hope we take into consideration the future well being of our people and the State by planning good policy now.

The proposed shark ban, which created a stir among some quarters, including, restaurants, had its draft resolution endorsed by the State Cabinet last March. But it still needs a federal endorsement before it could be enforced and that requires amendments to the Fisheries act.

A public forum was held to gather thoughts of people in the industry by the State Fisheries Department at the Tun Mustapha Mini Theatre on April 4.

The proposed ban encountered opposition from restaurant operators on Friday, who suggested the Government accept the sanctuary proposal and impose bans only on tourist spots. Pan Malaysia Koo Soo Restaurant and Chefs Association Chairman, Lim Vun Chan said the ban would do no good for the local economy.

“It is unfair for the government to try to impose the ban without discussing with those affected by the move,” he said.

Lim said in fact, Semporna tourism have not done much for its people since, tourists would only go straight to the jetty for the islands and back once they touch ground. Lim claimed that proprietors would leave no parts of the sharks go to waste and not as claimed by some activists that sharks are being killed only for its fins.

The idea of a shark sanctuary came about after British shark expert, Rohan Perkins who proposed that one way for the State to save its shark is via setting up such mechanism.

He said the shark species found in Sabah is of home-range type, not moving more than 1-5km radius from home and thus setting up a sanctuary would prove to be the safe haven for them.

Source : Daily Express

Cruelty to hawksbill turtles

Kota Belud: If you were angered by the thought of sharks being caught for their fins and then thrown back into the sea where they ultimately die, read on. There’s even more to human cruelty.

Three protected hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys Imbricata) – the majestic creatures you get to see in tourism promotion commercials – were left to die in the waters off the Mantanani islands after their shells were forcibly removed and their eyes punctured to blind them.

The gruesome discovery of the turtles, which can grow up to a metre long and weigh around 80 kilogrammes, was made by staff of a tour operator here on April 20.

Lionel Aaron Lingam, a marine conservation officer with Mari Mari Mantanani Travel and Tour, said this was the first time he had seen something like this at the islands since he started working there.

According to him, their boatman saw a turtle floating towards the dive lodge’s jetty around 10.50am and that was when he asked one of his crew members to guide it closer for them to have a look.

“We were all in disbelief as the poor thing which was a female was already very weak after having its shell removed and eyes poked.”

“Sadly, the white coloured turtle was dead after 20 minutes,” he said, adding that they buried the turtle at Mantanani Kecil.

Another turtle was discovered at about 5pm the same day, floating between Mantanani Besar and Mantanani Kecil.

“The second turtle was smaller and we couldn’t identify whether it was male or female,” he added.

The third one was spotted in a similar state – minus its shell and eyes blinded – near a jetty at Mantanani Besar.

Lingam said the locals told him that people from the island resort to such cruelty to make souvenirs.

“Unfortunately, we have no evidence to pin-point exactly who had done these cruel acts.”

It was learnt that representatives from the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) will be heading here to conduct a post mortem soon while representatives from the Sabah Wildlife Department are being expected on April 26.

The World Conservation Union has classified hawksbill turtles as critically endangered and they are protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

It is among the four marine turtles that can be found in Malaysia and the largest population of hawksbills is found in the Turtle Islands of Sabah with an average of 500-600 nests each season.

Other nesting places are in Malaysia are at Malacca, Johore and Terengganu.

They are primarily found in tropical coral reefs and are usually seen resting in caves and ledges in and around these reefs throughout the day.

As a highly migratory species, they inhabit a wide range of habitats, from the open ocean to lagoons and even mangrove swamps in estuaries.

Like other marine turtles, hawksbills are threatened by the loss of nesting and feeding habitats, excessive egg-collection, fishery related mortality, pollution and coastal development.

Source : Daily Express

RM20m Cultural Complex reflects strong ties: Rais

Kota Kinabalu: The National Cultural and Arts Department (JKKN) will document the cultures and arts of the various ethnic races in the interior of  Sabah and Sarawak.

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said this was important in order to preserve the originality of the traditional practices and cultures in the two states and free from adulteration especially from external influences.

“The State JKKN Director with our guidance at the centre will start recording and document into several volumes the research on the ethnic races and music as well as drama and traditional songs in the interior villages in Sabah.

“This is also relevant to Sarawak when we start building their Cultural Complex within the allowed period under the 10th Malaysia Plan,” he said when met after opening Sabah JKKN Complex together with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, Saturday.

The Minister said audio-visual of cultural performances would be recorded in a high quality by the State JKKN and become part of the national cultural arts references.

On the official opening of the complex, Rais said it not only reflected the strong ties between the federal and state governments but also further empower the national cultural arts struggle.

“We will produce actors, maybe writers, artists in various fields of art and culture apart from drama, theatre, music and other traditional cultural practices,” he said.

The cost of the complex that started to be built on Dec. 12 2007 and completed on Jan 3 this year was RM20.4 million, which was less than its actual cost of RM25 million.

Among the facilities at the complex are an auditorium with a capacity of up to 600 people, studios, open air stage as well as spin top court.

He recalled that at first it was a bit difficult for the project to take off since the area was occupied by local squatters, which in the end was resolved by hard work from all quarters, especially the State Government.

Quoting a famous anthropologist, Rais said culture can be a factor to unite the people and setting aside political and other differences among them.

Musa in his speech commended the Ministry for its sensitivity to build the interesting and beautiful complex with its traditional motifs.

“It depicts the harmony and unity spirit among the people of Malaysia in the state just like the Prime Minister’s recognition that Sabah is the best model for the 1Malaysia spirit,” he said.

He said the setting up of the complex was timely because it assist the State Government realise its efforts to put the state’s culture and arts to a higher pedestal.

He assured that the State Government would continue to give its strong cooperation and support to the Federal government through the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry to ensure all its programmes and government policies for the people’s benefit succeed.

Source : Borneo Post

Sabah culture, music to be recorded

KOTA KINABALU: The National Department of Culture and Arts (NDCA) will develop complete audio-visual records on the various musical genres, dances and cultural practices of all major ethnic groups in Sabah.

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim in announcing this yesterday, said the recordings would be compiled and archived for future reference to ensure that the state’s rich tradition and culture would not disappear amidst modernization.

“I would like to inform that NDCA as an agency under the ministry will start recording traditional local music, dances and other cultural practices of the major ethnics in Sabah, to be preserved as a national heritage in culture,” he told reporters after the launching of Sabah NDCA Complex here.

The ceremony was jointly officiated by Rais and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. Also present were Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun.

“If we look at the cultural performances during the launching ceremony, we can say that it is a reflection of the active participation and contribution of today’s generation towards practising and preserving their culture.

“But with all the foreign influences the younger generation are being exposed to today, we cannot guarantee that the dances and music that were performed just now would remain alive.

“As such, we will start recording them in high quality audio-visual files which we will keep as reference in our libraries,” said Rais.

He added that the ministry would also encourage research activities to be conducted on Sabah’s cultural heritage, especially of the ethnics in the rural areas.

He said the State NDCA, with assistance from the headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, would then compile and publish these researches into books for archive and public readings.

Similar activities would also be carried out in Sarawak once the NDCA complex there was completed within the present Tenth Malaysia Plan (RMK10), he added.

The ministry is planning to build a cultural and arts complex for every state in the country, with Sarawak and Johor expected to be next in line to get their own state NDCA building.

According to Rais, the ministry had so far built or in the process of constructing such complexes in Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Selangor, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

Speaking at the ceremony earlier, he said the completion of the complex in Sabah was hoped to boost cultural and arts activities in the State.

“This facility would serve as a symbol to a new beginning in our effort to elevate local culture. With facilities like this available across the country, we hope to provide a platform for preserving and promoting our tradition and cultural heritage,” he said.

He also noted that the ministry would continue organizing annual open houses to celebrate Kaamatan, Christmas and other festivities.

Source : Borneo Post

KK-Jiangman Twin City pact expected soon

Kota Kinabalu: A Twin City Memorandum between Kota Kinabalu City and Jiangmen City of Guangdong Province, China is expected to be sealed by the end of the Third World Youth Congress of Jiangmen 2012 here.

The twinning of the two cities would symbolise the strengthening of friendship between Malaysia and China, said United Sabah Sze Yip Association President Datuk Susan Wong.

Held for the first time outside China, the congress from June 1 to 3 would be hosted by the United Sabah Sze Yip Association at Magellan Sutera Harbour Resord here.

The inaugural World Youth Congress of Jiangmen was held in Jiangmen, China itself in 2008, while Macau hosted the second edition in 2010 and this year Sabah had been given the honour to play host.

The theme for the third edition of the congress is “Together in Sabah for a Brilliant Gathering”.

Wong, who is also the organising chairperson, told Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun this during a courtesy call recently.

The courtesy call was also to officially extend an invitation to Masidi as the guest-of-honour at the congress dinner on June 3.

Accompanying Wong during the courtesy call were Deputy Chairman Tham Kai Fung, Vice Chairman Peter Ma and members of the organising committee, Robert Chin Swee Ming, Lee Chee Hong and Wong Lee Chu.

She hoped that with the strong support of Masidi, the World Jiangmen Youth Congress would make Sabah known to the world.

Meanwhile, Masidi also hoped that with the role played by the organising chairperson and her committee, the participants of this congress will treasure memories of Sabah and would return to the State to visit its beautiful tourism destinations and make investments.

About 1,200 youths from all over the world including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, America, Canada, England, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and home country Malaysia are expected to participate in the congress.

Among the congress’ programmes are Trade and Cultural Exhibition, Economic Forum, presentation of the 10 Outstanding Jiangmen Youth Awards and the handing over of flag ceremony to the next host country.

Source : Borneo Post