News & Updates

ENSEARCH Sabah set to protect environment

KOTA KINABALU: The newly set up Environmental Management and Research Association Malaysia (ENSEARCH) Sabah branch will be organizing a tree planting programme, its protem chairperson Datuk Adeline Leong said.

ENSEARCH Sabah will also be conducting training programs on air and water modeling, quality risk assessment and air pollution with the guidance of ENSEARCH KL, she added.

Leong, at the launching of the ENSEARCH Sabah branch by Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Ministry Tan Sri Joseph Kurup yesterday pointed out that the protection of the environment is something dear to the organization’s heart.

“We all want to breathe clean air and drink. However we are confronted with the haze every year and our rivers are polluted with oil palm pollutant. This is intensified by global warming caused by too much carbon being released into the air.

“The setting up of ENSEARCH Sabah branch is timely as we intend to bring public awareness to this mounting problem and in our own small way, help minimize the impact of human activity on the environment.

“Planting trees and conducting training on environmental management are two ways we are starting off with,’ Leong added.

Meanwhile ENSEARCH Malaysia President Abdul Aziz Long said that the Sabah branch is the first one outside Klang Valley.

“Since its establishment, ENSEARCH has always sought to raise the standard of environmental professionals in Malaysia and to raise the level of environmental performance in the private sector.

“At the same time we also believe in a consultative process with the public sector and civil society. Our vision is to make more Malaysians environmentally aware of their surrounding and committed to taking personal responsibility to manage and mitigate the impacts of their corporate, professional and daily living activities on the environment.

“As a capacity building NGO in the environmental field, we would like to act as an enabler to Malaysian environmental professional’ growth,” he stressed.

Source : Borneo Post

Kaamatan with a difference for 200

Kota Kinabalu: There was no Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant nor were there alcoholic beverages served but the spirit of Kaamatan was not lost on the 200 prisoners handpicked to partake in the festivity at the Central Prison in Kepayan, here, Tuesday.

The festival held for the first time in the nation was endorsed and sponsored by the Malaysian Prison Department which provided RM2,000 for the purpose. It aimed at retaining the sense of pride towards one’s own culture and to strengthen relationship between one another.

Selected from 2,056 inmates, they took part in various activities such as sugandoi (singing) competition and football tournament.

Due to good response, it would be an annual activity in the prison from now.

Sabah Prisons Director Abdul Halim Ma-Hassan reminded them to be prepared for life outside the prison walls and start anew once they are out.

“I hope the inmates will take advantage of all the programmes while they are here, be they physical training, academics, spiritual or moral courses so that when they get out of here, they will be able to use the skills they have learned to gain employment for their own good, their families, society and the nation,” he said.

Halim also said through programmes like these, inmates would have channels to showcase their talents and abilities, for example in sports events and the singing competitions.

“This is more towards the emotional aspect of the individuals.

We want them to have more self-confidence and have less stress.

We also want them to be able to conduct themselves in a more positive way so it would be easier for them to learn the value of obedience to rules and regulations here.”

“Other than that, we also want them to focus their energies towards healthy activities so their minds won’t wander,” Abdul Halim said, after officiating a ‘Jalinan Kasih’ programme in conjunction with the Kaamatan.

Halim he planned to create five or six cultural groups focusing on performing arts activities that would represent various ethnics in Sabah.

“These groups can help the members to better themselves especially with their self-esteem. The desire to be selected into these groups would hopefully encourage inmates to work harder and to show better progress in their rehabilitation programs. This is ultimately for their own good,” he said.

One of the rehabilitation programmes is marching. Since all inmates are required to march everyday, there is a big problem in terms of providing marching boots for the inmates and it takes quite a big chunk of the prison budget every month.

Halim hopes that Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) and other NGOs could assist the prison department to alleviate this problem.

Meanwhile, MCPF representative Datuk Francis Yap said it is unfortunate that former inmates always found themselves difficult to gain employment due to their past. This led some of them to revert to crime.

“MCPF will organise talks, forums or exhibition to change people’s mentality regarding the stereotyping of former inmates and to encourage organisations to give them proper jobs so they can rebuild their lives,” he said.

Source : Daily Express

Folklore fest a global event

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s annual Folklore Festival is gaining interest among the international community with 75 countries requesting to take part in the seventh series of the cultural dance event this year.

However, due to financial constraints, the state could only accept 20 international dance troupes to be showcased at the festival here from July 8 to 17.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the state would have to shoulder high costs footing the bill for their accommodation, meals and transportation during their stay here.

“That is why we limited the participation to 20 teams, thus making the event much more exclusive,” Masidi said, adding the selected teams were also the cream of the crop.

Another disadvantage with having so many dance troupes was that the event would take more than two weeks to finish, he added.

“We try to pick teams with unique presentations each year so the public can have a variety of new cultural dances to witness rather than just re-runs,” Masidi said.

However, the number of participating teams could be increased in future especially when the Sabah Cultural Centre in Penampang near here is fully renovated to cater to international events, he said.

Finland and Timor Leste are the two first-time participants at the Sabah International Folklore Festival (SIFF) 2012, which would also see cultural teams from Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Brunei, South Korea, Kuwait, Egypt, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China, Indonesia and Morocco.

Masidi represented Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman to launch the SIFF2012 promotion campaign here and also unveiled the festival’s mascot locally known as Siwat Dalam, a mythical creature that snatches children roaming the streets.

Source : The Sun

Pedestrian walkway project to begin this year – CM

KOTA KINABALU: The first phase of the 25.3km pedestrian walkway project from Tanjung Aru to Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Likas would start this year, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

He said the project costing RM38 million and divided into four phases was one of three tourism projects identified in the implementation of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) programme.

Speaking on Sunday night at the official opening of Sembulan River Park in Sadong Jaya which is under the purview of the Kota Kinabalu City Council (DBKK), Musa said another of the tourism projects was the Atkinson Clock Tower beautification project.

Located near Padang Merdeka here, Atkinson Clock Tower which was completed in 1905 is an important heritage site of the state. The beautification project estimated to cost RM12 million, is expected to commence next year.

On the Sembulan River Park project, Musa said it was a three-phase tourism project costing a total of RM45 million under the SDC.

He said with the completion of the riverfront project, the Sembulan area had changed face in tandem with rapid development in the surrounding areas and in keeping with Kota Kinabalu’s status as a natural resort city.

Musa said the state government, conscious of the financial burden and major responsibilities of DBKK, had allocated RM19 million for DBKK to carry out development projects and maintenance works compared to RM17 million last year.

He said these included garbage collection, maintenance of landscapes along the main roads and of drains and monsoon drains.

The Chief Minister also assured City Hall that the state government will always support its efforts to beautify the city and surrounding areas.

“I will assist and seek financing if not for all the beautification projects but for most of them,” he said.

Musa added that the state government would strive to increase its financial resources to ensure that all the beautification plans as well as programs are realized.

“We will implement projects that we feel are important and I believe that there are many areas with potential in the city that can be developed into tourist attractions,” he said, adding that the government always has the interest of the people at heart.

Musa said the Sembulan River Park also indirectly improves public facilities in the city and can be a tourist attraction for the state.

He also pointed out that Sabah’s political stability is among the reasons for the increase in tourist arrivals to the state.

“It is therefore very important that we preserve the existing unity and harmony so that more tourists will visit Sabah,” he said and stressed that no tourists would want to visit a place that is in turmoil.

Musa also said he was impressed with the changes in Sembulan which is now cleaner and more beautiful.

He praised City Hall for its continued effort as well as commitment towards the cleanliness, safety and comfort of the city.

Earlier, Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir said DBKK planned to create a network of better pedestrian walkways in nearby areas, connecting such spots as the State Museum, Islamic Museum, State Mosque, Sacred Heart Church and the railway station which are within 10 minutes’ walk from the Sembulan River Park.

Source : Borneo Post

Heritage Sabah to conduct documentation study on clock tower

KOTA KINABALU: Heritage Sabah will be carrying out a documentation exercise of the Atkinson Clock Tower with the permission of Sabah Museum while on-going work to repair the 107-year-old clock tower is in progress.

This is following the decision of the museum to facilitate structural repairs on the oldest historical landmark in KK city after the Heritage Sabah NGO highlighted its poor condition to the public through their Facebook social network page.

This swift response from Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun and Sabah Museum director Joanna Kitingan prompted an investigation on the condition of the clock tower and subsequently confirmed that the clock tower was in timely need for an upgrade.

Heritage Sabah will be documenting the progress of the repair as well as prepare a measured drawing of the clock tower to be compiled as an academic reference.

A report will be handed back to Sabah Museum for safekeeping when the documentation is completed.

The approved society (officially registered in April 2012) will also be conducting a study of resources with the Sabah State Archives and other relevant government departments to trace back the history of the clock tower — which has undergone several facelifts before its current existing facade that was done in 1959 for Jesselton’s silver jubilee anniversary.

Heritage Sabah is currently looking for funding assistance to aid its volunteers in the documentation process of the Atkinson Clock Tower.

Heritage Sabah is a society that is dedicated to the architectural and cultural heritage conservation in Sabah.

Its mission is to organize public awareness, to promote the preservation, restoration and protection of the architectural and cultural heritage, to advocate architectural and cultural heritage policies and guidelines for implementation, to collect and study any relevant information on architectural and cultural heritage for educational and reference use and to identify places with cultural significance in Sabah through heritage significance assessment for protection and conservation.

Source : Borneo Post