Stories, news, update from KePKAS

Baby elephant rescued in plantation

Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) has rescued a male baby elephant estimated to be merely a few weeks old in a plantation 40 km from the town. The abandoned baby elephant found in a deep moat was unable to come out of it at the plantation, Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) director Dr Laurentius Ambu in a statement.


“The SWD team was informed of the trapped baby elephant by plantation workers who asked for assistance,” he said.


He added rescue members caring for the baby elephant reported that the calf was suffering from severe dehydration.


It also suffered a lot of cuts and abrasion on its body.


“Our WRU veterinarian, Dr Diana Ramirez and rangers have given it massive amounts of fluids and treated the wounds.


Even though its condition seems to have improved, it still needs critical and constant care to improve and survive.


“Presently, we have a veterinarian and four staff caring for the baby elephant in the 24-hour intensive care.


We are hoping it can survive for the next 72 hours as this will increase its chances of survival.” Dr Ambu said the rescue of the baby elephant was very special as it occurred near the Chinese New Year.


“The rescue came just weeks after the rescue and helicopter airlift of a very rare Sumatran rhino on Christmas day.” The female rhino, Puntung, now resides at an interim facility at the Tabin Wildlife Rescue.


Dr Ambu also commented that in the recent Sabah Wildlife Conservation Colloquium, the conservation status of the Bornean Pygmy elephant was promoted to totally protected.


With the status upgrade, anyone caught killing and hunting the animal faces a mandatory jail sentence of six months and a fine of RM50,000.


Aside from that, SWD will be establishing Sabah first Bornean Elephant Sanctuary (BES) in Kinabatangan with her conservation partners — Malaysian Oil Palm Council and Borneo Conservation Trust Japan (BCT).


“The elephant situation in Sabah is quite critical as there are only 2,000 individuals left in the wild.


Their habitat is also severely fragmented by agricultural and human activities.


There is also an increase in human-elephant conflicts resulting in more elephants being killed and orphaned elephants rescued.


BES was established primarily to help the species and the rescued baby elephants.”


He also explained that it was very uncommon for elephants to abandon their calf due to their strong maternal instincts.


“The baby elephants are not only cared by the mother but also their older siblings and other adult females in the herd.”


Source: Borneo Post

Capturing the beauty of Borneo

HE MAY have spent some 20 years in Malaysia but travel writer David Bowden is still able to appreciate the beauty of this country. His 80-page book Enchanting Borneo captures the beauty of Sabah and Sarawak, and also Brunei and the Indonesian state of Kalimantan.


He has also added some text to describe the people and places, imparting just enough useful information for readers.


Bowden wrote his first book, My Backyard, 25 years ago. It was set in Australia and was aimed at encouraging children to be environmentally-conscious.


“My background is in environmental studies. I wrote My Backyard to encourage kids to look at their own backyards and look out for plants, animals and insects.”


Bowden was then a specialist teacher who taught environmental studies and geography Sydney. His job was to take children into the Australian bush for camping and hunting so that they can learn all about the environment.


When he joined national conservation trust, WWF, 20 years ago, one of his first jobs involved some work in Sabah where he visited places like Turtle Island and Mount Kinabalu.


“It was fantastic. My connection to Borneo goes back about 20 years. Not that I’m an expert on Borneo but I go there regularly.”


Bowden has since been based in Malaysia and lives here with his Malaysian wife and their daughter.


He said whenever he went travelling, he would take pictures, and previously as a teacher he would use his pictures to illustrate the lessons he taught.


“For example, when teaching geography, I would show my pupils pictures such as farmers growing rice.”


He said there was an occasion when a publisher wanted to print a geography textbook and needed pictures of rice farmers. Bowden offered his pictures and was paid for them.


“I thought that was cool. After a while, I was selling my photographs.”


Bowden later realised that he had a collection of photographs that he had taken during his travels and decided to use them for his travel stories.


Enchanting Borneo joins four other titles published by John Beaufoy – Enchanting Cambodia, Enchanting Laos, Enchanting Philippines and Enchanting Thailand.


The photographs in Enchanting Borneo were taken two or three years ago. Some of the pictures are also credited to other photographers.


John Beaufoy, who now has his own publishing house, used to work with New Holland Publishers which specialises in picture books on Malaysia.


It was at meeting with Bowden that the enchanting series idea was born. Bowden is currently working on Enchanting Malaysia and Enchanting Singapore.


He has written travel books before but it looks like Enchanting Borneo is the most popular.


Asked if it was the colourful pictures or simple text that people found appealing, he said: “When you go to a bookshop, what’s the first thing you look at? The pictures,of course. Then you look at the captions and make a quick glance through the text. If you like the sequence, you’ll buy the book.”


Bowden believes that this book is for people who wish to go to Borneo on a holiday and want to show their kids or grandkids where they went.


Essentially, he writes a generalised view about the people, places, culture, flora and fauna.


“It’s easier to write a book with 100,000 words than a book with 8,000 words which is what this is.”


On why the book only devotes four pages to Kalimantan, Bowden said: “This book is for tourists and people usually don’t travel to Kalimantan. People usually go to Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei, and then go to central Kalimantan.”


Bowden also feels it is a shame many Malaysians do not visit Sabah and Sarawak because there are some fabulous places there. “The people there and their cultures are distinctly different … Borneo has this incredible mystery about it.”


He said tourists come to Sabah and Sarawak to see their natural treasures.


“You don’t have to build anything in Sabah and Sarawak for tourism. You don’t have to create things. They are already there. Look at Singapore, they have to create attractions because there’s nothing there.”


Enchanting Borneo is available at all major bookstores.


Source: Sun Daily (by S. Indra Sathiabalan)

Artistes appeal for a Sabah-based TV channel

Many artistes in the State believe that a Sabah-based TV channel will be the best platform to nurture singing talents among Sabahans. Representatives of Sabah local artists, Janrywine J.Lusin and Jimmy Palikat in a joint press conference yesterday, shared their concerns and support for a proper TV channel that Sabahans can watch and listen, as an option to the entertainment industry in Malaysia.


“My latest single ‘Macam di KK’ has been uploaded to the Internet through YouTube, but it has created several negative comments among fans throughout the country. Most of them love the song, but those who do not like it especially those from the peninsula expressed their negative comments that offended Sabahans.


“I am very open minded. It is normal if people don’t like my song because it might not be close to their heart, but in this case the song has become a tool for some fans to create unwelcome critics. I don’t want this to get worse,” said Janrywine at the press conference held at D Junction Lido, here yesterday.


He said simple comments in the Internet, especially racist comments have no place in a multi-racial country such as Malaysia.


Janrywine said such a situation is one example why Sabah should have its own TV channel immediately as a platform to expose the singing talents of Sabahans and not just to upload it to the Internet because entertainment in Sabah deserves to be watched.


Lusin said Sabah music and film will be more appreciated by Malaysians if the watch them on TV.


Meanwhile, Jimmy who is famous for his song ‘Tanak Kampung’ which has been translated into Kelantanese, Bidayuh or even adopted into a Rock version by one of bands in Peninsular Malaysia, said it is not fair to treat Sabahans as a stepchild in the Malaysia music industry, especially when they are as equally talented as music players in the peninsula.


Palikat said his single ‘Tanak Kampung’ took more than one year to reach out to the whole country because there is no platform to promote, unlike songs from the peninsula that could easily be promoted on TV and national radio because most channels are peninsula-based.


“There is an urgent need for our own TV channel. We have the demand, we even have the market and talent. The current TVi channel on channel 108 in Astro that is supposed to be promoting Sabah is not enough because our slots are only for a few hours.


“Sabah-based TV channel will help not only the musicians but also film makers and politicians to highlight their talent and struggle to the Sabahans,” he said.


He stressed that Sabah and Sarawak could combine in the effort to promote the variety in its language, culture, tourism attraction or even calling for support from many potential advertisers.


Palikat’s statement was echoed by one of Sabahan singers, Rozza Rothman who lauded the move by Palikat and Lusin to hand over a memorandum to the Local Artistes’ Association of Sabah (Pertisa) on the proposal for a Sabah-based TV channel.


Rozza said she would support any suggestion made by local artistes to uplift the singing industry in Sabah as long as it is channeled to the right audience and in a proper way.


Pertisa deputy president, Narsisius Justin Misin who attended the press conference welcomed the joint effort by Lusin and Palikat and that they should be supported by the other artistes in Sabah because having a Sabah-based TV channel will be something that is interesting and meaningful.


“I look at this effort as a positive move by them as we are already on par with the other talents in the peninsula.


“We only need the right platform to show what we have in Sabah. We have many interesting performers and stories from Sabah that will attract many investors,” said Misin who is waiting for the memorandum to be handed over to the association.


Sabahan film director, P. Dik Ganai (Fdam) said Sabah and Sarawak film makers should be treated equally by TV stations based in the peninsula.


He said many TV channels are treating Sabah and Sarawak as their option in the film and music industry due to the long geographical distance.


“This is why this proposal is very important because we want Sabah-based TV channel that is managed by our own people. This is the time for the government to help us by giving us the green light.


“If certain people question our talent and quality, they haven’t discovered our talent to the maximum yet because our problem is we do not have any proper channel to showcase our talent to the people. TV channel will be the only way to help us,” he added.


DJ Othoe, a former DJ in a national radio station, said he had experienced many negative responses from many Sabahans who did not believe in what Sabahans can offer.


“I have been on air for two years in the national radio station with my Sabah dialect. Many people called me crazy at that time but I never gave up. I saw the potential and I want to be the medium for Sabahan singers to show their talent.


“After being called crazy along the way in my career, now we all witness that not only my former radio station but many other radio stations have set up Sabah-based radio stations that are now competing against one another,” he said.


DJ Othoe believes that Sabah-based TV channel will be able to showcase the whole of Sabah, as another interesting development in the country’s broadcasting industry.


He said the government should play its role to be a part of the proposal as TV channel will also help the policy makers to spread the government’s messages to the people.


Source: Borneo Post (by Mariah Doksil)

Fallen heroes remembered in sombre ceremony

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai attended a memorial service at the Petagas War Memorial here in remembrance of the 176 Sabahan guerrillas that lost their lives defending Sabah against the Japanese occupation in the Second World War.


The ceremony takes place on Jan 21 every year. Yee, representing Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, also performed the wreath-laying ceremony.


Prior to that, the attendees observed a 20-minute silence. The ceremony ended with the sounding of the Last Post and Rouse.


The memorial was built on the very spot where the 176 guerrillas were massacred.


Among the crowd was war survivor, Lee Min, 91, from Menggatal. His eldest son, Lee Yaw Koo, 61, said his father would make it a point to pay homage to his fallen comrades each year despite his health conditions.


Meanwhile, Datuk Fung Khyam Shen, 82, from Singapore, whose elder brother Fung Khung Shen was among those killed in the massacre, said the sacrifices of the fallen guerrillas should be remembered and appreciated.


“Khung Shen was one of the first to be killed by the Japanese with seven others.


“I can forgive them but I just can’t forget…I still feel bitter and my family is very sad about the tragedy,” said Fung who lived in Sabah, then known as North Borneo, during the war.


Source: New Sabah Times

Environment to become fourth strategic pillar for BIMP-EAGA

The Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) ministers have adopted environment management as one of the strategic pillars for sub-regional cooperation in lieu of the global issues on climate change. “The Philippines successfully pushed for the inclusion of environment as a new strategic pillar in addition to the three major pillars of the sub-region,” said the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairperson Luwalhati, Antonino in a statement, here yesterday.


The other three strategic pillars of BIMP-EAGA are food basket/food security, ecotourism, and enhancing connectivity.


Antonino, who also serves as the Philippines Signing Minister for BIMP-EAGA, further stated that the new environment pillar will significantly lay the foundation for food security and ecological integrity in the sub-region.


The Working Group on Forestry and Environment had recently crafted a list of possible projects under this strategic pillar.


An exploratory study on establishing a carbon trading bank for BIMP-EAGA countries, to be led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in partnership with MinDA, was also proposed.


Other proposed projects include the setting up of a coordinating link between the major environment working group in BIMP-EAGA, such as the Heart of Borneo, Coral Triangle Initiative, and Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion.


Brunei Darussalam will also lead an integrated coastal resources management and development training workshop.


“We are advancing the country’s environmental priority programs and projects for Mindanao through our watershed management program or the MindanaNOW (Nurturing our Waters), which we intend to expand across the sub-region,” Antonino said.


MindaNOW is MinDA’s flagship environmental undertaking that pushes for the adoption of river basin and watershed as key platforms for planning. It seeks to provide an enabling mechanism for achieving environmental integrity and sustainable economic development.


Meanwhile, the Philippines will host the first BIMP-EAGA Equator Asia Air Access Forum and Airlines CEO Summit, spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and MinDA.


This activity slated for the first quarter, aims to gather top transport and tourism officials from the sub-regions, to look at the market potential of each identified travel points.


The Philippines identified Davao, Zamboanga, and Puerto Princesa as priority travel points for air services, while Zamboanga-Muara (Brunei), Brooke’s Point-Labuan (Malaysia)-Muara and Davao/GenSan-Bitung were identified for the sea linkages.


Source: New Sabah Times