News & Updates

Tissue culture to meet Sabah’s high ginger demand

SANDAKAN: A new ginger breeding technology using tissue culture may solve Sabah’s high ginger demand of 24,000 kilograms a month.

The new breeding technology, introduced during the Agricultural Research Station (ARS) Golden Jubilee Open House at Ulu Dusun, here, yesterday, uses in-vitro technology to produce 500 plantlets from one ginger plant in six months.

“The tissue culture protocol for ginger breeding can overcome quality ginger food shortages and (it’s) free from rhizome rot,” said Sabah Agriculture director Datuk M.C Ismail Salam, adding that the crop is widely bred in Tambunan and Keningau.

Also introduced at the open house yesterday was Tacunan Coconut or scientifically known as Tacunan Green Dward (TACD).

“TACD is low in height and it produces larger than average fruits quickly,” Ismail said.

He added that a fully grown TACD fruit would weigh at around 250 grams and has low production costs compared to coconut hybrids because it is bred in an isolated seed garden without the production costs of pollen, emasculation and assisted pollination.

Meanwhile, Sabah Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Yahya Hussin said new technologies and quality planting materials produced by ARS has a significant impact on Sabah’s socio-economy.

“I hope this research station will continue to play its role and develop and introduce crop technologies and produce quality crop supply,” said Yahya, who is also Sabah Deputy Chief Minister.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman who officiated the event, said in any industry, research and development was important for both domestic consumption and the international market.

“The state government is always emphasising on boosting the state economy, especially in agriculture.

“This effort is in line with the development and progress direction of Sabah and the Government Transformation Program,” said Musa.

Over RM300 million is allocated to Sabah agricultural agencies for 2013.

The Jubilee featured choir presentations and an exhibition on Sabah’s agriculture in conjunction with ARS’s 50th anniversary.

Source : Borneo Post


Festivals promote intercultural understanding – Musa

BEAUFORT: Traditional festivals are the best platforms to foster greater unity besides promoting the state’s rich cultures.

It is also an avenue to educate the young, especially on their roots, as well as learning their ancestors’ culture and tradition, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

“The state government through the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry recognises and welcomes such festivals as it will help get the people to learn of each others’ cultures and traditions, thus fostering closer ties among one another,” he said.

Speaking when launching the Festival Bagandang at the tamu ground here yesterday, Musa said the event would offer strength and create harmony among the people who come from different backgrounds, in the state.

Thousands of people thronged the event to join in the various programmes lined up.

Bagandang means drumming. The Festival celebrates traditional musical instruments in Sabah such as the kulintangan or mini brass gongs played during weddings.

This event is organised to educate the younger generation about age old tradition. It will showcase the culture of the Bisaya, Lundayeh, Murut and Brunei people.

This year’s theme is Bersatu Memartabatkan Budaya (Unity to Uphold Culture).
Source : Borneo Post


Govt should match fund raised by NGOs – Masidi

KOTA KINABALU: The government should seriously consider giving a matching grant to all the money or fund raised by the private sector or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for Forever Sabah, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

Forever Sabah is a 25-year, USD100 million programme that will build a fair, prosperous and sustainable Sabah by pioneering the State’s transition into a diversified green economy.

Forever Sabah encompasses catalyzing positive institutional change through a ground-up, project based approach; building capacity to sustainably manage Sabah’s natural resources; protecting and restoring Sabah’s natural habitats; as well as enhancing social and ecological resilience in the face of a changing climate.

The economic activities under the Forever Sabah theme include food and agriculture, renewable energy, tourism, especially community and eco-tourism, as well as water, waste and soil.

Masidi said there have always been perceptions that conservation efforts should be done by the government but it was actually a job for all Sabahans.

“Sabah doesn’t belong to the government, Sabah belongs to the people, irrespective of who the government is,” he said after a panel session on ‘Bridging the Heart of Borneo (HOB) and Forever Sabah at the International Conference on HOB+5 and Beyond: Shaping and Nurturing Sabah’s Future Together here yesterday.

“Perhaps one way to make sure we have a sense of ownership and conservation programme is partnership with the government and the people at large, say NGOs, associations, companies, whereby the government may want to consider matching the fund voluntarily donated and raised by the NGOs and people at large,” Masidi said.

He added that the government was in a better position to raise money.

Nonetheless, he emphasized on transparency in the process and there should be no question on how the money raised was utilized.

“We create a trust fund, administered by the government, private sector or people at large.”

He said the trust fund could be made to get tax exemption status, thus inviting more to donate as donating to the trust fund could save them money.

However, Masidi said further detailed discussion would be necessary before the proposal was forwarded to the government, adding that he does hope the idea was initiated from bottoms up rather than the government instructing what to do.

Masidi said Forever Sabah initiative was good as it reminded the people what we have done right or wrong and suggested ideas of what needed to be done in the future.

The discussion was moderated by Darrel Webber from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), while the panelists were Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan, founder and executive director of Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP); Cynthia Ong, executive director of Partners of Community Organizations in Sabah (PACOS Trust), Anne Lasimbang; director of the Royal Society’s South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme (SEARRP), Datuk Dr Glen Reynolds; founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners (ADP), Jeffrey S. Horowitz; and chairman of the Board of Trustees WWF Malaysia, Professor Dato Dr Abd Latiff Mohamad.

Speaking on Forever Sabah, Ong said the initative had reached the conceptual level and the next two years, 2013-2014, would be used to develop an action plan and budget.

“The next two years in the foundation for 25 years,” she said.

Ong pointed out that Forever Sabah sought partnerships, not financial aids or donations.

What Forever Sabah wants is local, regional or international partners in realizing this model for Sabah, Borneo or even worldwide.

“I feel strongly that the society needs to shed from being reactive to proactive.

“We have the access, mobility and network. We will innovate, inspire, bring in partnerships, and engage deeply in the shared issues in the state or region,” Ong said.

On the other hand, Lasimbang said PACOS Trust sees Forever Sabah as a window of opportunity for the voices of the communities to be heard and merge indigenous knowledge with modern systems.

Among the approaches that would be taken to implement the project are inclusiveness among the community, government, NGOs and industries, capacity building, custodianship, integrity, market-based approaches, shared responsibility and evidence-based solutions.

Source : Borneo Post

Gambus fest in Papar next month

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Brunei Community Association (PMBS) together with the Sabah Tourism Promotion Corporation (STPC) will organise the 13th Gambus Festival for two days beginning Dec 22.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is expected to open the festival which would be held at the Pekan Papar Community Hall using a new format which was opened to all gambus and Gulintangan art groups from around the state.

“The purpose of the new format is to encourage more participation, increase quality of presentation, be innovative, creative and raise the standard of the art, especially among the young generation,” said the statement. The festival would be the highlight of gambus and gulingtangan event presentation at the state level, featuring eight best groups for each category, after going through an initial selection process and semi-finals.

Three highest awards with special gifts offered are The Best Overall Presentation Award, Best Creativity Presentation Award and Best Popular Presentation Award of Special Winner of talented “Pemanting Gambus”.

Those interested can contact the PMBS secretary-general, Saat Awang Damit at 013-8657979 or via e-mail at, or

The closing date for participation is Dec 5 before 5pm and entry forms can be sent to the PMBS office at Plaza Kingfisher.

Source : Daily Express

Venture aggresively into wellness industry: Musa

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman hopes to see more studies conducted on traditional wellness systems in Sabah and also documented for the public through books.

Sabah is blessed with plant diversity as well as the traditional knowledge of its over 30 indigenous groups which can be promoted and popularised, he said, adding there is value in promoting local knowledge on wellness, not just for economic reasons but also for further protection of the State’s natural resources.

“There is no reason for us not to popularise what we have locally.

We can also safeguard and even strengthen local culture and heritage through the practice of wellness from the traditional perspective,” said Musa.

In some parts of the world, high value is placed on traditional ways that lead to wellness and such knowledge has expanded beyond the region of its origin, he said at the opening of a two-day Wellness Journey Conference and Exhibition at the Sabah Trade Centre in Likas, here, Saturday.

Advances in the wellness industry, both modern and traditional, are in line with Sabah’s focus on promoting health-based tourism, as envisaged through several initiatives including the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP).

In wanting to see higher participation of local entrepreneurs in health-based tourism, Musa encouraged them to form joint ventures with those in the know in order to create opportunities that not only benefit the State but also help create quality jobs for Sabahans.

He hoped those keen to venture into this will make full use of the event to learn from the exhibitors.

He was also pleased to note the presence of a number of non-governmental organisations like Befrienders KK, Pink Ribbon, Sabah Cancer Society and Palliative Care Association at the exhibition, as well as invited experts from Canada, Australia, Austria, Singapore as well as local experts as speakers at the conference.

The event, jointly organised by Maxx Media Sdn Bhd and Sabah Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals Association (Swepa), features vendors and exhibitors who specialise in beauty and health industries (spa, health, beauty and academy).

A new highlight for this year’s Wellness Journey, the second after last year, is a Wellness Garden, a central gathering area that will allow visitors to rest and recuperate.

Designed to look like a lush, verdant garden, it serves as a small stage area with attractions such as a regular lucky draw as well as buy-and-win contest, which rewards visitors who make purchases at the exhibition.

A variety of super deals will also be on offer, providing heavily discounted products and services, in addition to activities such as a blood donation drive by the Likas Women and Children Hospital.

This year’s Wellness Journey also sees the return of the Wellness Conference, a two-day forum centred on presenting information and talks delivered by a number of prominent players in the health and wellness industries.

The talks are presented by six international speakers, namely Singaporean wellness coach and consultant, Julina Halim, Australian traditional and complementary medicine specialist, Professor Gerard Bodeker, Canadian founder of bioessentials, Joanne Bruce, Malaysian herbal medicine expert, Dr Sivakumar Kumaresan, Austrian health and wellness consultant, Karina Lipold, and Singaporean wellness magnate Michael Loh.

The event is open from 11am-8pm.

Source : Daily Express