News & Updates

Ongkili: Esscom boosts agriculture sector, too

KOTA MARUDU: The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) will enhance not only the security, but also economic development of towns in northern Sabah.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said with Esscom’s implementation, security would be strengthened, resulting in an increase in confidence and ease of doing business.

“With security strengthened, towns such as Karakit in Pulau Banggi, Kudat, Pitas and here will experience strong growth fuelled by expansions in the agricultural sector, especially oil palm and rubber.

“Small coastal farmers will have no fear to develop their land and plantation companies can expand their planted areas,” he said at the swearing-in of Kota Marudu district councillors yesterday.

Ongkili, who is also Kota Marudu member of parliament, said the expansion of agricultural activities would result in the towns, which provide farm supplies, getting more vibrant, adding that the tourism sector would also benefit.

“This is a far-sighted security strategy by Barisan Nasional not only to ensure the security of Sabahans, but also facilitate the growth of the state economy.

“This is unlike the opposition, which spends time belittling the efforts of the government and security forces, while doing nothing to improve the people’s security.”

In addressing the councillors, Ongkili said the council must always be ready to face disasters like floods by following standard operating procedures.

He said the district should always have a clean environment, as well as be free of illegal businesses, vice activities and illegal immigrants.

“The main road at the town area here is often congested with vehicles, but this is a sign of growth.

“Next year, we hope to implement plans to create dual lanes to ease traffic congestion during peak hours.”

Source : New Straits Times

Healthy ecosystem for communities at Tun Mustapha Park

KOTA KINABALU: A few parks in Sabah are already being managed with local communities living within them and maintaining their lifestyles.

The establishment of Tun Mustapha Park will represent a major shift towards conservation and sustainable resource use. The proposed Tun Mustapha Park, located at Kudat-Banggi Priority Conservation Area (PCA), in the northern region of Sabah was proposed as a multiple-use park by the Sabah state government in 2003.

After 10 years of conservation efforts, a symposium will be held today (March 20) to highlight how this marine protected area will be part of the evolution of resource management around the world.

The proposed Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) encompasses around 50 islands including Banggi, the largest island in Malaysia, and boasts a high diversity of ethnic groups from the coastal communities of Bajau, Ubian, Suluk, Kagayan, Balabak and Bajau Laut to the inland communities of Rungus, Bonggi and Dusun among others. Including the communities on the coastal mainland, there are approximately 80,000 people living in and around the proposed park.

The majority of these people rely in part on the park’s marine resources. There is a need for the park to be gazetted because of the area’s high biodiversity, concentration of coral reefs, mangroves and the richness of fisheries in the region. The proposed park’s objectives are to protect habitats and support livelihoods for artisanal and commercial fishers. Once fully gazetted, it will be the second largest marine protected area in South-East Asia.

The concept for the park is to be a multiple use, managed area which includes areas for strict protection, tourism, artisanal fishing and commercial fishing among others. A multi-stakeholder group made up of government agencies led by Sabah Parks, Sabah Fisheries Department, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and the Lands and Surveys Department, NGOs including WWF-Malaysia and the local communities have been working to realise the gazetting of TMP.

Under the National Coral Triangle Initiative led by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), TMP is recognised as an important area for the implementation of its objectives for the ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM), adopting protected areas as one of the EAFM implementation tools.

This means that the health of the ecosystem as a key indicator is being integrated into the management of the marine protected area.

This approach includes the development of maps of ecosystem features and values, identifying and developing stakeholder profiles, and conducting consultations with stakeholders to build a shared vision around the proposed management approach.

Source: Borneo Post


Sabah safe, assures Masidi

Kota Kinabalu: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun assured the people that Sabah is safe and to prove his point he will be visiting Tawau and Semporna today (Thursday).

“To show how safe Sabah is, the Federal Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen and I will be going to Tawau and Semporna tomorrow to let you know everything is safe, so please stop listening to rumours and put your trust in our security forces personnel,” he said.

“We want to demonstrate in no uncertain terms that the place is safe for tourists to visit and I am sure Ministers would not want to risk their lives if really there is danger in Semporna or even any place.

“The fact that we are going there is a confidence in us and that life has gone back to normal,” he said, after witnessing a cheque presentation by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) for RM46,880 to the Royal Malaysian Police Welfare Fund at his office, here, Wednesday.

The cheque was presented by Matta Sabah Chapter Chairman, KL Tan, to the State Police Contingent Administration Department Head, SAC Noor Azam Jamaludin.

Masidi again reminded the people not to listen to rumours because a lot of the problems are caused by rumours which influence their work, citing panic buying of rice and food essentials recently.

“The worst thing that can happen is when people start believing in rumours which could perhaps be part of the intruders’ strategy to make us fearful and then nobody would want to do their job,” he said, adding that if that happens, then it’s just a matter of time before the whole system, economy and political system collapse.

Meanwhile, Tan said the donation worth RM20,000 was contributed by consumers who attended the Matta Fair in Kuala Lumpur from March 16 to March 18, while another RM26,880 was donated by Matta Sabah.

“This small monetary contribution cannot compensate for the lives lost by our security forces and this is indication that we in the travel industry, particularly Matta members are fully behind the country’s armed forces,” said Tan.

Source : Daily Express

LAHAD DATU: ESSCOM set to boost confidence in Sabah tourism

KOTA KINABALU: The establishment of the special security area covering Sabah’s eastern coastline will further boost the confidence of tourists as well as tourism players including island tour operators.

State Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the creation of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) showed that their wellbeing and safety was the top priority of the government “despite the fact that Sabah has all along enjoyed peace and stability”.
“On behalf of the tourism fraternity in Sabah, I would like to record our appreciation to the federal government on the measures it has taken to guarantee the security of Sabah and its people and to ensure visitors too feel doubly safe and secure,” he said in a statement today.
Masidi noted that the decision to create ESSCOM would help solve the perennial problems of illegal entry and smuggling along Sabah’s 1,400 km eastern coastline.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the establishment of the Sabah special security area on March 7 during a visit to Sabah to have a close look at the ‘Operasi Daulat’ offensive launched by the security forces against Sulu militants in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu.
Masidi noted that the announcement by the Home Ministry on the establishment or upgrading of police stations in strategic locations was also a boon to Sabah’s tourism sector.
“It is a proactive measure by the police to ensure the wellbeing of citizens and tourists alike in an effort to improve and manage public security in all parts of Sabah.
“No doubt the event of the last few weeks in Lahad Datu has had some impact on the tourism industry in Sabah. The issues of perception and rumours do effect decisions on whether to travel to Sabah,” he said.
Masidi reiterated what “many leaders and the police have said many times” that Sabah was a safe place to visit.
“As of today only three primary schools in Lahad Datu are still closed because they are situated within the area where mopping-up operations are in progress.
“The area in question is in an isolated village which is over 140km from the town of Lahad Datu and not within the tourism belt of Sabah. I have gone to Lahad Datu a few days ago to personally observe the situation there. I have found that the people there are going on with their normal life,” he said.
Masidi urged all Sabahans, especially those in the tourism industry, to go on with their business as usual.
“We have a lot of work to do to woo back tourists to Sabah. The federal and state authorities are doing their best to boost confidence in the industry in Sabah,” he said.
The people of Sabah, he said, could assist by not allowing themselves to be tools of rumour-mongering.
“Resist the urge to post baseless rumours to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Foreign tourists’ confidence in Sabah depends a lot on the way Sabahans conduct themselves,” Masidi said. — BERNAMA

Source: New Straits Times

Don’t become tools of rumour-mongering – minister tells Sabahans

KOTA KINABALU- State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun has urged the people here not to allow themselves to become tools of rumour-mongering.

In a statement here, he said the people of Sabah can assist in watering down negative perception following the Lahad Datu intrusion by resisting the urge to post baseless rumours to Facebook and Twitter accounts.

“Foreign tourists confidence in Sabah depends a lot in the way Sabah people conduct themselves.

“What Sabahans post in social forums reflect themselves and Sabah.

“If we truly love our state, every one of us should consider ourselves as ambassadors to promote Sabah positively to the world,” he said.

Masidi admitted that what happened in Lahad Datu has had some impact on the tourism industry in Sabah.

The people especially those in tourism industry, have a lot to do to woo back tourists.

The Federal and the State authorities in the meantime, are doing their best to bring confidence in the industry in Sabah, added Masidi.

Source:  New Straits Times