Stories, news, update from KePKAS

Era fm: Full local content from April 24

Kota Kinabalu: Era fm Sabah is set to offer fully localised content next month.

Astro Radio General Manager (Sabah and Sarawak) Hafizuddin Nizamuddin said this initiative is in line with Era fm Sabah’s intention to solidify its position as the top radio station in the State.

“Era fm Sabah was initiated in 2010 with only three hours of local programmes and since then we have expanded it to the current 13 hours of local content which made it the number one Malay language radio station in Sabah for six consecutive years.

“And beginning April 24, the station will be airing full local content,” he said during the launch of the Era fm Sabah announcers search campaign, here, on Tuesday.

The campaign was launched by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

According to Hafizuddin, through Era fm Sabah, listeners in both the urban and rural areas will be able to listen to local programmes and music with specific segments to showcase the local music talents.

“We will be bringing a 100 per cent of local content with focus on the State’s uniqueness.

“And that is why we are launching the campaign to search for announcers for the morning segment.

Undoubtedly, Sabah has a pool of talent which can be polished to shape our future direction.

“Hence, this campaign is good opportunity for local Sabahans to try their luck, especially those who aspire to become radio announcers.”

The campaign will be conducted in five locations in the city and Penampang as well as Putatan and Sandakan.

It will kick off at CKS Donggongon on Mar 20, before proceeding to Centre Point (Mar 21), Servay Putatan (Mar 22), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (Mar 23) and Genting Mas and Harbour Mall in Sandakan (Mar 24).

Admitting that Era fm Sabah is competing with other local radio stations, Hafizuddin is confident with the station’s strength as “we have our own unique target audience.”

“And as for the songs that will be played in our localisation programme, we will stick to the current format which is playing mainstream music.”

In congratulating and commending Era fm Sabah’s moves of going local, Masidi hoped the radio station will also become one of the platforms to promote the tourism attractions in the State.

“To date, Astro Radio has done a good job for Sabah, especially in terms of CSR projects,” he said.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.era.fm. – Ricardo Unt

Source: Daily Express

Unicef partners with KRC to host BIM

Kota Kinabalu: The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) will join forces with Kinabalu Running Club (KRC) to host the 10th edition of the Borneo International Marathon that carries a new theme :#thisability’ this year.

KRC President and race director Datuk Dr Heng Aik Cheng in his speech at the official launch of the event by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman at a leading hotel here on Wednesday said some 10,000 participants from Malaysia and overseas will take part together with children of disability in Kota Kinabalu on May 7.

“This year we are including children with disabilities to help them to realise their full potential.

We want to provide opportunities and encourage them to learn and participate in all our activities.

“By bringing together persons with and without disabilities in the marathon will give them the pride and dignity in our community and will also contribute to make our society more inclusive,” he said.

In her speech, Malaysia Unicef representative Marianne Clark-Hattingh said the race is for thousands of Malaysians and foreigners to run for a single common and noble course: Children with disabilities and their inclusion in our daily lives.

“We know sport is a healthy activity and has the power to unite all different kinds of people for fun , play and achievement.

“Children with disability often face stigma and discrimination. Through sports, we want to dispel our own fears and biased views to build a more inclusive environment for children with disabilities.

“Everywhere in the world, it takes time to challenge negative attitudes and practices towards these children.

It is a marathon, not a sprint and we need to stay the course to break down the barriers.”

She also said they are very excited to work alongside Sabah Tourism Board, Youth and Sports Ministry, Kota Kinabalu City Hall, State Police, State Health Department and State Education Department.

Meanwhile, the organiser as a gesture of commitment has waived the registration fee for persons with disabilities.

Money raised from the event will be donated to local non-profit organisations that work to improve the lives of disadvantage groups including children with disabilities in Sabah.

Also present at the launch were City Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai and other top officials from the various State departments including the Police as well as some OKU athletes. – GL Oh

Source: Daily Express

Sabah Tourism Board building 100 years old next year

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Tourism Board (STB) building will be 100 years old on March 16, 2018 and an organising committee has been formed between PAM Sabah Chapter and Sabah Tourism Board (STB) to celebrate the auspicious occasion next year.

“The building, of which the opening was officiated by the governor Mr Pearson, on March 16, in 1918, will be exactly 100 years old next year,” said Ar Victor Wong, the organising chairman of the PAM-STB organising committee.

Wong is the Immediate Past Chairman of PAM Sabah Chapter and chairman of the Heritage and Conservation Committee under PAM Sabah Chapter.

The STB building was one of the buildings that were fortunate enough not to be destroyed during the Second World War, by the allied bombing in the Jesselton then. It is now one of the only three buildings in Kota Kinabalu gazetted for conservation and heritage. The other two buildings are the Atkinson Clock Tower and the Lands and Survey Department building, which were later converted to the Department of Social Welfare that was destroyed by fire in the morning of December 31, 1992.

“The building was first occupied in 1918 by the Government Printing Department when completed, but later renovated in 1936 to house the Treasury, Audit Office, a bank and the Post Office,” Wong added.

The building underwent restoration in 1989 and it was officiated open on January 19, 1991, to house the Sabah Tourism Promotion Board, now the STB office.

On March 16, 2011, the Kilometre Zero or KM0 was set and planted by the Royal Institute of Surveyors, Sabah at a spot in front of the STB building, to mark it as the starting measuring point of all the places in Sabah.

“The building which was originally designed and supervised by JW Norman, an executive engineer with the Public Works Department, featured a very formal axis with two arches at the facade at the front. The  building was built of block stones,  different from the normal construction of the day using timber. It was described as the best in Borneo by the governor during the opening ceremony in 1918,” Wong said.

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said a series of activities would be organised gradually leading to March 16, 2018.

“This is a historical moment for the city as it adds value and characteristic to its landscape. It is also a milestone for Sabah Tourism, its employees as well as the public to witness a centennial celebration of a heritage building,” said Joniston.

“The building has seen decades of major transformation surrounding it, from a rail track that used to connect to Beaufort now a sealed road; to the development of the central business district for the city attracting many visitors to Gaya Street’s many popular outlets and more,” he added. -AFP

Source: Borneo Post

‘Smartphone tourism’ on the rise

Kota Kinabalu: Just a day’s spot check on tour operators around the city found no less than 14 so-called tour companies operating without an office.

Which, in turn, enables them to provide tours on the cheap, thus compromising on safety aspects of tourists, according to State Motac Director Director Ag Ahmad Zaki (pic).

“They are doing this as the cost of operation is lower, allowing them to sell cheaper tour packages online (using their smartphones and laptops).

“One of the reasons given by them was that there was no need for an office when they can run their business online. The response may be a bit unfair for those with a legit operation,” he said.

The Mengalum Island tragedy on Jan. 28, this year, which left four people dead and five others still missing, was blamed as a consequence of “cowboy operators” providing cheap local services to internet tour operators in the tourists’ home countries selling the packages cheap.

The would-be tourists snap up the packages thinking they are getting a bargain without realizing that cheap also means greatly compromised safety measures like jam-packed boats as in the Mengalum case where 31 people, including crew, were packed into a 12-capacity catamaran that already had safety issues of its own for a two hour journey in rough seas and back.

Daily Express understands that the operator involved in the Mengalum tragedy has since been expelled from the Malaysian Tour Travel Association list.

The Tourism Industry Act requires tour companies to have their own premises. Motac Sabah Office believes around one-sixth of over 7,000 tour operators across Sabah are already operating from the privacy of their homes.

The number is worsened by the presence of customised tour packages fixed by tourist guides and foreign guides like, for example in China, fixing group travels from homeland into the State.

While it is cheaper to do business without having to incur office overheads, it has been hard for the authorities to track them down in the event tragedies like Mengalum occur.

A tour guide who also owns a tour company noted there had also been numerous instances involving tour guides fixing tour packages for tourists, offering customised trips on request.

They pose a direct threat to tour companies which have an office and several claims suggest that guides are able to rake in as much as RM20,000 during the peak season.

The guides have the advantage as they are directly in contact with the tourists and are more flexible in offering excursion packages to them.

Business has been good to an extent that some of them are able to offer what only tour companies are allowed to do so such as bookings for shuttle buses, hotel stay and scuba diving activities and others.

Many of these services are also widely marketed and accessible online.

The amount of take home income from guiding work is also topped with percentage commissions offered by stores, restaurants and other commercial joints.

The practice is said to have also been giving tour companies a run for their money. – Jason Santos

Source: Daily Express

Sabah’s first railway station proposed as historical heritage site

KOTA KINABALU: Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Kamarlin Ombi yesterday proposed that Bukau in Beaufort be made into a historical heritage site since this was where the first railway station in Sabah was established.

Speaking to reporters after launching Railway Gallery at the Sabah State Museum near here yesterday, Kamarlin said although signs of the rail tracks were no longer there, a small gallery could be erected to show this data so that the facts would become known to the future generation.

He added that this would be an asset and would help promote tourism activities at the area.

He also said the Sabah Museum planned to gazette the Melalap Railway Station into a heritage site sometime this year.

Earlier, Kamarlin said the railway services in Sabah was introduced by the British North Borneo Chartered Company.

He said the construction of the railway track in Sabah, which was then known as North Borneo, started in 1896 and was spurred by the production of tobacco and rubber in the 1880s throughout the early 1890s.

The managing director then, William Clarke Cowie, who was responsible for starting the construction, believed that the construction of the railway tracks would encourage the opening of more commercial plantations.

The work began in 1896, with the construction of the tracks from Beaufort to Weston by English engineer Arthur J. West. This track was completed in 1900, and was followed by the construction of the 90-kilometre track from Beaufort to Jesselton which was handled by a British firm, George Pauling and Company.

Meanwhile, West was entrusted with the construction of the 48-kilometre track from Beaufort to Tenom which was completed in 1905, and from Tenom to Melalap, which was completed a year later.

The North Borneo Railways (NBR) came into being on August 1, 1914 with the aim of providing cheap public transport facilities to the communities. By 1971, the coal driven locomotives were replaced with diesel and petrol trains.

“The railway services have spurred the economic development in Sabah, which included the development of districts and new towns such as Weston, Beaufort, Tenom, Papar and Jesselton,” he said.

“Jesselton, now Kota Kinabalu, which was linked with the rural areas via the railway tracks became an important port to export the state’s produce. The railway service also helped develop the rubber industry, logging and agriculture as well as provide transport services to the people,” he said.

Source: Borneo Post