News & Updates

Renewable energy way forward

Kota Kinabalu: Developing renewable energy or alternative energy sources is the way forward towards meeting future energy needs, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.

“The State Government believes the practice of conserving energy through sustainable and efficient consumption of electricity should be carried out for the survival of the next generation,” he said.

He said the National Green Technology launched in 2009 has four pillars – energy, environment, economy and social.

“For the energy sector, the key challenge is to increase renewable energy resources and efficiently use energy.

“The challenge is the extinction of energy sources such as gas and coal, thus the management of energy resources must be diversified taking into account renewable energy sources in our country’s electricity generation systems,” he said.

Musa, who was represented by Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Infrastructure Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, said this when officiating the two-day Sustainable Energy Convention, here, Thursday.

He further said the people should also be educated and given awareness on how important energy efficiency and optimum use is because it saves the environment and saves cost.

“This is the best way to reduce the production of carbon dioxide as well as save on the volume of its use.

“Environmental sustainability needs to be taken seriously in the interest of all. Energy generation is one of the biggest contributors to climate change through the fossil burning process.

“Additionally, the upgrading and lifestyle of the community also witness the increase in energy needs, especially electricity and other fossil fuels, thus the people are advised to adopt more environmentally friendly lives in order to preserve the environment,” he said.

Musa also applauded Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) for organising the convention which he described as timely as it promotes sustainable use of energy to improve the quality of life of the people.

He also urged SESB to improve the electricity supply system to drive development in the State.

In this regard, he hoped cooperation between SESB and other interested parties would find a holistic approach to develop renewal energy to reduce the impact of fossil fuel in future.

Meanwhile, Pairin told a media conference the convention will discuss about energy and what can be done to make sure energy is sustainable.

“This should be what we are here for to ensure that we come up with more sustainable energy and less use of fossils from the ground that has been used since long ago to generate energy.

“We are always reminded so that our country also takes part in programmes to reduce carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

“I think what we are emphasising here is to come up with more energy produced from natural creation, from the sun, rivers, water which has no pollution but can produce sustainable energy.

“If we can do this, it is very important, now we are thinking of…we are already producing electrical mobile vehicles, we are also working on producing power from water…all this is for future needs of the world, humans, life and ensure our environment can be sustained for the future,” he said.

Also present were Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, and State Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Radin Malleh, among others. – Sherell Jeffrey


Source: Daily Express

Estimated RM7.7bil in tourism revenue last year

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah should not be comfortable with the increase in tourist arrivals as there are still problems that need attention to ensure the industry’s growth said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

Masidi said two days ago he had mentioned that currently there are 14 foreign airlines travelling from overseas to Kota Kinabalu and 178 flights per week which clearly shows the growing number of flights which is believed to have overtaken Penang.

“The forecast for total arrivals to Sabah for 2017 is very good. We are expecting the final number for last year’s arrivals very soon which will be around 3.65 million, bringing an estimated value of RM7.7 billion – the best so far for Sabah,” he said.

However, he said the numbers should not be taken as rate of success but instead into something profitable for the State, especially for the tourism industry.

“Numbers does not mean success. Numbers must be transferred into something profitable for everyone, for MAS and for Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB),” he said during the Welcoming Dinner of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Airbus A350XWB, here, Tuesday.

He also said that the Kota Kinabalu International Airport is one of the most profitable airport in the country.

International flights, especially from the North, usually arrive after midnight but due to the lack of working Immigration officers after 12am, there will be long queues for immigration clearance.

“We need to increase the numbers of immigration officers to work at the airport after 12am,” he added.

Masidi said that the State Government is pushing aggressively alongside the Sabah Tourism Board to establish more hotels to cater for the tourist influx, especially from the North as it would hurt the image of the State’s tourism if not taken seriously.

“We have to fix this problems because when room are scarce, it would also give the wrong impression to overseas visitors and they would opt for another destination,” he said.

Following the rural tourism that was launched last year, he reminded locals to produce more products that could only be discovered in Sabah as it would be one of the main attractions for visitors to come to the state aside from taking part in the “lung-cleansing” activities by visiting rural areas such as Kadamaian, Ranau, Tambunan and Kiulu.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, MAS launched its new A350XWB by flying it to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur.

The aircraft will serve the London route, replacing the A380, from Jan 15 on a scheduled basis.

Chief Commercial Officer Arved Von Zur Muehlen said that the new aircraft will be conducting the route as it is a more economical aircraft and has ordered six more which will be expected to be delivered by the second half of this year. – Jeremy S Zabala


Source: Daily Express

Tourism players advised to embrace digital technology

KOTA KINABALU: Tourism industry players in Sabah have been advised to embrace digital technology to boost their business and further develop the industry in the state.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said this when launching the first Digital Tourism Workshop organized by the ministry through the Sabah Tourism Board.

“Just because 3.684 million tourists came to the state last year, does not mean they will come again this year. We have increasing arrivals every year, but do not take for granted.

“The world is so open today, everything is available on our smartphones. When people are planning for their vacation, they are looking for experience. That is why they prefer to make their own arrangement according to the information they found from the internet,” he said.

Masidi further elaborated that hotels and tour agents needed to look at digital technology development as the new potential in marketing their products.

“Report shows that more than half of our tourists from China came to the state on their own. They did not book their holiday through tour agents.

“Almost 60 per cent of them came on their own, and we can see that the number keeps increasing. The culture of traveling is evolving. It is not about visiting or sight seeing anymore, it is about living there,” he added.

During the two-day event, a number of speakers will be sharing their knowledge on how to move in tandem in terms of digital marketing and build a stronger branding for Sabah.

Among the speakers during the workshop include E-Tourism Frontiers founder and chief executive officer Damien Cook, who has made presentations in international forums including the World Information Summit in Tunis, the Global Experts Panel on E-Tourism, ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) in Berlin as well as PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Tourism Forums.

E-Tourism Frontiers has worked with South African Tourism, Indonesia Tourism Ministry, Athens and Rhodes Tourism (Greece) to name a few, and has partnered with TripAdvisor, Facebook, YouTube, Expedia and Google.

“We are hoping this workshop will make our players wake up from our slumber, work together and not just complain. The world is changing, and we can’t stop technology from evolving. We need to evolve too,” he said.


Source: Borneo Post

Sabah expects more direct flights

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah expects more direct flights from various destinations and is working hard to accommodate the increasing number of tourists to the state, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.

He said in fact, 62 chartered flights from China were expected to arrive in Kota Kinabalu over the next three months.

“We need to provide enough quality hotel rooms. The state cabinet has decided to speed up the building of hotels and have tasked some companies to build more hotels,” he told reporters upon returning from Beijing on the Xiamen Airlines’ inaugural direct flight here today.

A total 163 passengers boarded the flight from Beijing, including Malaysian Ambassador to China Datuk Zainuddin Yahya.

Masidi said the state government, as well as tourism industry players needed to be proactive to cater to the needs of the visitors.

He was pleased that Xiamen Airlines had chosen Kota Kinabalu as its first international destination from Beijing – a manifestation of good relationship between Sabah and China.

Masidi said Sabah recorded 430,000 tourist arrivals from China last year, a 14.7 per cent increase from 2016.

Meanwhile, China’s Consul General in Kota Kinabalu Liang Caide said Malaysia and China enjoyed a long diplomatic ties and the relationship developed rapidly in recent years.

He said as one of China’s youngest airlines, Xiamen Airlines’ flight to Kota Kinabalu could further help Sabah’s tourism industry development and enhance trade cooperation between Kota Kinabalu and Beijing.

Vice-President of the airline’s Beijing branch, Ou Dong Ying said the number of Chinese tourists visiting Sabah grew steadily by about 20 per cent annually.

She said the trend prompted the airline to serve its first international flight out of Beijing to Kota Kinabalu. – Bernama


Source: Borneo Post

New book on Borneo stick insects launched

KOTA KINABALU: Documenting wildlife is just as important as protecting them and could contribute greatly to the effort of conserving various fauna, said Sabah Forestry Department Chief Conservator of Forests Datuk Sam Mannan.

According to Sam, it was imperative to document wildlife in the state or Borneo as a whole to serve as a point of reference.

“There is magic in books and those who write books are magicians. Books are important – but I don’t believe in e-books.

“It is great that in Sabah at least, a lot of the work has been documented. This is very practical and important because, as we move further into High Conservation Value (HCV) certification, this is a good resource material that will be useful for us today and in times to come.”

He said this at the launch of ‘A Taxonomic Guide to the Stick Insects of Borneo, Volume II’ by Professor Dr Francis Seow-Choen.

He said for the Sabah Forestry Department, the book will prove very useful for researchers in identifying, documenting and highlighting the endemic species in preparing HCV reports and forest management plans in sustainable forest management.

Sam added that documenting species of fauna was important for their protection and management to ensure their survival for future generations.

“Like many other insects, stick insects are truly fascinating. Such bizarre and captivating creatures in Borneo have drawn the attention of many nature lovers and tourists from around the world and this promotes nature tourism and contributes towards the state’s economy.

“It also indicates the high rate of unexplored diversity of Bornean stick insects. All these specimens are vital as taxonomic and biodiversity references for both local and international researchers, as well as university students,” he disclosed.

Sam also said that the Sabah Forestry Department will continue with certification, hopefully adding another two forests to the certified list of reserved forests this year, in meeting the target of certifying at least one reserved forest per year.

The department will also be focusing on reducing impact logging and engagement with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), emphasising the importance of collaboration, he revealed.

“Last time, we thought we could work on our own and make it. But it doesn’t work like that; we must get everybody who is interested in the particular subject on our team,” Sam said.

Earlier, Natural History Publications (Borneo) managing director Datuk CL Chan commended Dr Francis’ efforts in seeing the book to fruition.

This kind of documentation took painstaking study and mastery of a subject, he pointed out, in which the specialist then becomes uniquely aware of the diversity of form and the specialisations and common features of various groups that may be recognised.

“It was most remarkable when Dr Francis crafted the first volume, which documented 15 new genera and 52 new species for the first time. The discovery and publication of so many novelties in a biological group, for a single territory, represented an iconic moment in science.

“Now, in just a short period of 12 months, Dr Francis has made even more intensive collecting trips to Sabah, this time concentrating on the phasmid fauna of Mount Trus Madi.

“The author has not only done science a great service in providing these results, but also allowed naturalists easy identification of the species portrayed as all the new taxa are described and illustrated with high-quality photographs,” he said.

Chan also revealed that Natural History Publications (Borneo) has been appointed as the publisher of Dr Francis’ upcoming book ‘Stick Insects of Sumatra’, which he is well into completing at the manuscript stage.

‘A Taxonomic Guide to the Stick Insects of Borneo, Volume II’ continues to open new trails to a better understanding of Bornean stick insect fauna the author has concentrated his efforts on the stick insects of Mount Trus Madi, besides studying the drawers of the entomological collections of Kinabalu Park and the Forest Research Centre in Sepilok.

Volume II lists 373 Bornean species or subspecies from 92 genera, with descriptions of four new genera, one genus new to Borneo, 37 new species, four new name combinations, three new synonyms, two wrong synonyms and nine descriptions of the previously unknown sex of known species.


Source: Borneo Post