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Botanists shed light on Borneo’s Saurauia

KOTA KINABALU: Little is known about the Saurauia of Borneo but a team of botanists from Sabah and Singapore spent time to document the flowering plant.

Their hard work has been compiled into a book that would regale readers with images and facts of the 85 Saurauia species that can be found in Borneo.

One of the key researchers, Tan Jiew Hoe, said 62 of them were newly discovered.

“Before this, we had no idea that the Saurauia could be so rich in species.

“We now realise that our biodiversity can be very rich. They are hiding in the rainforest,” he said at the book launch here on Wednesday.

The Saurauia is a genus of small to medium-sized trees found in tropical and subtropical forests from South and South-East Asia to the southwest Pacific, and in some parts of tropical and subtropical America.

There are an estimated 300 species of Saurauia worldwide.

Tan, who is Singapore Gardening Society president and Gardens By the Bay board director, said much remains unknown about Borneo’s flora and fauna.

“Any disturbance to the rainforest could be destructive as we may not know what was present in the first place,” he said.

He said additional knowledge like those presented in the book could also help assess the effectiveness of conservation areas.

“Not supporting such studies could contribute to persisting knowledge gaps and potential losses,” he said.

The Saurauia of Borneo is published by the Natural History Publications (Borneo).

Its managing director Datuk C.L. Chan commended the team for its efforts.

Source: The Star

FOSTER maps out plans for sea turtles conservation

SANDAKAN: The Executive Committee of Friends of Sea Turtles Education & Research (FOSTER) gathered on Tuesday for their general meeting to map out plans for the 4th quarter of 2017 and the 1st quarter of 2018.

FOSTER is a part of a turtle conservation programme made available after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sabah Wildlife Department in July 2013 after its involvement in the setting up of a turtle hatchery on Libaran Island in 2012.

The programme includes creating awareness for the locals and visitors on the conservation value of sea turtles, undertaking research projects with the goal of better understanding the life cycle of sea turtles surrounding the Libaran Island area and to make available research programmes on sea turtles for international and local students.

From 2012 until July 2017, the hatchery had collected 26,672 Green turtle eggs and 10,598 Hawksbill turtle eggs.  Of these, 21,196 baby Green turtles and 7,474 baby Hawksbill turtles were successfully released into the ocean.

During the meeting, the committee made an evaluation of the programmes undertaken by FOSTER, such as community beach cleaning and dialogues with villagers at Libaran Island.

FOSTER is also working on a book on the turtle programme on Libaran which will be published by the first quarter of 2018. The book will record experiences on the island and will contain scientific data on sea turtle landings.

Seeing more work ahead, FOSTER will be contacting Sabah Wildlife Department to discuss on training more Honorary Wildlife Wardens to handle some of the anticipated work.

The tasks of these wardens will include patrolling the streets of Sandakan for illegal turtle eggs seller and turtle protection work on Libaran Island.

The discussion ended with the committee members having an afternoon tea at the newly opened Mango Garden Restaurant in Sepilok. Readers who are looking for further information could contact the president of FOSTER, Alexander Yee via email at forsterseaturtle@gmail.com.

Source: The Borneo Post

Sabah honoured to host 7th Malaysia Unesco day

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah  is honoured to be chosen as host of the seventh Malaysia Unesco Day celebration from Sept 9 to 10 in Kundasang,  Ranau, about 98 km from here, more than 50 years since Malaysia became a member of Unesco.

State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the event, to be

officiated at by Malaysia’s Education Minister-cum-president of the Malaysian National Commission for Unesco (SKUM), Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, would also be attended by Dr Shahbaz Khan, director of and representative of Unesco, Jakarta, as an invited guest.

“The event aims to increase the visibility and role of the Malaysian National Commission for Unesco and to strengthen cooperation between the commission and government agencies, non-governmental organisations and the public,” Masidi told a press conference, here,yesterday.

SKUM consists of six permanent sub-committees which include the Education Ministry, Higher Education Ministry, Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“Bringing the Malaysia Unesco Day celebration to Sabah, particularly to Kundasang, Ranau, is timely and essential to ensure the public and local communities are well informed of the government’s serious effort to ensure the well-being of our public and local native communities through conservation of the environment and its associated socio-cultural elements,” Masidi said. — Bernama

Source: The Borneo Post

English role for Gaya Campus?

Kota Kinabalu: Institute of Teachers Education (ITE) Gaya Campus should be turned into an English-medium teachers university in Sabah, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

“This is the first time I am making this suggestion as there are rumours or rather proposals to turn this campus into a technical vocational school,” he said, after signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Institute of Teachers Education (ITE) Gaya Campus Kota Kinabalu and Special Olympics Sabah (SOS) at the ITE Gaya Campus on Tuesday.

He said all the talk about turning it to a TVET school was not favoured by the state government.

“The state government did not take it well and opposed it. Each ITE in Sabah has history of its own.

Take ITE Gaya Campus, it was the first teachers’ training college that used English in Sabah.

“You know in those days, when we didn’t have universities in Sabah. This (Gaya College) was the next big thing because there was no other higher institution,” he recalled.

Gaya College, as it was known then, was established in 1962 and was officially opened by the Governor in July 1963.

Masidi insisted the iconic institution be allowed to continue to produce teachers for Sabah.

“You cannot just take away history and forget about it.

In my opinion, the world today has turned people to think less and more robotic in our approach.

“It is important to set up a teachers’ university and I suggest turning this historic campus into one and producing quality teachers in Sabah,” said.

He stressed that there is also high value in preserving historical heritage.

“Life is not all about money but (it is also important) also to create our own integrity and to be proud of our history.

Obviously, this is one of them,” he said.

He also said it would be a good form of investment for the state as having an English–medium teachers’ university would attract students from the Asia Pacific region and the rest of world.

“Now that other universities are encouraged to take foreign intakes, there is no reason we can’t do the same with our teachers’ university. It’s as an investment for the future,” he added.

Source: Daily Express

Masidi supports re-establishment of English medium schools in Sabah

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun has pledged his full support for the re-establishment of English medium schools in the state to improve the command of English among students.

He said the setting up of government English medium schools was timely in the face of various challenges due to the wave of globalisation.

“The world has changed, whether we like or not, and we have to prepare ourselves with various knowledge to address the wave of globalisation. Actually I had proposed the same idea to the government before.

“I know there are concerns by several parties on the proposal as it involved a change of policy…nonetheless I am confident it will not erode our love for the country…in fact it will make Malaysians more prepared to handle future challenges,” he told reporters after launching a book ”The Natural History Of An Endangered Ape” here Monday.

Recently the Minister in the Prime Minister”s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan had proposed that English medium schools be re-established in Sabah. – BERNAMA

Source: Astro Awani