MATTA welcomes move to boost rural tourism in Sabah

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is glad that the Sabah state government is channelling funds for infrastructure development to boost rural tourism.
MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said he welcomed the announcement by Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman during the tabling of the budget on Friday (Nov 17).
He said that as arrivals of international tourists had contributed significantly to Sabah’s economy with its spin-off effect rippling across the state, RM228mill had been allocated to support the sustainability of tourism programmes.
“The state government is also stepping up efforts to develop rural tourism, with Kiulu and Kadamaian selected for pilot projects,” said Tan.
He added in a statement on Sunday that these sanctuaries are ideal for soft adventures such as hiking and trekking,
Tan also said that an additional RM15mil was allocated to encourage rural communities to be involved in providing facilities for community based tourism, such as homestay programmes, recreational centres and tourism centres with public toilets; developing, upgrading or commercialising eco-tourism products, ranging from conservation of local species to promoting native cultures, arts and handicrafts.
“Rural folks need not be bystanders and merely watch those in urban areas reap the benefits of tourism. By empowering them to participate in eco-tourism, they need not leave their ancestral land, heritage and traditions,” said Tan.
Source: The Star

Beautiful Sabah 3.0 contest attracts int’l participants

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourism Board’s Beautiful Sabah 3.0 online photography and video contest, ended on October 8 and attracted participation from eleven countries through social media.

The countries were Australia, China, France, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Philippines, UK and Malaysia.

This is the third edition of the contest and has the most submissions from overseas.

A total of 800 photographs and 15 videos were submitted during the two-month online contest.

“The participation from most (of the) international countries is through the power of social media. Through social media, every post shared can lead to a site visit and eventually a conversion,” said Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, chairman of Sabah Tourism Board at the prize presentation ceremony, yesterday.

Winners of the competition were presented with their prizes yesterday at Sabah Tourism Board by Joniston, who urged the participants to use their talents and skills to keep promoting Sabah through their lenses and video making skills.

Also present at the event were general manager of Sabah Tourism Board Gordon Yapp, deputy general manager (support services) Noredah Othman and communications manager Hana S. Harun

The top five winners of the photography competition were Tsen Lip Kai, Rustam Razali, Clement Liew, Tirado Jupirin and Mohd Erwin Mohd Ussdek, and the top five winners of the video competition were Sharif Putra Sharif Ubong, Leon Kuan, Danny Daniel Nguai, Sharif Putra Sharif Ubong and Ivan Ong Jian Hau.

The Beautiful Sabah 3.0 sponsorship, worth about RM15,000 were from the private sector, namely the Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort,  Sutera Harbour Resort, Promenade Hotel Kota Kinabalu, Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu, Grandis Hotel and Resorts, Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan, Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai, Techfix, Canon Marketing (Malaysia), Syarikat Percetakan Suria, Toppoint Company Sdn Bhd, Ebiz Design & Communications, and Videographics Productions Sdn Bhd.


Source: Borneo Post

Local artist’s painting to feature on corporate stamps

KOTA KINABALU: Local artist, Josrie Haral, won top honors in the Sketching Competition for his painting of the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Building which will celebrate its 100th anniversary next March.

Josrie’s rendition of one of the city’s last remaining British colonial-era buildings won the first prize worth RM1,000 and will be featured on corporate stamps by Pos Malaysia to commemorate the centennial of the historic STB building, which was a former post office.

“It gives me great pleasure to extend my warmest congratulations for Josrie Haral for his breathtaking landmark in the heart of the city,” said STB Chairman, Datuk Joniston Bangkuai at the prize-presentation ceremony yesterday. He said Sabah Tourism was fortunate to have the heritage building as its headquarters, noting its address is also the official 0km of Kota Kinabalu, attesting to the building’s central location.

Joniston presented prizes to the other winners of the competition including Chong Jun Hao at 2nd place, winning RM800 and Mastini Asap who won RM500. Consolation prizes were also awarded to five other participants who each won RM100.

“The artworks of all top 8 award-winning sketches will be displayed for public viewing at the STB building for one month before being featured at the Sabah Art Gallery,” said Ar. Arnold Kwan Chee Hung, Chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Architects Sabah Chapter (PAM).

Among the committee of judges evaluating the artworks include Curator of Sabah Art Gallery Jennifer P. Linggi, Arnold, Joniston, and organizing chairman Ar Patrick Vun.

Earlier in his speech, Joniston expressed his appreciation to PAM for organizing the competition earlier this month which saw 36 participants consisting of artists and students joining to appreciate and observe the STB building – a priceless heritage of the city. Artists were given a period of one week to complete their sketches.

The competition was also held in conjunction with PAM’s annual Borneo Architecture Festival where many other activities were held around the city, including a “Kiosk Design Competition” at DBKK as well as the International Design Conference next week.

The STB building is one of the three buildings here gazetted for conservation and heritage. Located on Gaya Street, it survived the bombing by Allied Forces during the Second World War in Jesselton when much along the same street was destroyed. The other colonial-era buildings are the Atkinson Clock Tower, which still stands and the Lands and Surveys Department building (later converted to the Department of Social Welfare) but was destroyed in a fire in 1992. Only a few columns remain on the site in front of the Suria Sabah shopping mall.

The STB building underwent restoration in 1989 and it was officiated open on January 19, 1991, to house STB.

Source : New Sabah Times

Oath stone brings focus to Keningau Heritage Museum

ASIDE from being known as a town in interior Sabah, Keningau is not known for much else. But this looks likely to change with a decision that will result in having a piece of Malaysian history permanently placed there.

Earlier this week, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup announced that the ‘oath stone’ (or Batu Sumpah) that pledges the support for Malaysia by the people of ‘interior Sabah’ will be placed permanently at the Heritage Museum (Musium Warisan) in Keningau.

The stone was planted in the compound of the Keningau District Office for many years. It caught widespread attention when someone uprooted it and returned it sometime later with some inscriptions chiseled off.

An uproar ensued because the words ‘ugama bebas dalam Sabah’ had been removed. After interventions by numerous parties, the new-look stone which will find its home at the Keningau Heritage Museum will have all the original wordings of the stone, except that they are now etched in a metal sheet mounted on a stone. So much about the stone; but what about its new home?

The Keningau Heritage Museum was established in 2008 and is located at what was formerly a government rest house built in 1946 and completed in 1947.

The rest house was built by the Borneo Construction Company Ltd. It lays claim that many Malaysian luminaries such as Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak, had visited Keningau and stayed at this historic rest house.

Today, visitors can view various aspects of Keningau’s history, covering the culture, history, zoology, ethno-botany and sports. What used to be probably the only place to spend a night for visiting government officials 50 years ago has been turned into a local museum that houses numerous historical collections dating back to the colonial days, ranging from artifacts and old photographs.

Some of these items were donated by either expatriates who used to live here or by descendants of famous families of the area.

There are two large antique Chinese jars donated by a man who claimed that spirits live within. A guest at his house claimed he saw the image of a lady emerging from one of the jars.

The owner, sold to a common local belief that many old jars are the abode of spirits, decided that he did not want them anymore in his house and donated them to the museum. Other amusing exhibits are some photos of a beauty queen (Ms Julita Angian) of Keningau in 1958 including a recent photo of her.

All in all, the Keningau Heritage Museum is certainly one of a kind a good way to spend a morning or an afternoon, especially when there’s someone at hand to share a tale or two about the origins of the oath stone.

To the uninitiated, Keningau can be accessed via the Kimanis Road, or following the recommendation of this writer, via the town of Dongongon in Penampang and up through the cool of the Crocker Range to Tambunan, with its terraced rice fields, and then to the central valley of Keningau. This route, is about 131km and between two and a half hours drive or more, depending on the number of stops you make and traffic.

A large number of lorries still use this route when transporting goods to and from the interior. Keningau was known for logging and some downstream timber industries. Oil palm dominates the landscape. The town itself has a reputation of being ill-planned. One former chief minister labelled it a ‘rojak town’ some years ago.

The majority of Keningau’s inhabitants are Dusuns and Muruts with a sprinkling of Chinese and many recent Indonesian immigrants. Keningau gets its name from Kendingau, which is the local name for the spice “cinnamon”.

This used to be collected and exported worldwide during colonial times. Keningau has also bred many of our local leaders who were instrumental to our independence from colonial rule, and the formation of Sabah as part of Malaysia.

Source : New Sabah Times