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Borneo Eco Film Festival to showcase 18 films from around the world

KOTA KINABALU: The seventh edition of Borneo Eco Film Festival (BEFF) will be screening 18 films from around the world on Sept 22-24 at Suria Sabah Shopping Mall in Sabah.

BEFF director Melissa Leong said among the participating countries besides Malaysia are United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Turkey, Myanmar, The Netherlands and Singapore.

Melissa said seven short films would be screened during the BEFF ‘365 Fringe Screening’ at selected locations around Sabah throughout the year.

“The three-day festival is an annual non-profit event celebrating Borneo’s biocultural diversity through showcasing environmental films and nurturing local community film making.

“During the festival, cinephiles are treated to Asian and Southeast Asian premieres of documentaries that highlight a variety of issues from elephant conservation to indigenous land rights,” she said at a press conference here yesterday, adding that all the film screenings were free to the public.

Melissa noted that one of the films that would touch the hearts of people in Sabah titled ‘Mount Kinabalu — North Borneo 1961’ and produced by the UK Royal Society was filmed in 1961 on old film reels discovered in the Royal Society archives.

Some films highlighted insects as delicacies, how the fashion industry impacts the environment and how cats became an integral part of a city.

Besides the film-screenings, the festival would also feature educational talks, discussion panels, workshops and an Eco Art Carnival showcasing eco-themed art installations as well as an arts and crafts market.

In conjunction with the festival, BEFF organised the Suara community filmmaking programme with a series of film making workshops since March for the indigenous and local community, whose films would premiere on the final day (Sept 24) of the festival.

Further information and updates on the festival are available at www.beff.org.my or on BEFF’s Facebook page. — Bernama

Source : The Borneo Post

Potential sport tourism product

Kota Kinabalu: Anime, Cosplay and Gaming conventions like the ongoing OtaFuse 2017 in Suria Sabah have huge potential to be a Sport Tourism product that can attract international visitors.

OtaFuse 2017 is a two-day event exhibition focusing on Japanese Pop Culture organised by the Japanese Animation and Comic Fan Club Sabah for the seventh time this year since 2010.

Its organiser Mohd. Hanafi Light said they are expecting about 3,500 visitors excluding participants, this year.

“This is all started from passion where we gather people who like Anime and Japanese Culture into one place to meet new friends and showcase their talents.

“This is an event where youth would normally attend but we get older participants who are really into the culture, so we plan to express the youth’s talent with the Ministry of Tourism and Information now fully supporting us in hope we could attract more and more people.

“We also hope that the Youth and Sports Ministry will support us in future that we will be able to achieve a goal of 50,000 visitors like the ACG event in Kuala Lumpur,” said Hanafi.

Hanafi also added that Suria Sabah had fully sponsored the venue as this will be the third time using the Exhibition Hall.

Another highlight of the convention was the special guest’s like cosplayer BaoBao from Hong Kong, Rikka from Kuala Lumpur and special guest cosplayer Yuriko Tiger, an Italian talent and model who is currently working at Japan.

Yuriko said this is her first convention abroad and had never been to Kota Kinabalu before but she was very happy to see the amount of fans coming to the event to meet and greet her further adding that the locals here are very friendly.

Another Cosplayer, Rangga Kanchiel, said he came all the way from Bandung, Indonesia to participate in OtaFuse 2017.

“I am surprised by the number of participants here on how friendly and passionate they are since I have once participated in the C2E2 Comic and Entertaintment Expo in Chicago, U.S.A.

Meanwhile, two tournaments were hosted during OtaFuse, popular fighting game Tekken 7 and The Lab: Longbow Virtual Reality exposing the hidden talent of the ever-rising popularity of E-Sports.

Virtual Dimension co-founder Geoffrey Sinn said that he is surprised that not many people in KK have ever experienced VR technology before and is glad to showcase his exhibition booth during the event.

“Doing this roadshow is a good thing as we get to introduce new technologies to the people where they may acknowledge the existence of VR but have never experienced it before,” said Geoffrey.

Other highlights of the event were the Arts & Crafts Alley featuring local artists showcasing their artworks, as well as booths selling Japanese Anime merchandises and hobby collectibles. – Locksley Ng

Source: Daily Express

Anjung Selera Tanjung Lipat redevelopment launched

KOTA KINABALU:  Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday launched the Anjung Selera Tanjung Lipat redevelopment project.

The 2.47-acre project when completed, will offer 51,130 square feet of tenancy space for Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the food and beverage, retail and services sectors.

It is a joint project between TERAJU under the Entrepreneur Development Programme and Modal lnsan Bumiputera Sabah with the Perbadanan Pembangunan Ekonomi Sabah (SEDCO) through its subsidiary, SEDCOVEST Holdings Sdn Bhd and Kota Kinabalu City Hall as owners of the land area.

The redevelopment is to be built at a cost of RM13.5 million commencing September 2017 and to be completed by December 2018.  It will also feature 112 car park lots to facilitate ease of traffic to the venue.

Musa earlier  chaired the Sabah Bumiputera Economic Council meeting yesterday.

He said the State Government aims to produce more human resource with high potential from among the senior management level of government-linked companies (GLCs) in Sabah.

To make this a reality, he said Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp) and TERAJU were now working together on the Sabah GLC Talent Development Program whhich was being done with the cooperation of the State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN).

Senior management would be placed at several identified GLCs to get exposure of best practices, expand their profession network, at the same time contribute to knowledge and technology exchange in developing and implementing high value projects, he said.

“Starting this month, two candidates of the Sabah GLC Talent Development Program have been posted to Khazanah Nasional Bhd and TERAJU,” he said.

Musa also disclosed that in the aspect of education for the Bumiputera community, Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera is an initiative to strengthen the capacity building of Bumiputeras continuously.

Yayasan Peneraju had benefitted 1,611 Sabahans, he added.

The Chief Minister also presented cheques to the recipients of TERAJU’s funds.

Source: The Borneo Post

Imbak Canyon Study Centre boost for research, tourism

WHILE the Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA) and the Danum Valley Conservation Area (DVCA) remain as Borneo’s more prominent and celebrated forests, it would be an oversight to exclude the equally majestic Imbak Canyon Conservation Area (ICCA) of Tongod from the list.

Situated north of MBCA and the west of DVCA, the Imbak Canyon is located some 300 kilometres away from Kota Kinabalu, a road journey that will take approximately seven to eight hours, subject to good road conditions.

Since being gazetted as a Class 1 (Protection) Forest Reserve by the State Government back in 2009, the ICCA has come a long way, and has reinvented itself as one of Sabah’s most promising tourism products.

The growth of the ICCA can be attributed to the partnership between Yayasan Sabah and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) that was initiated back in 2010.

Since then, the two bodies have taken numerous initiatives to ensure the preservation of the forests, most recently being the establishment of the highly awaited Imbak Canyon Studies Centre (ICSC).

In 2013, Petronas approved a RM77 million fund under Phase 2 of the Yayasan Sabah and Petronas partnership to build the ICSC, in line with its intent to solidify the ICCA as a centre of learning for indigenous community in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

Construction commenced in 2014 and was completed in November 2016, when the facility was subsequently handed over to Yayasan Sabah.

Among others, the ICSC will serve as a platform for gene bank conservation and the exploration of pharmaceutical and biotechnological potentials.

Last Monday, a group of journalists were invited for a first ever media visit to ICSC, where they had to stay on location for four days under a programme spearheaded by Petronas and Yayasan Sabah.

To learn more about the facilities provided by the ICSC, the manager of ICCA, Dr. Hamzah Tangki, took members of the media for a tour around the newly-built compound.

It is understood that the buildings at the ICSC were designed taking into consideration green elements to ensure minimal carbon footprint.

The establishment of the ICSC will coincidentally elevate Tongod as one of the crucial districts of the State with the ICSC serving as a major infrastructural development.

In line with this, the ICSC will also turn Tongod into a tourist attraction, which will consequently create more employment opportunities, especially in hospitality, tourism, research, etc.

In a nutshell, among the facilities that are available at the ICSC are a laboratory and a library, top class accommodation, a spacious conference room, an EE complex, a cafe, a gallery, a sports complex, surau, a pavilion and forest parks (which features suspension bridges, a herbs garden, nature trails etc.).

Visitors and researchers, who wish to stay at the ICSC, will be surprised to find that that the ICSC has a wide array of accommodation options, from the conventional rest houses and hostels to the luxurious semi-detached houses, studios and even VIP houses.

Thus, it is apparent that the establishment of the ICSC will more than encourage scientists and researchers to work in an environment that is somewhat isolated, considering the fact that the ICCA now has proper accommodations that will provide home comforts to the scientists.

Currently, the electricity supply in the ICSC is sourced from generator sets (or diesel generators), which will run daily, up till 10 pm.

The ICSC, however, is currently working on setting up another alternative energy source, in the form of solar power, which is expected to be completed in October 2017.

Furthermore, adrenaline boosting junkies would be happy to discover that the Kangkawat suspension bridge, the Big Belian Camp and the Big Belian Trail are just around the corner from the ICSC.

If you are in it for the breathtaking views, a visit to the magnificent Imbak Falls is a must, which is another site that is also relatively close to the ICSC.

It is probably not too far-fetched to say that the Imbak Falls is one of the most outstanding waterfalls formation in the whole of Malaysia, located right at the entrance of Imbak Canyon and is about 30 metres wide.

Another intriguing natural wonder that sits just nearby to the ICSC is the Big Belian tree (Pokok Belian Gergasi), a 1,000-year-old tree that stands tall at more than 250 feet.

In its bid to control the number of incoming groups, the ICSC has come up with a policy, whereby any group of scientists, students and researchers who wish to come to the ICSC, must submit their respective proposal and paperwork to the Management Committee (comprising of government bodies and NGOs).

Hamzah, in his welcoming brief, disclosed that a majority of the visitors to the ICSC this year were students.

He further explained that the ICSC facility is more or less same as the one provided in the MBCA and that the only difference between the two would probably be its respective habitats.

He also reiterated on the importance of having a zoning system in the ICSC, whereby visitors will be prohibited from going to certain parts of the ICSC, for safety reasons.

He said the rules at the ICSC are very strict and that one cannot simply roam around prohibited places as they please. Proper consideration and permission must be given before they can do so.

On a separate note, it is probably safe to say that the gravel road leading up to the ICSC can still be improved further, as adverse weather conditions (i.e. heavy rain) will further affect the road condition.

In line with this, Hamzah revealed that, in the future, there might even be a proper and well-maintained highway that will lead up to the ICSC, something that will be vital to the future generation.

To ensure that the ICSC and the ICCA are properly governed, the Imbak Canyon Steering Committee was set up in 2010 to oversee the activities of the ICSC, planned under Community Outreach, Environmental Education, Public Awareness and Research.

In addition, Yayasan Sabah will be providing yearly budget to fund the ICSC activities, OPEX (operating expenditures) and maintenance cost of the ICSC and its related facilities.

Source: The Borneo Post

Many Chinese tourists prefer to visit Sabah now – Consul General

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has become a popular tourist destination in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region, said the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Zhang He.

“Instead of going to Japan and Korea, many Chinese tourists are coming to Sabah,” he said.

As such, he hoped that the relevant parties would look into enhancing tourism facilities in the State, given the insufficient number of hotel rooms now.

Zhang said the local media has a role to play in promoting exchanges between Malaysia and China.

He said the Chinese consulate has maintained a good working relationship with the local media since its inception in Kota Kinabalu, adding that the reports by local journalists on their trip to China organized by the consulate recently had also achieved the desired effect.

Zhang made the remarks during a courtesy call by Kota Kinabalu Journalists Association (KKJA) committee led by chairman Yong Ted Phen here yesterday to invite Zhang to KKJA’s 25th Anniversary Celebration cum Press Night at Hakka Hall on August 31.

Yong said the consulate has graciously offered its sponsorship for the event, whereby part of the funds will be used for lucky draw prizes and the balance for study awards to KKJA members’ children next year.

Yong also took the opportunity to brief Zhang on the history and functions of KKJA during the courtesy call and thanked the consulate for its support and sponsorship to the association.

Also present were organizing chairman, Jimmy Goh, vice chairman Leopold Santos, secretary Chuah Kim Huat, treasurer Tang Pok Ngai and welfare officer James Tseu.

During other courtesy calls made by the committee, KKJA legal advisor, Datuk Dr. Yee Moh Chai, who is also the chairman of Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia (SEDA), and honorary advisor, Li Su Fook, have also offered to sponsor the event.

Source: The Borneo Post