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New Sabah International Convention Centre to be completed in 10 months

KOTA KINABALU: The state’s upcoming new landmark, the Sabah International Convention Centre, is expected to be ready within 10 months, says Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.

“The construction is still ongoing and we hope it will be completed according to schedule.

“The centre will be timely for us, as it can host meetings, conferences and exhibitions even at international level, as the state currently lacks a huge venue for these events,” he said, adding the state government has extended its gratitude to the federal government over the RM250 million contribution for the centre.

Musa was speaking to reporters after inspecting the construction progress at the site.

Also present were state cabinet ministers, Yayasan Sabah Group director Datuk Sapawi Ahmad, members of the Sabah Chamber of Commerce, and the Sabah Chinese Chambers Association.

He added besides exhibitors and performers, the centre will also provide job opportunities for locals.

The centre, owned by state-operated Yayasan Sabah, will have a 20,400 square exhibition area including the hall, 22 meeting rooms, an open plaza for outdoor exhibitions, as well as a convention hall.

Its two-tier performing arts hall can cater for 1,200 audiences, four simultaneous interpretation booths, built-in stage with technologically advanced audio visual and stage lighting, rehearsal room and ample holding storage.

Source: New Straits Times

Leaving a lasting legacy

Kota Kinabalu: History was re-written with the unveiling of the Inner Wheel Garden Plaque at the historic Atkinson Clock Tower, Wednesday, a sequel to the 2015 revival of the Garden spearheaded by the Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu (IWCKK), in collaboration with City Hall (DBKK) and the Sabah State Museum.

What made the occasion even more significant was that it coincided with International Inner Wheel (IIW) Day, celebrated all over the world. IWCKK walked the talk in translating the IIW Theme (2017-2018), “Leave a Lasting Legacy”, into reality.

The history of the Inner Wheel Garden, created by the Inner Wheel Club of Jesselton (the forerunner of IWCKK) at a cost of $1,400, dates back to 1961. The original plaque had gone missing for many years, apparently the work of vandals.

The plaque tells it all – Inner Wheel Garden Est. 3rd July 1961. The Inner Wheel Garden (formerly known as The Anns’ Garden) at the Atkinson Clock Tower was declared open by E.J.H. Berwick, President of the Jesselton Gardening Society and Director of Agriculture on July 3, 1961. The Garden is now maintained by City Hall.

Lady Goode, wife of the then Governor of British North Borneo (now Sabah), was present at the opening ceremony. She was an Honorary Member of the Inner Wheel Club of Jesselton.

The joint unveiling ceremony was conducted by DBKK Director-General Joannes Solidau who represented Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai, Sabah Museum Director Mansur Assun, Sabah Archives Director Mohd Said Hinayat, Sabah Tourism Board (STB) General Manager Suzaini Ghani and IWCCK President Cecilia Amid.

Among those who witnessed the ceremony were the wife of Mayor and Chairperson of Puspanita Kota Kinabalu City Branch, Datin Rohayah Pawzy, DBKK Director of Bureau of Economic, Tourism and International Relations, Fauziahton Ag Samad, DBKK Director of Landscape Department, Walter Kenson, Sabah Museum Senior Curator (Corporate Communications), Stella Moo, Member of DBKK Board of Advisers cum Chairperson of Tourism Development Committee, Datuk Nancy Ho, and President of the Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu Rafflesia, Helen Morgan.

Interestingly, Joannes was a signatory of the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2015 by three parties – DBKK, Sabah State Museum and IWCKK – in an effort to revive the Inner Wheel Garden.

In his speech read out by Joannes, Yeo said the Atkinson Clock Tower (previously known as Jesselton Clock Tower) stands proud as a Heritage Building much to the admiration of our local community and visitors alike.

“City Hall is happy to render its assistance as part of our service to the city. We hope that the Garden could be maintained and cherished by all our visitors. We advocate ‘zero garbage’ around the city because we want our city to be ‘Clean, Green and Safe’. City Hall will continue to spare no efforts to ensure that Kota Kinabalu remains as a beautiful and liveable City,” he said.

Yeo’s aspiration is that the revived Inner Wheel Garden would be another signature site of the city “as we promote our City for the world to see.”

Meanwhile, Joannes noted that the Atkinson Clock Tower is becoming increasingly popular with tourists, saying he has often seen them taking snapshots of the landmark.

It is reportedly the only oldest standing structure in Kota Kinabalu that has survived to this day.

Completed in 1905 after two years of construction work, the clock tower was built to commemorate Jesselton’s first District Officer, Francis Gorge Atkinson, who died of malaria at the age of 28 on December 6, 1902.

The second son of Rev F.H. Atkinson of Jersey and Mary Edith Atkinson was reportedly a popular District Officer and adored by many. Mary loved her son so much that she built the all-wood, no nails structure in memory of him. That was during the British North Borneo Chartered Company administration.

Earlier, in his address, Mansur said IWCKK’s endeavour was very timely, given the passing of the new State Heritage Enactment 2017 and its enforcement on January 1 this year.

“Today is a historical day as we witness the unveiling of the Inner Wheel Garden Plaque at this historical site below the iconic Atkinson Clock Tower. I commend the President and her team for the initiative to reactivate a Garden planted 57 years ago in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) and to beautify the capital city,” he said.

Noting that the site is in close proximity to Padang Merdeka (yet another heritage site of Kota Kinabalu), Mansur said KK is alive with a very rich cultural heritage. “Heritage sites will further enhance the State’s wealth in culture and heritage. The Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu is in essence contributing to the legacy of our State.”

Both Joannes and Mansur acknowledged the constructive role of Ho who was instrumental in the revival of the Inner Wheel Garden and installation of a new plaque by forming the Inner Wheel Garden Committee. Members comprised past Presidents Datin Carlota Lo, Daisy Chong, Margaret Chin, Emmeline Tan, Gillian Lee and Tengku Marilyn Tengku Adlin.

The starting-point began in December 2013 when Lee (then IWCKK President), Chin and Tan explored the grounds of the Atkinson Clock Tower in an attempt to identify the location of the Inner Wheel Garden and the exact spot where a plaque was apparently once installed. Ho, then past IIW Board Director, volunteered to study the report on the ladies’ findings. Subsequently, she approached the various authorities in Kota Kinabalu to present the Club’s case to them, and discussed the possibility of reviving the Garden.

Confirming this, President Amid said Ho also mooted the idea of installing a new plaque, and a joint committee involving the three parties (IWCKK, DBKK and Sabah State Museum) was set up in December last year with past President Datin Tengku Adlina Tengku Adlin as Chairperson of the Inner Wheel Garden Committee.

DBKK and the Museum were represented by Fauziathon and Moo respectively.

“In less than a month, we witness a huge transformation of this place. This is attributed to the close collaboration among the three parties with energetic (Datuk) Nancy as the main pillar and key strategist, knitting these three parties to work together as an effective team,” she added, while thanking the Museum for allowing the Inner Wheel Garden to continue as an important feature of the Atkinson Clock Tower and the State Archives for enabling the Committee to relive the history.

Amid said the unveiling of the Inner Wheel Garden Plaque marked a realisation of the theme “Leave a Lasting Legacy”, where the plaque serves as a permanent record of Inner Wheel’s legacy since 1961 at this historical site.

According to her, DBKK has done an excellent job in maintaining the garden with a lot of creativity.

“We understand that they have planted Bauhinia Kockiana that will soon transform the outlook of this garden.”

After the formalities were over, Joannes, accompanied by Ho, who is also a past International Inner Wheel Board Director, led the Heritage Walk along Australia Place to the Jesselton Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in the State Capital. Preceding them was the Sabah Museum’s tagunggak group comprising gong and drum beaters.

The entourage adjourned to the hotel’s Bayu Restaurant for the IIW Day celebration where Ho recited the Candle of Friendship Poem, followed by the traditional lighting of the Candle by Rokiah Staun, who is the National Representative (2017-2018) of Inner Wheel Districts 330 & 331.

Fellowship prevailed after the cake-cutting ceremony to mark the auspicious occasion.

In her vote of thanks, Organising Chairperson Datin Tengku Adlina Tengku Adlin described the day as the biggest in the history of IWCKK. “An event like this cannot happen overnight. It requires planning and a bird’s eye for details, and we have been fortunate enough to be backed by the involvement of DBKK and Sabah State Museum,” she said. Rokiah then extinguished the Candle of Friendship. – Mary Chin


Source: Daily Express

Special Flight on Malaysia Airlines Berhad’s Very First A350 XWB to Kota Kinabalu Sabah

YB Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah was the guest of honour aboard the special flight on Malaysia Airlines Berhad’s very first A350 XWB from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu on 9 January 2018.
YB Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, Menteri Pelancongan, Kebudayaan dan Alam Sekitar Sabah menjadi tetamu khas sempena dengan Penerbangan Khas Kapal Airbus A350 XWB yang pertama  Malaysia Airlines Berhad dari Kuala Lumpur ke Kota Kinabalu pada 9 Januari 2018. 

More work needed even though KKIA second busiest airport – Masidi

KOTA KINABALU: Although Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is now rated as the second busiest airport in the country, there are still work that needs to be done to ensure that the statistics can be translated into success.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun revealed that there are now 14 foreign airlines that fly to Sabah using KKIA and on a weekly basis, there are 178 international and 418 domestic flights operating out of KKIA.

“If you sum up the two figures, I believe we have overtaken Penang International Airport as the second busiest airport in Malaysia, after Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

“This, however, is not something that we want to gloat as numbers do not always necessarily equate to success. Numbers must be translated into profitable ventures,” he said when hosting a dinner for the Malaysian Airlines Partners A350 at The Pacific Sutera on Tuesday.

Masidi said it important for Sabah to showcase to the world that our airport is one that is at par with some of the best airports in the region, considering the fact that KKIA is very clean and efficient.

He cited Singapore Changi Airport as a good example, adding that KKIA could achieve the same as the former if it were to have the proper equipment and machineries.

Even though KKIA is not even half the size of KLIA, it had managed to be one of the most profitable airports in the country, he said.

“If you look at the entire perspective on this part of the world, you will realize that the future of the tourism industry is in the north … but, of course, we are targeting the Europeans as well.

“The overall marketing strategy for us in Sabah is that, there should be, if possible, only 15 percent of passengers in each tourism basket of any particular region.

“However, due to the influx of China visitors, they have now accounted for up to 34 to 35 percent of the total number of international arrivals…and more are expected,” he said.

Masidi rues that the lack of four and five-star hotels in the state may affect the arrival rate of Chinese tourists.

“When rooms are scarce, it can give a wrong impression to potential visitors. They may opt for other destinations if there are no available rooms in Kota Kinabalu,” Masidi said, adding that the need for more hotels to be constructed in the state had been addressed to the state cabinet.

“In 2016, we thought that we had broken the record, but preliminary records have indicated that we have done even better last year, in 2017, at least, in terms of the number of tourist arrivals.

“The point that I am trying to tell you is that there is no limit to what we can achieve if all the fundamentals (that we have) are well taken care of,” Masidi said, adding that the roles of Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and Sabah Tourism Board (STB) would be vital in improving the state’s tourism industry.

Masidi, who was a passenger on the MAB Airbus A350 which conducted its test flight from KLIA to KKIA on Wednesday, said he was pleased with the overall experience of the flight.

“We are fortunate and honoured that you have chosen Kota Kinabalu as a destination to try out your new aircraft,” he added.

Also present at the dinner event were MAB chief commercial officer Arved von Zur Muehlen and Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.


Source: Borneo Post

MAS Airbus A350 conducts test flight to KKIA

KOTA KINABALU: A Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) Airbus A350 plane conducted its test flight from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) yesterday.

Aimed at providing the pilots and cabin crew the experience of handling the new aircraft before it started its Kuala Lumpur to London service on Jan 15, the plane arrived at KKIA at 3.50 pm after departing from KLIA at 1.05 pm.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, MAB’s Chief Commercial Officer Arved von zur Muehlen and more than 100 other passengers were on the flight.

Speaking to reporters after arriving at the KKIA, von zur Muehlen said the new aircraft, which has 286 seats including four seats in the First Class, 35 in Business Class and 247 in Economy Class, is believed to be able to provide excellent experience and comfort to customers.

He expressed gratitude for being able to fly the KUL-BKI route prior to commencing the KUL-LDN route.

“We’re happy we can fly here and are very grateful for the support from Sabah Tourism Board to show our latest product.

“The A350 is our latest flight as we are redoing our fleet, which is one of the youngest in Asia with only four years,” he said.

Arved explained that the new A350 fleet would be replacing the A380, due to various factors.

“The A350 XWB offers true long-range capability, operational efficiency with 25 per cent lower operating cost and exclusive passenger experience.

“The A380 is a larger aircraft and for the size of the Malaysian market, its capacity is too much.

“To fill the aircraft everyday is a bit of a challenge and the London route is competitive, so the A350 is better,” he said.

Arved added that air quality will improve significantly in the A350 with a new air filter system, wide seats offering a high level of comfort for long-haul travel, in-seat entertainment and full connectivity, as well as full LED cabin lighting system, among others.

All six ordered A350 aircrafts will be delivered by the second half of the year, said Arved, while the former A380 crafts will be used for pilgrimage chartered flights to Jeddah and Madinah.


Source: Borneo Post