State govt, entrepreneurs urged to emulate Johor

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) Sabah branch president Datuk Frankie Liew has urged Sabahan entrepreneurs and the State Government to emulate Johor’s success in attracting investors from China to the state.

Liew said Johor has far exceeded Sabah in terms of development and luring foreign investments from China.

Hence, he said local entrepreneurs and the State Government should emulate their counterparts in Johor in order to make Sabah an important investment zone for China investors.

Liew said this when visiting Iskandar Malaysia zone after attending the 16th anniversary celebration cum sixth installation ceremony of MCCC Johor branch recently.

During the dinner, Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said that the state had recorded 800,000 tourist arrivals from China last year, whereas that of Sabah was only 360,000.

Tee also said that Johor had been attracting the highest amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) for four consecutive years in Malaysia.

He said FDI for the manufacturing sector alone recorded RM14.4 billion in 2013, RM21.1 billion in 2014, RM31.1 billion in 2015 and RM26.4 billion in 2016, which amounted to RM93 billion in total and the creation of 63,515 job opportunities.

Liew said China was not only the largest import and export country in the world, but also had great influence on major economic sectors, such as property, innovative technology and trade, and therefore, the need to maintain friendly cooperative ties with China.

“The Johor state government’s initiative to develop the state, especially its effort to attract China investors to Iskandar Malaysia, has been very successful.

“The Sabah State Government and private sector must identify our own project that could be developed into an investment or development centre for China in the Far East region.”

Liew said Sabah could leverage on our fertile land, tropical climate and geographical advantage to lure China investors into investing in retirement village, healthcare institution, tourism, agriculture and property development in the State.

Also present was MCCC Sabah branch life honorary advisor Datuk Lau Kok Sing.


City lights out for Earth Hour

Posted on : 26-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KOTA KINABALU: Street lights, homes, offices, and other buildings in the city went dark on Saturday night, signifying Earth Hour, a global initiative to get countries to switch off their lights for an hour.

The annual symbolic act of turning off all non-essential lights, which the City Hall (DBKK) has taken part in since 2011 was commenced at Segama Waterfront here from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

This year’s Earth Hour with its “This Earth Hour, Shine a Light on Climate Action” was officiated by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah. The event also saw hundreds of people from all walks of life.

Edward said that the public should be aware of the importance of taking care of preserving the quality of the nature as Malaysia is among the countries that is rich in biodiversity in the world.

“Failing to preserve the quality of our nature will ultimately affect the well-being of the community as things such as air pollution, water pollution, waste and toxic disposal, illegal deforestation and climate change may cause an imbalance to the environment and the eco-system,” he stated, after officially lighting the 60+ logo candles to mark the Earth Hour.

He further explained that these issues may lead to natural disasters like flood, landslide, and drought, thus urging the public to be aware of the importance of preserving the nature.

Some of the programs held were Low Power Entertainment by volunteered youths, anime and cosplay appearances, and three other competitions.

More than 600 cyclists also took part in the 16KM Decorative Night Ride, where the route started from Hyatt Regency Kinabalu winding up to the City Mosque roundabout and back to the starting point.

Among those present at the event were Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai, Head of Conservation Sabah, WWF Malaysia Office Dr John Tay, general manager of Hyatt Regency Thor Gervasi, city police chief ACP Chandrasekharan Muthu, DBKK director general Datuk Joannes Solidau, The Sabah Parks Board of trustees chairman Dato’ Seri Tengku Dr Zainal Adlin, Ministry of Community and Consumer Affairs permanent secretary Janet Chee, Sabah Department of Environment director Tunku Khalkausar Tunku Fatahi, and DBKK Survey and Innovation director Mas Farisan Salleh.


MISC tops MPRC (Malaysia Petroleum Resources Corporation) 100 rankings for 2015

Posted on : 07-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

Kuala Lumpur: MISC Bhd has topped the Malaysia Petroleum Resources Corporation (MPRC 100) rankings for 2015 due to its higher revenue contribution from its offshore business unit.

The rankings were announced by MPRC, the industry development agency under the Prime Minister’s Department.

Besides MISC, SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd and Dialog Group Bhd bagged second and third place in the ranking.

These companies are publicly traded and privately held oil and gas services and equipment (OGSE) companies.

“Other significant movers in the list included EA Technique (M) Bhd, which vaulted to the 23rd spot from 74th, Petroleum Geo-Services Exploration (M) Sdn Bhd advanced to 48th from 114th previously while Grade One Marine Shipyard Sdn Bhd notched up to 63rd spot after coming in at 194th in the previous year,” it said in a statement.

The MPRC100 also analysed the OGSE industry performance for the year ended 2015.

In 2015, overall revenue for OGSE fell 11 per cent to RM65.8 billion while total OGSE profit before tax declined to RM3.1 billion in 2015 from RM6.5 billion in 2014.

This was attributed mainly to asset impairment losses recognised by offshore drilling rig and vessel owners in response to declining rates and demand.


Plantation ministry to ensure enhanced revenue in 2017

Posted on : 05-01-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry Of Plantation Industries and Commodities and, related agencies, in pursuit of maintaining the steady income of about one million smallholders in the country, will continue to ensure higher  revenue is generated from the country’s commodity sector this year.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, said the ministry was optimistic  strategic steps, drawn up for 2017, would maintain the growth momentum of Malaysia’s oil palm, natural rubber, timber, cocoa, pepper and kenaf industries.

The ministry is targeting export growth of between 5.0 per cent and 8.0 per cent in 2017 while maintaining market share and exploring new markets.

“This includes via free trade negotiations with Iran and exploring market opportunities in West Asia and Southern Europe,” Mah said yesterday in his 2017 New Year message.

From January to October 2016, commodity export revenue was up two per cent at RM99.2 billion and contributed 15.6 per cent to Malaysia’s total export revenue.

“This positive performance was a result of concerted efforts by all parties in rising to the challenges faced in 2016,” said Mah, adding that further investments in research and development would be undertaken as it would yield in  new high-value added products.

The minister also said this measure would also improve the marketability and competitiveness of Malaysia’s commodity products in world markets.

Mah said 2017 was a special year for Malaysia as it would mark 100 years of  commercial cultivation of oil palm and the sector contributed positively in raising the social economic status of the country including creating various job opportunities.

“As such, the ministry will continue to strengthen the oil palm sector in order for it to continue contributing to the nation’s coffers for another 100 years to come,” he added.


Lahad Datu residents excited to receive PM

Posted on : 18-12-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

LAHAD DATU: Since news spread that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will be here today to open the Pan Borneo Expressway, residents have been excited and waiting eagerly for the arrival of the country’s number one leader.

A resident of Kampung Batu 13, Arita Abbas, 34, said the prime minister’s arrival today would give hope for more development in Lahad Datu and bring the district on par with other districts in the state.

“We welcome him and hope that with this visit, he will be more concern with our well-being and will address any issues and shortage facing the residents here,” he told Bernama here yesterday.

Housewife Juliana Haddis, 32, said the prime minister’s visit to Lahad Datu reflected the government’s concern on development in the district.

“The prime minister’s arrival here tomorrow is an indication that our leader care about the people in Lahad Datu and strive to develop the district,” she added.

Meanwhile, a resident of Felda Sahabat, Mansur Sulaiman, in his 30s, said Najib’s visit to Lahad Datu today would prove that the prime minister is close to the people and willing to go down to meet them and to know their problems.

“Hopefully, the government will bring more development to the state, especially to Lahad Datu, hence opening more employment opportunities,” he added.

Meanwhile, checks by Bernama at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Sepagaya, the venue for the opening ceremony of the Pan Borneo Expressway, found the preparations there almost 90 percent ready.

A worker said it was hard work, but it was worth the effort.

“Indeed we are tired making all these preparations, but are now eager and excited waiting for the prime minister to arrive.

“Hopefully, his visit will bring a windfall for residents of Lahad Datu,” he added.


Give back to community, Christians urged

Posted on : 14-12-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KOTA KINABALU: Christians have been urged to give back to the community and to remember those less fortunate during this Christmas season.

Sabah Council of Churches president Rv Datuk Jerry Dusing said in the uncertainties and violence seen all over the world presently, it was important for Christians to think back about what was important in life.

“We must instil values of love, care, sharing, forgiveness and reconciliation,” he said during the opening ceremony of the Gaya Christmas Celebration in downtown Kota Kinabalu, Tuesday night.

He said these values were most needed in our world today that is plagued with so many acts of violence, aggression and terrorism that sow feelings of fear, anger and hatred.

“This is also why we chose ‘Peace and Mercy for all’ as the theme for our event this year,” Dusing said. He also commended the state government and City Hall for their continuous support in keeping the Christmas spirit and celebration alive.

“This helps in further promoting and nurturing the peace and harmony enjoyed in this multi-racial and religious society,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman urged the people to prevent from doing things that could disrupt the peace and stability in the State.

“It is with stability, peace and harmony that we are able to continue prospering socially and economically,” he said during his officiating speech.

Tourism, Culture & Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun delivered his speech. Musa said the core for a progressive country lies in the unity of its people and that it was more vital to preserve in a multi-racial country like Malaysia.

He said it is only with peace and mutual understanding that everyone would be able to celebrate festivals together.

“The State government will do its best to ensure that we are all able to celebrate each other’s festivals and celebration with the support from the people,” he added.

The Gaya Christmas Celebration that runs until December 16 at the Padang Merdeka here is co-organised by Sabah Churches of various denominations and the city, with support from the state government.


Increased annual allocation for schools and religious bodies

Posted on : 14-12-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

SANDAKAN: The Sabah State Government has been able to steadily increase annual allocation for schools and non-Islamic religious bodies in the State due to prudent financial management.

A total of RM 4,625,000 has been allocated for 37 schools and kindergartens, and 63 places of worship including 45 churches, 16 Chinese temples and two Hindu and Sikh temples in the Sandakan region for this year, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman said during the handing of financial aid to schools and non-Islamic religious bodies at the ballroom of Sabah Hotel yesterday.

Of the sum, RM 1,715,000 is meant for schools including Chinese independent and mission schools and kindergartens and RM 2,910,000 for non-Islamic religious bodies, Musa who is also State Finance Minister said.

“The Sabah State Government has allocated RM 31,398,000 to be disbursed to schools and non-Islamic religious bodies for the whole of Sabah. A total of 567 places of worship and schools in Sabah are benefitting from the overall grants,” Musa added.

Musa said the Barisan Nasional State Government will continue to assist non-Islamic religious bodies and schools as it has done over the years.

The record shows that RM 171,107,180 has been disbursed to non-Islamic religious bodies in Sabah since 2004, and RM 131,443,019 was allocated to schools.

“I understand from feedback that past allocations have been used efficiently and have allowed places of worship and schools to make repairs, extensions and to purchase items. We acknowledge that we cannot meet requests for the total sum schools and religious bodies have requested, but let me assure you the Sabah State Government has done its very best to allocate what it can,” Musa said.

Although socio- economic programmes require funds, the State Government will continue to assist schools. The government pays serious attention to education development, and is also constantly striving to bridge the gap when it comes to facilities in urban and rural areas, Musa added.

“We are aware that some schools in remote locations need better facilities and infrastructures. We constantly work with the Federal Government, in particular the Ministry of Education, to seek solutions to improve facilities that will make teaching and learning more effective,” Musa said.

Musa said the large allocation for non-Islamic religious bodies is reflective of the Government’s commitment in upholding religious freedom.

There is no discrimination and it is my hope that all parties act responsibly when discussing issues related to religion and the rights of all citizens as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, he added.

“Along with Islamic bodies, non-Islamic religious bodies play an important role in promoting positive values in society,” Musa said.

Present were deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Panglima Raymond Tan who is also the Industrial Development Minister, Special Tasks Minister, Datuk Teo Chee Kang, and assistant minister Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah , Datuk Seri Panglima Michael Asang, assistant Finance Minister Gum-Gum assemblyman Datuk Zakaria Edris, Libaran MP Datuk Juslie Ajirol, and Sandakan Municipal Council president Datuk Ir James Wong.


Christmas fair – Sabah’s style

Posted on : 14-12-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KOTA KINABALU: Christmas carols could be heard throughout the night as the annual Gaya Christmas Celebration takes place at the Padang Merdeka here.

Groups of carollers sang their hearts out in various languages mainly Bahasa Malaysia and English, serenading visitors to the event with songs of praise, celebration and joy as Christians prepare for the coming of Christmas.

Visitors from near and far, young and old could be seen thronging the event site until late night, while lines of slow moving vehicles could be seen in various roads leading to the city for the celebration.

A young couple, Laindey Limpuong and his wife Abby Rolinih who came all the way from Sindumin, some 155km from the State Capital with their two babies said they braced the long drive just to join in the Christmas celebration.

“This is our first time here and we wanted to see what is it that makes this Gaya Christmas Celebration one of the must attend events as suggested by various tourism websites,” Laindey said.

The 28-year-old civil servant, a native Murut, said they were glad they made it as it was heart warming to see the place decorated so beautifully for Christmas and so many people of various religious and racial backgrounds come together.

“We are really happy and this kind of harmony and togetherness is really something that not many people in the world enjoy,” he said, adding they also wanted to taste the food on sale on the various booths.

Similarly, tourists from Berlin, Germany, Sarah John, 32 and her partner Hans Matthias, 31, said they were curious to see how Christmas season was celebrated in Sabah.

“We have been here for more than two weeks now and before returning, we wanted to feel how people in Borneo (Sabah) celebrate Christmas,” said Sarah.

“It is interesting to see people of various races come together for Christmas,” she said. She also said they came to taste the different kinds of food sold around the event venue and experience new things.

Sarah said it felt a bit weird to get the Christmas feeling here as back home it was winter and it recently snowed there.

“It feels weird to see palm trees and Christmas decorations all together, so this is definitely a different experience for us,” she said.

In between the Christmas carols and performances on stage, there were also Muslim families enjoying the shows. One of them were Nor Mina Jul, 34 and her 47-year-old sister Ludiawati Jul with their children.

Asked why she as a Muslim would attend the Christmas celebration, Nor said it was because in Sabah, they were used to celebrating each other’s festivals despite not having the same faith or opinion on religion.

“We just wanted to come and enjoy the beautiful decorations, the songs, and the festival just like other people would if we Muslims celebrated Hari Raya,” she said.

She said it was with celebrations like these that people would learn to respect and understand one another and the same time preserve peace and harmony in the country.

“I personally think that everyone has their right to their own thinking and religion but no one should insult another just because they have differences in their beliefs and culture,” she said. – PR


Petronas Chemicals wins big at CICM (Chemical Industries Council of Malaysia) Responsibles Care Awards

Posted on : 14-12-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

Kuala Lumpur: Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PCG) has emerged as a big winner at the Chemical Industries Council of Malaysia (CICM) Responsible Care Awards 2015/2016, bagging 24 awards in the petrochemicals category.

The Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) petrochemical entity won five gold, 13 silver and six merit awards for its commitment to Responsible Care’s Six Codes of Management Practices.

The awards were presented by International Trade and Industry Second Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan during the annual chemical industry dinner held here on Dec 2.

In a statement Tuesday, PCG Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Datuk Sazali Hamzah said that the recognition by the CICM was a testimony of PCG’s commitment towards achieving operational excellence, as well as the company’s credibility and vast experience in conducting its business safely.

“As a chemical industry leader, PCG views safety to be of utmost importance and we go to great lengths to ensure that everything we do involves the highest level of care and diligence. In addition, careful planning and meticulous execution have always been a focus to ensure our operations remain safe,” he added.

PCG has participated in the CICM Responsible Care Awards for 11 consecutive years alongside its annual participation in the CICM Responsible Care Run.

This year, a total of 19 companies received the CICM awards including those from the oleochemicals, general chemicals as well as small and medium enterprises categories.

Responsible Care, a voluntary initiative of the global chemical industry initiated in Canada in 1985 and adopted by 53 countries worldwide since, aims to continuously improve practices in the areas of health, safety and environment.


MIDA approves 3,784 projects worth RM150 bil for Jan-Sept

Posted on : 13-12-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

Although the number of projects dropped 3.7% from RM156.6 billion in the same period last year, they are expected to create 117,550 jobs.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) approved 3,784 projects worth RM150.8 billion for the January-September period of 2016.

Although the number of projects dropped 3.7% from RM156.6 billion in the same period last year, they are expected to create 117,550 jobs.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed, in a statement today, said the overall investment performance for the whole of 2016 could be sustained despite the challenging global environment.

He said domestic investments accounted for 74.8% of the total investments at RM112.8 billion, while foreign investments made up the rest.

“The services sector attracted the largest portion of approved investments, contributing 71.9% or RM108.4 billion, followed by the manufacturing sector with investments of RM40.7 billion or 27%, and the primary sector with approved investments of RM1.7 billion or 1.1%,” he said.

The minister said for the January-September 2016 period, the value of investments in the services sector increased 26.2% from the corresponding period last year.

He said the projects were expected to create 69,660 jobs, of which more than 95% were in distributive trade, Multimedia Super Corridor-status, hotel and tourism, education and global establishments.

However, he said the total number of projects approved declined 3.9% to 3,203 compared with 3,334 projects in the January-September 2015 period.

On the manufacturing sector, he said approved investments for the sector dropped 39% for the January-September period from the corresponding period last year.

He said the total investments approved in the manufacturing sector were mainly in petroleum products, including petrochemicals (RM9.4 billion), electronics and electrical products (RM7.3 billion), natural gas (RM3.7 billion) and food manufacturing (RM3.3 billion).

The others were investment for transport equipment (RM3 billion), basic metal products (RM3 billion), chemicals and chemical products (RM2.7 billion), non-metallic minerals (RM1.7 billion), and machinery and equipment (RM1.3 billion).

“These make up 87% of total approved investments for this sector.”

Mustapa said while the value of approved domestic investments dropped 57.8% to RM21.3 billion, foreign investments in the manufacturing sector increased 12.9% to RM19.4 billion during the period.

He said the leading sources of foreign investments were the Netherlands, China, the UK, Singapore and Japan.

“These five countries jointly accounted for 57% of total foreign investments approved in the manufacturing sector for the January-September period,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said the primary sector, comprising three main sub-sectors, namely agriculture, mining, and plantation and commodities, attracted investments worth RM1.7 billion for the January-September period.

He said domestic investments contributed RM1 billion, while investments by foreign sources totalled RM700,000.

Going forward, investment performance for 2017 would reflect the optimism of investors who continue to find Malaysia as a strategic location for their investments, he said.

He said recent trade and investment missions led by Prime Minister Najib Razak to Germany, China and Japan showed positive indication from the business communities there to invest in a wide range of manufacturing and services projects in Malaysia.

“In fact, the recent visit by the prime minister to China was very successful with the signing of 14 agreements worth RM144 billion in various areas such as tourism, infrastructure, manufacturing and research and development,” he added.

The minister said while Malaysia also sought greater market access through bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, the government placed emphasis on protecting the interests of the country’s economy and the well-being of the people.

“We continue our efforts in developing the industrial ecosystems in the country and encourage domestic players to move up the value chain.

“To thrive in today’s challenging and fast-paced business climate, we must stay ahead of the game, and continue to expand and diversify our trade with the world,” he added.


UMS always ready to assist needy students, says Vice-Chancellor

Posted on : 08-09-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) provides various forms of welfare assistance for its needy students, said Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Harun Abdullah.

“Students facing financial, family, education or other problems should not hesitate to contact officials at the Student Affairs Department.

“The Student Affairs Department has always been concerned with the welfare of students. So far UMS has not received any complaint that students had to go hungry in order to save money as was reported on social media recently,” he said.

Mohd Harun was speaking at the presentation of student welfare assistance ceremony at the Gallery, UMS Chancellery Building here, yesterday.

Also present were Nur Jauhar Foundation Patron, Toh Puan Norlidah RM Jasni and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ismail Ali .

At the ceremony, 89 new students who registered with UMS under the Bottom 40 per cent Household Category (B40) on August 28-29 received the assistance.

Mohd. Harun said that B40 was an initiative to help underprivileged students from the Bottom 40 per cent Household Category to continue their tertiary education.

“Since the initiative was first implemented for the 2013/2014 academic year, a total of 100 places are being offered to underprivileged students every year.

“They are offered to those from the interior region of Sabah whose family income is below the poverty line income (PLI) of RM1, 170,” he said.

Mohd Harun said currently 376 of them were registered with UMS and the first batch of students who registered for the 2013/2014 academic session would graduate in November this year.


Close ties helps resolve border issues

Posted on : 08-09-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KOTA KINABALU: Close working relations between Malaysian Army and its Indonesian counterpart has helped in resolving various issues related to the two countries’ common borders.

Speaking at the “Malaysia-Indonesia Land Operation Planning Team 34th Annual Conference” here on Thursday, Malaysian Army delegate’s leader Colonel Marzuki Mokhtar said that the armies of both countries have been conducting joint operations at the border to curb trans-border crimes.

“When we have close relationship, it is easier for us to share information especially intelligence. When we have information of certain crime activities, we can alert our counterparts so they can take necessary actions on their side of the border and vice versa,” he said.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Army delegate head Brigadier-General Eko Margiyono said that the conference is also a platform to build mutual trust between the armies of the two countries.

“We in ASEAN have our unique way to resolve problems. It is not like the western way of ‘black and white’ or right or wrong. Among ASEANmembers, we approach problems in family kind of way.

“Terrorism for instance, which is not unique to any country but this is where our mutual trust plays on important role. We share intelligence information so it can be nipped in the bud before getting out of hand,” he said.

According to him, the strong ties between the two organisations have spawned various collaborations such as joint patrol along the shared borders to preserve peace in both countries.

Kota Kinabalu has been chosen to be the host of the two-day annual conference which started Thursday.


Value of M’sia’s gold jewellery exports to grow by 15 per cent

Posted on : 09-06-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National Business, Uncategorized

KUALA LUMPUR– The value of gold jewellery exports from Malaysia is projected to grow by 15 per cent this year and surpass last year’s RM7 billion due to the weakening ringgit against the US dollar.
President of Federation of Goldsmiths and Jewellers Association of Malaysia, Ermin Siow, said for the first four months of the year, gold jewellery exports had increased by 15 per cent year-on-year to around RM2 billion to RM3 billion due to the falling ringgit.

“Last year, the exports, mainly 22k gold jewelleries, recorded a single-digit growth amounting to RM7 billion. Up to 90 per cent of them were exported to the Middle East countries and Singapore,” he said.


Now available halal ‘kuih Chang’, thanks to Siti Rafitah

Posted on : 07-06-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

PUTRAJAYA — Siti Rafitah Rakhimi, 32, has been craving for the Chinese traditional delicacy Kuih Chang that is mostly available during the Dragon Boat Festival or Duan Wu period, that falls in the middle of the year.

She had heard from her Chinese friends of the tantalizing taste of the Kuih Chang, that comes in pyramid shape wrapped with bamboo leaves and the filling is made of meat, legumes and salted egg.
However, she never got to taste one as she feared as it may not be permissible for Muslims as some of the ingredients used do not conform with the Halal requirements.


Timor-Leste keen to become full-fledged ASEAN member

Posted on : 07-06-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KUALA LUMPUR– Timor-Leste is keen to become a full-fledged member of the ASEAN bloc, which upon completion of economic assessments, will see its entry as the 11th member.

Timor-Leste Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo said the country has been through the assessments in the the last five years, with the secretariat now having the final report.

“We expect that the next ASEAN meeting in Laos will discuss the results of the assessments after which we will know when Timor-Leste will be formally accepted into the group,” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2016 here.

Timor-Leste formally applied to be a member of ASEAN in 2011 after holding observer status for several years, with some member states, including Malaysia, already voicing support for its entry.

In terms of preparation, de Araujo said Timor-Leste been working hard to fulfil all the basic conditions needed to become an official member, including active participation in meetings and interaction with all the 10 member countries.

“We have also established embassies and ambassadors in all the member countries, another condition to be formally accepted as a member.

“These steps have been taken and we are looking forward to hearing the final decision of the ASEAN leaders,” he added.

It was reported that Timor-Leste was taking the necessary steps and processes to comply with ASEAN’s requirements.

These include developing infrastructure to host ASEAN summits and meetings, and establishing a diplomatic presence in all ASEAN capitals.

de Araujo, who took office in 2015, described Timor-Leste as a comparatively young country with 60 per cent of its population under 25 years of age.

“So it is quite a good opportunity for Timor-Leste, as a young country, to be able to participate for the first time at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2016,” he said, adding that the country still has to a lot to learn to gain experience.

He added that the two-day WEF was positive for Timor-Leste, as he had thematic discussions with leaders of Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia on issues pertaining to blended finance and how to mobilise resources, including financial resources, to support sustainable development.

On bilateral trade with Malaysia, he said it has been growing annually, though on a small scale compared to its higher trade volume with Indonesia, its closest neighbour.

In 2013, bilateral trade between Malaysia and Timor Leste stood at US$21.2 million (RM69.4 million).

de Araujo said Malaysia and Timor-Leste are set to elevate bilateral relations by expanding the current co-operation and exploring opportunities in agriculture as well as the oil and gas sector.

The potential to increase business interactions between both countries is quite high with discussions at the government level, he added.

“We had meetings with the private sector, and one of our ministers has talked to AirAsia on the possibility of establishing a link between KL and Timor-Leste,” de Araujo said, adding that dicussions are still at a very initial stage.