State’s first Agro Park in Sarikei

Posted on : 17-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

SARIKEI: The first Agro Park in the state will be built in Sarikei next year – after all processes such as dividing the land into blocks have been completed.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, in disclosing this yesterday, said 500 acres of land located near the town, which had all the basic utilities such as water supply and electricity supply, had been approved for the Agro Park.

He said Sarikei was chosen for the pilot project based on the fact that agriculture was its economic strength and was home to dynamic farmers.

“The success of the pilot project would pave way for expansion to other areas,” he said when opening the Sarikei Innovation Centre (SIC) here, adding the next Agro Park would most likely be built in Samarahan which already had all the support facilities, especially Internet connectivity.

Saying that it was a new policy to lease land for agricultural purposes, the Chief Minister informed that the land would be divided into 50 blocks of 10 acres each which would be rented out to those genuinely interested in embarking not only on new technology to explore the potential of agriculture industry, but also those making use of the Internet to market their products.

He said this was to ensure that the land leased out by the government for agricultural purposes was not abused, pointing out from past experience that many successful applicants for agricultural land were not serious in developing them and, worst of all, sold the land to other parties.

Participants of the Agro Park needing financial assistance can apply for funds known as ‘Venture Capital’ from the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, he disclosed.

“Under the new policy, for the Agro Park the land is divided into blocks without any title issued, hence there is no room for abuse. Those who rent it either do the farming or have it taken back,” he explained.

This, he said, was also in line with the state government’s decision to shift the managing of its economic development from the traditional to the digital way. He believed switching to digital economy was the way forward, particularly to make Sarawak the most successful state in Malaysia by 2030.

Abang Johari explained that SIC was one of the main facilities to propel Sarikei towards becoming the Food Basket of Sarawak which, when combined with the Sadok Agropolitan being undertaken in Betong and Tanjung Manis Halal hub, would turn Sarawak into a regional food exporter.

He hoped local entrepreneurs would make full use of the SIC to explore modern agriculture such as fertigation method, censor technology, open market and so on.

Responding to a request made by Repok assemblyman Dato Sri Huang Tiong Sii on the urgency to have a road to directly link Sarikei to Tanjung Manis, the Chief Minister said that he was aware of the need and would make known his definite decision soon.

Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, in his speech, thanked the state government for setting up the SIC.

He believed the local people especially those involved in business stood to benefit from the centre which was aimed to connect the local communities and to propel an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Other than that, he said the centre would create spin-offs to the local economy which in turn would uplift the living standard of the people in Sarikei; create agricultural business opportunities; encourage youth involvement in entrepreneurship; assist the local communities into the age of digital economy and spur the setting of similar innovation centres in the surrounding districts.

Among those present were Abang Johari’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Gani and wife.


Labuan Public Marina a magnet to yachters

Posted on : 11-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

LABUAN: The Labuan Public Marina has been attracting yacthers from across the globe, who make a stopover there to rest and replenish supplies before continuing with their journey.

Many of the yacthers also take a vacation in this duty free island blessed with numerous natural and man made wonders.

Officially opened as soon as the island was elevated to a Federal Territory more than three decades ago, the Labuan Public Marina has all the facilities for yacthers to break their sea journey or wait for the right weather before continuing with their journey.

Seafarers who anchor at the marina will literally be parking their yachts downtown Labuan and greeted by friendly locals and a myriad of facilities – docking berths, wifi connectivity, restrooms, and water and electricity supply points at the pontoons that are illuminated at night.

Apart from being located in a prime location close to the town and within walking distance from the customs and immigration offices, the marina itself offers easy access to the nearby duty-free shops, business facilities, shopping malls, ferry terminal providing access to the mainland, hotels, car and bike rentals, and convenience stores.

Bernama’s random survey to the marina recently found that there were several private foreign sail boats and mega yachts moored at the marina’s berthing area. More than 35 docks are available for berthing.

Another factor that lure the yacthers here is the reasonable prices for the facilities provided. The average daily berthing fees for yachts or any type sailing boats is around RM0.80 per sqft of the vessel size (local owner) and RM1.00 per sqft (foreign owner).

An Australian sailor who provided only his first name, David, said Labuan Public Marina is his favourite transit point.

David, 45,  who had traveled 1,100 nautical miles from Hong Kong to reach the marina said that he was impressed by the rich cultural history of the island that has been long listed in the British Admiralty Chart and navigational maps.

David said the island provided natural shelter against the elements, notably rough waves and strong winds, besides the reasonable mooring fees. These were among the factors he considered before deciding to sail to Labuan and berth at the Labuan Public Marina.

“I guess this marina had established itself as one of the best marina in this region and is gaining a good reputation for its services and the scenery it offers,” said David who has been in the marina for almost a month after arriving from Hong Kong.

“What is more, nightlife here is just amazing, including fine-dining restaurants, bars and clubs as well as historical attractions.

“When exploring Labuan, don’t forget to take your camera, as you cannot miss a chance to take a picture of the stunning sunsets,” said David who will be continuing his journey to Vietnam from the marina.

He highlighted that the island is an ideal location for yacht charters and sailing, no matter what kind of activities you prefer, you will find plenty to do on this island.

Spend a day sunbathing on soft-sandy beaches, or snorkel and indulge in water-sports activities at Papan Island and Rusukan Besar Island, and then dedicate some time to enjoy beautiful evening and breathtaking views from the marina.

Another Australian sailor Joseph Andrew who arrived at the marina from Singapore noted people around the world have been sailing to Labuan for centuries.

“On this 35.38 square-mile island, the Labuan public marina is convenient, and getting around by land or water via this marina is as also easy. The marina is also accessible to hardware store and boat repair services and they are conveniently found nearby.

“The marina is also close to barbecue grills and plenty of spots for picnicking,” said Andrew who has been in transit at the marina since August and plans to head to Vietnam as well.

“Labuan is any sailor’s paradise, located behind the eateries and popular 4-star Billion Hotel and shopping mall, the Labuan Public Marina has no waves making the waters ideal for docking and mooring,” said Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Rozman Isli.

“Not only that, beautiful beaches, bays and crystal clear water, attract the yachting elite to this island,” he added.

Rozman who is also the chairman of local authority of Labuan Corporation disclosed that there had been plans to expand the marina as part of the government’s efforts to Labuan as a premier tourist destination.


Govt proposes setting up halal industry park

Posted on : 11-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

THE government has proposed the establishment of a national halal industry park in an effort to expand the industry, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said the centre could spawn numerous new products and services related to the halal industry in the move towards the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.

He said currently, there were 23 halal parks nationwide.

“To reflect our seriousness, I fully agree with the setting up of ‘Halal Jaya’, or any other suitable name for the new national halal industry park, by the government,” he told a press conference after attending the 2017 Halal Industry Premier Dialogue in Kuala Lumpur today.

He said the national halal industry park need not necessarily be in the Klang Valley, as the cost must be taken into account, including that of the land.

Earlier during the dialogue session, Zahid, who is also Malaysian Halal Council chairman, said the halal industry targeted the creation of 330,000 jobs by 2020.

As of last year, the sector employed 248,508 workers.

Zahid said the government was also targeting the establishment of 1,600 small and medium exporting companies by 2020, as compared with 1,257 at the end of last year.

The dialogue session, which was attended by about 1,000 representatives from the Malaysian halal industry, was also aimed at collating data and proposals to take industry development to a higher level.

Feedback from the dialogue will be tabled at the Halal 2.0 Industry Plan Formation Laboratory from September 14 to 19.

The nation’s halal exports amounted to RM42 billion last year, as compared with RM39 billion in 2015, and is expected to surpass the RM50 billion mark by 2020.


Universiti Malaya ranked among world’s top 400 universities

Posted on : 06-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

UNIVERSITI Malaya (UM) made it to the top 400 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018, a ranking of the top 1,000 universities from 77 countries.

Times Higher Education (THE), in a statement today, said UM, a new entrant on the list, was ranked in the 351-400 band, while Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten) were listed for the first time in the 50-600 and 801-1,000 cohorts, respectively.

The three are among the eight Malaysian universities included in the top 1,000 list, compared with seven Malaysian universities in 2017.

The other five universities are Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, and Universiti Teknologi Petronas, ranked 601-800.

“Malaysia is one of the leading emerging university nations in Asia. It has one of the world’s fastest growth rates in research paper outputs (albeit from a low base), the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) training capacity has increased and it has the wealth needed to invest in the higher education sector.

“If Malaysia takes advantage of these characteristics, it may continue to improve in the rankings in the years to come,” said THE.

THE Global Rankings Editorial director Phil Baty said it was great to see Malaysia improving its standing in the rankings, although the rankings were becoming increasingly competitive, with several other Asian countries soaring up the table.

“The nation has long been tipped as one of Asia’s leading emerging university nations and the results this year suggest it is beginning to bear the fruit of its labour,” he said.

Baty said Malaysia would need to ensure it could maintain its investment in universities if it wanted to improve its global standing.
THE World University Rankings are the only global performance tables that judge research-intensive universities across teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

The University of Oxford, UK retains first place in the THE World University Rankings 2018; University of Cambridge, UK is second; California Institute of Technology, US, third; Stanford University, US, fourth; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, fifth.


Achievement of women in Malaysia better than in other countries – PM

Posted on : 06-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: Women in Malaysia have been far more successful at playing various roles in all fields compared to those in most countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the level of success attained by Malaysian women can be seen through their involvement in and contribution to the economy.

“As can be seen, there are 700,000 women in the workforce sector whose impact accounts for 0.3 per cent in contribution to the nation’s GDP (gross domestic product).

“In the education sector, there was a rise (in the percentage of women) at IPTA (public institutions of higher learning) from 62.5 per cent in 2011 to 64 per cent in 2015, while those at PhD (doctorate) level education also increased from 43 per cent in 2011 to 44 per cent in 2013,” he said during the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) dialogue in conjunction with the National Women’s Day 2017 celebration here on Monday.

“This is a great development. We can also see that there are many women out there who are involved in boosting the nation’s economy – many of whom are holding high positions.

“In the corporate sector, 16.8 per cent of the women are at the management level of public listed companies (PLCs),” he said.

Empowering women

Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said the theme for this year’s celebration ‘Women: Changing the

Global Economy’ was chosen to highlight the key roles of women towards realising the nation’s goals, especially in economic development – in that, they could become agents of change in the global economy.

“Indirectly, this theme also acknowledges the contributions of Malaysian women in ensuring the nation’s stability and progress. Women should be seen not just in their role bearing children or being homemakers, but also contributing significantly to the country’s economy.

“The dominating presence of women at the nation’s IPTs (tertiary institutions) – at 70 per cent – should also be reflected in the percentage of women contributing to the economy and development of the country. Women’s involvement in the workforce, which stood at 54.3 per cent last year, has to be improved further,” she said.

Rohani said this was the first time the ministry hosted the Global Women’s Trade Summit 2017, which gathered delegates from countries such as Mongolia, Australia and Japan.

“Such an event could provide a platform for women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds to share with one another their ideas, experiences as well as aspirations and, most importantly, for them to promote their products to the global market.

“This event offers the space and platform for women to further their achievements in their respective fields of business,” she said.

Meanwhile, the TN50 dialogue gave the opportunity to Najib and Rohani to listen to the aspirations of 18 women from diverse backgrounds.

Among those present were Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun.


Rent Proton cars for Uber service

Posted on : 06-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: Those seeking to generate their own income can now apply to be a Uber driver by renting Proton cars from just RM45 a day.

Called the Quick Ride, the service follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the e-hailing service provider, national automaker Proton and Quick Ride Sdn Bhd, a newly-launched company conceptualised by Cartrade Group and Koperasi Amanah Pelaburan Berhad (KAPB).

KAPB executive chairman and Quick Ride chairman Datuk Mohamed Ilyas Mohamed said for a start, 1,000 units of cars would be up for rent and they were targeted to be fully taken up by applicants, by next January.

The number is likely to gradually increase to up to 10,000 units over the next two years.

Speaking to reporters after the signing of the MoU here today, Mohamed Ilyas said applicants could either choose Proton Saga for RM45 per day or Proton Persona for RM55 per day with hassle-free deals, including free vehicle maintenance, road tax, and insurance.

“Those keen can register in the Quick Ride website or personally come to our office at Menara Kembar Bank Rakyat, and we and Uber will process the application.

“If all requirements are met, the applicants will be called to sign the contract and pay RM1,000 deposit for a three-year lease which can be terminated in advance, with penalty imposed,” he said.

The MoU was inked by Quick Ride chief executive officer Mohamed Fahmi Mohamed Ilyas, Uber Malaysia general manager for expansion, Karina Ali Noor and Proton Holdings Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Kenali.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Fahmi said Quick Ride had to date, received about 380 applications since registration opened unofficially on Aug 27, and about 40 of them were approved.


111-Gold medal target achieved

Posted on : 28-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has congratulated Malaysia’s contingent for meeting its target of 111 gold medals at the 29th SEA Games.

“I would like to thank all the nation’s athletes that won the medals, making this 29th SEA Games the best performance ever by a Malaysian contingent,” said the Prime Minister.

“These wins had a contagious effect, making our athletes think ‘if my colleague can do it, so can I’ and pushing them to fight even harder,” Najib said, addressing over 100 members of the Malaysian contingent at the Renaissance Hotel here Monday.

The contingent was earlier watching and cheering as cyclist Azizulhasni Awang delivered the 111th gold medal for Malaysia after winning the men’s sprint title at the National Velodrome in Nilai, Negri Sembilan.

“On the announcement of a public holiday, Malaysians’ two favourite past-times are eating and having public holidays. But wait first, the SEA Games are still ongoing,” he joked.

The 111 gold target is pegged to the number of golds that Malaysia won the last time it hosted the Games in 2001.

For these SEA Games, there are 405 gold medals up for grabs in 38 sports. In the 2001 edition, there were 391 golds contested in 32 sports.

Sultan Nazrin outlines ASEAN’s five mega challenges in 50 years

Posted on : 28-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: As Asean celebrates its 50th anniversary, keeping peace at the centre of the regional grouping’s purpose is among the five mega challenges that it is facing and continues to face in the next 50 years, says the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah.

He said peace and its concomitant, security, could never be taken for granted as the purpose of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia was to “promote perpetual peace, everlasting amity and cooperation among people in the region”.

“The Asean Community today is defined by its three pillars: Political-Security, Economic and Social-Cultural. It is, however, peace and security that is and must be the overarching prerogative.

“Asean’s past 50 years might have been generally, peaceful. But let us not forget that Asean was born in an era of regional conflict and internal strife, and it had to negotiate a path strewn with considerable tensions and regional flashpoints.

“The South China Sea disputes and the transboundary haze problem are examples of how Asean has to cope with issues that could create tension and division,” he said when launching a seminar and book entitled “Asean FutureForward Anticipating The Next 50 Years” here today.

The other four mega challenges are maintaining Asean’s freedom, neutrality and centrality; remaining open, moderate and inclusive; prioritising the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); and innovation and relevance.

Asean, established on Aug 8, 1967, comprises 10 Southeast Asian nations – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Sultan Nazrin said the second mega challenge that needed to be focused by the member states was maintaining Asean’s freedom, neutrality and centrality, which was especially so in a time of renewed geopolitical competition in the region.

“Asean must be adept at accommodating the legitimate interest of superpowers and other major powers, and be able to avoid being dragged into situations of major power competition and rivalry.” he said.

Asean, he added, would also do well to continually impress on dominant powers that it was in their interest that Asean neutrality and centrality be respected.

Touching on the third mega challenge of remaining open, moderate and inclusive, the sultan said Asean’s aspirations to be “people-oriented” was more than just a good idea as it was also a political-security imperative that must be doubled and redoubled if the Community was to remain open, moderate and inclusive.

“Faced with all these challenges, Asean governments would do well to remind themselves of their responsibility to remain in the path of openness, integration and globalisation,” said Sultan Nazrin who is also Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia Royal Fellow.

In order to overcome the fourth mega challenge which was to be truly people-oriented and people-centred, he urged Asean to prioritise the achievement of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Apart from focusing on climate change issue, Asean needed to look at other issues of equal impact, including eradication of poverty and hunger, and ensuring the good health and well-being of the people which were among the SDGs, he said.

“In addressing the SDGs, Asean governments need to temper their “economic growth-at-any-cost” attitude and adopt more holistic and inclusive approaches,” he added.

In outlining the last mega challenge faced by Asean on the need to be innovative and relevant, Sultan Nazrin said Asean needed to keep envisioning, re-imagining and innovating in order to remain relevant, address challenges and meet new expectations.

“Asean cannot afford to continue to be bound to the traditional bricks-and-mortar economy and ignore developments in robotics, Artificial Intelligence, biotechnology, computing and materials science.

“Asean member states must ensure that their citizens are upskilled, or reskilled based on the needs of the future,” he said.

Also present were ISIS Malaysia chairman and chief executive, Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa, ISIS Malaysia deputy chief executive, Datuk Steven Wong and CIMB group chairman, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.


Multimedia module to ease teaching, learning of stem subjects launched

Posted on : 28-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

PUTRAJAYA: STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subject teachers can now produce their own teaching aid in video form to facilitate teaching and learning with the launching of the 21st Century STEM PdPC Multimedia Module, here, today.

The multimedia module in the e-book form, aimed at raising students’ interest and motivation in STEM subjects, can be downloaded for free from for use by schools, students and the public.

It was produced by 10 teachers in the STEM fields and in information and communications technology (ICT) who were selected for their expertise in benefiting from the use of technology.

Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof in his speech text at the launch of the ’21st Century STEM PdPC Multimedia Module: Enculturation of Digital Technology’ at the Education Ministry here, said each teacher should have the PdPc for STEM subjects, in tandem with the advancement in the use of information technology.

The speech text was read out by the ministry’s Teacher Education Division director, Datuk Mahmud Karim.

“The change had to be introduced as students in the new millennium are the digital generation who need to be directly involved in facilitating teaching and learning of STEM subjects.

“Conventional teaching through the ‘chalk and talk’ method is less relevant now,” he said.

Khair said the application shared in the module could help students understand the concept of STEM subjects that were considered difficult and thence, help them answer the examination questions well.

“Hopefully, this effort can change the perception that STEM subjects are tough,” he added.


We create history, records, achievements in SEA Games

Posted on : 28-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak says Malaysia has created history and recorded achievements in many areas through the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games 2017 which concludes on Wednesday.

One of the best achievements was the gold-medal victory of the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, in a record-breaking feat in the equestrian endurance race, he said in a post on his blog, today.

“Firstly, the games are being held in the month of our independence anniversary. Secondly, our achievements have been excellent. Thirdly, the Sultan of Terengganu presented us a gold (medal) in a record-breaking equestrian endurance race,” he wrote.

Salleh said the organisation of the Sea Games, represented by 11 Southeast Asian countries, had also drawn the people’s support for the government in making the prestigious biennial games a success.

He also said that fourthly, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had been cheered by the people wherever he went and whenever his image appeared on television since the opening day of the games.

“It’s a sign of support and appreciation from the people for the government for having organised this prestigious sports of Southeast Asia,” he said.

Salleh also said that KL2017 also made history when Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin represented the country in the polo event.

“Sixthly, and most importantly, the games have forged greater solidarity among our people. People regardless of race and religion have thronged stadiums to provide strong support for our athletes. We will surely become the overall winners, and that will be a special gift for our National Day celebration,” he said.

Salleh congratulated Khairy for making the games the best ever, and said the minister’s efforts and support inspired the athletes to excel.

“The momentum of independence has kindled the spirit of our athletes to uphold the country’s name. These Sea Games have indeed fostered greater solidarity. Congratulations Malaysia!” he wrote.

Host Malaysia have neared the 111 gold-medal target. Today, they hit the century mark.


Malaysia moves up to 29th spot in Global Peace Index

Posted on : 27-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

JERANTUT: Malaysia has moved up to 29th spot among 163 countries in the 2017 Global Peace Index (GPI), from the 30th spot last year.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Joseph Kurup said the upward move in ranking would give the country a good image.

“The country’s achievement is proven in a study published by the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) that aims to measure a country’s peace.

“This shows that the country’s economy is still good coupled with a drop in crime or violence, that can undermine the peace and harmony of its people,” he told a media conference after launching the state-level Merdeka Month and Unity Week here yesterday.

Also present were Jerantut Member of Parliament Ahmad Nazlan Idris and National Unity and Integration director-general Baharin Idris.

Joseph also praised the country’s multi-racial society for their mutual love and respect for each other, and their efforts to live in harmony together.

“This proves that our society prefers to live in a harmonious environment, respects one another and are wiling to develop the country’s economy together,” he said.

In conjunction with Merdeka Month, Joseph said he hoped the people would fly the Jalur Gemilang in a show of love for the country.

“This is the time for us to show our love and loyalty to our sovereign and independent country,” he said.


Micro-credit or Chinese hawkers, petty traders through YPPKM (1Malaysia Hawkers and Petty Traders Foundation)

Posted on : 27-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

GEORGE TOWN: Thanks to 1Malaysia Hawkers and Petty Traders Foundation (YPPKM) an elderly couple here no longer had to contend with a small trolley to peddle their ‘nasi lemak’ which they sell for RM1 from Thursday till Sunday around the Jelutong market.

Quah Ah Hin, 66, and his wife Ong Ah Sim, 64, who depended on their mini enterprise to earn a living and support a disabled son are now happily using a push cart given by the federal government through YPPKM.

“I am so grateful for this aid, because this cart really eases our burden, particularly my wife’s,” Quah told Bernama recently.

He cannot see properly and has trouble walking following an accident some years back.

Ong said she and her husband were able to load 300 packets of nasi lemak into the cart compared to only 50 packets with the trolley.

“We wake up as early as 1am to fry the anchovies, cook the rice, prepare the paste and pack them,” she said.

YPPKM which was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak in 2015 is a micro credit scheme with a fund of RM70 million for Chinese hawkers and petty traders in the country.

Vegetarian food seller Ooi Kim Yew, 32, applied for RM15,000 from the foundation early this year and received the loan in May based on a rate lower than that offered by the banks and a repayment period of 48 months.

“I am really grateful that the federal government still cares about us Chinese hawkers. With the loan I expanded my business, adding the variety of food I sell, such as ‘pau’, ‘bak kut teh’, ‘tom yam rice’, ‘ikan tiga rasa’, ‘mee kari’, and ‘hokkien mee’.

“My daily income has also increased by 30%,” he said.

Meanwhile, Penang Gerakan vice chairman Oh Tong Keong said since YPPKM’s launch two years ago, 270 traders had applied for loans of up to RM20,000, of which 180 had been approved, with a repayment period of five years.

He said YPPKM did not impose any criteria. Petty traders and hawkers aged between 18 and 60 need only register their business with the Companies Commission of Malaysia and provide a guarantor to complete the application.

“I hope more Chinese hawkers and petty traders would apply for the assistance; the number is still low as many of them are still unaware of the programme,” he said.


NTP (National Transformation Programme) initiatives making life easier or Malaysians

Posted on : 22-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR — “These days, I no longer have to drive into the congested city centre and spend hours looking for a parking lot. I also don’t have to worry about petrol prices, and toll and parking charges. All I need to do is ride on the MRT (mass rapid transit) train to meet my clients,” related Siti Suraya Halim.

The 32-year-old marketing executive, who works for a private firm, said her daily commuting had, in fact, gotten easier since the opening of the new light rail transit (LRT) line from Putra Heights to the city centre, here, on June 30, 2016.

She said the opening of the new LRT and MRT lines has made it more convenient for her to schedule the timings of her appointments with her clients whose offices are located close to the stations as she knew exactly how long the journey would take.

Siti Suraya is among a large number of office workers who have migrated to public transport following the implementation of a modern and efficient rail-based urban transportation system linking the city centre to other parts of the city and the surrounding suburbs.

If previously they had to depend on their own mode of transport, now they can use the Park ‘n Ride facility to park their vehicles at the multilevel parking complexes located next to the MRT or LRT stations and the ride the train to their destinations.


Phase one of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) MRT line, from Sungai Buloh to Semantan in Damansara Heights, was launched on Dec 16 last year.

The second phase of the 51-kilometre SBK line was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on July 17.

The entire line has 31 stations, seven of which are located underground. Each train set serving this line has four cars with a total capacity of 1,200 passengers per trip.

Work on the second MRT line – connecting Sungai Buloh to Serdang and Putrajaya – is currently in progress and it is expected to be operational in 2021.

The development of a world-class urban public transportation network is among the thrusts of the government’s National Transformation Programme (NTP) to enhance the mobility of Klang Valley residents, as well as those living in other parts of the country.

After the success of the Line Extension Project in the Klang Valley involving the Kelana Jaya and Sri Petaling/Ampang LRT line, another LRT line, also known as LRT 3, from Bandar Utama to Johan Setia in Klang is currently under construction.

LRT 3 will have 26 stations and it is expected to be operational sometime in 2020.


The NTP, which was launched in 2009, is the centrepiece of the government’s efforts to propel Malaysia towards high-income nation status. It consists of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

One of the NTP’s objectives is improving the quality of life of the rural people through the provision of basic amenities like roads, clean water supply and electricity supply.

From 2010 to 2016, a total of 6, 041.7 kilometres of new roads were built in rural areas. During that period, maintenance works were carried out on rural roads totalling 2,378.5 km.

A total of 350,094 and 153,821 households were connected to clean water supply and electricity supply respectively during the same period.

All in, a total of 6.2 million rural folk benefited from these programmes.

As for the urban poor, a total of 94,604 houses belonging to them were restored.


To make it more convenient for the people to seek the services of government departments, four more urban transformation centres (UTC) are expected to open this year in Negeri Sembilan, Perlis, Selangor and Penang, according to the director of the Finance Ministry\’s National Strategic Unit, Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim.

As of March this year, some 46 million Malaysians had sought the services of about 30 government departments, such as the Immigration, National Registration and Road Transport Departments, at the 18 UTCs located in the country.

Aminuddin said various Members of Parliament have requested for UTCs to be set up in their constitutions. However, he said, only four new UTCs would be opened this year.


Meanwhile, the latest statistics from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) show that the country’s Internet users now total 24.1 million, or two-third of its population of 31.7 million.

The broadband Internet penetration rate in the first quarter of 2017 touched 81.8 per cent, compared with only 15.2 per cent in 2007.

In terms of social media users, 97 per cent of them have Facebook accounts. In general, social media users in Malaysia have an average of four accounts each on various platforms.

In view of this, the MCMC’s Network Security, Enforcement and Advocacy Sector conducts various activities, like its “Klik Dengan Bijak” (Click Wisely) campaign, to educate the public on responsible Internet usage.


Viral writing trainer Wan Khairul Hakimin Wan Muhammad told Bernama that there was a lot of scope for e-commerce opportunities for youths on social media although many players have already come aboard.

“Out of the 22 million Facebook users, about four million carry out online transactions every month. This is a huge number.

“We may think that many people are now doing business online but to tell the truth, out of 10 of them, only one knows how to harness social media properly to build their credibility,” said Wan Khairul, whose Facebook account boasts almost 130,000 followers.

He said in the course of conducting training for online entrepreneurs, he has come across many rural-based businessmen who have made use of the Internet to gain access to customers in urban areas and other parts of the country.


Minister: Agriculture Ministry will set up committee to investigate boat capsize incident

Posted on : 06-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

DUNGUN— The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry (MOA) will set up a committee to conduct detailed investigations into the incident where four fishermen went missing after their boat capsized on Wednesday.

Its minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the committee would comprise the Fisheries Department, the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) and the National Fishermen’s Association (Nekmat) as well as insurance companies.

He said the committee would also conduct a review to improve the group insurance schemes, contributed by the fishermen through their monthly allowance.

“We will get the report as soon as possible, to be tabled at a cabinet meeting,” he said after visiting families of fishermen involved in the tragedy in Kuala Dungun, here, today.

In the 10pm incident on Wednesday, four fishermen went missing and were feared to have drowned after the fibre boat they were in capsized when hit by waves as they were heading to the Kuala Dungun jetty.

The victims still missing are Che Mohd Afendi Che Ismail, 34; Mohamad Zawawi Mohamed, 27; and Abdul Wahab Zakaria, 44.

Another victim, Mohd Shahrin Yaccob, 33, managed to swim to safety while the body of his brother, Mohd Nazri Yaccob, 37, was found at about 8.50am on Friday.

Ahmad Shabery said the insurance scheme should also be reviewed as only one of the five victims was covered by insurance.

“It’s important that those who go out to the sea understand the importance of insurance protection, if something happens to them in the middle of the ocean, at least their families are protected,” he said.

He said the emphasis on the life jackets usage should also be included in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and its usage should be increased among the fishermen.


Health tourism generates economic, job opportunities –

Posted on : 03-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: Health tourism is seen as an industry which boosts the country’s economy as the sector registered a growth of 23% in 2016 with revenue of RM1.12 billion, up from RM914 million in 2015.

Last year, more than 900,000 medical tourists sought treatment in the country compared to 859,000 in 2015, with most of them coming from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Indochina (Myanmar, Vietnam), Middle Eastern countries, Australia, China and Japan.

Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) chief executive officer, Sherene Azli said the encouraging development of the industry had also helped improve the people’s standard of living, especially the younger generation, through more job opportunities.

She said the job opportunities were available through a combination of key service sectors such as transport, accommodation, tourist attractions and food services.

Demand for labour supporting the ecosystem of the industry had also risen, among them, medical practitioners, healthcare providers, travel agencies, medical devices industry, tourist guides and hotel employees, she said .

“Malaysia continues to be the preferred location for health travellers as it offers world-class healthcare, including professional healthcare supported by the latest medical technology.

“Malaysia has the ecosystem and infrastructure to provide comprehensive healthcare or end-to-end seamless service, where all the patients’ needs are taken care of, from the point of searching for information, to treatment, and even after the patients return home.

“In addition, the health professionals in Malaysia are qualified and have received training in reputable institutions in Malaysia and abroad, (we have) hospitals with international accreditation, and a healthcare system which is strictly regulated by the Health Ministry to ensure quality and safety,” Sherene said.

The affordable cost of treatment here is also a major factor, for example, heart surgery in Malaysia is between RM30,000 and RM50,000, compared to the United States, where it is over RM100,000.

Among the major medical treatments patients prefer to get done in Malaysia are cardiology, oncology, in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), orthopaedics, ophthalmology, dentistry and cosmetics.

In fact, Malaysia has also been selected as a global halal hub, with all hospitals providing halal food, having prayer room facilities, alternative halal medicine, as well as alcohol-, gelatin- and porcine-free medicine.

It is no wonder that Malaysia has been recognised by the International Medical Travel Journal as the ‘Health Tourism Destination’ for three consecutive years (2015, 2016, 2017),  and as having the ‘World’s Best Healthcare System’ by the Annual Global Retirement Index by International Living magazine (2015, 2016, 2017).

MHTC is an agency established under the Health Ministry in 2009 to enhance Malaysia’s profile as a world-class healthcare destination, as well as to facilitate the overall development of the healthcare tourism industry in the country.