KDCA troupe for Taiwan festival

Posted on : 27-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: The dance troupe from KDCA will be representing Malaysia at the 3rd Global Indigenous Peoples Performing Arts Festival in Taiwan which will be held from July 29 to August 8.

They will be performing three dances, namely, the ‘Huminodun’ (Legend of Kadazandusun), the ‘Magunatip’ (Murut Warrior Dance) and the ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ which showcases the diversity of Malaysia’s culture.

The delegation from Malaysia is headed by Malaysia-Taiwan Trade and Economic Association (Culture Bureau) director Datuk Chua Soon Bui.

Speaking to reporters before the delegation’s departure yesterday, Chua said that this is the first time Malaysia has been invited to participate in the event. She disclosed that the main organizers from Malaysia to coordinate with the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Council are the Yayasan Kesenian Orang Asli and Malaysia-Taiwan Trade and Economic Association (Culture Bureau).

“We also have the support of the Malaysia Tourism Board and Sabah Tourism Board,” said Chua, who is also Yayasan Kesenian Orang Asli secretary.

“We are privileged to be invited to the global event to showcase to the world the music and dances of KadazanDusun Murut community from Sabah as well as the cultural diversity of Malaysia,” she added.

According to Chua, Malaysia is among the nine countries in the event. The others are host Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, USA (Hawaii), Chile, Fiji, Tahiti and Swaziland.

Chua stressed that the event is an opportunity for cultural exchange and integration among the participants.

“Cultural values and heritage should be preserved for the benefit of future generations as this will ensure the continuity of each indigenous peoples’ identity. It will also be interesting to learn about the similarities among the Austranesian indigenous groups,” she said, adding that this is an opportunity to build friendship and strengthen bonds for a peaceful world.

The delegation hopes to promote Malaysia as an indigenous peoples tourism destination in view of the high number of indigenous groups and cultural diversity in the country.


Najib motivates athletes to do their best in Rio, Gold medal winner will receive RM1 million, monthly pension of RM5,000

Posted on : 27-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today wished the Malaysian Olympic contingent the best of luck for the upcoming 2016 Rio Games next month. He said the nation’s dream has always been to secure Malaysia’s first Olympic gold medal. “We want our Olympic team to do their best as they have undergone intensive training, both locally and abroad, to prepare for the Games,” said the prime minister, who met several members of the contingent in Putrajaya today. Among them was Datuk Lee Chong Wei. The 34-year-old shuttler had been chosen to be Malaysia’s flag bearer for the Malaysian contingent in Rio. Also present at the event was Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. Malaysia will be represented by 32 of its best athletes in several games, including badminton and golf in the Rio Games. Six of them are already in Brazil and 12 more will fly out tomorrow. The prime minister said the whole nation would be rooting for the Malaysian athletes. Under the country’s incentive programme, athletes who win an Olympic gold medal will receive RM1 million, silver (RM300,000) and bronze (RM100,000). Winners will also be given a lifelong pension of RM5,000 for gold, silver (RM3,000) and bronze (RM2,000). Later, Lee told reporters that those who would be competing in Rio would give their best for the country. “What is important is that we have to fight and give our best,” he said.

Ministry to meet carmakers to discuss implementation of B10 Biodiesel

Posted on : 19-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities will meet car manufacturers tomorrow to discuss the implementation of B10 biodiesel, said its minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

“We understand their concern. Therefore we have planned to have a meeting with them tomorrow to discuss matters pertaining to this issue,” he told reporters after the launch of Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s Advanced Oleochemicals Technology Building here today.

It was reported that various manufacturers – BMW Malaysia, Isuzu, Toyota and Volkswagen – had raised concerns in relation to the implementation of B10 biodiesel.

The implementation of B10 biodiesel (blending of 10% palm methyl ester with 90% petroleum diesel) in Malaysia was delayed until further notice due to inadequate data.

However, in a news report last month, the Malaysian Automotive Association claimed that the usage of biodiesel in grades higher than B7 may result in fatty-acid methyl ester mixing with the motor oil, causing the oil to thin and possibly leading to sludging in the engine.

Mah said the palm oil council has also carried numerous research and tests that showed B10 was safe to use in any vehicle.

He said the implementation of B10 was also significant as it would help reduce the palm oil stockpile in the country, hence help increase the crude palm oil price.

The current blending mandate is at seven per cent.


KL-Singapore HSR (High-Speed Rail) to enhance people-to-people ties, boost business links

Posted on : 19-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR – The much-anticipated high-speed rail (HSR) that will connect Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will enhance people-to-people ties and improve business linkages between the two countries, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Monday (July 18).

Writing on his blog, Datuk Seri Najib said connectivity and public transportation were issues that “are very dear and close to my heart”.

“Once completed, Malaysians will be able to have ‘nasi lemak’ in Kuala Lumpur, close deals over ‘chili crab’ in Singapore and be back for a dinner of ‘rendang’ with the family,” Mr Najib said in the blog post on Monday.

Malaysia and Singapore are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the project in Putrajaya on Tuesday. The signing ceremony will be witnessed by Mr Najib and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Monday.

The proposed 350km double- track HSR line will cut travelling time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes, compared with more than four hours by car. Its two terminuses will be in the new township of Bandar Malaysia at the edge of Kuala Lumpur, and in Jurong East.

The train will have several stops, including in Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri, before heading towards Jurong East via Tuas. Iskandar Puteri is the new name for Nusajaya.

According to Malaysia’s Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, the tender for the project is expected to be called within a year.

The MOU will pave the way for detailed negotiations on the main bilateral agreement, which is expected to be signed by the end of this year, the New Straits Times newspaper reported last Thursday.

Malaysian media reports have said that the project is estimated to cost between RM60 billion (S$20.4 billion) and RM65 billion.

Commenting on bilateral relations, Mr Najib said ties between the two sides had grown stronger after he took over as Prime Minister, adding that he has been “advocating for a spirit of mutual benefit between our two countries.”

“Together, we are on a forward trajectory in both trade cooperation and people-to-people ties. This mutually beneficial relationship between Malaysia and Singapore is underlined in both our countries’ development plans,” he added.

“We trust that with good governance, we will be able to develop a strong, inclusive and sustainable economy based on sound fundamentals. Our shared belief in stability, harmony and diversity complement our mutual aspirations for both our countries and the region,” Mr Najib said.

Mr Najib also said the growing significance of the Asean region was a testament to the success of Malaysia and Singapore’s joint effort with the other Asean partners.

“Our shared belief in stability, harmony and diversity complement our mutual aspirations for both our countries and the region,” he said.


ACCCIM (Associated Chinese Chamber and Industry of Malaysia): OPR reduction helps cut business costs, increase purchasing power

Posted on : 15-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR–The 25 basis points reduction in the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) to 3.0 per cent by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will help ease the cost of doing business and benefit consumers, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) said.

ACCCIM President Datuk Ter Leong Yap said the OPR reduction is a measure of strategy by BNM to stimulate the market.

“To a certain degree, this will ease a little bit the cost of doing business and it will also be good for consumers as they will have extra buying power.

“However, this might put pressure on our ringgit,” he told reporters after revealing the findings of the ACCCIM SME Taxation Survey Report 2016 here today.

When asked about the possibility of another rate cut in September, Ter said BNM would likely maintain the OPR for now, after unexpectedly reducing it at its Monetary Policy Committee meeting yesterday, citing rising risks from Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Meanwhile, Ter said the ACCCIM SME Taxation Survey Report 2016 highlighted that 80 per cent of the respondents indicated that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had increased their operational costs.

“The additional costs included the purchase of GST software and employment of additional staff.

“Therefore, we hope the government will utilise the GST revenue wisely and create a conducive business environment,” he said.

ACCCIM also hoped the government would lower the corporate tax rate to 18 per cent and reduce the SME threshold taxable income to 15 per cent for the first RM2 million.

The association also urged the government to lower the individual income tax rate to 18 per cent for the highest chargeable income bracket from 28 per cent.

“By doing so, we will be able to enhance our competitiveness in order to attract more foreign direct investments, as well as boost the taxpayers discretionary spending into the market place.

“This will increase the multiplier effects and bring back vibrancy into the economy,” he added.


Raymond: Development of SSO (Supply and Service Outsourcing) a boon for struggling local entrepreneurs

Posted on : 14-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KOTA KINABALU: The development of the Supply and Service Outsourcing (SSO) initiative centre here is a boon for local entrepreneurs wrestling with the impact of a slowing economy, said deputy chief minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah.

The project, to be developed at a cost of RM30 million on five acres of land at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) near here, will put into sharp focus the state government’s desire to see to fruition the halal food hub at KKIP and to help expand small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“The SSO is to promote KKIP’s halal food hub, and the integrated services, to reduce the cost of products, and maximize the efficiency,” said Raymond, who is also Industrial Development Minister, when unveiling the project at a leading hotel here yesterday.

“Also it will become a platform to help SMEs, from the production level right up to the marketing and sale of their products, and equipped with facilities such as refrigeration, and storage, among others.”

He said the centre also would function as a venue where SMEs in Sabah could seek help to overcome various problems particularly in marketing, and promotion of products which has affected their overall production.

“Many SME operators have problems at various levels of the supply chain,” he explained. “Through this SSO, we want to help them from sourcing of products to final sale in the domestic and foreign markets.”

KKIP is a state-funded industrial park and is the biggest mixed industrial area in Sabah. It was started 20 years ago and is reported to have attracted more than RM4 billion in investments. Its proximity to the Sepanggar Port, Sabah biggest port, is one of its main advantages. The park also has the reputation of having a comprehensive mix of training and research institutions aimed at complementing industrial growth in Sabah.

Raymond said that the SSO will also play roles in capacity building programme that encompasses matters such as exporting, research solutions, packaging, and so on.

“We provide end-to-end solution,” he added, pointing out that this is needed as the number of micro and small enterprises in Sabah has tremendously increased over the last 5-10 years.

The sectors that have seen positive growth include food, non-food and handicraft. Among the reasons for this scenario is the increased awareness of the population in participating in business and the assistance provided by the Federal and State Governments to these enterprises.

In 2015, a total of 162 programmes amounting to RM8.03 billion were implemented by the Federal Government and this year, a total ofRM7.56 billion covering 153 programmes is being planned to be implemented to assist SME including micro and small enterprises.

However, these enterprises are facing challenges to move forward their businesses and among the hurdles they face are the marketing and promotion of their products.

As a manufacturer of products, they tend to devote their resources to manufacturing their products leaving little time to market their products.

As a result, there is a pullback effect where players tend to hold back on production as they fear that there won’t be sufficient market for their products, resulting in the stunted production capacity of the industry players. The ministry assists these micro and small entrepreneurs to grow. The industrial development ministry has formulated an approach to further assist the entrepreneurs in the markets and promotion of their products through the SSO.

Meanwhile, SSO co-organizer, Softwise Sdn Bhd’s Darren Lo said that the centre will not only be used by entrepreneurs but also, they will propose to the government agencies such as veterinary department and City Hall to open their mini office, so they can help to smoothen any bureaucratic processed the businesses must negotiate.

Also present during the launching ceremony were Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Jainab Haji Ahmad Ayid and general manager of KKIP Property Sdn Bhd, Samuel Wong.


BNM Governor: OPR cut is pre-emptive

Posted on : 14-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: The decision to cut the overnight policy rate (OPR) is a pre-emptive action to ensure that the economy continues to remain on a steady growth path, said Bank Negara governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim.

“It’s not that we expected growth to be weaker in the second half. We anticipate it to be stronger and that growth for the whole year is expected to remain between 4% and 4.5%.

“Now, what we intend to do is to ensure this happens. Basically it is a pre-emptive move,” he told Bernama in his maiden media interview since his appointment as the central bank governor on May 1.

In a unexpected move on Wednesday, the central bank slashed the OPR by 25 basis points to 3% as was decided at its two-day Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting.

The last rate cut was in 2009 and the last adjustment was made in July 2014.

On the rationale for the rate cut now, he said the window of opportunity had presented itself as among others, inflation had gone lower-than-expected.

Inflation is projected to be lower at 2%-3% in 2016 compared with an earlier projection of 2.5%-3.5% while remaining stable in 2017.

“The window of opportunity is there, we just took it in our stride and say, look let’s give a boost to the economy, create an enabling environment so financing will be healthy, economic activities can prosper and people are able to generate more wealth and income,” said the calm and jovial Muhammad.

Currently, there are no plans by the MPC to change the interest rates over the next few meetings, he said, stressing that the central bank would always look at the data objectively and see what was needed.

“So, to say that there will be a series of rates cut is not true, but it’s true we will keep an open mind everytime we sit (down for the meeting),” he added.

Muhammad said the central bank, given the dynamic environment, looked at many factors when deciding on the monetary policy including developments in other countries.

However, a decision on the monetary policy is ultimately based on domestic considerations and has always been forward looking,

“In any monetary policy (decided) around the globe, when we look at what level it should be, we always look a few quarters forward to see how the economy will develop.

“We project what the growth will be in the second half of 2016 and in 2017, and we take our position in deciding the interest rate,” explained the 56-year-old Muhammad.

Meanwhile, Malaysia recorded an economic growth of 4.2% in the first quarter of 2016 and the second quarter figure is expected to be released in August.


SHAREDA Nite 2016, at Sutera Resort, July 30

Posted on : 14-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Local

SHAREDA will host their 38th Annual Dinner cum SHAREDA Nite on 30th July and will see the event graced by Minister of Local Government and Housing, Y.B. Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Bin Haji Noor.

Speaking at a press conference today, Thursday June 14th, Assistant Secretary General, Ms Chew Fei Sean said that the part and parcel of SHAREDA’s presence is to help boost the economy by injecting rather positive and encouraging sentiments into the market, and ultimately help the economic growth of the State of Sabah.

“As we are in challenging times and with the softer economy, the association, SHAREDA will not dwell in heedlessness in pursuing and advocating for the continuous growth of the property and real estate industry”, she added.

With that in mind, the year 2016 saw SHAREDA looking for potential opportunities which translate to golden opportunities, and thus the theme for the evening is Black & Gold – A Midas Touch. The theme resonates the golden touch of the developers and associates that can take every challenge into a golden opportunity.

It has been an annual commitment for SHAREDA to be part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) efforts, and therefore year 2016 is no exception. One of the highlight program of the evening would be a special tribute presentation to the SHAREDA members who have ceaselessly give love and care to the environment and community at large.

“This year we will be taking SHAREDA Nite to acknowledge and celebrate the CSR efforts and contributions of SHAREDA as an association on our Youth Wing’s Charity Project; the extension wing at the Wallace Blind Centre,” said Ms Chew Fai Sean.

She also added that they will presenting a token of appreciation to the most efficient government department in processing the certificate of fitness for occupation (OC) for the completed development projects. This year, they will be acknowledging the Fire and Safety Department of Sabah (BOMBA), by giving away one unit of Drone in aid of the safety and rescue mission of the fire and rescue team. In doing so, it will help strengthen the team’s performance in their workplace.

Secretary General, Datuk Sr. Chua Soon Ping took the opportunity to address the subject on housing loans, stating that since 2013, the Malaysian Government has introduced cooling measures to curb the speculated market.

“The property market was hot 3 years ago and with Bank Negara’s guidelines and the implementation of the cooling measures, it has since softened the market, reducing the tenure period of 40 years to 30 years and the margin squeeze from 90% to roughly 60-70%”.

Private property developers will be introducing creative financing options to help customers who are limited with their borrowing capacity, through packages such as discounts and rebate which falls within regulations outlined by BNM. Datuk Chua hopes that this will benefit the first home buyers.

SHAREDA will be holding a PROPEX (Property Expo) event on September 15th – 18th at the Sabah Trade Centre. Avid investors and/or home buyers are more than welcome to make their presence known and speak to respective developers about their project developments and what they have to offer.

Adding to Ms Chew Fei Sean’s statement about the CSR project, Datuk Chua mentioned that SHAREDA has successfully completed 2 houses to accommodate the blind. The said houses are located in Tuaran, approximately 25km from the hustling KK City.

The night will see a series of sponsorships, namely, Platinum, Gold, Silver Star, Lucky Draws and in-kind of Sponsors. As part of the entertainment program, 4 carefully handpicked performers and acts will be entertaining the guests. The ever talented Ms. Soo Wincci will be presenting her latest hits, Malaysian’s stand-up comedian Mr. Douglas Lim will be exercising the guests’ stomachs and mouths with his jokes, local string quartet and solo session from the Jesselton Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) will give the evening a more sophisticated feel, and lastly local dance crew from The Dance Academy will be keeping everyone on their toes.

Also present at the press conference were council member, Ms Kah Gen Fo and Treasurer-General, Mr Chai Meng Kong.


China auto sales speed up 14.6% in June – industry group

Posted on : 11-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

Beijing: Car sales growth in China, the top global auto market, accelerated for the second consecutive month, an industry group reported Monday, despite continued woes in the world’s second-largest economy.

A total of 2.07 million vehicles were sold in China last month, up 14.6 percent from a year ago, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said in a statement.

The numbers were an increase on the 9.8 percent gain posted in May, which was itself an improvement on April’s 6.3 percent.

China is crucial to foreign automakers, who have set up a series of joint ventures as they seek to make the country’s growing middle class more mobile.

Auto sales reached 24.6 million last year, and in October the government sought to boost the market by slashing the purchase tax on passenger cars with small engines.

Sales of passenger cars reached 1.78 million units in June, up 17.7 percent year-on-year, CAAM data showed.

The pickup came despite protracted weakness in the world’s second-largest economy, where growth slowed to 6.7 percent in the January-March period, the worst quarterly expansion in seven years.


Club revives Iban warrior costume

Posted on : 11-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National

SIBU: Their presence across smaller towns in the interiors of Sarawak at special events often leave spectators awestruck.

Dressed in animal skin vests, headgear decorated with the head of kenyalang (rhinoceros hornbill) and the feathers of enggang (other types of hornbill), boar tusk necklaces and swords decorated with human hair, the members of Kelab Gagung Sarawak (KGS) are quite a sight.

The costume represents how Iban warriors used to dress before going to war.

These days, KGS members would put on the costume at special Iban community functions to welcome the arrival of dignitaries and make the events livelier.

The community is proud that the KGS is reviving a dying practice of the Iban community.

KGS was set up in 2004 by Sammy Ngelambai, 58, who was making animal skin vests called gagung and the lelanjang headgear adorned with the head of akenyalang called Tangkung Kenyalang.

“Originally, there were only 12 people, including Sammy, who were interested in making the Iban warrior outfit. His passion attracted others who helped in collecting accessories to complete the costume,” said club president Jabang Juntan.

Jabang said the idea to form the club came about after they were asked to welcome dignitaries at a longhouse in Melipis, Kanowit, while dressed in the fullgagung attire.

In the past, Iban warriors used the skin of large animals like bears to make gagungbut now these animals are becoming extinct.

As an alternative, Sammy uses Jamnapari goatskin bought from Indonesia.

“Local goatskin cannot be used because of its small size,” Jabang said.

The Tangkung Kenyalang and hornbill feathers are also difficult to obtain as the birds are protected.

“These items are inherited by KGS members from their ancestors. It is possible to make imitation tangkung using other materials like wood but there are none for the feathers,” said Jabang.

Jabang said they sell gagung for between RM650 and RM800 but they do not sell the headgear.

“For the headgear, people now need to get their own material and we will make it for a fee of RM250,” Jabang added.

Other accessories such as boar tusks, armlet, sword and cigarette containers are easier to get, either from hunters, longhouse residents or craft shops.

“And no, we don’t wear loincloths. Instead we wear long black pants and black leather shoes,” he said.


Matrade: M’sia to promote franchise industry in China

Posted on : 04-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia aims to strengthen its foothold in China by capitalising on Malaysian capabilities in the services sector, particularly through the promotion of franchise industry.

In a statement today, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) said, in this regard, it will organise an export acceleration mission on the franchise industry from July 9-11, 2016 at the China National Convention Centre in Beijing, China.

Matrade said the mission will be in conjunction with the 16th China (Beijing) Franchise Expo (CFE), which aimed to strengthen Malaysia’s foothold in China by capitalising on Malaysian capabilities in the services sector.

“Malaysia’s participation in the exhibition is aimed at providing a platform for local players to strengthen their networks and promote Malaysian franchise brands.

“Matrade will also be coordinating one-on-one business meetings for the Malaysian exhibitors with Chinese buyers and potential partners from other countries at the event,” it said.

Matrade said the mission will showcase Malaysian franchise brands – Coffeeland, Teh Tarik Place, Nyonyasuan, Daily Fresh, Brainchecker, Craft and Meiko.

“The meetings will be organised in collaboration with FranChina LLC, the leading franchise association in China.

“Among the franchisors attending are from the Americas, Europe and Asia.

“The event attracts over 300,000 attendees comprising investors looking for franchising opportunities,” it said.

It said opportunities in China’s franchising market were not only limited to the restaurant industry but also in catering sector, education and training, real estate brokerage, commercial service as well as network technology.

Malaysia’s exports of services recorded a growth of 6.68 per cent to RM7.97 billion in 2015 while imports from China were valued at RM12.08 billion.

Matrade said although China’s economic growth was expected to be at a slower pace (about 6.5 percent annually), it still provided ample business opportunities for Malaysian players.


Senior citizens with disabilities due to old age, surgery eligible for welfare

Posted on : 04-07-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: Senior citizens with disabilities due to old age or surgery and are not capable of supporting themselves are advised to register with the Social Welfare Department to be issued with the People With Disabilities (OKU) card. A member of the National Council for OKU, Senator K. Bathmavathi said as holders of the OKU card, they would be eligible to receive the various aid provided by the government, including allowance, general aid and discount for public transport service. “The awareness on this is still low among senior citizens in the country, especially those staying in villages and interior areas, as many do not regard disabilities due to old age or surgery as OKU,” she told Bernama here. She said senior citizens who were eligible to be issued with the OKU card included those who could not walk or could not move their hands permanently after surgery, loss of limbs due to diabetes, blindness caused by glaucoma, paralysed due to stroke, and those suffering from alzheimer and parkinson disease. “(However), before going to the Social Welfare Department office to register for the card, they should have to get verification letter from a government or private doctor on their condition,” she added. Bathmavathi, who is also president of the Malaysian Association of Disabled Women, said as OKU card holders, they were eligible to receive all the facilities provided by the government for the OKU. “They are eligible to receive discount for public transport fares and to receive monthly allowance, like the allowance for Disabled Worker of RM350 a month and general aid of RM250 a month for OKU who is unemployed,” she added. He said the elected representatives in the respective constituencies should undertake the role of identifying this group of senior citizens and get them to register with the Social Welfare Department. “We cannot neglect this group of people because they are also part of the society and at one time, they also contributed to the country’s economy and development,’ she added.