RM200,000 extra, PM announces additional reward for all Rio medalists

Posted on : 24-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National

SEPANG: The eight medal-winning athletes had a pleasant surprise when the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced an additional RM200,000 for each of them.

This is on top of the earlier reward under the national incentive scheme for winning an Olympic medal – RM100,000 for bronze,  RM300,000 for silver and RM1mil for gold.

“It’s the biggest acknowledgement of what the athletes did for the country,” said Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin,.

“Interestingly, not one of the athletes mentioned to me while I was there in Rio about getting any extra incentive if they do well.

“They never did it for the money but only wanted to give the best for the country.”


China opens longest glass-bottomed bridge in world

Posted on : 22-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : International News

Tourists who suffer from vertigo need not apply. The world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge opened Saturday in China’s spectacular Zhangjiajie mountains — the inspiration for American blockbuster Avatar.

Some 430 metres (1,400 feet) long and suspended 300 metres above the earth, the bridge spans the canyon between two mountain cliffs in Zhangjiajie park in China’s central Hunan province.

Six metres wide and made of some 99 panels of clear glass, the bridge can carry up to 800 people at the same time, an official in Zhangjiajie — a popular tourist destination — told the Xinhua news agency.

Tourists can walk across the bridge, designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan, and the more adventurous will be able to bungee jump or ride a zip line.

“I wanted to feel awe-inspired by this bridge. But I’m not afraid — it seems safe!” Wang Min, who was visiting the new structure with her husband and children, told AFP Saturday.

Following an alarming glass bridge cracking incident at the Yuntai mountain in northern Henan in 2015, authorities in Zhangjiajie were eager to demonstrate the safety of the structure.

They organised a string of media events, including one where people were encouraged to try and smash the bridge’s glass panels with a sledge hammer, and another where they drove a car across it.

“It’s crowded today and a bit of a mess. But to be suspended 300 metres in the air, it’s a unique experience,” said Lin Chenglu, who had come to see the bridge with his colleagues.

Only 8,000 people each day will be allowed to cross the bridge, Xinhua said, and tourists will have to book their tickets a day in advance, at a cost of 138 yuan ($20).

Cameras and selfie sticks are banned, and people wearing stilettos will not be allowed to walk on the bridge, Xinhua said.

Local authorities have said that one of the summits in Zhangjiajie Park inspired the floating mountain which appears in the American blockbuster Avatar.

A Hollywood photographer visited the area in 2008, taking images which were used for the film, according to media reports.


Palm Oil prices may rise to RM3,000 per tonne next year (increase in demand from India to support its biodiesel industry) – Deputy Minister Nasrun Mansur

Posted on : 22-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Crude palm oil (CPO) prices may rise to RM3,000 per tonne next year on the back of an increase in demand, especially from India, Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Nasrun Mansur said.

He said India needed palm oil from Malaysia to support its biodiesel industry.

“The Indian government has introduced biodiesel blends in its market and is currently negotiating to import our palm oil,” he told reporters at the Palm Oil Familiarisation Programme (POFP) 2016 here today.

The CPO price hit RM2,798 per tonne on Wednesday last week, the highest recorded so far this year.

Nasrun said the government is working tirelessly to utilise existing palm oil stock in the country to ensure price stability.

“If our (palm oil) products are dependent on overseas demand, prices will not be stable, as there may be a time when imports will fall short of demand,” he said.

Nasrun said India was Malaysia’s biggest importer of palm oil, exceeding China last year.

Malaysia’s total palm oil production in 2015 amounted to an all-time high of 19.96 million tonnes. Exports totalled 17.441 million tonnes worth RM41.23 billion.

In 2015, palm oil and palm oil products contributed RM62.22 billion to the country’s export earnings and employed more than 600,000 people in all sectors of the industry.

“To further strengthen (position), the Malaysian Palm Oil Board will be opening two regional offices, namely in Mumbai (India) and Tehran (Iran), to facilitate technical support and advisory services,” said Nasrun.

The 36th POFP is designed to provide participants with a basic knowledge on the dynamics of the Malaysian oil palm industry, its related sectors and activities.


Tunku Laksamana Corals Garden named in M’sian Book of Records

Posted on : 22-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National

MERSING: Pos Malaysia Bhd received two new Malaysian Book of Records recognitions for its efforts in installing the first underwater Royal post box and the first man-made corals garden in the country.

Both, the Royal post box and Tunku Laksamana Corals Garden were installed in Pulau Mensirip, about 45-minute boat ride from the Mersing jetty, here.

MBOR operations director Christopher Wong Hong Wai presented the certificates to the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar who later, handed it to Pos Malaysia Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh, during the final day of ‘Kembara Jelajah Pulau Mersing 2016′, today.

Sultan Ibrahim had also signed a plaque for the Dugong Sanctuary Monument and pinned its location on the Google Map, besides launching Pos Malaysia services and receiving explanation on the upgrading work of the hybrid solar project in the island.

Also present were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, state secretary Datuk Ismail Karim, state Executive Council members and Mersing district officer Adib Azhari Daud.

Earlier, Sultan Ibrahim had also dived nine metres deep in Pulau Mensirip to place the Sultan of Johor logo on top of the post box and inserted a special waterproof postcard as a gimmick for its launching.

Mohd Shukrie meanwhile said the installation of the new underwater post box was done through cooperation between Pos Malaysia, Communications and Multimedia Commission and Johor state government in promoting postal tourism in the country.

This, he said was a continuity to the success of Pos Malaysia before this in installing the post box on Mount Kinabalu, followed by the one in Pulau Layang-Layang, both of which are in Sabah and another one in Tanjung Piai, Johor.

At another island, Pulau Pemanggil, Sultan Ibrahim had placed a recreational artificial reef as a mark for a Special Area Plan (Fishing Zone), a collaboration between Pulau Pemanggil, the Johor National Park Corporation and Mersing District Council.

Meanwhile in Pulau Aur, he launched the security post and water source of the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park, followed by the artificial reefs placement in the marine park.

The Kembara Jelajah Pulau Mersing 2016, led by the Sultan involved eight islands in Mersing waters, namely Pulau Tengah, Pulau Besar, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Mensirip, Pulau Pemanggil, Pulau Aur, Pulau Tinggi and Pulau Sibu covering more than 500km.


Govt has approved 82,012 PPA1M (1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing project) units so far

Posted on : 22-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has approved 82,012 units of houses under the 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing project (PPA1M) nationwide, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.

Najib said when he announced the project, the objective was to ensure civil servants could own their dream house.

“I hope all civil servants grab this opportunity to own a house for the family. Visit PPA1M official website (https://www.ppa1m.gov.my/project/list) to see the list of projects and apply for your house today,” said the prime minister on his Facebook and Twitter psoting today.

In October last year, when tabling the 2016 Budget, Najib said 100,000 units of PPA1M houses, costing between RM90,000 and RM300,000, would be built by 2018.


Isomic regasification storage terminal in India to create jobs

Posted on : 17-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Isomeric Holdings Sdn Bhd’s US$500 million (about RM2.1 billion) regasification and floating storage terminal project, located in Krishnapatnam Port, Andhra Pradesh, India, is expected to create between 3,000 and 5,000 jobs for the locals by end-2017.

Chief executive officer/managing director Sadacharamani Govindasamy said the project would be the impetus for industries such as ceramic and fertiliser bottling plants in India.

“It is going to drive a bigger range of industries in India,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

He said the first phase of the construction kicked off last week and it was expected to be completed in 16 months.

The construction would include the building of a modular five million tonne per annum capacity regasification and floating storage plant and related ancillary facilities in the vicinity of Krishnapatnam Port.

Sadacharamani said the first phase was expected to generate an annual revenue of US$50 million.

Costruction of the second phase, which would involve the setting up of five regastification units of the same capacity, would begin next year.

Speaking to Bernama later, Sadacharamani said:”We have enough requirement from the Indian government for the construction of the urea plants, which is not covered in the first phase.

“If the construction of the first phase runs smoothly, construction of the  second phase can probably start anytime next year.

Isomeric inked an agreement, in January 2016, with Andhra Pradesh-based LEPL Renergy Pvt Ltd for the regasification and floating storage terminal project.

Under the agreement, Isomeric will invest about RM1.55 billion in the project, which will be developed by a special purpose vehicle (SPV), Petrogas Pvt Ltd, in partnership with a Malaysian consortium (74 per cent) and LEPL Renergy (26 per cent).


50,000 expected at SIE 2016

Posted on : 17-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KOTA KINABALU: The organizers, namely Federation of Sabah Industries (FSI), Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI), State Government and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), are expecting to record a 50,000-strong crowd during the 9th Sabah International Exhibition 2016 (SIE 2016) .

The public is welcome to visit the four-day exhibition featuring 155 booths on September 14-18 from 10am to 10pm daily at the Magellan Grand Ballroom, said FSI president Datuk Mohd Basri Abd Gafar during a courtesy call on State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman.

During the visit at Wisma Innoprise yesterday, Mohd Basri briefed the State Secretary on the biennial exhibition and the official programmes, especially on the scheduled SIE Business Luncheon talk to be participated by the delegates on September 15.

The Business Luncheon talk will be graced by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman and moderated by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

Mohd Basri thanked the State Secretary for the support extended to SIE 2016 and look forward to his attendance at the event.

He urged the public and private sectors to continue supporting all ongoing and future development projects and programmes of the government.

By so doing, he said, the present administration headed by Musa will be able to achieve its goals with less hassles to raise the living standards of Sabahans and progress of the State.

Mohd Basri, who is also the organizing chairman of the SIE 2016, said the ongoing upgrading of the Pan-Borneo Highway project and the planned port expansion programmes in the state are glaring examples of ‘real changes’ when completed.

“FSI and I truly appreciate the manner the present administration is administering the state, especially on the programmes under the Sabah Economic Development blueprint,” Mohd Basri said.

He said the completion and realization of the Pan-Borneo Highway project as well as the port expansion programmes, including those activities in the Sabah Economic Development programmes, will surely create opportunities in various sectors in Sabah which will lead to real changes and transformation of the living conditions of every Sabahans.

He added that the mega highway project and the expansion of the Sabah Port and other ports statewide will ease the marketing of agricultural products, increase tourism product promotions, boost developments in the districts, increase the land revenue and provide job opportunities in the near future, among others. The projects will also create spillover effects and boost activities in the state, he added.


CEO: Cost-cutting measures saved RM3.4 billion for Petronas

Posted on : 17-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

PUTRAJAYA— Malaysia’s oil giant, Petronas, has saved RM3.4 billion since embarking on cost-cutting measures in 2015 and this effort will continue even if oil prices recover.

“Through the Cost Reduction Alliance programme, we have managed to cut RM3.4 billion in terms of our costs since we started till the middle of this year,” its President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Wan Zulkifli Wan Ariffin, said.

He said this at the International Conference of Blue Ocean Strategy’s plenary session themed “Delivering High Value at Low Cost” here today.

The Cost Reduction Alliance or CORAL 2.0 is a five-year industry-wide programme from 2015 to 2019, driven by Petronas with the aim to inculcate cost-conscious mindset across Upstream Malaysia.

Wan Zulkifli said the transformation kicked in when oil and gas companies, including Petronas, were hit by tumbling prices since 2014.

“In 2014, oil prices were more than US$100 per barrel, at lunch time today it was US$48. Oil companies had to do strategic responses, worried about cash flows, cut budgets and optimise the manpower and Petronas was no different,” he said.

He said Petronas had cut its capital expenditure and operating expenses by RM15 billion this year and had earmarked about RM50 billion over four years.

Malaysia’s only Fortune 500 company, Petronas is also focusing on cash generation, simplification of process, project delivery, as well as talent management.

However, he said as such measures and mere cost cutting alone was not sustainable, Petronas needed a total overhaul even in terms of its culture.

“I think over time as the organisation grew bigger, we became more bureaucratic and many units become more silo as time went by. So, we wanted to eliminate the believe of our staff that Petronas was bureaucratic and silo,” he said. Hence, to attain the results, it is important for Petronas to fix the day-to-day experience of its 50,000 employees.


Pemandu: Malaysia’s “road less travelled” path to develop economy fruitful

Posted on : 17-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s decision to choose the ‘road less travelled’ path in developing the economy since 2009 has been proved to be fruitful, says the Performance Management and Delivery Unit’s (Pemandu) chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Idris Jala.

He said by pursuing a mildly expansionary economic growth with private investments leading the way and implementing fiscal consolidation measures for sustainability, Malaysia has managed to stay in the ‘safe zone’ in terms of debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio and fiscal deficit level.

“You reduced the government borrowings by relying more on the private sector to be the engine of growth so you can keep your debt level low and have a sustainable fiscal position,” he said in his keynote address at the Public-Private Partnerships Roundtable Discussion here yesterday.

Idris said according to Boston Consultant Group, countries where the government’s debt was over 100 per cent of GDP while the fiscal deficit level was worst that eight per cent, that country belonged in the crisis zone.

“That is how Greece was quoted as a bankrupt country because debt level has been so high and to the point that its fiscal deficits were unsustainable,” he said.

Idris said Malaysia was among several countries that had set the level of its debt ratio to GDP at below 55 per cent.

Malaysia’s fiscal deficit was expected to narrow to 3.1 per cent of GDP by year-end from 3.2 per cent as at end-2015, he said.

Meanwhile, Idris said, Malaysia was no longer stuck in the middle income trap as it has consistently closed the gross national income (GNI) gap, as set by the World Bank’s high-income threshold from 33 per cent in 2009 to 16 per cent in 2014.

“The GNI grew from US$7,950 to US$10,760 (US$1 = RM3.99) between 2009 and 2015, edging towards the high-income target of US$15,000 by 2020,” he said.

He said the government was confident of closing the gap and achieving the target by 2020 set in the Economic Transformation Programme.


NBOS (National Blue Ocean Strategy) played pivotal role in bringing Malaysia forward, says Ahmad Zahid

Posted on : 17-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : National

PUTRAJAYA— Malaysia’s National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) has played a pivotal role in bringing the country forward but will not be lulled by the success, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said that through innovation and creativity using the principles, frameworks and tools of NBOS, transforming the entire nation had now become a reality.

“The entire nation has benefited from the work that we have done through NBOS and I have seen the changes in every city and rural community that I visit across the country.

“I am very proud of the efforts of all of those who have made this transformation a reality.

“We have seen the benefits of working together in this way and we want to extend this approach to how we engage with our partners and the wider world,” he said in his closing address at the inaugural International Conference on Blue Ocean Strategy (ICBOS) here today.

He pointed out that Malaysia had applied the principles, frameworks and tools of NBOS in over 80 ministries, agencies and the private sector in order to rapidly deliver high impact results at low cost and to fulfil Vision 2020 (Malaysia’s goal to become a developed high income nation by 2020).

According to him, in order for NBOS to continue to grow as the main driving force behind the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020), more government agencies were encouraged to foster creative collaboration to tackle socio-economic issues.

Ahmad Zahid said this collaboration would bring them into the process of national development as well as supporting entrepreneurs to carry Malaysia towards the next phase of its development journey.

Touching on the role of innovation in nation building, he explained that with the goal of transformation in mind, leadership must come from the top to inspire creativity as a national movement.

“In today’s inter-connected world, the ideas of creativity and collaboration have never been more important. Successful leaders in Malaysia have all understood the need to do things differently, to challenge the status quo, and to instil a culture of innovation,” he said.

On the same note, Ahmad Zahid called upon the country’s young leaders to carry on innovating in order to achieve Malaysia’s goal of becoming an advanced nation.

“This is particularly true for prospective leaders, who will take the reins of our nation in the future. For this reason, I call upon the many bright, young leaders in Malaysia to rise to the challenge,” he said.

The inaugural ICBOS themed ‘Transforming Nations Through Creativity and Innovation’ is being held in conjunction with the 2016 NBOS International Week which began Sunday and ended today at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC).

The conference focused on creativity and innovation in the formulation and implementation of national policies and initiatives besides featuring keynote speeches and panel discussions by national leaders, eminent speakers and global experts from all around the world.


Pocket Rocketman’ Azizulhasni wins bronze (in the Keirin event)

Posted on : 17-08-2016 | By : sabah today | In : International News

RIO DE JANEIRO— National elite rider, Azizulhasni Awang finally hands Malaysia a bronze medal in the keirin event at the Rio Olympics Games here yesterday.

In the dramatic final round, the eight-lap race was restarted twice after technical infringement by the riders and in the third start,  Azizulhasni pipped world champion, Joachim Eilers from Germany to finish third.

The 28-year-old Melbourne-based rider crossed the finishing line for the bronze behind defending champion Jason Kenny from Britain and Dutchman Matthijs Buchli.

Azizulhasni, who was earmarked as gold medal prospects, won the Olympic medal in his third attempt after failing to qualify for the finals in the 2008 Beijing Games and sixth placing at the 2012 London Games.

“I dedicate this medal to all Malaysians and to my wife and kids who sacrifice a lot over the years,” the rider, who is known as ‘Rocket Pocket Man’ for his pint-size body.

“Although I was going for the gold, but the bronze is the result of hard work over the years and the beginning to mount for the gold in the 2020 Tokyo Games,” said the rider who leaves Rio for home tomorrow night.

In the one day-race, Azizulhasni was one of the six cyclists and only Asian to qualify for the final from the repechage rounds.

Azizulhasni started his podium campaign on a difficult note when needed to win the repechage after ending fifth out of seven cyclists in his first round heat.

In the repechage, he had former world champion Theo Bos of Holland, Canada’s Hugo Barrette and Czech Republic’s Pavel Kelemen in the first heat and won the top spot to qualify for the second round.

In the second round’s first heat, Azizulhasni finished third behind Jason and Matthijs, while Joachim, Poland’s Damian Zielnski and Colombian Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata emerged top three in the second heat.

The top three in the two heats moved in to the final.

Azizulhasni is the first cyclist for Malaysia to win a medal in Olympics.  His bronze medal feat is the second medal for the country after diving pair, Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong contributed a silver in  the synchronised 10m platform last Tuesday.