McDonald’s Malaysia to invest RM363 million to add, refurbish restaurants

Posted on : 30-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR – McDonald’s Malaysia is investing RM363 million to add 33 new restaurants and refurbish 86 others in the country, as part of its three-year growth plan.

McDonald’s Malaysia Managing Director/Operating Partner Azmir Jaafar said the company would in this regard, set aside RM100 million to develop drive-thru restaurants and for the refurbishment exercise.

Speaking at a media briefing here today, he said with a network of 262 restaurants and 12,000 employees serving 13.5 million customers monthly, McDonald’s Malaysia is confident of strong double-digit growth this year.

“Last year was record-breaking for us with an all-time high year-on-year revenue growth of 16 per cent,” he added.

He said McDonald’s Malaysia was also looking to plough an investment of RM1.4 billion to develop 450 restaurants, and create 10,000 new jobs over the next eight years.

McDonald’s Malaysia has at present 82 delivering hubs, 113 McCafe’s, 151 drive thru restaurants and 200 24-hour restaurants nationwide.

Azmir said McDonald’s Malaysia was continuing its growth trajectory under the new Developmental Licensee (DL) ownership.

McDonald’s Corp announced in late 2016 it had selected Lionhorn Pte. Ltd. as the DL for its Malaysia and Singapore markets.

Lionhorn is led by Sheik Fahd and Abdulrahman Alireza, who bring 20 years of experience as the DL for the nearly 100 McDonald’s restaurants in the Western and Southern regions of Saudi Arabia.

Azmir said under the DL structure, Lionhorn Pte.Ltd will provide the capital necessary to support and grow the business, while day-to-day management of the Malaysian market would continue to be led by local leadership with the knowledge and insight required to driving business success in the country.

Azmir said the Lionhorn Group partnership comes at just the right time to help take McDonald’s in Malaysia to its next lap of growth.

It was reported that as part of McDonald’s Corp turnaround plan announced in May 2015, it was committed to refranchising 4,000 restaurants by end-2018 with the long-term goal of becoming 95 per cent franchised.

McDonald’s has now refranchised about 1,300 restaurants.


Titijaya opens first Sales Gallery in Lahad Datu

Posted on : 30-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

LAHAD DATU: The bus terminal that will be set up in the First Palm City Centre at a cost of RM3 million will enhance Lahad Datu’s transportation system and public amenities.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Mohd Nor said he believed the development of the bus terminal in this district will be much appreciated by the local residents as it would reduce traveling time for the local community within the town and across Sabah.

Hajiji added that in the future, the bus terminal will be able to ease connectivity between Lahad Datu and other areas in Sabah and consequently bring in a bigger crowd from neighbouring towns.

“Economic activities in Lahad Datu have been recovering since the dreaded invasion incident a few years ago. We have also seen an increase in the number of tourists visiting this area following the now-amplified security and safety system in place.

“The development of the Pan Borneo Highway will also be a boost to domestic business activities. Lahad Datu holds many promising prospects and it will be another area worth looking at after Kota Kinabalu,” he said at the ground breaking ceremony of the bus terminal and opening of the sales gallery for First Palm City Centre (FPCC) here yesterday.

Furthermore, Hajiji said the growth of the Lahad Datu property market was definitely encouraging as the district, which has more than 300,000 residents, boasts a ready market and a growing population.

With property prices ranging at moderate and affordable levels, Lahad Datu will be key to more developments in the future, he said.

“As the Minister of Local Government and Housing, I assure you that Lahad Datu will continue to prosper given the continuous efforts by the state government to achieve municipality status for Lahad Datu,” he said.

Hajiji added that the FPCC, which is a joint effort by the local government and private sector (Titijaya Land Berhad), will become a landmark for Lahad Datu upon completion.

The minister also praised Titijaya Land Berhad for believing in Lahad Datu’s prospects and urged more private companies to invest in Lahad Datu.

“We (state government) welcome more developers to initiate their projects here and we are willing to assist developers who are interested to embark on property developments in Sabah,” he said.

Titijaya Land Berhad Group managing director Tan Sri Dato’ Lim Soon Peng said the FPCC is a significant development in Lahad Datu, built on 58.8 acres of land comprising commercial shops, serviced apartments, office tower and the well-known Giant Hypermarket advantageously located in the town centre.

He added that the new FPCC bus terminal will be Lahad Datu’s main bus terminal to cater to intra-town and long distance buses and offer great convenience to the local community, enhance connectivity and spur tourism in the locality.

“The development of the FPCC is instrumental in providing a one-stop business centre for the community, with flourishing business potential and opportunities,” he stressed.

According to Lim, the bus terminal is expected to be completed within this year while the FPCC is expected to be completed within three years.


Mah: Malaysia to send first MSPO-certified palm oil to Europe by year-end

Posted on : 29-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will send its first Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO)-certified palm oil consignment to Europe by year-end, said Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

He said the mandatory implementation of MSPO certification by end-2019 was seen as a move towards branding local palm oil as sustainably-produced and safe.

“We target to send five million tonnes of MSPO-certified oil to Europe by 2019. We will continue to engage with all companies and European buyers, he told a press conference here yesterday.

Mah said the implementation of MSPO certification showed Malaysia’s serious commitment to ensure sustainability in palm oil plantation.

On the European Union’s (EU) Parliament resolution on palm oil and deforestation of rainforests, Mah said he would be meeting his Indonesian counterpart next week to have an urgent discussion on the matter.

He said the EU resolution, which was expected to be tabled at the European Parliament next month, singled out palm oil as a major contributor to deforestation and suggested EU develop a single certification that would only allow sustainably-produced palm oil to enter the EU market.

“Malaysia perceives the EU resolution as a trade impediment and may have a devastating effect to Malaysias exports.

“The resolution may also undermine the continued efforts taken by Malaysian government towards sustainability, especially towards the national sustainability certification under MSPO,” he said.

The EU is the largest export destination for Malaysian palm oil and palm oil products with export valued at RM10bil last year.

Last year, EU imported 29.4% of palm oil from Malaysia and 48.6% from Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Mah said, Malaysia would sign four memorandum of understandings (MoUs) to strengthen exports of Malaysian palm oil to India, especially in exploring new applications of palm oil for the market in India.

The four MoUs to be signed in conjunction with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razaks visit to India, starting tomorrow to April 4, are – Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (India) – Mumbai Chapter; MPOB and Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT); MPOB and Mumbai Dabbawala Association); and, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) and SolventExtractors Association of India.

“These historical MOUs are a breakthrough for Malaysian palm oil as they will strengthen our foothold in the Indian market.

“There provide a platform for Malaysian palm oil related entities like MPOB and MPOC to work with research institutes and other bodies to explore new applications of palm oil specifically for the market in India.

“These MOUs will also be used to promote MSPO, he said.


BNM Regional Office holds briefing on developments, outlook

Posted on : 29-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Regional Office Kota Kinabalu, conducted a briefing on the economic developments and outlook on 27 March 2017 in Kota Kinabalu, in conjunction with the release of the BNM Annual Report 2016. The briefing featured a presentation by Assistant Governor, Encik Abu Hassan Alshari Yahaya on the current economic developments in Malaysia as well as the outlook on the domestic and global economic growth in 2017.

The Malaysian economy is projected to register a sustained growth of 4.3% – 4.8% in 2017. This would be supported by the gradual improvement in global growth, recovery in global commodity prices and the continued growth of domestic demand. Private consumption growth is expected to be sustained by continued wage growth and the increase in disposable income due to selected Government measures and higher global commodity prices. This is despite headline inflation projected to average higher in the range of 3.0% – 4.0%, given the prospect of higher global commodity and energy prices, and the impact of the depreciation of the ringgit exchange rate. Investment growth would continue, particularly in services and manufacturing sectors albeit at a modest pace due to the cautious business sentiment. The public sector is projected to support growth, driven mainly by higher public investment arising from the ongoing implementation of key infrastructure projects in selected sectors, amid lower public expenditure as a result of the Government’s continued commitment to fiscal consolidation. Both exports and imports are expected to strengthen in 2017, underpinned by the projected improvements in global growth, higher commodity prices and sustained domestic demand.

One of the issues raised and discussed during the briefing was the need to align housing developments to the needs and affordability of the people. In this regard, Assistant Governor Abu Hassan acknowledged developers’ efforts in supplying affordable homes in Sabah and stressed the importance of ensuring that this momentum is sustained. On a separate note, Assistant Governor Abu Hassan emphasised that firms, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), would need to enhance productivity through innovation, transitioning away from the low-cost business model to build a more balanced, resilient and competitive economy in Sabah. Tourism activities would continue to recover and offer significant opportunities to support Sabah’s services sector. A greater contribution from downstream manufacturing of resource-based industries, such as palm oil, mining and timber, supported by the implementation of Pan Borneo Highway and Sapangar Port expansion, would also unlock the economic potential of the State.

This briefing is part of BNM’s larger effort to give back and provide value to its stakeholders at its regional offices in Sabah, Sarawak, Penang and Johor. This initiative was well received and has entered its third year of implementation after the first round of briefings in 2015. Assistant Governor Abu Hassan’s visit to Kota Kinabalu entailed a briefing and an industrial engagement.

The briefing also provided an opportunity for the stakeholders to better understand the roles of BNM Regional Office Kota Kinabalu which include undertaking surveillance on economic and financial issues and implementation of BNM’s strategic agenda in Sabah. The regional office also conducts outreach programmes in underserved areas around Sabah to raise financial awareness and provide understanding on basic financial products. It is also an avenue for consumer redress among Sabahans.


TM (Tourism Malaysia) aims to attract over 1 mln Thai tourists to M’sia

Posted on : 29-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: In an effort to further increase the arrival of Thai tourists, Sabah Tourism Board, in conjunction with Thai Smile Airways and Tourism Malaysia, welcomed an entourage of 22 media members and outbound travel agents to experience the inaugural flight from Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu.

Tourism Malaysia deputy director general (promotion), Dato’ Sri Abdul Khani Daud, said that apart from experiencing the unprecedented flight, the group also participated in a site visit to tourism products of the State.

“Sabah has a lot of attractive tourism offerings that appeal to Thai tourists. The State is richly blessed with natural diversity, adventure, beautiful beaches and fantastic cuisines.

“Sabah has it all, from the world’s largest flower to the highest mountain in Southeast Asia and one of the world’ top dive sites, not to mention natural treasures such as the world-renowned Danum Valley Conservation Area and Tabin, the State’s largest wildlife reserve.

“The Land Below the Wind is also known for its unique cultures, with 32 ethnic groups that each have their own tradition, making Sabah diverse in culture as well.

“I hope that after this trip, there will be good talk of our tourist destinations and new travel packages to be developed in Thailand,” said Abdul Khani.

He added that last year, tourist arrivals from Thailand to Malaysia had increased by 32.5 per cent at 1.78 million, compared to 1.343 million in 2015.

This year, Tourism Malaysia aimed to attract 1.805 million tourists from Thailand, he said, further saying that he was confident the target would be met with continued support and cooperation.

Abdul Khani also said that at the same time, Thailand has a lot of tourism products to offer and are well known around the world.

With the commencement of Thai Smile Airways for the Bangkok-Kota Kinabalu route, it is a good time for Sabahans to visit Thailand and enjoy Thai hospitality, especially since 2017 has been declared Visit ASEAN Year, he said.

The Bangkok-Kota Kinabalu route flies seven times a week with a seating capacity of 1,134, with outbound flights from the State capital at 1pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and 7pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.


Max: YS (Yayasan Sabah) has helped many students to achieve their dreams

Posted on : 29-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA MARUDU: Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili has nothing but good words for Yayasan Sabah.

When launching the Yayasan Sabah and the People Roadshow here, Wednesday, the Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister said the foundation has helped many scholars to meet their dreams.

“I am proud to say that I am a Yayasan Sabah product. And like any other Yayasan Sabah products, I am grateful for the scholarship given to me which had enabled me to do my PhD,” he said addressing some 1,000 roadshow attendees.

He said since its inception, Yayasan Sabah has done so much for education of young Sabahans.

“Its education development programmes are to be praised and commended.

“Having said this, there is still room for improvement. More could be done, such as reactivating rural hostels to reduce school dropouts and bridge gap between the urban and rural families, to mention some,” he said.

Ongkili also advised students that the recipes for success in education are to set high goals, be disciplined and study smart.

“Most importantly is to listen to your teachers and obey your parents.”

At the event, two students – Afenyee Inggiu and Nor Fariza Marnoh – each received RM1,000 from Yayasan Sabah for their outstanding performance in last year’s Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia examination.


Brunei-Sabah tourism deal

Posted on : 28-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International News

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: A memorandum of cooperation signed between national carrier Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) and Sabah Tourism Board (STB) was a first for tourism development between Brunei and Malaysia.

The memorandum, which aims to develop joint promotional activities for the inflow of tourists from Melbourne into Borneo, was signed by RBA Executive General Manager Brett McDougall and the general manager of Sabah Tourism Board, Gordon Yapp. The signing was witnessed by RBA CEO Kram Chand and the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.

“STB has worked with RBA before on several joint promotions be it for Australian market or long haul like UK markets, therefore this cooperation will further intensify and cement our working relationship for future mutual benefits,” said Masidi.

As part of the cooperation, the two parties agreed to cost share the promotional activities that will centre around stimulating the increase of Australian tourists into Brunei Darrusalam and Sabah.

Selected Australian travel agents will be appointed to sell special packages within a time frame, which includes a dedicated Return and Services Leagues (RSL) package to attend the Sandakan Day Memorial Service in Sabah this year.

For higher destination awareness on both Brunei and Sabah, the document also agreed to work with Australian online writers and media to produce online content as well as a promotional e-book.

“Brunei is our closest neighbour and was one of our top international arrivals into Sabah last year. Some of our long haul arrivals particularly from Australia traditionally use the Melbourne-Kota Kinabalu route, a connection they have been enjoying for the past few years.

“We are seeing positive results from fresh strategies and new marketing approach, continued awareness in the correct platform combined with the convenient air accessibility by RBA, that arrivals from Australia last year increased by +8.7 compared to 2015. It is only right that we embark on this memorandum right now to further develop this market segment for both countries. On behalf of the State Government, I wish to congratulate both parties on this historical partnership,” added Masidi.


Yayasan Sabah keen in developing human capital through handicrafts

Posted on : 28-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KENINGAU: Yayasan Sabah will continue to be committed in human capital development through various handicraft development programmes, said its director, Datuk Sapawi Ahmad.

He said this in his speech read by Pusat Kraftangan Sabah (PKS) group manager, Zaiton Bakri, during a certificate presentation ceremony at Dewan Salingkawang, PKS, here yesterday.

Forty five trainees who had completed the Basic Handicraft Training Programme under the Special Programme Intended for Community Enrichment received their certificates in “Seni Kraf Hasil Rimba – Anyaman Buluh” and “Seni Kraf Tekstil – Membatik”.

The three-month programme was held at PKS and at Kg. Bakuku, Ulu Tomani, Tenom. “This is a noble effort by Yayasan Sabah Group and Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) Malaysia under the Human Resources Ministry in developing individuals,” said Sapawi.

He said the collaboration between PKS and HRDF was a smart partnership to help the youth in gaining experience and be involved in handicraft making

“PKS has been playing an important role in inculcating the interest and passion of the local communities in local handicraft and Sabah batik.

“Since its establishment in June 2012, PKS has made its mark in the handicraft industry and is on par with other handicraft producers,” said Sapawi.

He hoped the collaboration between PKS and HRDF would be strengthened in efforts to develop the youth of Sabah.


Najib to visit India, underlines 60 years of strong bilateral relations

Posted on : 28-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak’s official visit to India from this Friday until next Tuesday underlines the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, which have been established for 60 years.

The visit, at the invitation of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be Najib’s third to India since assuming office as Prime Minister in 2009.

According to a statement released by the Communications and Public Diplomacy Division, Foreign Ministry, the visit would provide opportunities for both Malaysia and India to exchange views on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

During the visit Najib is scheduled to visit Chennai, New Delhi and Jaipur.

The Prime minister will be accompanied by his wife Rosmah Mansor, Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman, cabinet ministers and senior government officials.

In New Delhi, Najib will be accorded an official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace, make a courtesy call on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee followed by a restricted meeting with his Indian counterpart and a bilateral meeting with senior members of both delegation.

A Joint Press Conference will be held before the official dinner hosted by Prime Minister Modi in honour of Najib and Rosmah.

“Issues that are expected to be discussed during the bilateral meeting include trade and investment, infrastructure projects, defence cooperation, air services arrangements, tourism and culture relations as well as issues of mutual concern on regional and international cooperation.

“Several government-to-government memoranda of understanding and documents are set to be signed and exchanged during the visit. The exchange of the documents will be witnessed by both Prime Minister Najib and Prime Minister Modi,” the statement said.

Apart from the bilateral meetings, Najib will be holding dialogue sessions with leaders and captains of industries from major business sectors in India and is scheduled to attend a business luncheon and the 7th Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council Meeting (GSIAC).

Najib’s programme in Chennai includes an official reception hosted by the Acting Governor of Tamil Nadu, Vidhyasagar Rao and a meeting with the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi Palaniswamy.

The Prime Minister will also use this opportunity to have a dialogue session with the Malaysian community, including students.

Najib will also travel to Jaipur to oversee Malaysia’s participation in India’s infrastructure projects.

He is scheduled to meet with Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, and attend a high level discussion on the progress of Malaysian companies in infrastructure projects in Jaipur.

“On the last day of the visit, the Prime Minister will also officiate the newly completed complex of the High Commission of Malaysia in New Delhi,” the statement said.

It added that Malaysia is optimistic that the visit would further strengthen the existing friendly ties between Malaysia and India not only in the areas of bilateral cooperation but also on regional and international issues.


Yayasan Sabah Group continues to organise conferences for education exposure, opportunities

Posted on : 28-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KENINGAU: Yayasan Sabah will continue to be committed in human capital development through various handicraft development programmes, said its director, Datuk Sapawi Ahmad.

He said this in his speech read by Pusat Kraftangan Sabah (PKS) group manager, Zaiton Bakri, during a certificate presentation ceremony at Dewan Salingkawang, PKS, here yesterday.

Forty five trainees who had completed the Basic Handicraft Training Programme under the Special Programme Intended for Community Enrichment received their certificates in “Seni Kraf Hasil Rimba – Anyaman Buluh” and “Seni Kraf Tekstil – Membatik”.

The three-month programme was held at PKS and at Kg. Bakuku, Ulu Tomani, Tenom. “This is a noble effort by Yayasan Sabah Group and Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) Malaysia under the Human Resources Ministry in developing individuals,” said Sapawi.

He said the collaboration between PKS and HRDF was a smart partnership to help the youth in gaining experience and be involved in handicraft making

“PKS has been playing an important role in inculcating the interest and passion of the local communities in local handicraft and Sabah batik.

“Since its establishment in June 2012, PKS has made its mark in the handicraft industry and is on par with other handicraft producers,” said Sapawi.

He hoped the collaboration between PKS and HRDF would be strengthened in efforts to develop the youth of Sabah.


State govt, entrepreneurs urged to emulate Johor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thai Smiles starts flying to KK

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

KOTA KINABALU: Thai Smiles on Sunday made its inaugural flight from Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu, its second destination in Malaysia after Penang.

Wiwat Piyawiroj, Assistant Executive Vice President, Commercial of Thai Airways (Pcl) said the cooperation in the opening of Bangkok-Kota Kinabalu route between Thai Airways and Thai Smiles would mark the official milestone announcement to showcase the ongoing business model of the airlines between parent company and its affiliate.

“By providing this service, Thai Airways will be the distributor and marketer for the distribution of tickets and Thai Smiles will be the flight operator. This type of business will take place on several international routes that are due to launch this year. And we strongly believe that this cooperation will bring comfort to passengers traveling to various cities. In particular, the route that flies directly to Kota Kinabalu will bring about sustainable and profitable growth for both airlines,” said Piyawiroj.

Captain Woranate Laprabang, acting CEO of Thai Smiles revealed that the airline, a subsidiary of Thai Airways, the national carrier, was very proud to open the new route to Kota Kinabalu.

“It is acclaimed to be a major tourist destination of ASEAN region in the extent of the exuberance of nature. The tickets will be sold by Thai Airways while the flight will be operated by Thai Smiles. The first flight has commenced on March 26, 2017. The opening of this new route to Kota Kinabalu is considered one of the strategic priorities for us in the ASEAN region. Thai Airways and Thai Smiles are going to expand its growth in order to develop more international network of routes extensively. Furthermore, we are committed to increasing our customer’s choice to have a chance to travel to new destinations. Of course, we are confident that our reputation for excellent service will make both airlines the market leader in the near future,” said Captain Woranate.

Abdul Harris Hardy, director of Tourism Promotion Authority of Malaysia, Thailand’s office said this year the Tourism Authority of Malaysia aimed to attract 1.75 million Thai tourists to experience in the neighboring Malaysia with a variety of experiences.

“During January and October 2016, Malaysia welcomed 1.47 million Thai tourists, an increase of 34.4% from 1.09 million in 2015. The number of Thai tourists is accounted for number one  among the total number of tourists visiting Malaysia.

“With the potential of Kota Kinabalu tourism along with comfortable journey by Thai Airways and Thai Smiles will certainly increase the number of tourists from Thailand to Sabah, Malaysia,” he said.

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai congratulated Thai Airways and Thai Smile for their expansion of network and adding Kota Kinabalu as the second Malaysian destination after Penang.

“This is a timely and welcome addition to our network of international flights into Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Opening up the Thai market is important for Sabah – we look forward to receiving young Thai nationals who love adventure, diving and the variety of food we have to offer, as well as the expats who are looking for new family destinations. Our natural attractions such as Danum Valley and Maliau Basin are ideal for long haul travelers from Europe. Bangkok is a popular destination for Malaysians, many are eagerly waiting for this flight to commence,” he said.

Thai Smile Airways operates in 10 domestic destinations: Chiang Mai, Phuket, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Ubon Ratchathani, Udonthani, Suratthani, Narathiwat, and Krabi with one interline flight between Chiang Mai and Phuket.

The airline also operates 11 international flights to Siem Reap, Penang, Changsha, Chongqing, Gaya, Varanasi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mandalay, Zhengzhou and Kota Kinabalu with a plan to further increase the flight frequency of domestic and launch new international routes.


TAED envisioned to benefit economy, community and environment – Musa

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

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah must leverage on its geographical location, being at the heart of the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines – East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and strategically located along the Far-East shipping routes, said Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman.

“I look forward to the outcome of the comprehensive Sabah Ports 30 years master plan that will turn our ports into a vibrant transhipment hub for the BIMP-EAGA region as well as the Far East. This will also spur other multimodal logistics development and activities that include the Pan Borneo highway, railway connectivity linking the hinterland and aviation hub,” Musa said, when delivering his inaugural lecture entitled ‘My Vision for Sabah’ at an event organized by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu (RCKK) here on Sunday.

On another note, Musa said, the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED), a 348-hectare integrated beachfront development in Tanjung Aru, was envisioned to be well-positioned to benefit the economy, community and environment.

“To create a sustainable development like no other in the region, TAED needs to be, not only economically viable but also socially and environmentally acceptable.”

By specifically developing TAED with low-impact residential, hotel and commercial properties, he said, the State government would not only be able to raise the necessary funds for construction, but also to finance the maintenance of all public areas within the development, including the new beach and park.

“There is no other development comparable to TAED. TAED is envisioned to be well-positioned to benefit the economy, community and environment. It is with this holistic approach towards improving all three – economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability, that TAED will undoubtedly set a high benchmark for all future developments in Malaysia and the region,” he said.

Meanwhile, Musa said, the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) is a project to prepare Sabah to become a leading international meeting, incentives, conventions and exhibition (MICE) centre.

“It is a highly specialized venue that will be equipped with high-tech facilities to ensure smooth and efficient running of MICE activities. SICC is designed to be ahead of its generation and is a representation of the best-featured convention centre derived from the world’s leading MICE venues,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister had chipped in RM250 million for this project.

Musa was also keen on the outcome of The Jesselton Quay project which would become an iconic landscape as Kota Kinabalu city’s new waterfront and premier tourism frontier.

The project will have its own cruise terminal and will integrate the Kota Kinabalu International Cruise Terminal, marina facilities and the SICC.

On a more serious note, Musa said, the issue of land reclamations, especially along the Kota Kinabalu seafront, has over the years been a source of aggravation to many, especially those in conservation.

“To the dismay of many, previous administrations had granted approvals for reclamation for the purpose of commercial development from Likas Bay all the way to Tanjung Aru.

“How much more can the city take? Where do we stop? Should the city be reclaimed past Gaya Island? I made the bold decision to freeze all KK seafront land applications and even went to court to wrestle back those that had been approved.”

Therefore, in 2015, Musa took the initiative a step further when the State Legislative Assembly successfully passed a landmark bill to ban land reclamation beyond the designated boundary as a means of protecting coastal lands along the Kota Kinabalu city front.


Good governance vital to success of any organization – Musa

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

KOTA KINABALU: The principle of good governance is vital to the success of any organization as without the culture of transparency, accountability and sound financial management, an organization will be subject to all kinds of problems that will pave the way for failure, said Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman.

When he first took office, Musa said, he directed all heads of state departments, agencies and Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) to buck up.

“There is no reason for GLCs to not perform as they have state owned assets such as land and buildings. State agencies and GLCs should be enterprising enough to generate businesses and investments from these assets,” Musa remarked.

As a result of this hard line approach, he said, a number of state agencies have started to repay their loans and even hand out dividends to the State government.

“In 2016, the Sabah government received dividends of more than RM286 million,” Musa said.

Among the State statutory bodies and agencies that paid in 2016 are Sabah Development Bank, Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd, Sabah Energy Corporation Sdn. Bhd (SEC), Progressive Insurance Bhd (PIB), Sabah Credit Corporation, Sawit Kinabalu, Suria Capital Holdings Bhd and Asian Supply Base.

Musa said he had always applied the principle of ‘waste not, want not’ in managing the State’s finances.

“Resources and expenditures of the State are to be managed in a prudent, effective and efficient manner, in accordance with established financial regulations.”

Being a state with financial capability accredited with “AAA” rating for seven years in a row, Musa said, Sabah was competent to perform the entrusted responsibility.

“I am also confident that we can perform because we have an efficient administrative machinery in financial management which has been awarded with a ‘Clean Bill’ for 15 years.”

Musa said this when delivering his inaugural lecture entitled ‘My Vision for Sabah’ at an event organized by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu (RCKK) here on Sunday.

Nonetheless, Musa said, he always reminded civil servants not to be complacent just because they have performed well.

“There must be a strong sense of commitment and pride in delivering your services and with minimal red tape. Most important of all, the culture of behaving like Little Napoleons must be stamped out.”

Of course, Musa said, there is room for improvement as there are still some state departments, agencies and GLCs that needed to buck up.

“Last year, we saw the weakness of one particular state department that made Sabah famous for all the wrong reasons.

“We must admit that this has caused a huge embarrassment and tarnished all our other achievements. That is why I always remind those in the civil service, you must uphold integrity and honesty in your service to the people. There are loopholes in the system that must be plugged,” he reminded.

Musa also emphasized on the need for strong cooperation between Federal and State agencies in matters concerning project planning and implementation.

“The State must not be left in the dark and leaders must not let personal differences get in the way when making crucial decisions,” he said.

Musa said he had also frequently reminded elected representatives that good governance starts from the top.

“It is not enough to just sit in a meeting room to get briefings on what is going on in the kampungs or rural areas. You must go down to the ground. I have therefore, made regular visits to the various districts to hear about the progress of projects and programmes as well as problems in a particular area,” Musa said.

He pointed out that the title YB did not just mean Yang Berhormat, but also meant Yang Berkhidmat, or ‘At Your Service’.

“The job of YBs is to speak on behalf of their constituents, and to act as their eyes and ears.”


Canton Fair invitations available at KKCCCI’s office

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

KOTA KINABALU: The 121th Session of China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) will be held at China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China on 15th April to 5th May, 2017.

Paper Invitation issued by the Canton Fair is available at the Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KKCCCI) office.

The Canton Fair will be made up of National Pavilion and International Pavilion with categories: Exhibition category for National Pavilion Phase 1 (April 15 – 19): Electronics & Household Electrical Appliances, Lighting Equipment, Vehicles & Spare Parts, Machinery, Hardware & Tools, Building Materials, Chemical Products, Energy; Phase 2 (April 23 – 27): Consumer Goods, Gifts, Home Decorations; Phase 3 (May 1 – 5): Textiles & Garments, Shoes, Office Supplies, Cases & Bags and Recreation Products, Food, Medicines, Medical Devices, Health Products.

Exhibition category for International Pavilion Phase 1 (April 15 – 19): Electronics and Household Electrical Appliance, Building Materials and Hardware, Machinery and Equipment; Phase 3 (May 1 – 5): Food and Drink, Household Items, Fabrics and Home Textiles.

For overseas buyers, they can pre-apply for the first free Buyer Entry Badge (Buyer Card) via Buyer E-Service Tool (BEST) on Canton Fair’s official website and get it at the following locations: (1) Overseas Buyers’ Registration Office in Canton Fair Complex; (2) Appointed hotels in Guangzhou and nearby area; (3) Canton Fair Hong Kong Representative Office (Service is provided throughout the year).

Required documents for getting Buyer Card: -Valid original Personal Documents (Overseas Passport, H.K./Macao Home-return Permit, Taiwan Compatriot Travel Certificate, Valid ID as Overseas Chinese or a Chinese Passport with overseas employment visa valid for over one year) -Return Receipt of Buyer Card Pre-registration, or Paper Invitation or E-invitation of Canton Fair which is valid for you to get the first free Buyer Card -A most recent Passport Photo in a size of 5 cm x 4 cm -Business Card

The Buyer Card is valid for multiple sessions of the Canton Fair. If forgotten to bring along or lost, the new Buyer Card will cost RMB200 per card as service fee.

Canton Fair’s Guide is available for download from (click “Attendance Guide for Buyers”).

For those interested to visit the Canton Fair, please obtain the Paper Invitation of Canton Fair from KKCCCI Secretariat, Tel: 088-252312.