A big bike adventure to Tip of Borneo

Posted on : 30-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

ON a misty June 24 morning ahead of the Raya holidays, nine riders from the Free and Furious Bikers’ group in Sibu set out on the quest to reach the much talked about Tip of Borneo within two days.

They are experienced big bikers — some with nine years of cross-country riding under their belts while the most junior among them have been biking with the group for two years.

Led by two skilled expedition managers, Michael Ting and Dr Grammen Low, the group revved along the Bintulu-Miri-Brunei-Limbang-Lawas route with its spectacular landscape before reaching the beautiful western coast of Sabah.

For the bikers, it was a dream ride out in open country. Sibu, being more than 80 miles from the sea, is generally viewed as landlocked. Many of its residents, especially among the younger generation, have dreams to venture out and see the world!

A senior teacher known as Mr Hii told thesundaypost, “It’s no big surprise that a group of motorcycle enthusiasts have come together to form the Free and Furious Bikers of Sibu. Young people are usually adventurous. They like to explore and see things for themselves. For them, nine-to-five jobs can be routine and sometimes, even boring.”

Apart from the two leaders, the bikers were Cheng Hua Ping, Danny Wong and his wife Onna Yii, Ling Tiing Tchin, Robert Kang, Ting Ming Sheng, and Wong Kiung Kui.

Before the outing, they had their bikes thoroughly checked — brakes, lights, oil and fluid levels, tyre pressure and hydraulics — to make sure everything was in order. They also looked into important matters like passports, bike ownership documentation and accommodation arrangements as well as route-planning to avoid travelling on the same road twice while in Sabah.

First Day

The group started early on June 24, riding north out of Sibu on a cheerful note.

Onna Yii, the only woman in the expedition, said even though it was raining most of the first day, the group was in high spirits. To her, “eating, laughing and even riding at night is a memorable experience”. She finds big biking “a kind of fulfilment” and she enjoyed herself throughout the ride.

The group detoured to Bintulu for breakfast, then pushed on to Miri. They had a high-tea rojak break in Limbang before riding on to Kota Kinabalu in the dark and rain. In between, they stopped only for short breaks and small meals.

The long 900km ride had apparently worked up an appetite in the riders. Not surprisingly, they found the seafood in the Sabah capital extra tasty.

Second Day

On June 25, the riders continued their journey in equatorial rain. Undaunted, they pressed on to their final destination, the Tip of Borneo, arriving there in three and half hours from Kota Kinabalu despite the shower.

While many know about this northernmost part of Borneo Island, not many have actually reached it by land or sea. Numerous ships had floundered at this point too. A lighthouse there serves as an ominous reminder that the surrounding seas had been notorious for shipwrecks.

In the past, mystery shrouded this far-lung seaboard of the Land Below the Wind where legends abound. Today, with better roads and publicity, more people have ventured to the Tip, located in the Kudat District.  It is at this awesome promontory, also known as Tanjung Simpang Mengayau or lingering junction, that the South China Sea meets the Sulu Sea flowing from the east.

Like most first-time visitors, the bikers were mesmerised by the stunning sunset. All the aches and pains from the long ride were soon forgotten as the group spared little time snapping pictures of the setting sun, the beautiful Pantai Kalampunian (the long stretch of beach ending at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau), the bronze Globe and the Rocky Outcrop that forms the famous Tip of Borneo.

“We saw the radiant sunset and the beautiful and changing colours of twilight. What an unforgettable sight! As we stood at this northernmost tip of Borneo, we felt lifted in body and soul. We have travelled over 1,190km from Sibu in the heart of Sarawak to enjoy this wonderful moment. I am speechless,” one of the riders said.

Third Day

After a good night’s rest, the bikers pushed on to the foot of Kundasang for a short stay at the Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort.

June 26, 2017, was a special journal entry for the group. On the way to the Resort from Kudat, the bikers had to negotiate many tight corners to pass through Marak Parak Road. There were bends, potholes and heavy traffic to watch out for. A misstep could spell big trouble!

Before reaching Kundasang, the bikers by-passed smaller towns like Kota Marudu and Ranau.

Kundasang is in the District of Ranau, situated in Kundasang Valley. It is a 6km ride from Kundasang to Kinabalu National Park and 12km from Ranau town.

The Kundasang vegetable market is open seven days a week. Since it is so near Mount Kinabalu, the bikers could see the highest mountain in Borneo as they rode on, soaking up eye-catching scenes of verdant mountain slopes, farmer huts dotting some of the valleys and awe-inspiring low cloud formations.

The panorama was breathtaking, Onna Yii said, adding, “When we reached the point where we could see the magnificent Mt Kinabalu, all our tiredness disappeared. It was magical.”

The group took lots of photographs with Mt Kinabalu as the majestic backdrop. For some of the bikers, it was a dream come true.

Fourth Day

On June 27, the bikers left Kundasang for Sipitiang on an alternative route that took them through Tambunan, Keningau and Tenom.

Sipitang is a small town in interior Sabah, 144km south of Kota Kinabalu and the closest to the Sarawak border. It is famous for satay sold by the waterfront and the bikers were looking forward to a meal of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with palatable gravy. Unfortunately the satay was sold out but there was some roasted meat and ketupat left. The group had to make do and after a quick meal, got ready for the ride home. They arrived in Miri the same day and stayed a night at Imperial Palace Hotel.

Fifth Day

The Sibu big bikers ended their five-day ride up north and back on June 28.

Somehow, the journey home from a trip to a new place seems smoother and shorter. Based on local superstitions, the spirits of the road have given travellers the right to pass and will not bother them, making coming home seemingly faster than starting out.

Dennis John, a scholar of local oral stories and ancestral worship, said the superstitious believed spirits are at work, adding that after the spirits have given travellers the right of passage, the latter do not have to “say hello anymore and are quickly waved on”.

On the journey, one of the riders said, “We rode a total of 2,289km, using about 4.64 ltr of fuel per 100km. The time taken was 105 hours and 34 minutes. Michael Ting and Dr Grammen Low put a lot of effort into mapping out the routes. With their guidance, we had a safe and enjoyable ride, and are looking forward to more such expeditions.”

The photographers in the group were Robert Ting and Ling Tiing Tchin. Michael Ting operated the drone.

The bikes consisted of four BMW GS1200s and one each of the following models — BMW GS800, Honda CB500X, Kawasaki 636 Ducati Monster 796 and Kawasaki Versys 1000.

Each biker spent only RM950 per pax, inclusive of lodging, meals, petrol and miscellaneous items.

The big bikers would hum a little tune as they relate their adventure to the Tip of Borneo. They also pledge to uphold their motto — ‘Together we stand. Together we ride Free and Furious’.

The Free and Furious Bikers from Sibu will certainly ride again around Borneo to experience more of what the world’s third largest island has to offer to adventure tourism.


LEAP market to enhance Bursa Malaysia’s Revenue

Posted on : 30-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: Bursa Malaysia Bhd’s (Bursa Malaysia) Leading Entrepreneur Accelerator Platform (LEAP) will enhance the bourse’s revenue given the high demand and opportunities from the small and medium enterprises (SME) market.

However, analysts believe that this boost will only impact the market at a later stage as it is still too early to deduce the level of revenue that will stream into Bursa Malaysia.

MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd’s research arm (MIDF Research) made this observation in a recent note and highlighted that the LEAP market will provide SMEs another avenue to raise funds via a more efficient platform.

“Some of the potential issuers include Cloudaron Pte Ltd, Agrofresh International Group Sdn Bhd, Red Ideas Holdings Sdn Bhd and Plymer Link Sdn Bhd, with the first listing expected by end FY17,” it said.

The research arm foresees the new market will provide enhancement to Bursa Malaysia’s revenue, given the high demand and the opportunities stemming from the high number of SMEs in the local market.

However, at this juncture, MIDF Research believed there would be no impact in earnings from the introduction of the LEAP market, considering that it is still at an early stage.

Meanwhile, on Bursa Malaysia’s first half of financial year 2017 (1HFY17) results, the research team said, earnings came in within expectations.

However, some analysts note that downside risks are mounting for the group in the third quarter of the current year (3Q) while there will be normalisation in 4Q.

Bursa Malaysia’s profit after tax and minority interest (PATAMI) of RM116.2 million for 1HFY17 came in within the research arm of MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd’s (MIDF Research) and consensus’ estimates at 55.6 per cent and 52.3 per cent of respective full year estimates.

On the other hand, the group’s first half of 2017 (1H17) net profit of RM116.2 million made up 51 per cent and 52 per cent of the research arm of Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd’s (Kenanga Research) and the consensus’ full-year estimates, respectively.

While Bursa Malaysia’s first interim dividend of 20 sen was in line, a special dividend of 15 sen was a positive surprise to Kenanga Research.

Previously, the research arm had only expected the group to pay 40 sen of interim dividend for the full year, which was based on a dividend pay-out of 94 per cent (similar of the last year pay-out ratio).

Kenanga Research noted that Bursa Malaysia marked the group’s highest 1H operating revenue since listing, driven by the exceptionally strong volume in securities ADV.

“However, since the end of June towards our date of writing, we noticed that Securities ADVs as well as the trading volumes are already showing signs of weakening with ADV averaging at RM1.8 billion alongside thinner volume of 1.8 billion shares.

“This is in line with our strategist’s view that the 3QCY could be the weakest quarter, supported by our in-house empirical research, which suggests uninspiring upside potential alongside the subsiding buying interest for Bursa Securities in 3Q.

“That said, it may not be all gloom and doom for 2017 as 1H17 stellar performances coupled with normalisation in 4Q17 should be sufficient to make up the shortfall in 3QCY,” the research arm said.

Despite the strong activities in securities trading, the research arm viewed that it will start to taper in 2HFY17 given trading volumes have fallen sharply in July 2017.

“Notably, the trading values in June and July 2017 have been disappointing, declining by 23 per cent month-on-month (m-o-m) and 22.7 per cent m-o-m respectively,” the research arm said.


Malaysia’s economy in 2016 expands 6.3 per cent on GDP

Posted on : 28-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR― Malaysia’s economy increased in 2016 as the value of Gross Domestic  Product (GDP) at current prices expanded further to register RM1,230.1 billion and grew 6.3 per cent.

In a statement, the Department of Statistics Malaysia said the expansion in GDP was propelled by the higher performance of all income components, spearheaded by a Gross Operating Surplus (GOS) which recorded RM732.3 billion.

Compensation of Employees (CE) reached a value of RM433.7 billion.Taxes less Subsidies on Production and Imports stood at RM64.2 billion.

The share of CE to Malaysia’s economy expanded to 35.3 per cent and rose to 7.7 per cent (2015: 6.2 per cent) which was largely led by services and manufacturing.

Taxes less subsidies on production and imports formed 5.2 per cent of overall income and registered double-digit growth of 13.5 per cent (2015: 71.1 per cent).

Services was the largest contributor to the total CE with a share of 60.7 per cent followed by manufacturing which accounted for 22.8 per cent in 2016.

Construction expanded to 10.1 per cent as compared to 9.9 per cent in the previous year.

Moreover, agriculture, mining and quarrying recorded a share of 4.7 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively.

CE expanded to 7.7 per cent, largely boosted by services which strengthened to 7.7 per cent.

The momentum of other services (including government services) which rose to 6.5 per cent  spearheaded the services.

The CE performance for manufacturing, recorded at 6.2 per cent, was underpinned by electrical, electronics and optical products which registered growth of 7.6 per cent.

Construction continued to record double-digit growth for six consecutive years in registering 10.1 per cent in 2016.

Agriculture rebounded to 9.9 per cent from negative 0.2 per cent last year due to a turnaround in all segments.

In addition, mining and quarrying improved to 5.7 per cent as compared to 0.8 per cent in the previous year.

As the largest contributor to the economy, services accounted for 52 per cent to total GOS in 2016 followed by manufacturing at 22.1 per cent.

Mining, quarrying and agriculture contributed 13.1 per cent and 11.1 per cent respectively.           Meanwhile, construction recorded a contribution of 1.7 per cent.

As GOS forms the substantial share to GDP, the growth of this component was in line with the economic performance.

In 2016, GOS augmented to 4.8 per cent as compared to 0.6 per cent registered in the preceding year.

Services strengthened to 6.3 per cent propelled by wholesale and retail trade, food and beverage and accommodation.

Agriculture rebounded to 8.9 per cent following positive growth in all segments.

The momentum of GOS in manufacturing increased 2.8 per cent supported mainly by electrical, electronics and optical products which grew at 9.1 per cent.

In addition, mining and quarrying rebounded to 0.4 per cent, while construction posted growth of 0.1 per cent, supported by the performance of civil engineering and residential activities. ― Bernama

Timber, product exports rise to RM9.75 bln in first 5 months

Posted on : 28-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s timber and timber product exports rose 6.76 per cent to RM9.75 billion in the first five months of this year compared with the same period a year ago, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said.

He said the timber industry was one of the major contributors to the nation’s export earnings, recording between RM20 billion and RM22 billion in revenue annually over the past 10 years.

“This proves the significance of the timber industry as a consistent contributor to the nation’s earnings.

“We hope that by end of this year, we can achieve a growth of five per cent which is equivalent to RM23 billion in total,” he said at the Malaysian Timber Council’s 25th anniversary dinner here on Wednesday.

Furniture dominated the export earnings for the first five months of this year at RM3.28 billion followed by plywood (RM1.96 billion) and sawn timber (RM1.6 billion).

Mah urged timber industry players to embrace the fourth industrial revolution (industry 4.0) initiative undertaken by the government by integrating the principles of the industry into business.

He said the ministry would review the National Timber Industry Policy (NATIP) to redirect the course and strategic policies of the industry to fit into the current situation.

The review that will be conducted for the first time since NATIP’s implementation in 2009 will involve stakeholders, skilled manpower, innovation and technology, as well as sustainability.

“With the latest global development, we need to look into various aspects which include technology and connectivity, as well as policy issues,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Wood Awards, which was an important event in MTC’s anniversary calendar, had two segments – the main awards for the professionals and a students’ category.

Entrants of the professional section in the main Malaysian Wood Awards competed in two categories – Residential and Public/Commercial while the Students’ Challenge, which is the student category, engaged undergraduates to design with timber either for the Building or Non-Building category. Only undergraduates from Part 1 of Architectural programmes accredited by The Board of Architects Malaysia were allowed to take part.

The winners of the professional section of the Residential category are B&A Family Holdings Sdn Bhd which won the first prize for its Kuang Retreat House. The second prize winner is Ar Azman Zainal Md Nor for his house called Anjung Kelana while the third prize winner is Ding Siew Ching for Bintang Residence.

Winners of the Public/Commercial Category are the Terengganu State Museum for its Rumah Haji Wan Su which won the first prize. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board’s Galeri Glulam took home the second prize while the third prize went to Paramount Property (Cjaya) Sdn Bhd for its Chengal House.

The winners of the Students’ Challenge’s Building category are Muhammad Aizat Anuar from UTM, who won the first prize for his Taman University Cookies Community Centre while the second prize winner is Lam Yung Ni from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology for her creation of the Eco-water Edge Centre – A Timber Forest. The third prize winner is Ooi Wei Kiat of Universiti Malaya for his design of the Rainforest Music School.

The winners of the Non-Building category of the Students’ Challenge are Luqman Hariz Shaarani from UiTM Puncak Alam for his fascinating creation of the “Medusa Pavilion” which won the first prize. The second prize winner is Muhammad Syafiq Mohamed Karim (UiTM Puncak Alam) for his design of “The Beautiful Curse” while the third prize winner is Aimi Adelina Azman (UiTM Puncak Alam) for her creation of the “Dwelling For Two”.

An initiative taken by MTC, the MWA was organized in collaboration with the Malaysian Institute of Architects.

MTC began its year-long jubilee celebration with the launch of its 25th anniversary tagline – Engage, Connect, Grow.


Five Malaysian companies on Forbes ‘Best Under A Billion’ list this year

Posted on : 28-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Five Malaysian companies are among the top 200 publicly-traded companies in the Asia-Pacific region which are on Forbes 2017 “Best under a billion” list.

The five are Elsoft Research BhdKerjaya Prospek Group BhdMy E.G. Services Bhd, Pentamaster Bhd and Vitrox Corporation Bhd.

According to Forbes on Thursday, the list honors the leading stock-traded companies in the Asia Pacific region with annual revenue between US$5mil and US$1bil.

“From a universe of 18,000 candidates, roughly 875 passed our criteria for profitability, growth and modest indebtedness,” it said.
The resulting 200 produced the highest sales and earnings per share growth for both the most recent fiscal one and three-year periods, and the strongest five-year average return on equity.

As for the Malaysian companies, four of the five companies are in the technology and techology related industries while Kerjaya Prospek is in the construction sector.

Elsoft is involved in research, designing, and development of test and burn-in systems and application specific embedded system.

My E.G. is involved in the provision of electronic government services and related services.

Pentamaster provides manufacturing automation solutions and services and focuses on automated equipment; automated manufacturing solution; and smart control solution system.

As for Vitrox, it manufactures and development of three-dimensional and line scan vision inspection system. Its products includes machine vision system, automated board inspection, and electronics communication system.

Kerjaya Prospek focuses on construction related services and also manufacturing and properties.

Forbes said Japan nearly tripled its presence on the 2017 Forbes Asia’s “Best Under A Billion” list with 38 out of top 200 publicly-traded companies in the Asia-Pacific region, up from 13 last year. 119 companies are new on this year’s list.

Japanese companies involved in the business services and supplies sector feature strongly on this year’s list with 14 entries, up from two previously

South Korea has 20 companies as compared to 16 from last year’s list.

Companies from the Greater China region total 100, down from a record high of 130 last year.

Elsewhere in the region, Vietnam has nine companies on this year’s list, Malaysia and Pakistan have five companies each on the list.

Thailand has four companies while New Zealand and India have three each.

The sole listee from Sri Lanka is tile grout and mortar manufacturer Swisstek (Ceylon). The Philippines and Indonesia have no representation on the list this year.

Bank Negara to hold carnival August 4-6

Posted on : 28-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

Kota Kinabalu: The public can get free education on financial management and get exposed to various financial-based products and services during a ‘Financial Carnival’ to be held at the Suria Sabah Mall from 10am until 10pm from Aug 4 to 6.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Kota Kinabalu will stage the inaugural carnival at the Lower Floor and Ground Floor of the shopping mall following a similar carnival that was held in Kuala Lumpur in January this year.

Its Regional Head here Zambre Ismail said more than 40 exhibitors from financial services companies, insurance companies and relevant players in the finance industry including insurance, banks associations, Mara, Sabah Credit Corporation (SCC), AKPK, and PTPTN will be participating in the carnival.

“We are pleased to bring this carnival to the people of Sabah with our aim to educate and expose the people to proper financial management and provide free services … we are applying a one-stop centre concept in this carnival where we gather all relevant industry players in the finance industry like banks, insurance companies, and state government agencies that provide loans to small and medium –sized entrepreneurs.

“By doing so, the visitors save a lot of time and energy as they can make better choices on financial products and services that suit their needs rather than going to each of the banks, for instance to check on their interest rates and other charges,” he said, adding that the admission to the carnival is free.

Speaking to Daily Express at BNM Regional Office here, Zambre said the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is expected to officiate the carnival at the same venue at 3pm on Aug 4. It will be also be attended by BNM Governor Datuk Muhammad bin Ibrahim.

“BNM Kota Kinabalu will provide free service for public to check on their credits with banks and other financial agencies through our Centralised Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) machine.

“Public can also verify any doubtful companies that seem to run get-rich schemes claiming that BNM has approved their schemes and operations.

“We would also take up any problems and complaints by the visitors pertaining to issues related to our jurisdiction,” he said, adding that Credit Management and Counselling Agency (AKPK) will also be at the carnival to offer its services to the people.

To a question, he said public cannot check their credit report with CTOS that is run by a private company as it was not among the exhibitors involved in the carnival.

Zambre said the carnival was purposely held for three days so as to provide opportunity for the people in Sabah to bring their families, and children to the event that is also another concept of educating and entertaining the visitors.

In educating public, he said the carnival will have 20 pocket talks by SMEs and credible speakers throughout the three days.

Among the talks, he said are testimonials and sharing of financial experiences by SMEs on how they manage their finances to run their businesses and the challenges they face as well as to how address them.

Furthermore, he said the talks will include the latest information on types of financial crimes such as how to identify fake currency notes, among others.

Zambre said schedule of the pocket talks will be put up at the venue so that visitors can choose which talks they wish to attend and can surf www.carnivalkewangan.com.my to get more information and contact BNM here at 088-522310 during office hours as well as centralised customer services of BNM at 1-300-885-465.

Apart from this, he said the carnival has created some activities and programmes to educate children on saving money such as games of quizzes, ‘Jom Buat Tabung’ activity and education on basic finance.

“We will also organise a karaoke competition that is open to the public. There will be a finals on the last day and prizes to be given out to the winners.

“We will also bring local celebrities and singers from Sabah such as AF Neera, AF Velvet and a famous local band here to perform and entertain the visitors at the carnival.

“There will be lucky draw to attract the crowd where the prizes are worth more than RM150,000 such as motorcycles and attractive prizes for holidays. They must register and the grand lucky draw will be on Aug 6,” Zambre said. – Hayati Dzulkifli


16 programs lined up for National Month

Posted on : 28-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: The state-level month-long National Day celebration will kick off on August 1 at the Dataran Dewan Bandaraya with 16 programmes lined up.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor told a press conference here yesterday that the launching of the ‘Bulan Kebangsaan dan Kibar Jalur Gemilang 2017’ event will be officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

Hajiji, who is the chairman of the state-level celebration’s organising committee, said the theme of the event is ‘Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa’ and it was chosen as solidarity and unity strengthens national integration among Malaysia’s multi-racial society.

The event will culminate on August 31 where the annual National Day Parade will be held at Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens and it will be graced by Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, he disclosed.

“Other than the motorised floats and march by uniformed bodies, schools and state agencies, there will also be a cultural performance,” Hajiji added.

According to Hajiji, among the 16 activities lined up during the month are the ‘Pertandingan Pidato NegaraKu’, ‘Anugerah Keceriaan NegaraKu Bulan Kebangsaan’, ‘Kembara Merdeka NegaraKu 2017’, ‘Program NegaraKu@Komuniti’ and ‘Pertandingan Pengisahan NegeraKu’.

He added that there will also be a photography competition, poster competition, exhibition on Malaysia, ‘Grafiti Ekspresi NegaraKu Malaysia’ and the conferring of the ‘Battle Honour’ Daulat 2013 award.

He said in conjunction with National Month, the Sabah State Islamic Religious Affairs Department (Jheains) would conduct tahlil recital and prayers for safety.

The Sabah Council of Churches would also hold prayers and fast for 40 days from Aug 1 till Sept 16 while Chinese associations representing Buddhist temples in Sabah would also hold prayers for the well-being and prosperity of the country, he said.

“I urge all Sabahans to show their love for the country by raising the national and state flags on their buildings, residences, premises and even vehicles during the month-long celebration,” Hajiji said.


Reputed developers unveil affordable housing plan

Posted on : 28-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

Buying that first home is one of the biggest financial steps one will ever make. Leading developer Rich Worldwide Sdn Bhd is helping you realise the dream of owning your first home with the construction of another 68 units of affordable double storey terrace housing.
Construction work on Taman Jati Phase Two is underway and completion is forecasted ahead of the scheduled 24 months completion date, Rich Worldwide Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Victor Wong Chet Sing said on Thursday. Also present at the media conference was Rich Worldwide Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Kong Kwok Wah.

“With a gross built-up area from 1,258 square feet and priced from RM 316,350 to RM 423,000, we build affordable double storey terrace houses which are designed for the mid-income group and newly married couple,” Wong said. The spacious master bedroom with attached bathroom offers a luxurious modern lifestyle while the concrete car porch with 5 ½ feet brick cement partition will offer more privacy for each unit, Wong said.

“The covered car porch is 272 square feet meant for two cars (one big and one small),” Wong added.

Taman Jati is surrounded by primary and secondary schools, Gentingmas Supermarket, Wangi Market, Sejati Walk, and the soon to be Mydin Hypermarket, as well as government institutions.

“There’s easy accessibility to the Northern Link Road and other suburban townships, while Sandakan Airport is only five-minutes-drive away,” Wong said.

Wong said the first 20 persons to place their booking for a Phase Two terrace house are entitled to the early bird special cash discount of RM5,000 once they sign the S&P Agreement. The 10 per cent down payment is also payable by instalments for eligible buyers, subject to arrangement.

Another option for first-home-owners to consider is the Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) Youth Housing Scheme which provides up to 100 per cent financing for eligible applicants.

The scheme is exclusively for married youth aged 25 to 40 years old who are purchasing their first property, with a household income not exceeding RM10,000 per month, with MRTA/MRTT financing up to 5 per cent of the purchase price, Wong said.

For applicants who are single, monthly income must exceed RM3,000, according to Wong.

Malaysians who are buying their first home can apply for the Government’s First Home Deposit Funding Scheme (MyDeposit) which offers a 10 per cent incentive on the sale price or a maximum of RM30,000, whichever is lower.

The response for Phase One was overwhelming with all 115 units sold. One of the advantages for Taman Jati house owners is they will receive their Occupancy Certificate and Title Deed during the handing over of house keys. “30 per cent of the development is reserved for Bumiputera with 5 per cent discount,” Wong added.

Those interested in owning an affordable double storey terrace house at Taman Jati Phase Two can visit the show house unit from 10am to 5pm, July 29-30.


FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) inflows into Malaysia’s Capital intensive sectors to create more jobs

Posted on : 27-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR– A list of domestic mega projects that are already in progress or to be started soon, have attracted an inflow of foreign direct investments (FDIs), which will create high value and ready jobs in future for youths , particularly in the capital intensive sector.

For instance, Malaysia’s mega infrastructure projects are expected to boost the country’s economy by more than 50 per cent to RM2 trillion in the next seven to eight years, which will drive job creation in high-value services and knowledge intensive industries.

MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd’s Chief Economist Dr Kamaruddin Mohd Nor said for the first quarter of 2017, Malaysia’s FDI had ballooned to RM17 billion and was the largest value since December 2012.

Comparatively, Malaysia recorded FDI of RM13 billion in the 4Q16.

“Theoretically, FDIs have a direct and indirect impact on job creation. FDIs into a sector help generate jobs for it and also in the ancillary sectors. The spillover effect will in turn help boost employment and consumption,” he told Bernama.

Major investments by foreign companies in Malaysia include China’s Huawei which is investing RM2.2 billion for its global operations headquarters, data hosting and global training centres, while employing more than 2,370 people.

Saudi Aramco in turn is investing US$7 billion for a 50 per cent stake in the Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development in Johor, while London-based HSBC’s future regional headquarters at the Tun Razak Exchange here will cost over RM1 billion to build.

Under the National Transformation Plan (NTP), the government has embarked on bold moves and tough decision making towards ensuring Malaysia stays on track to becoming a high-income advanced economy.

At the same time, the NTP has contributed towards making Malaysia an attractive destination for foreign investors, resulting in jobs creation for the people.

Under the NTP, the average growth rate of the gross domestic product (GDP) since its implementation has been maintained at above five per cent, with inflation and unemployment kept stable and low, the gross national income per capita having increased by more than 50 per cent, as private investments improved.

Business regulations have been upgraded as well, with Malaysia emerging as a country with a better pool of an educated workforce.

Prime Minster Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in his keynote address at Invest Malaysia 2017, noted that between 2009 and 2016, the Gross National Income (GNI) increased by nearly 50 per cent, and GNI per capita using the Atlas method, increased to US$9,850.

Based on the World Bank’s latest high income threshold of US$12,235, Malaysia had narrowed the gap towards the high income target from 33 per cent to 19 per cent and at the same time, 2.26 million jobs had also been created.

That, represents 69 per cent of the 3.3 million target the government wants to reach by 2020.


Sabah the first to see MARDI’s Nutrima Cellcode

Posted on : 27-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU– The Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute’s (MARDI) Nutrima Cellcode health drink, which was produced after 10 years of research, has received a positive and encouraging response.

Nutrima Cellcode Malaysia Managing Director Nor Azizi Awalludin said the product, which was formulated entirely by MARDI from calamansi (citrus microcarpa), was funded by the government and commercialised since last year.

“This product has received a very positive response in China, Turkey, Paris, London and Dubai as a result of collaboration with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation which moved into high gear since last year.

“This year, we are focusing on marketing the product in the domestic market and has chosen Sabah as the first destination,” he said at the launch of Cellcode Borneo and an Aidilfitri open house by Wives of the Sabah Elected Representatives Welfare Association President Datin Seri Faridah Tussin here today.

Nor Azizi said the Nutrima Cellcode health drink contains Vitexsin, a natural antioxidant that reduces wrinkles.

“As foreign proffesors have recognised the works of Malaysian scientists (on Nutrima Cellcode), it is a high benchmark for this product. So, it should not only be sold in Malaysia but also worldwide,” he said.


Vending machines go cashless with Touch ‘n Go cards

Posted on : 25-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR: The hassle of looking around for small change just to purchase a beverage from a vending machine is a thing of the past, as you can now do so via your Touch ‘n Go card.

With the collaboration between Touch’ n Go Sdn Bhd (TNGSB), Ventaserv Sdn Bhd (Ventaserv) and Coca Cola Refreshments (M) Sdn Bhd (Coca-Cola), consumers no longer need to be bothered about finding loose change when they purchase drinks from any Ventaserv vending machines.

“All they need to do is just select their preferred drinks then tap their card to make a payment, it’s so easy and hassle-free,” TNGSB chief operating officer, Farilla Abdullah said during the official launch of the Touch ‘n Go Payment At Vending Machines yesterday.

To commemorate the launch, Farilla announced that TNGSB will be running a two-month campaign for all its card users.

“The campaign, Top 50 Spenders Campaign, which runs from July 25 until Sept 30 at selected Ventaserv’s vending machines, allows the winners to walk away with one set of a limited edition Coca-Cola Touch ‘n Go card and one carton of Coca-Cola drinks.

“More information about the campaign is available on our corporate website and social media page,” Farilla said.

Also present at the launch was Ventaserv chief executive officer Sophia Lim who revealed that Ventaserv is the first vending machine operator in the local market to adopt the cashless payment mechanism.

“Currently there are some 500 Ventraserv vending machines available in hospitals, recreational parks, shopping malls, and schools in the Klang Valley, and we are hoping that we would be able to roll out 1,000 vending machines within the region by year-end,” she added.


Paw power: China plans 100 panda-shaped solar plants on new Silk Road

Posted on : 25-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

BEIJING/HONG KONG – In a country where you can find everything from chopsticks to slippers designed to look like pandas, one Chinese energy company is going a step further by building 100 solar farms shaped like the bears along the route of the ambitious Belt and Road initiative.

Panda Green Energy Group (0686.HK) has already connected one such 50-megawatt (MW) plant to the grid in the northern province of Shanxi, the first step in a public relations stunt that emphasizes the cuddly side of the world’s No.2 economy.

Built with darker crystalline silicon and lighter-colored thin film solar cells, the plant resembles a cartoon giant panda from the air.

“The plant required an investment of 350 million yuan ($52 million), and it would require investment of $3 billion for 100 such plants,” Panda Green Energy’s Chief Executive Li Yuan told Reuters.

Li did not say where the longer-term investment would come from.

The Hong Kong-based firm is currently in talks with Canada, Australia, Germany and Italy to launch more panda-shaped power stations.

The Belt and Road initiative is a plan to emulate the ancient Silk Road by opening new trade corridors across the globe using roads, power lines, ports and energy pipelines.

A 100-MW panda power plant would be expected to generate 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy over 25 years, according to the company, capable of supplying power to over 10,000 households annually.

Panda Green Energy is currently constructing its second panda power plant in Shanxi, which accounts for a quarter of China’s coal reserves.

Utilization of one panda solar power plant will save the equivalent of a total 1.06 million tonnes of coal and cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 2.74 million tonnes in 25 years, the company said.

The firm has been investing in and running solar power plants in China’s major solar hubs such as Xinjiang and Qinghai province, as well as some solar projects in Britain.

Shanxi aims to install 12 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2020 versus 1.13 GW installed in 2015.

($1 = 6.7642 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Ryan Woo in Beijing and Pak Yiu in Hong Kong; Editing by Joseph Radford


Grab raises US2.5 bln investments to expand

Posted on : 25-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: On-demand transportation and mobile payments platform, Grab, yesterday announced that Didi Chuxing (DiDi), the world’s leading one-stop mobile transportation platform, and SoftBank Group Corp (SoftBank), a global technology leader driving the Information Revolution, will invest up to US$2 billion to lead Grab’s current financing round.

Grab anticipates that it would raise an additional US$500 million, bringing the total to US$2.5 billion in this round from existing and new investors, it said in a statement.

This is the largest single financing in the history of Southeast Asia and would support efforts to  strengthen Grab’s dominant market position for on-demand transportation and payments in the region,

“We’re encouraged that these two visionary companies share our optimism for the future of Southeast Asia and its on-demand transportation and payments markets and, recognise that Grab is ideally positioned to capitalise on the massive market opportunities.

“With their support, Grab will achieve an unassailable market lead in ride sharing and build on this to make GrabPay the payment solution of choice for Southeast Asia.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our valued partners in the future,” said group chief executive officer and co-founder Anthony Tan.

Grab transportation network is one of the most frequently used mobile platform in the region with nearly three million daily rides.

Today, the Grab app has been downloaded into 50 million mobile devices and offered private car, motorbike, taxi, and carpooling services across seven countries

and 65 cities in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, GrabPay Credits, a cashless top-up payments option, has grown more than 80 per cent, month-on-month, since its launch in December 2016.


LEAP (Leading Entrepreneur Accelerator Platform) market to take SMEs to next level

Posted on : 25-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia Bhd’s new Leading Entrepreneur Accelerator Platform (LEAP) Market will help take the growth of small medium enterprises (SMEs) to the next level, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Through LEAP, which was officially launched by Najib on Tuesday at the Invest Malaysia 2017 here,wealthy investors can lend money via the capital market to the SMEs.

He said LEAP is a new qualified market which offers an alternative for SMEs to raise funds and grow their business to the next level.

“SMEs make up 97% of businesses in Malaysia, and one of the hallmarks of my administration has been its support and encouragement for this backbone of our economy.
“It is in line with the SME Masterplan which aims to raise the share of Gross domestic product (GDP) contribution by SMEs, their number of employees and volume of exports.

“It is also another of the many initiatives put in place in pursuit of  transformation, and prove our trustworthiness as a business-friendly government of a vibrant economy,” Najib said in a keynote address at the Invest Malaysia 2017 opening, prior to LEAP’s launch.

The new market aims to provide SMEs with an alternative and efficient fund raising platform and visibility through the capital market where wealthy investors can lend money via the capital market to the SMEs.

Bursa Malaysia Bhd Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan at the launch, meanwhile said, LEAP is designed to address the funding gap for SMEs and provides investors with a new investable asset class.

“The availability of such a platform will further aid the development of SMEs and support broader economic activities.

“Trading on the LEAP market is limited to sophisticated investors, according them an opportunity to broaden their investment options in a transparent and regulated environment,” he added.

During the launch of LEAP, the prime minister also witnessed the exchange of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between Bursa Malaysia and its four strategic partners, namely the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC), SME Corporation and the Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (TERAJU).

The strategic partners will support in the identification of potential SMEs to be listed on the LEAP market and also collaborate to jointly develop the SME financing eco-system and capacity building.

To date, eleven SMEs have engaged LEAP’s approved advisors to assist them with the listing process.

Potential issuers, according to Bursa’s circular at the launch include, Cloudaron Pte Ltd, Agrofresh International Group Sdn Bhd, Red Ideas Holdings Sdn Bhd and Polymer Link Sdn Bhd.


MalaysiaBiz portal launched in Sabah

Posted on : 25-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: The country’s one-stop business registration and licensing portal – MalaysiaBiz Portal – has been expanded to Sabah, allowing the local business community to obtain information online quickly.

Currently, 67 agencies under the state government have updated their business licensing and registration information in the portal since May.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun said such an achievement should be a source of pride as the information-gathering process was completed ahead of schedule in December.

“I believe this success would not be made possible without strong collaboration and synergy from the Sabah government and the relevant state authorities under it.

“In exploring challenges and responding to diverse customer demands, the offering of digital public services needs to surpass expectations,” he said.

Belaun said this in his speech delivered by Malaysia Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) director-general Datuk Dr Mazlan Yusoff at the launch of the MalaysiaBiz Portal, here.

At the event, 129 License Information Partners (Rakan Informasi Lesen) from each local authority in Sabah were appointed to ensure their information provided in the portal is up-to-date and valid.

Belaun said the MalaysiaBiz Portal would also expand its scope to provide online registration and licensing applications in the near future to speed up the process of doing business and encourage local economic growth.

MalaysiaBiz Portal was developed in 2015 and launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last year.

The portal only focused on agencies in the peninsula at the early stage of implementation. It provides licensing information that covers 1,174 business activities in various economic sectors.