Petronas signs LNG supply deal with S-Oil (South Korea Oil Refining Company)

Posted on : 29-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: Petronas LNG Ltd (PLL), a subsidiary of Petronas, has signed a 15-year Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with South Korea’s S-OIL Corporation (S-Oil) to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be used as fuel for S-Oil’s new plant operations and as feedstock for hydrogen production.

Under the long-term SPA, signed on August 25, 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, PLL is committed to deliver up to 0.7 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG to S-Oil beginning 2018.

Signing on behalf of PLL was its chairman, Ahmad Adly Alias while S-Oil was represented by Dr Ryu Yul, its president of corporate strategy and services.

Also present to witness the signing were Petronas’ executive vice president and chief executive officer (upstream) Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib and Othman Al Ghamdi, chief executive officer of S-Oil.

Adly, who is also Petronas’ vice president of LNG marketing and trading said, “This SPA is testament to Petronas’ focus in building long term relationship with committed partners.

“Petronas looks forward to create further value with S-Oil to ensure that we can deliver the most value-comprehensive solution.

“To date, we have successfully delivered cargoes without fail and will continue to ensure security of supply and reliability to all of our buyers,” he added.

Backed by over 30 years of LNG experience, Petronas is recognised as a reliable and flexible LNG supplier, operating from its main supply base in Bintulu, Sarawak.

In addition, Petronas has also diversified its LNG supply portfolio in recent years with the inclusion of Australia Gladstone LNG and the world’s first floating LNG facility located in offshore Sarawak.

S-Oil is an oil refining company, based in Seoul, South Korea was established in 1976 and produces petroleum, petrochemical and lubricant products.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

Pangolins to be totally protected in Sabah

Posted on : 29-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is speeding up the process of making pangolins a totally protected species amid the increasing number of cases of trafficking and hunting.

“There is a real urgency to give it full protection,” state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said after unveiling the Negaraku Livery on a MASwings ATR 72-500 aircraft here on Tuesday.

He said the Wildlife Department was preparing the necessary documents to upgrade the protection status of pangolins to be submitted to the Sabah Cabinet.

Sunda pangolins are the only species found in Sabah and are protected under Part 1 Schedule 2 of the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment, allowing for them to be hunted with permits.

The upgrade would see pangolins being listed under Schedule 1 of the Enactment that would ban their hunting altogether.

In the International Union Conservation of Nature red list of threatened species, Sunda pangolins are on the critically endangered list.

Masidi said that upgrading the protection status of pangolins would send a strong message to poachers and wildlife traffickers that Sabah was not making light of the animal being hunted illegally or its parts being traded.

Last month, Sabah Customs Department officers seized eight tonnes of pangolin scales at the Sepanggar port here.

The pangolin scales were believed to have been bound for China, although their origin has yet to be determined.
SOURCE:- THE STAR

Oil prices lift profit at China’s Sinopac by 40 pct

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

Asia’s biggest oil refiner Sinopec (HKSE: 0386-OL.HKnews) said its first-half net profit jumped more than 40.1 percent thanks to a rise in oil prices and stable growth in China’s economy, which fuelled demand for its refined products.

Sinopec ?- the listed unit of state-owned China Petrochemical Corp. ?- saw net profit surge to 27.92 billion yuan ($4.2 billion) in the January-June period, up from 19.92 billion yuan in the year-earlier period, it said in a statement late Sunday to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where it is listed.

A pick-up in international oil prices boosted Sinopec’s crude business, while domestic consumption of its key refined oil products rose and demand for major chemical products grew “significantly”, it said.

China registered stronger-than-expected economic growth in the first half, expanding 6.9 percent in both the first and second quarters.

WOGI – news) prices have firmed up but remain half of what they were before a 2014 plunge fuelled by a supply glut, overproduction and a weak global economy.” data-reactid=”26″>World oil (Other OTC: WOGInews) prices have firmed up but remain half of what they were before a 2014 plunge fuelled by a supply glut, overproduction and a weak global economy.

Sinopec said strong economic growth will continue to drive demand for its products in the second half and create new growth opportunities.

Investors in Hong Kong seemed to ignore the figures, with shares in the firm falling 2.22 percent, having climbed over the past week in advance of the earnings announcement.

But its shares in Shanghai, where it also is listed, gained 0.83 percent.

0857-OL.HK – news) said its net profit skyrocketed more than 2,000 percent in the first half and announced it would give the entire windfall to shareholders via a cash dividend.” data-reactid=”30″>Last week, Chinese oil giant PetroChina (HKSE: 0857-OL.HKnews) said its net profit skyrocketed more than 2,000 percent in the first half and announced it would give the entire windfall to shareholders via a cash dividend.

SOURCE:- YAHOO

Sabahan’s lime chutney enters Kuwait market

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

TAWAU– The humble lime chutney, made by Sabahan entrepreneur, Lely Busok, has garnered international attention, having entered the Kuwait market last month, and will be exported to 81 other countries in the near future.

Lely, 54, said the product would also be exported to Poland next month, to be followed by other countries in stages.

Her success in exporting the product proves there was a demand for the twangy appetiser in the international market.

“It has been a month since the product was exported to Kuwait with help of the Malaysia Millennium Entrepreneurs Consortium,” she told Bernama, when met during the Sabah state-level National Cooperative Day 2017 celebration here, yesterday.

The three-day event, which ended yesterday, featured over 50 booths by local entrepreneurs and government agencies, showcasing food products and local handicraft, among others.

Lely said she began thinking about selling the homemade lime chutney when she was in her 20s, with most of her clients comprising friends and neighbours in the early days. She made a profit of around RM600 per month.

“Based on the response, and with my husband’s support, I started focusing on expanding the business, with the assistance of numerous platforms and programmes for entrepreneurs organised by government agencies in the country,” she added.

Lely said the cooperative had helped provide guidance in managing her business, and the Area Farmers Organisation also assisted with equipment, including tables and pots to make the chutney.

“Since then, my income have been increasing and can reach up to between RM7,000 to RM9,000 per month,” she added.

She currently also owns a food factory in Bandar Sri Indah and the business is run with help from her children.

“I only hire additional manpower when necessary, based on demand for the lime chutney or other food products, including fermented fish.

“It usually takes about 200 kilogrammes of lime to make the chutney, and the process may take a while, depending on the weather, because the lime needs to be sun-dried,” Lely said.

She added that the product was also available at the Gmart supermarket in the state, and would also be made available in the Peninsular and Sarawak.

SOURCE–BERNAMA

Imbak Canyon Study Centre boost for research, tourism

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

WHILE the Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA) and the Danum Valley Conservation Area (DVCA) remain as Borneo’s more prominent and celebrated forests, it would be an oversight to exclude the equally majestic Imbak Canyon Conservation Area (ICCA) of Tongod from the list.

Situated north of MBCA and the west of DVCA, the Imbak Canyon is located some 300 kilometres away from Kota Kinabalu, a road journey that will take approximately seven to eight hours, subject to good road conditions.

Since being gazetted as a Class 1 (Protection) Forest Reserve by the State Government back in 2009, the ICCA has come a long way, and has reinvented itself as one of Sabah’s most promising tourism products.

The growth of the ICCA can be attributed to the partnership between Yayasan Sabah and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) that was initiated back in 2010.

Since then, the two bodies have taken numerous initiatives to ensure the preservation of the forests, most recently being the establishment of the highly awaited Imbak Canyon Studies Centre (ICSC).

In 2013, Petronas approved a RM77 million fund under Phase 2 of the Yayasan Sabah and Petronas partnership to build the ICSC, in line with its intent to solidify the ICCA as a centre of learning for indigenous community in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

Construction commenced in 2014 and was completed in November 2016, when the facility was subsequently handed over to Yayasan Sabah.

Among others, the ICSC will serve as a platform for gene bank conservation and the exploration of pharmaceutical and biotechnological potentials.

Last Monday, a group of journalists were invited for a first ever media visit to ICSC, where they had to stay on location for four days under a programme spearheaded by Petronas and Yayasan Sabah.

To learn more about the facilities provided by the ICSC, the manager of ICCA, Dr. Hamzah Tangki, took members of the media for a tour around the newly-built compound.

It is understood that the buildings at the ICSC were designed taking into consideration green elements to ensure minimal carbon footprint.

The establishment of the ICSC will coincidentally elevate Tongod as one of the crucial districts of the State with the ICSC serving as a major infrastructural development.

In line with this, the ICSC will also turn Tongod into a tourist attraction, which will consequently create more employment opportunities, especially in hospitality, tourism, research, etc.

In a nutshell, among the facilities that are available at the ICSC are a laboratory and a library, top class accommodation, a spacious conference room, an EE complex, a cafe, a gallery, a sports complex, surau, a pavilion and forest parks (which features suspension bridges, a herbs garden, nature trails etc.).

Visitors and researchers, who wish to stay at the ICSC, will be surprised to find that that the ICSC has a wide array of accommodation options, from the conventional rest houses and hostels to the luxurious semi-detached houses, studios and even VIP houses.

Thus, it is apparent that the establishment of the ICSC will more than encourage scientists and researchers to work in an environment that is somewhat isolated, considering the fact that the ICCA now has proper accommodations that will provide home comforts to the scientists.

Currently, the electricity supply in the ICSC is sourced from generator sets (or diesel generators), which will run daily, up till 10 pm.

The ICSC, however, is currently working on setting up another alternative energy source, in the form of solar power, which is expected to be completed in October 2017.

Furthermore, adrenaline boosting junkies would be happy to discover that the Kangkawat suspension bridge, the Big Belian Camp and the Big Belian Trail are just around the corner from the ICSC.

If you are in it for the breathtaking views, a visit to the magnificent Imbak Falls is a must, which is another site that is also relatively close to the ICSC.

It is probably not too far-fetched to say that the Imbak Falls is one of the most outstanding waterfalls formation in the whole of Malaysia, located right at the entrance of Imbak Canyon and is about 30 metres wide.

Another intriguing natural wonder that sits just nearby to the ICSC is the Big Belian tree (Pokok Belian Gergasi), a 1,000-year-old tree that stands tall at more than 250 feet.

In its bid to control the number of incoming groups, the ICSC has come up with a policy, whereby any group of scientists, students and researchers who wish to come to the ICSC, must submit their respective proposal and paperwork to the Management Committee (comprising of government bodies and NGOs).

Hamzah, in his welcoming brief, disclosed that a majority of the visitors to the ICSC this year were students.

He further explained that the ICSC facility is more or less same as the one provided in the MBCA and that the only difference between the two would probably be its respective habitats.

He also reiterated on the importance of having a zoning system in the ICSC, whereby visitors will be prohibited from going to certain parts of the ICSC, for safety reasons.

He said the rules at the ICSC are very strict and that one cannot simply roam around prohibited places as they please. Proper consideration and permission must be given before they can do so.

On a separate note, it is probably safe to say that the gravel road leading up to the ICSC can still be improved further, as adverse weather conditions (i.e. heavy rain) will further affect the road condition.

In line with this, Hamzah revealed that, in the future, there might even be a proper and well-maintained highway that will lead up to the ICSC, something that will be vital to the future generation.

To ensure that the ICSC and the ICCA are properly governed, the Imbak Canyon Steering Committee was set up in 2010 to oversee the activities of the ICSC, planned under Community Outreach, Environmental Education, Public Awareness and Research.

In addition, Yayasan Sabah will be providing yearly budget to fund the ICSC activities, OPEX (operating expenditures) and maintenance cost of the ICSC and its related facilities.

For more information on the ICCA or the ICSC, the public may visit http://imbakcanyon-borneo.com.my/research-station/.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

111-Gold medal target achieved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Country’s secondary mart to adopt blockchain tech within two years

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

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s secondary market is likely to adopt blockchain technology within two years to offer an alternative digital platform for market players, including those who plan to go for  an initial public offering (IPO) to trade in an entirely new market.

Neuroware.io co-founder/chief technology officer, Ruben Tan, said with the implementation of blockchain, a digital infrastructure which was deemed as the “internet of trust”, it would enable more different asset classes to be traded on it.

“It would be a secondary market that is accessible for more different asset classes, especially those are not traditionally tradable, or traditionally required a lot of regulations to be traded,” he told Bernama recently.

For example, Tan said, if one planned to begin business in the future, instead of going through the fund-raising channels offered by the current six equity crowdfunding (ECF) operators in the country, with blockchain, one could sell one’s private equity of private company to retail investors without taking the leap to become a public company or  go for an IPO.

“It could serve as an alternative way for a company to raise fund,” he said.

However, Tan disclosed that currently, the unregulated Initial Coin Offering (ICO) has emerged as a loophole for many companies to go for an IPO without going through the required process.

“But I believe the loophole will not be opened for too long, as I expect there will be a more formal approach introduced by the regulators to address the issue,” he said.

He revealed that a growing number of regulators and companies from various sectors – utilities, supply chain and start-ups involving segments like insurance and financial technology (fintech) – had approached Neuroware since 2015 to set up their blockchain laboratories as well as research and development (R&D) centres.

“In terms of R&D, they are trying to figure out the business use cases and prove that they work.

“We also have been working with the regulators beginning this year to build a proof of concept (POC), despite more efforts now are put in to educate the companies,” he said.

Tan expressed relief that the awareness among the local market players had been improving despite they were slightly lagging behind their regional peers, especially from Singapore, China, Japan and South Korea.

“We have organised a series of training workshops last year and early this year, but starting from the middle of the year, more firms have re-approached us to build POC prototypes for them.

“That means they have figured out their use cases or the purposes of using  blockchain,” he said.

Commenting on the efforts by the regulators, Tan said, he was surprised they had been working hard to have a better understanding on the technology.

“They are not moving backwards or remain conservative over this technology at all, they are hungry for new things, which we feel very fortunate about,” he said.

To encourage the adoption of blockchain, Tan said, the regulators should firstly, get over their “paranoia” and have a better understanding of the technology,

“It is also necessary for them to cultivate and encourage the adoption of the technology by issuing mandate or sandbox guideline to the relevant departments to work together and offer services on a blockchain- based system,” he said.

SOURCE— BERNAMA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE— BERNAMA

Multimedia module to ease teaching, learning of stem subjects launched

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE— BERNAMA

We create history, records, achievements in SEA Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE– BERNAMA

Face scans, robot baggage handlers – airports of the future

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

SINGAPORE:  Passengers’ baggage is collected by robots, they relax in a luxurious waiting area complete with an indoor garden before getting a face scan and swiftly passing through security and immigration — this could be the airport of the future.
It’s a vision that planners hope will become reality as new technology is rolled out, transforming the exhausting experience of getting stuck in lengthy queues in ageing, overcrowded terminals into something far more pleasant.

The Asia-Pacific has been leading the way but faces fierce competition from the Middle East as major hubs compete to attract the growing number of long-haul travellers who can choose how to route their journey.

The regions “are the two leading pockets of technology growth because they are really competing to be the global hubs for air transportation,” Seth Young, director of the Center for Aviation Studies at Ohio State University, told AFP.

“If I’m going to fly from New York to Bangalore, do I transfer through Abu Dhabi or Dubai or do I transfer through Hong Kong? That’s a huge, huge market.”

But the changes also represent major challenges that could upend decades-old business models at major airports, with analysts warning operators may face a hit to their revenues to the tune of billions of dollars.
Facial scanning in particular is generating a lot of buzz. Changi in the affluent city-state of Singapore, regarded as among the world’s best airports, is set to roll out this biometric technology at a new terminal to open later this year.

Passengers will have their faces scanned when they first check in and at subsequent stages, theoretically allowing them to go through the whole boarding process quickly without encountering another human.

Australia announced in July an investment of Aus$22.5 million ($17.5 million) to introduce face recognition technology at all the country’s international airports, while Dubai Airport is also trialling it.

Robot baggage handlers

Robots are appearing at some major hubs, including at Seoul’s Incheon airport, where they carry out tasks including cleaning and carrying luggage, while Changi’s new terminal will have robotic cleaners complete with butlers’ uniforms.

Self-service check-in and printing of boarding passes is already common, with many people printing their passes at home or at airport kiosks, and some hubs are now introducing self-service baggage drop points.

The service, which allows passengers to print and tag their baggage and then send it off on the conveyor belt, is available at airports including Australian hubs, Hong Kong, London Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol.

Airports are also trying to overhaul their image as dreary places that must be endured in order to get from A to B, to somewhere travellers can enjoy spending time.

Changi is building a new terminal complex called Jewel, a 10-storey development filled with shops and restaurants whose centrepiece will be a 40-metre (130-foot) indoor waterfall surrounded by an indoor garden.

The complex will make the airport look more like a shopping mall than a traditional hub, and is aimed at cashing in on transitting passengers.

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“They are looking at retail, non-aeronautical profits,” said Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst from Endau Analytics.

But while hubs in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East surge ahead, airports in the United States and Europe are being left behind.

“Europe and the US were the leading aviation markets for the last 75 to 100 years, and it’s very difficult to revolutionise your infrastructure when you are on a foundation that is 75 years old,” said Young of the Center for Aviation Studies.

He added it was also a matter of “political will”, as emerging economies see building cutting-edge airports as a way of raising their status globally.

Ageing hubs

Some US and European airports are nevertheless trying to up their game.

New York’s ageing airports have long been criticised as old-fashioned, cramped and dirty but JFK, the main international hub serving the city, hopes to shed its dire reputation with a proposed $10 billion redevelopment.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol is aiming to become the world’s leading digital airport by 2019, and has been testing hand luggage scanners that allow passengers to keep liquids and laptops in their bags. It is also looking at biometric technology.

Despite the buzz surrounding new technology, there are concerns that rapid innovation could threaten long-held ways of doing business.

A report from consultancy Roland Berger warned that airport revenues from retail and parking could fall by between two and four billion dollars due to the new innovations.

Automated, more predictable check-in procedures threaten retail outlets as passengers are likely to reduce the “buffer” they build in to trips to the airport, meaning less shopping time, while developments such as ride-hailing apps could undercut parking revenues, it said.

Still, the landscape may not transform so quickly as many airports face difficulties in introducing new technology, from resistance to change to availability of financing, said Xavier Aymonod, a transport expert at Roland Berger and lead author of the report.

“It’s really challenging for airports to launch this digital transformation,” he told AFP.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

SOURCE:- NDTV

Malaysia moves up to 29th spot in Global Peace Index

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE:- FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE— BERNAMA

Singapore firm inks deal to run Cambodia’s first oil field

Posted on : 25-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia on Wednesday (Aug 23) signed a deal with a Singaporean energy company to develop its first-ever oil field, the latest move in the country’s much-delayed plan to become an oil-producing nation.

KrisEnergy signed the agreement with the government in the capital Phnom Penh to develop an offshore field in the Gulf of Thailand which they hope will produce 8,000 barrels a day by 2020.

Energy Minister Suy Sem hailed the signing as a “historic event” and said the nation would become an oil producer country in the future.

The Gulf of Thailand boasts significant oil deposits that have been exploited by Thai and Malaysian companies since the 1980s, but Cambodia has been slow to get in on the act.

Chevron first found proven reserves in Cambodian waters in 2005.

The kingdom was soon feted as the region’s next potential petro-state. Its government estimates there are hundreds of millions of barrels of crude and vast reserves of natural gas in six blocks off the coast.

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But production stalled as the government and Chevron failed to agree over revenue sharing, leading the US oil giant to abandon the project and sell its stake to KrisEnergy in 2014.

Under the deal KrisEnergy will start extraction on one section of a 3,000 square kilometre (1,158 sq mile) block known as the Apsara field to the southwest of Cambodia’s coast.

A single platform will be built, with plans for further platforms and the exploration of two more fields if the first becomes lucrative.

The Singaporean firm holds a 95 per cent stake in the first block and the Cambodian government the remainder.

Under the agreement KrisEnergy has 60 days to declare a final investment decision.

“This is is a major step. It is Cambodia’s first oil field,” Kelvin Tang, chief operating officer of KrisEnergy, said during the ceremony.

Cambodia estimates it will make at least US$500 million in royalties and taxes from the first phase of the project.

While there are some concerns over corruption, Economy and Finance Minister Aun Pornmonitoth said the oil revenue would fuel economic development.

He said the government was fully prepared to avoid the “resource curse”.

SOURCE: AFP/EC

Halfest Asean 2017 strenghens TPM Biotech’s (TPM Biotech Sdn Bhd) Asean move

Posted on : 25-08-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: TPM Biotech Sdn Bhd sees strong potential and abundant opportunities in penetrating the growing Asean market for its range of herbal-based halal products following Halfest Asean 2017.

At the four-day exhibition which began on Wednesday, TPM Biotech is taking the initiative to showcase four of its signature house brands, namely Herbs Garden Garcinia Plus, Herbs Garden Peria, Herbs Garden Smilax Plus and Inno Coffee, it said in a statement yesterday.

TPM Biotech Head, Ema Ukhtiah Zakaria said the company assisted biopreneurs by offering advisory and counselling services, incubation facilities, commercialisation of products, contract manufacturing and also developing strategies to maximise returns on investments.

“Customers can be assured of the highest product quality as the commitment to excellence, international practices and processes, as well as stringent quality control towards meeting the highest level of international standards, has always been our forte.

“Another distinct advantage of TPM Biotech is its highly advanced science laboratory which is equipped with the latest technologies for halal analysis and verification,” she added.

The TPM Biotech Herbs Garden range of products is locally manufactured at its factory in Raub, Pahang. It is fully equipped with with machinery and equipment capable of offering contract manufacturing to small and medium-sized enterprises.

SOURCE— BERNAMA