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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Budget 2017: Deficit-causing Election Budget with Nothing for Sabah, Sarawak

KOTA KINABALU - “The 2017 National Budget tabled by PM Najib last week is nothing more than an election budget designed to buy the loyalty of voters at the expense of our future and other sectors of our economy including Sabah and Sarawak,” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR President cum Bingkor Assemblyman in commenting on the Budget 2017 announcement.

By increasing BR1M to RM1,200 for the e-Kasih RM3,000 and below category, the PM has given himself the option to call for elections in 2017 instead of waiting until June 2018.

Shafie: How many job opportunities has 1MDB created?

KUALA LUMPUR - A former Umno minister has questioned the number of jobs 1MDB has generated, suggesting sarcastically that only Arul Kanda Kandasamy, its CEO, was gainfully employed.

“We were told 1MDB is a good investment. What is the return on investment. I only see Arul Kanda is employed,” Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna) said when debating Budget 2017 at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Sarawakian finally appointed to Petronas board

Sarawak State Secretary Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani has been appointed to the Petronas board of directors, Borneo Post Online reported today.

Morshidi told the portal that he received his appointment letter and would now represent Sarawak in the national oil company’s board which presently has 15 members.

“As a board member representing Sarawak, my job is to bring back anything that needs further discussion to the state government.”

RoS officially approves Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah

PUTRAJAYA - The Registrar of Societies (RoS) today officially approved the formation of Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (Harapan Rakyat).

Former Sabah PKR chairman Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin announced this when met at the RoS, saying the party is expected to attract at least 2,600 members in the first month of its formation.

"I will be the party's president, which will be announced later. For now, the pro-tem president is Patrick Sadom," Lajim said.

Harith Iskandar now officially one of the 20 funniest people in the world

Popular comedian/actor/TV host Harith Iskander is now a semi-finalist in the Funniest Person In The World contest, organised by legendary American comedy club, the Laugh Factory. Harith, 50, leads the 20 semi-finalists from around the world in terms of votes.

He made it to the top 20 in the first week of Oct with 2.62 million votes, earning him a place in the semi-finals.

"I was the leader in terms of votes when the top 20 were announced, and my closest challenger was Alex Calleja of the Philippines.

The 20 of us will now have our points determined by judges and voters on a 50:50 basis," said an excited Harith in an interview today.

After courting China, Rodrigo Duterte pays a call on Japan

His visit is shorter, and with far less financial and geopolitical incentive at stake

Japan is the Philippines’ largest trade partner and aid donor. Both longtime American allies, the two nations are also embroiled in protracted maritime disputes with China. In August, Japan delivered a gift to the Philippines: a 44-m coast-guard ship so Manila can better patrol its contested territory in the South China Sea. Tokyo has promised at least nine other maritime-security vessels, along with the lease of surveillance aircraft.

Five foreigners nabbed while attempting to sneak into Sabah

SEMPORNA - The district marine police force nabbed a boat skipper and four passengers for attempting to sneak into Sabah’s waters off here yesterday.

During the 5.30pm sea patrol, marine police personnel spotted a boat with five people on board in Nusa Kuya waters and ordered the boatman to stop.

Upon further inspection, all passengers, aged between 16 and 50, failed to produce identity and travelling documents.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sabah Watergate: RM8.4 million cash seized so far by MACC in 2nd phase

KOTA KINABALU: Another engineer was picked up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to facilitate its ongoing investigation into a multi-million ringgit probe concerning the Sabah Water Department.

The man was nabbed at 6.40pm in the Tawau district, yesterday.

He was taken to the Tawau magistrate’s court today and was brought before Magistrate Muhammad Faizal Che Saad, who granted a five-day remand on the suspect.

Budget 2017 Ignoring Sabah's 40% Net Revenue Constitutional Rights

KOTA KINABALU - “Budget 2017 has failed, once again, to account for Sabah’s 40% Net Revenue Entitlement under Article 112C, 112D and the Tenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, President of STAR  who is also the Assemblyman for Bingkor, Keningau, as part of his response to the 2017 Budget tabled by PM Najib yesterday.

“Really disappointing” Jeffrey declared.

11 Abu Sayyaf members surrender in Basilan

Eleven members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on Monday surrendered to the military in Sumisip, Basilan.

Col. Thomas Cirilo Donato, commander of 104th Sultan Brigade, said the bandits surrendered in Barangay Buli-Buli.

The bandits who surrendered were Moton Indama, Haimin Jalil, Marham Musana, Sadjara Hadjarama, Tari Murasimin, Halid Murasimin, Gulam Hajim, Haraward Sahirulla, Basri Laisun, Hasim Baliyung and Ring Langka.

Sabah alliance extends friendship to new local parties

KOTA KINABALU - The three Sabah-based opposition parties are firm in working together under United Sabah Alliance and new political players will have to work through the alliance to defeat Sabah Barisan Nasional in the next elections.

The coalition leaders from Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) led Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, Sabah STAR under Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) headed by Datuk Yong Teck Lee said they will not deal individually with anyone outside the coalition.

Take Sarawak status fight to Parliament, Adenan told

KUCHING - Tan Sri Adenan Satem should instruct a Sarawak MP to table a parliamentary motion to reverse the constitutional amendment that made Sarawak just one of the country's 14 states and federal territories, said PBDS Baru president Cobbold John Lusoi.

Lusoi said Adenan's attempt to restore Sarawak to being a founding state of the country must not be limited to a motion in the state legislative assembly next month to reassert the state's rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement, Inter-Governmental Committee Report and Cobbold Commission Reports.

Sabah squatter families stealing RM64m in power every year

Squatter families in Sabah are stealing power and this is costing the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) RM64 million a year, Star Online reported today.

It quoted SESB asset management Senior General Manager Muhamad Nazri Pazil as saying almost 178,000 squatter homes in the state were believed to have illegal connections.

He said this following a two-day operation against illegal power connections in Sandakan.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Government no money for extra naval base in Sabah

SEMPORNA - The Defence Ministry has no plans to increase naval bases in Sabah as it cannot meet the high operation and maintenance costs.

Sarawak says federal allocation from Budget 2017 below expectations

Sarawak Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh hopes the federal government can inject more funds to lift the rural communities who form the bulk of the partner state.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Redesignate Former Residencies/Divisions Into Internal States of Sabah and Sarawak

KOTA KINABALU - “The restoration of Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya as equal partners in the Federation of Malaysia will require some adjustments and rationalization  to  justify and enhance this equality,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, President of the Borneo Heritage Foundation and Bingkor Assemblyman, in responding to the calls for the restoration of the original categorization under Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.

ISIS executes hundreds of Mosul area residents

(CNN) - ISIS executed 284 men and boys as coalition forces closed in on Mosul, an Iraqi intelligence source told CNN.

Those killed on Thursday and Friday had been rounded up near and in the city for use as human shields against attacks that are forcing ISIS out of the southern sections of Mosul, the source explained.

Friday, October 21, 2016

PM tells poor Malaysians to be Uber drivers

KUALA LUMPUR - More Malaysians, especially those in the B40 (Bottom 40) income group, should be Uber drivers, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

He recommended Malaysians who had their own vehicles to get into the ride-sharing service to earn extra income.

Budget 2017 Highlights

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tabled Budget 2017 in Parliament on Friday.

The following are the highlights of the Finance Minister’s Budget speech:

* Budget 2017 allocates RM260.8bil, up 3.4% from 2016 Budget Recalibration.

Militant groups dared Duterte to end 'US imperialist domination' on PH

An alliance of militant groups challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to formally terminate military treaties of the Philippines with the United States as it welcomed the President’s decision to cut military and economic ties with America.

“If indeed the President is serious, he will formally transmit a letter to the US embassy notifying it of the termination of the the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT),” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said in a statement on Friday.

SAPP Delegates Conference this October 23

KOTA KINABALU - The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) will be holding its biennial delegates conference on October 23 at the Dewan Hakka, here.

Held every two years, the local-based party's general meeting will continue to focus on the party's way forward, this time, together with other Sabah local parties, in fighting for the State's rights.

Ex-judges: Malanjum ideal for Chief Justice’s post

Two prominent retired judges have vouched for Richard Malanjum’s suitability for the post of Malaysian Chief Justice.

They said Malanjum, currently the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, had the seniority and all the qualities required to occupy the position following Arifin Zakaria’s retirement next March.

Retired Court of Appeal judge Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus pointed out that Malanjum had been in his present position since 2006.

Vote against ‘hudud’ bill, Masing instructs PRS MPs

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) President James Masing warns the federation cannot have two systems of justice to govern the people.

KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) has confirmed that its MPs will not support the hudud-related bill proposed by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang.

PRS President James Masing said he had instructed the party’s six MPs to vote against the bill.

Abu Sayyaf abducted skipper and crewman from S. Korean ship

MANILA, Philippines –  The Philippine military says suspected Abu Sayyaf militants have abducted a South Korean skipper and a Filipino crewman from a South Korean cargo ship.

Regional military spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan says about 10 gunmen boarded the MV Dongbang Giant using ropes from a speedboat and abducted the skipper Chul Hong and Filipino crewman Glenn Alindajao on Thursday off Bongao town in Tawi Tawi province. The ship was on its way to South Korea from Australia.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sabah PWD deputy takes over as new Sabah Water Dept director

KOTA KINABALU - The Sabah government has appointed a new head for the state Water Department (SWD) amid a massive corruption investigation implicating top officials.

Willis @Mojiron Ansoi was promoted from being the deputy director of the Sabah Public Works Department (PWD) to interim director of the SWD, after the two top officials in the state utility agency were suspended over an RM3.3 billion graft probe by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on October 5.

Willis’ transfer and new post takes effect from tomorrow, according to the statement signed by State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman.

Stop the discrimination on BN Development and denying of People's Rights

KOTA KINABALU - “It is not true that opposition elected representatives are reluctant to ask the government to provide development or solve problems in their areas thus depriving the people of government benefits BUT it is the Sabah BN government including the Chief Minister himself who deliberately DO NOT RESPOND to these requests simply because these requests come from opposition representatives,” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, Bingkor State Assemblyman cum STAR President, in response to the political speech of the Chief Minister while in Pagalungan, Pensiangan.

Hadi's re-tabling of Hudud Bill a blatant disrespect of Sabahans and Sarawakians' religious rights

KOTA KINABALU - PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s insistence on re-tabling a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament to enhance the Shariah courts’ powers is a sign of disrespect of the multiracial and multi-religious society in Malaysia, as well as a blatant disregard for the religious rights of Sabahans and Sarawakians.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) deputy secretary general Datuk Ho Jia Lit said the party has never questioned the status of Islam as the official religion of Malaysia as stated in Article 3 (1) of the Federal Constitution.

Devious street vendors caught on video spraying food colouring onto shrimp

KOTA KINABALU - Street vendors here have been spraying food colouring onto dried shrimp to make the food items appear “fresh” before packaging and selling them to customers.

19 more arrested in Sabah Water scandal probe

KOTA KINABALU - Nineteen district engineers have been arrested for allegedly taking kickbacks from contracts in connection with the high-profile Sabah water department corruption scandal.

An MACC source said the investigation team also seized some RM2.4 million from the arrests, and procurement files from 27 locations around the state.

The divisional or district engineers were believed to be pocketing up to 30 per cent of the contract value which were awarded to proxy contractors.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Super Typhoon Haima heading for Philippines

Super typhoon Haima — known locally as Typhoon Lawin — was sighted 385 km east of Casiguran, Aurora, according to the latest bulletin posted by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) on Wednesday morning. It was packing sustained winds of up to 220 km/h near its center, with gusts of up to 305 km/h, and is expected to make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Missing MH370: Underwater drone to be used in search

Australia says an underwater drone will be used in the continuing deep sea search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Australia’s Transportation Safety Bureau said Wednesday it will fit one of the ships involved in the deep-sea sonar search with a special drone that will be used to investigate several pieces of debris identified in previous explorations as having some “man-made properties.”

Justice not served after 10 years of Altantuya’s murder, claims father

Dr Shaariibuu Setev suspects Mongolia, Malaysia and Australia have colluded to mute the politically sensitive case of an ex-Malaysian policeman who murdered his daughter a decade ago and has lately been held in immigration detention in Sydney.

Setev is a university professor of film study in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

His eldest daughter, Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28, a globetrotting translator and mother of two sons, was killed overnight on Oct 19-20, 2006, by two Malaysian police officers.

Leonardo DiCaprio to return any funds linked to 1MDB fraud

US justice department probes alleged money laundering that may have entangled actor’s film The Wolf of Wall Street and environmental foundation

Leonardo DiCaprio is aiding the investigation into a Malaysian embezzlement scam linked to his hit film The Wolf of Wall Street, according to his spokesperson on Tuesday.

OMG, Cop stole colleagues' cars

KUALA LUMPUR - The policeman who had stolen two of his colleagues' cars from the Bukit Aman carpark will be charged in court today, Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Amar Singh Ishar Singh said today.

Amar announced that the KL police had solved the case yesterday with the recovery of one of the stolen cars.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Masing calls on Sarawak, Sabah MPs to unite and support Bill to reclaim powers of both states

KUCHING - Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing has called on all MPs from Sarawak and Sabah to stand united for once to regain powers that had been eroded over the years.

Masing, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, said it was important for the MPs from both Bornean states to show their unity to reclaim the powers as it involved the rights of both states.

Marina slams 'pretzel dog' name change

PETALING JAYA - Social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir slammed the Department of Islamic Development's (Jakim) request for pretzel store franchise Auntie Anne's to rename its "pretzel dog".

"Oh we poor easily confused Muslims who have never heard of hot dogs before," said Marina on her Facebook page Tuesday.

"And [Muslims] who will have no choice but to buy one [pretzel dog] if one was on the menu," she said.

Ku Li: Hadi’s Shariah Bill invalid, no approval from Malay Rulers

Tengku Razaleigh wants explanation as to why Hadi Awang's Private Member's Bill was not presented to all state Rulers for approval before being brought to Parliament.

PETALING JAYA - The Malay Rulers should be consulted, and their express approval obtained, before the tabling of any Shariah law amendment in Parliament, an Umno veteran said.

Philippines looks to reset ties with China after rift threat

BEIJING - A visit by the Philippine’s recently elected, and feisty, President Rodrigo Duterte to China this week is being watched closely for signs of a shift in ties between the two countries, which have been battered for years over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Until recently, China was the Philippines biggest security threat. Relations hit rock bottom, following an international tribunal ruling in July in Manila’s favor, rejecting Beijing’s claim to almost all of the disputed waters.

Retaking Mosul: Iraq, Kurdish fighters report early success

Iraqi and Kurdish forces say they have retaken a number of villages outside the northern city of Mosul, as they press an offensive to reclaim control of the area from Islamic State militants.

The operation, backed by airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition and involving Sunni tribal forces and Shi'ite militias, went on for its second day Tuesday with the fighting still located outside of Mosul itself.

137 detained so far in Malaysia over links to Daesh

KUALA LUMPUR - A total of 137 people have been detained to date for their involvement with the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday said the number included those who had attempted to leave the country to join IS.

"We detained those who were going to join (IS), those who returned from there (Iraq and Syria) as well as those who were funding their activities," he said.

Cabbies abandoning conventional taxi service to opt for Uber and Grab

KUALA LUMPUR - Taxi drivers, long at loggerheads with ride sharing companies Uber and Grab, are making a “U-turn.”

Many of them are said to be abandoning their conventional taxi service to opt for the more popular Uber and Grab services.

This is not surprising, as a survey by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) showed that 80% of Malaysian commuters preferred using a ride-sharing service compared to the conventional service.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Revoke the 1976 Constitutional Amendments and restore Equal Status

KENINGAU - “Kudos and hats off to CM Adenan Satem for calling a spade a spade that Sarawak is equal to Malaya and that the 1976 constitutional amendments downgrading Sabah and Sarawak to be the 12th and 13th States as null and void” said Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, the Assemblyman for Bingkor, in supporting CM Adenan’s stand and reiterating that it reflected his and his United Borneo Front’s (UBF) stand as spread throughout Sabah, Sarawak, Malaya and internationally through UBF’s Borneo Tea Parties since December 2010.

It needs to be re-emphasized that the ultimate objective of the British government was to form a confederation of five (5) territories comprising the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, North Borneo (now Sabah) and Brunei, although Brunei declined the merger eventually.

It was also on this basis that the then Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and his entourage of Malayan Ministers agreed with the Prime Minister of Britain, to create a Federation of Malaysia embracing the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, North Borneo (now Sabah) and Brunei at the Anglo-Malayan London Talks in November 1961.

Sabah Water Department director, deputy suspended

The Sabah Water Department director and his deputy, who are under investigation by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC), have been suspended from work.

This was disclosed by Sabah State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Hj Wakiman in a press release on Monday.

"The suspension for the director and deputy director is effective as of Oct 5th and 4th of this year respectively, the dates when the suspects were arrested," said Sukarti.

Adenan: Neglecting of the English language is stupid

The education policy some three decades ago was not one of the government's brightest sparks, according to Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem.

Choosing to be blunt with his description, the veteran politician called it "stupid".

Adenan felt that it was unwise to neglect the English language and place too much emphasis on Bahasa Malaysia.

94 Abu Sayyaf 'neutralized,' 14 hostages freed

AFP chief General Ricardo Visaya
AFP chief General Ricardo Visaya vows to crush the kidnap-for-ransom group before he retires in December 2016

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 94 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members were killed, wounded, arrested or surrendered during the first 100 days of President Rodrigo Duterte, according to a report submitted by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Ricardo Visaya to the Department of National Defense.

A total of 14 kidnap victims were also released or escaped, the report added. Twelve hostages remain with the kidnap-for-ransom group.

Sabah Water Dept official ‘resting’, not back to work yet, says lawyer

Ag. Mohd. Tahir bin. Mohd
KOTA KINABALU - A senior official at the Sabah Water Department is on a “break”, his lawyer clarified after initially suggesting the person who had been detained for a corruption investigation would be back at work today.

PJ Pereira said his client was currently resting following his release yesterday from the detention that began with his October 4 arrest.

Staff at the department, who declined to be named, also confirmed that the official was not in the office today, but said that operations were not disrupted by the absence of the two senior officers.

Sarawak local-based parties' MPs mull reclaiming State Rights

KUCHING - Sarawak MPs may propose in Parliament to reinstate an article of the Federal Constitution to enable the state to regain powers that had eroded over the years.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem said before the amendment in 1976, Sarawak and Sabah fell under a category that was different from peninsula states.

“Before that (the amendment in 1976), it says the states of Malaysia shall be (a) the states of West Malaysia, (b) Sarawak and Sabah, and (c) Singapore. Of course, Singapore no more lah.

“Now there is only one category,” he said when met by journalists after closing a seminar on the history of Sarawak here yesterday.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Will Sabah’s 40% revenue rights be in Budget 2017

KOTA KINABALU - “Sabahans will be waiting eagerly whether Budget 2017 will answer their expectations built on the promises made by PM Najib on Sabah’s rights and the assertion by CM Musa that he has his own ways by whispering to PM Najib and the federal government. Will Budget 2017 see the return of the 40% Net Revenue Entitlement and other additional revenues assigned to Sabah and agreed in the formation of Malaysia in 1963 and entrenched in the Federal Constitution” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, Bingkor State Assemblyman pondering from Sabah’s viewpoint on Budget 2017.

Interfaith group to MPs: Defend the Constitution, kill hudud bill

MCCBCHST's open letter to MPs on Hadi's bill:

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hindusim, Sikhism and Taosim (MCCBCHST) is gravely concerned with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's Private Member's Bill which will be coming up for debate soon in our federal Parliament.

As the bill will have far-reaching consequences for the nation, the MCCBCHST feels duty-bound to issue this open letter to MPs to do their duty as required by their oath of office to protect our Federal Constitution.

Typhoon Sarika will not hit Sabah, says MET dept

Typhoon Sarika whose location was 1,248km Northeast of Sandakan, Sabah at 8pm on Friday, will not hit Sabah, according to the Malaysian Meteorological Department.