Wednesday, January 21, 2009


KKIA poised to become hub for shoppers, says Musa


The Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is poised to become a hub for shoppers with its wide range of duty free products and excellent service standards, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

He said travelers could enjoy these privileges within a conducive and comfortable environment.

Commending the shopping campaign initiated by Malaysia Airports and launched here yesterday, he said it was an admirable effort as it was an excellent way of welcoming both local and foreign visitors.

Musa said the Sabah government viewed this as a positive development to boost the tourism industry in the state.

“This campaign is an innovative way to promote the new international airport in Sabah’s capital as a lifestyle centre. In fact, Sabah is a state that is rich with natural wonder and beauty as well as cultural heritage.

“These are some of the reasons travelers from around the world are drawn to Sabah and even Malaysians from other parts of the country are starting to make Sabah their destination of choice,” he said in his speech at the launch of KKIA Spend and Win Shopping Campaign here yesterday.

His speech was read by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin.

The KKIA shopping campaign offers chances to win RM55,000 in cash prizes.

“This initiative will also help boost the local economy, which will create more opportunities among the people of Sabah,” said Musa.

Earlier, senior general operations manager of Malaysia Airports Datuk Azmi Murad said the contest was organised to encourage shopping and dining at KKIA as well as enhance the airport shopping experience.

“This is also a medium for us to reward shoppers at the airport. Furthermore, we would like to enrich the airport experience of travellers and turn KKIA into a lifestyle hub,” he said.

Azmi said KKIA, Terminal 1 was currently undergoing expansion to accommodate not only the increase in volume of travellers but create a comfortable and conducive airport environment.

“Phase 1 of the development plan of Terminal 1 had been completed in August last year. Phase 2 is due to be completed by end of the year,” he said.

He said KKIA was the second busiest airport in the country after KLIA with passenger movements recording an increase of 6.5 per cent last year compared to 2007.

Azmi said on completion of Terminal 1, the new KKIA would be twice its original size.

— Bernama


Call for re-registration of people in Sabah


The federal government has been urged to carry out a massive re-registration of the people in Sabah to ensure that only local residents are issued MyKads or citizenship documents.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the exercise was important as there were irregularities in the registration exercise.

He cited the case of Rafli Dalam of Kota Belud, who was declared dead in 2001 by the National Registration Department but was very much alive.

“It should not have happened and maybe a syndicate was involved. The people of Sabah have aired their grouses over the citizenship status issue and now we have a dead man walking in the streets.

“What puzzles me was how Rafli was allowed to vote in the 2004 general election. The problem could be the tip of the iceberg,” he told Bernama after accompanying Rafli to lodge a police report at the Karamunsing police station here yesterday.

Rafli, 38, was certified dead by the NRD office in Hulu Langat, Selangor on Oct 27, 2001.

Calling for the electoral roll to be cleaned up due to many cases of dubious identity cards brought before the court, he proposed that a royal commission be set up to look into the identity card problem in Sabah.

Meanwhile, Rafli, 38, said he was frustrated as his business licence was revoked while his company’s low-cost housing project was in limbo.

He found out that he had had been certified dead when he went to the Sabah NRD headquarters to get his daughter’s birth certificate on April 30, 2007.

He said NRD had yet to rectify the problem although he had complained several times, prompting him to make the police report yesterday.

“Ironically, despite being certified dead in 2001, I was allowed to cast my vote in Kampung Sembirai (Usukan) in the 2004 general election. However, I could not vote in 2008 as my name was already removed from the electoral roll,” he said. — Bernama


Cops face stern action if caught patronising entertainment spots


Stern action will be taken against Police officers and personnel who are caught patronising entertainment outlets.

This warning was given by the Acting City Police Chief, Superintendent Rowell Marong, yesterday, who stressed that the matter is nothing new but still, there are a few who continue to
ignore it and patronise night spots.

“I am giving you (Police Excellence Service Award 2007 recipients, yesterday. officers and personnel) a stern warning. I will not hesitate to take action against those who are caught visiting entertainment outlets without any official tasks ... I am serious,” he told reporters after the monthly Karamunsing Police gathering, here.

He said for those who are on duty at entertainment outlets, they should first get his approval and to jot it down in their report book.

“There have been frequent reports in the mass media about the negative attitude of Police officers and personnel, and as a result, the public is looking down on us.
“The bad impression brought about by the handful of Police officers and personnelare rubbing offon the others. Their negative attitude has tarnished the Force’s image,” he said.

Rowell urged Police officers and personnel to get them selves equipped with knowledge and skills to better improve themselves and provide the best
services to the people.

“This Is in line with the Royal Malaysian Police Force’s mission and vision.

“The challenges are becoming more complicated and the criminals are Becoming smarter. If we continue to live in our comfort zone, we will be left behind. Do we want to be left out by the people or do we want to continue to serve and protect the public?” he asked.


Lorry operators seek increase of laden weight


The Federation of Sabah Lorry Transportation Associations (FSLTA) is urging the State Infrastructure Ministry to look into the issue of increasing the laden weight of members’ Lorries.

“This is a long standing problem and further delay in standardizing the laden weight with Peninsular Malaysia will cause sufferings to our members and delay in the State’s development,” FSLTA President Steven Chua Pui Ming said.

Chua said that the laden weight for Lorries in Sabah was much lower than their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia because the State Public Works Department (PWD) was worried that the existing bridges cannot accommodate heavier loads.

“But the 12,000 units of containers in Sabah have been traveling back and forth the existing bridges without any problem. We haven’t seen any bridge or road collapse because of the containers,” he said when met after a dialogue with Road Transport Department (RTD). Director General Datuk Solah Mat Hassan, taxi and bus associations and other transport parties with RTD, the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB), the Computerized Vehicle Inspection System Centre (Puspakom) and Police here yesterday.

According to Chua, the State PWD was using the excuse of the bridges as a way to get money from the Federal Government to upgrade the bridges in Sabah.

“The Federal PWD had no objection to the laden weight increase and during Datuk Samy Vellu’s time, it was already agreed to increase the laden weight for Sabah lorries to 40 tonnes,” he said, adding that it was supported by all the relevant departments except the Sabah PWD which said that the bridges in the State must be upgraded first before the increase could be implemented.

Chua also said that the issue had been brought to the attention of Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan and the State PWD on numerous occasions but they have yet to give FSLTA a positive feedback.

Meanwhile, Chua said FSLTA members were happy with the temporary approval for lorries in Sabah to carry five percent more of their current laden weight.

“This means that there will be less summonses for our members and a smoother transportation of materials and machineries among others throughout the State as we will be able to carry five percent more,” he said, adding that the temporary reprieve would be good for the State’s development and economic growth.

Sabah MCA Deputy Chairman Datuk Paul Kong who was also at the dialogue, thanked Transport Minister Datuk Sen Ong Tee Keat for helping to organise the forum.

“A lot of problems faced by the transport sector in Sabah were resolved today and this augurs well for the State’s development,” Kong said.


Lorries can carry more loads now


From today, Lorries in Sabah are allowed to transport five percent more of their laden weight (berat dengan muatan) without violating the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) Act.

Road and Transport Department (RTD) Director General, Datuk Solah Mat Hassan said the exemption however is temporary and only implemented in Sabah pending the review of the weight restriction order.

The temporary relaxation was agreed on during a dialogue between the Federation of Sabah Lorry Transport Associations (FSLTA), taxi associations, bus associations and other transport parties and RTD, the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB), the Computerised Vehicle Inspection System Centre (Puspakom) and the Police here yesterday.

“For lorries with loads of 10-35 percent more, RTD will issue a compound fine of RM300 while for loads exceeding 35 percent, offenders will be brought to court and charged under Section 19 of the CVLB Act.

“If found guilty, they can be fined between RM1,000 and RM1O,000 or two years’ jail or both,” he told reporters here after the dialogue

Previously, lorry operators were only allowed to carry additional loads of up to only five percent and would be fined RM300 for the 5-30 percent additional loads.

According to Solah, FSLTA had asked that the lorry load in Sabah (34 tons) be upgraded to be on par with those in Peninsular (40 tons).

“For this to happen, we need to review the load restriction order. As such, we have given this temporary relaxation until the review is finalised,” he said adding that the completion of the review depends on how fast the Works Ministry could finalise it and that the relevant quarters had had three meetings already.

Lorry owners with loaders used to - carry heavy machineries can now apply for a special permission from RTD if their cargoes are heavier than the BDM allowed for their vehicles, according to him.

The permission however will be on a case by case basis and not for everyone, he said, adding that by penalizing the transport owners for overloading, the development of the State will be affected.

‘These people are hampered by the low BDM and they cannot transport the machinery one by one as it would cause delay to development projects,” he stressed.
The RTD will prepare the guidelines of the special permission for the lorry drivers.

Solah further disclosed that express bus operators in Sabah had informed RTD that their vehicles had been the target of irresponsible people, resulting in damages.

“This is a peculiar situation where the buses are used as target practice in certain areas. People throw stones at the buses and cause damage to the windows.

“It was agreed today that RTD will not immediately summon the owners of buses with cracked windows providing that the crack is less than six inches. A notice will be issued to the owners to replace the windows within three months failing which they will be served with summonses,” he said.

This is because it takes time to ship the replacement parts to Sabah, he said.

The express buses plying the Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan and Sandakan-Tawau routes are also exempted from the two driver’s laws because distances are just slightly over the 300 km set by RTD and the difficulties faced by the owners to obtain qualified drivers.

Under the law, any bus that travels more than 300 km one way, must have two drivers so that they can take turns driving thus reducing the risk of accidents.
However, express bus operators in Sabah have asked for an exemption because the distance from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan is 330km while from Sandakan to Tawau 320km.

“We (RTD) agree to give the exemption On condition that the driver must break journey every four hours to rest,” Solah stressed.

According to him further, RTD had three months ago, set up an Automotive Engineering Division in its headquarters along Bundusan Road to look into problems of those transport industry.

On the issue of foreigners obtaining Malaysian driving license and the PSV licenses which allow them to operate passenger vehicles, Solah said the problem was highlighted duringthedialogueandhegave his assurance that the matter would be looked into by RTD.


Sugar price may go up soon


The price of sugar maybe raised after the Chinese New Year celebrations following the hike in price in the international market, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said yesterday.

“Eighty to 90 per cent of our sugar supply comes from overseas. Our supply contract ended last year. This year we have a new contract and the price is higher than that of last year,” he told reporters after launching the Health and the• Dangers of Sugar Campaign here.

He said if the retail price were to remain at RM1.45 per kilogram, the Government would have to pay a subsidy.
However, he assured that if there is an increase, it would be done gradually at intervals of three to four months.

The sugar price in the country now is lower than that in the sugar producing countries, he said, adding that it had not been increased for three years. - Bernama