Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lajim to replace Thamrin as state PKR chief?

KOTA KINABALU: A leadership crisis is allegedly brewing in Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah, a report said yesterday
The Borneo Insider claimed that there is a strong possibility that the present state PKR liaison chief, Ahmad Thamrin Jaini, could be on the way out and said that the likely candidate to replace him is Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin.
Lajim, who had joined PKR before the 13th general election, contested and won in the Klias state assembly seat. He is currently president of Pertubuhan Pakatan Perubahan Sabah (PPPS), an NGO.
The Borneo Insider report quoted its source as a ‘senior Sabah PKR leader’ who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The source claimed that if Thamrin were to be ousted, the move might take place sometime next week when more divisions give their endorsement to such a move. It was said that as of to date 19 out of the 25 divisions in the state have given their endorsement.
The portal’s article claimed that the main reason which prompted the imminent ‘mutiny’ was mainly due to Thamrin’s lame leadership and poor performance since his appointment in October 2009.
“We just don’t see any hope for PKR Sabah to progress further under his leadership. But we are confident that Lajim would be a more capable leader. In fact, this has been confirmed by virtue of his appointment as the Sabah opposition leader in the State Legislative Assembly, recently,” said the senior Sabah PKR leader who himself is a Sabah PKR divisional chief.
He pointed out further that Thamrin’s defeat for the Gum-Gum state seat that he contested in the last general election had in effect rendered him as having lost his mandate to lead Sabah PKR. Polling 3,191 votes, Thamrin lost to Datuk Zakaria B.Mohd Edris of Barisan Nasional (BN) who polled 5,548 votes.
“It’s still not too late for him (Thamrin) to save the embarrassment of being ousted, if he steps down gracefully now,” he added.
Besides this, the senior Sabah PKR leader also faulted PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for the fielding wrong candidates in the last general elections, claiming that otherwise the party could have won more seats in Sabah.
He cited among the bad choices of candidates included Tan Sri Ibrahim Menudin who lost both the Labuan parliamentary and Bongawan state seats which he contested; Datuk Mohammad Yahya Lampong, who lost his Papar parliamentary seat, and an unknown figure, Fred B. Gabriel in the Pantai Manis state constituency.
“The fielding of some new faces from the PPPS and APS (Angkatan Perubahan Sabah) to replace those senior Sabah PKR leaders like Hj Ansari (former PKR Tuaran Chief) who had been working hard on the ground all these while, was another key contributing factor for the poor election results,” he added.
Lajim, when contacted to confirm the report, declined to comment and said issues like that must be left to the party’s leadership to decide.
Print Friendly

Read more:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Up river in North Kalimantan

by Prodita Sabarini@Jakarta

Our speedboat glides so fast it bounces off the water on the Makassar Strait. The clouds roll above us and drops of light rain touch our skin, The Jakarta Post report news.

We are on our way to Sekatak, a remote area in the newly anointed capital of North Kalimantan. For curious travelers, the key to a thrilling trip is to go where not many people (i.e., tourists) have gone before. I was sure that traveling to remote areas of Kalimantan, the second-largest island in the world, would undoubtedly bring on the thrills. But, I got more than what I asked for when my travel partner disclosed her secret expertise of driving a speedboat.

Not to worry for those whose friends are less than a secret speedboat driver. The new province of North Kalimantan has more than its share of excitement. It holds natural beauty untouched by mass tourism. Its large and meandering rivers evokes the charm of the Mekong Delta of Indochina when river trips there were not too much like a theme park. And unlike as in North Kalimantan’s southern counterpart, its forests have yet to be transformed into swaths of palm oil plantations, its hills have yet been run down and the land is yet to be covered by pits made by mining companies.
My travel partner and I found our little speedboat in Tarakan, an island-city in North Kalimantan, the stepping-off point from Balikpapan in East Kalimantan. We fly out of the mainland Kalimantan to Tarakan to reenter through its water ways. Airlines Lion Air and Sriwijaya Air are some of the carriers operating the Balikpapan-Tarakan route. Another route would be to take the small twin-otter planes operated by Susy Air, straight to Tanjung Selor in North Kalimantan from Balikpapan.

Tarakan holds a historical part in the World War II. In 1941, Japanese troops first entered what became Indonesia through Tarakan. Some relics such as cannons and bunkers have become a testament to the war.
We passed the war sights, however, and headed straight for Sekatak. From asking around, we found that chartered speedboats to Sekatak were moored at a pier in Beringin, a dense area where the houses are built on stilts and stand above the water. Under the houses, trash floats on the water, disgusting and strangely serene at the same time. There is another port in Tarakan, which is the official one and bigger than Beringin.

Boats head to Tanjung Selor, the capital of Bulungan regency and North Kalimantan’s center of administration, depart from Tengkayu port. This port also serves Bunyu Island, Nunukan regency, Malinau and other northern territories.
We chose Beringin as the chartered boats there can go straight to Sekatak via Sekatak river. It costs us Rp 100,000 (US$10) per person to take the two-hour ride to Sekatak. It’s a bit of a gamble with the speedboat’s reliability. Ours broke down in the middle of the Makassar Strait. We were lucky that another speedboat departed Beringin with us. So, after some unsuccessful meddling with the motor, we transferred to the other boat.

Kalimantan is home to hundreds of indigenous groups. In Sekatak, some seven indigenous groups – Punan, Kenyah, Tidung, Belusu and Bulungan live in that district, after they were relocated closer to the river by the Soeharto government in the 1970s to make way for timber company Intraca.

Traveling to the isloated communities, one can see the tension between business and local communities for control of resources.

We stayed in a lodging house by the river in Sekatak Buji as the only guests. The houses overlooking the river are made of wood planks. School children jump into the deep water from an iron bridge. You can rent a long boat and glide along the meandering Sekatak River. Interesting sights pop up, such as a little toy boat adorned with decorations. Our boat driver said that the boat was filled with offerings intended for a white crocodile. He said that there must be a family around the area who holds the traditional belief that they are descendants of the creature.

From Sekatak to Tanjung Selor, we took overland route using an unofficial taxi. We sat for four hours for the bumpy ride. A lack of infrastructure made the 120-kilometer journey bumpy. But the sight of the forest, with the tall Mengaris tree made the journey worth it.

We left at noon and arrived before sunset in Tanjung Selor. The town that is intended to be North Kalimantan’s capital is a hilly laid-back town with low-rise buildings and large parks. A statue of the Lemlai Suri Princess or more popularly known as the broken egg princess stands in the intersection of Sengkawit and Jelarai Selor.

The story of the broken egg princess tells the legend of the Bulungan sultanate that reigned between the 18th and 20th centuries. A childless Kayan tribal leader found an egg and a bamboo and brought home the two. The egg and bamboo turned into a baby girl and a baby boy, who would start the Bulungan Kingdom, the legend goes.

The Kayan River passes through the town, adding a relaxing vibe to Tanjung Selor. As with many rivers in Kalimantan, the Kayan River is a wide river with strong current, which makes it good for white water rafting. For those interested in rafting in North Kalimantan, a number of trekking companies provide white-water rafting trips along the Kayan River.

If you don’t have the chance to raft, the river is as enjoyable to see as to ride on. As the sun sets in Tanjung Selor, we sat on the concrete nook along the Kayan River. The dusk-time ray illuminates the trees on the other side of the river, while the water glimmer with a golden hue. My travel partner and I agreed, in a land of mighty rivers, devouring the last light by the river is most appropriate to end the day.

Read more:

Cop was supplying info to the Sulu militants: Witness

Kota Kinabalu: The High Court trial of Hassan Hj Ali Basari, a police corporal charged with intentionally withholding information related to terrorist acts heard, Tuesday, that police began tapping his conversations for possible complicity when a group of Sulu militants intruded at Kg Tanduo in Lahad Datu, early this year.
The prosecution's protected witness Number Two, who was testifying under protection from an undisclosed location within the courthouse building, told Justice Ravinthran Paramaguru that he/she listened to the communication upon being instructed by the superior.
The witness, an administrative assistant at Special Branch in Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, told the court that his/her duty was to process the information and do a translation, if needed, as he/she was fluent in Suluk, Bajau and Malay.
Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Dato' Nordin Hassan during examination-in-chief, the witness said three interceptions were made on Feb. 25, March 2 and March 3, 2003.
Referring to a document dated Feb 25, the witness said the conversation was between Datu Amir Bahar and Raja Datu Agbimuddin in Suluk at 10.31pm whereby Amir, who made the call, informed Raja he had been tipped off by Hassan that the Malaysian government would be coming at 12.30am, to which Raja replied they would be ready.
Datu Amir also said that Hassan and Husin were brothers and like their own family. The witness said by monitoring daily, he/she could identify their voices.
The witness testified further that he/she heard a conversation between a "Lelaki Sabah" (Sabahan man or LS) and Hassan at 7.37pm on March 2, whereby LS asked "How" to which Hassan replied "standby".
The former then asked whether its already war, to which the latter replied "yes, yesterday".
The witness also heard that Hassan asked LS whether he had contacted Philippines and LS said "Yes, more than 400 people will be coming to Sabah from Bongao to assist". To a question by Hassan on whether they comprised MNLF soldiers, LS said "already mixed with Sultan".
The witness further testified that the third interception was at 9.28am on March 2013 made by LS to Hassan where LS told Hassan that from the information he obtained from the internet, the number of the intruders, who will be coming, is hitting thousand and needed more financial support.
Hassan agreed saying USA was among them with support also from Nur Misuari (ex-MNLF leader).
Other conversations between them were that Ismail Kiram wanted to claim their right over Sabah and that if the Malaysia Government did not obey their wishes, they will create chaos in Sabah.
Hassan told LS it was said that Ismail was going to send people to enter Sabah and use guerilla tactics as stated by Misuari earlier.
On trial is Detective Corporal Hassan Hj Ali Basari , 58, who is accused of intentionally omitting to give any information relating to terrorist acts, between January this year and March 3 in the office of the Special Branch chief at the Lahad Datu Police Headquarters.
The charge, under Section 130M of the Penal Code carries a jail term of up to seven years or fine or both on conviction.
The prosecution's third witness, Mohd Ali Asmali, 39, an auxiliary police at Felda Sabahat 20, Kg Embara Budi Lahad Datu, told the court he and another friend went fishing in a boat at Tanduo waters at 7pm on Feb. 11, 2013.
While fishing at about 2am on Feb. 12, they heard a boat and could tell from the engine sound that the boat was big. The boat was heading to Tanduo beach.
"After that we heard, the boat speeding to the high sea.
We finished fishing at about 6.40am and returned to the beach.
On our way, I saw 100 people gathered at the surau area.
Our distance from the surau was about 100 metres.
"We saw people clad in camouflage fatigues with some wearing red bands on their heads and arms. Some also wore white songkok," said Mohd Ali, adding the men were not the Malaysian army.
"I was amazed and scared. We decided not to land at the place where the people gathered but headed to the rivermouth about 30-40 meters away," said Mohd Ali, adding they then went to Cendrawasih police station to report the matter the same day.
When cross-examined by one of Hassan's counsel Ram Singh, Mohd Ali said they went to the police station at 8.20am and reported the matter to the station superior, Nazri.
Heowever, he only managed to lodge the report at 4.13pm as he had to wait for the Lahad Datu OCPD, who wanted to hear the information personally.
Nordin appeared together with DPPs Nazrul Nizam Mohd Zameri, Cheng Heng Kher and Anati Kisahi while Hassan is represented by counsel Kamarudin Mohamad Chinki and assisted by Ram Singh and YS Lo.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jeffrey Likens Assembly To Cowshed

KOTA KINABALU: A senior politician yesterday expressed disappointment over the conduct of the State Assembly sitting, and likened the august House to a cowshed.
Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the State Assembly has lost its touch to be a place where elected assemblymen are free to express and speak for the people, especially when debating the government’s policy speech by Head of State Tun Haji Juhar Mahiruddin.
“But here I find it is like a kandang sapi (cowshed), there is no discipline, no control, no freedom of speech, and they gang up from the backbenchers to the ministers, right up to the Speakers. And here I also find that the Speaker is even involved in the argument, in making comments and debate, when he is supposed to control the conduct of the session,” he said.
Jeffrey pointed out that the leaders today are dictated by their attitude, and their attitude is being dictated by the long indoctrination of how one should conduct oneself.
“They (backbenchers and ministers) are taking advantage of the Speaker. They kept interrupting, raising the Point of Order and asking for ‘penjelasan’ (explanation), but instead of asking me, they go around talking about it. And the Speaker does not adhere to explanation when I pointed out it was not right.
“And I am surprised that there are things I can say outside but I cannot say inside the House, which is supposed to be the other way round. Words like ‘autonomy’ and ‘negara’ (country), that is why I am very disappointed … we are supposed to progress from those colonial and old days to better days,” he said.
Jeffrey pointed out that all assemblymen should work together for the country and the people.
“We are one system, we are in the same system, the government has its role, so does the opposition. So why not let us do our part and express our part and let them (ministers) listen, and let the people listen and see if it is good. I was not even attacking the government, just giving suggestion how to improve the finance of the government, how to claim our rights and revenue from the collection of the federal government,” said Jeffrey.
He said the state government may claim its rights under the Schedule 10 of the Constitution to recover 40 per cent of the revenue that is collected by the federal government and back to the state.
“This is the Constitution. Imagine 40 per cent of RM40 billion, where this year they are projecting to collect RM40 billion in taxes, which is the nett revenue minus capitation and road grants. Let’s just say the minimum after deducting the two grants that may not even come up to RM5 billion, we will have RM35 billion.
“So 40 per cent from that is RM14 billion, which is additional fund for Sabah plus the RM4 billion they collect from the state government. We can have about RM18 billion in state revenue and it is much better than the RM4 billion we are getting now.
“And the same thing goes with the oil taken from the state, which is taken improperly. I suggested that we request for a review because it is within our rights. We are not asking something that does not belong to us. We can have that and have the right to impose royalty on our own, but royalty was denied to us,” he said.
“Imagine if we collect 10 per cent royalty which belongs to the state as the one they (federal government) paid to us is not oil royalty, because we have been asked to reject our own rights to collect royalty under Section 4 of the Oil Agreement.
“But just imagine if we collect even 10 per cent, and I am not even saying 20 per cent, on our own of the coming production of 500,000 barrels per-day, by 2015 it is three times the amount of what is being produced today in Sabah, which is 170,000 barrels per-day, to which last year, it made RM18.8 billion.
“By 2015, this amount of value will be more than RM50 billion. So with 10 per cent, we can get RM5 billion, and plus the 5 per cent they are giving, that will be RM2.5 billion, and altogether sums up to RM7.5 billion. Add up to the taxes which is RM18 billion, what we have is RM25 to RM26 billion in revenue, and that would be much better for the state so we can carry out much better development and resolve a lot of problems. We do not even have to beg the federal government for money,” he said.

Read more:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Christina Liew Is Sabahan Lah, Stupid!

Hantu Laut

It is a stark revelation that the RCI cannot be used as a yardstick to measure the extent of government involvement in the issuance of Malaysian identity cards to illegal immigrants.

Most of the identity cards were sold by irresponsible and corrupt West Malaysian officers who came to Sabah to make fast money with little conscience that their actions have far-reaching consequences, detrimental to the interests and well-being of Sabahans.

A number of witnesses called up by the commission had been unreliable. Some were too smart for their own good, some just plain stupid and some gave only half the truth.

The recent claim made by Sabah Suluk Ethnic Clan Association secretary Mohd Zaki Hari Susanto (a Suluk with an Indonesian name) that Api-Api assemblywoman Christina Liew was an Indonesian Chinese before becoming Malaysian was a clear case of ignorance. The man is just plain stupid, doesn't know what he is talking about. Many people knew Christina Liew from childhood and knew she is a Sabahan and a naturalised Malaysian. What was uttered by this man at the RCI was untrue.

Liew has clarified her status here.

Many young Malaysians are ignorant of the history of this country because our history books in schools are so badly written, it imparts very little knowledge of pre-independence history and the position of the migrant races who stepped foot on this shore before independence.

Those who were born outside Malaysia but were residents of Malaya before 31st August 1957 and those in Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore residents before 31st August 1963 had the option of staying as British citizen or become Malaysians by naturalisation.

Obviously, Liew's parents opted to become Malaysian citizens and the rest is history.

There seemed to be a mix-up where she was born. Christina says she was born in Hong Kong and came to Sabah with her parents when she was one month old, but RCI panel member Tan Sri Henry Chin seemed to think she was born in Tawau and claimed to know her family well.

Christina is not alone, there are many like her, naturalised on the day of the formation of Malaysia.

One, that I personally know is Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Clement Skinner, who was born in Burma and is a Sabahan and Malaysian by naturalisation. 

Nothing in the State or Federal Constitution that forbids naturalised citizen to become elected member.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Christina Liew Is From Indonesia ?

BERLAKU pertengkaran dalam pendengaran Suruhanjaya Siasatan Diraja (RCI) berhubung isu pendatang di Sabah hari ini apabila pemimpin masyarakat Suluk berulang kali menegaskan bahawa seorang anggota Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) negeri itu dilahirkan di Indonesia.

Mohd Zaki Harry Susanto berkata, walaupun lahir di republik itu, Christina Liew (kanan) daripada PKR berjaya menjadi Wakil Rakyat Api-Api.
Mohd Zaki berkata, mereka mendapat maklumat daripada warganegara Indonesia di Tawau yang mengesahkan Liew seorang Cina Indonesia.

Beliau mengetengahkan isu itu kerana hanya kumpulan Bajau dan Suluk disasarkan dalam RCI, jelasnya.

"Jangan hanya sasarkan satu atau dua kumpulan etnik sahaja," katanya lagi.

Bagaimanapun, seorang pesuruhjaya RCI Henry Chin berkata, beliau pasti Liew lahir di Tawau dan beliau mengetahuinya kerana menjadi Ketua Polis di daerah di Sabah itu pada masa itu. (MKINI)

Friday, June 7, 2013

In Immigration Purgatory

Twenty years ago this morning, a ship called the Golden Venture ran aground in Queens. Inside its hold—a cramped, hot, windowless space that was about the size of a two-car garage—the vessel carried nearly three hundred undocumented immigrants from China. They came, mostly, from a series of villages in Fujian Province. Some of them might be called refugees, as they were fleeing political or religious persecution, or the occasional horrors of China’s one-child policy. But many, and perhaps most, would more accurately be described as economic migrants; they knew that in America there were dishes that needed washing, food that needed delivering, clothes that needed pressing. In a menial job on the margins of the U.S. economy, they could earn in a year what it might take a decade to make back home, and they were willing to risk their lives to get here.
The voyage was a Conradian nightmare, from Bangkok to Mombasa, Kenya, and then down around the Cape of Good Hope. In 1620, it took the Mayflower sixty days to reach these shores. In 1993, it took the Golden Venture a hundred and twenty.
When the ship plowed into a sandbar several hundred yards offshore, passengers mobbed the deck, then began, one after another, to jump over the side and into the chilly Atlantic. They had been informed by the “snakeheads”—human smugglers—who controlled the ship that if they could set foot on land in the United States before being caught by the authorities they would be permitted to apply for political asylum. Ten of the passengers did not survive the swim to shore. (In 2006, I wrote an article about the Golden Venture for the magazine, and then, later, a book.)
Today, after two decades of galloping economic growth in China, it may seem hard to imagine a time when people were willing to die in an effort to flee the country. But the Golden Venture arrived in New York on the crest of a great wave of illegal migration from China to the United States. In 1995, the C.I.A. estimated that a hundred thousand people were being smuggled here from China every year.
For the Clinton Administration, this posed an acute dilemma. When the Golden Venture arrived, it was quickly swarmed by TV news helicopters, which broadcast stark images of the malnourished passengers as they huddled in blankets on the beach. Until then, if you arrived in the United States without the proper documentation, but requested asylum when you got here, you were generally given a court date, then released. But many new arrivals failed to show up for these hearings, opting, instead, to try their luck as undocumented migrants. In the hours after the Golden Venture arrived, as the White House and immigration authorities tried to determine what to do with the passengers from the ship, it was decided that this catch-and-release asylum policy had become a “magnet” for illegal migration. The sheer magnitude of China’s population was enough to fluster even the most ardent of refugee advocates. (When Jimmy Carter admonished Deng Xiaoping in 1979 for not allowing more of his people to emigrate legally, Deng is said to have replied, “Why certainly, President Carter. How many millions would you like?”) 
Read more in the New Yorker