Archive for July, 2012

Finally Deputy Federal Minister and United Malays National Organisation Supreme council member cum Beaufort divisional chief Lajim Hj Ukim is saying bye bye to UMNO/Barisan national. In not so many words but in front of a crowd of about 500 people at Kampung Bukit Kallam on July 18 Lajim has openly stated that he intends to join the opposition Pakatan Rakyat headed by Anwar Ibrahim.

“I will sacrifice my RM20,000 monthly pay and perks as a minister for my struggle to uphold Sabah’s rights and fight corruption and cronyism,” he said. He also said that he is expected to be sacked from UMNO and that he did not expect to be re-nominated by BN-Umno to defend his seat in this coming 13th General Election which must be held before April 2013.

Lajim was speaking in the house of former Kuala Penyu independent candidate John Ghani the former strongman from USNO, now PKR.

So, its no more rumour, this is final. Lajim wants out from UMNO and is hoping to be sacked so that he could get some sympathy votes and earn brownie points from his supporters.

By obtaining a sack, Sabah’s famous party hopper the Deputy Federal Minister of Housing and Local Government, is hoping to project himself as the sole champion of Sabahans who is oppressed by Putrajaya, as someone who is able to push and prod the Barisan National government at the Centre into working for the greater common good and struggle to uphold Sabah’s rights.

Lajim will do anything to enhance his political image, even if this means humiliating his senior colleagues in the party including Chief Minister Musa Aman, who heads UMNO and the BN in Sabah. Remember in 1987 he did the same, in-front of the press and dignitaries, in the Istana, he humiliated his boss Party President Pairin Kitingan during the swearing in ceremony because he was not appointed as Deputy Chief Minister. Instead Pairin appointed Baharum Titingan who lost his state seat as Deputy Chief Minister. Lajim was so frustrated then, he couldn’t control his emotions and was screaming profanity and vulgarity and used words like “menteri kalah menteri tewas”.

Then in 1994 he defected from the opposition Parti Bersatu Sabah which won the Sabah election. His action opened a floodgate of defections from PBS and saw the collapse of Pairin’s PBS government.

Now, Lajim has got an axe to grind with Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman. He thinks Musa Aman did not nominate him to defend the Beaufort Klias seat for BN in the last 2008 general election. This is not true because its Musa who actually pleaded to the BN chief the former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that Lajim be included in the BN candidate list. In fact Lajim’s own division didn’t want him as a candidate in Klias then.

Musa Aman is obviously not taken aback by the developments; if Lajim had only indicated what his grouses were, Musa would have presumably found a way to oblige Lajim. Musa Aman is a very fair man and always accommodating. But what Lajim wanted was not just development funds for his Klias constituency or BN cutting off his MP development fund allocation as he says, but one he could first criticise and then re-mould into his very own dream i.e to become chief minister of Sabah.

Lajim is working hand in glove with Shafie Apdal to pull down Musa Aman. Shafie Apdal too dreams to become chief minister of Sabah. Shafie Apdal is even rumoured to have given Lajim Ukim RM150 million road project from his Rural Ministry.

The strategy is, if Lajim continues with his tantrums, Najib, sooner or later, might come to believe there is no future in Musa Aman continuing as chief minister. And given this fractious relationship, any political development could serve as the trigger for a major upheaval. The moment Lajim withdraws support from UMNO, others inside and outside the alliance will begin to exercise their leverage. So he thinks. Lajim and Shafie wants the prime minister to intervene in Sabah’s affairs but that’s the last thing Najib would want to do because Musa Aman is doing a great job as chief Minister of Sabah and his governance is par excellence. So, why should Najib rock the boat?

Anyway, “Little Bird” has told me that Lajim Ukim will join join Anwar Ibrahim’s opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat once he officially leaves via a sack from UMNO which would happen pretty soon. It seems Anwar Ibrahim has agreed to make Lajim the No 1 man for PKR in Sabah. Anwar has even promised Lajim that if Pakatan wins the Sabah elections and if PKR gets the most number of seats Lajim would be chief minister, something Lajim has been dreaming since 1994.

Sabah Courts Director, Ismail Ibrahim, said the department is not experiencing any problem in refunding bail money deposited with the courts.

He said if procedures were followed, the money could be refunded to the bailor within three weeks after documentation verification.

“There are standard procedures to be followed and once the necessary documents are verified, the claim would be forwarded to the National Accounts Department.

The department will process the payments,” he said, in a statement.

He said following a letter published, “In reference to Another court scandal in Kota Kinabalu Posted: July 8, 2012 in this blog,” in which one “Concerned Bailor” complaining that his bail money refund was delayed.

The concerned bailor had deposited RM1500 to bail a friend charged with an offence under section 15 of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

The bailor said that upon checking, a counter clerk revealed that there was a problem in refunding the sum after a few court staff were found to have used up the bail money with the intention of returning it later.

The bailor was told that one of the staff involved was directed to refund the sum in installments and transferred to the court’s Library as punishment.

Concerned Bailor was also told that the money could only be returned in three months.

“I am, in fact puzzled why no police or MACC report has been lodged by the court administration as the embezzlement involved thousands of Ringgit in Public money.

It is a duty of the Head of Department to report the matter to the police or MACC.

It is a serious offence committed by the staff concerned if what the counter clerk said was true,” Concerned Bailor was quoted as saying.

(This story has come out today in Daily Express Sabah)

Timetable with ceremonies and finals at the London Olympics July 27-August 12. All times (in GMT) indicate start of session.

Friday, July 27 Opening ceremony 1830

Saturday, July 28 (12 medal events) Shooting 0715 — women’s air rifle 10m men’s air pistol 10m Cycling 0900 — men’s road race Judo 1300 — women’s 48kg men’s 60kg Archery 1400 — men’s team event Weightlifting 1430 — women’s 48kg Fencing 1700 — women’s foil Swimming 1830 — men’s 400m medley men’s 400m freestyle women’s 400m medley women’s 4x100m freestyle

Sunday, July 29 (14) Shooting 0800 — women’s 10m air pistol women’s skeet Weightlifting 0900 — men’s 56kg women’s 53kg Cycling 1100 — women’s road race Judo 1300 — men’s 66kg women’s 52kg Diving 1400 — women’s 3m synchronised Archery 1400 — women’s team event Fencing 1700 — men’s sabre Swimming 1830 — women’s 100m butterfly men’s 100m breaststroke women’s 400m freestyle men’s 4x100m freestyle

Monday, July 30 (12) Shooting 0800 — men’s 10m air rifle Weightlifting 0900 — men’s 62kg — women’s 58kg Judo 1300 — men’s 73kg women’s 57kg Diving 1400 — men’s 10m synchronised Gymnastics 1530 — men’s team Fencing 1700 — women’s epee Swimming 1830 — men’s 200m freestyle women’s 100m backstroke men’s 100m backstroke women’s 100m breaststroke

Tuesday, July 31 (15) Shooting 0800 — men’s skeet Weightlifting 0900 — men’s 69kg women’s 63kg Equestrian 0930 — eventing individual eventing team Canoeing 1230 — men’s C1 slalom Judo 1300 — men’s 81kg — women’s 63kg Diving 1400 — women’s 10m synchronised Gymnastics 1530 — women’s team Fencing 1700 — men’s foil Swimming 1830 — women’s 200m freestyle men’s 200m butterfly women’s 200m medley men’s 4x200m freestyle

Wednesday, August 1 (20) Shooting 0800 — women’s 25m pistol Rowing 0830 — men’s eight — women’s pairs — women’s quadruple sculls Cycling 0900 — women’s time trial — men’s time trial Weightlifting 0900 — men’s 77kg women’s 69kg Canoeing 1230 — men’s K1 slalom Judo 1300 — men’s 90kg women’s 70kg Table tennis 1330 — women’s singles Diving 1400 — men’s 3m synchronised Gymnastics 1530 — men’s all—around Fencing 1630 — men’s epee — women’s sabre Swimming 1830 — men’s 200m breaststroke women’s 200m butterfly men’s 100m freestyle women’s 4x200m freestyle

Thursday, August 2 (18) Shooting 0800 — men’s double trap Rowing 0830 — men’s double sculls — men’s lightweight four — women’s eight Canoeing 1230 — men’s C2 slalom women’s K1 slalom Archery 1300 — women Judo 1300 — men’s 100kg women’s 78kg Table tennis 1330 — men’s singles Cycling track 1500 — men’s team sprint women’s team sprint Gymnastics 1530 — women’s all—around Fencing 1700 — women’s foil team Swimming 1830 — women’s 200m breaststroke men’s 200m backstroke men’s 200m medley women’s 100m freestyle

Friday, August 3 (22) Badminton 0800 — mixed Shooting 0800 — men’s 25m rapid fire pistol men’s 50m rifle prone Rowing 0830 — men’s single sculls men’s pair men’s quadruple sculls women’s double sculls Weightlifting 0900 — men’s 85kg women’s 75kg Trampoline 1300 — men Archery 1300 — men Judo 1300 — men’s 100kg women’s 78kg Cycling track 1500 — men’s team pursuit women’s keirin Fencing 1700 — men’s sabre team Swimming 1830 — women’s 200m backstroke men’s 100m butterfly women’s 800m freestyle men’s 50m freestyle Athletics 1930 — men’s shot put — women’s 10,000m

Saturday, August 4 (25) Badminton 0800 — women’s doubles women’s singles Shooting 0800 — women’s trap women’s 50m rifle three positions Triathlon 0800 — women Rowing 0830 — men’s lightweight double sculls men’s four women’s single sculls women’s lightweight double sculls Tennis 1100 — men’s doubles women’s singles Trampoline 1300 — women Weightlifting 1430 — men’s 94kg Cycling track 1500 — women’s team pursuit Athletics 1600 — men’s 20km walk women’s discus men’s long jump women’s heptathlon men’s 10,000m women’s 100m Fencing 1700 — men’s epee team Swimming — women’s 50m freestyle men’s 1,500m freestyle women’s 4x100m medley men’s 4x100m medley

Sunday, August 5 (23) Shooting 0800 — men’s 50m pistol Badminton 0800 — men’s singles men’s doubles Sailing 1000 — men’s finn men’s star Tennis 1100 — men’s singles women’s doubles mixed doubles Gymnastics 1300 — men’s floor — women’s vault — men’s pommel horse Weightlifting 1430 — women’s plus 75kg Cycling track 1500 — men’s omnium Wrestling greco 1645 — men’s 55kg men’s 74kg Fencing 1700 — men’s foil team Diving 1800 — women’s 3m Athletics 1830 — women’s marathon (1000) women’s triple jump men’s hammer women’s 400m men’s 3,000m steeplechase men’s 100m

Monday, August 6 (18) Shooting 0800 — men’s 50m rifle three positions men’s trap Sailing 1100 — men’s laser women’s laser radial Gymnastics 1300 — men’s rings — men’s vault — women’s uneven bars Equestrian 1300 — show jumping team Weightlifting 1430 — men’s 105kg Cycling track 1500 — men’s sprint Wrestling greco 1645 — men’s 60kg men’s 84kg men’s 120kg Athletics 1800 — women’s pole vault — women’s shot put men’s 400m hurdles women’s 3,000m steeplechase men’s 400m

Tuesday, August 7 (21) Equestrian 0900 — dressage team Table tennis 1000 — women’s team Triathlon 1030 — men Sailing 1100 — men’s RS—X women’s RS—X Gymnastics 1300 — men’s horizontal bar men’s parallel bars women’s beam women’s floor Snchro swimming 1400 — duet free programme Weightlifting 1430 — men’s plus 105kg Cycling track 1500 — men’s keirin women’s omnium women’s sprint Wrestling greco 1645 — men’s 66kg men’s 96kg Diving 1800 — men’s 3m Athletics 1800 — men’s high jump men’s discus women’s 100m hurdles men’s 1,500m

Wednesday, August 8 (16) Canoeing 0830 — men’s 1,000m K1 men’s 1,000m K2 men’s 1,000m C1 women’s 500m K4 Table tennis 1000 — men’s team Sailing 1100 — men’s 49er Equestrian 1100 — show jumping Wrestling free 1645 — women’s 48kg women’s 63kg Beach volleyball 1800 — women Taekwondo 1900 — women’s 49kg men’s 58kg Athletics 1900 — women’s long jump women’s 400m hurdles women’s 200m men’s 110m hurdles

Thursday, August 9 (23) Canoeing 0830 — men’s 1,000m K4 men’s 1,000m C2 women’s 500m K1 women’s 500m K2 Sailing 1100 — men’s 470 Swimming 1100 — women’s open water 10km Equestrian 1130 — dressage Boxing 1230 — women’s fly (51kg) women’s light (60kg) women’s middle (75kg) Wrestling free 1645 — women’s 55kg women’s 72kg Water polo 1745 — women Beach volleyball 1800 — men Diving 1800 — women’s 10m Athletics 1815 — Men’s triple jump Men’s 800m Men’s 200m Women’s javelin Men’s decathlon Football 1845 — women’s final Taekwondo 1900 — women’s 57kg men’s 68kg

Friday, August 10 (16) Sailing 1100 — women’s 470 Swimming 1100 — men’s 10km open water Synchro swimming 1400 — team free programme Cycling 1400 — men’s BMX women’s BMX Wrestling free 1645 — men’s 55kg men’s 74kg Athletics 1800 — men’s pole vault women’s hammer women’s 5,000m women’s 4x100m women’s 1,500m men’s 4x100m Taekwondo 1900 — women’s 67kg men’s 80kg Hockey 1900 — women’s final

Saturday, August 11 (32) Mod. pentathlon 0800 — men Canoeing 0830 — men’s 200m K1 men’s 200m K2 men’s 200m C1 women’s 200m K1 Sailing 1100 — women’s elliott Cycling 1130 — women’s mountain bike Gymnastics 1230 — rhythmic singles Football 1400 — men’s final Wrestling free 1645 — men’s 60kg men’s 84kg men’s 120kg Volleyball 1730 — women’s final Athletics 1800 — men’s 50km walk (0800) women’s 20km walk (1600) women’s high jump men’s javelin men’s 5,000m women’s 800m women’s 4x400m men’s 4x400m Hockey 1900 — men’s final Taekwondo 1900 — women’s 67kg men’s 80kg Handball 1930 — women’s final Diving 1930 — men’s 10m Boxing 1930 — men’s light fly (49kg) men’s bantam (56kg) men’s light welter (64kg) men’s middle (75kg) men’s heavy (91kg) Basketball 2000 — women’s final

Sunday, August 12 (15) Mod. pentathlon 0700 — women Athletics 1000 — men’s marathon Wrestling free 1145 — men’s 66kg men’s 96kg Volleyball 1200 — men’s final Boxing 1230 — men’s fly (52kg) men’s light (60kg) men’s welter (69kg) men’s light heavy (81kg) men’s super heavy (+91) Cycling 1230 — men’s mountain bike Gymnastics 1230 — rhythmic group Water polo 1330 — men’s final Basketball 1400 — men’s final Handball 1400 — men’s final closing ceremony

Letter To The Editor

Dear Sir,

It really puzzles me over the delay in some cases to refund the bail sums to persons who stood as bailor for accused persons who have committed a criminal offence.

Last week, I was at the Counter of the Magistrate’s court Registry in Kota Kinabalu to enquire about the refund of the bail sum whom I stood in as a bailor for one of my friends who had committed an offence under Section 15 of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Much to my surprise, the counter clerk, after checking the file, informed me that the bail sum had already been cancelled and refunded back to the 1st Bailor.

I then informed the counter clerk that I have not received the bail sum of RM1,500 and made further enquires.

To my surprise, the clerk quietly called me outside and said that there is a problem with the bail sums to be refunded as few court staff were involved in cancelling bail and have embezzled the money for themselves.

The counter clerk informed me that a substantial sum was involved and currently the clerk who is responsible for the cancellation of bail sum has been quietly transferred to a different unit.

The counter clerk also informed me that the staff concerned is now paying back the sum taken in installments and I will only be able to get my refund in 3 months time.

I then said that I wanted to see the Registrar but the clerk urged me not to report to anyone or prolong the issue as it will be eventually settled internally.

I enquired whether any police report or MACC report was lodged and to my very surprise, the clerk said no report was lodged as the matter was being settled by the Court Administration.

My question is: If the bail sum is cancelled, the money must be returned to the bailor and cannot be used for the personal interest or gain of the court staff. This is wrong.

I am, in fact, disturbed why no police report or MACC report had been lodged by the Court Administration as the embezzlement involved thousands of Ringgit of public money.

It seems that there is one scandal after another involving court staff in Sabah after the infamous falsification of Late Registration of Birth Certificates which was exposed some time back. It was even reported in the mainstream papers that two court clerks were suspected to be directly involved in hijacking the files of applicants for Late Registration Of Birth Certificates and forging the signatures of the magistrates before submitting them to the National Registration Department to facilitate the issuance of Birth Certificates and Identity Cards. All these are so worrying and I’m losing hope in our system.

Anyway, in my opinion, the embezzlement of public funds by civil servants should not be swept under the carpet. This is mad and cannot be tolerated!

It is a duty of the Head of Department to report the matter to the police or MACC. It is a serious offence committed by the staff concerned if what the counter clerk said to me was true. The same goes to the department heads who covered up the wrong doing of their staff, if true.

Thank you

Adichan Pudichan

Bad governance, bureaucracy and corruption exist and thrive together. In a democracy which elects its leaders to rule the State, the people must share the blame if the State falls into wrong hands, for it’s them who hold the ultimate power to choose people who are entrusted with the responsibility of the upkeep of the State and effecting changes towards sustained development. Time and again we have seen the cases of bad, shoddy governance; brazen, alarming proportions of corruption in public; and a labyrinthine, tortuous bureaucracy so ingrained in the administrative system that it makes bribery and graft almost trivial, commonplace events.

When such a situation persists and prolongs itself, people begin losing hope, and despair and apathy get soaked in the public fervour. How do we come out of such imbroglios and bring the State again on a path where there are hopes and promises from a hopeless situation has been shown by Sabah and its people.

After languishing for decades under shoddy governance, lack of law and order, influx of a million+ illegal immigrants many obtaining Malaysian identities illegally and widespread corruption, Sabah and Sabahans effected the most important change awaiting them for decades – the call by Sabahans for the the abolishing of the “Chief Minister Rotation System” and hence electing 2 times in a row, 2004 and 2008, the Musa Aman government to rule the State. The result is before us to see – the people have begun harbouring hopes and promises have begun taking shapes.

Being the 2nd largest in terms of geographical area and the third largest by population, Sabah cannot be ignored. Its rich and varied culture is marked by the fact that it is the cultural hub of Borneo. Sabah has come a long way since North Borneo. From being the birthplace of Paganism to regressing into a State ruled by mafia-dons, from being the 19th century centre of international trade before turning into one of the economically most backward States, from being the  centre of learning racial tolerance to coming last in terms of literacy rate in Malaysia, Sabah has seen it all. The State hit the nadir during early 70’s as is seen in The Far Eastern Economic Review’s remarks about Sabah in 1971 – “Sabah has become a byword for the worst of Malaysia, of widespread and inescapable poverty, of corrupt politicians indistinguishable from mafia-dons they patronize, religious-ridden social order that has retained the worst human right violations. People had it enough and the water was overflowing well above the brim. Tun Mustapha was ousted in 1975, Datuk Harris Salleh was ousted in 1985, Pairin Kitingan lost his government in 1994 and the World Bank which had remarked at that time in 2006 that the issues faced by the State were enormous because of persistent poverty, complex social stratification, unsatisfactory infrastructure and weak governance ranked Kota Kinabalu as the second city after Kuala Lumpur in terms of ease of creating business opportunities and growth after Musa Aman took over the helm in 2003.

From being below national average in terms of growth (the economy grew by just 2.1% per year during 1990-1997 while the nation grew by 7.3%) to achieving an average growth of 7.03% against the national average of 8.5% in the 5yr period during 2004-05 to 2008-09, Sabah is the second fastest growing state in terms of GDP. These positive changes only show what people can do if they come out of their apathy and choose a capable leader at the helm. Musa Aman and his government are making inroads in the path of a sustained development and today Sabah is earning laurels for being a model state of growth; having transparent, able governance; and building a future for its people.

Now we should reflect on how Musa Aman effected such changes as to change the fortunes of Sabah and bring it on a road to recovery for it entails important lessons for us. Lorna Casselton, the foreign secretary of Britain’s Royal Society said “We have to congratulate Sabah under Musa Aman for preserving the forests,” “If they cut the forests, they can make billions of dollars; but they aren’t and that is so important.”

When Musa Aman took helms in 2003 the state of Sabah was was not a case of bad governance but the absence of governance. It speaks volumes of the steps he took towards rebuilding the state – establishing the rule of law and order and securing public safety and bringing in billions in investments. He aimed towards inclusive growth by investing and reviving the traditional handicrafts industry and establishing the RM30 million Sabah Handicraft Center in Keningau so that the natives could develop their skills and such skills are not lost with time; developing tourism industry by various initiatives; giving incentives to farmers and vegetable vendors, particularly women in Kundasang, by building outlets for them thus giving them a clean, hygienic place and opportunities to fix their own prices daily at the vegetable outlets, all this while promoting agro-based businesses and empowering women; and increasing participation of women up to 70% in kampongs – thus involving people at the grassroot levels of developmental processes.

There are now RM112.8 Billion worth of investments planned and committed in Sabah ever since the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) was launched in January 2008 by Musa Aman. Several huge investments from both domestic and overseas such as in the oil and natural gas industry, oil palm, fisheries, live-stock breeding and tourism are now located in Sabah and flagship projects such as POIC Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Keningau Integrated Livestock Center, Sandakan Education Hub, Sabah Agro-Industrial Park, Oil and Natural Gas Cluster, Marine Industry Cluster, Kinabalu Gold Coast Enclave and agropolitan projects are already in the implementation phase.

Remember, Sabah’s forests, gold and minerals would have disappeared if not for Musa Aman. Musa Aman stopped logging in the Ulu Segama Malua and Maliau basin and created a forest buffer three times the size of Singapore to protect Danum valley from logging, mining and opening up land for agriculture. Without Musa Aman the forests and minerals such as gold there in the east coast of Sabah would have disappeared. Oil palms would have replaced the rainforest.

Besides 43,800-hectare Danum Valley, about twice the size of Penang island, was identified for conservation and was marked out as part of a commercial forest reserve of Ulu Segama and it was Musa Aman again who conserved it and protected it against logging. Musa Aman also stopped logging in Danum after creating a 250,000-hectare forest buffer and adopted sustainable forest management practises.

However, damage to the Ulu Segama forest reserves was already done long before by Musa’s predecessors who “hacked off” about 4,000 hectares that robbed Danum of a big northern buffer. The result was that acid rain fell on Danum at the height of a haze over Borneo.

It is a real shame that those who could have protected Danum and Ulu Segama Malua at that time before Musa Aman took the helm refused to do so for reasons only known to them and allowed “bad logging”. Forests were thus turned into oil palm plantations. The task thus fell on Musa’s shoulder. His strong leadership amid stable politics has allowed him to make unpopular decisions that are critical in conserving about 300,000 hectares of virgin forests, gold, coal and minerals in the Danum Valley and Ulu Segama Malua forest complex.

Under Musa Aman, professionals were finally allowed to practise their profession for good governance that allows good sense to prevail as he allowed innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in managing Sabah’s scarce natural resources. Musa even stopped an attempt to log 20,000 hectares of the Danum’s buffer forests that would have fetched 4 billion ringgit (US$1.2 billion).

Under Musa Aman the state of Sabah has conserved a total of 3.9 million hectares or 53% of its landmass. Despite this the forest ecosystem health and integrity of these protected areas are constantly being undermined and under threat and which are believed to have affected the long term survival or viability of some key flora and fauna species.

Now, Sabah is fast becoming a trailblazer in sustainable forest management. This is evident from the numerous accolades, notably from the United Nations, World Wildlife Fund Malaysia, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Prince Charles Charity, for the success of its forest conservation efforts. In recognition of Sabah’s efforts, the UNDP has agreed to fund a RM14 million project on multi-use forest landscape planning and management at a 260,000ha active production forest area at the Kalabakan-Gunung Rara forest reserve in Tawau. Sabah’s forest conservation effort has also attracted the attention of Charles, the Prince of Wales, whose foundation is involved in funding numerous rainforest conservation programmes.

It is heartening to note that these strict practices have helped Sabah improve the way it manages its forests.

Sabah under Musa has started giving priority to the protection of High Conservation Value Forests, which are home to diverse wildlife and plants, and also serve as watersheds. By committing to sustainable ways of logging, Sabah has also safeguarded the interests of local communities whose lives depend on the forest.

Switching from conventional logging to sustainable harvesting was perhaps one of the most difficult decisions Musa Aman had to make. This was due to the fact that Sabah was hugely dependent on timber for revenue, and opting for sustainable forestry management means making sacrifices such as losing short-term monetary gains, and doing away with old ways of logging.  Despite uncertainties when the state embarked on the bold decision to push for a sustainably harvested forest, it has passed the litmus test and has proven the doubters wrong.

For Musa Aman, this is not just talk. Success stories, among them the Deramakot Forest Reserve which has been certified as a well-managed forest under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme.

The practices are now well accepted and the goal of the Sabah Forestry Department to attain full certification for forest reserves by 2014 has started yielding results. To date, Sabah has 839,477ha of forest under some form of certification.

So all the lies churn out from internet portals like Sarawak Report that Musa Aman is finishing the forest in Sabah  is all rubbish. These people writing all the rubbish dont even go down to the ground to see for themselves but seem to be writing and talking as though they know all. People are jealous of Musa success.

Truly its Musa who has made decisions for the good of Sabahans. I respect him for this because he is doing it for our children’s children.

Within a short span of 9 years, Sabah has made big strides in the rebuilding and development processes. This is only a beginning but the roads have been built, goals have been sighted and people have been deployed – only treading the path is to be done and has to be done by the people together while Musa Aman is busy guiding them along the way. Meanwhile we can learn from Sabah not to lose hope and become apathetic, that people alone hold the true power and that change can be effected – we just need to act in the right direction.

(Picture taken from

Dear Editor,

Attached a COMMENT piece, Everyone has Right of Reply, no need to run amok!, for your kind attention.

Thanking you

Joe Fernandez

COMMENT It’s not the done thing for Jeffrey Kitingan’s State Reform Party (Star) to take a leaf from the mosquito political parties in Sabah and run amok, samseng-style, whenever they run into a spell of stormy weather in the media. The verdict from the Barisan Nasional (BN) is that the party (Star) needs a dose of its own medicine after running amok in recent weeks with numerous statements in the media.

Star’s inspiration stems from one particular mosquito party in the opposition – allegedly planning a reverse frogging after the 13th GE — in Sabah which has been known to avoid press interviews like the plague, preferring to hide behind public relations statements structured as “news stories” and written by journalists on the take – “ang pow journalism” — in the local media, and responding to criticisms with venomous personal and offensive attacks against journalists who incur its wrath.

Again, it seems that Star has now adopted the same approach as well.

If it’s a storm in a tea cup, no need to carry on as if one has been hit by a tsunami.

Not the end of the world

Criticisms in the media are not the end of the world. One must think of living to fight another day. There’s no need to get carried away in politics by one’s own bulls..t. We need to know where politics ends and good government begins. The people are watching!

Two recent articles in the alternative media, and they are self-explanatory, has Star up in arms:

The piece in selvarajasomiah was also carried in which is run by Dusuns including one who was formerly political secretary to Jeffrey when he was Deputy Federal Minister for Housing and Local Government post-1994.

Star can exercise Right of Reply.

It has waived this right.

Instead, the party’s cybertroopers are now out in full force running amok all over blogosphere and FaceBook, Twitter, Chat and emails, launching downright racist, personal and highly offensive attacks in spin on yours truly. One comment made an unflattering comparison between this writer’s tan and “another Keling but putih” who recently passed away after serving as a press secretary of sorts to former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh.

It’s not known whether Jeffrey is behind these attacks which is very much unlike him but what’s certain is that he’s in the know and apparently making no attempts to stop these attacks.

“Nothing but spin and bullshit”

The cybertroopers attack has been set by the following article originally penned for, where it was not greeted enthusiastically, and therefore lifted by a mosquito political party-linked wikiSabah and for good measure posted in where it drew only criticisms against the cybertroopers, among others.

The article – “nothing but spin and bullshit” — is self-explanatory.,,,, have all been dragged into the debate without the slightest respect for even an ounce of the truth.

The fact is that malaysiakini is yet to settle its legal bill in Kota Kinabalu after being sued by a PKR division chief. The case was struck out by the High Court in the Sabah capital.

To add insult to injury, yours truly has been bombarded with text messages, however not all as virulent as those in blogosphere, and many long telephone calls, some threatening, to put it mildly.

Hit-men from the Philippines

One caller in particular in the dead of night, who sounded as if he had one too many for the road, said that he just has to give the word and his “boss” will finish off yours truly for good. Visions of hit-men from the nearby Philippines came to mind.

Another foul-mouthed caller, liberally spicing his call with various derogatory terms, swore he had a battery of lawyers ready to spring into action on behalf of Star.

The thrust of the matter is Jeffrey Kitingan who has the unenviable reputation of being the King of the Frogs in Sabah. His latest contribution to political theatre in Sabah has been to label all Sabah politicians, including his brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan, as frogs. The Jury is still out on this.

He has yet to convince the voters beyond a shadow of doubt that he has been truly rehabilitated since the dark days of 1994 and that he would not betray the people’s cause in the run-up to the 13th General Election.

Drums of war on Sabah, Sarawak rights

In recent months, the Star Chief has been beating the drums of war on Sabah and Sarawak rights in Malaysia but without producing any concrete evidence that he’s not all just hot air to get the votes.

Jeffrey was in fact accused of betraying Pairin in 1994, albeit through various media statements, and causing the downfall of the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Government. Many believe that then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made many promises to Jeffrey, after allegedly seizing the latter’s international accounts, and which (promises) he had no intention of keeping. Jeffrey had then just been released from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) after being incarcerated for two two-year terms.

Jeffrey, who has a PhD from Harvard University, has also yet to convince his former colleagues in PBS that he has fully recovered from the PhD – “permanent head damage” – which he reportedly suffered at the Kamunting Detention Centre. PBS loyalists believe that Jeffrey was subject to repeated attacks on the head with telephone directories to “damage his brains and thinking faculties”.

Exercise Right of Reply

The bottomline is that if Jeffrey is on the level, he will exercise his Right of Reply.

He will also say what he means and mean what he says and not go all over the place bogged down by ancient history.

As Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president, his major complaint was that the party did not respect Sabahans and Sarawakians and did not subscribe to their rights in Malaysia.

So, he left in a huff to form his own political party instead of standing firm with the opposition alliance to bring about a much-needed change in Putrajaya.

Now that Jeffrey is on his own, there’s no indication either that he’s serious about Sabah and Sarawak rights beyond generating hot air to provide entertainment of sorts in the rural areas in particular.

Hindraf Makkal Sakthi was serious about assisting Jeffrey & Co to internationalize the plight of Borneo in Malaysia. The Star Chief appears to have spurned the offer, withdrawn on co-operating with the London-based NGO, and tried to squat on anyone in the party thinking of taking the UN route with or without Hindraf.

Meeting Najib the Mother of all Lies

Jeffrey and a girlfriend had all their bags ready to leave for London in early 2010 to address the House of Commons on Borneo. Suddenly, he had cold feet, and withdrew after telling his supporters that Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak wanted to see him to discuss Borneo.

In fact, it turned out to be the Mother of All Lies and Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy was shocked beyond belief.

As a cover-up Jeffrey claimed that it was de facto PKR Chief Anwar Ibrahim who suggested that he try to see Prime Minister on the plight of Borneo in Malaysia.

The latest is that Jeffrey has put the much awaited party manifesto and its vision, mission statement in cold storage although the drafts are ready.
The people are waiting with bated breaths to see how much of the content reflects the plight of Borneo in Malaysia.

Ominous sign

An ominous sign is that his aides have meanwhile dismissed the draft manifesto and the party’s vision, mission – reflecting the plight of Borneo in Malaysia and prepared by party seniors — as just spin and bullshit.

If Jeffrey doesn’t stick with the plight of Borneo in Malaysia, he would have betrayed the cause of the people and betrayed the opposition alliance as well after having found them more than wanting.

By Joanne Chan | Posted: 27 June 2012 1005 hrs

Description: City Harvest founding pastor Kong Hee arriving with wife Sun Ho at the courts on 27 June. (Photo: Ooi Boon Keong, TODAY)SINGAPORE: Five senior members of City Harvest Church (CHC), including its founder Kong Hee, have been charged in court on Wednesday with misappropriating church funds.

The prosecution is levelling three charges against the five – involving over S$50 million in total.

This is more than the S$23 million earlier announced by the Commissioner of Charities.

The first charge centres on purported bond investments made by the church in two companies, Xtron Productions and PT the First National Glassware.

These bond investments, which the prosecution said are “sham transactions”, were allegedly devised to conceal the diversion of some S$24 million from the church’s Building Fund to fund Ho Yeow Sun’s music career. Ho is Kong Hee’s wife.

Four people are liable for the first set of charges – Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Lam Leng Hung and Chew Eng Han.

Description: Pastor Kong Hee (R in white) holds his wife Ho Yeow Sun's hand as they leave the subordinate courts in Singapore on June 27, 2012. (AFP Photo/Roslan Rahman)The second charge relates to a series of transactions that some of the accused had created to clear the purported bond investments off the church’s accounts.

They allegedly misappropriated a further S$26.6 million from the church’s funds.

It’s alleged that the money was circulated through a complicated series of transactions to create the false appearance that the purported sham bond investments had been redeemed.

For these charges, which have been termed as “round-tripping”, three people are liable – Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han and Tan Shao Yuen Sharon.

The third charge relates to the falsification of church’s accounts to cover their tracks.

It’s alleged that Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han and Tan Shao Yuen Sharon doctored the church’s books to give the false appearance that the bond investments had been redeemed.

In all, pastor and church founder Kong Hee faces three charges; senior pastor Tan Ye Peng faces 10 charges; finance manager Tan Shao Yuen Sharon faces seven charges; senior member Chew Eng Han faces 10 charges; and former secretary of the church’s management board Lam Leng Hung faces three charges.

All five church members stood solemnly together in the dock when the charges were read to them.

The five have each posted bail of S$500,000 and have had their passports impounded.

Earlier in the morning, a media scrum broke out when Kong Hee and his wife, local songstress Sun Ho, arrived outside the Subordinate Courts.

Supporters belonging to City Harvest Church were also gathered outside the court.

Some were there as early as 7.30am. Their numbers swelled to over a hundred within an hour.


An analysis into the Wealth of the City Harvest Church

No offence yeah.

June 27th, 2012 | Author: Contributions March 29, 2010

Although I am aware that City Harvest is one of the richest churches in Singapore, I am still shocked that it is rich enough to pay SGD310 million for a stake in SuntecCity. Nevertheless, an entity which is able to amass such wealth is certainly worth studying. I was  determined to understand the secrets to the church’s wealth.

I apologize upfront if the points raised give offense to loyal followers of City Harvest Church. Please regard this article as a business analysis of the factors that contribute to the wealth of City Harvest Church, not as an insinuation that the Church got rich through questionable means. The fact is that CHC is very rich and this makes f or a fascinating academic exercise to examine its sources of wealth. Just treat it as a business case study.

I have tried my best to stick to the facts. Please correct me if there are factual mistakes. However, if there are differences in opinions, please disagree with courtesy.

1. Clever packaging of Sunday services

The income of a church is dependent on the tithes collected (10% of income from church-members). Therefore, the earning power of a church is highly dependent on its ability to retain its existing church members and attract new ones. The larger the church membership, the greater its earnings. I watched a sample of CHC weekend service on its website. Compared to the boring Sunday classes I attended as a kid, CHC church service was most refreshing (Watch “The 10 Laws Of The Harvest”). The beginning part resembles a rock concert with good singing and enthusiastic audience. It is an enter taining way to enjoy your Sunday mornings. Going to church becomes a weekly event to look forward to rather than a chore to attend to.  With church services so well packaged for its customers, its customer  retention rate and new customer acquisition figures should look good.

2. Extra revenue in the form of advertisements, sales of CDs

This church is unlike the other churches I know. It generates extra revenue through advertisements during its Sunday service (watch the videos). It sells audio CDs on its website. There is an online shopping cart for convenience to those who want to buy online.

3. Efficient collection of tithes

Church-members can pay their tithe online via credit card, eNets or even Giro!! Once members started donating using Giro, the earnings quality of the church improves. Donation collected via Giro tend to be more stable. With a globalised economy, people travel round the world a lot and may miss Sunday services. In the past, the churches will lose income when these members fail to turn up to pay their tithe. Now, with online payment, they can continue collecting the tithe even when the church-member is working overseas for an extended period of time. With Giro, the church can
continue collecting tithes for a few more months even when the member leaves the church as people have a habit of forgetting what they pay on Giro.

4. 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on your church donations

This is where genius of CHC lies and the secret to its superior earning power. In fact, I have yet to encounter any public-listed company on SGX, HKSE, NYSE, Nasdaq that demonstrates better potential. The pastor preaches that God will give 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on your tithe. But, you have to be generous in your donations first so that you will receive in harvest proportions. I guess that is th e origin of the name City Harvest. Please watch the video “The 10 Laws Of The Harvest” yourself in its entirety and interpret for yourself. It is a message that cleverly uses an astute understanding of human nature to maximize profits. If I were a CHC member, I will be tempted to increase my tithe as much as possible. Not mincing my words, I am doing it out of pure greed. I do not think I will be alone. It is perfectly fine if members of CHC strongly disagree and thinks that I am not representative for most of them. After all, I can only speak for myself. 

5. Quality of customers

With the 100-fold return message, the kind of church members attracted will be most conducive to profit-making. Money-minded people will be attracted to the church. These money-minded people tend to be ambitious and have a great desire to make lots of money. Millionaire minds have a higher chance to become rich. Hence, th e quality of customers that CHC attracts are of the highest quality. The richer the church-member, the higher is the church’s tithe per member. Customer quality will be enhanced through the passage of time due to survivor bias. Suppose out of this pool of Millionaire-Mind Christians, 50% become satisfactorily rich and the remaining 50% still unsatisfactorily middle-class. The 50% who got rich will donate even more because they think their source of wealth comes from their donations. It is most unlikely they will cut back on their tithes because they will be afraid God will punish them by cutting back the returns. If they are not afraid, the  church will be there to warn them not to do so. The remaining 50% who did not get rich will be disillusioned and probably leave the church.  The loss is of little significance to the church. These people are not rich and their tithes will not amount to much. Many Christians will be disgusted with the concept of using tithes to get rich. These people will probably leave the church after attending a few Sunday services. Again, the loss is of little significance to CHC. These people will not be highly profitable to the church even if they are rich because they are not going to tithe as much as the others who believe their tithes is the way to wealth. To the credit of the Pastor, I think he has devised a wonderful process of filtering out non-profitable customers and sucking in the lucrative ones. There is only so much physical space that a church can have to service its church-members. To maximize profits, the church has to ensure that each unit of space is used for servicing lucrative customers.

6. Kill off competition

CHC has tremendous economic moat that kills off competition. In the  video “The 10 Laws of The Harvest”, the Pastor cited Law #5 “Your Seed must be planted in Good Ground” which is an effective weapon in killing off his competition – the smaller churches. Many Christians feel that they ought to donate to the needy, smaller churches rather than rich mega-churches like CHC. The Pastor’s argument is that you do not get good returns like 100-fold in the small churches. You have to donate to mega-churches to maximize returns on your tithe because they have a track record (rich church members). In other words, the seed is not planted in good ground when you donate to the small churches. In his own words, ”I don’t always give to the neediest but to the ground that  will give the greatest yield”. To illustrate his point, he used an analogy on weak banks and strong banks. You do not deposit your money in a weak bank because it desperately needs fresh funds to survive. You deposit your money in a strong bank which invests your money wisely and yields goo d returns. The church has an iron-grip on its members who believe its message. As illustrated previously, its customer base is of the highest quality. This is its track record. Existing church-members will definitely not move to another smaller, needier church with poorer track record.It has a very strong economic moat as it is very hard for its competitors to get its customers to switch over.

7. Providing a place where the rich can network

As the Pastor said, his church provides a good ground on which you can grow your riches. Rightly so, indeed. For property agents or insurance agents trying to hit their sales quota, City Harvest  Church will be an ideal place to hunt for lucrative clients. This church concentrates several rich and money-minded people into a single location. The church offers a unique advantage to sell things. In a religious setting, people tend less to be on their guard and can be more easily persuaded to part with their money. Businessmen also like to network in places where there are rich and powerful people who will come in handy in future. The Pastor has done a good job in gathering such people in his church and it makes good sense to make use of this advantage by joining the church.
The rich will attract more rich and the gathering moss snowballs to provide an ever-rising pool of donation to the church.

8. Preach what people like to hear

As a teenager, I was discouraged when I read Bible verses like Matthew 19:23-24 “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” and Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” It seems like if I become rich, I will be condemned to hell. In the video “Rich God? Poor God?”, the Pastor preaches that it is absolutely ok to be rich. Some prophets of God were very rich.  (Abraham, David, Solomon) There is nothing more musical to a money-minded person than to hear that God is on your side in your pursuit of money. The church-members who are more money-minded will love this and donate even more.

9. God pays for the returns, not the church

The church collects the money, but God pays for the returns. The church does not need to pay a single cent for the 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on the donations. This is as good as you do the work for me, but not only do I not pay you, I shall also collect your salary. You toil and sweat, but I shall eat your bread. God must surely be a miracle worker and people will pay handsomely for his service. I cannot think of a more advantageous economic position to be in to be able to collect money rendered by a miracle worker.

10. Social pressure to conform in church settings and ease of influence

If everyone around you donates, it is hard not to. When everyone else makes sacrifice, the one who does not will look like an outcast. There is tremendous pressure to conform in such a herd setting.

11. Tremendous future earning power

Take a look at the congregation and you will notice the large number of young people. The income growth of young people is the fastest in the population. In the Pastor’s words, “You may be poor today, but you will not be poor all your life”. That is a long-term business plan in cultivating its customers. Therefore, if CHC can be viewed as a growth stock, its prospects are very bright as its young customers will accelerate its earnings.

12. Stable earnings in times of depression

Besides being a growth stock, CHC can also be viewed as a defensive and safe stock. People pray hardest when they fall in hard times. Strangely, some people have an urge to tithe when they are in financial troubles. In fact, in the video (The 10 Laws Of The Harvest), a couple came on stage. They talked about the dire straits they were in when they started out. Things change when God challenged them to GIVE themselves out of poverty (exact words from the speaker). Despite not having any money, they still pledged $250 to the building fund. In his own words again, “we often emptied our savings to give to the House of God knowing that this will be the answer to our financial problems”. Hence, not only will the church earnings be stable in times of depression, it may even grow.

13. Using Prosperity as a theme to appeal to customers

The Pastor preaches Prosperity Gospel which resolves around money. His business genius lies in choosing this theme for his church. Money has universal appeal. Everyone worships money regardless of race, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation. In one fell swoop, he has enlarged his market to cover the entire world. It is much easier to convert people to your belief by dangling money and promising great prosperity. After all, who does not love money? By enlarging his potential market catchment with a greater chance of  increasing membership, more donations will flow in.

14. Tax benefits as church is registered as a charity

This creates a huge, unfair advantage compared to all other businesses. This is what landed CHC in controversy. Enough has been said. If one day the Pastor switches to become a businessman, I will definitely consider investing in the company that he heads and founds. If  CityHarvest Church is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, I will cert ainly buy it. It  will be one stock that I am confident of hitting a return of 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns. PS: People tend not to question critically when it comes to religion. A charming smooth talker can easily sway minds with his interpretation of the Bible. In the final analysis, Faith is about simply believing. You cannot approach it scientifically because there is no way to test religious theories using the scientific method. We will only know the real truth when judgment day comes. The danger is that there is no accountability on the part of the preacher on whether his teachings are true or not. Even he himself cannot be sure that his interpretations is 100% correct. Given human nature, the interpretations will tend to be self-serving. In fact, it is not only dangerous to the students but to the teacher as well.
People will believe their own lies if it yields tempting benefits. That was how Wall Street drank its own Kool-Aid. While I respect the Pastor for his business savvy, I cannot agree with his  interpretations of the Bible. I pray for good health, peace and harmony for my family. Money-minded as I am, I am not comfortable with commercializing my relationship with God by asking for money. The Christian God that I know from my own reading of the Bible. Of course, if God wants to drop money from heaven on me, I will be more than happy to embrace it.

This is for Spain!

Posted: July 2, 2012 in Euro 2012

Supreme Spain sinks Italy 4-0 for Euro title 2012

(Spain’s players celebrate after crushing Italy to win the historic Euro 2012 crown in Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday)

(David Silva scored the opening goal with a header in the 14th minute against Italy in the Euro 2012 final)

(Spain’s Jordi Alba scored his side’s second goal in the 41st minute)

(Spain’s David Silva, right, celebrates after scoring, with Alvaro Arbeloa during the Euro 2012 final)