Archive for June, 2019

In 1983 Borneo Divers began their dive trips to Sipadan, the secret oceanic paradise was discovered by Ron Holland of Borneo Divers. Subsequently, Ron Holland brought underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau and made a movie “Borneo: Ghost of the Sea Turtle” and documented Sipadan’s beauty and lush marine life, bringing the island international fame.

Sipadan is considered as one of the most beautiful scuba diving spots in the world. Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia where the huge pillar that forms the atoll functions as a shelter for many sea animals and fish. There are only a few places in the world that have such a concentration of sea turtles.

Sipadan ever since has been a money making machine for few dive operator in Semporna over the years. It is estimated that diving business in Sipadan is RM300 million a year.

Selected dive operators allowed to operate at Sipadan were given quotas on number of diver per company.

In the past before GE14, 12 operators were given a total of 120 permits per day. The number of permits given depended on the size of their operation.

Recently after Warisan took over the Sabah State Government, such quota and allowable number of divers and dive company to enter Sipadan has increased. 12 new additional operators have been given permits, each given 6 permits for Sipadan.

The number of permits for old operators were reduced now and the total of permits now per day for the whole of Sipadan is increased to 176. New operators each gets 6 permits per day.

The new operators have been offering their permit for sale to travel agents and to existing operators for (depending on season) RM800 – RM1,200 per permit. For example, the rate a new operator Peter Khoo is offering is Rm1,000.00 each permit/day, he doesn’t have resort, boats, dive equipments, just an Alibaba business. Considering that they pay to Sabah Parks RM140/person/day, the new operators are making lots of money as they do not have resorts, boats or dive equipments. They started business only on 1st May 2019. 4 of them have no MOCAT license. One is a RM2 company operating from Kota Kinabalu.

And what Shafie Apdal did was to reduce the number of permits of the existing dive companies and redistributed the permits to the new 12 operators.

So, there’s 12 new operators now, before this 12 came into the picture the total permits were 126 per day, now 176.

Who exactly makes such huge decision on permits for Sipadan diving? While some say it’s Sabah Parks, some say its Chief Minister, often people don’t realise that the lead agency in such decision making is Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN)

Why does a federal agency under the Prime Minister’s Department responsible for managing and coordinating the implementation of policies related to the security of Malaysia makes decision on who gets the quota to operate at Sipadan?

Shouldn’t they just stick to security and shouldn’t there be a special committee on quotas and who gets it lead by the Sabah State Government, since Sipadan and its wealth belongs to the state?

I’m told, and I find it weird that even the Sabah Minister of Tourism is not invited and is not part of the meeting on the quota decision making.

Why is our minister kept in the dark by MKN?

Some even start questioning, why some quotas given to West Malaysian. Shouldn’t it be given to or prioritize to Sabahan operators?

Anyway, more than one million tourists visited Sabah from January to May this year, the state government had set a target for four million tourist arrivals this year, compared to 3.8 million last year. Tourism is big business in Sabah!

The agenda on the development of education has been an important concern since Independence. There have been several policies and programmes formulated for improving the existing scenario on education by the government of Malaysia.

The process of education has expanded from the spatial realm of the classroom to electronic and print media resources, e- books and e-journals, and various forms of non-institutionalised sources of knowledge. The new Education Policy is charted out with such laudable goals and strategies to smoothly integrate with multiple agencies between education and other departments in this digital era of information growth.

Though every policy is charted out with such ambitious plans and goals, the devastating truth today is that higher education is at stake with charges of nepotism and maladministration against some vice chancellors, who must be the torchbearers to work towards these goals.

The latest to be in limelight is Prof Dr D Kamarudin D Mudin who’s tenure as Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Vice-Chancellor has been cut short to July 29th 2019, by Education Minster Dr Maszlee Malik.

Dr Kamarudin became the vice-chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) on June 18, 2018. He joined UMS in 2004, before that for 12 years had served as an anesthesiologist with the Health Ministry at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Dr Kamaruddin a Kota Belud native is the university’s fifth vice-chancellor and the third Sabahan to hold the post after Prof Datuk Dr Kamaruzaman Ampon and Mohd Harun.

Dr Kamarudin is Professor Special Grade C (Medical) with expertise in the field of anaesthesiology. He served as dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences before being appointed as deputy vice-chancellor in April 2015.

There are many possible reasons for Dr Kamaruddin’s early departure as Vice-Chancellor of UMS.

Since political interference is an important determinant in the appointments of Vice Chancellors, it becomes an opportunity to either exploit or retaliate, on occupying the most coveted chair in academia.

So, that’s what happened to Dr Kamaruddin, he was ask to go, Shafie Apdal wants someone else as Vice-Chancellor of UMS, So Education Minister Dr Mazlee steps in.

And then there is this story going around about the on-goings in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Reliable sources from UMS are saying that the Medical Faculty “hired” a lot of former retired government public health doctors because of nepotism.

The previous state health director Datuk Yusof is Head of Department of Community Health at the faculty.

Last year a number of his juniors joined the faculty. Now this Department of Community Health has many retired state employees. The department has become a golden parachute for retired state public health doctors enjoying a pension and being paid as professors.

This Department is doing community outreach in Sikuarti, Kudat. UMS Sikuarti campus is open for 4th year medical students. UMS professors are bused or driven from KK to teach these students in Sikuarti. It makes no sense when such students can be taught in Kota Kinabalu.

UMS is spending money to sustain a facility in Sikuarti that is not being used. They bus students there for community health and have professors go there to teach Surgery to the fourth year medical students when there are no surgical cases there in Kudat, since there is no surgeon at Kudat district hospital. It started that way when the school was opened but they continued to do this year in year out without reassessment when conditions changed.

The UMS Sikuarti campus is a white elephant.

This was related to me by my UMS source.

Anyway, UMS ranking in Malaysia is 20, ranking in Asia is 274, ranking in world is 801 to 1000. But, Universiti Malaya (UM) ranking is No 1 in Malaysia, ranking in Asia is 18 and world ranking is 70. In terms of ranking with other public universities in Malaysia, UMS is way at the bottom.

This website critical of Dr Kamarudin has suddenly emerged, see here

And my sources are saying Prof Dr Taufiq Yap Yun Hin from University Putra Malaysia, Serdang will be the next Vice Chancellor of UMS.

Someone very close to our Anwar Ibrahim told me recently that when Wan Azizah met Shafie Apdal at the CM’s Office for the first time after Party Warisan took charge, Shafie it seems told Wan Azizah that if she becomes the PM he will be very happy.

Of course, Wan Azizah told her husband what was spoken. It seems Anwar was annoyed. So annoyed was Anwar with Shafie that even now he speaks about this openly. So i hear.

Anwar and Shafie were never close even during early Umno days in Sabah in the 90s, the friction goes a long way. In 2011 there was a sex video commissioned by the ruling elite to kill off Anwar Ibrahim’s political career. The video purportedly shows a man who resembles Anwar frolicking with a prostitute in a hotel room. The three men who confessed to discovering and publicly screening the tape were former Malacca chief minister Rahim Tamby Chik, businessman Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and Perkasa treasurer Shuaib Lazim.

Shuaib Lazim is the father-in-law of Shafie Apdal.

In the meantime, Labuan born billionaire, Tan Sri Ibrahim bin Menudin, the Chairman of Suria Capital Holdings Berhad, a close confidant of Anwar Ibrahim, is the go-between-man. Ibrahim is also Economic Advisor for Sabah Government.

Anyway besides that, today, a series of short homosexual sex videos lasting roughly 1.34-minutes have been making the rounds on social media. The clips show two men, one who resembles senior minister in the current administration, getting intimate with a 27 year old lawyer from Sarawak. At least three clips show what looks like a scene from a room in Hotel Four Points in Sandakan, accompanied by the sound of a foreign news bulletin. People are saying looks like Azmin Ali, but i dont know.