Archive for the ‘Kota Kinabalu’ Category



(A Facebook picture shows Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri being served turtle eggs allegedly at the Restoran Indah Keranamu in Sandakan which went viral)

Media has always been a significant pillar of society. Media doesn’t just report happenings, it also builds public opinion. This puts the media in a powerful position in a democracy and wherever there is power there is a chance of misuse of that power.

In some countries, powerful media houses are said to have influenced election results by portraying people and events a certain way. In Malaysia too.

The media space has changed a lot with the emergence of social media. With social media, the public has eyes and ears everywhere. They are not limited to camera crews of a few TV channels or reporters of a few newspapers.

Social media is a platform that showcases public opinion such that it cannot be easily doctored. It reflects the pulse of society. Even traditional media channels keep an eye on ongoing social media trends.

In the recent past, we have seen so many top news stories originate from social media. Apart from highlighting issues that are socially relevant and crucial, social media has also exposed the disconnect between the government and the population. People are more aware of what our leaders are up to and exchange notes on how laws and policies affecting them are being made. Gone are the days when the government could pass laws behind closed doors without the public realising it for months. Thanks to the social media, discussion on political issues and implications is widespread and immediate.

Some politicians thrive on keeping communities apart and playing one’s interests over the other to secure their votebanks. As boundaries between people blur over social media, and they become more aware and better informed, this will no longer be easy to do. One needs to be more aware and alert while making speeches or statements. People see through any gimmick done with an ulterior motive and any sign of a narrow mindset comes in for severe criticism, just like the ‘kafir harbi’ issue.

Like all powerful tools, social media should also be used with utmost care and responsibility failing which it can cause damage to the society. In the recent terror attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in Turkey, terrorists used social media widely to plan and execute their attacks, 42 people were killed and injured hundreds of others. More recently, in Sabah, The Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA), headed by Huguan Siou Joseph Pairin Kitingan had to lodge a police report against the “Majlis Himpunan Rakyat Membantah Penarikan MyKad” (Council of the Gathering of Citizens to Protest the Withdrawal of the MyKad) which was planing to hold an anti-RCI event in Kota Kinabalu on May 31, a poster on the event circulating in social media went viral, social media was used to spread panic and fear among Sabahans leading to the police report.

However, with its potential to bring people together, social media also holds immense promise as a tool for social change. We have recently seen many successfully executed protests organised over social media that have made the right impact,like Bersih the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, for the first time, the act of mass civil disobedience ran for 34 hours in Kuala Lumpur. Another application of social media could be to effectively utilize the vast diversity of human resource that Sabah has which is still lying untapped. For instance, in my SIB (Sidang Injil Borneo) church, somebody announces a dental camp in a locality on a date and others join, including doctors, dentist, dental nurses and even pharmacist. Likewise, somebody announces a tree planting drive or a cleaning drive and people support the initiative with their time or resources.

We are clearly passing through a phase of transformation. Sabah is a nation of youth who have a big role to play in that transformation.

Social media is a medium that connects them and gives them voice. This voice is growing louder. It is a welcome sign and I’m really glad Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman has embrace the social media in a big way and he is very active on Facebook and Twitter and WhatsApp groups, and he regularly updates events and photos.


The Daily Express, Sabah’s largest daily newspaper has not often taken political sides. Indeed, Sabah journalism has not had the western tradition of the media declaring its political preferences. The 14th General Elections of Malaysia (GE14) could be held by next year as indicted by Premier Najib Tun Razak recently after the landslide victories for Barisan National in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar twin by-elections, plus the impressive win in the recent 11th Sarawak State Elections, however, the choice is clear and preferences should be stated. Sabah’s voters have to choose between five more years of a government led by Musa Aman, or five years or less of confusion created by an uncertain and split verdict, or five years of some nameless politician serving his tenure in Kota Kinabalu at Putrajaya’s beck and call.

There are many reasons why Sabah deserves Musa Aman. First, he is a decent chap. In the rough and tumble of Malaysian politics it is not easy to come across men and women of basic and simple decency. That in itself should be a good reason for his remaining at the forefront of Sabahan politics. Second, he has done an impressive job. While the state opposition parties has every right to criticise his government and question his record, the fact remains that Musa Aman has done more for Sabah than any other chief minister of this state in the past five decades. Consider some simple numbers.

According to the state’s economic survey published earlier this year, Sabah’s economy registered an annual growth rate of more than 6 percent, covering most of the term of Musa Aman. It was less than 2 per cent when he first took over as Chief Minister in 2003. This should rule out the idea of returning to a opposition regime. Sabah’s per capita income rose to RM 19,672 per year in 2014, compared to less than RM 7,443 in 2002. Even the Prime Minister recently said the number of hardcore poor in the state had at one time stood at 30,000 families and this had been reduced to about 7,000 families.This impressive growth comes from an across the board improvement in the state’s performance, barring the industrial sector.

Through the well-diversified economy, Sabah under Musa Aman has been able to raise our real gross domestic product (GDP) by 110 times — from RM527 million in 1963 to RM58 billion in 2014. Similarly, GDP per capita has also increased almost 67 times from RM688 to RM46,000 per capita over the same period.

Sabah’s agriculture sector, tourism, construction, education, health and services sectors have all witnessed impressive growth

Sabah has recorded a surplus in the balance of payments between 2002 and 2015. What this means is that the state’s exports have exceeded imports for 13 consecutive years.Sabah’s exports for 2015 were valued at RM15,582million or 70% of the state’s gross national product (GNP). Hence, the export market remains a key economic generator for Sabah. Sabah’s main exports are raw petroleum (38.8%), crude and processed palm oil (35%), and fresh farm produce and fisheries (15.4%), palm oil kernels (3.8%), methanol (3.2%) and plywood (2.1%).

However, if Sabah has to have a chance, if it has to finally catch up with Malaysia’s more developed regions, it needs another five years of the kind of development-oriented administration that Musa Aman gave the state. If Sabah can move closer to the national average in terms of the various indicators of development, that national average will itself rise significantly. Malaysia cannot sustain growth rates of over 8 and 9 per cent, not to mention 10, if large states like Sabah and Sarawak remain stuck in the morass of backwardness, both economically and socially. Musa Aman has remained focussed on development, he is a model chief minister that other Malaysian states should also aspire for. My vote goes out to Musa Aman.


The recent Sabah Quake has left a very damaging effect on Sabah and her people in all forms. The physical, psychological, spiritual trauma felt by Sabahans and friends of Sabah is one that cannot be erased so easily. As someone who has called Sabah my home for many years, I believe I speak for many that the Sabah Quake is a reminder of how insignificant we are to a land that had provided so much for so many. Clearly, life as we live it must take into account natures very living presence that is in as much of a position as human beings are in determining both life and death.

However, what I foresee to be the greatest burden befallen those effected by the quake is an economical one.The quake took 18 lives and left almost 20 people wounded and hurt. Over a hundred climbers were left stranded on the mountain, without other viable exit routes. Numerous homes and building in approximately 18 districts suffered structurally and more than 80 aftershocks recorded by the Meteorological Department, many more will soon be reported.

The point that I am making here is simple; There is a great need for funds designated to restoration works in Sabah. The local mountain guides (national heroes in my eyes) and affected local residents need to be taken care of till Mount Kinabalu is once again ready for climbers. In its current state, no climbers would even dare think of weathering Akinabalu and if climbers are no longer coming, an entire community that depends on this industry to make a living will be severely effected.

Recently in a conversation with Sabah Chief Minister, Musa Aman, I was told that he had appealed to several high ranking officers from PETRONAS ( a government endorsed oil and Gas conglomerate) to assist with the Sabah Quake victims. A verbal agreement was made between Aman and PETRONAS in which this special fund would serve as their CSR for Sabah. This has yet to take place, but for this assistance to make truly help, it needs to come in soon. Similarly, other successful companies and conglomerates need to come forward in a similar fashion. Anyone who has benefited from Sabah needs to pump resources back to the state immediately.

We can never blame anyone for the Sabah quake. Nature is unpredictable as it is beautiful and what happens within the realm of the natural is completely out of our hands. But what we can take complete control of are the aftermaths, the rehabilitation and and the recovery. If we fail to assist and support where it is needed, then blame is inevitable. Conglomerates, such as PETRONAS who have had the support of so many, need to take time from their busy schedule to realize that those servicing the Mount Kinabalu, a cherished and honored world heritage site, are in need of help. Help needs to come sooner rather than later, through swift action and not as lip service.

this piece was out today in the Sunday Daily Express forum



It is not the state government alone that can usher in prosperity and development within the state. Once the government has laid the foundation for a better administration and sense of security, many people can contribute to the state’s growth. And some of the steps taken by Chief Minister Musa Aman signal signs of a green revolution that could come to Sabah. With Sabah being predominantly an agricultural economy, and now the booming tourism economy, it would be good to have a fresh green revolution in Sabah.

Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman is going green, quite literally. A green foundation – YaHijau Malaysia (Yayasan Hijau Malaysia) and the “MyGreen Sabah”- is set to become a grassroots movement to encourage Malaysians to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles. After recording good progress in environmental preservation through its “Heart of Borneo” (HOB) initiative when it succeeded in increasing protected forest areas to 1.3 million hectares, Musa Aman has assured that he will continue to be committed to Sustainable Forest management (SFM) and eco-friendly development projects all over Sabah.

The Sabah State Government has set-up the Sabah Green Technology and Climate Change Committee which will be responsible for formulating policies and making recommendations on tackling green technology issues, environmental issues and climate change at the State level. The need to save Tanjung Aru Beach and Prince Philip Park which has already lost 60 to 70 meters due to erosion over the past 50 years is one of his priorities now.

To Save Tanjung Aru Beach and the Prince Philip Park, Musa Aman has come out with a master plan under the Tanjung Aru Beach Rejuvenation Plan, a fantastic plan and an unprecedented move! Tanjung Aru Beach will be moved seawards to improve wave exposure, and coarser beach and terminal structures will be put up to minimize loss of sand, among other measures. The objective is to push back the sea to regain the land that was lost to erosion over the years. Tanjung Aru Eco-Development (TAED) has been entrusted with reviving Tanjung Aru Beach. This would involve reclamation of 440 acres out of the total of over 700 acres. This mammoth project will cost RM1.5 billion and Datuk Victor Paul, the most experienced developer in Sabah who has an extremely good track record in construction, has been roped in. Datuk Victor Paul built the Perdana Park at Hone Place, Tg Aru entirely as part of his Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a gift to the state and the people without requiring any form of payment or reward. It is believed that he spent RM50 million. He also built Metro Town, a township, all on his own and many other projects since The Berjaya government. Musa Aman has got the right man for the job.

The present Prince Philip Park in Tanjung Aru Beach covers 14.5 acres and with the revival project it will cover 27 acres. The present length of the beach is about 1400 metres with a width of 9 meters of sand during high tide and 25 metres of sand during low tide but after development, its new length will be 1420 meters with a new beach width of 50 to 110 meters. Remember, presently the beach has already gone down by 60 to 70 meters due to erosion, if left as it is in years to come Prince Philip Park will itself be claimed by the sea.

So under the Tanjung Aru Beach Rejuvenation Project, The government is giving back to the people 68% as public areas while the remaining 32% is earmarked for development. The revival project is to return the park and beach to its former glory, while at the same time attract investments from locals and foreigners, create job opportunities and develop the local economy. In doing so, the government through the Tanjung Aru Eco-Development (TAED) would be giving Tanjung Aru Beach and Prince Philip Park back to the people. It will be bigger, cleaner and well-designed unlike now. The public would also not only enjoy continued access to the beach, they would also NOT BE charged when visiting it.

And behind the beach and the park where the former Tanjung Aru Government Quarters used to be located, there is a piece of land that was sold by a former chief minister to the fugitive Teh Soon Seng. The state government under Musa Aman had to fight in the courts to recover this land. This parcel of land is were the residential and commercial property development inclusive of six hotels and resorts is to be built.

Musa Aman told a visiting group from Kuala Lumpur that good governance is to solve people’s problems. The administrative system is more of less the same across the country but there is need for change in the mindset for infusing service in the work culture.

The group, on a study tour of Sabah, called on Musa Aman and acquainted themselves on how Sabah tackles challenges before good governance.

Musa Aman said that team spirit is must for result and ‘Team Sabah’ fulfills this need. There is need for clear-cut instructions on policy matters and administrative setup to ensure the message percolates downstream and the action taken reports travels upstream. And development needs a positive attitude. He said that one reason for the success of Sabah’s good governance model is people’s participation.

He said that environment and development are complementary to each other; both are needed to lend speed. There is need for vision even for environment. He recalled that when Perdana Park was developed by Datuk Victor Paul, all kinds of accusations were hailed and even NGOs were criticising left, right, and center. But today, Perdana Park is considered the most progressive park of its kind in Malaysia where a musical fountain and purified water is provided free of charge. Heaps of praises are thrown by everyone and is now the most regularly visited site for recreation in the state capital. Built on a 16-acre area, Perdana Park is the very first recreational park in KK with a musical fountain performance. One has to learn how Sabah nurtures greenery and preserves wildlife to protect the environment despite so much difficulty and converts them into tourism. Sabah is fast earning Green Credit points as it has adopted a policy of harnessing Nature and not exploiting as is in vogue in the rich Western countries.