Friday, 20-Jul-2018

SM Sains first Sabah school to go cashless

SM Sains first Sabah school to go cashless
Published on: Sunday, July 15, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Electronic cash is the way forward and SM Sains Sabah (Smesh) took a step further by becoming the first school in the State to implement the cashless school system.

The system uses the eM-ONEi digital wallet platform to enable users – both students and school staff – to make payments via an electronic card (eCard) at touch-and-pay terminals provided at the school’s canteen and co-operative.

Commending the initiative, Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob hoped the digital system will improve the efficiency of canteen and co-operative management in the school.

“The business transactions in both outlets will surely be smoother, apart from a more systematic account management,” he said during the school’s Parents and Teachers Association’s annual general meeting cum cashless school system launching ceremony, at the school’s hall, here, Saturday.

“Furthermore, it would be easier for parents to transfer money to their children or monitor their expenditure online through the digital wallet platform.

“I was made to understand that such system can also reduce money lost or theft in schools.”

His speech was read by his Assistant Minister Jenifer Lasimbang.

Yusof also hoped the programme will be extended to other schools and learning institutions, especially after it is proven effective in the pilot project in Smesh.

“Smesh even proposed for the eCards’ functions to be enhanced in future so that they can record students’ attendance in the school,” he said.

The cashless system was developed by MobilityOne and Smesh is the second school in the country to implement the system after another fully residential school in Pahang.

MobilityOne Chief Executive Officer Datuk Hussian A Rahman said they received many enquiries from other schools after the system was first introduced three months ago.

“After Sabah, we will go to Labuan and from there, we will try to expand the system to other schools.

“At the moment, we are focusing on secondary schools and later on, we will implement the system in primary schools,” he said.

The eCard, he said, currently can only be used within the school compound and its usage will be stretched in future.

“We are licensed and monitored by the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)…so, we can operate nationwide.

“In order for the cards to be used outside of the school compound, we just need to appoint merchants.”

Hussian said one of the best feature of the card is that parents can monitor and put a limit on their children’s spending.

“Parents can reload the card with any amount but they can set a specific daily expenditure limit for their children so that they will only buy necessary things like food,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jenifer said her ministry will follow up with the Federal Education Ministry soon on the issue of a permanent building for Smesh.

“Smesh is one of the top performing schools in Sabah and the country…unfortunately, the school has been using the former campus of the Kent Teachers Training College, here, since three years ago,” she said.

The school was relocated from its original site in Bukit Padang after its structures were declared unsafe three years ago.

Since then, the Education Ministry had said that the school building would be demolished and rebuilt on the same site within five years.

However, there has been no progress so far for the reconstruction of the institution.

Also present were Tuaran Education officer Tah Nia Jaman and SM Sains Sabah (Smesh) principal Zaini Zair. – Ricardo Unto


Scrap Labuan’s duty-free limits

Scrap Labuan’s duty-free limits
Published on: Saturday, July 14, 2018

Labuan: The Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Labuan Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, importers, shipping agents and forwarders appealed to the Deputy Director of the Royal Malaysian Customs Dato Paddy Abdul Halim to abolish the curbs imposed on the island’s duty-free status and revert to the old system.

Also present at the dialogue was Labuan Chief Madrim Tassan and other senior Customs officials.

Indian Chamber Chairman Datuk Dahlif Singh said the duty-free limits and other conditions imposed on the import, distribution and sales of cigarettes, liquor and beer were almost two years old and hardly effective against smuggling.

“On the other hand, it had been effective in denting Labuan’s image as a duty-free island and burdening industry players with additional business costs. It was time the department seriously reconsidered and revoked the unnecessary curbs.”

Dahlif reminded that the duty-free status of Labuan was a historical legacy of Colonial rule and the island was accorded it as it had no natural resources unlike Sabah or Sarawak.

As such, Labuan depended very much on its full status to be able to properly benefit from the status.

He said smuggling should not be made an excuse for meddling with the status “as the menace could be dealt with through several enforcement agencies.”

Dahlif explained that Labuan was already hard-hit by the ever contracting oil and gas activities with business volume dropping by about 40pc in all sectors.

“We need more and constant visitors and having curbs on the status was not helping.”

He added that what needed to be recognised was the duty-free industry is an important component of the local economy. It provided jobs to hundreds.

Controls on the Labuan’s hot items came about in the wake of restructuring Budget 2016.

Despite furious objections, the department went ahead stating that revenue leakage from the duty-free island amounted to RM5 billion yearly.

Under the new rules, free shops are classified as KBC 1 and KBC 2.

Individuals were not allowed to purchase more than 24 cans of beer, five litres of liquor and three reams of cigarettes per month. And the sales must be recorded in computers monitored by Customs officials.

At the meeting, Dahlif also spoke on doing away with the requirement for Standards and Industrial Research Institute (Sirim) for imports on all goods.

He said developed countries like Japan, Korea, Singapore, USA, etc, usually were known to have quality standards and there was no necessity for counter verification by a local authority as such caused the imported goods to be stuck in warehouse incurring additional costs. – Sohan Das


Labuan Corporation Chairman post to be filled soon

Labuan Corporation Chairman post to be filled soon
Published on: Saturday, July 14, 2018

Labuan: The post of Labuan Corporation (LC) Chairman will be filled soonest possible and an in-depth study will be made as to whether the corpration’s Advisory Council should be retained.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said his Ministry would appraise all qualified candidates to fill the shoes of MP Datuk Rozman Isli, who was named to the post in July 2013.

Khalid, who is in Labuan on a two-day working trip, said:

“The Ministry will look into filling those vacant positions soon as possible but our priority will be to focus on candidates merits and capability before any official appointment is made.

“The post is neither a gift nor reward in return for support. These positions had been given as a hadiah (gift) before and we need to ensure this does not happen again,” he said.

“Also, if we do decide that the council should remain, there must be a clear objective.

Its members should have the grounds and capability to actually give advice to the local authority.

“Previously, many were appointed based purely on political connection and some did not make meaningful contributions to the performance of LC and any other agency under the Ministry,” he said.

Khalid cited that there must be a more professional approach for the administration and governance of the duty-free island.

“If there is need to restructure or reshuffle the personnel under the Ministry, then it will be done based on any information or Intel we receive. If there are still personnel with such practices, then they will surely have to leave,” he added.

As for projects drafted under the Labuan Development Blueprint 2030, Khalid said all projects will be reviewed on a case by case basis to optimise the development of the island.

“We will retain all necessary projects and terminate all those which have no importance.

The projects will be implemented based on priority after the ministry conducts a study,” he said.

He also said assurances that the Labuan-Menumbok bridge could be completed by 2023, the time frame for the implementation of the bridge, cannot be confirmed as of yet. Khalid did not deny the necessity of the bridge, but said it might not be prioritised by the government at the moment.

“The government has yet to conduct an in-depth study on the project viability under the current economic situation and this makes it hard for us to determine the time frame for the implementation of the project,” he said.

He said the bridge was a long-standing issue and efforts would be made to help realise the proposed project.

“However, the island first needs to enhance its economic performance and development to ensure that it is justifiable to have the proposed bridge.

“At the moment, we must develop Labuan, so that we have the reason to have the bridge,” he said and made a reference to the case of Penang, saying that the state was developed until the bridge became a necessity to support their economic growth. Khalid cited that Labuan needed to outline a new mission and vision to develop the island and not mainly rely on one industry.

“Plot a path where we identify the strength and potential of which industries could be developed as a catalyst to spur the economic growth here. As the economy booms here, the need for the bridge will then be justified,” he explained.

Khalid also warned that the issue of the bridge should not be constantly politicised.

“Once we have conducted an in-depth study, we will speak truthfully.

“If the implementation of the bridge is not feasible, then we will tell the people exactly that.

We will not use this issue as a bait to garner support from the public as the previous governance had done,” he added.

On another note, Khalid said he will work to terminate all perception that the duty-free island will continue to be neglected by the Ministry of Federal Territories.

“I am committed to see Labuan go far, that is my responsibility now and I will try my best to perform and produce results for the people here,” he said. – Iffah Dilaney


Axiata unit to sell 89% shareholding in Multinet Pakistan

KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Group Bhd ’s (Axiata) wholly owned unit Axiata Investments (Labuan) Ltd (AIL) has entered into an agreement with Adnan Asdar Ali (AAA) for the divestment of AIL’s 89% stake in Multinet Pakistan Pte Ltd for US$1 on a cash-free and debt-free basis.

AAA is the current shareholder of the remaining 11% stake in Multinet, Axiata said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

Multinet provides telecommunication and electronic media services such as Internet design, development and implementation of networks, including a wide range of non-mobile telecommunications services.

Axiata said that for the last few years, Multinet’s financial performance has been declining with accumulated losses of 754 million Pakistani rupees (about RM25.64mil) for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017.

“Accordingly, Multinet’s contribution to Axiata’s financial and business performance is immaterial,” it said, adding that the proposed divestment was in the best interests of Axiata.

It said the proposed divestment was subject to, among others, the fulfilment of regulatory and third-party approvals.

“It is not expected to have any material effect on Axiata’s consolidated net assets (NA), NA per share, gearing and consolidated earnings for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018,” it said. — Bernama


Investment scam: Man charged

Investment scam: Man charged
Published on: Friday, July 13, 2018

Labuan: A 23-year-old company director was charged in the Magistrate Court, Thursday with three counts of illegal deposit-taking, involving RM189,000.

Mohd Wannor Ramdan Awang, who was clad in purple lock up, arrived at the Magistrate Court here around 9am, Thursday. He was not represented and pleaded not guilty to all charges before Magistrate Leona Dominic Mojiliu.

Wannor along with his middleman was arrested on July 5 by the police in connection with an investment scam of RM1.3 million over the past four months.

Prosecuting officer ASP Hasnan Abidin asked the court to impose a RM10,000 bail for each of the charges on the grounds that the offences were serious and involved people’s interest.

Leona set bail at RM9,000 for each charge with two local sureties and ordered him to report to the police station every week.

Wannor was charged with three counts of illegal deposit taking, the first for allegedly accepting RM37,800 from a complainant, Arjuna Yusof, through an intermediary Temening Abdul Azis, that was deposited into his company of Global Mining Pro’s CIMB account on March 29, this year.

On the second count, he was alleged to have committed the offence by accepting RM113,000 that was also deposited into his company’s account on April 3 from the same complainant through the same person.

He was also charged with committing the offence by collecting RM37,800 from the complainant through the same individual at Deens Restaurant, Financial Park Complex on April 9.

He was charged under Section 420 of the Penal Code for all the three charges which provides a jail sentence and whipping. Leona has fixed the trial on July 30. – Iffah Dilaney


News nibbles


Woman charged with deadly drink driving 

TAWAU: A woman was charged in a magistrate’s court with causing the deaths of a teenager and three men in a road accident here last Sunday.

Olivia Chong Oi Yun, 34, is accused of causing the deaths of Dicson Lim Kien Shing, 16, Hiew Nyuk Wei, 30, Clawence Wong Vui Kit, 21, and Chung Vui Chan, 21, and badly injuring Ching Guan Xiong, 21, at 1.20am on July 8 at Jalan Chong Thien Vun in front of the BDC Commercial Centre (1 Arena) while driving under the influence of alcohol.

No plea was recorded after the charge was read out to Chong yesterday before magistrate Ferhanshah Farene Mohd Ferdaus.

DPP Wan Muhammad Fitri Wan Azizan did not offer bail but the court granted bail of RM4,000 in two sureties and ordered Chong’s driving licence to be suspended.

Chong was charged under Section 44(1)(b) of the Road Transport Act 1987 which provides for imprisonment of a maximum of 10 years and a fine of up to RM20,000 if convicted. The court set Aug 15 for mention. — Bernama

Low-cost carrier AirAsia spreads wings to Ipoh

SEPANG: AirAsia is set to serve Ipoh, with the first route being Ipoh to Johor Baru.

“The low-cost carrier is excited to paint Ipoh red with its low fares and wide connectivity and will start by connecting Ipoh to Johor Baru, its southern hub,” said AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat.

“We have more plans in the pipeline and will share the details soon,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Ipoh marks AirAsia Malaysia’s 16th domestic route.

With the addition of Ipoh, AirAsia Malaysia now flies to nine states in Malaysia and also the Federal Territory of Labuan.

Charged with drowning two-year-old girl

IPOH: A car rental service worker has claimed trial in the Sessions Court here to immersing the head of a child into a pail of water that caused her death in an office at Kompleks Perdagangan DWJ Meru.

Mustaqim Ab Wahab, 32, pleaded not guilty after being read the charge under Section 3(1)(a) of the Child Act before judge Julie Lack Abdullah yesterday.

The statement of facts alleged that Mustaqim submerged the head of Fatini Aleysha Abd Karim, then two, into a pail of water on May 24 last year between 4am and 5.41am.

The court set bail at RM10,000 in one surety and Aug 13 for mention.

Report lodged over Najib image at ‘cemetery’

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Front Party (PFP) has lodged a police report against an individual for insulting former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak by superimposing his image against the background of a Chinese cemetery on Facebook.

PFP Youth chief Teoh Kean Liang said the act was immoral and disrespectful.

He lodged the report at the Timur Laut district police headquarters here yesterday.

Last Friday, a Facebook user uploaded the image of Najib which was superimposed against the backdrop of a Chinese cemetery with hell money, insinuating that Najib had died and buried there. — Bernama

Kula: HRDF task force to issue interim report

KUALA LUMPUR: A task force formed to look into alleged embezzlement in the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) should issue an interim report within 30 days, says Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran.

“The task force is preparing a report on some of the purchase contracts and the awards that have been done (by HRDF).

“Let them do their job,” Kulasegaran told reporters during the HRDF Aidilfitri open house at Wisma HRDF here yesterday.

A five-member independent governance oversight committee was formed during the HRDF annual general meeting recently to review the body amid allegations of misappropriation of funds. — Bernama

Foreigners get a taste of Malaysia

SUNGAI BAKAP: Indonesian contestant Dr Pauzan Haryono (right) attempting to crack open a durian when the group was served local fruits while visiting Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Bakap yesterday.

Around 30 contestants, comprising academicians, lecturers, professors and students, were exposed to the Special Needs Integration Programme in Malaysia, besides learning about the art and cultures of Malaysia.

The ‘IConFed School Visit 2018’ programme was attended by contestants from 26 countries – including Indonesia, Thailand, the United States, Iran and India – who were attending the International Conference On The Future of Education 2018 in Penang. — Bernama

Testing war machines

TAMPIN: Army personnel participated in a live-fire exercise at the Syed Sirajuddin camp in Gemas yesterday.

The drill involved 222 officers and 1,898 soldiers, and assets such as the 155mm G5 MK III (towed howitzer) and Astros II MLRS (self-propelled multiple rocket launcher). — Bernama

Two burglars nabbed, loot worth RM70,000 seized

BALIK PULAU: Police believe they have solved at least four house break-ins in Sungai Pinang area here following the arrest of two men in their 20s.

Balik Pulau OCPD Supt A. Anbalagan said they recovered loot such as electrical appliances, cash, jewellery and top-up cards amounting to RM70,000.

He said the two men also tested positive for methamphetamine during the arrest on July 5.

“We believe they have broken into several houses and a grocery store.

“They have records for drug abuse and have been active in the Sungai Pinang area for the past three months,” he said during the monthly police gathering at the Balik Pulau police headquarters yesterday Supt Anbalagan said the case would be investigated for burglary, adding that the two suspects would be remanded until today.

At the gathering, 79 policemen received excellence service awards, while seven and 13 were promoted to the rank of Inspector and Corporal respectively.


Amanah debuts in Labuan

Amanah debuts in Labuan
Published on: Thursday, July 12, 2018

Labuan: Pakatan Harapan coalition partner Amanah has set up a pro tem committee on the island led by Dr Ramli Tahir.

He said they had received over 200 applications to join the party.

“After GE14, when we were forming Amanah, here, we initially had 50 members as required by the party’ legislation, and now with another 200 new applicants, we are hopeful that another branch would be open soon once the application process is completed,” he explained.

Amanah Labuan was officially established on June 18, this year, he confirmed at a press conference before receiving new membership forms, Wednesday.

The Amanah Labuan pro tem committee line-up includes Dr Ramli as the pro tem chief, Lt Wan Abdul Rahim (deputy chief/ secretary), Zahari Mansor (vice chief 1), Ahmad Razali Isnin (vice chief 2), Dr Zunaidah Abdul Khannah (women’s chief), Mohd Fadhil LIS (youth chief), Haryani Isli (treasurer), and Salihin Mansor (information chief).

Dr Ramli said the party would be working closely with other Pakatan Harapan (PH) component parties and members of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), DAP and Warisan here to highlight the people’s issues to the Federal Government.

“Our political beliefs match the Amanah’s political ideology, therefore, I feel that we can contribute, and importantly, we are sincere of joining the party without aiming for anything like post or anything like that,” he cited.

Dr Ramli, 49, added that it was Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s stunning comeback which greatly influenced and motivated him to join the political arena using Amanah as his platform. – Iffah Dilaney


Amanah spreads wings to Labuan

LABUAN: Peninsular-based Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) is looking to make inroads into the duty-free-island to expand its political influence here with the establishment its protem area.

Labuan Amanah protem committee chairman, Dr Ramli Tahir, said the party’s protem area now has 250 members with two branches established.

“We established the Amanah Labuan area on June 18, initially with 50 members as required by the party’ legislation (requirement), and we have two branches of Victoria Utara and Victoria Selatan,” he said, at a press conference before receiving new membership forms at the Dorsett Grand Labuan Hotel here yesterday.

The Amanah Labuan line-up is as follows: Protem chairman, Dr Ramli Tahir, deputy chairman, Lt (R) Wan Abdul Rahim, vice chairman 1, Zahari Mansor, vice chairman 2, Ahmad Razali Isnin, women chief, Dr Zunaidah Abdul Khannah, youth chief, Mohamad Fadhil, youth women chief, Hafizah Juman and secretary, Lt (R) Wan Abdul Rahim.

Dr Ramli said, Amanah would be working closely with other Pakatan Harapan component parties and members of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), DAP and Warisan here to highlight the people’s issues to the Federal government leaders.

“We believe that our political stand matches the Amanah’s political ideology, therefore, I feel that we can contribute, and importantly, we are sincere in joining the party without aiming for any post or anything like that,” he said.

Amanah Labuan area will be officially unveiled by Amanah Federal Territory secretary, Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli.


AirAsia launches Ipoh – Johor Baru flights

SEPANG: AirAsia is set to start flying from and to Ipoh, with the first route being Ipoh to Johor Baru.

AirAsia Malaysia chief executive officer (CEO) Riad Asmat said the low-cost carrier was excited to paint Ipoh red with its low fares and wide connectivity and will start by connecting Ipoh to Johor Baru, its southern hub.

“We can’t wait to welcome our first flight from Johor into Sultan Azlan Shah Airport at Ipoh.

“We have more plans in the pipeline for this route and will share the details soon,” said Riad in a statement Thursday (July 12).

He added that AirAsia Malaysia hopes to contribute to the increasing number of domestic visitors besides fostering consistent tourism for Perak.

The capital city of Perak marks AirAsia Malaysia’s 16th domestic route in the country.

With the addition of Ipoh, AirAsia Malaysia now flies to nine states in Malaysia and also the Federal Territory of Labuan.


Amanah now the talk in Labuan

Amanah now the talk in Labuan
Published on: Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Labuan: With the chips down for Barisan Nasional parties following the Pakatan Harapan Tsunami in the recent 14th General Election, the mood of the people has been towards joining any of the PH components or friends like Warisan, PKR and DAP.

Following the appointment of Khalid Abdul Samad who won the Shah Alam seat under Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) ticket as Federal Territories minister, many here, including Ketua Kampongs are keen to join Amanah.

They said by joining Amanah they may have immediate access to the minister which was important as the present village heads were appointed by the previous government and are unlikely to be reappointed.

Hence, they wanted to move along with the tide.

The source added that the village heads over the years had been so used to be under the ruling government and enjoying benefits as well recognition and felt painful to lose their positions and become a nobody’s in their villages.

It is doubtful whether these heads would want to play the opposition role in the village.

Moving from one party to another is not an uncommon trend of local politics,” the source said.

Amanah is seen as a suitable option because it is Malay-based in power and had yet to set foot on the island unlike the other components of Pakatan Harapan such as PKR, DAP and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

An additional factor was that under Amanah the members could continue to enjoy the same type of recognition as they enjoyed before under Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor who then FT minister. What was also helping them in the decision was that the Member of Parliament Datuk Rozman Isli who they fondly called ‘Abang man’ had also given up his post as Umno Chairman to Senator Datuk Bahir Alias. This was a signal that Rozman was also keen to join another party.

There are 27 village heads in Labuan one of them, Seah Kiat Leong, had already resigned and joined PKR.

All the heads have undergone a village governance course organised by the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development. The course was held to empower the village heads and increase their level of professionalism and also to raise their status.

“It would be a waste if the services of all the village heads were abruptly terminated and replaced,” the source said.

Khalid Samad joined Amanah in 2015 he had earlier held the Shah Alam seat since 2008 under PAS. – Sohan Das


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