Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wet Traveler - Mount Kinabalu Video part 2




Video documentary of Gemala Hanafiah and Muljadi Pinneng Sulungbudi from Wet Traveler
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Wet Traveler - Mount Kinabalu Video part 1




Video documentary of Gemala Hanafiah and Muljadi Pinneng Sulungbudi from Wet Traveler
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Visit Sibu Year 2017 promotion lauded


SIBU: The Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) welcomes initiative by shopping malls and operators of places of interest here to help promote Visit Sibu Year (VSY) 2017.

SMC deputy chairman Rogayah Jamain said such initiative would create a win-win situation for the council and other parties involved.

Citing Star Mega Mall, she said its owner Daesim Group has taken the initiative to decorate the shopping centre.

“The beautiful decorations will attract people to the mall and to Sibu.

“So SMC will encourage others to emulate this effort,” she told reporters when met after officiating at Star Mega Mall’s VSY 2017 campaign at its premises in Tunku Abdul Rahman Road here yesterday.

Among those present were VSY 2017 co-chairperson Wong Hie Ping and Daesim managing director Datuk Lau Ngie Hua.

On a similar matter, Rogayah said many people wanted to participate in events organised in conjunction with VSY 2017.

“We are glad that the people support VSY 2017.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Visit Sibu Year 2017 promotion lauded
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Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Labuan


LABUAN: Ministry of Federal Territories plans to turn Labuan into a new Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) hub for countries in the East Asian region.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the matter was being discussed between his ministry and the relevant parties.

“Efforts are being made and discussions ongoing to make Labuan as a LCCT hub for countries in East Asia such as China, Korea, Japan, Kalimantan and also the BIMP-EAGA growth area,” he said.

Tengku Adnan was speaking to reporters after officiating the “Kenduri 1Malaysia” programme in conjunction with the Federal Territory Day celebrations at the Labuan International Lawn Bowls Arena near here on Saturday.

Also present were Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Isli, Senator Datuk Yunus Kurus, Secretary General to the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Seri Adnan Mohd. Ikhsan and Labuan Corporation Chief Executive Officer Azhar Ahmad.

Tengku Adnan said his ministry was also in talks with two businessmen to develop 500 acres of land for tourism-related industries.

In addition, he said his ministry had instructed the Labuan Corporation to look into how Boracay was promoted as a famous tourist island in the Philippines.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Lifeta Inspiracion: Introduction - Welcome to Sandakan city


Located in the North Borneo and the second largest city in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan the nature city is well known for it’s Orang Utan Rehabilitation centre and the only the only Bornean Sun bear rehab facility in the world.

From the wildlife to the historical places, Sandakan is one of the lonely planet in the world that still haven’t affected by the fast pace world.

The locals can mingle with each other no matter what are their religion, race and social status.

One of the famous thing about Sandakan people, they are so friendly and down to earth people.

Born and grew up in the place where I’m proud to call my hometown doesn’t meant that I know very well about my own city.

And that’s why I have taken the opportunity during my break from the corporate world to explore my hometown using two ways, the travellers and local way.

Surprisingly, I started learning more about my little hometown.


Sandakan locals

How to describe Sandakan people? What is their main characteristic? Are they friendly like Thai people?

The answer is, it will be always depending on the people that you will meet or had met.

Are they friendly? Yes they can be super friendly and some of the local will say hi to you and tell you, have a nice day.

They can be overreacting when they were star struck with the traveller and will ask you if they can take a photo with you.

The chances of them for doing that is 90% .If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be the infamous celebrity in Sandakan during your short stay.

Your will never know which one is the tycoon business as Sandakan people isn’t really into formality.

What are the chances for you to see the big boss wearing formal tuxedo and rushing into their meeting? The answer is ZERO.

Sandakan is the slow pace place and normally around 8pm-10pm, the most shops and restaurant have been closed.  Only local cafes, bistro and bar open until 1am.

While in the other part in the world, the rich will sit and have their coffee at the country club or the fine dining restaurant. Be prepared to be surprise. You will be surprise to see a group of business owner sit in the local coffee shops that don’t even have air-conditioning.

The millionaire will sit in the local coffee shop, wearing a typical local shirts, sitting down with their newspapers and instead of having $8dollar for a cup of coffee, they’ll drink $0.80 for a cup of coffee.

If you ever plan to make a business research in Sandakan, you better have a connection with someone that belongs to the Sandakan business society.

It can be tricky to detect rich people in Sandakan because they are practising the humility attitude.

When you speak with Sandakan people, always use the friendly tone. If you managed to capture their heart, you’ll find long-time bff or family.

The elderly in Sandakan can freak you out by suddenly welcoming you to the family and adopted you as their own children although you’re a stranger.

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Miri Country Music Fest - A hub for music


MIRI: Miri has what it takes to be the musical hub that can attract large number of tourists from Brunei, said Sarawak Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin.

This resort city had a reputation for being able to stage wonderful fests that showcase excellent blend of multi-ethnic and international music, he said at the opening ceremony of the Miri Country Music Fest 2017.

“Miri has the ability to stage big-scale music festivals.

“The city has been acknowledged as the place of unique cultural mix by locals and foreigners.

“This is portrayed by the rich heritage in music where we also have international jazz and country music festivals being held every year.

“Miri Country Music Fest 2017 brings together music bands from Sarawak and overseas such as the United States, Britain, Australia, Brunei, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Lee said this resort city played host every year to events like the Christmas parade, Hari Raya celebrations, Gawai Dayak celebrations and many music festivals.

“The city is a meeting place for everyone, including those from different culture and religions,” he added.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Miri Country Music Fest - A hub for music
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Miri needs greater international exposure, bigger online presence


MIRI: Sarawak is still an unknown tourism destination in many parts of the world.

As such, it needs to organise more international level events and such events have to be aggressively promoted including online to attract more tourists.

According to Assistant Minister for Tourism, Datuk Lee Kim Shin the home-grown Miri Country Music Festival (MCMF) is one excellent example of event that has international appeal.

“MCMF which is a private sector initiative has been successfully organised for the 4th year running and proven to be a sustainable tourism event.

“It has been featured in Asean50 Calendar of Events and thus has become an international musical event,” said Lee on Saturday night when declaring open the 4th MCMF here.

Also present were founder and advisor of MCMF, Gracie Geikie and senior officials of the festival collaborators – general manager of ParkCity Everly Hotel Andrew Law, MyMajor Events general manager Tony Nagamaiah, chief executive officer of MASwings Aminuddin Zakaria and Artistic director of MCMF Asif Pishori.

Lee thanked Place Borneo and collaborators for their commitment in making MCMF sustainable and successful besides getting more international and local media to cover the event.

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Kalimaran Festival to be held in Tenom in July


KENINGAU: The state-level Kalimaran Festival will be held at the Sabah Murut Cultural Centre in Kampung Pulong, Tenom in July.

Sabah Murut Association (PMS) president Datuk Rubin Balang said the festival held over the past ten years will highlight the various customs and culture of the Murut communities in the state.

“The festival aims to unite Muruts so that we can elevate and showcase our customs and culture to the present and future generations,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after officiating the district-level Kalimaran Festival at Kampung Limbawan here on Saturday, he said the customs and culture of the society inherited from their ancestors will continue to be maintained.

Rubin, who is also Kemabong assemblyman, said that PMS had been teaching the Murut language as the mother tongue of the Murut ethnic group in the state over the past few years.

“PMS and Murut communities thank the federal government for giving special provisions to the Murut Language Teaching Bureau headed by Senator Datuk Dr Lucas Umbul who has pioneered the teaching of native language in this community.

“The state government led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman has also allocated sufficient funds to organize this festival at the state level to be held at Sabah Cultural Murut Center at Kampong Pulong Tenom where the Sabah Cultural Board and PMS are jointly organizing this celebration,” he said.

Rubin said a total of RM300,000 will be allocated for financing the festival at the state level this year.

He said for the past three years from 2015 until this year, PMS had organized this festival at the district level where Murut tribes live in this state.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Little Time Out: Sarawak Cultural Village, Borneo


Gosh when it rains in Borneo…it really rains!

Yesterday we decided to take a trip out to the Sarawak cultural village, about 45 minutes from Kuching.

On our drive there it was raining a little, and as we got closer and closer, the rain got heavier and heavier!

Thankfully Den had brought along our raincoats, although mine no longer seems to have any waterproofing, so i indulged in a lovely blue poncho (read large plastic bag!) when we arrived!
Boy did I look the part!

On arriving we collected our little guidebooks/ passports which told us all about the different wooden buildings within the village, from the huge long house built on huge stilts to the beautiful Chinese house.

Each structure had a stamp to collect for our passport , always a winner with the girls!

We worked our way around the village, climbing the fantastic notched steps and bridges into each building, where you could find out about the different tribes and people that lived in each.

Some had ladies making traditional costumes, others had wood carvings…one even had sculls from the head hunting days (thankfully Daisy didn’t spot those!!).

We loved the bamboo bridges, complete with added streams, due to the amount of rain falling.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: A Little Time Out: Sarawak Cultural Village, Borneo
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Sabah losing iconic species fast


Kota Kinabalu: Sabah needs to act now to halt the steady loss of its flagship species of which the Proboscis monkey is one, said State Assistant Culture, Tourism and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Nyuk Ming.

"There was a time when rhinoceroses, elephants, bantengs, orangutans, proboscis monkeys, sun bears and clouded leopards roamed wild and abundant throughout the State, but we have to face the fact that we are losing these flagship species on a steadily declining basis," he said when closing the international Workshop on Proboscis Monkey Conservation in Sabah at Narada Hotel, Putatan.

"Their habitats are diminishing as the increasing human population requires even more space, food and, commodities and forests are logged, plantations established, infrastructure like bridges, roads and houses constructed over crucial wildlife habitats , driving the animals into smaller fragmented species."

He said characteristic of conventional development is crushed spaces which have become too small to sustain large populations while small populations have become isolated and unable to join groups as their traditional migrational routes are cut off by human settlements.

"Actually we cannot say that we don't know the downhill trend of the orangutan, proboscis monkey populations and implication of the proposed Sukau bridge and highway because the Sabah Wildlife Department in collaboration with Danau Girang Field Centre and Hutan issue updates of their important research and scientific papers which are published in important local press, social media every month.

"In terms of the Proboscis monkey, we have to face the fact that we are losing this flagship species due to an increase of fragmentation and encroachment of riparian reserves, clearing for example of mangroves habitats like Pitas or shrimp farming," Pan acknowledged.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Sabah losing iconic species fast
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Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Apocalyst: How to see Orang-utans in Borneo on a Budget


Most people head to Borneo for one thing: the wildlife. In particular, the Bornean orang-utan. Whether you’re planning to visit in the future, or you’re already on the beautiful island, one thing might be clear to you – it can be extremely expensive to see the great apes, and for those people travelling on a budget, it can seem out of range. 

I recently visited Borneo, saw the orang-utans at Sepilok rehabilitation centre, and booked a 3d2n river cruise full of wildlife, with accommodation and food for less than £150, including flights from Kota Kinabalu. In this article, I’m going to show you how it’s not only possible to do it cheaper, but how to maximise your possibility of seeing these elusive creatures, plus see the other wildlife Borneo has to offer. I will include all my outgoings, and offer alternatives towards the end.

Getting to Sepilok

Most people arrive in Borneo at Kota Kinabalu International Airport, and whilst some people transfer straight to Sandakan, I wanted to explore KK first (NB. there isn’t much to see in Sandakan either). There were a lot of tours on offer from the hotel and from travel agents, but as I did my research, it didn’t seem very cost effective or time efficient. Kota Kinabalu is a 6 hour drive to the orang-utan centre, meaning a return trip will strike a full day off your trip, and you would pay a good price on top.

What’s more, a lot of the river cruises charged an extra fee to include the orang-utan centre, making it even more expensive; the best price I could find for a 2D1N cruise, without Sepilok included was around 500rm, and included the 6 hour bus ride each way. I decided to look into booking each part separately to compare prices. The results were surprising…

Before we start, a quick note for those people who are very limited in their time. It is possible to do the orang-utan centre as a day trip from KK – flights are relatively inexpensive.

<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">Also, at the rehabilitation centre, the orang-utans aren’t necessarily completely wild, so a river cruise gives you the chance to see them in the wild. But if you are pushed for time, it’s an option; get the 06.30 AirAsia flight out of KK, and the 19.50 flight back giving you a full day at the Orang-utan centre, or a morning there, and the afternoon at the sun bear centre.
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">Anyway, onto how I did it… The trip I’m going to set out takes 4 days, returning to KK.
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">Day one – Orang-utan centre
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">I started my day as mentioned above, with an early flight to Sandakan (my return flight was 160rm). From KK, use an Uber taxi instead of the regular taxis and it will cost you around 12rm. Also return flights work out cheaper than 2 single flights. Don’t worry about checking baggage in, you can fit your clothes in a normal bag, and at least when I flew they didn’t worry about the liquid restrictions, so take your insect repellent!
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">The flight is just over half an hour, so by 7.15 you are in Sandakan. No Uber here though so buy a coupon from the taxi counter for Sepilok (40rm) and get on your way. Try to find someone to share your ride with and you can half this fare. NB. There is no ATM in Sepilok so if you need money, visit the ATM in the airport.
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">The taxi ride will take around half an hour, and the centre doesn’t open until 9, so you have time for breakfast at the reasonably priced on-site café (10rm including coffee). When the centre opens at 9am, pay your 30rm fee and 10rm camera fee. NB if you have a good camera phone, you don’t have to pay the camera fee. So get a Samsung!
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: The Apocalyst: How to see Orang-utans in Borneo on a Budget
<150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your=""><150rm 10rm="" 30rm="" a="" add="" all="" and="" bad="" br="" but="" camera="" could="" day="" do="" entrance="" fee.="" fee="" food="" for="" heading="" if="" in="" is="" it="" less="" little="" make="" makes="" me="" most="" not="" of="" only="" per="" person.="" plus="" re="" return="" sense="" taxi="" than="" that="" the="" there.="" this="" time="" to="" trip="" way="" you="" your="">.
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Philippine Airlines to spread wings to Sabah


KOTA KINABALU: Philippine Airlines is considering incorporating Kota Kinabalu and also Sandakan as some of its destinations.

Its vice president Ryan T. Uy said the airline is currently studying the available routes in Sabah.

“We used to fly to Kota Kinabalu. We know that Kota Kinabalu has a large Filipino population,” said Ryan.

He said the airline is well aware that the people of Sabah are in need of more flight options.

“There are Sabahans who would want to fly to North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and China,” he Ryan.

By having Kota Kinabalu as one of its destinations, it will be easier for Sabahans to travel to these countries, he added.

The Asean countries are also currently being looked into by Philippine Airlines, and it is planning to link more Sabahans to its neighboring Asean countries via its Manila hub, Ryan told the media during the re-launch of the Philippine Airlines’ direct flight between Kuala Lumpur and Manila yesterday.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Philippine Airlines to spread wings to Sabah
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Friday, February 24, 2017

Discovery Asia preps “Frontier Borneo”


Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific is gearing up for the premiere of the 10-part blue chip natural history series Frontier Borneo.

Produced by Singapore-based Beach House Pictures and Kyanite TV, the series explores the rich biodiversity of the world’s third largest island while tracing a cast of characters attempting to protect and preserve the region.

Narrated by Luke Evans, the 10 x 30-minute docuseries utilized the latest in filmmaking technology—from aerial photography to underwater cameras—to capture never-before-seen images of Borneo, revealing the island’s landscape and the reality of frontier living.

Beach House and Kyanite partnered up with a wide range of local organizations, from the government-run Sabah Parks and Sarawak Forestry Department, to international research units and wildlife rescue centers.

The series is produced through the largest factual copro agreement between Singapore and Malaysia to date. Beach House collaborated with Malaysian content producer Kyanite TV, alongside Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, UKTV, Media Development Authority of Singapore and the National Film Development Corporation.

Chiara Bellati served as series showrunner for Beach House and Kyanite.

Frontier Borneo will premiere digitally tonight (Feb. 24) at 9 p.m. on Astro on the Go, four days prior to the launch on linear. The series will then debut across linear television across Discovery Channel in Asia-Pacific on Feb. 28 at 9:55 p.m.

It’s slated to debut via multi-channel broadcaster UKTV later this year before moving across several territories worldwide via distribution house TVF.

“We really wanted this series to paint the world’s third largest island in an entirely different light,” Bryan Seah, head of original content for Southeast Asia at Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific told realscreen.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Discovery Asia preps “Frontier Borneo”
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Proboscis are worse off in Sabah


Kota Kinabalu: The survival of the proboscis monkey in Sabah is becoming more urgent now that their numbers are half that of the orang utans.

There are presently only 6,000 individuals scattered in pockets of mangrove forests across Sabah, compared to over 12,000 orang utans in the wild, and the numbers are shrinking due to several reasons.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said a pragmatic policy had to be formulated to ensure the conservation of wildlife does not hamper development demanded by the growing population.

"Both population and also wildlife are equally important. And development is not just about building towers but also to ensure that the future generations would also be able to see the wildlife.

"We don't want to see them in the zoos or let them suffer the fate of the Tasmanian tiger which is now gone forever," he said, when launching the three-day Proboscis Monkey International Workshop and Conference, here, Thursday.

A number of local and international experts have converged here to look at and recommend their views to formulate a protection plan for the proboscis monkey in Sabah.

The workshop is organised by the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Sabah Wildlife Department and funded by Sime Darby Foundation. The publication of the action plan is expected to be completed in June this year.

Earlier, Sabah Wildlife Assistant Director Dr Sen Nathan said the population of the proboscis monkeys has been declining ever since the last major survey done on them in 2005.

In giving the conference keynote address, he pointed out the population had been scattered around the State and shrinking due to a number of threats namely, forest fragmentation, hunting and loss of habitat from intensified human activities.

"The sight of proboscis monkeys ending up as roadkill is also fast becoming a common sight especially in the East Coast," he said.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Proboscis are worse off in Sabah
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Proboscis Monkey Action Plan for Sabah


KOTA KINABALU: International and local scientists, governmental agencies as well as industry players are aiming to draft a policy for the conservation of the proboscis monkey in Sabah during the Proboscis Monkey Workshop here from February 23 to 25.

The workshop, organised by Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), will see several experts propose recommendations to protect the proboscis monkey based on findings from a five-year extensive research on the endangered species conducted by DGFC and SWD.

A Proboscis Monkey Action Plan for Sabah will then be drafted based on the proposed recommendations gleaned from the workshop.

DGFC director, Dr Benoit Goossens said he hoped the action plan would be adopted by the state government for implementation so as to save the species endemic to Borneo, which is threatened by habitat loss and forest fragmentation in Sabah.

“For the past five years, SWD and DGFC have been collecting crucial information on proboscis monkey population in Sabah including demography, behavior, genetics, and health.”

“We carried out surveys along rivers, including the Kinabatangan, Segama, Klias, Sugut rivers to name a few, and collected blood samples from many individuals for genetic analysis.”

“Information on genetic isolation, lack of gene flow between population, risks of inbreeding and extinction will be discussed during this workshop,” he said in a statement here, yesterday.

Dr Goossens also said the workshop would see input from all relevant stakeholders namely government department officers; representatives from NGOs, tourism and palm oil industry; local communities; scientists and experts to formulate pragmatic solutions for the conservation of the proboscis monkey.

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) has been supporting the DGFC since April 2011 with a total commitment of RM3.96 million over a period of six years.

The DGFC’s research on proboscis monkey is one of three crucial research projects being conducted by the research organisation on endangered, endemic species to Borneo found in the Kinabatangan area.

The DGFC’s two other vital research projects are on the Sunda clouded leopard and Bornean banteng. YSD governing council member, Caroline Christine Russell said the foundation was proud to sponsor important research projects on the three endemic species of Borneo – the proboscis monkey, Sunda clouded leopard and Bornean banteng – with the ultimate aim of developing actions plans for their conservation.

“DGFC under the SWD is our dedicated partner in achieving these objectives. The conference and workshop involving subject matter experts from all over the world is an important milestone achieved in our first project with DGFC, to save the proboscis monkeys,” she said.

Caroline also said DGFC’s research on the population of proboscis monkey in Sabah was important for the survival of the endangered endemic species, in view of large developments occurring in high conservation value areas such as the lower Kinabatangan area.

“An example would be the newly proposed Sukau bridge, which threatens to further fragment forest areas, increasing pressure on a species already under threat by human activities.”

“We hope that the state government will incorporate the recommendations proposed by scientists, experts and industry players who refer to scientific findings from our research, for action plan implementation to ensure that precious proboscis monkeys continue to exist in the forests of Sabah,” she added.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Borneo Jazz Festival expands its musical outreach


KUCHING: The Borneo Jazz Festival is back to celebrate its 12th anniversary at ParkCity Everly Hotel, Miri from May 12-13.

This year’s festival features international jazz acts like Laila Biali from Canada, CaboCuba Jazz from the Netherlands and Delgres from Guadaloupe/France, said Sarawak Tourism in a press statement yesterday.

At Canada’s National Jazz Awards, Laila was named Composer of the Year and Keyboardist of the Year by Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (Socan), while her album ‘Tracing Light’ was nominated for a Juno award for Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year in 2011.

Laila has since gone on to become an internationally acknowledged vocalist and pianist with words of praise from artistes such as Sting who said “Laila is an exciting and unique talent, and I admire her greatly”.

CaboCuba Jazz has toured various jazz festivals such as the Havana Jazz Festival in 2014 and Israel tour in 2016; its lead singer Dina Medina was Best Female Singer of Cape Verde 2012.

The band formed in the Netherlands but the members and their music are rooted in Cuba and Cape Verde melodies, creating a fast-paced sub-genre that borders on the adventurous.

Meanwhile, Delgres showcases traditional Blues with an Afro-Caribbean accent from the days of Napoleon, taking you from Louisiana to Guadeloupe and back.

The statement further revealed that bands from Japan, South Africa, Italy, USA, Taiwan and other countries from around the world will be performing at the festival.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Borneo Jazz Festival expands its musical outreach
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Sarawak steps up wetlands conservation


MIRI: Environmentally-unfriendly development will not be allowed to be carried out in the 600ha Kuala Baram Wetlands project site near the Sarawak-Brunei border.

Sarawak Environment and Resources Planning Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said there would be tight control over any development projects in the area, 25km from here.

Speaking at a gathering at the Kuala Baram mosque, he said the Kuala Baram Wetlands was an ecologically-fragile area where rare migratory birds from around the world took shelter.

“The state government will only allow projects that do not disturb the ecosystem to be carried out in the Kuala Baram Wetlands.

“We will not allow projects that can cause serious impact on the environment and animals, particularly the birds,” he said.

Aggressive replanting of trees must be carried out to support the wetlands as a haven for endangered migratory birds, he added.

Tengah said a major tree-replanting programme was needed because many plots of land in Kuala Baram had been cleared.

“Areas affected by development projects like land clearing for industrial buildings and residential estates should be earmarked for regreening.

“We need to replant plenty of trees and bushes since the wetlands have been confirmed as a transit pathway for migratory birds which escaped the winter season.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Sarawak steps up wetlands conservation
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

TheBudgetSavvyTravelers: Real Life Jungle Book – What to expect at Borneo Rainforest Lodge


Traveling to wild, remote destinations can take you back to a different time or place. Whether it’s the feeling of playing outdoors as a child, or capturing the essence of a turn of the century explorer, adventure awakens your senses and shakes the soul.

In an overly digital world, at Borneo Rainforest Lodge visitors can find that rejuvenating connection with nature and more importantly, a reconnection to one another.


Why Borneo Rainforest Lodge?

Have you ever come across a photo, possibly in a magazine or on an advertisement, which completely grabbed your attention? My fascination with Borneo Rainforest Lodge started this way.

One day, I was on Pinterest, trying to satisfy my wanderlust by scrolling through inspirational travel photos.

I came across a photo of a canopy walk, hanging high above a misty rainforest.

At that moment, I was determined to someday escape to this far off place full of wildlife, adventure, and natural beauty.

When the day came when we finally arrived at the lodge, it was hard not to get emotional.

I felt I was in the midst of a great travel icon – no differently than standing at the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Rome’s Colosseum.


Our Journey Deep into the Rainforest

Part of the allure of staying at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge was the opportunity to be pampered in the middle of a dense jungle.

Located in the isolated Danum Valley, getting there is no easy feat.

From Kota Kinabalu we took a propeller plane to Lahad Datu.

From Lahad Datu airport we traveled overland for almost three hours in a rugged 4×4 to reach the lodge.

Much of the ride to the lodge is bumpy, through a thick, impressive forest.

Although the windy roads tried to lure us to sleep, we forced ourselves to stay awake.

Thankfully, we were awarded with our first orangutan sighting!

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Cost-effective strategies needed in Sabah tourism industry


KOTA KINABALU: Tourism players need to find cost-effective strategies that generate better returns for their investment on promotion campaigns to attract tourists to Sabah, said Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

“We need to maximise the return of investment for every ringgit spent by being more selective in choosing the best marketing and promotion platform which saves cost and generate stronger returns,” he told reporters yesterday after officiating the seminar on Maximising Investments on Trade Shows organised by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta).

In keeping with the changing trends in the tourism market, Masidi highlighted the ministry through the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) had intensified digital marketing to promote Sabah through social media platforms which was a quicker way to reach the target markets with better results at low cost.

“Our price rationalisation exercise has translated to better savings; for every ringgit spent last year, we gained back RM300,” Masidi said, adding among the measures include the cutting the cost of promotion and non-renewal of contract for trade representatives in Australia.

In response to the move, he said: “For me, it’s simple because if the market segment seems to be moving every year, then there is no need to spend additional money there.”

Sabah’s tourist arrivals has seen record tourist arrivals in 2016, according to Masidi, with an all-time-high of 3.427 million visitors, injecting RM7.25 billion tourist receipts into the state economy.

Gordon Yapp, General Manager of STB, noted the ministry-linked agency is intensifying digital marketing to promote Sabah through popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Weibo and Wechat, to reach targeted market overseas.

He said the strategy involves digital marketing on Sabah’s tourist attractions; for instance, short promotional videos, which can be generate a multiplier effect, generating millions of online viral hits reaching the target audience quickly.

“Our online marketing project started last year, it’s a strategy that its working very well as we connect quickly to an increasingly web savvy market,” Gordon said, adding the STB will also continue bringing travel agents to Sabah to view the state’s prized natural attractions.

Sabah Tourism’s move in improving cost-effectiveness of marketing received support from Dato Mohmed Razip Hasan, Malaysian Tourism Board Senior Director of International Promotion Division (America, Europe and Oceania).

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Miri Country Music Festival to return


MIRI: The fourth Miri Country Music Festival (MCMF) will take place this Saturday and Sunday (Feb 25-26) at ParkCity Everly Hotel here.

MCMF artistic director Asif Ben Pishori said the bands selected would bring to the stage ‘a diverse refreshing twist of styles’.

“It will be a fusion of traditional country music genres – Bluegrass, Roots, Rock N Roll, Rhythm and Blues, Folk, Americana, Soul and even Celtic country together with a mix of traditional Irish and Scottish music; to name a few.

“When I started pulling together the line-up of MCMF 2017, I wanted to choose something different to what we had presented before. We had over 40 applications from bands and artistes from around the globe hoping for a chance to occupy a slot at MCMF 2017.”

The Malaysian bands are Raggy Project from Penang, Adi and Maha from Sabah, as well as the homegrown Mountain Wind Band and Country Road Band.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Miri Country Music Festival to return
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Calling for entries for Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari


KAPIT: The organising committee for this year’s Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari is calling for entries for the two-day raft race which will be held on April 1 and 2.

Chairing the committee meeting held in the conference room of the State Office Complex at Jalan Bleteh here recently, Kapit Resident, Joseph Belayong Punan who is also the organising chairman, told the press that participants from both local and outside teams are invited to take part in the competition.

“The entry forms are available from Kapit Resident Office. We will distribute the entry forms to all the ministries and resident offices in the state with effect from Monday, Feb 20 as we want more participation this year,” he said.

He disclosed that the rafting competition has five main categories: Men’s Bamboo Open, Men’s Bamboo Closed (Inter-Department), Women’s Bamboo Open, Free Style and Paddle Boat—the last two categories are open to both men and women. The paddle event is to remind the people of the importance of water transport in earlier days which until today, remains the main mode of transport here in the absence of a road network.

The first flag-off point for this year’s Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari is at Rumah Ansi, Nanga Sepajie at Sungai Majau, a tributary of Mujong River.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing is expected to officiate at the first flag-off.

The trip from Rumah Ansi to Kapit is estimated to take about 6–7 hours, along the Rajang River, Baleh River, Sungai Mujong and Sungai Majau. The rafters will be able to enjoy the pristine clear water of Sungai Majau while at the same time take in scenic views of Iban longhouses along the river. Rumah Ansi comprises some 29 families.

Belayong cautioned rafters that Sungai Majau has numerous boulders and rocks across the river that pose a danger to river users.

“However this is good as this will make the rafting competition more challenging” he said.

Meanwhile, the second flag-off point for the race is at Rumah Along at Nanga Majau which has some 18 families. Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi is expected to officiate at this flag-off.

This year marks the 22nd edition of the annual international rafting competition since it was introduced in 1996.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Calling for entries for Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Huge tourism potential in Padawan


KUCHING: Penrissen and Padawan areas are a huge adventure playground and leading destination for sports tourism due to their diverse and panoramic landscapes.

Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) deputy chairman Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim pointed out that the myriad landscapes, natural beauty, historical heritage, cultural diversity, sports and recreational activities promised plenty of thrills and experience for visitors.

“There are so many unique and attractive destinations, tourism products and activities that bring people, both locals and foreigners, to the area,” he said at the MPP Appreciation Night held at Riverside Majestic Lounge here on Friday.

As such, he added that it was not surprising that Borneo Highland which hosts the annual nature challenge, became the location of choice for many outdoor sporting activities like hiking, trekking, marathon, triathlon and cycling.

Among the notable sporting events that MPP has organised and hosted are the Borneo Highland Resort Nature Challenge, Hash Run, Padawan Raft Safari and Padawan 4×4 International Challenge.

“More importantly, organising these events bring considerable impact and benefits to the areas as well as to the local community especially in providing a stream of economic activities and enhancing community participation that helps to build and develop the entire area and community,” he said.

“There’s no doubt such healthy leisure and sporting events are able to draw people to the areas, often in large numbers, where they will spend money and contribute to spurring economic growth in the area,” he added.

Ahmad hoped MPP would continue to lead in organising more sporting events to promote and put Padawan on the world map.

“Hopefully the Padawan 4×4 International Challenge can happen this year as it was postponed last year due to unforeseen circumstances,” he said.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Huge tourism potential in Padawan
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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Cook the Beans: Sarawak – Island of Borneo


Sarawak Borneo will amaze you with its culture and natural beauty.

The Island of Borneo has probably one of the most richest and diverse ecosystems I ever seen, but unfortunately many of its forests have been lost for oil palm, putting wildlife and people in danger.

I started my trip in the capital Kuching and I used bus, boat, motorbike, bicycle, and mini vans to travel, this are the places I visited :

>> Kuching  / Santubong peninsula / Bako National Park / Semenggoh Nature Reserve/ Bau / Kubah National Park

Explore Kuching and it’s old colonial charm by foot, loosing yourself in its magnificent streets from china town, indian neighbourhood and the river front.

I highly recommend you to visit the museums they are really good, look up for street art and don’t miss the sunset in the river front.

To visit the other side of the river, get one of the local boats (1RM each side), go for a walk,  enjoy the view and try a traditional Kek Lapis (layer cake).

In Kuching you can rent a motor bike in the city for 40RM a day to explore the the small villages around including Santubong Peninsula, a nice  quite town with great views and beaches.

I went to the Matang wildlife centre but I don’t recommend it at all, they may do a good job at rescuing and helping the animals but they are all in small cages, I found it quite depressing.

We got the red bus nº1 stopped in front of the open market in Kuching to Bako National Park (3.50RM) the park entry is 20 RM, and the boat 40RM both ways (runs from 8 to 15h).

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Cook the Beans: Sarawak – Island of Borneo
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Local Sarawak handicrafts recognised by Unesco/World Crafts Council


KUCHING: Seven types of handicrafts from Sarawak have been awarded the prestigious Unesco/World Crafts Council Award of Excellence 2016.

The seven award-winning handicrafts are Sarawak ‘Kabo’ (bead necklace) by Livan Handicrafts; Sarawak ‘Livan’ (bead necklace) by Livan Handcrafts; bamboo pattern baskets by Bengkel Pembuatan Beg; Penan ‘Ajat’ sling bag by Barefoot Mercy; Tanoti ‘Sampin’ in Shimmery Gold featuring traditional Malay motifs by Tanoti Sdn Bhd; Rattan Coil Platters by Long Lamai Community by Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas); and Indigo ‘Pua Kumbu’ silk ‘ikat’ stole by Nancy Ngali.

Society Atelier Sarawak (The Arts and Crafts Society of Sarawak Malaysia) president Edric Ong revealed this achievement at a press conference here yesterday.

He said the Unesco/World Crafts Council Award of Excellence 2016 programme was held in Kuwait last September and was granted to 118 submissions from a total of 246 entries from the Asia Pacific Region from six sub-regions juried by an international panel of 11 experts.

“The award programme aimed to encourage artisans to produce handicrafts that use traditional skills, patterns and themes in an innovative way, to ensure the continuity and sustainability of these traditions and skills so as to set quality standards.

“Also, (it is) to raise international awareness and strengthen the promotional potential for handicraft products to enable them to compete in the global market and automatically increase the welfare of the craftsmen,” Ong said.

He pointed out the range of submissions was highly diverse, including traditionally woven textiles, embroidery, natural fibres, ceramics, wood carvings and inlay, metal work, stone carvings and other materials.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

World Wide Water Closets: Kuching, Borneo


“Prepare for landing,” the Captain said as we hovered over Kuching. As we began our decent, we started to see fireworks. We continued to look and saw at least a dozen firework shows in the city. Our Malay seatmate told us that Chinese New Year celebrations would continue until midnight. Colors lit up the night sky and it felt a little magical.

Nick and I enjoyed some live local music at the Culture Club, the bar located next to our hostel before bed. We discussed how quickly our trip was happening and promised this trip would not be our last. This day was a great day, I felt so happy. The kind people I met that day, the unexpected views and excitement of new places remind me why I love to travel.


Bako National Park

Nick and I took an hour long bus ride and choppy ocean boat ride to Bako National Park. Bako was established in 1957, and has 11 sq. miles of protected rainforest. Although arriving in the late afternoon,Nick and I wasted no time and hiked to 3 lookout points. We enjoyed coastal views and spotted a sleeping flying lemur, bearded pig and Proboscis Monkeys.

Bako felt a little like summer camp. We had a cabin with other camp mates, we ate overpriced mediocre cafeteria food and signed up for the guided night hike. It felt like the rainforest came alive a night. We saw so many unique animals, including: luminescent fungus, luminescent worms, fresh water cat fish, tarantulas, stick bugs, giant ants, green poison frogs, birds, green vipor snakes and an owl. We learned that giant ants can be used as stitches, when they bite a wound you can pinch off its body. We also learned that female stick bugs will eat the male after having sex.

The next morning we got an early start and hiked up to a secluded jungle waterfall/ natural pool. The water was dark red in color and the floor of the pool consisted of smooth rock. We were thankful we found this oasis as swimming on the beaches was prohibited due to crocodiles.

We learned that a handful of people are killed every year by crocodiles in Sarawak. We hiked to a view point where we met some monkeys and watched the tide come in. The waves crashed against the rocks, the wind blew and the coconut trees swayed.

We returned to Kuching and spent the next day at Semenggoh Nature Reserve. We hiked on a trail to a feeding platform and watched semi-wild orangutans swing from tree to tree over our heads. We watched Edwin, the oldest male who had already begun to develop check pads, another male, mother, and her child enjoy bananas and coconuts. I could have spent hours watching them.

Humans closest relative, these endangered orangutans had so much character and personality. In addition to the apes, we had the opportunity to check out 2 crockadiles. One female burried her eggs and an employee told us they would release the babies into the river. We couldn’t imagine stumbling upon one of these 10 foot monsters (can grow up to 25 ft. long).

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: World Wide Water Closets: Kuching, Borneo
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AirAsia to launch direct flights from JB to Tawau


Tawau will be connected directly to Johor Bahru (JB) through AirAsia's four times weekly direct flights, beginning April 28, 2017.

In a statement Thursday, Head of Commercial for AirAsia Bhd, Spencer Lee, said AirAsia was the only airline that offered this direct flight.

"We aim to strengthen the connectivity within our network and the introduction of this route is a great example of our commitment," he said.

He said the seats for the new route were available for booking online at Airasia.com with promotional seats available from now until Feb 19, 2017, and between April 28, 2017 and Feb 6, 2018.

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Kuching plays host to the Asean International Film Festival and Award (Aiffa) 2017 again


KUCHING: The Asean International Film Festival & Award (Aiffa) 2017 which promises to be more exciting will be held here again from May 4 to 6.

Held for the third time here since 2013, the biennial event will coincide with Asean 50th anniversary. The organiser believes that international delegates and the media fraternity, including non-Asean countries, will converge here.

This year’s event will also be very interesting and exciting with a new activity – cast of cats – being included, in an attempt to enter  the Guinness World Record for the largest crowd dressed in cat costumes.

“Aiffa 2017 promises even more exciting activities for everyone. International, Asean and Malaysian delegates and film enthusiasts will enjoy the educational cafe crawl.

“The world record attempt on the opening night (May 4) at Kuching Amphitheatre will be very interesting and exciting,” said Aiffa  festival director Livan Tajang at the soft launching at Grand Margherita, here yesterday.

Assistant Minister for Arts and Culture Datuk John Sikie Tayai officiated at the function.

Aiffa 2017 has also introduced the Young Cuts Sarawak Youth Short Film Education and Competition, to provide a new opportunity for aspiring local film makers between 18 and 25 years to take part.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sabah plans new rules on sea salvage after WWII wreck controversy


KOTA KINABALU: New rules and guidelines for salvaging in Sabah will be introduced following a massive controversy over the removal of three World War II shipwrecks in Usukan Bay here.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun conceded that the controversy was “not a good first time experience”, but that authorities could learn from the mistakes moving forward.

“To prevent a similar incident in the future, we will get the experts to lay down some ground rules. Each application will be vetted by all the ministries involved, and will involve my ministry via the permanent secretary.

“The exploration license issued by the Sabah Museum has to be followed up by report before any salvaging or removal works can be carried out,” he said, adding that the historical value and other welfare has to be taken into consideration before such a decision can be made.

The issue made global headlines when the tourism and diving industry complained that three World War II shipwrecks, about half an hour boat ride from Kuala Abai here, have almost disappeared from uncontrolled salvaging.

The Japanese cargo vessels ? Kokusei Maru, Higane Maru and Hiyori Maru ? sank off the coast of Sabah in 1944 along with the crew, and later became popular dive sites and fishing spots for locals.

Tourism Malaysia diving advisor Clement Lee estimated that the removal of the wrecks have cost the state some RM2 million in potential tourism receipts per year.

“The World War II shipwrecks were definitely an attraction to Sabah. It is irreplaceable,” he said.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sabah hits record tourist numbers for 2016


KOTA KINABALU — Sabah’s tourism industry had its best year ever in 2016, achieving record tourist arrivals and tourism receipts despite headwinds.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said Sabah received an all-time high of 3.43 million tourist arrivals and RM7.25 billion tourism receipts.

“International visitors alone saw a 15.4 per cent increase and, unsurprisingly, China was the biggest contributor, recording a 51.8 per cent increase from the year before,” he said, adding that Australia was also an emerging market, despite having only one direct flight a week from Perth.

Total tourist arrivals saw an increase of 7.9 per cent from 2015’s 3,176,226 visitors, while tourism receipts rose 9.7 per cent from RM6.61 billion.

“Despite all the challenges we faced last year, we still recorded an increase, and achieved a record number,” said Masidi during a press conference at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport today.

Sabah’s previous best was in 2013, with 3,383,243 arrivals.

Its tourism industry was subsequently depressed by high-profile abductions on the state’s east coast, the disappearance of MH370 in 2014, and other incidents.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Sabah hits record tourist numbers for 2016
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Miri City Council to further explore tourism potentials in Resort City


MIRI: The Miri City Council (MCC) will look at all avenues to further explore the tourism potentials in the Resort City.

Miri mayor Adam Yii said in order to make Miri a place worth visiting, local tourism operators need to further explore the tourism potentials in the city and to make existing tourism products more appealing to the visitors particularly foreign tourists.

“We need to intensify the existing tourism promotion in the city. We want to make Miri not only as the northern gateway to Sarawak but a city for tourism activities,” he stated while commending the MCC’s brochure sub-committee’s Miri City Tour recently.

A total of 30 people including the mayor, councillors, representatives from Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and local tourism operators as well as the council officers joined the half day tour to places of interest in the city.

They visited the places which have been packaged in the city tour brochure such as oldest Tua Pek Kong Temple, Miri Marina Commercial Centre, Tamu Muhhibah, Luak Esplanade, Kuala Baram Wetland and Miri Crocodile Farm.

Yii gave his thumb-up to the visit which enabled the officials to experience the problems or obtain feedbacks on the tourism spots.

The issues highlighted by the local tourism operators among others were that the tourist busses having to park illegally as there were no bus parking lots for them in Miri and the access road to Canada Hill too narrow for buses to traverse.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Reduced MASwings flights frequency in Sabah and Sarawak effective Feb 20


KUCHING: MASwings will be reducing its ATR flights’ frequency on selected routes in order to allow the aircraft fleet to undergo mandatory maintenance which is scheduled from Feb 20 until the end of the year.

According to a press release, eight ATR aircraft will be going for Heavy Maintenance Visit (HMV) in 2017. This visit is mandatory by the aircraft manufacturer to ensure the operating aircraft meets airworthiness requirements and standards.

MASwings recently announced a refurbishment programme called Fleet Improvement Programme (FIP) to improve aircraft reliability and customer experience.  MASwings has obtained the necessary approval from Ministry of Transportation (MOT) Malaysia to reduce flight frequency of selected routes prior to this announcement.

The flight frequency for Kota Kinabalu-Lahad Datu (35X to 28X); Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan (28X to 21X); Miri-Limbang (21X to 14X); Kota Kinabalu-Miri (28X to 21X) and Miri-Labuan (35X to 28X) will be reduced by one flight on a daily basis.

MASwings also reiterated that the scheduled maintenance programme including the FIP will improve on-time performance, customer experience and win back public confidence to fly on MASwings.

In view of the frequency reduction and retiming of services arising from this exercise, MASwings has initiated a reallocation exercise to affected passengers by offering options for new dates and departure times or full refunds at MASwings/ Malaysia Airlines ticket offices.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Century-old Miri Chinese temple offers great tourism potential


MIRI: The 103-year-old Tua Pek Kong Temple here can be further improved upon and promoted as a tourism product, as it has captivating architectural features that attract both local and foreign tourists.

According to Assistant Minister for Sarawak Tourism Datuk Lee Kim Shin, the temple is not only beautiful to look at but it also has a captivating history.

“This temple may be a common sight for Mirians but for the visitors, the over 100-year-old religious structure is highly captivating and has great history, which is just as captivating,” he said in his address at a Chap Goh Mei celebration hosted by the temple committee at its premises here on Saturday night.

Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting, Miri Mayor Adam Yii, Miri Chinese Charity Trust Board deputy chairman Pemanca Yong Vui Seng and person-in-charge of the temple Tay Choon Wei were among the honourable guests.

Lee, who is Senadin assemblyman, called upon the temple committee to always ensure the cleanliness of the place.

“Cleanliness is very important, as this temple is not only open to worshippers but also to visitors,” he said.

The Tua Pek Kong is the oldest temple in this division, having survived the world wars and several fire breakouts. Its building is an architectural marvel, with elaborate designs adorning its pillars and raised dragon motifs on its walls.

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