Monday, August 31, 2015

Rainforest World Music Festival - World Music to Add to Your Next Playlist

Earlier this month the Sarawak Cultural Village, just outside of Kuching, Malaysia, hosted its 18th annual Rainforest World Music Festival. Each year the festival brings together indigenous musicians from Borneo and renowned groups from around the world with the mission to unite artists and concertgoers alike through the diversity of music.

Set at the foot of Mount Santubong in the lush rainforest of the Damai Peninsular, the Cultural Village, designated a “living museum,” is comprised of a number of huts, longhouses (traditional communal village house), small theaters, food tents and of course, stages. Adding another distinct element to the location, the venue is circular, with a series of wooden boardwalks connecting the raised buildings so music being played on the main stage can be heard throughout.

I was lucky enough to experience all three days of festivities and take in the workshops, ethno-musical lectures, jam sessions, dance lessons and concerts held each afternoon. In attending workshops on Aka Pygmy music and life, the Maloya chanting of Réunion Island and the Boduberu trance-inducing music of the Maldives, all too quickly it became apparent that there were so many fascinating genres of world music I was completely oblivious to. For this reason, here are six musical categories and groups I suggest you add to your next playlist.


Of all the types of music that I wasn’t previously aware of, this is the one that I really, really wish I could have stumbled upon years ago. Calypso is recognized as the national music of Trinidad and Tobago, the land from which it originated. The style is rooted in Afro-Caribbean music and can be traced back to the West African Kaiso style; one that was introduced by the enslaved Ibibio people of southeast Nigeria who were brought to Trinidad.

Calypso can be characterized by its use of call and response, percussive rhythmic beats and extemporaneous singing. Original calypsos were typically sung in French Creole by griots, West African storytellers, historians, musicians and those carrying on oral traditions. The Rainforest World Music festival welcomed the calypso group Kobo Town, which was a major hit with the audience and one of my personal favorites.


Boduberu is a popular form of folk music and dance native to the Maldives and dating back to the 11th century. Similar styles of music can be found in east and southwest Africa. Boduberu groups most commonly consist of 15 to 20 members with roughly three to four drummers and one lead singer (the rest act as a chorus).

The way boduberu music unfolds is that as the song builds and rhythm picks up, chorus members who feel inspired to dance will leave the line up and move to the front to express themselves however they feel inclined. Typical dance is very high energy–often frenzied, and dancers are known to go into trances. Since the music is commonly sung during festive occasions, spectators are also encouraged to join in. Check out the video below of Harubee, a popular Maldivian band that performed at this year’s RWMF.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Borneo without a plan: Kota Kinabalu & Sandakan

We had to leave Indonesia. Our visa said so. So we started planning.

We played with the idea of visiting Singapore–one of the cheapest international flights from Denpasar. We scrapped that idea when we learned there would be a city-wide anniversary celebration and the already high prices would be inflated.

We were almost convinced we’d go to East Timor. How many people get to say they’ve been to East Timor? But when airline ticket prices seemed a bit steep we ditched that idea too.

Then the idea of Borneo appeared. We could go to Malaysian Borneo; we both love Malaysia and Borneo has orangutans…and proboscis monkeys and rainforest! A price check showed round-trip tickets at around $150 USD–we could do that! We booked the tickets.

    A side note on Malaysia:

    I’m going to let you in on a little secret… Malaysia is amazing. It was one of my biggest surprises while travelling in Southeast Asia. There’s no shortage of people gushing about Thailand, Vietnam, The Philippines…but Malaysia–it’s just so underappreciated. Read about one of my getaways here.

    Malaysia has natural beauty; lush tropical jungles, (empty) white sand beaches, rolling green hills and like in Thailand plenty of protected national parks. There’s culture; modern cities, fantastic (and cheap!) food, and a melting pot of ethnically diverse people.

    Sure the cost of travel is a bit higher (for the region), but you’ll get more for your money with slightly nicer accommodation, and better infrastructure. The bus system is extensive, decently comfortable and simple to use. And with many people speaking English, getting around is that much easier. Malaysia is developed compared to her neighbors, but still growing and changing in that way that makes travelling still interesting and exciting.

However, for this trip to Malaysia, we never really got around to planning much.

Kota Kinabalu

Most international flights in Malaysian Borneo’s state of Sabah arrive and depart from Kota Kinabalu. The city itself isn’t exactly special. It sits on a lovely enough stretch of coastline, however development hasn’t been too inspiring for the little city. Tall, bland, concrete buildings, completely lacking in even a trace of character, block any view one might find of the coast. The environment is hectic and dirty and the climate here is mostly wet.

When we arrive into Kota Kinabalu in the early evening, we have just one night booked at one hostel and no plans for how we will spend our next 7 days in Borneo.

We get lucky and meet a group of travelers at our hostel within 5 minutes of arriving. We haven’t the chance to change out of our travel clothes before we join the group and head for dinner. As is usually the case, our group gets larger as other backpacker types join us and we all end up in a seafood tent on the waterfront at a vibrant night market.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Borneo without a plan: Kota Kinabalu & Sandakan

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Aglaia plant indigenous to Borneo may hold potential in cancer cure

KUCHING: A plant native to Borneo may hold the key to treating nasopharyngeal cancer, according to research carried out at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus here.

The Aglaia plant — known as ‘Kelabuno’ among the Orang Ulus and ‘Segera’ among the Ibans – has been discovered to contain a highly potent anti-cancer compound called ‘silvestrol’, which is capable of killing cancer cells by preventing rogue cells from making proteins that they need to survive.

In the laboratory, silvestrol has proven to be just as effective in destroying cancer cells as most common chemotherapies.

The research, headed by Dr Paul Neilsen, is investigating if the compound is also effective in killing nasopharyngeal – or nose cancer — cells.

“So far, initial results are promising, suggesting that silvestrol may be a good candidate for the treatment of this type of cancer in the future,” he said.

According to Neilsen, nasopharyngeal is difficult to detect and inoperable as the tumour occurs deep within the nasal cavity at the base of the brain in a location called the nasopharynx. His research is to identify an alternative approach to treatment.

“About 75 per cent of patients are only diagnosed when the cancer is in its advanced stages and has spread to other parts of the body,” said the Australian, adding that since surgery was not an option, patients would typically have chemotherapy and radiotherapy as treatments.

Nasal cancer, which has a 60 per cent mortality rate, is endemic among rural communities and it is the most common cancer found among men in Sarawak.

It appears that while several ethnic groups indigenous to Sarawak have a high risk of developing the cancer, the Bidayuhs face the highest risk in the world.

“To put this in a local context, the Bidayuhs are over 30 times more likely to develop this cancer than the Indians in Malaysia,” Neilsen said.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Many ‘fake’ homestays in Sabah urban centres

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun urged local governments to look into the setting up and operation of unlicensed homestay operators as most of them have been found to abuse the term ‘homestay’ when they merely provide lodging services.

“There are criteria that have to be met when operating a homestay programme and among the key points is that it must be located in a village setting in the rural areas and most importantly, those who come to stay are to be exposed to the local culture and lifestyle experiences.

“But these days we see the mushrooming of ‘homestays’ in urban areas and when checked, these operators merely provide lodging services. It should not be called a homestay,” said Masidi when met after closing the Homestay Development Course 2015 here yesterday.

Masidi also reminded that homestay should and is not an individual business, but more community based.

“This is why it is required that a homestay should be a cultural experience programme participated and operated by at least 10 villagers from the kampong,” he said.

The misuse, he said, should be rectified, especially by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture which is the licensing authority for homestays in the country, together with local governments.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Many ‘fake’ homestays in Sabah urban centres

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sabah Museum to publish book, hold exhibition on women history

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah State Museum will be publishing a book entitled ‘Women History in Sabah’ and launching an exhibition called ‘Women in History’.

Its director, Joanna Kitingan, said the book would most likely be published next year.

She disclosed at a press conference yesterday that the contents of the book will include photographs that have been taken in the early 1900 by G.C. Woolley as well as those of other photographers.

The purpose of publishing the book is to allow those interested in women development in Sabah to learn more about the topic, said Joanna, adding that the book will also serve as a reference material.

“Much of the contents were written during the British colonial era,” she said.

Joanna elaborated that not many people know about the roles of women in society in the olden days. She added that both men and women played equal roles and that women had a voice alongside the men during tribal meetings.

She also mentioned on the role of women as ‘Bobolians’ (priestesses) and lamented that now, not many people are aware of what the ‘Bobolians’ are.

“Women in those days have been praised for their intelligence and wisdom. We should be proud of them,” said Joanna.

The exhibition on August 28 will last until the end of the year. It is jointly organized with the Women’s Affairs Department.

“It will showcase the roles and responsibility of women during the colonial period, as well as their contributions and roles in social, economic, cultural and political development of Sabah,” she said.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sabah tour prices to be based on exchange rates

KOTA KINABALU: Travel agencies in Sabah will start collecting payment for tours based on daily exchange rates amidst concerns over operating at a loss due to the depreciation of the Malaysian ringgit.

Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (SATTA) chairma, Dato’ Seri Winston Liaw, said the association’s committee has unanimously agreed on the strategy as a way of coping with the fluctuations in exchange rates.

In fact, Liaw recommended SATTA members to fix the exchange rate at RM3.8 against the US dollar and around RM1.6 for Renminbi as the baseline for quotations. The rates were proposed by Liaw during a committee meeting and have been adopted by his company, Airworld Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd.

Under this measure, Liaw said, clients would either pay more or less than the quoted price for tours, depending on the exchange rate of the day and their travel destinations.

For instance, Liaw said, if the Ringgit to US dollar is 4.1 at the time clients make full payment, then they would have to top up the 30 sen difference as the baseline is set at 3.8.

Conversely, if the ringgit came out stronger against the US dollar down the road and the exchange rate is lower than the 3.8 baseline, clients would pay less than the quoted price, he said.

Liaw said this in a press conference here yesterday, adding that the reason he made the announcement to the press was to avoid misunderstanding by clients.

According to him, airline companies have been practising this strategy for around a decade, in which the airport tax and fuel surcharge were the two variables which fluctuated according to exchange rates and global oil prices.

“We are applying airlines’ strategy to our tours. If we do not do that, the impact (of the depreciation of the Ringgit) to travel agents would be severe.”

He said the price difference to clients might be a few hundred ringgit, but to travel agents, the difference could easily snowball to hundreds of thousands of ringgit, not to mention the fixed overhead costs like salary and rental that tour operators have to pay.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Sabah tour prices to be based on exchange rates

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sabah’s last hope in saving Sumatran Rhinoceros

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has not lost all her hopes in saving the Sumatran Rhinos from extinction in Malaysia.

Sabah Wildlife Department director William Baya said in a statement yesterday that although the Sumatran Rhino population in the wild in Sabah looked grim, with the capture of the female rhino Puntung in Tabin in 2012, there has been a lack of any more signs of rhinos there even with frequent teams going in and hundreds of camera traps set in the forest to look for the rhinos.

“The same goes for Danum Valley. After we caught a female rhino, Iman, in 2014, we are also seeing the same scenario there. There is no evidence of any rhinos in the wild there,” he said.

“Sadly, Danum Valley and Tabin Wildlife Reserve used to be our two most important areas for rhinos but now it seems there are none left.”

Baya said the SWD partners comprising of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) were still having smaller teams looking for rhinos and investigating any alleged sightings of rhinos in the forest but so far with no success.

“Our only hope for our Sumatran Rhinos probably now rests on our three captive Sumatran Rhinos now housed at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in Tabin,” he said

Unfortunately, the three rhinos in captivity are also not reproductively sound.

Tam, the male which was caught in 2008 has very low sperm count.

Puntng suffers from multiple ovarian and uterine cysts, while Iman has a football sized tumor in her uterus.

“We will be applying advanced reproductive techniques such as Intercellular Sperm Insemination to produce an embryo. To achieve this we are working closely with a group of German experts from the Institute of Zoo and Wildlife, Berlin as well as a Malaysian group of experts from UPM and MARDI based at Agro Biotechnology Institute in Serdang.”


Monday, August 24, 2015

Visiting Sandakan -- Borneo's charming entrepot

Sandakan is a port town and an entrepot to the wildlife refuges of the fabled Kinabatangan River. There's no question that most visitors to Sandakan are strictly passing through and are not going to be in town too long.

We strongly suggest that if you're heading to the river, don’t be in a rush. Otherwise you'll miss out on Sandakan’s ample charms.  In short, we think Sandakan is well worth spending an extra day or two exploring.

In addition to the Memorial Park, which we covered in part 1 of this series, there are three other venues that you should definitely not miss. All are a bit off the beaten path, so you won’t be inundated with other visitors.

The first steps we would take are in the direction of The Sandakan Heritage Trail which is a comprehensive walk that covers the town's most important and culturally significant sites.

The walk begins at the 100-year old Masjid Jamik, a mosque originally built in the 1890's as a place of worship for the Indian Muslims in Sandakan. Muslims

sought refuge here during the Second World War, and the venue even acted as a hiding place for a few Europeans.

The next stop is the Pryer Memorial, a granite structure erected to honor the founder of Sandakan, William Burgess Pryer. It seems a bit incongruous that Pryor, a Brit, would have founded a town in Malaysia but at the time it was a British Colony and he had permission from the local Sultanate. By chance Pryer and his wife who were on their way to Sabah met Filipino nationalist Jose Rizal in Hong Kong. Rizal shared with Pryer the plan establish a Filipino settlement in Sabah for those dispossessed of their lands. The plan never saw fruition but Pryer did establish the town on the 21st of June 1879.

Following the Pryor monument, you will then climb the Stairs with a Hundred Steps which will lead you to a beautiful view of Sandakan town and bay. It also brings you to the famous Agnes Keith House.

Agnes Keith Museum and Tea House

Agnes Keith is not a household name but in the mid-twentieth century she was a well-respected writer in a unique time and place.  During this period, Keith, a native of Hollywood, California, captured the experience of colonial life in North Borneo. She was married to a high ranking British colonial official and lived a fairy tale life portrayed in her autobiographical book Land Below the Wind. However, her fairy tale turned into a nightmare with the outbreak of the War.

Her second and most arguably her most popular book, Three Came Home, depicts the hardships of her time as a prisoner in Japanese POW and civilian internee camps in Borneo and  Sarawak. This work was subsequently made into a film (of the same name) in 1950 with superstar Claudette Colbert. (The sensationalist poster of the film, pictured at left, would certainly not fly today for many good reasons but is an illustrative period piece).

Perched on a hill, her original home (really a mansion) was devastated during WWII. However a replica has been constructed and turned into a museum bursting with memorabilia from her storied life. Literary fans and others who want to understand a semblance of life in colonial Malaya will not be disappointed.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Visiting Sandakan -- Borneo's charming entrepot

First run to save Bornean elephants in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The first “Save the Bornean Elephants Run” to create public awareness on the importance of conserving the habitat for Bornean elephants in Sabah attracted around 2,500 runners here yesterday.

The event, organised by Wildlife Alliance (Borneo) Sdn Bhd and Valiant Event Entertainment, was officiated by Sabah Wildlife Department deputy director Jumrafiah Abd Shukor and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd executive director Ngu Ngiong Hieng.

It was also jointly supported by KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd, Felda Global Venture (FGV), Kwantas Corporation Berhad, Jurukur Luaran and Associates, Directors, Proboscis Lodge Bukit Melapi, Montanic Adventures and Shangri-la's Rasa Ria Resort and Spa.

The 11km run took place along the beautiful coastal roads in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, starting at the Likas Stadium parking area to the roundabout near Jesselton Hotel and then to the roundabout near the Likas Mosque before returning to Likas Stadium.

The categories were Mens Open, Womens Open, Veteran Mens Open (41 years old and above), Veteran Womens Open (41 years and above), Boys Below 17 Years and Girls Below 17 Years.

Fabian Daimon Osman won the Men’s Open, Wincentbert Latius second and Imaldy Zakin third. The top three winners of the Womens Open were Katie OBrien, Roziana Ramlee and Mailin Salungin respectively.

The Mens Veteran winner was Yusop Tunkob with Guianus Salagan and Ahmadul Tahir the first and second runners-up respectively. Taking the first prize in the Women Veteran was Kona Liau with Chong Vun Lung second and Hamisah Antahar third.

Refson Tirip, Gregory Cornelius and Elvin Lazarus were the top three winners of the Boys Below 17 Years and Erristiana Joel, Jenny Kissin and Dewanty David the winners of the Girls Below 17 years.

The overall winner of the school category was SMK Tanbunan.

Dr Raymond Alfred, the race director and programme advisor, said that the aims of the charity run were to enhance the knowledge of the public in wildlife conservation, especially the Bornean elephants through information dissemination.

It was also to raise fund to support the publication of the research and reference book on Population, Ecology and Conservation of Bornean Elephants.


Aggressive promotion needed for Labuan tourism

LABUAN: Labuan is considered a potential tourist destination in the region, albeit the low pace of development.

Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said there was a need for aggressive promotion to market domestically and internationally, the island’s existing tourism products .

“Based on my visit today to the homestay and briefings by my Labuan Tourism Office and the member of parliament here, there are tourism icons that can be further promoted and some attractions to be explored,” she told a press conference after witnessing the Labuan Strongest Man Competition 2015 here yesterday.

She said in future, the promotion of Labuan’s tourism industry would be given priority by her ministry.

Ermieyati said tourism products like Chimney Labuan, the only such chimney still existing in Asia, should be promoted to boost tourism development on the island.

“Labuan also has a shipwreck and artificial reefs for diving sport, while the homestay in the water village and unique traditional food are also potential tourist attractions.

“Owing to all these, the ministry should be able to do something to help boost the industry and to generate income for the people through tourism activities.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

MICE players get closer look at Sarawak during '7 Wonders of Borneo' trip

KUCHING: Key business decision-makers from Australia and Singapore recently undertook a familiarisation (FAM) trip to the state.

The trip, run by Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB), aimed to shed true light on the state with its unique wildlife and beauty, tradition and heritage, culture of hospitality as well as its world-class facilities slated for the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry.

Global marketing and communications director Amelia Roziman explained that the FAM trip was held as part of SCB’s ‘7 Wonders of Borneo’ campaign – an essential part of the bureau’s strategic plan for this year to showcase what Sarawak had to offer to some of the most established markets in the Australasia region.

“It’s only by being physically here in the heart of Borneo that our clients can truly appreciate what Sarawak has to offer as a destination for business events. The feedback has been fantastic.

“Our guests enjoyed a tailor-made programme, experiencing everything here – from sights of the orangutans in our ancient rainforests, our many indigenous tribes, up to the state’s colonial history and world-class convention facilities.

“We hope that they could impart this new knowledge to their peers, so that we can transform Sarawak from being the region’s best-kept secret to a recognised global business destination for events. With SCB, Sarawak can be proud of its 80 per cent success rate in bidding (for hosting jobs) over the past few years,” she added.

The delegates visited the main attractions across the state including Kuching Waterfront, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and Sarawak Cultural Village here, as well as Gunung Mulu National Park. In addition, they had the opportunity to visit various hotels and venues up for consideration as the hosting platforms of their future events here.

The FAM also allowed the guests to experience the internationally-acclaimed Rainforest World Music Festival and kayaking at Kampung Semadang.

“We have such strong support from the industry and the FAM trip is the result of our efforts as an experienced and mature industry player. Many thanks to our main supporter, Malaysian Airlines (Sydney), as well as Cat City Holidays, CPH Travel Agencies, Planet Borneo Tours, Hilton Kuching Hotel, Mulu Marriott and Spa, Meritz Hotel, Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, Sarawak Tourism Board and Event Horizons Management for making this trip a great success,” Amelia said.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

All out to save Sumatran rhinoceros in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has expressed strong willingness to do anything it can to save the Sumatran rhinoceros from extinction in the country, particularly in Sabah.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the State government had done a lot to secure a future for the Sumatran rhinoceros in Sabah but there were things beyond their control.

The efforts undertaken have included setting traps in the wild with the hope of capturing more rhinoceros.

However, since the capture of Iman, the female rhinoceros in Danum Valley last year, there have been no new sightings in the wild, said Masidi.

Aside from Iman, there were two other Sumatran rhinoceros now kept at an enclosed facility in Tabin, Lahad Datu. They comprise of Kretam, the sole male in the facility and Puntung. Both females have fertility issues.

Masidi said that other efforts have included forging international cooperation, in particular with Indonesia, to carry out captive breeding.

However, he said that a memorandum of understanding between Malaysia and Indonesia on the matter did not materialise, unfortunately.

Masidi stressed the importance of having government-to-government cooperation in the effort to save the Sumatran rhinoceros because otherwise, the future would be bleak for the species.

Plans to send Kretam to the Cincinnati zoo for breeding was also stopped when Suci, the female Sumatran rhinoceros at the zoo, died.

In addition, the expertise of scientists from the Leipniz Institute for Zoo and Wildife Research (IZW) was also sought to help in breeding efforts.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: All out to save Sumatran rhinoceros in Sabah

Trail to Mount Kinabalu summit opens on Dec 1

KOTA KINABALU: Mountain climbers keen on summiting Mt Kinabalu may finally get a chance to do so this coming December.

According to Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun during a press conference at his office yesterday, they were targetting to open the trail to the summit on Dec 1.

“We are taking a bit of time because we need the expertise. We are very careful in installing the new trail(s) from Panar Laban (6.3 kilometres) to Sayat-Sayat (6.8 kilometres),” he said.

“We are still plagued with the issue of large boulders of stones that could be found along the path. We are worried that in the event of an earth movement, the boulders may move/fall,” he elaborated.

To check the stability of the boulders, experts have been engaged to help them identify which ones were unstable, he said.


Good holiday deals at 7th Matta Sarawak Travel Fair

KUCHING: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Sarawak Chapter will host the 7th Matta Travel Fair 2015 this Sept 4-6, from 10am to 10pm daily.

The event, which is being held for the second time this year, will take place at the same venue, Main Promotion Hall II of Boulevard Shopping Mall here.

Matta Travel Fair 2015’s organising chairman Nelson Lai said his team would expect a participation of 20 agents, including those in hotel and banking industries, in this edition.

“Just as before, the fair will give visitors a chance to win prizes in the Matta Fair lucky draw, which is open to all who purchase (travel) packages over RM1,000.

“This time around, the prizes are courtesy of our official sponsor Silk Air, as well as co-sponsors Sara Worldwide Vacation Bhd and Sarawak River Cruise,” he said during a press conference at Matta Office here yesterday.

Meanwhile, Matta Sarawak chairman Chris Kon said the fair was the association’s annual initiative in promoting tourism, especially slated for the domestic market.

“We believe that the tourism industry would continue to move forward, despite the implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax) and the decline in Malaysian ringgit.

“The only thing is that we need to be more creative in our industry and offer more appropriate prices so that domestic tourism would be able to bring income for the nation’s economy.

“Last year, we received over 10,000 visitors at the fair. We hope that the figure would increase this time around.”

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Good holiday deals at 7th Matta Sarawak Travel Fair

Friday, August 21, 2015

Four orang utan births at Tabin Wildlife Reserve

KOTA KINABALU: The birth of four orang utan babies at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah this year is bringing new hope for the critically endangered species.

Spike, Camelia, Daniel and Doris are born under the reintroduction programme run by Orangutan Appeal UK.

It is the first time the programme has seen a 100% birth rate and gives hope of reviving the dwindling numbers being born into the wild.

There are just 50,000 left in the wild today – a figure that has dropped from 120,000 in the last 60 years.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Four orang utan births at Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Borneo Rhythms of Rimba Wildlife Festival in Sandakan this weekend

SANDAKAN: The Future Alam Borneo (FAB) society, with the partnership of the Protective Action for Wildlife in Sabah through Education (PAWSE) initiative, is presenting the 2nd Borneo Rhythms of Rimba (ROR) Wildlife Festival 2015 here this weekend.

This two-day colourful outdoor festival brings wildlife and rainforest conservation content to the public in a unique ‘experiential education’ format.

FAB’s aim is to translate important conservation science and knowledge into holistic and accessible experiences. Unforgettable experiences that will encourage people to truly value our natural heritage and take on a more conscientious and sustainable responsibility.

Themed ‘Biodiversity and our Future’, ROR2015 is inspired both by our unique ecosystems here as well as the breadth of amazing people and ideas that will be coming together for this effort.

The festival will feature four zones of content and interaction – Conservation and Environment, Adventure, Creative and Music.

The animal masks of WinterCroft UK have been making their way all over Sabah and will be descending on RDC soon in a colourful parade of Borneo animal masks. Prizes from Body Shop will await the most beautifully decorated.

Salad Dressing have spent over three weeks building their Treetop Cinema on site, and will go live showcasing the feature SANDOKAN, straight from Italy. Also on reel will be clips from Borneo Eco Film Festival’s Suara Komuniti films.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Borneo? More like Bro-meo

Having made the decision to leave Malaysia as abruptly as I had made the decision to start working there in the first place, I had some unfinished business to settle.

And by business I mean Borneo and by settle I mean visit and immerse myself in the romantic ideals I had of this secluded island.

Fortunately for me, two buddies of mine were at hand to join me on this last adventure / sunset bromance.

One was a British lad named Patrick with a hilarious fear of birds and the other was a giant Australian named Sacha who sought to satisfy his life long obsession with proboscis monkey.

The journey

Having very little time to plan the trip, we booked a 2 day 1 night adventure through Borneo Adventures.

The price was expensive for Asia, but reasonable for Borneo and included all transport, a guide, food in the national park and accommodation.

All you will need to purchase is alcohol to dull the itches from mosquito bites.

After a late night flight into Kuching (be careful that you seek out immigration and get an entry stamp on arrival – we walked through because no one was present at the airport and because we didn’t get an entry stamp were almost not let out of Sarawak at departure when immigration told us that technically we had never arrived) and a few gin and tonics to keep us warm, it was an early start from the hotel to Bako Village.

From Bako village we met our guide and took a short boat ride through to the Bako National Park.

We waded through waist deep water to disembark onto the beach and arrive at a natural haven.

The park accommodation was beautiful and set up as wooden bungalows which took advantage of the forest surroundings.

You’ll also quickly be acquainted with the wildlife which roams freely up to your door step including wild boars, proboscis monkeys (only found in Borneo!), silver leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaques, monitor lizards and an abundance of birds.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Borneo? More like Bro-meo

Sumatran Rhino Extinct In The Wild In Malaysia

Leading scientists and experts in the field of rhino conservation state in a new paper that it is safe to consider the Sumatran rhinoceros extinct in the wild in Malaysia. The survival of the Sumatran rhino now depends on the 100 or fewer remaining individuals in the wild in Indonesia and the nine rhinos in captivity.

Despite intensive survey efforts, there have been no signs of the wild Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) in Malaysia since 2007, apart from two females that were captured for breeding purposes in 2011 and 2014. Scientists now consider the species extinct in the wild in Malaysia. The experts urge conservation efforts in Indonesia to pick up the pace.

The conclusions are published online in Oryx, the International Journal of Conservation, led by the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen. Partners include WWF, the International Rhino Foundation and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which is in charge of the global Red List of Threatened Species.

Surviving rhinos are too far apart

“It is vital for the survival of the species that all remaining Sumatran rhinos are viewed as a metapopulation, meaning that all are managed in a single program across national and international borders in order to maximize overall birth rate. This includes the individuals currently held in captivity,” said lead author and PhD student Rasmus Gren Havmøller from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate.

The experts point to the creation of intensive management zones as a solution; areas with increased protection against poaching, where individual rhinos can be relocated to, in order to increase the number of potential and suitable mating partners.

Historically ranging across most of Southeast Asia, the Sumatran rhino is now only found in the wild in Indonesia. Here, less than 100 individuals in total are estimated to live in three separate populations, one of which has seen a critical decline in distribution range of 70 % over the last decade. This trend echoes how the Sumatran rhino population dropped from around 500 to extinction between 1980 and 2005 in Sumatra’s largest protected area, the enormous 1,379,100 hectare Kerinci Sebelat National Park.

Apart from the wild populations, nine Sumatran rhinos are in captivity, with one in Cincinnati Zoo in U.S.A (soon to be moved to Indonesia), three held at facilities in Sabah, Malaysia for attempts to produce embryos by in vitro fertilization, and five in the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Sumatran Rhino Extinct In The Wild In Malaysia

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Too soon to know impact on Chinese tourists on Sabah from the devaluation of the yuan

Kota Kinabalu: The Consulate of China in Sabah said it was still too soon to know whether there will be any significant impact on Chinese tourist arrivals in Malaysia, including Sabah, following the recent devaluation of the Chinese currency.

Chinese Consul-General Chen Peije said it was hard to gauge whether the changes in the currency's position which only recently happened will have an immediate effect on the numbers of Chinese tourists coming to the country.

"From a general sense maybe more (Chinese tourists) will come because the (Malaysia Ringgit) currency has also experienced some changes. Also I know Sabahans wish that this situation can help (encourage) more Chinese tourists to come to Sabah."

"I'm sure that more Chinese tourists will come to Sabah because they now know more about the State.

This is because in Eastern Sabah the security situation is already secure, in addition to the (Ringgit) currency devaluation.

"So I believe that tourist arrivals (will increase) in the future but whether it will be so quick (as a result of the recent changes to the currency), I am not sure but hopefully yes (it will be increased soon).

She said this when met after a ceremony by the Consulate to donate RM50,000 for laptops to primary schools in the State affected by the recent earthquakes at Wisma Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Sabah, Likas on Tuesday.

In her speech earlier, Chen said the Consulate General and the Embassy had made the decision to provide the donation following the recent earthquakes in the State. She said in addition they were also in the process of sending books and reading material on disaster management including on earthquakes from China to be distributed to (Chinese) schools in the State and also visited SJKC Paiwen Ranau in July to see for themselves the condition of the children who were affected by the earthquake there to provide them comfort and assistance.


Sabah, Borneo: Mammals

Borneo hosts some of the most beautiful, secretive and strange mammals in the world.

From the elusive cats to the dog-like civets, many a mammal hides in the dense vegetation of the Bornean rainforest.

Excluding the primates, many of the mammals are very difficult to see, being either rare, nocturnal or well camouflaged.

Below is our mammal list from our Sabah trip, not including primates:

Malay Civet, Small-toothed Palm Civet, Masked Palm Civet, Asian Palm Civet, Bearded Pig, Borneo Pygmy Elephant and Plain Pygmy Squirrel. Plus Clouded Leopard prints and a glimpse of a Leopard Cat.

You may notice that half of the confirmed list above are civets.

And all of these civets were spotted in just one night.

It was our first night in the Danum Valley, and we had a night drive booked for 8:30pm.

We were in an open lorry, with a guide with a flashlight stood with us to look for eyeshine and therefore the animals.

An hour or so later when we returned, we had seen a lot of nocturnal animals.

The three civet species we saw on the drive were Small-toothed Palm Civet, Masked Palm Civet and Malay Civet.

We had great views of the Masked Palm and Malay Civets, with the Masked Palm feeding beside the track, and the Malay being sat on a tree root right next to the track.

This just goes to show how diverse the Danum Valley is.

All four civet species are omnivores, eating a variety of food, from birds and rats, to fruits such as rambutan and mango.

They’re quite strange looking animals, which have a cat-like body, but with a long head and snout.

It was fantastic to see so many.

The Danum Valley must be one of the best places to see various civet species in the wild.

Borneo is also home to many cat species, but due to thick vegetation in the rainforest and their camouflaged coats, they are very difficult to see.

Quite a few of the species are nocturnal, and the ones that aren’t are still very secretive and tend to stay in thick cover.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Sabah, Borneo: Mammals

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mulu - Borneo's charms from jungle wildlife to luxury spa hotels

The local guides call it the rhythm of the forest. The constant buzzing, clicking, chirping and occasional squawking, not to mention the rustle of leaves hinting at something larger lurking in the shrubbery.

I’m not sure why I expected silence in the middle of the jungle but the noise never stops.

Not all that surprising when you think about it. This is a land with 30 million people, and many, many more millions of animals, birds and, oh yes, insects.

Being so close to nature, even the creepy-crawly kind, is what makes the 13-hour flight to Malaysia so worth it.

The country is split into two parts, with the capital Kuala Lumpur in Peninsular Malaysia and the eastern part taking up a quarter of the island of Borneo.

After a two-night stopover in KL (as everyone calls the city), we swapped the traffic jams for the slow jungle lane.

The five-star Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa is surrounded on every side by the forests of the Gunung Mulu National Park, slap bang in the centre of Malaysian Borneo. The only way in and out of town is by a (very small) plane, and with only a few tourists, you really do feel like you’re experiencing unspoiled nature.

The adventurous can climb the famous Pinnacles, spectacular razor-sharp limestone spikes reaching 130-165ft out of the rainforest. Be prepared though, it can be done only on a three-day, two-night tour. If that seems a little too adventurous, just yards from the hotel entrance you can climb the hill to a viewpoint across the entire valley and mountain ranges. The views are spectacular.

If even that sounds too taxing, the pool has big beds where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine. A restaurant is only a few steps away, in case you get peckish after all that exercise.

At night you can enjoy a drink in the open-air bar as bats flap among the rafters above.

The bedrooms are large and beautiful, each with a huge bathroom and private balcony. It was the perfect place to watch one of the torrential downpours that come with temperatures that rarely dip below the mid-30s.

Early on our second morning we set off with our brilliant guide Maria to explore further into the jungle. Arriving at the Mulu Caves, well inside the national park, we walked over a wobbly rope-bridge to what felt like entering another world.

The show caves, part of the Mulu World Heritage Area, are rightly famous.

It can take around 90 minutes to get to the Deer and Lang Caves along a wooden walkway, but there’s plenty to see on the way – trees so wide they’re the size of a small house and lots of wildlife spotting opportunities.

While the greenery echoes with the sound of thousands of animals, you can’t help being slightly glad you don’t run into some of them – especially when you come across signs about, erm, bears!


Mount Kinabalu’s guides seeking alternative sources of income

KUNDASANG: Since the devastating earthquake last 5 June, quite a number of mountain guides or “malim gunung” have opted to seek other sources of income while waiting for Mount Kinabalu to be open to climbers again.

Mohd Zainudin Robet Abdullah is one such mountain guide who now earns a living working at a vegetable wholesaler in Kundasang town.

The 22-year-old told New Sabah Times that he’s quite happy doing something different from mountain guiding since last month.

“In the meantime, I just want to take a break from mountain guiding this year. There are still a lot of things that I cannot forget,” he said when met at the vegetable stall where he is employed.

He was initially concerned about finding another job after the mountain was closed.

“I am thankful to have found this job,” he said and added that he would return to climbing the mountain again next year to allow his thoughts settle after having witnessed so much tragedy and horror.

Memories of the first tremor from the 5.9 magnitude earthquake are still fresh in his mind.

“I was at the peak helping climbers take photographs when the mountain shook. I thought a huge plane had landed on the mountain.

“Then suddenly rocks and boulders came tumbling down and there was so much dust everywhere. We were all terrified!”

Despite their own fears, Zainudin and the other mountain guides tried to calm the climbers and together with his five colleagues, escorted 13 climbers from the peninsula.

“We gathered everyone at the checkpoint and went to look for water. Many were hungry but there was only water to drink,” he said.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Magnificent finale to Sabah International Folklore Festival

PENAMPANG: The packed venue at the Sabah Cultural Centre near here was treated to a magnificent and colourful performances of 16 dance ensembles performed by dancers from many parts of the world during the final night of the 10th Sabah International Folklore Festival on Saturday.

They entertained and wowed the audiences with a variety of performances that highlighted the unique diversity of the world’s culture in the celebration of wedding occasions of the respective countries where they came from.

Their costumes were so distinct from one another that the audiences were awe-struck and enthralled by the beauty of it all.

The performers were from the Badan Kebudayaan Pesaka of Brunei Darussalam, Velreiz Dance Group of Latvia, the Indonesian Svadara Dance Group, Abyichaana Dance Ensemble from the Republic of Sahka Yakutia, China’s Quan Zhou Gao Jia Opera Heritage Centre, South Korean’s Gwacheon People Artist Federation, Kazakhstan’s On AltyKyz Folk Dance Troupe, Sining Palawan Dance Troupe of Palawan State University, Bngsagar Performing Arts group from India, Kyrgyzstan’s KauharSanat, Slovakia’s “MLADOST” University Folklore Ensemble, Hui Fong Dance Group from Taiwan, Hoytad of Turkey, University of Guadalaraja of Mexico, Russia, and performers from the National Department of Culture and Arts Sarawak.

Sabah Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and his wife graced the event together with Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Kamarlin Ombi and Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid.

The Overall Champion Prime Award was won by Russia, followed by the Philippines which was awarded the Chief Minister’s Award. The Cultural Minister Award went to Slovakia with their dance depicting the wedding tradition of folks residing at the country which was very merry and lively.


Flower Festival launched in Tenom

TENOM: Rural Development Minister Datuk Radin Malleh said the upgrading of the Sabah Agriculture Park (TPS) in Lagud Sebrang here as announced by Chief Minister on November 14 last year is proof of the state government’s commitment and determination to make it as a park, a plant conservation and flora learning centre besides making it one of the best agro-tourism destinations in the region.

In this regard, he said the Sabah Agriculture Department should take immediate action on the Chief Minister’s announcement and commitment to upgrade the park.

“With this upgrade, it is expected to increase the number of visitors to the park, which currently receives an average of 24,000 visitors a year,”he said when opening the Flower Festival at Sabah Agriculture Park Lagud Sebrang here on Saturday.

Radin said he appreciated the commitment of the Chief Minister to upgrade the park. The plant conservation programs implemented by the park should also be maintained for future generations to become attraction for researchers and tourists.

According to him, foreign and local researchers coming to see and explore the beauty and joy in this area shows that the park has its unique character and charm of its own.

He said the Flower Festival is one of three annual events organised by the State Agriculture Department to promote the park as one of the major agro-tourism destinations in the country.

The festival this year, he said, lasted for two days from August 15 to 16 and is the 13th time to be organised by the Sabah Agriculture Park.

Radin noted that the development of the park as a destination for agro-tourism has created business opportunities that can provide income to businesses and employment opportunities for the locals here.

The organising of the festival will be able to nurture and nourish the love and beauty of the flora and fauna, thus cultivating healthy and prosperous lifestyle for the people.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Flower Festival launched in Tenom

Russia takes crown at 10th Sabah International Folklore Festival

PENAMPANG: Russia has been crowned the overall champion at the 10th Sabah International Folklore Festival this year.

Apart from winning the premier award presented by Head of State, Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, Russia also bagged three awards for the best choreography as well as best male and female dancers.

Second place or the winner of the Chief Minister’s Award went to the Philippines and the third place or the Cultural Minister’s Award was won by Slovakia.

The Sabah Cultural Board made the five-day festival a little bit different this year with its theme centred on marriage.

As the festival ended on Saturday night here at the Sabah Cultural Centre in Penampang, the 16 participating countries including Malaysia amazed the crowd with performances that featured their respective cultures and traditions in a marriage ceremony.

Russia, did not just win the hearts of three judges headed by Dr Joseph Gonzales from ASWARA Dance Company Malaysia and consisted of Hamid Chan and Yana Samsudin, but the crowd was wowed throughout their performance.

Set against the backdrop of an upbeat tempo, the troupe successfully staged a wonderful wedding celebration in a dance, the Russian way.

Everyone was so immersed in the performance, many did not notice the female dancers had a quick costume change in the middle of the show at centrestage.

The audience only realised the quick costume change when the female dancers did a change the second time.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sandakan Memorial Day - A war we can never forget

SANDAKAN: The friendship between Malaysia and Australia has in part been shaped by the common and bitter experience of war, said Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove.

He said that what happened at the Sandakan prisoners’ camp site in the last months of World War II would continue to matter.

“It is a war we can never forget, a war we will never forget” Cosgrove said, here yesterday.

Between 1942 and 1943, the Japanese shipped approximately 2,700 Australia and British prisoners of war from Singapore to Sandakan to build a military airstrip.

In 1945, the Japanese were concerned that Allied troops might land in the Sandakan and decided to move their prisoners, most of whom were sick and injured to Ranau which is 260 kilometres away.

“Almost 2,500 Australian and British PoW were forced to march more than 250 kilometers inland to Ranau. Those too ill to walk were killed by their captors or left to die; those who fell during the march were killed. Only six survived the Death March” he said.

During that time, brave locals established a resistance named North Borneo Volunteer Force and helped the prisoners.

Six of the prisoners survived as they hid and were looked after by local villagers.

“Australia is forever grateful to them for the support showed to those in captivity. At great personal risk, these brave men and women participated in the resistance, aided those in captivity and sheltered the few who managed to escape.

“Their example of courage and humanity is a story to tell our children and we remember them as just as we remember our own,” he said during the 70th Sandakan Memorial Day, yesterday morning.


More arrivals at KKIA Terminal 2 than 1

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (SATTA) Chairman Datuk Seri Winston Liaw yesterday disclosed that the association has been asked to initiate a dialogue between Malaysia Airports Berhad and AirAsia with regards to the latter’s refusal to relocate to Terminal One of Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).

Liaw told reporters yesterday that the decision was made during a recent meeting attended by representatives from AirAsia and business community leaders in Sabah.

“Now we have only heard from AirAsia on why it does not want to relocate but we also want to hear from MAB on why it is insisting for the low cost carrier to move its operations from KKIA Terminal Two to Terminal One,” he said.

“We want to know what the real issue here is and maybe we can offer suggestions as to how to resolve the matter,” he added.

According to Liaw, who is also Sabah Tourism Federation (STF) President, he will be writing in to both MAB and AirAsia to find out the date and time that is convenient for the dialogue to be held.

He will also write in to the state Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry as well as Sabah Tourism Board to invite their representatives to attend the dialogue.

He also hoped that all the relevant quarters involved in the state’s tourism industry will be able to send a representative to attend and participate in the dialogue.

“If the problem is solved, Sabah’s economy will get better as AirAsia has said it can increase tourist arrivals to Sabah. This is part of AirAsia’s future expansion plans,” Liaw said adding that they were informed of AirAsia’s plans to increase its number of flights operating out of Kota Kinabalu and also adding more airplanes to its current fleet of six based here.

AirAsia in 2014, Liaw said, carried a total of 3.6 million passengers to Kota Kinabalu via KKIA Terminal Two compared to the 3.2 million passengers disembarking at KKIA Terminal One.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Top Tip of Borneo

Off in search of the “Tip of Borneo”, the most northern point of Borneo.

Generally  known as the “Tip of Borneo” which is just as well as the name in the traditional language of Rungus is “Tanjung Simpang Mengayau”, which means “the junction to the battle at the tip”, much more of a mouthful.

The “tip” is in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Most people associate Borneo as a land filled with rainforest, much of which is rapidly disappearing. Sabah apparently has greatest percentage of rainforest still remaining on the island.

We decided to hire a car in order to better explore the area. The drive out Kota Kinabalu was easy enough and soon we were driving through  the mountain range which is home to Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South East Asia. Once through the mountains we drove through typical Malaysian countryside and village scenery, which gradually gave way to huge palm oil plantations.

Miles after miles of neatly planted rows of palm oil trees, mark the final part of our journey. In fact for the last hour or so of our journey there is nothing but palm oil plantations. There will be no searching for the wild man of Borneo around here! The only people around are few plantation workers. Just before we left Kota Kinabalu we read the newspaper story of a sun bear who had wondered onto a plantation and was clubbed to death by plantation workers as “they did not recognize this wild animal”.

On-line there are few places to stay, so we prebooked a chalet in the rainforest.  As it turned out, it was not a chalet and most definitely not in anything resembling even woodland, let alone rainforest. The expat owner, whose sole aim seemed to be to extract as much cash as possible from his guests, even drives to you to his restaurant so you can buy breakfast/dinner. Really not what we expected or wanted. The chalet was too hot, too tiny and very expensive. Effectively a garden shed at hotel prices! We move out the next day.

Fortunately we have our own wheels and there are a handful of other places to stay so we choose a place run by a local family, a few hundred meters of the actual tip, right by the beautiful sandy beach. The most amazing sunsets captivate our hearts.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: The Top Tip of Borneo

Sandakan Memorial Day - Australia and Malaysia honour fallen men of WW2

SANDAKAN: The friendship between Australia and Malaysia has in part been shaped by the common and bitter experience of war.

Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) said in the last months of World War Two, almost 2,500 Australian and British prisoners-of-war were forced to march over 250 kilometres in Sabah.

“This was a war we can never forget, a war we will never forget because what happened here so long ago continues to matter.

“This is why we are here today. To remember, to honour, and to pay our respects to those who sacrificed it all,” he said at the Sandakan Memorial Service at the Sandakan Memorial Park here today.

This year’s memorial service marks the 70th year of what is now known as the “Death Marches,” through which prisoners-of-war were made to walk from Sandakan to Ranau towards the end of the war.

Peter said only six of the over 2,000 men survived the war.

“Following the marches, so many futures were cut off and dreams and aspirations left unfulfilled. And of course the lives of families left behind forever. Those were cruel times.


Borneo Highlands Resort now open to all

KUCHING: The Borneo Highlands Resort has transitioned itself from being an all inclusive resort to a local-friendly resort while maintaining its exclusivity, with the management now planning the biggest ever picnic in Sarawak next year.

Between its establishment in 2000 and 2006, it was solely a golf resort open only to golfers and members, including a focus on healthy lifestyle.

From 2007 to 2011, the concept expanded to an eco-wellness resort offering all inclusive packages to visitors.

During that time, the resort only offered all inclusive packages, targeting market segments that value and appreciate the eco-wellness concept.

Visitors to the resort are from the United Kingdom, Middle East and Singapore and other countries for whom it hoped to create a serene ambience to relax and rejuvenate by just being close to nature.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Special post code for Layang-Layang island, Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Layang-Layang, one of the world’s best diving destinations located 300km or one hour by air from Kota Kinabalu, now has special post code.

Pos Malaysia acting chief executive officer Azlan Shahrim said the 88005 special post code symbolises Malaysia’s sovereignty over the remote island.

Azlan said 88 is the Sabah code while 5 refers to the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN) Station Lima based in Layang-Layang.

“We decided to have a post code to improve postal services,” he said after the launch of the special post code by Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Jailani Johari.

Maritime Sovereignty Security Division secretary Shakib Ahmad Shakir said the initiative symbolised Malaysia’s sovereignty over Layang-Layang.

“By giving the special post code, we recognise the island as part of Malaysia and this will enhance our sovereignty and claim to the Exclusive Economic Zone,” he added.

Also launched was a seabed post box, an initiative of the RMN, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the National Security Council and Avillion Layang-Layang Resort.

At 40m deep, the seabed post box made it into the Malaysia Book of Records as the first of its kind in the country.

“This underwater post box is our second project, after the first was launched in Mount Kinabalu as the highest altitude post box in Malaysia,” he said after launching the underwater post box.

Jailani said the underwater post box allows divers at Pulau Layang-Layang to share their experience with family and friends via waterproof postcards stamped with a special postmark and Malaysia Book of Records logo.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Special post code for Layang-Layang island, Sabah