Highlights Highlights en PAS slammed for recycling Taman Ilmu project issue to gain people's support
Idris, who is also Higher Education Minister and Besut member of Parliament, said the allegation by PAS at a ceramah (political talk) in Alor Lintang, Besut, three days ago that the state government did not make any effort to save the project was a slander and hoped that the people would not believe it.

"Enough. If you don't know the facts, don't simply make any comments about Taman Ilmu which is developed for the future education of the Terengganu people.

"Does PAS know that we are working to ensure the function of Taman Ilmu is in line with the state government's efforts to make Terengganu an education centre?" he said when officiating the 100th Anniversary celebration of Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung Raja, Besut here today.

According to Idris, through the efforts taken by the state government,n Taman Ilmu ihas been used since a year ago by Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin as hostel for its students at the Tembila campus.

Apart from that he said the National Arts, Culture and Heritage Academy, which had been upgrade to Universiti P. Ramlee, would also begin its operation in Taman Ilmu this March. — AFP]]>
Highlights Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:15 +0000 theSundaily 526971 at
(Video) Hundreds of tourists stranded mid-air in cable cars over Langkawi
The Fire and Rescue Department in Langkawi received a distress call at 5.48pm that the cable cars had malfunctioned, leaving hundreds of tourists and workers stranded.

Today is considered a peak period for the island resort due to the Lunar New Year celebrations.

As of 9pm, it is learnt that the cable car, which was commercially branded as Langkawi Skycab, had restarted service but it had taken time to get the passengers down from the suspended gondolas and from those stuck at the top and middle stations.

89 of the over 500 tourists who were stranded after the cable car broke down arrived at the base station at Oriental Village at about 9.30pm, according to Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) chief executive officer, Datuk Azizan Noordin.

“Another three cable cars carrying 18 tourists are on their way down after being stuck for about four hours between the middle station and the base station,” he told Bernama tonight.

He said the technical teams of Panorama Langkawi Sdn Bhd, a Lada subsidiary and operator of the cable car system, had to resort to manual efforts to mobilise the system to bring the cable cars down to the base station.

“A 12-man technical team accompanied by two Fire and Rescue Department personnel is already up at the middle station to replace a faulty bearing in the system, which had been the cause of the system to break down,” he added.

Azizan said as of 10pm, about 200 tourists were still stranded at the middle station, which is located about 650m above sea level and another 300 at the upper station, about 708m.

“InsyaAllah, once the restoration works had been carried out, the remainder could be brought down to the base station … hopefully, before midnight,” he told Bernama.

On the condition of the tourists who had arrived at the base station, he said there was one who had fainted but had regained consciousness before being brought to the Langkawi Hospital for observation.

“The rest were okay but tired, while some appeared to be a bit traumatic after being stranded inside a stalled cable car and hanging few hundred metres high for a couple of hours, but we are doing our best to comfort them and provide the necessary assistances,” said Azizan.

He said the cable car would cease operations for one day tomorrow to enable a thorough investigation into the incident.

Considered one of the top tourist attractions in Langkawi, the cable car links its base in the Oriental Village, a tourist retail centre, to the peak of Gunung Matchinchang, which is the highest mountain on the island.

Highlights Sun, 18 Feb 2018 15:36:05 +0000 Ian McIntyre 526950 at
Hundreds stranded for hours at TBS
According to some of the passengers, their buses either came many hours behind schedule, or did not arrive at all, forcing terminal staff to place stranded passengers on whichever other buses that were vacant.

One passenger, who wished to be known as Retna, 40, said staff at the terminal had claimed that the delays were due to traffic congestion on major highways, with many returning home after the long Chinese New Year break.

She however said some passengers, including her, had waited since the afternoon until late night, with some of them - especially foreigners - asked to pay extra for a new bus, which they declined.

Retna had originally booked a 2.45pm ticket from TBS to Skudai, Johor together with her 8-year-old son.

"At first, the staff claimed it was because of the traffic, then they said their bus broke down.

"They said they would provide another bus for us, but then they just moved us a few at a time onto other buses that were travelling to the same location. It's already over 10pm and I'm still here," she told theSun tonight.

According to Retna, the terminal staff gave priority to those travelling to Singapore, and those who were more vocal and causing a commotion, while others like her, were made to wait.

Another passenger, an electronics student who only wanted to be known as Nanie, 24, said she had waited at the terminal for close to four hours for her bus to Batu Pahat, Johor.

"My bus was supposed to leave at 7.30pm, but it has yet to arrive. We need to keep asking the staff for updates.

"The biggest problem I see is when they do announce the arrival of certain buses, some of the passengers were not around, maybe because they waited too long and had went somewhere else for dinner perhaps," she said.

Retna finally boarded her bus around 10.45pm while Nanie was still at the terminal as of 11pm. Other passengers also vented their frustrations on social media over the massive delays at TBS.]]>
Highlights Sun, 18 Feb 2018 15:47:11 +0000 Amar Shah Mohsen 526953 at
A new way to tackle congestion
It is expected to be launched within the next two months pending approval from the Land Public Transport Commission, said Rapid Penang chief operating officer Mohd Azmi Abdullah.

The new strategy uses the same approach as the "Hub and Spoke" model where smaller feeder buses will gather passengers from various points in one locality hub. From that hub, the passengers would be dropped off at a centralised bus stop.

And from there, a pool of bigger buses will then congregate to pick up the passengers in stages from these designated bus stops before driving to the final interchange stop, which is the main public bus terminal in Komtar.

Azmi explained that by doing this there would be lower frequencies of all public buses travelling into town during peak hours but there would be a bigger load of passengers aboard the larger RapidPenang buses.

"And if there are no passengers at that juncture, the buses will not ply the route. The main pick up would be before, during and after office hours," he told theSun.

At the same time, RapidPenang frees up space on congested roads in town by hauling more passengers aboard the larger buses.

It has proven to be effective in other countries, hence the inspiration for RapidPenang to try it out in the state.

If given the nod by commuters and the relevant authorities, RapidPenang expects a reduction by up to 40% in congestion during peak hours, Azmi noted.

The "Hub and Spoke" model has been known to improve logistical needs in the aviation and shipping industry.

Citing an example, he said North American airlines started using the model in their daily operations in the 1970s where flights are routed through the (smaller pick-up points) before they are transferred to the hubs (central airports).

It was also known to have lowered operational costs for the service provider, Azmi said.

In Penang, the new approach would first start in April at Air Itam, the sprawling working class neighbourhood that is notorious for its traffic crawls and narrow roads.

Air Itam will represent the pilot project and if successful, RapidPenang will expand it to the entire island.

Traffic congestion is a key area of dispute between the public and authorities; and Penang continues to struggle to address it after the state government seemed unable to kick start its ambitious RM30 billion Penang Transport Masterplan.

At the same time, the state is also embroiled in a controversy surrounding the RM6.3 billion cross-channel undersea tunnel.

RapidPenang has a fleet of 330 buses of different models and sizes. It serves an average of 80,000 passengers daily.]]>
Highlights Sun, 18 Feb 2018 15:04:44 +0000 Teh Kean Hooi 526946 at
‘Dog therapy’ as alternative treatment
"They are not ordinary dogs as they've been working as 'therapists' for the elderly at old folks homes and orphanages," he said when met at the programme's therapy centre recently.

Salehin explained the programme operates on the premise of animal assisted therapy (AAT), a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment.

"The therapy is built on the interaction between humans and animals. By interacting with a friendly pet, some may overcome emotional or mental scars," he said.

The programme can be traced to its founder in Hong Kong, Animals Asia Foundation chief executive officer Jill Robinson, in the 1990s.

Shocked by the dog meat trade, she developed the programme to end animal cruelty Asia-wide.
The programme reached Malaysian shores in 2007 through the late Sabrina Yeap, founder of the Furry Friends Farm animal sanctuary.

"I joined the programme in 2009 as I was helping with its fundraising events and I was also interested in the Dr Dog Programme," Salehin said.

His passion to help others after suffering a stroke at 47 only strengthened his ambition to create the centre on a 3.5 acre site.

"After the stroke, I was looking for alternative treatment. The pills prescribed were like morning cereals!"

He said each AAT session lasts no longer than one and a half hours, so that the dog and the "patient" do not get tired.

"The dogs have to be assessed for their suitability for this programme," he said, adding that the dogs must be at least two years old.

"They must be up to date on vaccinations, spayed or neutered, have suitable temperaments, are calm and friendly, have basic obedience skills and have lived with owners for more than six months. Their owners must also be committed to the programme and can make at least four visits a year with their pets," the 55-year-old former banker said.

The programme does not promise total recovery from an individual's condition, but is geared towards uplifting their spirits and morale.

After several visits to the centre, visitors are allowed to bathe and brush the dog, and walk it – which helps with the visitor-dog interaction.

"A dog isn't just a pet. Their love can be shared too," Salehin added.]]>
Highlights Sun, 18 Feb 2018 15:07:35 +0000 Elly Fazaniza 526948 at
Israel's participation in WUF9 was at UN agency's invitation: Anifah
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman emphasised that unlike other letters of invitation, the letter of invitation to Israel was not signed by any Malaysian official.

He said the invitation to Israel, signed by the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, was in accordance to the Host Country Agreement signed between the agency and Malaysia.

"Article III of the Agreement states, in part, that participation in the forum shall be open, among others, to all Member States of the United Nations and any of its Specialised Agencies," he said in a statement today.

The minister said signing the Host Country Agreement was a requirement for any UN conference to be held away from any of the UN's established headquarters.

Noting that Malaysia's position on Israel remained unchanged, Anifah said the issue of Malaysia tacitly establishing links with Israel through the hosting of this forum did not arise.

"To imply otherwise is an indication of malicious and malignant intent," he said.

For the record, Malaysia did not establish diplomatic ties with Israel.

He said there had been attempts by some irresponsible parties to gain political mileage out of Israel's participation in WUF9.

It should be noted, he added, that WUF9 was widely acknowledged to have been a success and it raised the country's profile and showcased its achievements in the promotion, articulation and implementation of the New Urban Agenda, said Anifah.

"It (WUF9) saw the participation of more than 25,000 people, with 69 countries being represented at the ministerial level. All Malaysians should be proud of our country's successful hosting of this prestigious and important Forum," he added.

The WUF9 was held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from Feb 7 to 13. — Bernama]]>
Highlights Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:17:56 +0000 theSundaily 526521 at
Budget will lead way to Malaysia becoming a Top 20 nation: Najib
He said that the Budget, which covers the needs of 80% of Malaysians, will be the foundation in making the government's vision – to become a top notch country – a reality.

And this can be done if the public has confidence in the government, he added.

"This budget is the platform for us, the government has the ability to do it. We know how to govern the nation and this Budget will lead the way for us to become (part of the) Top 20 of the world," he said in a meet up session with the Kedah state civil servants at Stadium Sultan Abdul Halim here today.

Najib said it was not easy to prepare a Budget that was inclusive, comprehensive, and one which favors almost everyone.

But to ensure that the country moves forward, something had to be done.

He said he has to make sure that the Budget presented by the government was based on what the authorities can deliver, and not just be something theatrical.

According to Najib, what was proposed by the Opposition is unrealistic and as the Prime Minister, he has the responsibility to prepare a budget that was realistic with the best intentions for nation building.

Earlier, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Hanipah called on civil servants here to stay united in helping to raise the public's confidence towards the government by executing their duty as responsible government servants.

He said that the civil servants should work harder in realising the country's ambition to become a developed nation.

He added that the state government will also announce a special monetary incentive to the state civil servants in line with what was tabled in the recent Budget.

"I will announce it at our state (legislative) assembly sitting on Nov 12," he said.]]>
Highlights Wed, 01 Nov 2017 09:37:02 +0000 Imran Hilmy 499008 at
'Unrealistic' to compel private companies to use BM in official comms
Deputy Education minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon said although such regulations exist in the government sector, the same move cannot be implemented in the private sector.

"There is no enforcement for private companies. In business, the usage of other languages must be allowed, especially for those dealing in businesses with foreign countries.

"If we want to make a regulation for all official letters to be made in BM, it will be unrealistic.

However, we have enforced for official letters among government agencies to be in BM," he told the Dewan Rakyat during the question and answer session.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Siti Mariah Mahmud (Amanah – Kota Raja) on whether the government has any plans to make it compulsory for both the government and private sector to produce their official letters in BM.

Chong said the burden to improve the usage of BM among Malaysians should not be placed on his ministry alone as it requires the cooperation of all parties.

He also urged the private sector, non-governmental organisations and the public to play their role to ensure a comprehensive usage of the national language.

He added the government was serious in its effort in upholding the status of BM, with various initiatives being undertaken with cooperation from other stakeholders.]]>
Highlights Wed, 01 Nov 2017 10:16:15 +0000 Haikal Jalil 498991 at
Rism lauds scheme to enable house buyers to pay less in early years
Chair for the Property Management, Valuation and Estate Agency Surveying (PMVS) Division of the Royal Institution Of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM) Sr Choy Yue Kwong said as houses were becoming increasingly unaffordable, it was indeed good news to pay less when income was low and repayment could be gradually increased when income rose over the years.

He said the stamp duty exemption would help the long-suffering original purchasers of abandoned projects and would also act as an incentive for the white knights to rescue abandoned schemes.

However, Choy feels it was rather odd for the government to come up with a scheme of tax exemptions in the rental market by providing a mechanism to offset the rent earned by landlords although it was only 50% and up to RM2,000.00 against income tax, he said.

"Probably the government's intention is to ensure the lower value property owners have the ability to use this incentive to maintain their properties.

"However, it will be more appropriate if the government grants the tax exemption to the tenants who are the parties in need of assistance instead of rewarding the landlords," Choy said.

On the proposed formulation of the Residential House Rental Act, he said that this was timely as this would add clarity to the landlord and tenant's rights, as well as protect both parties, but this should not just cover the residential sector but also the commercial sector.

He noted that the government has allocated a budget of about RM37.34 billion for logistical infrastructure compared with RM8.48 billion to the property sector.

This shows the government's commitment to enhancing connectivity between major towns and cities within Malaysia to spur the local economies and manpower sector, he added. — Bernama]]>
Highlights Sat, 28 Oct 2017 09:46:08 +0000 theSundaily 497570 at
Irma's deadly passage batters Caribbean, 12 dead
The evacuation of coastal areas of Florida and neighboring Georgia was the biggest seen in the US in a dozen years, as Brock Long, head of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, warned: "It will be truly devastating.

"The entire southeastern United States better wake up and pay attention."

Barreling across the Caribbean, the rare Category Five Irma wielded monster winds and torrential rain, wreaking destruction on tiny islands like St Martin, where 60 percent of homes were wrecked, before slamming into the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

In its westward rampage, Irma packed winds of up to 295km per hour, an intensity that it sustained for 33 hours – the longest of any storm since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s.

The latest bulletin from the Miami-based National Hurricane Center included the first hurricane and storm surge warnings for south Florida and the Florida Keys, even as winds slowed slightly to 165 mph.

The storm left devastation in its wake. The International Red Cross said 1.2 million people had already been hit by Irma, a number that could rise to 26 million.

Tossed aside like matchsticks

On many islands, roofs were ripped off buildings as if by a giant's hand, shipping containers were tossed aside like matchsticks and debris flung far and wide, and airports, sea ports and mobile phone networks were knocked out.

At least two people were killed in Puerto Rico, a senior rescue official said. More than half of the territory's population of three million was without power, with rivers breaking their banks in the center and north of the island. Governor Ricardo Rossello activated the National Guard and opened storm shelters sufficient for up to 62,000 people.

Authorities on the US Virgin Islands also reported four deaths.

"We lost a significant and a good number of assets ... in terms of fire stations, police stations," Governor Kenneth Mapp said in a Facebook post, adding that the region's main health facility, the Schneider Regional Medical Center, lost its roof.

Lisa Poser, a spokeswoman for Mapp, told AFP the territory's critically wounded were transported to Puerto Rico and warned there may be more casualties as authorities continue their search and rescue.

St Martin, a pristine island resort divided between France and the Netherlands, also suffered the full fury of the storm.

France said four had died and 50 were injured, two of them seriously. Sixty percent of homes were so damaged that they were uninhabitable.

The Netherlands said the storm killed at least one person and injured several others on the Dutch part of St Martin.

The Netherlands said it was racing to provide food and water for 40,000 people over the next five days, while France said more than 100,000 packages of combat rations were en route.

Britain said it was sending two warships to help victims in the Caribbean, and earmarking US$41 million, (RM171 million) in aid.

'Everything is destroyed'

Irma also laid waste to tiny Barbuda which suffered "absolute devastation," with up to 30 percent of properties demolished, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.

Rescue teams were scouring the island for survivors, an AFP correspondent said, as some 300 people without shelter were evacuated to Antigua.

One person is known to have died on the island of 1,600 residents, apparently a child whose family was trying to get to safer ground.

As of Thursday night the eye of the monster storm was located a few dozen miles northeast of Great Inagua island in the Bahamas.

Poor Haitians were left to face Irma's fury alone as authorities showed little sign of preparing for what forecasters said could be a catastrophic event.

Two people were injured when an uprooted coconut tree crashed onto their home near Cap-Haitien, authorities said, adding that the situation was dire in northeastern Ouanaminthe after the adjoining Massacre River overflowed, cutting off food supplies from the neighboring Dominican Republic.

Cuba moved 10,000 foreign tourists from beach resorts in the exposed part of the island, and hiked its disaster alert level to maximum.

Florida is expecting to face the brunt of the storm from Friday night, with forecasters warning of sea-level surges of up to 25 feet (almost eight meters) above normal tide levels.

Tourists in the popular Key West islands were packing their bags on a mandatory evacuation order, with a similar order for residents due to follow.

"We can't save you once the storm starts," Governor Rick Scott told a press conference.

James Nickolos, a 69-year-old theology professor in Miami, said: "This morning I went to the beach as I do every morning, and it was very empty and beautiful but I had the feeling of watching a great beauty walking on a gang-plank to their death."

Trump said he was "very concerned" about Irma, but added: "Florida is as well prepared as you can be for something like this, now it's just a question of what happens".

Irma hit the Caribbean as two other storms, Jose in the Atlantic Ocean and Katia in the Gulf of Mexico, were upgraded to hurricane status.

Katia, a Category One storm, is expected to hit the coast of the Mexican state of Veracruz before Friday.

Jose, following in the path of Irma and located east of the Lesser Antilles late Thursday, strengthened to a Category Three event, packing winds of up to 120 miles per hour, the US National Hurricane Center said. — AFP]]>
Highlights Fri, 08 Sep 2017 05:22:57 +0000 theSundaily 479940 at