Selasa, 15 November 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio


Lost in translation

Posted: 16 Nov 2011 03:34 AM PST

It's probably the most expensive TV series in history. With its CGI dinosaurs and time travel premise, it promises viewers a good watch ... or maybe not.

IT is the 22nd century and the world is dying. Population numbers have exploded to such an extent that it is now a crime to have more than two children. Also, the environment is so polluted that people need gas masks to breathe.

So, not a pleasant place to be this future Earth. That is why people are being sent millions of years back to the past so that mankind can have a second chance.

This is a dynamite of a premise – dinosaurs, time travel and dystopian futures. Seriously, this story should have been epic. Tragically, Terra Nova ends up being one of the world's most expensive and boring family drama ever made. (The pilot is rumoured to cost US$20mil/RM60mil.)

The first mistake was to create a cast of characters so bland and clich├ęd that you're nodding off as they interact on screen. The main family are the Shannons, a family as wholesome as apple pie, though their entrance to Terra Nova is more dramatic than they'd like.

There's Jim Shannon, a former cop who joins the expedition illegally after escaping from prison, and his wife Elisabeth, a doctor. They have three kids: two annoying teens and a third which they had to smuggle to the past in a backpack.

The Shannons are a bland bunch, but the biggest offenders are a bunch of teenage characters that pull you away from plots that matter so that you can pay attention to their pointless "me, me, me" problems.

Never mind that there are dinosaurs at their doorstep that can disembowel and peck them to death. Never mind that the colonists probably have compromised immune systems that should not have been able to withstand the deadly array of bacteria and viruses in their new environment.

It doesn't even matter that they now have to build a civilisation from the ground up without the government or the technological trappings that they were used to. No, what's more important and apparently more urgent are the love lives of these sullen teens. For variety's sake, we sometimes get doses of the adults' love dilemmas lest you think this is a teen drama set in Dino land.

You can see that the writers have put a lot of thought into creating this world. No, I'm being sarcastic. What I meant was this world's foundation is as solid as a house made from pigeon feathers. Why give humanity a second chance to live in a time when dinosaurs will be wiped by a meteor shower sometime in the future?

If there's no way to communicate with the future once you're on the other side, how sure are you that the colonists that were sent back – mind you, the best and the brightest people that the future Earth probably needs – survived? The lazy writing is mind boggling.

Here's another question: how is it possible that a sci-fi show about dinosaurs and time-travelling humans be so achingly boring? I'm going to restrain my bitter Trekker heart and try not to point the finger at one of its executive producers, Brannon Braga, who headed sci-fi shows that started out with great potential but became bland clunkers. (Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise, which is why he is known as the "guy who ruined Star Trek" in Trek fandom.) Instead, I'm pointing out its numerous flaws and letting you be the judge.

In the brutal world for debuting TV series, it is highly important for the first few episodes to not just be memorable but meaty enough to stand above the fray. Unfortunately, Terra Nova has none of these.

Its first few episodes are recycled stories from other shows. A mysterious virus that causes amnesia (done to death in sci-fi dramas), a bad rip-off of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds ... and then there's an obscene amount of minutes devoted to teen shenanigans.

For a show set in an era teeming with creatures the size of skyscrapers, it certainly doesn't utilise its setting much. Instead of exploring the new, fascinating world and its deadly creatures, or how a fledgling society contends with a new and dangerous environment, the characters are walking around their utopian-looking village like its summer camp. Tension comes in the form of "the Sixers", colonists from the sixth wave of migration that, for reasons unknown, have rebelled and left the village to form a resistance group.

The storywriters are taking their sweet time in telling us why these sullen adults have such a grudge against the shiny happy people at Terra Nova. Honestly, I've stopped caring why and wish that they'd be wiped out by a pack of velociraptors.

Not only are the antagonists not interesting they are, heck, not even a big enough threat to be taken seriously. Give us something that will make our hair stand or something that will make us care, will you?

Seriously, why spend huge amounts of money on CGI dinosaurs if you're not even going to use them as an integral part of the storyline? Instead, the CGI dinos are used for the occasional character elimination. It would have been far more economical – and probably more interesting – if Terra Nova was set in some other time. I vote for the Roman times. Swords and sandals with time-travelling future Earthlings? I can rock with that.

Now, all I can do is fantasise how the series could've turned out if it had been in the able hands of real masters like Lost's JJ Abrams and Battlestar Galactica's Ronald D. Moore. I'm having chills already.

> Terra Nova airs every Saturday at 8.55pm on Fox (Astro Ch 710).

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports


Woods to face Scott and former caddy Williams in Presidents Cup

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 07:18 PM PST

MELBOURNE, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Presidents Cup team captains Greg Norman and Fred Couples have ensured Thursday's opening foursomes matches will have additional spice by pairing Tiger Woods against Australia's Adam Scott and the American's former caddy Steve Williams.

Williams, who now carries Scott's bag after Woods fired him in July ending a partnership that had started in 1999, sparked a global controversy in the leadup to the biennial tournament by making a racist remark about Woods in China earlier this month.

New Zealander Williams later apologised online and to Woods in person and the American said he wanted to move on.

Scott, who rejected calls to sack his caddy and denied Williams was a racist, had said he would be prepared to take on Woods regardless of any tension in the match-up.

Capping off days of speculation, U.S. captain Couples called Hunter Mahan and David Toms for the second-last match against Kim Kyung-Tae and YE Yang, leaving Scott and South Korean team mate KJ Choi to play against Woods and Stricker.

Before calling out the second-last name, Couples hesitated before mistakenly calling out Phil Mickelson's surname for the penultimate pairing before correcting himself.

Both he and Internationals captain Norman denied the match-up was premeditated but their comments appeared to contradict the claim.

"Like Greg said, and we were right here, we were writing down cards and it's just the way it felt, and I think it would be worse if we hid this deal," he told reporters at Royal Melbourne Golf Club on Wednesday.

Norman said had not spoken with Couples and his assistants about it but had consulted Scott and Choi.

"I think it's great for the tournament. It needed to be done. It played out the way it played out," he told reporters.

"I just think that in the situation and the best spirit of the competition for the tournament there's obviously a lot of speculation and intensity from the people in this room here that it could take place.

"We talked about it as the three of us and say, 'okay, if we had to diffuse anything and just get this thing over and done with, wouldn't you rather have it sooner than later?'

"Because I personally wouldn't have wanted to be sitting down at the singles and everybody is playing a really tight match and it comes down to the last group or the second to last group, and all of this pressure is coming on because it's the first time the two met."

HELPING HAND

As holders, the U.S. team were entitled to the first pick but Couples deferred it to the hosts and Norman duly selected South African triple major champion Ernie Els to partner with Japan's Ryo Ishikawa.

They will face Bubba Watson and Nick Watney in the first match-up and Norman said their pairing was intended to allow Els to give the 20-year-old a helping hand around the Royal Melbourne course.

Ishikawa arrived late on Tuesday, well after his team mates and has little time to get to know the challenging lay-out.

"Well, I think that had a lot to do with it," said Norman. "We knew Ryo got in late and only had one practice round. They are out there playing now.

"Ernie shot 60 around this golf course so he knows how to play Royal Melbourne," he added of the South African, the only player on the team to have tasted victory in the Cup back in 1998.

Norman picked a trio of Australians in the following three pairings, in part, he said to get the local crowd firing early.

Local Geoff Ogilvy and South Africa's U.S. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel face captain's pick Bill Haas and Nick Watney before Australia's Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day take on Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Four-times major champion Mickelson forms a seasoned pairing with Jim Furyk in a veterans' match-up against South African double U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and Australia's Robert Allenby in the fourth match-up. "You put an Aussie in one group, (the fans) are going to be going, 'Oi, Oi, Oi!' so I don't have a problem with that," Norman said with a grin. The United States are bidding to win their fourth successive Presidents Cup, though Royal Melbourne is the venue of their sole loss in the tournament in 1998.

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Nicol and Delia easily clear first round in HK

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 03:13 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Nicol David continued her winning ways with a cakewalk over qualifier Tong Tsz-Wing in the Hong Kong Open squash championships yesterday.

The 28 year-old Penangite, who clinched her record sixth World Open crown two weeks ago, won 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 in just 23 minutes at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

National No. 3 Delia Arnold also won her open­ing match. She ousted French qualifier Coline Aumard 11-2, 12-10, 12-10 in 42 minutes.

Nicol, who is eyeing her sixth Hong Open title, will take on Donna Urquhart of Australia in tomorrow's second round while Delia will meet England's Laura Massaro.

Five other Malaysians – Low Wee Wern, Mohd Azlan Iskandar, Ong Beng Hee, Nafiizwan Adnan and Ivan Yuen – will start their campaign today.

Results

Men's first round: Olli Tuominen (Fin) bt Borja Golan (Spa) 11-7, 11-9, 11-5; James Willstrop (Eng) bt Jonathan Kemp (Eng) 13-11, 11-6, 11-5; Peter Barker (Eng) bt Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) 7-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9; Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt Max Lee (Hkg) 11-2, 11-8, 3-11, 11-6; Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt Julian Illingworth (US) 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3; Omar Mosaad (Egy) bt Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) 11-8, 11-4, 11-8.

Women's first round: Delia Arnold (Mas) bt Coline Aumard (Fra) 11-2, 12-10, 12-10; Nicol David (Mas) bt Tong Tsz-Wing (Hkg) 11-9, 11-4, 11-2; Donna Urquhart (Aus) bt Line Hansen (Den) 11-4, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7; Laura Massaro (Eng) bt Olga Ertlova (Cze) 11-3, 11-4, 11-7; Joelle King (Nzl) bt Misaki Kobayashi (Jpn) 11-8, 11-6, 10-12, 12-10; Annie Au (Hkg) bt Gaby Huber (Swi) 11-3, 11-6, 11-8; Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) bt Tania Bailey (Eng) 11-3, 12-10, 11-8; Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt Latasha Khan (US) 11-4 (rtd).

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Kvitova is the best

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 03:03 PM PST

LONDON: Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was voted WTA's player of the year on Monday following a season in which she claimed her debut Grand Slam title, steered the Czech Republic to Fed Cup glory and shot up 32 places in the world rankings.       

The Czech, who ended the year ranked second in the world, picked up four prizes in total on Monday following a remarkable 12 months in which she won six titles and chalked up a 6-0 record in Fed Cup singles.       

"This season has been simply a dream," the 21–year–old said in a statement after being voted to the top prize ahead of world number one Caroline Wozniacki.

"It is an incredible honour to win the player of the year award and join the ranks of some of the best players that have ever played the sport, especially Martina Navratilova.

"I will always cherish the 2011 season and look forward to building on it."       

Kvitova also bagged the most improved player award and the fair play prize, while fans voted her the breakthrough player of the year.

Kveta Peschke completed a good day for the Czech Republic when she and Slovenian partner Katarina Srebotnik earned their first award for doubles team of the year.

Romanian Irina–Camelia Begu won newcomer of the year after a breakthrough season that saw her reach two finals – both on clay at Marbella and Budapest – and rise from 214 in the world to 38, eventually finishing it at 40th.

Sabine Lisicki of Germany scooped the comeback player of the year honour.       

The 22–year–old was out of action for five months last year with a horrific ankle injury and by March this year, she had toppled out of the top 200.        

However, by the end of the season, she had clawed back into the top 15 thanks to triumphs in Birmingham and Dallas and by charging into the semi–finals at Wimbledon despite entering the tournament with a wildcard. – Reuters       

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The Star Online: Business

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FBM KLCI up in early trade

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 04:57 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI climbed 6.58 points or 0.44% to 1,483.85 in early trade on Wednesday, tracking the marginal gains seen on the overnight Wall Street.

In its market preview for today, HwangDBS Vickers Research said that the benchmark FBM KLCI is likely to oscillate around the immediate support level of 1,475 pending the emergence of fresh market leads.

"After a volatile session last night, key U.S. stock indices ended higher by between 0.1% and 0.5% on hopes that the new Italian leader would make progress in resolving the country's sovereign debt problems," it said, adding that the nervous Wall Street performance may spread to the local bourse ahead.

In focus today, Harvest Court Industries Bhd resumed trading and slumped 63 sen or 29.5% to RM1.50 after being suspended and declared as designated securities on Tuesday.

Financial counters, AMMB Holdings and Alliance Financial Group are scheduled to announce their latest quarterly financial results during lunch hours today

Key regional markets are mostly up with Tokyo's Nikkei 225 up 0.14% to 8,554.11 points, and Seoul's Kospi adding 0.64% to 1,898.22.

Nymex crude oil was quoted at USD99.22 per barrel. Spot gold was USD1780.30 per ounce while silver was USD34.44 per ounce.

The ringgit was quoted at 3.1605 to the USD and 4.2693 to the euro.

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US economy shows signs of momentum in 4th quarter

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 04:24 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The economy showed signs it maintained speed into the fourth quarter as retail sales increased in October and a gauge of manufacturing in New York state rose this month for the first time since May.

Other data on Tuesday showed muted price pressures at the wholesale level. That should provide the Federal Reserve scope to give more aid to the economy in the face of an increased threat to the recovery from Europe's debt crisis.

"The economy seems to be in solid shape," said Alex Hoder, an economist at FTN Financial in New York. "Growth is not strong, but it is not too bad either, and much better than the fourth-quarter recession many were expecting just a few months ago."

Retail sales increased 0.5 percent in October, the Commerce Department said, after they rose 1.1 percent the prior month. The fifth straight monthly gain beat economists' expectations for a 0.3 percent increase.

The stronger tone of the economy was further enhanced by a report from the New York Federal Reserve Bank showing factory activity in New York state grew in November for the first time since May as shipments improved even though new orders fell.

The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions, though it accounts for only a small slice of the overall manufacturing sector, which has been a key pillar of the recovery.

The data supported recent reports suggesting the economy was gaining traction after stumbling in the first half of the year. Economists at JPMorgan said growth in the current quarter was tracking close to a 3 percent annual pace after expanding at a 2.5 percent rate in the third quarter.

A third report showed the Producer Price Index, a measure of prices received by U.S. farms, factories and refineries, fell 0.3 percent on weak gasoline and motor vehicle prices. It was the first drop in four months. Excluding volatile food and energy, core wholesale prices were flat.

FED SEEN EASING

Stocks on Wall Street closed higher, but investors remained worried about Europe's debt crisis. U.S. Treasury debt prices were slightly lower, while the dollar firmed broadly.

Despite a strengthening economy in the last few months, the recovery is not yet out of the woods, with analysts warning that Europe is almost certainly facing recession.

"If you were going to make a list of downside risks to the economy, the sovereign debt issues in Europe, the banking issues in Europe, are at the top of everybody's list of identifiable threats," White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger said at an event sponsored by the Wall Street Journal.

With the outlook for Europe darkening, economists believe the Fed will want to move to safeguard the U.S. recovery, although officials at the central bank continue to differ over the threshold for further action.

October's rise in retail sales suggested consumer spending would support growth in the fourth quarter, though economists worry that much of the spending is being funded from savings.

"Consumer spending is holding up better than many people had anticipated, given a 9 percent unemployment rate and modest wage gains," said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester Pennsylvania. "This pace of consumer spending is only sustainable if the labor market continues to heal."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc Chief Executive Mike Duke said the retail giant's U.S. customers were still worried about jobs and only one in 10 mothers taking part in its surveys view the economy as "good." With food prices rising more quickly than most wages, some shoppers were concerned about holiday meals, the company said.

Retail sales last month were supported by pent-up demand for motor vehicles. Still, even excluding autos, sales rose 0.6 percent, the largest increase in seven months.

There were also gains in sales of sporting goods, electronics and appliances, and building materials. But clothing store sales posted their largest decline since December 2010 and receipts at service stations fell, reflecting weak gasoline prices.

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Dell revenue flat, warns on full-year outlook

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 04:21 PM PST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dell Inc's quarterly revenue just missed Wall Street estimates, and the world's No. 3 personal computer maker warned that full-year revenue could be hurt by an industrywide shortage of hard drives.

Uncertainties surrounding the economy and the hard drive shortage means that Dell's fiscal 2012 revenue is tracking at the lower end of its growth forecast of 1 to 5 percent, the company said.

Investors fear a slowdown in PC manufacturing through 2012 after flooding in Thailand severely disrupted production of hard drives, a key component in computers.

"To the extent that we see higher (drive) prices we'll also see some offsets in other components and we're going to do everything we can to protect our customers. But maybe in some cases we do have to raise our prices," Chief Financial Officer Brian Gladden told Reuters in an interview.

The shortage of hard drives will force Dell to prioritize toward higher-value customers and products," Gladden said.

Dell also appears to not have benefited much from the disarray at bigger rival Hewlett Packard Co, which spent much of the last quarter considering whether to spin off its PC business.

The company lost market share during the third quarter to Asian rival Lenovo Group which vaulted past it to claim the No. 2 ranking in PCs behind market leader HP.

"The PC business will remain difficult over the next year," said Brian White, analyst with Ticonderoga Securities. He cited pressure from slowing public sector spending as various government agencies around the world take austerity measures over the next year.

Dell's public business generated revenue of 4.2 billion, which was down 2 percent from the 2010 third quarter due to weakness in the United States and Western Europe.

Desktop PC revenue slid 6 percent to $3.4 billion as Dell's sales to consumers fell 6 percent over the same period.

Chief Executive Michael Dell said the company was moving away from low-margin businesses.

"We're choosing not to participate in low value opportunities which have put short-term pressure on revenue growth but have been a real driver of our expanded margins and growing earnings," Dell told analysts on a conference call.

Gross margins slipped to 23.1 percent from 23.2 percent in the prior quarter, but rose from 20 percent a year earlier.

Dell said revenue in its fiscal third quarter was essentially flat at $15.36 billion, but slightly lower than the average analyst estimate of $15.65 billion according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Analysts on average had projected a 1.6 percent climb in Dell's fiscal 2012 revenue to almost $62.5 billion.

Net earnings rose to $893 million, or 49 cents a share, from $822 million, or 42 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding items, Dell earned 54 cents a share, better than the average analyst estimate of 47 cents.

Dell's large enterprise business increased sales 8 percent in the quarter as corporations continued to upgrade aging hardware.

Shares of Dell slid 2 percent to $15.32 in extended trade, after closing at $15.63 on Nasdaq.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Meeting on indelible ink matter

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 04:00 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The Parliamen-tary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms is scheduled to meet Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail today on the proposal to use indelible ink in the general election.

Its chairman Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said Abdul Gani had been invited to appear at the meeting as committee members wanted to hear from him on the matter.

"The committee has invited the A-G to give his opinion on the legal matters raised at the public hearings pertaining to the Federal Constitution," he said when contacted.

"Most members believe the proposal to use indelible ink can be implemented but they want a clearer explanation from the A-G as based on Article 119, one can say because they don't want to be marked, they are forbidden from voting and that infringes on their rights."

Various groups had given their views with some including former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and current president Lim Chee Wee saying that the use of indelible ink required no constitutional amendment.

They said the proposal could be implemented if the use of the ink was included in the election regulations as Section 16 of the Elections Act allows the Election Commission to make regulations.

Committee member Datuk Alex Nanta Linggi said that although it was in favour of the proposal of using indelible ink, it wanted the legal issues to be clear because it did not want to arrive at a wrong decision.

"Basically, we do not want what happened to Section 15 of the Universities and University Colleges Act when the court declared it as null and void," he said.

The main concern is that the election results can be nullified following petitions resulting from the use of indelible ink, over which legal experts and lawyers are divided.

Another committee member P. Kamalanathan said feedback from non-governmental bodies, individuals and political parties were in favour of indelible ink. - Bernama

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Housewife regrets undergoing liposuction to reduce size of arms

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 03:59 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: For housewife Tan Sook Choo, the pain she went through in the name of beauty was not worth it.

Tan had gone for an outpatient liposuction eight years ago because she was conscious of her chunky upper arms.

"I had no intention to go for liposuction at first. A friend persuaded me to go for liposuction, saying it could reduce the size of my arms.

"She also said it would not hurt," said the 49-year-old.

She and her friend travelled to a clinic in Malacca where a "doctor" recommended by her friend would perform the RM3,000 procedure.

Tan's painful episode began after the three-hour procedure under general anaesthesia.

Her main grievance was that she felt as if she was rushed into the operation and the doctor did not adequately explain the procedure and what to expect after it.

"I could not move my arms because the pain was so great and they were swollen.

"I had to rely on my daughters to help me bathe, get dressed, comb my hair and perform other tasks for almost a month. I felt like a cripple."

The Star on Monday reported about the increase in complaints against beauty salons.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai reportedly said the proposed ministry guidelines to regulate the beauty industry would make it easier for the ministry to clamp down on beauty salons offering procedures that were out of their scope of expertise.

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Sabah intensifies green effort

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 03:55 PM PST

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is set to intensify its green effort and bring more value to its conservation efforts in the state.

The effort, which is envisioned in the "Heart of Borneo" initiative, was mooted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in recognition of the importance of the island of Borneo and its biodiversity.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said the ongoing implementation of several key green programmes on the state's four hectares of land had benefited the economic and environmental efforts in Sabah.

He added that Sabah was continuing to green its forestry sector through the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) programme, which has not only protected the state's forests and biodiversity, but also would help realise its green economy ambitions.

Musa said the SFM comprised the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme strategy that guided countries on the contributions of forests to a green economy.

"The SFM is being practised in the Deramakot Forest Reserve, which has been certified as a well-managed forest under the Forest Stewardship Council certification scheme.

"Another success story is the Ulu Segama - Malua project, covering some 240,000ha of production forest reserves designated for natural forest management and orang utan conservation," he said at the launch of the "International Conference on Sabah - Heart of Borneo Green Economy and Development: Engaging Business For Environment" here yesterday.

In 2007, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to the vision for conservation and sustainable development under the Heart of Borneo Initiative.

Sabah is also involved in the Malua-Bio Bank, a public-private partnership on innovative conservation financing.

Kamal Malhotra, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, said Sabah was an important place to demonstrate the concept of sustainable development.

"This is not just for Malaysia but South-East Asia as a whole. What is going on here is being closely watched by those interested in sustainable development around the world," he said.

Malhotra also explained that the UNDP and Sabah Forestry Department were finalising a US$4.5mil (RM14mil) multiple-use forest landscape planning and management project.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies


David Yates on board for big screen 'Doctor Who'

Posted: 14 Nov 2011 07:07 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Fresh off the monster success of Harry Potter, director David Yates is turning his attention to another British icon, Doctor Who.

Yates is developing a big screen version of the cult science fiction series for BBC Worldwide. He would direct the film.

A BBC Worldwide spokeswoman described the project as being in the ''early stages.'' A script still needs to be written and there's no actors attached.

Jane Tranter, Executive Vice President of the BBC's Programming and Production, and Jane Gardner, who runs BBC's scripted division, will produce the film.

The long-running series centers on a time traveling, humanoid alien named the Doctor. The Doctor has been played by 11 actors over the years, ranging from David Tennant to Christopher Eccleston, and the switch to different doctors is written into the series as part of the character's regeneration.

Matt Smith is the most recent actor to play the part.

Yates got his start directing acclaimed BBC mini-series such as ''State of Play'' and ''Sex Traffic.'' He went on to direct four of the eight Potter movies, including the two-part finale ''Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.''

Variety first reported Yates' involvement.

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Sony picks up novel Q for David Gordon Green

Posted: 14 Nov 2011 07:04 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Columbia Pictures is in final negotiations to acquire the film rights to Evan Mandery's romantic novel ''Q,'' and will put the ''Pineapple Express'' team of writer/director David Gordon Green and producer Matt Tolmach in charge of the project, an individual close to the studio said.

The Harper Collins novel focuses on a man who is visited by a future version of himself and talked out of marrying the love of his life - a mistake he tries to undo.

Pouya Shahbazian will produce the film with Tolmach. Robert Kessel and Kate Checci, who came with the idea for film adaptation, who will also work on developing the project. Andrea Giannetti is overseeing ''Q'' for Columbia Pictures along with Hannah Minghella.

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central


No quick fix

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 05:24 AM PST

With reference to the report "Scarred beauty" carried by StarMetro on Nov 14, it is obvious that there is always some danger in beauty treatments, and I hope that those seeking these services realise it, as otherwise they are asking for trouble.

Based on the statistics provided by the authorities, many people are seeking such treatments.

I strongly urge the public to think twice before seeking beauty treatment from unauthorised centres, as it can cause you more harm than good.

It is sad that this billion-dollar wellness industry remains one of the least regulated by the authorities.

It should be well monitored and with adequate laws to give adequate protection to consumers.

Based on the feedback from some customers, there is cheating, overcharging and botched jobs resulting in permanent disfigurements.

It is refreshing that the Health Ministry is introducing guidelines next month on the do's and don'ts for the beauty industry, particularly involving invasive procedures.

It seems these days the pressure to look perfect is causing many people to turn to cosmetic surgery for a quick fix.

A little too often, that quick fix turns into a nip and tuck or multiple rounds of extreme surgery resulting in a complete evolution.

Sometimes plastic surgery can make us feel better about ourselves, however at other times people take it too far.

If not carried out properly, plastic surgery can lead to scarring, weird deformities, infections. In some cases, there is a need to re-do the area with more plastic surgery causing even greater damage.

People should be more careful and not become so gullible and become easy targets of these unscrupulous operators.

BULBIR SINGH

Seremban

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The law seems to bend towards illegal spas

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 05:24 AM PST

THIS is in reference to the article 'Rubbing Residents The Wrong Way' in StarMetro on Nov 4.

Almost nine years ago, a group of us genuine spa owners formed an association with objectives to self-regulate, strengthen and grow the Malaysian spa industry.

The Association of Malaysian Spas (AMSPA) membership regulations require our members to have a valid operating licence, to follow statutory regulations in our set-up and if we require foreign therapists, to hire only qualified ones who have proper work visas.

Members are also required to have proper Standard Operating Procedure and training manuals. They must also provide all treatments required by international standards to qualify as spas.

Sadly, over the years, our members have faced numerous challenges in operating our spas despite a sincere effort to operate within the law.

Spas are required to pay many times more for operating licences besides having to pass various inspections to get one. This often cause expensive delays to opening of our businesses.

But the toughest process by far is getting work visas for our badly required foreign therapists.

It is not by choice that we hire foreign therapists. We do so simply because we do not have enough local therapists to work our industry. Work permits for foreign therapists have been frozen for more than a year now with no solution in sight.

I liken this to switching off the oxygen supply of a dying patient, snuffing out whatever life left. Many of us have downsized, closed or will be closing our spas soon due to the severe manpower shortage.

A genuine spa therapist is a skilled professional so to expect spas to absorb illegals from other industry involved in the amnesty programme is not a solution.

Illegal workers from a plantation, a restaurant or a factory do not have the skills to serve as spa therapists. We intend to protect the integrity of our industry by hiring only qualified and experienced therapists and we should be allowed to do so.

The Tourism Ministry now has a rating system in place for spas similar to hotel rating, Most, if not all of our members, fall within the three, four and five star spa categories. Yet we are treated no differently than the illegal spas and massage parlours that are mushrooming all over the city. Is this fair and just?

It is most shocking to be told by the enforcement authorities that these illegal spas cannot be forced to stop their operations but can can only be compounded for not having a licence! What about the illegals they hire?

Surely they can be arrested and deported. How did they enter the country in the first place?

Yet proper applications for qualified therapists by genuine spas like ourselves are not entertained The message coming across is that it is easier and more lucrative being illegal than legal.

With such a negative image, the spa industry continues to have difficulty attracting local human resource, which means the need for foreign therapists will remain a vicious cycle.

Given the difficult and unfair treatment of genuine, licensed and rated spas, is it any wonder that the growing number of illegal spas outnumber the genuine ones?

Something needs to be done before illegal spas take over the industry all together.

DATIN RAMONA SULEIMAN

AMSPA

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Sipitang residents to benefit from Petronas investment

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 04:10 AM PST

WESTON (Sabah): Thousands of residents of Sipitang stand to benefit from infrastructural developments by Petronas which will invest RM4.5 billion in the area early next year.

Member of Parliament for Sipitang Datuk Sapawi Ahmad said this included highway projects and electricity and water supplies to the area.

According to plans, Petronas through Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PCG) would build a world-class fertiliser complex in the district.

The project known as SAMUR would be built in the second quarter of next year and was expected to be operational in 2015.

"I am confident the residents of Sipitang will benefit from the presence of the Petronas project especially the infrastructural developments," he said in his speech during a 'Leader With The People' ceremony here recently.

During the ceremony, Sapawi also witnessed a programme to hand over 86 students of Universiti Malaya Sabah (UMS) for adoption to their respective families.

He hoped the presence of the students to carry out researches would help to strengthen the eco-tourism transformation plan in the area.

– BERNAMA

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RM18 million for rubber replanting

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 04:10 AM PST

SEMPORNA: The Rural and Regional Development Ministry has allocated RM18 million through its agency, the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda), for the replanting of rubber in Sabah for this year.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the sum was part of the overall RM60 million allocation for the country to assist rubber smallholders to replant rubber and supply them with fertiliser as well to increase their income.

"Next year we will add to it by another RM36 million to include the distribution of fertiliser to rubber settlers in Sabah," he said after launching the state level Fertiliser Management campaign in Kampung Sungai Barong, Pulau Lihak-Lihak recently.

During the event Shafie distributed RM826,566 and free fertiliser to 18 smallholders in the area.

He described the funds and fertiliser management campaign as being in line with the government's objective to step up Malaysia's rubber production for the global market.

Commenting on the Sabah Forestry Department's recent destruction of oil palm plantations in Kampung Sungai Nasip alleging its inhabitants had trespassed into forest reserve land, Shafie asserted that the department should have waited for the state government's decision before taking any action.

"When rural folks' crops are cut down like this it will definitely affect their source of income. They are appealing because they have no source of income now," he explained.

"I urge that this matter is resolved as soon as possible," he added.

A representative of the affected residents, Budsatu Buddamu,52, expressed regret that the Department considered them as trespassers, even though he claims they have been cultivating the land for the last three generations.

"The Forestry Department gazetted the area as forest reserve in 1984 but placed a notice on it only in 2008," he added.

– BERNAMA

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Proud housewife is all smiles

Posted: 14 Nov 2011 04:10 PM PST

NUSAJAYA: It was the happiest day for a housewife after she delivered her first-born son on 11.11.11 after waiting for nine years.

Nurul Huda, 31, said that she was touched and was overjoyed after giving birth to Qaizer Emir at Columbia Asia Hospital here, yesterday.

"I was admitted to the hospital at 8.30am and had no trouble at all giving birth to my baby boy who was born at 9.07am," she said.

She added that she was happy that Qaizer was born on 11.11.11 and said that it was also a good day for Muslims as it was a Friday.

Nurul Huda's husband, businessman Ezlam Shah, 31, was in tears when he finally had the chance to hold his first son.

"No words can describe how happy I am as we have waited for so long for this moment to arrive," he said.

Meanwhile, Ezlam's mother, Zainon Dollah, 65, said that Qazier was her 11th grandchild.

"Today is the happiest day for our family and we cherish every moment of it," she said.

Nurul's mother Fatimah Mat, 68, was also happy and said that Nurul was her last child and Nurul's newborn son was her 17th grandchild.

The doctor who was in charge of birth Dr. Rajesh Mahendran said that there were six babies born at the hospital yesterday.

"Out of the six, three of the mothers requested to deliver their babies on today's date.

"We have approved their request as they were on their good condition," he said adding that it was a busy day for him.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The breezy bunch

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 01:45 AM PST

When it comes to melting hearts and bringing the house down, count on Indonesian indie outfit White Shoes And The Couples Company to get the job done.

Flying under most people's radars, Indonesia's most famous indie pop export White Shoes And The Couples Company made its second appearance in Kuala Lumpur last week. The group's first KL appearance was part of a big multi-band concert held at Sungai Wang Plaza's rooftop in 2008.

While that first live appearance surely won over quite a few new fans for this Jakarta-based sextet, it wasn't quite the full-length set that its fans were hoping for.

An opportunity to rectify that arose last Wednesday night when the band headlined its own show, organised by the good people from Frinjan, at one of the very few venues left in town to cater to niche crowds and music, the Black Box at MAP @ Publika, in Solaris Dutamas in KL.

Formed in 2002, White Shoes And The Couples Company, which started off as a bunch of art school students and musicians, has received critical acclaim (there are glowing reviews in Time and Rolling Stone magazines) for its recordings as well as a sizeable cult following in the region.

Looking retro and chic, the group – featuring vocalist Sari (Aprilia Apsari), guitarists Saleh Hussein and Rio (Yusmario Farabi), bassist Ricky Surya Virgana, keyboardist Mela (Apri Mela Prawidyanti Virgana) and drummer John Navid – effortlessly oozed indie cool and charm.

The turnout for the show was a good one – considering the by-word-of-mouth buzz. Some slight technical problems during the soundcheck led to a "Malaysian time" delay to the start of the gig, but that didn't dampen the excitement of the 450-strong crowd that packed the venue once the doors opened.

The opening band was the 13-piece Khottal from Malacca – it did the best it could with the underwhelming sound quality that night, which plagued not only the group's set but everyone else's as well.

Khottal, which had made the road trip to KL the same day, kept up its smiles and energy levels despite the sound problems. With its signature tune Woo Song as the closing act, Khottal ended with an awesome display of destruction as the band members took turns to abuse and destroy two unfortunate melodicas on stage.

Next up was French act Saycet, which mellowed things with a hypnotic set, thanks to the combination of the group's brand of bleeps and beats and some spiffy visuals using two projectors and some creatively designed curtains and canvas.

With a nicely cosmopolitan feel to the crowd, which included Indonesian college students, Malaysian scenesters and music fans, and even some French expats, it seemed obvious that everyone was waiting for the main act White Shoes to step on stage.

Better late than never. Once the Indonesian band members, all in their early 30s, hit the spotlight at about 11.30pm, the crowd simply went wild at the playback of opening song Berjalan-jalan (from White Shoes' latest album, Album Vakansi). The group then rolled smoothly into Sabda Alam, from the original soundtrack to the film Berbagi Suami.

Without too much opening banter, thesix-piece band went straight into the groovy Roman Ketiga, one of the highlights from its mini album Skenario Masa Muda.

By the time it reached the bubbly Masa Remadja from the latest album, it became apparent that White Shoes in a live setting is a totally different beast compared to its album recordings, and I mean this in the best possible way.

While the albums are pleasant and very slickly performed indie pop affairs, seeing frontwoman Sari and the band bash out these songs with so much energy will make you realise that this bunch is quite the rock 'n' roll unit.

With a healthy touch of retro Indonesian music (some might even say that its songs remind them strongly of the glory days of Uji Rashid and Hail Amir), it was hard to fault the band's live spirit as it battled the night's technical glitches.

The way drummer John gleefully attacked the catchy drum fills on Masa Remadja meant it was definitely party scenes to remember.

Add that with the dancing styles of bassist Ricky and the attention-grabbing solos and poses from lead guitarist Saleh, and you had one heck of an infectious pop rocking outfit! By the time it reached the early hits Senandung Maaf and Windu Dan Defrina, the group had the crowd practically eating out of its hands without even having to prompt anyone into singing along.

Lead singer Sari's elegantly choreographed moves and the fetchingly beautiful keyboardist Mela served as eye candy for the boys in the hall.

Rhythm guitarist Rio was probably the most understated member of the band, dutifully providing the steady backbone and laying down the foundations for the more flamboyant antics from the lead guitarist and bassist.

After playing for about an hour, the group ended with a rollicking version of the Vampire Weekend-sounding Matahari, but not before the crowd screamed for one more, which the band dutifully obliged. Aksi Kucing was a fun-filled encore led by a hugely impressive drum solo from John, before the entire band got the crowd to participate in the call-and-response ("meow meow") part of the song. It was a fittingly wonderful end to a blissful night of indie pop goodness. Let's hope we can all share this happiness again in the near future, so don't throw away those dancing shoes yet!

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Chance to win Elton John concert tickets

Posted: 14 Nov 2011 05:46 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: The treats just keep getting better when it comes to The Star's 40th anniversary celebrations.

The Star is giving away 20 pairs of Sir Elton John & Band – Greatest Hits Tour concert tickets and accommodation in Genting Highlands to readers via the Elton, My Idol! contest.

The 64-year-old veteran singer is making his Malaysian debut at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting, on Nov 22 and The Star wants to get you there for it.

The flamboyant Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee is set to entertain fans with a career-spanning concert at the 6,000-capacity venue.

Visit contests.thestar.com.my/eltonmyidol/ for a chance to win the tickets and accommodation.

Print or download the contest form, answer two simple questions and complete a slogan/tie-breaker.

Entries must come complete with personal particulars. Send the form to The Star via e-mail (scanned copy – to eventsthestar@gmail.com), fax (03-7957 7641 / 03-7958 6912) or drop it into the contest box at the lobby of Menara Star at 15, Jalan 16/11, in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The closing date for entries is at noon tomorrow.

The contest is open to all readers aged 12 and above. Winners will be contacted by phone or e-mail and they will have to collect their tickets at the contest counter at the Arena of Stars – an hour before the show on Nov 22.

After a five-decade-long career, 250 million records sold and winning multiple Grammy awards, the concert is worth the wait.

Elton has gathered a crowd pleasing setlist on this current tour, featuring 1970s classics like Your Song, Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting), Rocket Man, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Candle In The Wind, Tiny Dancer and Crocodile Rock, right to 1980s favourites such as I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, I'm Still Standing, Sad Songs (Say So Much).

The Star is the official newspaper for the event.

Show promoters Tune Live, organisers Fat Boys, local producer Scenique and regional promoter Live Limited have indicated Elton's show will have all the concert trimmings and visual spectacle of a full international production.

Visit www.airasiaredtix.com for tickets, ranging from RM380 to RM1,380.

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Girl power

Posted: 14 Nov 2011 02:39 PM PST

Singers Yuna and Najwa emerged the biggest winners at the Anugerah Industri Muzik 2011 awards.

Girl power reigned supreme at the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) 2011 awards last Saturday. Last year's big winner, Yuna, made history again when she emerged the top of the crop at the star-studded affair in Bukit Jalil's Putra Stadium, Kuala Lumpur.

The 18th edition of the annual awards – which left its traditional home of the Putra World Trade Centre, KL, after so many years and was pushed to a year-end date – was a trimmed down affair with the major album categories (pop, rock, hip hop, etc) dropped from this year's awards.

This exercise in consolidation wasn't popular in many circles. A media backlash ensued in recent months with boycotts threatened and local music blogs going into overdrive with their critical assessment of how the AIM 2011 was presented and organised by the Recording Industry of Malaysia.

Yet the need to hand out 18 awards at AIM 2011 was the priority and the show went on with just enough shine and glamour.

Yuna, whose real name is Yunalis Zarai, bagged awards for the Best Vocal Performance (female) and the Best Song of the Year with her single Penakut. The singer-songwriter was also presented with the Anugerah Kembara in recognition of her musical success overseas, most notably in the United States.

"I did not expect to win but I'm really happy and I'll try to do even better in the future," the 24-year-old told us in an interview after the show.

The indie pop darling, who began writing songs at just 14, said the accolades are her "passport" to making better music. "I'm driven to work even harder," she shared.

The combination of rich, supple vocals and her sweet, weeping guitar propelled the singer into the limelight in 2006. Her rapid ascent on the indie music scene was backed by her burgeoning legion of fans on MySpace. Last February, she signed with the FADER Label, a hip record company based in New York, the United States.

Perhaps the most endearing thing about the singer is her staunch insistence to stay true to herself. "There isn't a specific 'Malaysian flavour' attached to my music," she said.

Yuna certainly isn't one to hop on the populist bandwagon.

Her personal thoughts and emotions reflect most in her music. "I like to experiment with different sounds but my music stays the same wherever I am, whether I am doing it in Malaysia or in the United States. The only difference is the way they work with post-production over there," she said.

Yuna fans take note – her first American album (following her Decorate EP) is slated for a February release next year. Meanwhile, her sophomore Malaysian album will hit stores in January.

The other big winner at AIM 2011 was the plucky newcomer Najwa.

Just like Yuna, who travels home often from the US, Najwa is also a frequent long-distance flier – she is studying music in Boston.

The singer kicked off the night with a power-packed medley of local Malay and English songs.

"It's great that I finally got to showcase my personality. I sing mostly in English and I've been doing mostly soul music, so I was really happy to be given a chance to perform songs from a variety of genres. I did asli (traditional) songs and I rapped and I enjoyed it so much!" she enthused.

Najwa, whose real name is Najwa Mahiaddin, beat fellow industry rookies James Baum, Reza Salleh, Kyoto Protocol and Projek Pistol to clinch the Best New Artiste award. She also won the Best Local English Song for Got To Go, from her Innocent Soul album.

"To be honest, it still feels surreal. AIM is something I grew up watching and it's great to be acknowledged for my music," said the singer, who was teary and emotional on stage.

While neo-soul is still a niche concern in these parts, the 25-year-old took on the challenge to familiarise Malaysian audiences with the balmy sounds of the genre with Innocent Soul.

"I wouldn't say I've been pushing to popularise neo-soul, but I believe that more and more people are starting to accept the genre with Innocent Soul and that's great.

"Most people would expect a Malay girl to sing in Malay, but I'm proof that you don't necessarily have to adhere to stereotypes. I didn't do a Malay album as my debut but that didn't stop people from appreciating my music or relating to it."

Najwa also revealed plans for her next album. "I do have plans to start writing some new songs but they're still in the preliminary stages. Nothing's concrete as of yet.

"But I do want to experiment with new sounds or add some new elements in my next album. The core of it will still be soul, but I don't want to limit myself to just one sound," she explained.

She will also be performing at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in May next year. "It's my first big solo concert," she said excitedly.

She has already started to work on the set-list for the two-hour performance.

At the awards show, the coveted Album of the Year award went to jazz queen Datuk Sheila Majid, 46, with the live album The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra Celebrates 25 Years Of Sheila Majid.

Meanwhile, pop divas Ning Baizura, Shila Amzah and Jaclyn Victor clinched the Best Group Vocal Perfor­mance with their heart-wrenching ballad Beribu Sesalan.

The dapper Anuar Zain, always the man for a good pop tune, maintained his star appeal with two awards in the bag – Best Performance in a Song (Male) and Best Pop Song with Sedetik Lebih.

Indie singer-songwriter Reza Salleh scored a major triumph for the non-mainstream by winning the coveted Best Engineered Album with his Realize debut. Self-financed to the tune of RM50,000, this album was released under Reza's Moonshine Records imprint.

Aizat Amdan, one of the hottest properties in the new Malay mainstream and beyond, proved he could write a song and also make it a cool visual experience – he won the Best Music Video for the swinging schoolyard action on Susun Silang Kata. The young man's sophomore album Urusan Aizat Amdan also won the Best Album Cover with its unique "postal service" packaging.

Back to the night's girl power theme, a definite link to the past was the Anugerah Sri Wirama award handed to Beh Suat Pheng. Affectionately known as "Mrs Beh", she was a rare female presence as one of the captains of the music industry during her 37 years with EMI Malaysia and EMI regional.

American pop star Greyson Chance performed as a special guest at the awards show. The 14-year-old, hailed as the next Justin Bieber, did a rendition of his hit single, Waiting Outside The Lines, as well as Lady Gaga's Paparazzi with local YouTube sensation, Najwa Latif.

Despite the presence of some notable local, rather sophisticated and classy performances on stage (Yuna, Najwa, Jaclyn Victor, Ning Baizura and Shila Amzah), the general entertainment value at AIM 2011 felt rather padded up and, at times, overtly animated and cheesy with hosts AC Mizal and comedian Zizan Razak on board. Perhaps, just as well since cartoon characters Upin and Ipin were also hired to jazz up the night.

Major winners

Album of the Year – The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra Celebrates 25 Years Of Sheila Majid by Sheila Majid

Song of the Year – Penakut by Yuna

Best Group Vocal Performance – Beribu Sesalan by Ning Baizura, Shila Amzah and Jaclyn Victor

Best Vocal Performance in a Song (Female) – Penakut by Yuna

Best Vocal Performance in a Song (Male) – Sedetik Lebih by Anuar Zain

Best New Artiste – Najwa

Best Local English Song – Got To Go by Najwa

Best Rock Song – Pelita by A.P.I.

Best Pop Song – Sedetik Lebih by Anuar Zain

Best Ethnic Pop Song – Joget Tak Senang Hati by Adibah Noor

Best Engineered Album – Realize by Reza Salleh

Best Music Video – Susun Silang Kata by Aizat Amdan

Anugerah Sri Wirama – Beh Suat Pheng

Anugerah Kembara – Yuna

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