Isnin, 30 Disember 2013

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The Star Online: Nation

Shrimp park project in Pitas halted

Posted: 29 Dec 2013 08:00 AM PST

KOTA KINABALU: After years of living from hand to mouth, villagers in the northern district of Pitas had been looking forward to a much-touted shrimp project with the promise of a steady income – but this has yet to become reality as the plan has been indefinitely frozen.

The suspension of the Pitas Shrimp Park was due to the clearing of a large swath of mangrove forest without prior approval.

The project, located on state land that was previously logged, is within the vicinity of Kampung Datong, Kampung Kuyuh, Kam­pung Manggis and Kampung Telaga.

Villagers said they had been counting on the shrimp park, to be located on a 1,200ha site, to improve their livelihoods as it had offered some 3,800 badly needed jobs in one of the state's poorest districts.

Speaking on their behalf, Kampung Datong village security and development committee chairman Maldan Abdul said: "After years of surviving from hand to mouth, we had been looking forward to building better lives for our families."

He added that they had also asked project developers Sunlight Seafood for better access roads and clean water supply.

Sunslight Seafood chief executive officer King Wong said the Pitas district land utilisation committee had approved the project at the site that was earmarked for aquaculture development in 1983.

However, he said, the Sabah environmental protection department issued a stop-work order on Sept 23 when officials discovered clearing works had begun without an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

The company was issued a RM30,000 compound and a second stop work order was issued on Dec 23. It paid the compound the next day.

Wong said the project was aimed at boosting economic activity in Pitas through the Economic Transformation Pro­gramme managed by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) of the Prime Minister's Department.

Wong said Sunlight Seafood was undertaking the PSP, some 15km from Pitas town, jointly with a subsidiary of a state agency.

The agreement for the integrated aquaculture park was signed on Dec 12 last year and due to be completed in February 2016.

Fire and Rescue Department ready for second wave of floods despite clear skies

Posted: 29 Dec 2013 08:00 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: Although clear skies are forecast, the Fire and Rescue Department is leaving nothing to chance.

It is prepared for the possibility of another wave of floods in the east coast.

"We are on high alert and will remain so until after Chinese New Year when the risk abates," said its director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Noh Ibrahim.

Devastating floods which hit Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor earlier this month claimed three lives and forced 40,000 people into flood-relief centres.

The Pahang Meteorological Department last Thursday issued a warning of a possible second wave due to high tides from today to Jan 6.

Wan Mohd Noh said they were ready for any eventuality and have learnt from their experiences during the first wave.

He said there were instances where rescuers were slow in reaching victims due to a breakdown in communication and this was compounded by many roads being blocked by stalled vehicles.

Power outages at some operation centres made it difficult for people to call in for help, he said.

He said cellular communication was also disrupted because there was no power supply to some transmission towers.

"Generators have been brought in to ensure uninterrupted power or communications," he said.

The department has five helicopters in addition to rescue vehicles and boats on stand-by in peninsular Malaysia.

"We are ready to cancel all leave and mobilise our personnel from other states at a moment's notice," he said.

The Meteorological Services Department central forecast office said they expected mostly clear skies until tomorrow morning.

"No heavy rain has been forecast in any of the states in the next 48 hours," a department spokesman said.

A Bernama report yesterday said that civil servants with housing loan accounts with the Treasury and who were affected by the recent floods can submit insurance claims.

The insurance covers damage to building structures such as walls, floors, roofs and ceilings.

More information can be found at or the flood helpdesk at 03-8880 2121.

Malaysian nurses enjoy high salaries in Middle East

Posted: 29 Dec 2013 08:00 AM PST

JOHOR BARU: Malaysian-trained nurses who go to work in the Middle East are highly paid and it is not surprising to see them driving a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW, said former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Datuk Syed Hussein Abdul Kadir Al-Habshee.

He said hospitals in the Middle East are willing to pay high salaries for foreign nurses to work there, adding that there were now about 2,000 Malaysian nurses working in the UAE and between 7,000 and 8,000 in Saudi Arabia.

Syed Hussein said they could fetch monthly salaries of more than US$3,000 (RM9,860), adding that they saved much of their earnings as their expenses such as accommodation and transport are all provided for.

Syed Hussein, who is chairman of the board of governors of Institut Sains and Teknologi Darul Takzim, was speaking to reporters at the college's 8th convocation here yesterday.

Recalling a time when he had arranged a meeting between the nurses and former health minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng during his visit to the UAE years ago, Syed Hussein said: "The minister was surprised to see these Malaysian nurses coming to see him in high-end cars such as a Mercedes or BMW."


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