KUCHING: The current hot and dry weather experienced nationwide is a normal phenomenon called the southwest monsoon which usually occurs from May to September every year. This year, the monsoon is expected to last until October.
During the monsoon phase, the wind will be blowing consistently from the south-west with drier and stable atmospheric conditions and lower air humidity. This will result in a lack of rain cloud formation.
With that being said, most states will experience more days without rain than the number of rainy days during the southwest monsoon. This condition causes low rainfall and hot weather.
According to Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD) director-general Jailan Simon, throughout the period of the southwest monsoon, rainfall in most states is expected to be at an average level except for Melaka, Johor and Sabah which are expected to be slightly below the average.
“However, the squall line that brought heavy rain, strong winds and lightning can occur in western Malaya and western parts of Sabah early in the morning.
“The squall line refers to a thunderbolt line formed due to wind concentration, unstable atmosphere and lasts up to several hours,” he stated in a press statement issued recently.
Based on a weather forecast by MMD National Climate Centre, most parts in Sarawak are expected to receive rain on average between 200mm to 300mm this month. The Limbang and Miri divisions, however, are expected to receive less than 150mm rainfall.
For June and July, several divisions will receive rain slightly below the average level within 150mm to 250mm range namely, Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Miri and Limbang.
Meanwhile in August, most parts of Sarawak are expected to receive rainfall at an average of between 100mm to 250mm. Meanwhile, Kuching, Miri and Limbang divisions are expected to receive rain less than 150mm.
For the last two months of southwest monsoon (September and October), the condition of overall divisions in Sarawak is quite damp with the amount of rainfall expected between 50mm to 300mm. However, Bintulu is expected to receive rainfall above the average with an expected rainfall of more than 350mm.
Latest weather forecasts and information can be obtained through MMD website at www.met.gov.my, mobile application myCuaca, social media, RakanMET and MMD hotline at 1-300-22-1638.
Nancy says Facebooker’s questions could raise tension among Sarawakians
KUCHING: “I have never issued any directive or instructions to force the cancellation of a Gawai ceremony to welcome the Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo,” said Batang Sadong Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
She said this in response to insinuations made by former journalist Joseph Tawie on his Facebook page at 10pm on May 10.
Nancy claimed that in the post, Joseph implied that she used her capacity as Batang Sadong Member of Parliament to issue a directive to one Sili Bunsi, who is the Tuai Rumah of Sungai Bulu (Buluh) in Sadong Jaya, to cancel a Gawai ceremony meant to welcome the minister.
Quoting Joseph, Nancy said, “Why should a non-Dayak tell a Tuai Rumah who should and who should not visit his longhouse during Gawai Dayak celebrations?”
She contended that by making the statement, Joseph engaged in an effort to defame her while putting forward suggestive questions with implications that could raise tension among Sarawakians especially those in Batang Sadong.
“He implied through his suggestive questions that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is politicising Gawai Dayak.
“I have never imposed anything on the Tuai Rumah as alleged by Joseph,” she said during a press conference at Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) headquarters by Jalan Bako yesterday.
Nancy also revealed that when Sili consulted her on the matter he voiced out his concerns to which she shared her opinion that if he was uncomfortable hosting Gawai Dayak celebration for the minister, he can always proceed with the usual ways of celebrating.
“Ultimately, I re-emphasised to Sili that the final decision on who to invite rest with him and that he should make a decision that he himself is most comfortable with,” she said.
Sili, who was also present at the press conference, stated that the whole incident started with the arrival of five representatives from the Communications and Multimedia Ministry who wished to hold a Gawai Dayak programme to welcome the minister on May 31.
It is said that three days later the Tuai Rumah called the ministry’s special officer and was accused of having been forced to cancel the programme following a directive that came from the Batang Sadong MP.
“To hold a programme on the eve of Gawai Dayak when we (Sungai Bulu residents) will also hold ‘Ai Pengayu’ (longevity toast) is fine. However, I am concerned over the fact that the ministry officials will be coming by themselves from Malaya without any local minister.
“When the ministry officials came, it was not yet decided that the programme will take place. We neither agree nor disagree.
“On our part, we held a meeting of the longhouse residents where we discussed lot of matters. We decided not to proceed with the Gawai programme because we feel uncomfortable welcoming the minister in the absence of Sarawak leaders,” he said.
According to Sili, it is not that they are being racist. They think it would put them in an awkward position since the longhouse is within the Batang Sadong constituency currently under Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).
“It would have been better if we can get local leaders to take part in the programme so that we can reflect the true meaning of unity. We don’t want Gawai Dayak to be politicised. So, to avoid that, we have come up with a solution, which is saying no to the programme,” he said.
GPS secretary general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, Simunjan assemblyman Awla Dris and Sadong Jaya assemblyman Aidel Lariwoo also expressed their thoughts on the matter and urged the involved parties not to politicise the issue.
“It is a norm that if you want to hold an event at someone’s property, you have to get their permission first. If they said no, we cannot do anything about it.
“The community leaders can make their own decision. Whatever the outcome, not all matters are done based on Nancy’s decision and she never advised the leaders to reject people,” said Nanta.
Gawai Dayak is a harvest celebration of the Dayaks, thus Nancy expressed her disappointment over Joseph’s post which has turned it into a political conflict.
“I am obligated to address and clarify this issue which could breed unwanted and unnecessary racism and hatred,” she said.
She then urged all parties to respect the rule of law and to cherish the harmonious relationship among various ethnic groups by being responsible with their words and statements. To her, it is very unbecoming of anyone to compromise the precious racial harmony for political gains.
KUCHING: Sarawak Forestry Corporation Sdn Bhd is surveying areas in the northern part of the state which have the potential to be developed into important bird areas, said Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Len Talif Salleh.
He revealed that these areas included the Kuala Baram wetland in Miri and the Kuala Trusan wetland in Lawas when officiating at the 2nd Asean Flyway Network (AFN) Meeting at Hilton Hotel here today.
“I leave it to the Sarawak Forestry to work with local authorities and interested parties to develop the protection plan. One day, we may develop the Site Information Sheets for nomination into the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Network Site,” said Len, who is also Sarawak Forestry Corporation Sdn Bhd’s chairman.
Pointing out that water birds were potential resources to tap on for tourism-related activities besides the biodiversity values,” he said water birds had been accorded the Totally Protected status in Sarawak.
Len said the state was glad that Bako Buntal Bay had been designated as the “Flyway Network Site” as part of the “East Asian-Australasian Flyway Network Site” since 2013.
“Bako Buntal Bay covers a vast area of 2,800 hectares of mudflats, shallow waters, intertidal zone and mangroves which attract migratory birds and shorebirds to feed on marine life as they rest or winter over while en-route during their migratory passage.
“Records have shown that during the peak season between 20,000 and 25,000 birds of up to 32 species winter in the bay and its immediate surroundings,” he revealed.
Len pointed out that Bako National Park formed part of the Bako Buntal Bay which served as “Important Bird Areas” for the migratory water birds.
“While the migratory water birds winter and forage for food at the Bako Buntal Bay, Bako National Park, being a totally protected area, offers a safe refuge for the birds,” he said.
“Other safe refuges for the birds include Santubong National Park and Kuching Wetland National Park, our Ramsar site (refers to wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention).”
Besides Bako National Park, Len also named other national parks along the west coast of the state such as Kuching Wetland National Park, Santubong National Park, Talang-Satang National Park, Matang Wildlife Centre, Gunung Gading National Park, Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary and Tanjung Datu National Park.
“These national parks reflect the state government’s commitment to have Sarawak as a garden state. The whole state is a zoo by itself,” he said.
Elaborating on another Ramsar site, Len said that the Kuching Wetland National Park with its extensive network of marine waterways and tidal creeks also offered excellent stops for migratory water birds and shore birds alike.
“Birds such as kingfishers, white-bellied sea eagles and the rare lesser adjutant storks are common sights,” he added.
“Contrary to what other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or foreign individuals think, we, Sarawakians, do place importance on environmental protection in our efforts to develop the state.
“We are mindful of our commitment to ensure that the environment is maintained for future generations.”
The 2nd Asean Flyway Network (AFN) Meeting brought together 30 experts from relevant countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Malaysia.
It was the second meeting of AFN after its first meeting in Singapore last year.
Also present were Sarawak Forestry’s CEO Zolkipli Mohamad Aton, Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) executive director Dr Sheila Vergara from the Phillipines, National Parks Board acting director Shufen Yang from Singapore, Sarawak Forestry Department director Hamden Mohammad and Controller for the National Parks and Nature Reserve Jack Liam.
KUCHING: A total of 12 products from nine local entrepreneurs are going to be marketed under the brand “Produk Warisan Kampung”.
The products were mumbu pedas, kacang bersalut, acar limau, kuih sepit original, kuih sepit with chocolate, kuih sepit with peanut, kek ati parek, kek buah, sambal tumis ikan bilis, pitis buah, kuih cincin and rempah masak hitam.
Ismarina Ayub, one of the local entrepreneurs who contributed to the marketed products, said that she inherited the recipe to make kuih sepit from her mother.
“We usually make the kuih during festive celebrations like Hari Raya Aidilfitri. It has become a routine where my mother would prepare kuih sepit and serve to guests who visit us during Raya,” she stated.
“It never occurred to me that I would be in this position where kuih sepit would become a business for me to earn income as well as help preserve Sarawak heritage food.”
Kuih sepit is a Sarawak traditional “kuih” (bite-sized snack or dessert) usually served during festive seasons, celebrations and for evening tea. It is made of rice flour, sugar, coconut milk and eggs.
The kuih is very fragile and crumbly. Although crunchy, the kuih can be unpleasantly soggy if it is not properly kept in an air-tight container.
Ismarina added, “I started the business last year. Apart from making the classic kuih sepit, I also tried to diversify my products. From there, I developed kuih sepit with flavours, namely, chocolate, peanut or mixture of both.”
According to the organising chairman Abdul Samat Gany, this is only the first phase of the “Produk Warisan Kampung” initiative.
On the programme, Samat said that it was initiated since early June last year. He added that since June 2018, around 36 kampung heritage products were identified around Kuching for branding.
“The products will be first marketed in Mydin Petra Jaya Hypermarket today through the first phase of the programme. For the next phase, we will be looking into the potential of other local products,” he said at the launch of “Produk Warisan Kampung” at Mydin Petra Jaya Hypermarket here yesterday.
The event was graced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. Also present were his wife Datuk Amar Jumaani Tuanku Bujang, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) vice chancellor Prof Mohammad Kadim Suaidi, deputy state secretary Dr Sabariah Putit and Mydin project manager Ganesh Chinniah.
KUCHING: While striving to modernise the state, “kampung” (village) heritage products must not be forgotten.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said since products symbolise society’s identity, they should be preserved, conserved and commercialised.
“Our products which have high value can be produced for the global market,” he said when launching ‘Produk Warisan Kampung’ (village heritage product) at Mydin Petra Jaya Hypermarket here, yesterday.
Givng “acar limau” as an example, Abang Johari said Sarawak could market it as a valuable product if it is produced in a hygienic manner.
He also spoke on the raw material which requires venturing into agriculture.
“Without ‘limau’ (citrus/lime), there is no ‘acar.’ Therefore, we have to plant lime in order to have the raw materials for the production of ‘acar limau’.
“Instead of just making ‘acar limau’ for your meals, you might as well become an ‘acar limau’ entrepreneur – produce the raw materials, make the pickles and market them. This would increase the income of the family,” he said.
Abang Johari also expressed his gratitude to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) for being pro-active in doing research in villages to study the potential of enhancing local products into value-added products which can compete with similar or related products in the market.
The “Produk Warisan Kampung” programme was organised under the Old Kuching Smart Heritage (OKSHe) in collaboration with Unimas, Satok Economic Bureau and Mydin Petra Jaya Hypermarket.
For the first phase, a total of 12 heritage products were offered for sale at Mydin Petra Jaya Hypermarket. They were “mumbu pedas”, “kacang bersalut”, “acar limau”, “kuih sepit”, “kuih cincin”, “kek buah”, “kek lapis ati parek”, and “pitis buah”.
Also present at the event were the chief minister’s wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Unimas vice chancellor Prof Mohammad Kadim Suaidi, deputy state secretary Dr Sabariah Putit and Mydin project manager Ganesh Chinniah.
KUCHING: MJC Batu Kawah has set up its first ever Ramadan bazaar to celebrate the fasting month.
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said the bazaar symbolised the unity of Sarawak because it was patronised by Muslims and non-Muslims.
He continued, “Apart from that, the Ramadan bazaar is a place that sells various cuisines which aren’t easy to get, especially the traditional food.”
Dr Sim, who is also the Batu Kawah assemblyman, thanked the Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) for setting up the bazaar in MJC.
“Hopefully, we can have more of these because they are places for the community to integrate and celebrate with each other,” he told the reporters after officiating the Ramadan bazaar at MJC Batu Kawah yesterday.
On next year’s plan, Dr Sim hoped that the bazaar would grow bigger because MJC was a strategic location with many parking spaces.
He noted that the Ramadan bazaars at Emart Batu Kawah, Stutong and Satok were doing well.
“As there are Malay ‘kampungs’ here, what we are trying to do is ask the MPP to provide all the conveniences so that the people do not have to travel very far for their Ramadan food,” he added.
According to the Ramadan bazaar co-organiser Fatimah Omar, there are 24 stalls at the bazaar.
The participants came from Stapok, RPR Batu Kawah and 7th Mile areas, he said.
“In conjunction with the Ramadan bazaar, we have been distributing ‘bubur lambuk’ since the first day, and by now have given out 500 packs.
“We have also distributed around 100 glasses of iced tea courtesy of local entrepreneur of ‘Teh Pyor,” she said.
Earlier, Dr Sim officiated at the Ramadan bazaar at Emart Batu Kawah. The bazaar has 63 stalls.
The late chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem in criticising the flip flop policy under the past government at the time: “Dolok dah bagus-bagus English, gago tukar balit ke Bahasa (Malaysia).”
KUCHING: The coming implementation of English for the teaching of Science and Mathematics will put Sarawak as the first state to take the lead in using English as medium of instruction in the teaching of the two subjects, however, are schools in rural areas ready for it?
Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that the preparedness of schools in his constituency (Asajaya) is not an issue.
“My worry is whether the Education Department has sufficient qualified teachers to teach the two subjects in English. Language is not something that one can master in a short period of time. If teachers are not that good, what do one expect of their students?” he said when contacted yesterday.
Meradong assemblyman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing also stands in the same opinion and expressed his worry for the students.
“The implementation of English language in the teaching of Mathematics and Science is a good thing but probably not in primary school levels. In primary school level, maybe we can just concentrate in the English language only rather than including the two subjects.
“Maybe we can improve the textbook and teaching techniques for English language first while leaving the implementation of English in Mathematics and Science in secondary schools,” he stated.
Datuk Ding further stated that in general, he thinks the implementation at the primary school level is not really suitable especially in rural areas.
Personally, he encouraged comprehensive study on the matter because of unavailability of prepared teachers and syllabus at the moment. To him, next year will be too early and too fast for the subjects involved in the implementation to catch up.
On the other hand, Youth and Sports assistant minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan had a different opinion on the matter where he recalled that this is not the first time the implementation of English in the teaching of Mathematics and Science is taking place.
According to him, the use of English in both subjects was once implemented even in Primary 1 but the government had reverted it back to Bahasa Malaysia. All this took place about a decade ago.
“Last time, the use of English language was even implemented in rural areas and it had improved the English proficiency of the community especially in the rural areas. Even I was amazed with their improvement in English,” he said.
Snowdan, who is also the assemblyman for Balai Ringin, explained that the move wouldn’t be much of a problem because Sarawak is not alien to the English language especially when Sarawak has long been a tourists’ attraction. It is a fact that the foreign tourists would often visit the longhouses or rural areas which leads the community to at least learn basic English to communicate and welcome the foreign tourists.
He quoted the late chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem in criticising the flip flop policy under the past government at the time, “Dolok dah bagus-bagus English, gago tukar balit ke Bahasa (Malaysia)” which literally translated as “The English usage was sailing smooth, but you went and change it back to Bahasa Malaysia.”
He also noted that the preparation of the teachers are important as a starting point and that the 6-month preparation prior to its implementation effective Jan 1 next year would be just right, not too short and not too long. For example, he said that the students who go to English tuition centre could learn English in three months’ time.
Meanwhile, Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment assistant minister Datuk Len Talif Salleh was on the same page with Snowdan. On his constituency (Kuala Rajang), Datuk Len is confident that the people will be prepared for the implementation move.
“I myself was from a rural school before and I was taught in English on the first day. So, it is not impossible for the students in the rural areas to be taught in English for the two subjects as well,” he stated.
“As long as we are committed and serious in implementing this and there is no interference from the federal government. As everyone is aware, any change in the federal education ministry will lead to change in the direction of education and we don’t want that. We have to be consistent,” he continued.
When asked whether it is too early for the implementation to start from Primary Schools, Datuk Len stated that it is not a big deal especially with the level of intelligence of the present population and the availability of the Internet, the television and other sources to assist in the learning.
At the same time, Sarawak Teachers Union (STU)’s president Macky Joseph said that some of the schools have Dual Language Programme (DLP) where it needs parents’ consent for their children to undergo such implementation. To him, if the parents agree, then it won’t be a problem.
On the students, Macky said that the implementation of teaching Science and Mathematics in English language starting from Primary 1 would not be a big deal since the use of the language is only for medium of instruction. Moreover, students will be better exposed with the language.
“For the teachers, the ministry department will provide training programmes in this 6-month preparation so they can improve on building up their skills and confidence, followed by the education department in efforts to speed up with the training process to upskill the teachers,” he said.
Education, Science and Technology Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin last Saturday said Sarawak would start implementing the use of English for the teaching of Science and Mathematics in effective next year. He said it would be implemented at the primary school level first before moving onto the secondary school.
The decision to implement the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English for primary schools in the state was initiated after being asked by the Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik on April 24 during the latter’s courtesy call on Abang Johari.
KUCHING: The Democratic Action Party (DAP) cares more about putting on shows for political mileage rather than actually working to improve the standard of living for Malaysians, said Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.
He added that instead of finding actual solutions to problems faced by the public, DAP leaders seem to care only to make “noise” for political mileage and media coverage.
Tiong, who is also Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president, said that DAP continues to act like an opposition party more than a year after winning the 14th General Election.
He also took Sibu MP Alice Lau to task for harping on MPs leaving during sittings, instead of focusing on public service.
“Even if I do not sit in Parliament, I do not miss any chance to speak, debate and defend the rights and interests of the people.
“Is it not possible to both watch the live broadcast of the proceedings and being inside the hall?” Tiong said in a statement issued on Friday.
He also pointed out that there was no issue raised by the public who wished to see actual public service being completed, instead of MPs rambling on in the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament).
“It may be true that the Parliament records everything. We can definitely see that the DAP does not have much to show in terms of substance.
“Furthermore, it is up to the people of Bintulu to evaluate my performance as an MP based on my actual contributions and efforts, instead of putting on shows merely for media attention,” he said.
Tiong pointed out that Sibu DAP led by Alice Lau and other MPs had made a public display last February by carrying out repair works on a damaged section of the Pan Borneo Highway near Selangau within 48 hours without making any actual repair.
“Take a look at the same road section now. The potholes are back and complaints from road users are still coming,” Tiong said.
“It is the same every time. They loudly bring up an issue, make a scene, and gain political mileage. The people’s livelihood, roads and complaints are irrelevant.
“Whenever I raised an issue on the Pan Borneo Highway project, I have never received support from Lau despite her claims of “sense of justice,” he said, adding that he did not have to put on public shows as proof of his public services.
KUCHING: Any leader who will bring forward the future must visualise the future itself, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. “A leader has to determine the components that will drive development and the people to upgrade the standards of living for the betterment of their future,” he said at the closing of 2nd Asia Leadership Forum titled Exercising Leadership in The 21st Century: A Forum of Powerful Ideas from Harvard University at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here, yesterday.
On leadership, Abang Johari said that people would look into the traits of a leader to determine whether the leader possesses a vision and how the vision would be realised into something that benefits his people.
“The first thing I did when I became the chief minister was to launch the digital economy – using technology as the main drive to develop the state. It is not easy because you have to establish an ecosystem for this technology,” he said.
“We are lacking in digital infrastructure so what we did was to put aside RM1 billion to upgrade our digital infrastructures.
“For Sarawak, the only connectivity is to have this digital connectivity. Unfortunately, we have black spots where some places do not have connectivity at all. If there is, the speed would be 5mbps and it is to be shared by the population.
“That is why the state government is steadily upgrading the infrastructures throughout the state in order to connect the population particularly the higher learning institution,” he said.
According to Abang Johari, in line with the effort to develop the state, the government will also focus on talent development and on the importance of training the people using technology.
“First thing they teach in business schools is how to manage change. Change is the key and how are you going to manage that particular change.”
Sharing a comparison of 30 years ago and the present, Abang Johari pointed out a significant change in how people are becoming obsessed with mobile phones and social media. He then further questioned time management under the influence of technology.
He also mentioned how marketing strategies have changed over the influence of technology where media-based marketing such as radio and television, is no longer relevant and that the world is evolving into community-based marketing.
On Sarawak’s current change, Abang Johari noted the progress of establishing a new economic industry on durian export to China and the establishment of the state’s first mobile or digital payment via Sarawak Pay.
He added: “Sarawak has a lot of resources such as a power system and cheapest tariff, water and the resourceful human capital. The only thing left is to translate them into our strength in terms of comparative advantage.
“Even if we have technological devices, we must be able to operate the devices.”
Apart from that, Abang Johari said the state still needs the people to do their part and embark on areas such as data analytics, cyber security and design programming.
To him, the leaders of tomorrow need to have these pre-requisites or otherwise, it would not be compatible.
Also present at the closing ceremony were Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Assistant Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali and Deputy State Secretary Datuk Sabariah Putit.