Saturday, February 18, 2012


Sabah’s per capita income has surpassed Kelantan’s, says PM
Saturday February 18, 2012

LAHAD DATU: Sabah is no longer the country's poorest state because of various government initiatives to boost the income of its people, said the Prime Minister.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the per capita income of Sabahans had surpassed Kelantan and was now comparable to the national average thanks in part to the various initiatives of the federal and Sabah Governments

“Sabah is now a state with so much potential,” he said when launching the Mini Estet Sejahtera (Masej) scheme at Kampung Nala, some 60km from this east coast town yesterday.

The Prime Minister said the number of hardcore poor in the state had at one time stood at 30,000 families and this had been reduced to about 7,000 families.

Warm welcome: Najib being greeted by the people at the launch of the Mini Estet Sejahtera (Masej) scheme at Kampung Nala yesterday. With him is Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.
He said this was possible due to the close cooperation between the federal and state governments and cited the Masej scheme at Kampung Nala as a good example of this.

It was undertaken by the Sabah government with a RM22mil funding from Felda. This amount does not include the RM50mil the federal agency gave the state.

At a briefing here later, Najib was told that a palm oil-driven industrial zone in this Sabah east coast district had raked in more than RM4.5bil in investments over the past four years.

The Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) also has the largest concentration of major Malaysian companies and foreign investors in one location in Sabah.

“We are emerging as a key industrialisation driver in Sabah,” said POIC chief executive officer Datuk Dr Pang Teck Wai in a briefing after the Prime Minister toured the state-owned industrial zone here yesterday.

POIC Lahad Datu falls within the oil palm NKEA ( national key economic areas) of the Economic Transformation Programme that seeks to triple revenue from oil palm, which surpassed RM80bil last year.

Meanwhile, Dr Pang also revealed details of a mechanical oil palm harvester jointly developed by Malaysia and China.

According to him, a prototype of the MCAM (short for Malaysia-China Agricultural Machine) has shown good results in trial runs.

The machine harvester is expected to overcome Malaysia's over dependence on foreign labour in the oil palm industry.


World Bank confirms Sabah is Malaysia's poorest state

Joe Fernandez
Thursday, 11 November 2010 17:00

NEWS FOCUS KOTA KINABALU - The World Bank (WB) in Washington has confirmed through a new study that Sabah is not only the poorest state in Malaysia but it’s likely to stay that way for a considerable length of time given current efforts in poverty eradication.

The bottomline was that Malaysia’s economic planning in Sabah so far has not been for inclusive growth.

The study contained in the World Bank’s 2010 Malaysia Economic Monitor (MEM), the third in its series, was handed over last night to the state government by WB representative Emmanuel Jimenez, also Human Development Sector Director (East Asia and Pacific Region).

“Although efforts by the Government have somewhat brought down the poverty rate, it’s still not enough,” said Jimenez. “The MEM shows that Sabahans continue to struggle to make ends meet. This is more evident in the outskirts of the towns.”

Sabah is far behind other states

According to Jimenez, the deep levels of poverty in Sabah could be seen from the fact that although the state has only 10 per cent of Malaysia’s population, it has 40 per cent of the poverty. In contrast, Selangor which has nearly a quarter of the country’s population has less than 10 per cent of the poor.

The WB has also identified that most of the poor can be found in the rural areas mainly among the Rungus in the north and Orang Sungai in the east, both Kadazandusun groups; and the Suluks in the east who are a Muslim group from the Philippines from the days of the Sulu Sultanate. There are also poor among all other communities including in the urban areas among the Chinese.

Nasrun, in his comments, praised the WB for accurately identifying poverty and regional disparity as the main critical issues concerning Sabah. He disclosed that the MEM was put together with input from Sabah which was visited by a WB team several months ago.

“We are fortunate to have access to the WB’s vast expertise in addressing issues of poverty, regional disparity and inclusive growth,” said Nasrun. “They can advise us in taking a holistic approach towards addressing these challenges.”

He lamented that if compared with the states in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah is very much far behind in both hard and soft infrastructure.

A fact to be accepted with an "open heart" for change

Some of the areas of deep concern, he added, were health, education, social facilities and services and human resource development. “Deep pockets of poverty exist in certain socio-economic groups as well as in certain areas of the state where the poor have the least access to services and employment opportunities.”

On a brighter note, Nasrun hopes that the principle of inclusiveness as spelt out in the New Economic Model will bring relief to Sabah. He particularly cited the National Economic Transformation Programme (NETP) and the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) which had pledged improvements in the supply of water and electricity and rural roads, among others.

Ranau MP Siringan Gubat wasn’t surprised that Sabah has been listed as the poorest state. It should be accepted with “an open heart although it’s bitter pill to swallow”, he admitted.

He feels that the federal government should in turn “open its eyes” and accept the fact that it needs to change according to what the people want.

“At present, the federal government is merely using Sabah as an economic resource,” said Gubat who is also United PasokMomogun KadazanDusunMurut Organisation (Upko) vice president.

“If the federal government goes in the same direction as the state government, there’s no reason why Sabah cannot progress and prosper.”

Vast amount of resources, but still poorest

Besides considerable oil and gas reserves, Sabah also has vast areas under timber, oil palm, rubber, cocoa and other commodities. He wants to know where these commodities are sent to and who actually benefits from them ‘since it doesn’t seem to be the people”.

Kota Kinabalu-based social activist, human rights lawyer and newspaper columnist Nilakrisna Isnarti James commented that Sabah’s current status was the very fear that drove her grandfather and famed Kadazan nationalist O.K.K. Sedomon Gunsanad (1894-1996) of Keningau to oppose the idea of the state agreeing to help form the new federation of Malaysia. James Ongkili recorded this fact in his book on the formation of Malaysia, she added.

“If Malaysia was formed in equality and partnership between Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak, why is that we are the poorest after almost 50 years? she asked rhetorically. “On top of that we are being increasingly disenfranchised and may end as internally displaced persons or refugees in our own land.”

She called upon the federal government to demonstrate sincerity and pledge itself towards greater equity in dealing with the rich resources of Sabah and addressing the welfare and concerns of the people.

“The WB report confirms what we have been saying all along,” said Common Interest Group Malaysia (CigMA) deputy chair Daniel John Jambun. “The poverty rate in Sabah and Sarawak is not as low as that made out to be by the federal government. The evidence is all around us.”

He intends to propose that CigMA, an ad hoc apolitical movement, call for a workshop soon to debate the WB report in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

MUET SPEAKING TEST – Managing A Group Discussion

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One component under the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) is managing a small group discussion. Many feel that this is very challenging due to language limitation. This is because the success of a group discussion lies upon one’s ability to communicate effectively in a group whilst ensuring the task is fulfilled and accomplished effectively. This is a task that requires thorough preparation, good team work and most importantly understanding the mechanism of managing a group discussion. The communicative ability includes fluency, pronunciation, stress, intonation and the use of effective language to convey meaning. Many are able to talk but not many have the ability to speak sense especially when in a group. Thus, in group discussion, the fulfillment of the task given is vital. This is achieved when candidates display an understanding of the topic, good and coherent content or ideas and the ability to make decisions based on a group consensus.

What is a Discussion?
It refers to a group of people that come together for a face-to-face interaction to explore orally a certain topic of interest. It aims to work towards achieving a common goal despite the fact that the group members may have differing points of view and opinios. Thus, to achieve this objective, it is vital for each member of the group to possess a good listening skill so that the view of others could be comprehended and digested accordingly.

Who should lead the discussion?
Unlike in schools, MUET private candidates do know the individuals who are going to be in their groups. Due to this, it is vital for each member to promptly break the ice before the test starts. This should be done while waiting for their turn for the test.
It is vital to appoint one person to play the role as the group leader. The group leader serves as a facilitator or moderator of the discussion. If you are a group leader, you should try your best to fulfill the following:
1. Initiate the discussion – introduce yourself and the topic of discussion. Next, get the group members to introduce themselves.
2. Provide opportunities for every member to present their views – ensure that no one monopolizes the discussion and turn taking is practiced.
3. Remain impartial and respect all opinionss – do not use your position to influence the outcome of the discussion.
4. Maintain the discussion – Summarize ongoing views and encourage members to look for common grounds so that a consensus can be reached.
5. Manage time – keep a watch on the time so that a decision can be reached within a given timeframe (10 minutes for the discussion).
6. Conclude the discussion – Summarize the findings and present the decision reached. Please thank everyone for their contribution and cooperation.
The role of Group Members
It is vital for the group members to work as a team. One should:
1. Be well prepared so that you can contribute to the discussion.
2. Be willing to share your ideas so that the final consensus arrived by the group reflects the best decision.
3. Respect turn taking and allow everyone to contribute their views. But do not be passive during the discussion.
4. Respect all opinions and do not belittle the views of others.
5. Think before speaking to ensure that you do contribute constructively to the discussion and not side track the issue being discussed.
6. Listen attentively so that you do not repeat issues already discussed. Engaged listening also enbales you to ask relevant questions to seek further clarification and respond appropriately.