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FOKUS BERANI IKHLAS



Tuesday, 15 December 2009

KINABALU GUINNESS

I HAVE always been fascinated with Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in the South East Asia region. The picture below is but one of those I really appreciate. It is taken during sunset and it lasted for only a couple of seconds at the most. After getting its World Heritage status some years back, now it entered into the Guinness book. I hope the government will do its utmost best to preserve it. To my people, Kinabalu is sacred. After all, legends have it that our souls will eventually go up Mount Kinabalu. Home of my soul...

KINABALU IN GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s Mount Kinabalu has made it into the Guinness World Records after being certified as having the world’s highest via ferrata or “mountain top trail.”

On Tuesday, Sabah Parks deputy director Dr Jamili Nais was presented with the Guinness World Record certificate by Mountain Torq Sdn Bhd, the company that established the via ferrata trail on Mount Kinabalu.

The Guinness certificate was presented by Mountain Torq executive director Wilfred Tok and witnessed by Sabah Tourism chairman Datuk Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Mansor.

Mountain Torq sales and marketing director Quek I-Gek said the highest of Mount Kinabalu’s “via ferrata” or “iron road” in Italian was at an altitude of 3,776m, nearly 500m higher than the second highest track at the Dolomites mountain in Italy.

The via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu is a route using a series of steel rungs, rails and cables embedded in the mountain’s Panar Laban rockface.

Spanning some 1.2km, the via ferrata was opened to public use on Dec 15, 2007 and since then more than 5,000 people have gone through the two tracks that include a 22m foot bridge suspended 3,600m above sea level.

Quek said Guinness World Records officials issued the certification of Mount Kinabalu’s via ferrata in July and it came after a six-month effort that included survey work done by the state Land and Survey Department.

She said though there were more than 300 via ferratas worldwide, the route on Mount Kinabalu was the only one in Asia.

Tengku Adlin said the Guinness certification would further establish Sabah among travellers especially those keen on adventure and eco-tourism.

“We are proud of the fact that Mount Kinabalu was Malaysia’s first World Heritage site.

“Now Malaysians particularly in Sabah will be proud to identify themselves with a Guinness World Record,” he added. THE STAR

BUDGET PASSED, BARELY

ITS a pity I was not in Parliament when this happened. This is the kind of events that journalists would die for. I could almost feel the excitement during those frantic moments. News reports aside, this can only be good for everybody, the BN and PR included. Check and balance. Let us all do what is good for the country. In our own ways... but please do not step on my toes too much...

BN 66-63 PR ON BUDGET 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s debut Budget 2010 was nearly scuttled by the Pakatan Rakyat late last night when it barely got through by a 66-63 vote margin at the third reading in the Dewan Rakyat.

Najib and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat saved Barisan Nasional the blushes when they turned up to tilt support to the ruling coalition which lost its customary two-third parliamentary majority in Election 2008.

It is understood that this is the first time that the national budget was approved with such a narrow margin, where a rejection would have a negative implication for the Barisan Nasional government which has been in power since independence in 1957 when it was called the Alliance.

Parliamentary democracy practices consider a rejected budget as a no-confidence move towards a sitting government and indirectly opens the way for the formation of a new government. MORE

Friday, 11 December 2009

DEVELOPED SABAH

GOAL. There is nothing wrong with setting up goal. It will at least helps people to have focus in life, in their day-to-day routines. Like me. I wanted to read law. And am still interested. But the likelihood of me becoming a laywer? Sabah the most developed. Kudos to the Chief Minister. He can count on my support. Of course, it is easier said than done. But we can. Seriously, we can be the best...all we need is tonnes of money, unwavering commitment, unity though in diversity, political will, hard work, vision, honesty and focus, among others. 1Malaysia. That's the recipe. On paper....

SABAH TO BE THE MOST DEVELOPED STATE IN SIX YEARS TIME

The Sabah assembly this week passed its biggest ever budget that speaks of one man’s obsession with wanting the best for his people: Chief minister Musa Aman wants his resource-rich east Malaysian north Borneo island state to be the most developed by 2015. That is six years from now. By then many of his 3.5 million people are expected to be high income earners. So, he isn’t going to waste time debating the merits of his 3.3 billion-ringgit ($970.6m) financial plan. MORE

Thursday, 10 December 2009

TIGER WOODS

BEHIND a man's success is a woman. Or women. My two cents: We are all human. And that is a blessing. But it can very easily becomes a curse. No, it is not something that is "fated". We are free to do as we like. And therein lies the problem. But why live in the past which we cannot undo anyway? I remember reading somewhere: Saints are sinners who keep on trying to be good. Prayer may help...

TIGER WOODS FACTOR - THE BAD AND THE GOOD

"Tiger's presence at a golf tournament and being on the leader board generates significantly increased ratings," said Neal Pilson of consulting firm Pilson Communications and former president of CBS Sports. "When deals are negotiated, the fact Tiger is a member of the tour influences what networks pay."

After the accident, Woods missed a tournament in California he had hosted for the past nine years and he has not discussed when he will return to play.

The business environment was already tough for the PGA Tour as it suffered losses of corporate sponsors over the past year. While this year's numbers are not final, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said charitable donations raised at tournaments — a reflection of the sport's revenue — are expected to be down from 2008's record US$124 million (RM421 million), due to the recession.

For many fans, Woods is golf. Almost single-handedly, he has ushered in an era of multimillion-dollar endorsements and lucrative appearance money since turning professional in 1996.

His background and spotless reputation spread golf to millions of new fans, and he became among the world's most marketable athletes. Product endorsements made him, perhaps, the world's richest athlete, with assets estimated at US$1 billion. MORE

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

ITS THE ECONOMY

AM trying to learn, more and more, about the economy. And it is not easy (to this old mind, non-economic head). But it is fascinating. This post is but a reaction, I think, from the government to counter the economic downturn which I read somewhere is on the brink of recovery. I also read somewhere, this seemingly famous catch phrase: It's the economy, stupid....

FURTHER ECONOMIC REFORM IN THE PIPELINE

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — The country will undertake further economic reforms aimed at boosting investment and growth after spending a decade “stagnating” in the wake of the 1998 Asian financial crisis, a top finance official said yesterday.

Malaysia, which has lost ground to neighbours such as Indonesia in the race for foreign investment, needs to rebuild confidence by providing the highest standards of governance, Second Finance Minister Husni Ahmad Hanadzlah told a business conference.

“Our private investment is now half of what it was since (before) the Asian crisis while both manufacturing and service sectors have become less capital intensive,” Husni said.

Ministers rarely criticise the country's economic performance, preferring instead to tout its rejection of advice and money from the International Monetary Fund in 1998 as a role model during the current global economic turmoil.

The most recent Transparency International corruption index saw Malaysia slide nine places to 57th place, and the government has also been hit by a multi-billion ringgit corruption scandal over the construction of a free trade zone in the country's biggest port, an issue that has hurt bondholders.

Malaysia recorded its first net portfolio inflows of RM8.8 billion in the third quarter of 2009 after five consecutive quarters of outflows of portfolio investment totalling RM114.4 billion.

In a bid to revive growth, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently introduced economic reforms which included reducing requirements that Malays own 30 per cent of listed companies and opening up financial services.

While the reforms, aimed at enabling Malaysia to compete with fast-growing regional powers such as China and India, have been welcomed, few people have committed new money.

“Real execution remains key,” investment bank Morgan Stanley said in a report issued on Monday after a visit to Malaysia.

Husni hinted that more reforms could come to end protection for the majority Malay population, a potentially politically unpopular move from a government that is still licking its wounds after heavy election losses last year.

“The long-term success of the nation's economy must take precedence over the short-term interests of a few protected groups,” he said.

In some parts of the economy, such as the automotive sector and government procurement, Malays are given preferential treatment for contracts and ownership, a measure that some have criticised for fostering corruption and wasting money.

Husni also touched on possible reforms to massive government-linked companies (GLCs) which make up half of the top 30 companies listed on Bursa Malaysia and whose low levels of free float have caused investors to shun Malaysia's stock market.

“There is a widespread perception that due to the substantial role of GLCs in the marketplace, the true entrepreneur-run private sector, believes he is crowded out,” Husni said.

Husni also said that Malaysia's economy is likely to grow by 5 per cent in 2010, more than official government forecasts of 2-3 per cent.

“We have identified several projects in the pipeline and we will bring them forward for implementation in the first quarter next year,” he said. “We are reasonably confident that a target of 5 per cent (growth) is achievable.”

The government has forecast that Asia's third most trade-dependent country, relative to the size of its economy, will contract by 3 per cent this year before returning to growth in 2010.

Recent data showed that the country's economy shrank far less than expected in the third quarter of this year as the government's fiscal pump priming boosted domestic demand.

Malaysia has to deal with the budget hangover from pump priming measures totalling RM67 billion, and its deficit this year will hit a more-than-20-year high of 7.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The government plans to reduce the deficit to 5.6 per cent of GDP in 2010, in part by reducing generous fuel subsidy payouts.

Husni said yesterday that a new system of fuel subsidies would be introduced in May 2010 and that annual savings of RM2 billion would be achieved.

Under its 2010 budget plans, total subsidies for fuel and food are targeted to fall by 14.7 per cent to RM20.9 billion.

As well as reducing subsidies, the government will introduce a value added tax in about two years in an effort to diversify its tax base away from its reliance on state oil company Petronas, which currently accounts for nearly half of government revenue. — Reuters