Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Call for MASwings to resume Kudat sector


Kota Kinabalu: The Transport Ministry has been urged to look into the reasons behind MASwings' reluctance to continue servicing the Kota Kinabalu-Kudat-Sandakan sector.

Tanjung Kapor Assemblyman Teo Chee Kang, in his letter to Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat, said MASwings had stopped the thrice-weekly flight, possibly to cut cost due to the high fuel price, on Oct 1.

However, now that the fuel price had gone down, he said there should be no excuse for MASwings not to service the sector, anymore.

Continue reading at: Call for MASwings to resume Kudat sector

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Road Trip To Kuching


From JG's Journal:

This is one of the many trips we had traveling Sibu-Kuching-Sibu and Miri. A road trip to Kuching from Sibu, in precise is very far and boring... it's as long as 5-6hrs drive, 420KM on almost perfect tarred road although you may see a little potholes and patched road repairs here and there but honestly it's improving so much compared to traveling Sarikei-Kuching when I was a child at practically every CNY where dad's car either ended up with a hole in the exhaust or something else damaged after a long dusty, unpaved roads journey. It was both burn a hole in his pocket and a heartbroken to see his car's condition made worse was when traveling on rainy days on the muddy gravel roads.

I grew up traveling Sarikei-Kuching on road alot thus what makes the trip interesting was... nothing in particular! Except, tropical fruits at fruit season, leafy vegetable, green hills and several longhouses along the way.

We pulled over for a quick lunch at Lancao(?) bazaar and what amazed me was I've been to this bazaar for many of times since young and still find the corner coffeeshop crowded with travelers taking a break and a rest before continuing on with their journey respectively.


Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Our Road Trip To Kuching

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Monday, December 29, 2008

The Do’s and Don’ts of Tourism in Brunei


From AsiaHotels.com blog:

One of the worst things you can do in a foreign country is make a social mistake that deems you, in the eyes of residents, nothing more than an ignorant tourist. While some mistakes may only slightly offend your host or the person you area dealing with, some may result in incredibly embarrassing situations, severe anger, or public outrage.

The country of Brunei is located on the shores of the Island of Borneo and is the only sovereign country located on the island. The official name, Negara Brunei Darussalam, loosely translates to “The Country of Brunei, Abode of Peace.”

The country is mainly comprised of Malay and Chinese citizens, with some indigenous tribes and other ethnic groups scattered throughout. While Bahasa Melayu (or Malay) is the official language, you’ll find that the English language is spoken quite fluently throughout the country. The official religion of Brunei is Islam, though you will find Buddhists, Christians, and a number of other beliefs as well.

As with any foreign country, there are a few things you should keep in mind when visiting Brunei. While most locals are tolerant of tourists not being familiar with their customs, it is better to show respect by at least attempting to act properly while visiting. Keep the following in mind.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: The Do’s and Don’ts of Tourism in Brunei

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Tarap journey at Sepilok

They were out of their comfort zones, but the 31 urban teenagers who took part in the BRATs Year-End Journey in Sepilok, Sabah, threw themselves wholeheartedly into the experience - be it trekking through the rainforest, or wading into the mangrove swamps, or learning how to tie crabs' claws.

When we arrived in Sepilok, Sabah, most (if not all) of us thought that our BRATs year-end journey would all be about cuddling furry orang-utans and taking lots of photos worthy of sending home. Well, the theme was Swinging in Sepilok...

But we were not allowed to touch the orang-utans we met. So there went the plan of e-mailing our mothers a photograph of us holding an orang-utan each as it gazed fondly into our eyes.

The trip wasn’t what we thought it would be and we were not surprised. That’s because the first lesson we learned was about using all about senses to make the most of our experiences and encounters. As soon as we arrived at the bed and breakfast we stayed in, the BRATs were handed a funny looking fruit and were told to guess what it was. Of course, we couldn’t gather much from just looking at the tarap.

Then, we were asked to explore the fruit freely. We tore open the fruit, scrutinised, touched, tasted, smelt and felt the ‘alien’ fruit. It looked like a thorn-less durian from one angle, smelt like butter and was basically something none of us had seen before.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Our Tarap journey at Sepilok

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sarawak hotels goes through rebranding

KUCHING: International hotels Holiday Inn Kuching and Crowne Plaza Riverside Kuching will be renamed under a rebranding exercise.

They will take the new name of Grand Margherita Hotel and River­side Majestic Hotel respectively on Dec 31.

Sarawak State Economic Develop­ment Corporation (SEDC) and Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corpo­ra­tion (SEDC) are the joint owners of Grand Margherita while Riverside Ma­­­­­­jestic Hotel is wholly-owned by SEDC.

SEDC chairman Datuk Talib Zulpilip described the rebranding exercise as a strategic move as the time was ripe for change.

“The two hotels have already built up a pool of experienced and well-trained staff supported by the newly installed state-of-the-art hotel property management system.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sarawak hotels goes through rebranding

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Mount Kinabalu Slide Show Special

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Farming experience at Kuching homestay resort

Visitors can go fishing at the RB Homestay & Farms in Kuching. - MAGDALENE ROGERS


By Magdalene Rogers

KUCHING - It is the holiday season again and most holiday-makers would be thinking of a place to spend their leisure time with their loved ones.

The RB Homestay & Farms located at the serene Santubong area, some 35 kilometers from Kuching city is an ideal place for any weekend getaways.

This quaint resort has seven rooms including three chalets. According to its owner Roslan Bujang, the rates are affordable and this is in line with his aim of promoting it as a tourist attraction to both locals and foreign tourists.

"RB Homestay & Farms is for tourism. We want to give them (the tourists) a place with a cheaper accommodation and fully equipped with bathrooms, air-conditioned rooms, Astro and wi-fi services," Roslan said in an interview with the Bulletin here.

"The reason why I called it a Farm is because it is a place which comes with a farming experience. The homestay is located next to Santubong and the tourists can have a "kampung" experience as well. Among the facilities available at the farm are a fish pond, goat farm, a vegetable farm and a tiger prawns pond. Here, they can truly experience a farming lifestyle such as enjoying the daily routine of feeding the fish during their stay here," he added.

He said it is also ideal for family and company retreats and catering is provided for the clientele such as western and barbeque pits for them to have fun and interesting family or company gatherings.

"Apart from that, we also have cars and motorbikes for rental and we can arrange for airport transfers as well. Our tour packages include a visit to the famed Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) and the surrounding village and beach areas. Their stay here will include a simple breakfast. For those on a budget, we also have campsites and this package is very interesting and unique as well," he said.

Courtesy of: Borneo Bulletin

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2008 Christmas greetings from e-borneo.com


A Blessed Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2009 from all staff at e-borneo.com and our travel company, Colourful Frontiers Travel Sdn Bhd (tour license no. KPL/LN 4605) to all our Christian visitors.

Christmas is a time of peace, love and giving, and the Christmas spirit overshadowed all negativity including jealousy, hatred and enmity, and blessed one's heart with feelings of goodwill for others regardless of race, religion or creed.

As we enjoy the festivity, the abundance of good food and entertainment, let us forget not those who are less fortunate and those who are suffering this Christmas

May your festive holidays be a memorable and safe one this year.

Wishing you a tropical Christmas from Sabah Malaysian Borneo, and a fruitful New Year ahead.

Looking forward to serve you better in 2009!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sleepy Sarawak Bidayuh village comes alive


KUCHING: On any other day, Kampung Panchor Dayak is a quiet sleepy village nestled in the largely farming district of Serian.

But in the month of December, this predominantly Catholic Bidayuh village, 45km from here, shows some signs of unusual life.

Favourite Christmas carols could be heard in almost every home in this village of 600. Faces which neighbours, friends and relatives have not seen for a while, are suddenly back home.

The Christmas trees, usually the plastic evergreen conifer trees, and homes spruced up with shiny decorations are tell-tale signs that Christmas is just around the corner.

The air of festivities could be felt in this close-knit village, about an hour's drive from Kuching, where almost everyone is related in one way or another.

Folk who had migrated to work in other parts of Sarawak, peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and neighbouring countries are slowly trickling home to celebrate the festival.

Continue reading at: Sleepy Sarawak Bidayuh village comes alive

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Go Scuba Diving With DPV at Pulau Mamutik


KOTA KINABALU -- Flashback to the 1960s and James Bond movie fans would definitely remember 'Thunderball' that starred Sean Connery.

This movie was about a group of terrorists that had hijacked a nuclear missile and hid it on the seabed.

That film had also featured underwater action scenes, which captivated the cinemagoers including that of a torpedo-shaped vehicle that moved swiftly under the sea.

Fast-forward to today, those who wish to experience to move faster during snorkeling or scuba diving, they could try a similar machine known as 'Sea Doo Divers Propulsion Vehicle' or DPV.

DPV is a vehicle-like equipment that assist a person to move faster either on the surface or under the sea.

It is ideal for those into snorkeling or scuba diving as this machine propels the person at a much faster speed as compared to the normal physical locomotion during these activities, hence conserving that person's energy.

BORNEO DIVERS

For those who visit Pulau Mamutik, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, located some 25 minutes boat ride from Kota Kinabalu, they would have the opportunity to try out the DPV.

Continue reading at: Go Scuba Diving With DPV at Pulau Mamutik

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2008 F2000 Powerboat Race in Sabah


From MySabah.com blog:

It was my good and bad day. I had to photograph the event for my company even though I got flu. We don’t have F1 in Sabah but we have our second F2 powerboat race at Waterfront of Sabah. The best thing was we didn’t need to buy any ticket to see the world cup. The day was so hot that I almost got stroke and forgot my name.

Anyway, I still enjoyed the show. It took only about 30 minutes for the powerboats completed 35 laps on the sea. There were more than 10 powerboats competing and below are some photos of them.


Continue reading (incl. pics) at: 2008 F2000 Powerboat Race in Sabah

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Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Semporna


From Lost Borneo blog:

Gazetted in 2004 as Sabah’s seventh state park, Tun Sakaran Park encompasses 35,000 hectares, by far the largest marine park in Malaysia. Located within the park are 8 islands which make up only 954 hectares of the total area. The largest of these islands are Bodgaya and Boheydulang, both of which are the protruding parts of an extinct volcano. Other islands are Sebangkat, Selakan, Maiga, Sibuan, Mantabuan, Church Reef and Kapikan Reef.

Despite what is written in some publications, Sipadan (and Mabul) is not part of Tun Sakaran Park. Sipadan is located south of Semporna, whereas the marine park is towards the north-east, only 20 minutes offshore from Semporna, but near to the international maritime border with the Philippines.

The importance of this area was realized as far back as 30 years ago, and Sabah Parks and WWF have worked hard to safeguard its unique treasures. Tun Sakaran Park has higher species diversity than at any other site in Malaysia. This includes 544 species of coral reef fish, 255 species of hard coral and 70 species of soft coral. Some of the species have not been recorded elsewhere in Sabah, and some have only just been discovered. In simple terms, the biodiversity here is greater than at Sipadan.


Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Semporna

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Comfortable home for Sumatran rhino in Sabah


LAHAD DATU: A Sumatran rhino rescued five months ago in the Sabah’s east coast now has a more comfortable home following the efforts of various state authorities and NGOs.

“I am very pleased to see this new enclosure for this healthy male rhino which will now have access to a larger area,” said Sabah Wildlife Department director Laurentius Ambu.

Recently, Ambu inspected the RM200,000 enclosure at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve with representatives from Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) and WWF-Malaysia.

The rhino’s new enclosure is about the size of three and a half football fields.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Comfortable home for Sumatran rhino in Sabah

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Poles keen on Xmas in Sabah


KOTA KINABALU: Marek Sawicki and Halina Bednarz are used to cold, snow-bound white Christmases back home in Poland.

But this year it will be a celebration in sunny Sabah for them. The teachers have just completed a five-day education conference here and witnessed the grand Gaya Christmas Carnival 2008 kick off last Wednesday.

They intend to stay on until the end of the month.

“It’s snowing now in Poland but it’s hot here and we are loving it. For the very first time we will celebrate Christmas in the sun,” Sawicki said with a laugh.

“We’re going to Brunei for a couple of days but we will be back in Sabah for Christmas, most definitely,” added Bednarz.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Poles keen on Xmas in Sabah

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

International Cat Show good for Kuching City


KUCHING: The success of the Cat-City International Cat Show 2008 is good for Kuching City.

“It shows there are caring and loving people for the animal. By logic, this could mean Kuching City is well loved, too,” said Deputy Works Minister, Dato’ Yong Khoon Seng yesterday.

Yong said this at the opening of the show at Kuching Civic Centre.

He urged the foreign participants to come back, exchange opinions and make more friends. The locals could also return the visit, he added.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: International Cat Show good for Kuching City

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kionsom Waterfall, Inanam


From Kinabalu Borneo blog:

Kionsom waterfall is popular among the locals especially on a hot day. This is the only waterfall located about 25 kms or 30-40 minutes drive from the city.

We came across this signboard as we were looking for the entrance to Mari Mari cultural viilage.

I have heard about this waterfall but have never been there before. I was suprised to know that there are as many as seven or eight waterfalls in different sizes.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Kionsom Waterfall, Inanam

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Aussie Minister, envoy relive the Death March


Kota Kinabalu: Australian Minister of Veterans Affairs Alan Griffins' official participation in the memorial service at Kundasang War Memorial was well publicised. But his Death March track action wasn't.

Griffins and Penny Williams, the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, walked five km of the tail-end of the historic trail that are mainly farmlands now, between Nabutan to Narapak (Sabah Tea) on Dec 14.

Griffins' original plan was to fly to Sandakan first, then drive overland to Kundasang War Memorial, for a real feel of Australia's most tragic military chapter in history that saw a 99.7pc kill rate of over 1,700 their prisoners of war.

Meaning, at Telupid, he would tackle the toughest and most realistic of it all - a very steep and tough jungle-clad Bauto Hill segment of the original Death March trail near Telupid which would best replicate the grueling conditions hundreds of Australian walked to their eventual death in 1945.

That plan had to be dropped when War Graves officials made a last minute change in travelling mode, that is, drive overland to Sandakan, instead of flying.

Continue reading at: Aussie Minister, envoy relive the Death March

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sandakan Memorial Park among the best


SANDAKAN: Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Alan Griffin ranks the Sandakan Memorial Park as one of the very best among the memorials built to remember fallen Australian soldiers that he has visited.

“I have been to a lot of memorials around the world and this centre ranks one of the very best. I am very pleased with what I have seen here,” Griffin told reporters after his visit to the Sandakan Memorial Park in Taman Rimba yesterday.

Griffin said he had heard so much about the memorial park and wanted to come and see for himself to enable him to improve his understanding of what took place here.

“The local community here should be very proud as this first class memorial facility actually does give you an inkling of what people gone through back in the 1940s.

Continue reading at: Sandakan Memorial Park among the best

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

MAS helps forge integration with KL-Tawau direct flights


TAWAU: Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) move to provide daily direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Tawau is seen as forging national integration between the people in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia.

Unity, Culture, Arts & Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the direct flights would also ease the movement of people between the two locations, be it for business or pleasure.

“Apart from reducing travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Tawau, the flights will also provide more opportunities for tourists to visit interesting destinations, especially on the east coast of Sabah.

Continue reading at: MAS helps forge integration with KL-Tawau direct flights

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Sabah, Malaysia's No 1 destination


Kuala Lumpur: Sabah dropped a bombshell at the Diplomatic Tourism Awards night, Wednesday, when it won the prestigious Celcom "Favourite Tourist Destination" gold award in a revolutionary judging system where ambassadors and senior diplomats voted.

Since about 70 diplomats in Malaysia voted, the verdict reflected strong element of "world" perception and opinion of Sabah. That point was actually verbalised by the event's organisers.

"Indeed we have the world with us tonight," remarked Dato Shamsul Falak Abdul Kadir, President of the Kuala Lumpur Tourism Council, noting the presence of ambassadors and senior representatives from 70 countries.

" I believe this is their vote of confidence in Sabah," said a beaming Datuk Masidi Manjun, Sabah Minister of Culture, Tourism and Environment, after receiving the award from His Excellency Alfredo Morelli, Ambassador of Argentina, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Dato Sri Zulhasanan Rafique, Minister of Federal Territories, at a packed "Diplomacy In Tourism Dinner" at Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur.

Malacca, Penang and Langkawi were among the nominees for the "Favourite Tourist Destination" category. The chase for the gold in the end was between Sabah and Langkawi but Sabah came out tops and Langkawi took the Silver.

Continue reading at: Sabah, Malaysia's No 1 destination

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Sabah aims to lure tourists in regional market


KUALA LUMPUR : Sabah’s tourism plan will target the regional market specifically the wealthy in Jakarta,Indonesia.

Minister of Tourism,Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said other targets are Singapore, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

He anticipated a drop in tourist arrival in view of the global financial crisis citing an example in Hong Kong where the number of tourists visiting the island has declined by 8.4 per cent.

“I will not be honest if I say that Sabah is not going to be affected.

“The state is also going to be affected although it has yet to be seen and we expect the real impact will probably be felt in the first quarter of next year,” he said.

Continue reading at: Sabah aims to lure tourists in regional market

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Marine museum at UMS offers a glimpse into the South China and Sulu seas

Vibrant colours: A coral reef on display at the UMS aquarium and museum in Kota Kinabalu. Photo copyright to Star Publication (M) Bhd.


FOR many years, the waters off Sabah have been known for their rich and diverse marine life making the state a divers haven and seafood paradise.

Now, visitors at a corner of the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) campus overlooking Likas Bay can have a glimpse of the treasures of the South China and Sulu seas flanking the state.

This corner is the UMS Aquarium and Marine Museum, part of the university’s Borneo Marine Research Institute.

Visitors are greeted by a replica of a dive site in Sabah’s internationally- renowned diving precinct, Pulau Sipadan.

Inside the aquarium area, visitors encounter three free-standing tanks with more than 50 species of Bornean reef corals.

Continue reading (inc. pics) at: Marine museum at UMS offers a glimpse into the South China and Sulu seas

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Rescued Sumatran rhino in Sabah finds a good home


LAHAD DATU: A Sumatran rhino rescued five months ago in Sabah’s east coast now has a more comfortable home thanks to the the efforts of various state authorities and NGOs (non-governmental organisations).

“I am very pleased to see this new enclosure for this healthy male rhino which will now have access to a larger area,” Sabah Wildlife Department director Laurentius Ambu said on Thursday.

Earlier, Laurentius inspected the RM200,000 enclosure located at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in this east coast district with representatives from the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) and WWF-Malaysia.

The rhino’s new enclosure is about the size of three-and-a-half football fields and follows the recommendations of rhino experts who were brought in to assess the living conditions of the rescued rhino.

Continue reading at: Rescued Sumatran rhino in Sabah finds a good home

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Badminton World Series in KK a tourism plus


Kota Kinabalu: Tourism authorities and players have been urged to capitalise on the BWF World Super Series Masters Finals scheduled for Dec. 18-21. The tournament offers the highest prize money ever of US$500,000.

Its Organising Chairman, Datuk Maijol Mahap said it is very rare that Sabah receives an opportunity to host a prestigious and world-class event that boasts top names in the game such as China's Lin Dan, Malaysia's Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Denmark's Peter Gade.

He said that he had written to all the establishments concerned hoping that they would give serious attention to the event taking into consideration the "promotional and gain effect" it has on State tourism.

Continue reading at: Badminton World Series in KK a tourism plus

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Miri jazz fest singlet for early-bird ticket buyers


MIRI: An attractive limited-edition singlet will be given to those who buy two two-day tickets to the Miri International Jazz Festival (MIJF). This offer is valid until Jan 16 next year.

According to the festival’s organising chairman of Michael Lu, the offer is only for those who purchase the ticket online at www.ticketcharge.com.my or by calling the Ticketcharge office.

Encouraging festival goers to take advantage of this early-bird promotion, Lu said that only 500 of the singlets were available.

“The promotion may not last until Jan 16,” said Lu, who urged festival goers not to miss the chance to get this MIJF collectible item.

Lu said the two-day ticket priced at RM100 will be available only until April 25. After April 25, only daily tickets priced at RM60 will be available.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Miri jazz fest singlet for early-bird ticket buyers

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Australian WWII veterans to visit Brunei


A group of Australian veterans will visit Brunei this week to commemorate the liberation of Borneo in 1944.

The Australian Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Mr Alan Griffin, will travel with six Australian WWII veterans to unveil a memorial in Brunei honouring Australia's efforts to end the Japanese occupation in the region during the Second World War.

The commemorative mission honours Australia's involvement in the campaigns in Borneo and the minister said the campaign formed part of the largest amphibious assault undertaken by Australians during the Second World War, and was among the most complex operations carried out by Australians in the war against Japan with more than 20,000 Australians involved.

"It is important to honour our wartime history, especially in the presence of veterans who served our nation so proudly during the operations," Mr Griffin said.

The Australian mission to Brunei this week would honour the contribution made by Australian soldiers in the Allied push against Japan in the Western Pacific.

The Australian Brunei Memorial would be unveiled on Saturday December 13, 2008 at the Muara Pantai on Labuan Island in Brunei Bay.

British North Borneo was the site of the last operation conducted by the 9th Australian Division during the Second World War. The ultimate objective of the operation, codenamed OBOE 6, was the liberation of British North Borneo, which had been under Japanese occupation since 1942.

The operation's immediate military purpose was to secure Brunei Bay for use as a base by the British Pacific Fleet. On June 10, 1945 the 24th Brigade of the 9th Australian Division landed on Labuan Island at the mouth of the bay, while its sister brigade - the 20th - landed on the Borneo mainland at Brunei point. The landings were virtually unopposed. The Australian troops cleared Labuan and crossed into British North Borneo, while the 20th Brigade leap-frogged down the Brunei coast, using watercraft as the main form of transport. These movements resulted in a series of small-scale but relatively costly engagements. The Australian forces remained active until the end of the war on August 15, 1945. OBOE 6 killed 114 Australians and approximately 1,400 Japanese.

The 9th Division was heavily involved in reconstructing British North Borneo from July onwards and rebuilt and re-established a considerable amount of civil infrastructure.

The division developed a warm relationship with the local people and its efforts were recognised by the incorporation of the division's colour patch in the coat of arms of the new Colony of British Borneo. These arms were used until British Borneo became the Malaysian state of Sabah in 1963.

Earlier, other Australia units had landed at Balikpapan in SE Borneo (Dutch Borneo) to secure oil processing and port facilities. Concerted Japanese resistance continued in the region for the next three weeks as the Australians troops advanced inland. The operational tempo decreased thereafter but daily engagements with the Japanese continued until the war's end.

The Balikpapan landings resulted in the deaths of 229 Australians and around 1,800 Japanese.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Looking to a one-Borneo future


KOTA KINABALU: The four states in Borneo, the world's third largest island, could gain from greater collaboration in agriculture, tourism and conservation because of their geographical and cultural similarities.

Agustin Teras Narang, the governor of Central Kalimantan, said that the different states could complement each other and emerge stronger economically in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Sabah and Sarawak, Kalimantan and Brunei collectively have a population of about 18 million.

Agustin, who is the coordinator of Kalimantan's four provinces, said it would be useful to study the strengths of the states and later collaborate in several sectors of the economy.

"We can use the synergy among the states to cover any weaknesses we may have and move in a spirit of unity, complementing one another like the European Union," he said at the end of a cultural exploration visit here over the weekend.

Continue reading at: Looking to a one-Borneo future

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Place, Api-Api Centre


From KK Food Reviews blog:

I'm sure a lot of you have seen or passed The Place before. This Filipino Cafe & Lounge (but serves not only Filipino cuisines, but also Western and Chinese dishes as well!) is located at Api-Api Centre, facing the Marina Court, and is a very well-known place due to its colourful decors! (well, that's how I remember this place; it has always been colourful since the beginning!)

And to those of you who want a fix of beer in the early morning, then you can definitely get it here at The Place.. they're open practically 24 hours a day!

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: The Place, Api-Api Centre

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

1Borneo is every shopper's dream

1Borneo Hypermall seen during the night. - PHOTOS COURTESY OF 1BORNEO

Cultural show at 1Borneo rainforest - PHOTOS COPYRIGHT TO ROL EZAM

At China Town located at 1Borneo - PHOTOS COPYRIGHT TO ROL EZAM

A fashion show held at 1Borneo - PHOTOS COPYRIGHT TO ROL EZAM


By Rol Ezam in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

A new era of lifestyle, fashion and entertainment have been heralded in 1Borneo in Kota Kinabalu.

Sabah has long been known for its nature-based attractions such as Mount Kinabalu, the Pulau Sipadan, watching Borneo pygmy elephants, the unique proboscis monkeys and the occasional orang utan along Kinabatangan river.

But the state is now on its way to offering visitors an opportunity for real shopping experiences, and leading the way is 1Borneo. Billed as the largest lifestyle mall in this corner of the world, 1Borneo has a total area of 4.8 million square foot and is home to more than 300 world-class shops; 1Borneo rainforest, the nation's first handicraft and cultural centre in a mall; 1Borneo Seaworld, a 750,000 million litre walk-through aquarium; an eight-screen movie theatre, four international and regional hotels and more.

Located within Kota Kinabalu, 7km northwards along the Jalan Sulaman Highway surrounded by lush greenery overlooking the majestic Mount Kinabalu and the Crocker Ranger; 1Borneo is set to be the ultimate shopping experience for locals and foreign tourists alike.

During the launching of the Malaysia Savings Sale 2008 at 1Borneo in Kota Kinabalu on November 30 by Dato' Sri Azalina Dato' Othman Said, the Minister of Tourism said malls like 1Borneo, which offers tourists a fine example of retail experience where everything from accommodation, F&B and entertainment to retail and spas are available under one roof, can and will bring tourists to its doors.

"I've been informed that from January to September of this year, Sabah has recorded 1,707,835 tourist arrivals - 1,165,821 domestic and 542,014 international tourists. The figures reflect a rise in the number of domestic tourists by about nine per cent this year,"

"Though the number of international tourists arrivals have dropped by 19.2 per cent over the same period of last year, the various tourism markets are showing a healthy growth with an increase in arrivals from Brunei (8.4 per cent), China and Hong Kong (16.7 per cent), Japan (12.8 per cent), South Korea (19.7 per cent), Australia (27.3 per cent) and United Kingdom (28.7 per cent)," said the minister.

Bruneians can take this huge opportunity especially parents to bring their kids shopping for 2009 school session needs during this year-end holidays and grab the unbelievable offers that outlets at 1Borneo has to offer.

Fashionistas can now splurge at French Connection, Mango, G2000, Esprit, Eclipse, Salabianca, Braun Buffel, M.O Outlet and many more outlets, which have taken residence in 1Borneo.

Fashion is incomplete without accessories like time pieces from Tag Heuer and Rolex, sparkling jewelleries from Habib Jewels, Lazo Diamond and Axxezz topped off with sexy stilettos courtesy of Nine West and Charles & Keith.

M.A.C, The Body Shop and Clinique are just some of the international make-up and skin care brands that the beauty-conscious can indulge in this one-stop hypermall.

Shoppers can also dine at al-fresco at Dome Café, NewYork New York and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or delight their taste buds with oriental flavours of Hong Kong Recipe and Sushi King. For desserts, diners can drop by at Yogurberry and Big Apple Donuts & Coffee.

Food connoisseurs will be happy with the spread of authentic cuisine peppered across the mall like Basil Leaf Café, Michi Japanese Restaurant and Penang Village.

Another spot at the hypermall that is gaining much attention is the 1Borneo Rainforest, a cultural and handicraft centre with a twist. With a cave-like exterior complete with greeneries amidst the swanky facades of retail outlets, it's a treasure trove of Sabah and South East Asia culture all under one roof. Breaking new grounds in Sabah is the soon to be opened, 1Borneo Seaworld, an underwater park of oceanic wonder with over 500 species of marine life. Children and young-at-heart adults will be spellbound with the myriad of excitement awaits them at Toys'R'Us, Booboo Land and X-Terminator.

With nearly another 1,000 more hotel rooms in 1Borneo, travellers will be at more ease to rest and relax in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Whether you are a business traveler, holidaymaker or a budget conscious tourist, the four hotels in the hypermall will surely to meet your demands. Novotel 1Borneo, Mercure Kota Kinabalu, Courtyard Hotel @ 1Borneo, Tunes Hotels.com are only 10 minutes from the city centre and just 20 minutes from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport. At 1Borneo guests can virtually enjoy shopping and touring effortless under one roof.

Courtesy of: Borneo Bulletin Weekend

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Jetstar maiden flight from Singapore lands in Kota Kinabalu

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is upbeat about its tourism growth despite the global economic crisis.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the state was continuing to post growth in international tourism arrivals, including from Europe and Australia.

He said that Australian tourist arrivals increased by 27% between October and November while European arrivals increased by 23%.

Speaking to reporters at the inaugural Jetstar Asia flight to Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday, Masidi said the flight was added assurance that Sabah’s tourism industry was set to grow despite global economic problems.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Jetstar maiden flight from Singapore lands in Kota Kinabalu

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Kiulu Challenge postponed over bad weather

Kota Kinabalu: Erratic weather for the past week has forced the organiser of the Kiulu 4M Bamboo Rafting Challenge (K4MC) to postpone the event to Jan 25, next year.

Organising chairman Ariffin Gadait said they have no choice but to reschedule the traditional adventure challenge because most of the bamboo rafts have been washed away during the floods on Thursday night.

"Moreover, the water level is still too high and dangerous for the participants," he said adding that the participants' safety is top priority.

The much-awaited rafting challenge among local adventure athletes was originally slated on Sunday, Dec 7.

To date, about 220 competitors have confirmed their participation. But due to the unforeseen circumstances, Ariffin said the organisers have no choice but to postpone it.

He said they have also decided to accept registration from contestants who have not been able to register earlier but keen to take part in the annual event.

"We will also retain the names of those who have registered before the closing date," he said.

Continue reading at: Kiulu Challenge postponed over bad weather

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Friday, December 05, 2008

F2000 World Cup grand finale in Sabah Dec 12-14

KOTA KINABALU: The F2000 World Cup Powerboat Series returns to Sabah for the second year running and looks set to take the Land Below the Wind by storm yet again!

The world class championship will be held at the same venue – the scenic Kota Kinabalu waterfront – on December 12-14.

Top-notch powerboat racers from all over the world including from Great Britain, Sweden, Latvia, Italy, France, Norway, Kuwait, Finland, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Portugal and Spain will be here for the grand finale of the World Cup series.

The local organiser, headed by Zachary Aman, is convinced the event will be a huge success after its maiden debut last year.

“We have learnt a lot from our first hosting of the race last year, and I’m sure this time around it is going to be a big success,” said Zachary, who is also the executive chairman of the Powersports Events Sdn Bhd, yesterday.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: F2000 World Cup grand finale in Sabah Dec 12-14

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RM25m for restoration of orang utan habitats in Sabah


KOTA KINABALU: Restoring and protecting the habitats of orang utan in Northern Ulu Segama forest received a RM25-million boost from the Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd yesterday.

The state government through the Forestry Department signed a partnership agreement with the palm oil producing company to plant indigenous tree species on 5,400 hectares of degraded land over a 10-year period.

The amount is the largest so far from a private company for wildlife protection specifically in the restoration of orang utan habitats.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman witnessed the signing of the agreement between Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan and Sime Darby’s group chief officer for sustainability Puvan Jegeraj Selvanathan.

When speaking to reporters later, Musa said the government was serious in protecting wildlife and the natural habitats in Sabah.

Continue reading at: RM25m for restoration of orang utan habitats in Sabah

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bigger participation in Kiulu 4M Challenge


KOTA KINABALU: The Kiulu 4M Challenge 2008, organised by Sabah Tourism Board this weekend, has received very encouraging response following the high increase in participation.

As of yesterday, a total of 214 contestants have confirmed their participation in the annual challenge compared to the 126 participants last year.

Organising chairman Ariffin Gadait, at a press conference yesterday said they will be competing in eight events in the singles and team categories that starts at Kg Malangang at 8.40am.

Tuaran MP, Datuk Wilfred Bumburing will officiate at the opening ceremony.

“The singles category comprises the Junior Open, Women Open and the Xtreme 5M Men Open, while the team category will involve the Mixed Open, 5M Open, Media, Travel Industry, and Corporate and Government,” he said.

Continue reading at: Bigger participation in Kiulu 4M Challenge

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Apec's Tourism Working Group delegates see potential in Brunei tourism industry


By Malek Hashim

The 33rd Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Tourism Working Group (TWG) delegates yesterday made a technical visit to various places of interest in the country.

The delegation, comprising over 30 delegates from various Apec member countries made their first stop at the Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque before leaving for the Royal Regalia building.

From there, the delegation continued their technical tour to Kampong Ayer. The delegation also made a stop at Kampong Tamoi, where they were treated with local delicacies.

Dr Zainab bte Khalifah, a professor from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) said that Brunei has the resource to promote its tourism industry.

She also said in the current global economic outlook, countries in the Asean region should find a room for further cooperation in promoting the regional tourism industry.

Meanwhile, Pablo Lopez de Romana, the Peru vice minister of tourism who visited Brunei for the first time said he definitely would like to visit again in the future and maybe bring along his family.

He said Brunei is a unique country by its own.

"Brunei is a nice country that you need to see for yourself," said Pablo Lopez.

Jean Christophe Robles Espinosa, the director of marketing and promotion at the Brunei Tourism, guided the delegation throughout the technical tour. In an interview, Jean Christophe said such a tour is useful to create awareness among the delegates about Brunei tourist attractions so that they will relate their personal experience back to their home countries.

"Holding international meetings in Brunei is one of the ways to project the image of Brunei (to other countries)," said Jean Christophe.

The 33rd Apec TWG meeting began on Dec 2. The meeting among others discussed the updates on Apec Peru 2008 and the progress of Apec TWG projects since the 32nd TWG meeting in Lima, Peru.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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Bandar Seri Begawan Waterfront to stimulate nightlife


By Narissa Noor

The Customs and Excise Pier of Bandar Seri Begawan is to get a facelift as part of the implementation of the 9th National Development Plan (2007-2012) to revitalise the nation's capital. The wet market (Pasar Tambing) and the old Immigration Department building are to be demolished.

Currently in the first phase of development, the waterfront master plan has proposed five strategies with the goal of revitalising the city centre in what it hopes will stimulate nightlife in the capital.

The master plan is currently being refined and developed by the Town and Country Planning Department under the Bandar Seri Begawan and Gadong Improvement Area Plan 1998.

The 4.589-acre of land, mostly flat concrete wharf accessible by pedestrian walkways, roads and river, at present houses the former Royal Customs and Excise and former Immigration Department buildings, as well as private car parks, night food stalls and a wet market.

With the new plan, an open square promenade, a green urban landscape and public spaces specifically designed for interactive features will be erected, complemented by privatised alfresco cafes, kiosks and souvenir shops.

The Director of Brunei Tourism Development Department of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed, when contacted yesterday said that the waterfront project is a timely one and "will enhance the look and feel of our most unique tourism attraction, the Brunei Water Village".

He also revealed that the project coincides with Brunei Tourism's current project of Kampong Ayer Cultural Centre, expected to be launched in February 2009.

The site for the proposed waterfront is located in the centre of Bandar Seri Begawan, overlooking the historical Kampong Ayer and forms part of the central business district of Bandar Seri Begawan.

It will not, however, be a complete facelift as the existing former Royal Customs and Excise building has been gazetted and recognised by the Museums Department as a listed building under the Antiquities and Treasure Trove Act of 1967 (revised in 2002). According to the Act, the building along with its immediate surroundings will be maintained, restored and refurbished.

It was also revealed that the redevelopment of the area into a City Centre Waterfront hopes to act as an integrative mechanism to initiate other proposed developments such as the Sungai Kedayan River Park, improvement and pedestrianisation of Jalan Sultan and Jalan Roberts, Subok Ridge Heritage Park and Kampong Ayer Activity Centre.

The tender for the construction was awarded on April 2, 2008, and as of December 15, 2008, the surrounding car parks will be closed indefinitely as construction of the waterfront breaks ground, displacing hundreds of people working in the capital.

The Municipal Department, in a statement, urged members of the public who utilise these parking areas to use other private parking facilities.

The department is yet to reveal the expected completion date of the waterfront project.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sabah biggest mall 1Borneo celebrates White Christmas


1Borneo Hypermall has been undergoing a magical metamorphosis into a winter wonderland, complete with snowflakes, fairies, nymphs, and all manner of fantastic decorations.

1Borneo’s Public Relations Manager, Chris Ho, explains that a major installation of acrylic and stainless steel Christmas decorations will light up the hypermall in time to set the mood for Christmas this year.

“The aim of this year’s decorations is to bring the sparkle and shine to the city, so a whole host of decorations will adorn the hypermall.” Ho shares that the pièce de résistance will be the installation of a 40-ft high fairytale castle with falling snowflakes at the centre atrium.

“Christmas decorations are a great way to give it the city the makeover it needs for the festive season, and to get us all in the spirit for celebrations with family and friends,” he adds.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sabah biggest mall 1Borneo celebrates White Christmas

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Economic crisis not hampering Sabah tourism


KOTA KINABALU: The global economic crisis has not hampered the state’s tourism industry.

The industry continues to flourish as evidenced by this year’s rise in number of tourist arrivals from Australia and Europe, said Tourism, Culture & Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

Masidi said the number of Australians arriving in the State is up by 27 percent while for Europeans the figure has gone up by 22 percent.

He was speaking at the inaugural Singapore-Kota Kinabalu-Singapore flight by Jetstar Asia at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) yesterday. Also present at the event was his assistant, Bolkiah Haji Ismail.

Jetstar Asia, a budget airline, will be operating four flights a week and starting 20 December, it will be flying the Singapore-Kota Kinabalu-Singapore route on a daily basis.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Economic crisis not hampering Sabah tourism

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Weather issue: When is the best time to go to Mount Kinabalu?


From Kinabalu blog:

To make your life easy, the higher the precipitation, the higher the amount of rainfall. If you look closely at the table (climate for Kota Kinabalu is for the year 2007), January to April are the driest months where the precipitation are the lowest (i.e. below 150mm per month). This is the best time to come here and climb Mount Kinabalu. However, seasonal variations can occur in any year.

Rain can occur at any time of the year. In Sabah the main rainy seasons are from October to January when the rains come with the north east monsoon, and from May to July, with the south west monsoon.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: When is the best time to go to Mount Kinabalu?

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Over RM200 mil came from Sabah's scuba diving industry last year


KOTA KINABALU: Scuba diving had contributed five percent of the total RM4.7 billion receipts to the state’s tourism industry last year.

The 2007 statistics showed that some 40,000 people of whom 30 percent were domestic divers had come to experience the beauty and richness of Sabah’s underwater world, said Borneo Divers and Sea Sports Sdn Bhd managing director Clement Lee.

“Scuba diving has been an upcoming industry in the state although it has only been here for 25 years in terms of professional runs. Nevertheless, we would rather not want to see a rapid increase in the number of domestic and international divers coming to Sabah.

The reason being the industry cannot supply trained and qualified workers to meet the demand from an influx of these visitors. Therefore, it is good to always project progress from 10 to 15 percent a year,” he said when met during the two-day (Nov 30-Dec 1) Kids Scuba Camp at Mamutik Island.

Continue reading at: Over RM200 mil came from Sabah's scuba diving industry last year

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Kids scuba camp at Mamutik Island


KOTA KINABALU: Mamutik Island was chosen as the ideal location for a scuba diving camp for a group of children from Selangor.

A group of 65 visitors that consisted of 19 children and their parents, instructors and a television crew from the peninsula enjoyed a two-day diving holiday in Mamutik on Nov 30 and Dec 1.

The camp was put together by Borneo Divers through its subsidiary Borneo Divers Training Institute to promote domestic tourism and travel for families.

Pristine shallow waters off Mamutik proved ideal for the children to learn diving and try out the SeaDoo Divers Propulsion Vehicle (DPV).

The DPV is a lightweight battery operated machine that is safe and easy to operate that can be used for snorkelling and diving.

Currently, Borneo Divers has six of the machines imported from the US and plans to buy more of the equipment.

The Kids Scuba Camp has smaller and lighter oxygen tanks for children and Borneo Divers is the only diving agency in the state that can provide them at the moment.

Continue reading at: Kids scuba camp at Mamutik Island

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A Magical Christmas in 1Borneo, Kota Kinabalu


1Borneo’s Public Relations Manager, Chris Ho said a major installation of Christmas decorations, made from acrylic and stainless steel, would light up 1Borneo Hypermall and get Kota Kinabalu in the mood for Christmas this year.

“The aim of this year’s decorations is to bring the sparkle and shine to the City, so a whole host of decorations will adorn the hypermall. Ho said the pièce de résistance of the festivity would be the installation of a 40ft high fairytale castle with falling snowflakes at the centre atrium.

“A City’s Christmas decorations are a great way to give it a makeover it needs for the festive season and get us all in the spirit for celebrations with family and friends”, he added.

Continue reading at: A Magical Christmas in 1Borneo, Kota Kinabalu

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Next Monsoon Cup in Sabah?


KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Monsoon Cup will be held in Sabah next year.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said international events, such as the yacht tour, should not be held at the same place over the years.

"The Monsoon Cup has been held in Terengganu for the past four years and I think foreigners would love to see other parts of the country as well. The same goes for the Formula One race.

"I wish I could take it (Formula One race) everywhere rather than just hold it in Sepang so that people won't get bored," she said at the Sutera Harbour Resort here yesterday.

The minister, on a two-day visit to Sabah, said she had invited state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun for the closing of the tour next month. She would meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on the proposal to change the venue.

Continue reading at: Next Monsoon Cup in Sabah?

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Sarawak celebrates Kayan Carnival


By George Francis

MIRI - The Sarawak Kayan Carnival over the weekend here can become an important event in the calendar of Miri city and be a tourist attraction, according to deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan.

He hoped the inaugural carnival would further strengthen the unity of the Kayans - the biggest of the Orang Ulu group in Sarawak comprising some 27,000 people. "As far as we know, the Kayans are a brave group of people". The Kayans were the only group that was recorded in the Sarawak Gazette as having expelled the people that ruled over them in the Baram in the 1800s.

"They stood up to the Brooke forces which organised a war expedition, the so-called Great Kayan Expedition, in the Batnag Rajang," Chan said when officiating at the inaugural Sarawak Kayan Carnival 2008 here.

The Kayans are also well known for their rich cultural heritage. The "sape", according to Chan, with its captivating melody is today well known world-wide and have been played before the Queen of England and is a regular feature at the Rainforrest Festival at Damai.

Chan congratulated the Sarawak Kayan Association for organising the carnival.

"Now, we no longer live in a world where a community has to kill in order to survive or thrive. Today, we use our brains and not our brawns. A successful man is no longer measured by how many heads he brings back but on how well educated he is and how he can use his knowldge to improve his economic and social well-being as well as that of the society," added Chan.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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More flights vital for Sabah’s tourism sector


KOTA KINABALU: The continuous improvement of air accessibility in Sabah would see the State having a stronger tourism growth in years to come.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said remarked that with 96 percent of its tourists arriving by air, even the slight increase of number of direct flights from 101 to 107 weekly this year would see bigger numbers of arrivals.

“This would lead to a more vibrant tourism landscape in future,” she said at the launching of the Sabah-level of The Malaysia Savings Sale 2008 at 1Borneo yesterday.

Expressing her confidence on Sabah’s tourism outlook, Azalina noted that the State had recorded a rise in the number of domestic tourists by about nine percent this year.

And though the number of international tourist arrivals dropped by 19.2 per cent over the same period, the various tourism sectors showed a healthy growth, she said.

Continue reading at: More flights vital for Sabah’s tourism sector

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