Pamela Yong: Like mother, like daughter

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Dr Pamela Yong

Malaysian politicians never learn. The last thing that guests want to hear at a dinner are their speeches; particularly when they have nothing to say. So in the 10 minutes when Dr Pamela Yong spoke, the 300 aged dinner guests chattered away disdainfully – oblivious to her presence at their party. They were there in Kota Kinabalu on December 5 to celebrate the 28th year of their Sabah Association of Senior Citizens.

Dr Yong, a dentist, was their guest of honour. She heads the women’s wing of the Kota Kinabalu division of the Malaysian Chinese Association.  So it was incumbent on her to speak to them. Wrong. What they wanted on this feverish Saturday evening was to eat, drink and dance to their heart’s content.
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It’s tough being Joseph Pairin Kitingan

Illegal immigrants in Sabah: A slow boat to nowhere

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Joseph Pairin Kitingan

Talk, of course, is cheap. And in Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s words, “easy”. But Sabahans don’t need their deputy chief minister to tell them so. What they want to know from him is what has he been doing for the past one year since he chaired a “technical committee” to look into the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into illegal immigrants in their state.

Understandbly Mr Kitingan was upset when his federal minister Joseph Kurup criticised him for his “inaction” to which he retorted that he wasn’t sleeping on his job. Mr Kitingan took offence to Mr Kurup’s attack because he thought that comrades (both are in the nationally ruling Barisan Nasional coalition) should support each other. Mr Kurup was his junior in his Parti Bersatu Sabah which ruled the resource-rich north Borneo island state from 1985 to 1994. But he now leads a splinter group in the tiny Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah that was formed in the aftermath of defections from the PBS which felled Mr Kitingan’s government. Continue reading

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Big balls are a match for giant Hakka sausage


Giant egg roll sausage and pork balls

Despite skyrocketing food prices and grumbles over the 6% GST, most Sabahans can’t break their habit: a hearty breakfast of noodles in a coffeeshop. I must admit I’m one. And we are spoilt for choice. Most of the time we ask ourselves in frustration: “what to eat?” (in Manglish). Continue reading

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Hungarian hunger

Cheesy grilled chicken tortilla with mango 01

Cheesy grilled chicken tortilla with mango

Hungarian food is like Franz Liszt’s rhapsodies. The famous Hungarian composer (1811-1886) wrote 19 of them but only one stands out. This isn’t to say that Hungarian food isn’t good. All of Liszt’s rhapsodies are fantastic but his Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C# minor is the most famous; everyone who loves classical music knows it. So it is with the Hungarian goulash. Even those who have never eaten it, have heard of it.
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Obituary: Chau Tet On, an ethnic Chinese leader who never was


Chau Tet On cut a demure figure. But his smiling face camouflaged 10 years or more of frustrations that his politics had come to nought. Few ethnic Chinese looked to his leadership despite he being the first among them to become a Sabah deputy chief minister in 1985 in Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s government. His Parti Bersatu Sabah had swept to power, defeating the unpopular Parti Berjaya in a state general election. Continue reading

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Collecting the “uncollectible”

Jimmy Wong

Jimmy Wong

Parking fees in Kota Kinabalu are some of the lowest in the world. Motorists pay between 20 and 50 sen (6 and 14 cents) to park for 30 minutes or an hour in the city. Of course, depending on how busy the area is, the rate doubles or triples the longer they park. But parking here is still very cheap. Yet Kota Kinabalu City Hall has been unable to collect most of the money. It is saddled with outstanding parking fees and fines to a staggering RM58 million over the last 10 years, according to mayor Abidin Madingkir. An “amnesty” to allow defaulters to pay a fraction of what they owe has failed. And another attempt to make motorists pay upfront in a coupon system has irked them.

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A lawmaker’s unusual goodbye


Roland Chia Ming Shen

His resignation as an opposition Sabah lawmaker wasn’t just abrupt. It was unusual. But Roland Chia Ming Shen, a 44-year-old dentist, got the attention he wanted through a tweet yesterday. He said he was giving up his Inanam seat because of “health reasons”.

Officials of his Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party) quickly dismiss his resignation. Many suspect that it might be sinister at a time when his party de facto president Anwar Ibrahim is trying to stay out of prison on a second sodomy charge. Mr Anwar was freed by an appeals court of a five-year jail term handed to him by a high court. But prosecutors are asking Malaysia’s highest federal court to decide if Anwar should be rightly found guilty and jailed for sodomising his helper.

Until yesterday, Mr Chia had not given any hint that he was sick. Neither was he unhappy with his party, according to his comrades. But Darren Tong, his political secretary, says his boss is overseas seeking medical treatment. He doesn’t say where or what he is suffering from. A few of Mr Chia’s friends say that it could be something insidious, perhaps cancer. An unnamed friend of Mr Chia says he has been “noticeably” losing weight since he won his maiden election about one and a half years ago in a three-corner fight.

Mr Chia is expected to return to Kota Kinabalu by 8 January. He will then make his wish known: officially, according to his colleagues.

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