Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sg Kakus Tatau Boat Tragedy

Kuching, Sarawak
Tuesday, 19th October 2010

Four express boat passengers died while at least 20 were still missing after the boat which ferried around 30 people sank at Sungai Kakus, in Ulu Tatau.
The incident occurred around 2.30pm when the boat was negotiating a bend in the river, near Kelebu timber camp, around 50 kilometres from here.

The boat was said to have rammed onto a steel cable that a tug boat uses to tow a barge. Only seven passengers including the skipper and a crew member managed to save themselves, said Tatau District Police Chief DSP Zaizodin Wan Jaafar.
Three adult bodies were found around 8pm while the body of a five-month old toddler was found floating on the river a few minutes later, he added.
As at 9pm yesterday, the fate of the missing persons was still not known.
The search and rescue team believed the river current might have swept them somewhere else. The current was also swift, said Zaizodin. Zaizodin said the express boat departed Tatau around 1.30pm and was heading towards Hulu Kakus.
A passenger who survived the ordeal Silo Gerenang, 58, said the express boat was stuck on the steel cable.
“The skipper failed to avoid ramming the steel cable which then got tangled up with our boat. Our boat then sank. I was fortunate because I was sitting near the window and managed to escape,” he said.
Silo, who resides at the Police barrack at Nanga Rungan, Kakus regretted that he could not save other passengers because the incident happened too fast.
Ebie Biju, 35, who was sitting at the front part of the boat, believed that the accident could have been avoided.
Hailing from Rumah Jimbai Kakus, he had been shopping at Tatau Town and thanked God for being alive.
“Luckily my other family members were not with me in the boat,” he said.
“I heard other passengers screaming in panic. In a matter of moments, the boat sank,” he recalled.
The crew member, who survived, Sim Chi Liang said he was full of regret because he could not save the life of passengers or those who drifted away.

“I immediately jumped out through the window. I could not do anything,” he said. Apart from the police and civil defence and rescue team, several camp workers were also helping in the search and rescue of passengers.
“Camp workers also rushed to the scene to assist in the search and rescue operation,” said timber manager Kiu Siong Hock.
The work to fully retrieve the express boat started around 6pm. A crane and tug boat were used to pull the boat to the surface.
Although the work to salvage the boat ended around 8.30pm the search and rescue operation will continue today.
When met at Bintulu Hospital, Assistant Minister of Development and Communication DatuK Lee Kim Shin said Sarawak Rivers Board would probe the incident thoroughly.
“No stone will be unturned,” he said.
Lee, also Senadin assemblyman, believed the search and rescue team would do its best to search for the missing persons.

Survivor Recalls On Tragedy

Sylvia, 21, looked like a spent force, but otherwise healthy when met at the hospital bed late yesterday.

She said she was probably in the water for 10 minutes, struggling to keep herself afloat, before some strong hands pulled her out of the water.

Recounting her experience, Sylvia said she travelled alone from Kakus to Tatau for some grocery.
“After having bought all I needed to buy, I took the 1.30pm boat along with about 30 others who included some children.
“I thought nothing of the worst. It was like any other journey I had made along the river.
“In fact, when the accident happened, it was just too fast. All I knew was the boat suddenly tilted over.
“And then there was water and darkness. I fought to keep afloat but the water was sucking me in.
“I went under several times. It was probably 10 minutes and I was frantically trying to get hold of something. My eyes were open but I couldn’t remember seeing anything.
“Then as if by miracle strong hands were pulling me out of the water. I wonder if I had had the strength to keep myself afloat if the rescuers had come a little later.”
Sylvia soon found out that the rescuers were timber camp workers.
Once on dry ground, the first thing a tearful Sylvia spoke of wanting to see her mother.
Jackson Ujik, meanwhile, said he was with his wife and daughter, sitting at the front portion of the boat when he saw the boat going out of control.
“The boat just swayed to one side and the next thing was it simply turned over,” he said, adding that just as it was flipping over he grabbed at the hands of his wife and one-year-old daughter and jumped.
He said that was all he could remember because the next few minutes all he could think of was not to let go the two hands he was holding.
“Then I saw the boat (rescuers’ tugboat) and used all the strength I could muster to reach it. Thank God we’re alive,” Jackson said.

Taken From Borneo Post Online

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Mahathir Proposed Malaysia to be Rule A Communist Style Like China

Tuesday, 19th October 2010

Democracy has failed, the Beijing model is better Proposed Mahathir

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today called democracy a “failed” ideology and held up China’s model of authoritarianism as an alternative “worth studying”.

He said China’s political model — which he termed the “Beijing Consensus” — showed that a nation could develop well even in the absence of freedom, liberty and equality — ideals fundamental to the rival “Washington Consensus”.

“The Beijing Consensus shows that having a non-democratic country can also give a good life for the people,” Dr Mahathir told delegates at the “Creation of the Global Citizen: Media Liberalisation and the New Political Realities” forum organised by Umno here.

“If you find good people to run a country, even dictators can make a country develop and develop very well.”

He pointed out that China’s “correct” application of the Beijing Consensus had allowed the nation of 1.3 billion “very poor” people to become the second richest country in the world.

The former premier also criticised the very premise of democracy, arguing that no issue could achieve total consensus, leading to an electoral split that will promote poor governance.

“Democracy... has failed in many countries,” he said.

“It is not the perfect thing it is touted to be. You find that some of these democracies really cannot work. People cannot make up their minds.

Dr Mahathir cited hung parliaments in Britain and Australia as proof that countries cannot progress when a majority of its voters cannot make up their minds, saying frequent changes in leadership were not good for a nation.

“We see a lot of democracies where leaders change every two years and the country cannot make any progress at all,” he said.

“Even the countries that have made progress find sometimes that democracies hinder the development of the country, make the country unstable and difficult to develop.”

He added that smaller parties roped into ad hoc coalitions to break hung parliaments in democracies will hold the majority hostage to minority demands that were not good for the country as a whole. - Malaysian Insider

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Batu Sapi By Election

Tuesday, 19th October 2010

Pairin Katingan Assures PBS will retain Chinese Candidate

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) said the Barisan Nasional is likely to retain a Chinese candidate for the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat, said its president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the party’s supreme council at its headquarters here, he said the list had reached as high as 10 names, but it would be shortened before discussions with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is the director of operations for the Batu Sapi by-election.

Musa, who is also Sabah Barisan chairman, is expected to chair a meeting with the state Barisan component parties Monday at 11am to discuss the Batu Sapi by-election, where PBS will submit the shortlisted names.

“Our last representative (the late Datuk Edmund Chong Ket Wah) was from the Chinese community. Obviously, the candidates were are proposing will be from the Chinese community as well.

“So we will all look at the names together, with recommendations and consultations from other component parties,” said Pairin, who is deputy director of operations for the by-election.

The deputy chief minister also stressed that the final say would be through Barisan consensus, because although the proposed names came from PBS, in the end it would be a Barisan candidate they were talking about.

Asked to comment on the fact that Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and Pakatan Rakyat would each field their own candidates, Pairin said they would let the opposition do their thing as the Barisan would give full focus on the people and secure a bigger majority for the constituency from the last 2008 election.

The late Chong retained the Batu Sapi seat in the last general election with a 3,708 vote-majority against independent candidate Dr Chung Kong Wing.

Replying to questions, Pairin said the names of potential candidates proposed were from the Batu Sapi and Sandakan areas, and that family members of the late Chong were also considered, but stressed that ‘anybody is considered, even those not from the family side’.

Earlier, Pairin had stated that the coordinator for the by-election at the national level would be Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Barisan deputy chairman.

He said PBS had formed the Batu Sapi by-election machinery at the state level and at the respective constituencies.

In SANDAKAN, Sabah DAP chairman Dr Hiew King Chew said the state DAP would discuss with other Pakatan component parties on who to field in the by-election.

“The coalition’s top leadership would have the final say in the matter,” he told reporters at DAP office here. -Bernama

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