News In Brief 

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Welcome to our ‘News In Brief’ column in which we digest all the news releases for you in no more than five paragraphs. Below are snippets of all the media releases that we received from Dec 12 till the end of the week. This column updates regularly throughout the week.

Australia’s Favourite Christmas Food

Sydney, Dec 12: Meal kit delivery service, HelloFresh has released their festive food tier list, based on online searches to show how popular some festive foods are compared to others in the lead up to Christmas.
The list features four tiers from Iconic to Give it a Miss Tier that celebrate Australia’s favourite Christmas foods.
The Iconic Tier ranked Aussie’s favourite Christmas foods, with more than 14,000 searches a month were pavlova, potato bake, salad, prosciutto and roast chicken.
The Must Have Tier highlighted some summer classics that are a must during Christmas. Trifle, brownies, prawns, oysters and classic roast potatoes had over 8,000 monthly searches.
The Traditional Tier showed Christmas foods, that despite having lower monthly searches, it’s a given that no Christmas meal is complete without. These include Christmas ham, gingerbread, smoked salmon and Christmas pudding.
While, the Give It A Miss Tier showed the Christmas foods that are low down on Aussies Christmas wish lists, including mince pies, fruit cake and pigs in blankets.

Aussie Carbon Startup Raises Funds

Avarni raises $3M to speed up decarbonisation efforts with the world’s largest consultancies and enterprises.

Sydney, Dec 12: Carbon management startup Avarni has raised $3m to streamline the future of carbon management. The round is the second fundraising since founding and was led by deep tech venture firm Main Sequence, along with existing investors Vulpes Ventures and Common Sense Ventures.
At COP27, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported emissions need to come down before 2025 in order to limit temperature rises to 1.5C.
Similarly, the Financial Stability Board created a Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (the TCFD), to fully commit to market transparency when it comes to decarbonisation. Commitments to achieve net zero by large corporations is becoming a necessity with surmounting pressure from board members, government, external stakeholders and the public. 
Pressure is mounting on large and public companies to set scientific-based net-zero targets, and report on carbon emissions aligned with international standards set by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
While many companies are starting to report these emissions, there remains a major gap in understanding and sourcing data for scope three emissions — those emitted by an organization’s suppliers or in the supply chain.
To assist with the decarbonisation process, Avarni set out to help the world’s largest consultancies and enterprise companies, aggregate supply-chain and spending data to help them understand, report and forecast their carbon footprint across scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
Avarni’s platform dramatically speeds up the process of assessing, planning and monitoring carbon emissions across an organization and its supply chain, while allowing them to also forecast different decarbonisation scenarios.
Founded in 2021, the initial team members met at a Sydney-based tech incubator where they saw a massive gap in the market on carbon reporting.

Visionary Design For Powerhouse Ultimo Revealed

Sydney, Dec 12: Powerhouse Ultimo is set to undergo a transformation that will celebrate the best of its past with innovative museum exhibition and educational spaces, following the announcement of the winning architectural design for its renewal.The concept designed by Australian team Architectus, Durbach Block Jaggers Architects, Tyrrell Studio, Youssofzay + Hart, Akira Isogawa, Yerrabingin, Finding Infinity and Arup have been chosen to deliver a visionary world-class museum for the people of NSW. 
The team’s submission for the museum was unanimously selected by an expert jury following a national Design Competition, which commenced earlier this year.
The design contains expanded museum exhibition spaces, including international museum standard galleries for immersive exhibitions and learning programs. A new urban space connecting the museum to The Goods Line will create a major new public square for Sydney, increasing open public space that will support outdoor programs.
The Harris Street frontage will be revitalized with creative studios that will support education and industry programs and will create new opportunities to access the museum’s library and archive.

Zoo Melaka Benefits From #DIY4Zoo Initiative  

From left – Zoo Melaka Officer Mohd Aizat Bin Faizatul Azrin, Zoo Melaka Deputy Director Farizan Binti Abdul Karim,
MR D.I.Y. Group Head of Human Resources Management, Zaleha Mohd Mydin, and MR D.I.Y. Group Human Resources Management Manager, Bukhari Mokhtar during the handover of the #DIY4ZooMelaka contribution. 

Malacca, Dec 12: The 59-year old Zoo Melaka has received a much-needed uplift, thanks to MR D.I.Y Group [M] Berhad [MR D.I.Y.], Malaysia’s largest home improvement retailer.
The improvements undertaken by MR D.I.Y include the refurbishment of the ape and terrapin compounds, the installation of informational signage, and upgrade of some of the general facilities. The retailer also contributed four sets of new benches for the use of visitors.
“We are a Malaysian business with a nationwide presence, and we believe in promoting a deep appreciation for our nation’s rich diversity, which is why we launched our #DIY4Zoo initiative in 2022. 
“It is very much a part of our efforts to build a sustainable business that adds value to the lives of Malaysians,” a spokesperson from MR D.I.Y. said.
“We are a Malaysian business with a nationwide presence, and we believe in promoting a deep appreciation for our nation’s rich diversity, which is why we launched our #DIY4Zoo initiative in 2022.  It is very much a part of our efforts to build a sustainable business that adds value to the lives of Malaysians.
MR D.I.Y launched the #DIY4Zoo initiative as one of its many community outreach activities to help organisations and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Earlier this year, the retailer completed a few initiatives in an effort to help Zoo Negara, which included animal adoption, improving and upkeeping the zoo facilities, and contributing hardware tools, equipment, and uniforms for the zoo’s employees. 

Shipsy Announces Its First ESOP Buyback

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 13 Shipsy, a SaaS-based smart logistics management provider has recently announced its first ESOP buyback. 
The buyback was open to all existing, full-time employees of Shipsy who have completed at least one year of full-time employment.
Shipsy’s early-stage investors have already realized significant value in the organization’s secondary and buyback transactions in the past one and a half years.
Shipsy is clocking a growth rate of 2.5x YoY.
It recorded its recurring revenue growth of over 100 per cent and grew its customer base by 75 per cent last year.
Besides India, the company has headquarters and a strong presence in the Middle East and Southeast Asia and soon plans to set up offices in the Americas and Europe.

Colin Kum, Joins Provenir As Sales Director 

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 13: Provenir, a global leader in AI-powered data and decisioning software for the fintech industry, welcomes Colin Kum as Sales Director for APAC.
In this role, Colin will help the company respond to the escalating demand for its AI-powered Data and Decisioning Platform.
Colin will oversee all sales operations and business development activities for the region.
Colin brings more than 20 years B2B Enterprise sales experience within the tech/software industry and over eight years in sales management leading teams across APAC focused on financial services.
Prior to joining Provenir, Colin held senior positions at entomo, Oracle and Experian.

AirAsia Reinstates KK – Taipei Flights

Kota Kinabalu, Dec 13: AirAsia, the World’s best Low Cost Airline for 13 years in a row, resumed its much sought-after direct route to Kota Kinabalu from Taipei on 10 December with an exciting activation at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA). Flight AK1511 from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) landed at KKIA and was greeted with a welcoming ceremony as well as a water cannon salute to celebrate the long-awaited resumption of this route.
This comes after Taipei reopened its borders to international travellers and lifted its mandatory COVID-19 quarantine restrictions for arrivals. 
With the reinstatement of the Kota Kinabalu-Taipei route, the total international direct air connectivity to Sabah with AirAsia has increased to 4 cities around Asia which are Taipei, Singapore, Manila and Bangkok.
Kota Kinabalu has always been an immensely popular destination in East Malaysia. With this resumption, visitors from Taipei can explore the beauty and wonder of the city, such as the pristine Tanjung Aru Beach or the scenic Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, two of the state’s most sought after attractions for Taiwanese travellers.
Visit or download the airasia Super App to book yours now! 

SNS Posts Rise In Profits

Ipoh, Dec 13: SNS Network Technology Berhad, an ICT system and solutions provider, today reported a 35.5 per cent rise in profit after tax (“PAT”) to RM11.94 million for the third quarter ended Oct 31 compared with PAT of RM8.81 million in the immediately preceding quarter.
The Group registered revenue that increase 17.5 per cent to RM348.84 million in 3Q FY2023 compared with RM296.93 million in 2Q FY2023.
For the quarter under review, there was a 25.7% gain in gross profit (“GP”) to RM29.44 million compared with GP of RM23.43 million in 2Q FY2023 while profit before tax (“PBT”) increased 29.9 per cent to RM15.28 million compared with PBT of RM11.76 million.
The Group’s board of directors has also approved and declared a first interim single-tier dividend of 0.25 Sen per ordinary share amounting to RM4,031,949 in respect of financial year ending 31 January 2023, to be paid on 18 January 2023. The entitlement date is Jan 3, 2023.

Wellous Enters Into A Definitive Merger 

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 13: Wellous Group Limited (“Wellous”, or the “Company”), a fast-growing Asia-based international nutrition company that develops, manufactures, markets and sells health and wellness products, and Kairous Acquisition Corp. Limited (“Kairous”) (NASDAQ: KACL), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement (the “Merger Agreement”) that will result in Wellous becoming a publicly listed company upon the closing of the transaction contemplated there in (the “Proposed Transaction”).
Upon closing, the combined company will be renamed “Wellous Group Holdings Limited” (the “Combined Company”) and expects to list its ordinary shares on Nasdaq.
Founded in 2016, Wellous started off as a homegrown brand focusing on sharing and harnessing the benefits of mother nature to communities through carefully curated formulations. The Company prides itself not only as a nutrition company aiming to provide health food and supplements that meet, and exceed the expectations of its product users, but also as an innovative technology-forward company with a platform available to its thousands of “techpreneurs” –  individuals with sophisticated social media marketing skills, as well as nutrition and fitness knowledge-transfer capabilities – to utilize the Company’s Five5S sales platform  to establish, enhance and expand its relationship with product users. Wellous sources its ingredients naturally, from geographically diverse origins, and works diligently to ensure it upholds high standards while curating its products.
Wellous and its products are trusted brands, as evidenced by numerous awards accumulated over the past several years.

COVID Paves Way For Digital Healthcare Growth

Adelaide, Dec 14: Health systems struggling to cope with the pandemic and budget and staff shortages have an opportunity to make service and operating improvements with health informatics and digital health applications. 
While pressure mounts to maintain “business as usual” operations, researchers from Flinders University, James Cook University and Hong Kong’s Tung Wah Colllege have highlighted the benefits of expanding health management’s use of these key areas to improve productivity and meet increasing resource challenges to provide safe, quality care. 
“These two rapidly growing disciplines are becoming increasingly important to the sustainability of health service provision, as was highlighted through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Flinders University senior lecturer Mark Brommeyer, who has worked in healthcare consulting, training and change management in 11 countries for the past 30 years said.
Brommeyer, who started his career as a registered nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, says there is a growing need for health service managers to tackle the challenges of unprecedented growth in digital health literacy and to be proficient in planning and managing the digital tools and technologies across this rapidly changing tech landscape.
“These technologies improve workforce capabilities and system-wide efficiencies and we have found a need for national collaboration to draw up coordinated, consistent and coherent policy guidelines for educational and professional training in digital health across all healthcare sectors,” he said.

Teleport Raises US$50M

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 14: Teleport, the logistics venture under Capital A Berhad (formerly known as AirAsia Group Berhad) has raised new growth capital of US$50 million (approximately RM220 million) from large institutional credit investors to extend its cross-border delivery capabilities in all key Southeast Asian markets.
Teleport will use the funds to induct additional freighters, build critical hubs in Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, and further invest in technology that allows anyone to ‘Teleport It’ in 24 hours across Southeast Asia.
Since its inception in 2018, Teleport’s core focus has been in serving B2B customers of all sizes with fast, affordable air logistics solutions across Southeast Asia, supported by a unique mid-mile advantage through AirAsia Aviation’s extensive network of passenger flights.
Teleport has quadrupled its intra-SEA market share in terms of cargo volume from two per cent in 2021 to nine per cent as at Q3 2022 and grew its e-commerce business 6x year-on-year.
The logistics venture of Capital A is also currently serving three of the largest marketplaces in Southeast Asia, namely Shopee, Lazada and Zalora.

Persevering Through Challenging Times 

Shah Alam, Dec 14: Top Glove Corporation Bhd or “Top Glove” today  announced its financial results for the First Quarter ended 30 November 2022 (1QFY2023), persevering  through a challenging environment, as it remains cautiously optimistic of recovery within 2023. 
For 1QFY2023, the Group recorded Sales Revenue of RM633 million and Loss After Tax of RM158 million, while Sales Volume (Quantity Sold) eased about 48 per cent year on year as it continued to be  impacted by persistent headwinds. 
The softer financial performance was attributed to the ongoing glove supply/demand imbalance which  saw customers holding off restocking activity as they continued to deplete existing glove inventory,  coupled with a lack of urgency to place orders in light of excess production capacity within the glove industry. In addition, average selling prices (ASPs) for gloves continue to adjust while the Group  contends with intensifying competition, particularly from regional glove manufacturers, compounding  the prevailing softer glove demand. 
However, the Group notes that the decline in glove ASPs is slowing down, indicating the downtrend  will not continue indefinitely.
The Group also expects to derive some benefits from the declining trend  in raw material prices; where average natural latex concentrate prices have declined by seven per cent to  RM4.73/kg and nitrile latex prices have decreased by 49 per cent to USD0.91/kg year on year. 

Millions Injection To Deliver Better Vaccines 

Adelaide, Dec 14: More efficient use of vaccines, investigating ‘superbug’ resistance and an improved treatment for diabetic foot ulcers are the targets of three new innovative research projects at Flinders University.  
Funded by almost $3.3 million in Commonwealth Government funding in the latest round of NHMRC Ideas grants, the projects will tackle major health burdens that the world has tackled for centuries.  
Lead investigator Flinders University Professor of Microbiology Melissa Brown says the project aims to “increase our understanding of proteins that confer resistance by pumping multiple compounds out of the cell to ultimately be able to block their action”. 
This builds on evidence that this pathogen and other common health-related bacteria have inbuilt cellular abilities which can lead to multidrug resistance – a problem emerging as a global crisis capable of causing millions of deaths around the world without immediate action.  This study, supported by experts from the University of Queensland, University of Perugia in Italy and Universite Libre de Bruxelles, will focus on understanding the molecular, structural and functional characterisation of S. aureus resistance to almost all anti-staphyloccal agents.

Hybrid Workers Face Cyber Threat 

Goh Chee Hoh. Image supplied.

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 14: Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global cybersecurity leader, today released Future/Tense: Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2023. The report warns that threat actors will ramp up attacks targeting security blind spots in the home office, software supply chain, and cloud in the coming year.
“Since end last year, organizations in Malaysia have either returned to the office, permanently switching to remote arrangements, or opting for a combination of both. However, these arrangements take employees away from the safety of a more secure and monitored IT environment in the office,” Goh Chee Hoh, Managing Director for Malaysia and Nascent Countries, Trend Micro said.
Trend Micro Cyber Risk Index 1H2022 revealed that 42 per cent of respondents in Malaysia surveyed said the security posture within their enterprise is secured for teleworkers and only 39 per cent use a fully encrypted tunnel for all devices used by their employees outside their physical office. 
“Renewed threat actor focuses on unpatched virtual private networks (VPNs), connected home office devices, and back-end cloud infrastructure in 2023. In response, organizations will need to focus on helping overworked security teams by consolidating attack surface management and detection and response to a single, more cost-effective platform,” Goh said. 
VPNs represent a particularly attractive target as a single solution could be exploited to target multiple corporate networks. Home routers will also be singled out as they’re often left unpatched and unmanaged by central IT.

Shopee Shoppers Enjoy More Savings 

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 14: Shopee wrapped up the year-end shopping season with new local sellers achieving 12 times uplift in sales during the 12.12 Birthday Sale peak day as compared to an average day.
Shoppers managed to save more through the best deals with brands and sellers, with over 23 million vouchers claimed on 12 December. 
Health & Beauty, Home & Living, and Mobile & Accessories emerged as the top categories sold on 12 December. Among them, the top keywords searched are dress, kasut perempuan, blouse, baju kurung and powerbank, as Malaysians prepared to welcome 2023.
During the first two hours of Dec 12, Shopee observed eight times uplift in orders compared to an average day. Various cities across Malaysia outside the Klang Valley region emerged as top cities throughout the 12.12 Birthday Sale campaign period, with Johor Bahru, Kinta, Timur Laut, and Kuantan recording the highest number of orders.
Meanwhile, top 100 local sellers also achieved eight times uplift in sales on the 12 December in comparison to average days. Top-performing local sellers include Dr Macio, Momo House, Hollywood MotorSport, cost2u and Tot.Retail & Wholesale. 
On top of that, buyers also engage with their favourite local influencers who shared product reviews, tutorials and more during the campaign period with over 425K engagements recorded across social media.
Local delicacies dominated food orders for the 12.12 Sale with Satay Ayam and Roti Canai emerging as clear favourites for ShopeeFood users across Northern, Central and Southern regions.
ShopeeFood also recorded an uplift in vouchers sold, driven by users supporting local brands. This included merchant heroes such as Tealive, ZUS Coffee, Ayam Gepuk Pak Gembus, Tiga Budak Gemok, Gigi Coffee, Thong Kee Cafe, Pop Meals, Sakura Donburi, Restoran Meng Kee, Universal Sambal and Planet Nasi Kukus. For mainstream brands, McDonalds and KFC continue to be favourites.To wrap up the year, Shopee will be holding its Shopee Super Awards this Thursday to recognise the best-performing local sellers, brands, partners and talents of the year across the Malaysia e-commerce industry.
Tune in to Shopee Live on Dec 15, 7:30pm to catch exciting performances and celebrations with our brightest stars across different industry categories.

Sophos Thwarts Ransomware Attack by Rare

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 14Sophos, a global leader in innovating and delivering cybersecurity as a service, today revealed it has found malicious code in multiple drivers signed by legitimate digital certificates.
Its latest report, “Signed Driver Malware Moves up the Software Trust Chain,” details the investigation which began with an attempted ransomware attack in which the attackers used a malicious driver signed with a legitimate Windows Hardware Compatibility Publisher digital certificate from Microsoft.
The malicious driver is designed to specifically target processes used by major Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) software packages and was installed by malware that has been tied to threat actors affiliated with Cuba ransomware, a highly prolific group that has successfully targeted more than 100 companies globally over the past year.
Sophos Rapid Response was able to successfully thwart the attack, and the investigation triggered a comprehensive collaboration between Sophos and Microsoft to take action and address the threat.

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Insurance?

Melbourne, Dec 15: New data from personal finance marketplace company Compare Club reveals Australians could be leaving an average of $1,300 of unused health insurance extras such as dental, optical, physiotherapy and podiatry, on the table. 
Most major health insurance providers including Medibank, Bupa, and HBF are set to reset extras on January 1 and the company’s data reveals many Australian policy holders could spend less and still get more back just by reviewing their extras cover and cutting out services they don’t use. 
For example, the research found most Australian health insurance policy holders can access an average of $1,050 worth of dental rebates, but are only claiming an average of $237.80 a year. This means they’re leaving $812 worth of potential benefits on the table. 
Similarly, with one major fund, an Australian family of four gets access to a total value of $17,720 worth of rebates on extras, but if a family only uses the policy for basic dental check-ups, glasses and physio, they’ll only claim $2,908, leaving over $14,000 worth of value untouched.
For more information visit here.

Ni Hsin Inks Strategic Collaboration With SIRIM

 L-R: Mohd Azanuddin bin Salleh, Senior Vice President, SIRIM Industrial Research, SIRIM Berhad, Datuk Indera Dr. Ahmad Sabirin bin Arshad, FASc, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, SIRIM Berhad
Sofiyan Yahya, Chairman of Ni Hsin Group Steven Khoo Chee Kong, Managing Director of NH EV TECH
Rizvi Abdul Halim, Executive Director of Ni Hsin EV Tech.  Supplied.

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 15: Ni Hsin EV Tech Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Main Market-listed Ni Hsin Group Berhad recently signed a Strategic Collaboration with SIRIM Berhad to promote cooperation between the parties.
“This Strategic Collaboration with SIRIM is an extension of our quest for greater participation in the green economy. Having successfully launched our EV motorcycles last month we are looking forward to unlocking another piece of the environmental puzzle,” Khoo Chee Kong, Managing Director of NH EV TECH said.
SIRIM President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Indera Dr Ahmad Sabirin Arshad said, “Under the green technology master plan 2030 of Malaysia, several strategies were outlined to create a low-carbon and resource efficient economy, thus, in complementing this master plan, SIRIM will be embarking on various projects towards enhancing and promoting sustainability in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS).”
The SIRIM-Ni Hsin Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Pilot Plant will be fully operational in 2023 with an annual recycling capacity of 550 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries. For a start, the output will be sold to lithium-ion batteries manufacturers in the form of black mass. “Under this collaboration both companies will focus on the recovery of precious metals such as lithium and cobalt in 2024 and embark on lithium-ion battery manufacturing 2025, when the volume by processing more lithium-ion batteries from other nations will increase,” he added.

 A-Listers Drive Greater Awareness Of Medicinal Cannabis

Sydney, Dec 16: AFL & NRL Premiership winning coaches Chris Scott and Trent Robinson have joined the growing list of sporting stars throwing their names behind sports science company Levin Health, in a bid to help break the stigma around medicinal cannabis.
The coaching royalty are aiming to raise awareness of medicinal cannabis as a potential treatment option for those suffering from different health conditions.
According to current TGA data, chronic pain is the leading factor for medicinal cannabis prescriptions, with more than 100,000 new prescriptions in 2022 alone for the condition.
Levin Health CEO Mark Brayshaw said a growing number of Australians were becoming aware of medicinal cannabis as an alternative treatment option for a range of health conditions, helped in part by advocacy efforts including from sporting greats like Chris Scott and Trent Robinson.
“The high-profile support we continue to receive will help to reduce stigma around medicinal cannabis and help our mission to improve people’s quality of life through our world-leading clinical studies involving medicinal cannabis treating conditions such as chronic pain, concussion and sports injuries,” Brayshaw said.

Attacks Now Use Encrypted Channels

Sydney, Dec 16: Zscaler, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZS), the leader in cloud security announced the release of its annual State of Encrypted Attacks Report, which details the analysis of more than 24 billion threats from October 2021 through September 2022 to track trends of HTTPS-based attacks.
The research leveraged insights from more than 300 trillion daily signals and 270 billion daily transactions in the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange — the world’s largest security cloud.The report uncovered that malware continues to pose the greatest threat to individuals and businesses across nine key industries, with manufacturing, education and healthcare being the most commonly targeted. Encrypted attacks remain a significant problem for countries around the globe, with the U.S., India and Japan seeing the biggest increases in attacks over the last 12 months. In addition, South Africa has seen a notable increase in TLS/SSL attacks compared to 2021.
To download the full report, go here 2022 State of Encrypted Attacks Report.

MR D.I.Y.’s Christmas Web Film Launched

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 16 : Malaysia’s favourite home improvement retailer, MR D.I.Y., recently launched its Christmas-themed webfilm, called “The Little Miracles.”
The film depicts a little girl named Chloe, who is gifted with a ‘magic hammer’ at Christmas by her father.
The almost 3-minute webfilm was launched on MR D.I.Y.’s official YouTube page on December 11, in conjunction with Christmas.
Within a few days of launch, the film garnered more than 1.7 million views on YouTube, demonstrating that it had touched the hearts of all Malaysians.

Wildlife Adventure in Sabah By Private Jet

Kota Kinabalu, Dec 16: Through their program – Wildlife of the World by Private Jet, a team of outstanding National Geographic wildlife experts and their guests made Sabah the first location in Asia to witness wildlife in the wild.
Sabah was chosen and put on the map as part of the luxury private jet trip because of its wildlife diversity and how much each area has to offer in terms of knowledge and wildlife sightings.
The top-notch team of experts includes Author and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Sandesh Kadur, and Primatologist and Conservationist Mireya Mayor.
The specialists and guests travelled in style aboard a refurbished and decked-out Boeing 757 private jet, branded under the National Geographic brand, across three continents, Asia, Africa, and Europe, staying in exquisite lodgings.
After a two-day stop in Singapore, the experts flew into Sandakan for a three-day wildlife adventure, they visited Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre (SOURC), Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) and spending two nights at Kinabatangan River. While at SOURC and BSBCC, the experts and their guests were given private tours and talks.

Sabah’s Rural Ideal For Birdwatchers

Kota Kinabalu, Dec 17: Sabah’s rural areas hold great promise as a birding hotspot, opening up new educational and economic possibilities for the local community.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Environment Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said birdwatching is an excellent activity to integrate into the community-based tourism initiative that will attract new visitors to the countryside.
He said enthusiasts are willing to fly across the country and even to remote places to see a single rare bird species, therefore the rural community should make the most of the opportunity by capitalising on the birdwatching market.
“The villagers have local expertise on distinctive bird species that can be sighted in their area.
“They can offer bird guiding service apart from the usual activities and this is also one way to encourage people to stay longer in the countryside,” he said
Bangkuai, who also chairs the Sabah Tourism Board, said the rural countryside and its unspoiled flora and fauna provide great hideouts for birders, adding Sabah is home to over 600 different bird species.

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