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#PRNSarawak : Sarawak laksa on the boil as state election heats up

Posted: 20 Apr 2016 01:16 AM PDT

As election fever grips the state, the pots are boiling over for the delicious and justly famous Sarawak laksa.

With the influx of visitors in recent weeks, business is booming, especially for the laksa sellers in many parts of the city.

For a bite of the "breakfast of the Gods" - in the words of world-renowned travelling chef Anthony Bourdain - people head for Choon Hui Cafe in Jalan Ban Hock where the strong aroma of spices tickle the nostrils even before they join the morning queue.

Chie Yat Ming, the owner of the Sarawak Laksa stall in the cafe, said preparing the local favourite is no easy task.

The still spiritedly 58-year-old wakes up at 3am every day to prepare the ingredients, soaking the rice vermicelli in warm water before she cooks the spice paste on medium heat for about two hours, stirring it constantly.

Cooked chicken meat has to be deboned and shredded for the topping before she goes to the Kenyalang Park Market to buy fresh prawns and coconut milk. Then it's off to the cafe to start her business at 7am. By 11am, the laksa will be sold out.

"It is difficult to prepare a bowl of laksa. I prepare the ingredients all by myself. That's why I only do a small quantity.

"I'm thinking of retiring but none of my family members, including my sisters-in-law, are interested in taking over the stall," she said.

Like other Sarawak laksa sellers, Chie has her own recipe and secret ingredients.

A short drive away, Laksa Sarawak Ambal is the latest hit in town.

Nor Ryezan Raduan introduced it, using 'ambal' (local bamboo clams) as the shellfish is very popular locally.

"Sales has been soaring after the announcement of the Sarawak election. I had to order extra ambal," said the 31-year-old whose stall is at Warung Nusantara at iCom Square in Jalan Pending.

So popular is Sarawak Laksa that it has spawned an industry for producing the mildly spicy paste that is made with over a dozen spices including lemongrass, shallot, long red chili, cumin seed, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander seed and galangal.   

Packets of these paste are sold across supermarkets and the city's Main Bazaar near the Kuching waterfront for about RM7 each.

Bourdain, who returned to Choon Hui caf last May after a decade to shoot for CNN's travel programme 'Parts Unknown', picked Sarawak Laksa in his top 10 wish list of foods for his new New York City food market venture.

Asked if her famous laksa can be replicated in New York, Chie said: That would be difficult because it would be hard to get the same ingredients ...I remember the 'ang moh' (white foreigner) who came and filmed me preparing the laksa.

Looks like Mr Bourdain will have to return to Kuching if he wants to feast once again on his Breakfast of the Gods.

#PRNSarawak : Sabotage could still affect election outcome, says analyst

Posted: 20 Apr 2016 12:15 AM PDT

Barisan Nasional could yet face internal sabotage if unhappiness over candidate selection is not resolved even though all its 82 candidates have been finalised, says a political analyst.

Assoc Prof Jeniri Amir (pic) of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said the fact that Barisan's candidates were only settled so close to nomination suggested problems in choosing who should contest from SUPP, SPDP and the breakaway parties of UPP and Teras.

"This is the first time that Barisan has released its full list almost at the last minute. It's a manifestation of the problems between SUPP and UPP as well as SPDP and Teras," he told The Star.

The candidates had been introduced in batches over the past few weeks, with the final three announced on Monday. Of the 82 named, 40 are from PBB, 13 from SUPP, 11 from PRS and five from SPDP. The rest are direct candidates comprising seven from UPP, three from Teras and three who resigned from PBB.

Nomination for the May 7 polls is on Apr 25.

Jeniri said the problematic candidate selection would have created animosity and intrigue among the parties concerned, which could lead to sabotage.

"When people are not happy with the decision, it may backfire later on. They could sabotage by supporting opposition candidates in terms of resources, urging their supporters to back the opposition, not giving any help to Barisan candidates or keeping quiet during the campaign.

"And judging from the statements of certain individuals who were not selected, probably some of them will stand as independent candidates," he said.

As such, he said it was important for Barisan to close ranks and unite or risk opening the door for the opposition to win.

In his estimation, about 22 seats could currently be considered problematic for Barisan.

"I think the parties concerned have to accept the fact that the candidates have already been chosen. Now they have to work together and be united.

"There are certain seats where they can win if they really work together," he said.

Jeniri also said the selection of direct candidates was a short-term measure to resolve the SUPP-UPP and SPDP-Teras tussles.

"The biggest question now is what's next for these candidates if they win. Are they going back to Teras and UPP? If so, that will be status quo, back to square one. Then you repeat the whole process in the coming general election and next state election," he said.

Jeniri added that he saw no alternative but to dissolve the two splinter parties if Barisan wanted to move forward and ensure harmony within the coalition.

Otherwise it would be destabilised by ongoing conflict.

On the opposition front, Jeniri said DAP and PKR should come to a compromise on their five or so disputed seats in order to face Barisan one-to-one.
"If not, it will negate the effect of any Barisan infighting. If they do not compromise, they will be sending the wrong message to the rakyat," he said.

Australia confirms Mozambique debris 'almost certainly' from MH370

Posted: 19 Apr 2016 11:12 PM PDT

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released a Technical Examination Report Wednesday, which says two pieces of debris found in Mozambique "almost certainly" originated from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Australia's transport minister Darren Chester said the stencils of key words and numbers fully matched the font used by Malaysia Airlines, which differed from the font used by the Boeing factory when delivering aircraft.

He said this link proved that both pieces, one from the horizontal stabiliser and the other from the wing, were from the missing Boeing 777 which went missing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.

"I welcome the Technical Examination Report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau confirming the debris almost certainly originated from MH370," Chester said in a statement released on Wednesday," he said.

"Stenciling on both parts of debris provided investigators with evidence of the link. The font and colour of a number stenciled on the first part conforms to that developed and used by Malaysian Airlines.

An illustration from the ATSB report showing where the missing part with the words "No Step" stencilled on it came from. An illustration from the ATSB report showing where the missing part with the words "No Step" stencilled on it came from.

"The second part contained the words 'No Step' with stenciling consistent with that used by Malaysian Airlines and a fastener attached to the part provided evidence linking the part to the aircraft's production line.

"I thank the team from ATSB, Geoscience Australia, Boeing and the Australian National University for their work," said Chester.

He said the search for the missing jetliner would continue, and it was once again ready to search the final 20,000 square kilometers in the search area.

MH370 was a scheduled passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.

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